ST. LOUIS, MO—Ryan Simpson, a 22-year-old business major, started attending Trinity Lutheran Church of the LCMS and reportedly stopped attending after three weeks of attending the Sunday services and Wednesday Bible studies. When approached by the church’s pastor, Pastor Taylor, who asked him why he was leaving, Ryan responded, “After being Christian my whole life, I never heard of us being sinners. I was taught that doing good things make me a good person.” Using his logic against him, Pastor Taylor explained how by that logic, doing bad things also makes him a bad person. “Regardless,” he continued, “your good works cannot make you good since we are by nature sinful and unclean. This is why it required the gracious and merciful will of God to send His only begotten Son to die for us, who by His own goodness makes us good.”
“If this is true,” Ryan asked, “how can I be a sinner while also being a Christian?” Pastor Taylor explained to Ryan Luther’s theology on simul iustus et peccator—that we are simultaneously saint and sinner. He explained how Paul even struggled with this very condition of ours in Romans 7:15-20, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
Ryan never returned to Trinity Lutheran Church, writing on a Facebook status, “I cannot accept the idea that I cannot be a good person no matter how hard I try, even though I still do bad things.” There have been reports of Ryan attending Joel Osteen sermons, writing on Facebook a few weeks later, “Declare positivity in your life! This is how we become good and how God guarantees good things to come in your life!”
This is a satire.