"When burdened with sins from 2006; just burn them up for a real quick fix." Martin Luther dealt with a Roman Catholic agent who sold indulgences with a catchy ditty. Perhaps the preceeding one might work for the new sellers of quick fix forgiveness. Thursday's "Wall Street Journal" revealed a growing trend in churches and the modern spiritual community. More and more congregations are meeting for a service in which they write the sins and failures of the previous year on a piece of paper. Then, in a heart uplifting ceremony, they burn the pieces of paper to symbolize the doing away of these sins and their readiness to face a new year clean and ready to do better. The ceremony is getting rave reviews from many religious groups.
The participants in the ceremony at Unity of the Palm Beaches Church were given sheets of flash paper which would burn instantly when lit. The speaker encouraged them to write down all that might hinder "you from becoming all that you are, in all your greatness." The congregation was then given another set of sheets with envelopes. These were to be used to write down their goals for 2007. Those that were turned in would be mailed out to the individuals in November--to help them see how they had progressed. Some were including the dollar figure they hoped to earn in the coming year.
One problem with this entire process is the entire mockery it makes of sin and its forgiveness. Sin is forgiven instantaneously, but not by fire. Hebrews 9:22 reminds us that "without shedding of blood is no remission." The remission, or forgiveness, of our sins is based on the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Without that blood, there is no forgiveness. Burning slips of paper only draws attention from this fact. Another problem is the addition of another non-biblical, eucumenical tradition to the practice of so-called churches. These practices either go back to paganism or draw otherwise from new age doctrine and they will almost certainly be the basis for bringing the false churches together into the one world church of antichrist.