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10 Responses

  1. Linn says:

    The “Prayer Before Study” was jus whatt this elementary school teacher, Sunday School teacher and Bible study leader needed. Thanks, Michael!!!

  2. Kevin H says:

    “Have you heard the one about empathy being a sin?” – Is that the one that starts with empathy, sympathy, and compassion walking into a bar?

    When I first saw the headlines a couple months back about empathy being a sin, I thought it was from a satire site or some kind of joke. Lo and behold, I was wrong and it was truly something real that influential pastors/theologians/etc. were pushing and teaching.

    I’m sure it happens it all over the map, but it sure sometimes seem that Christians have a great talent at finding something good and twisting it so far that they can then declare it bad and warn others about it.

  3. Michael says:


    Glad it was of value to you!

  4. Michael says:


    This…to me…is the most astounding pile of vile teaching I’ve seen in years .
    Empathy is vital to the Christian faith.
    In my not so humble opinion, it’s just another attempt to control what people think and feel by inherently abusive men.

  5. Thatoneguy777 says:

    I was under the impression that empathy is what leads us to the act of sympathy…of course there are wrong workings of these things but it’s my experience that it’s actually conservative/hyper-conservative and liberal Christians (AKA politically possessed Christians.) That have these things out of alignment with God’s character.

  6. Dan from Georgia says:

    my only knowledge (up until a few minutes ago) was that Doug Wilson was at the center of the “Empathy is a sin” stupidity. Now I see that it is also entrenched at Bethlehem Baptist. I attended that church briefly over 10 yrs ago, and I am not surprised they are into that strange fire/bad teaching.

  7. Gabby says:

    Some thoughts on the whole “empathy is a sin” thing:

    1. I would beg any of these church leaders promoting this garbage to speak with psychologists and/or people trained in trauma-work to understand what empathy actually is. Because the way they define it is nothing like empathy.

    2. Like Michael said, this seems to be another way for abusive men to hold on to power and silence victims…

    3. I’m honestly not surprised that John Piper et al. is supporting this kind of idea, especially considering what John Piper has said about abuse victims in the past (see: his comments about if women should submit to abusive husbands)

    4. John Piper makes me want to pull my hair out. I could barely get through reading either of those articles, I was just so mad…

  8. Alan says:

    Empathy is often behind the deconstructing of traditional morals. Which is to say we surrender our values when our children experience their own moral departures. Usually this is done under the rubric of redefined identity. The empathy question is not a clear path to once again demonize biblical traditionalist.

    I certainly critique empathy as a foundation of moral theology.

  9. The New Victor says:

    Gabby, yet many evangelicals regard modern psychology as garbage. Though as my Christian therapist (PsyD) Once told me, “you have to take a lot of my profession with a grain of salt.”

    I was glad that the first article mentioned validation. Validation in no way is approval of behaviors; rather, it’s an acknowledgment of another’s feelings, which are neither right nor wrong, feelings just _are_. It’s a compassionate opening to start a healthy conversation and to reduce conflict.

    A follow up is a tool like SET: Support (validation), EMPATHY, Truth.

    I’m thinking:

    Prostitute: I’ve heard that you are a prophet like hasn’t been seen here in hundred of years, except for John. I’m a prostitute, and am unclean, and judged by the Pharisees and others. But I feel like i can’t do otherwise. What can you tell me?

    Fake Jesus: you’re a prostitute and deserved to be stoned under The Law. Repent of your wicked ways!

    Real Jesus: I’m glad that you’ve sought me out. It must be very painful to be judged for what you do as behind the scenes many of those who sit in judgment take advantage. Many who have sought me feel lost and are hurt. I’ve come to you today to tell you that I’ve been sent to comfort those who seek a better way. I’ve been sent by My Father to bring you a message of Good News. Let us sup together and talk more.

    Prostitute: you’ll… eat with one such as me?

    Jesus: I’ve come for you and any such as you who have the hope and faith as you do.

  10. Gabby says:

    The New Victor, I can 100% agree with your therapist. I’m currently working towards a PsyD (in my 4th year of the program out of 5) at a Christian college, and I am constantly questioning how much I actually agree with the field I’m in. I think we (people in the psychology world) can be far too confident in our assumptions and beliefs…

    I suppose my recommendation to talk to psychologists was simply related to the idea that if someone is going to use a term that is primarily defined/used in another field than their own, it might be helpful to ask those people from that field what the word means before saying it’s terrible (if that makes sense haha!)

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