if you're afraid of calling sin deadly, the thought of reading a book on the seven capital vices might sound terrifying. But acknowledging the deadliness of sin only increases our knowledge of grace, says the author of Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies (Brazos Press). Christianity Today intern Alicia Cohn spoke with Calvin College philosophy professor and Thomas Aquinas scholar Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung about the multiple dimensions of the human struggle with sin.

Why did you write about the vices instead of the virtues?

The short and honest answer is that vices are more interesting. Also, you have to start with the things that are holding you back. You can't move forward unless you have a good handle on what needs to be overcome, what needs to be left behind.

I do teach the seven virtues first in my course on Thomas Aquinas. You can't really understand what's gone wrong unless you have a picture of what the right way looks like.

Once we identify the influence of sin in our lives, how do we root it out?

The point of self-examination isn't, thankfully, just to beat yourself up and feel guilty. Confession is a way of naming the problem, admitting the problem, and saying, "Look, there's this mess here, Lord, and I'm not going to be cleaning it up on my own. I'm not able, nor am I entirely willing, to let go of these things without some serious divine assistance." The tradition is confession, absolution, and penance. The spiritual disciplines are one way of counter-forming the self, of rightly forming the self.

Is there a danger of becoming obsessed with our sin?

I certainly don't want to encourage people to go back to a works-righteousness approach. But the opposite danger is to neglect sanctification ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Also in this Issue
God and Gays Subscriber Access Only
Three films take a closer look at faith and homosexuality.
RecommendedThe Secret Religion of the Slaves
The Secret Religion of the Slaves
They often risked floggings to worship God.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickFinding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies
Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies
Brazos Press
2009-06-01
208 pp., $11.07
Buy Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies from Amazon
Christianity Today
Grace Amid the Vices
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.