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Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin
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Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin


Eerdmans 1995

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


This timely book retrieves an old awareness that has slipped and changed in recent decades. The awareness of sin used to be our shadow. Christians hated sin, feared it, fled from it—and grieved over it. But the shadow of sin has now dimmed in our consciousness. Even preachers, who once got visibly angry over a congregation’s sin, now speak of sin in a mumble.

Cornelius Plantinga pulls the ancient doctrine of sin out of mothballs and presents it to contemporary readers in clear language, drawing from a wide range of books, films, and other cultural resources. In smoothly flowing prose Plantinga describes how sin corrupts what is good and how such corruption spreads. He discusses the parasitic quality of sin and the ironies and pretenses generated by this quality. He examines the relation of sin to folly and addiction. He describes two classic “postures” or movements of sin—attack and flight, and in an epilogue he reminds us that whatever we say about sin also sharpens our eye for the beauty of grace.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Presents the doctrine of sin to a contemporary audience
  • Analyzes the nature of sin
  • Examines two movements of sin–attack and flight


  • Vandalism of Shalom
  • Spiritual Hygiene and Corruption
  • Perversion, Pollution, and Disintegration
  • The Progress of Corruption
  • Parasite
  • Masquerade
  • Sin and Folly
  • The Tragedy of Addiction
  • Attack
  • Flight

Praise for the Print Edition

A coherent, substantive theological treatise with a wealth of homiletical insights and real-life connections.

Princeton Seminary Bulletin

The book is almost always interesting, often provocative, and sometimes infuriating. . . Plantinga’s insistence that sin is a theologically and philosophically relevant category deserves serious consideration.


Highly recommended reading and a must for church libraries.

Librarian’s World

His patient dissection, clear writing style, and ease with metaphor make this book a valuable catalog of sin’s various mutations . . . Pastors and counselors will find this book especially valuable.

CBA Bookstore Journal

Product Details

About Cornelius Plantinga Jr.

Cornelius Plantinga Jr. is president emeritus of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. His many articles and essays have appeared in Books and Culture, Christianity Today, and The Christian Century.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition

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