Once upon an Old Testament time there was a man named Achan who ignored God’s orders and took a five-fingered discount on some bling while plundering and pillaging the city of Jericho. The end result was that a bunch of people died because he had brought sin into the camp.
The cry of “there’s sin in the camp” is one that’s greatly loved by fundamentalists as a reason why bad things are happening or good ones aren’t. After all, God may want to do a great and mighty work here but that dime novel you’ve got hidden in the corn crib is standing in His way! Get the sin out of the camp!
The “I got the sin out of the camp” tale is a favorite type of war story for evangelists. It seems that evangelists are given a special gift of looking down into the audience and seeing which specific person is the reason why revival hasn’t broken out in a service. So the evangelist’s job is to preach harder and harder until that person finally breaks down and repents in tears. The very next night 5,378 people will get saved because they got the SIN OUT OF THE CAMP! Glory!
In the realm of fundamentalist guilt trips this is a very powerful one because it puts the malefactor in the position of being guilty not only for his own sin but also for being the instrument of other people’s destruction. Nothing beats the feeling of sitting in a revival service wracking your brain to see if there’s something you did that might be keeping revival from busting out all over.
Strangely enough, little things like a pastor’s affair or a deacon’s tax fraud never stop “revival” from happening.Â It’s always hidden rock music and secret trips to the movies. Weird how that works.