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Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Federal view of imputation

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  • Ben Hart
    Bob, One quick thought though on something I picked up on what you said. I took there to be an underlying challenge to the fruitfulness of these kinds of
    Message 1 of 34 , Jun 2, 2009
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      Bob,

      One quick thought though on something I picked up on what you said.  I took there to be an underlying challenge to the fruitfulness of these kinds of questions, and if that was intended, I am sympathetic.  If we took our cue from Jesus, we'd see that theologizing and philosophizing weren't his cup of tea when, ironically, he was better suited to do them than we are!  His ministry was one less of words than of action, of doing virtuous deeds and showing us how to love than of figuring out arcane philosophical problems.  Instead of speculating as to the nature of the problem, he showed us how it gets answered--by loving God, our neighbor, and our enemy.  And that's way more important that figuring out how we've been infected with sin. 

      If that was any part of your suggestion, then I appreciate it and found it quite edifying.  If not, at least it reminded me of how to put a helpful perspective on things.

      Take care,
      Ben

      On Sun, May 31, 2009 at 11:21 PM, bob_suden <bsuden@...> wrote:


      Ben,

      To be sure, yours has not degenerated to the slap dash evangelical eloquence of ee cummings, but can you give me one good scriptural reason, other than perhaps stopping the mouth of the gainsayer, why anyone should reply to your assertions masquerading as questions,which go on to become non sequiturs?

      Further, is it not both true and elementary that the Cov. Of Works was a one time deal and that what Adam did after he failed the test, is entirely immaterial to it? Then why bring  it up at all?

      Two, is it not the spirit of rationalism, if not unbelief, to think God such a one as ourselves  and that he cannot justly make Adam our federal head if  we don't get to democratically vote on it? Is not  the question rather, "Who art thou O man?"

      Which same question is to the point.

      While it is true that disputations and polemics are part of the classic education and training of well rounded theologians, the tone and attitude is key and that is precisely what is missing. Impertinent, vain, over confident  and light dismissal for example, is unacceptable.

      >. . . .(whatever that means [it. add.]--when I'm born, is God


      > like a heavenly bank-teller who opens up my moral account and puts me in the
      > inifinite debit column?Anyway...)

      It means what it says. What's so hard to understand, in at least some rudimentary fashion, that "we  have  Adams guilt and punishment "laid to our account"" ? Or is it that we don't believe it?




      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Ben Hart <benjamin.hart1@...> wrote:
      >
      > Here are two quick questions about how I understand the "federal view" of
      > imputation. Both the Reformed doctrines of original sin and substitutionary
      > atonement make use of this idea so our understanding of two of the most
      > fundamental Christian doctrines stand on how we view this idea of
      > imputation.
      >
      > My question is directed specifically at how imputation works in the doctrine
      > of original sin. According to the federal view, Adam was the representative
      > of all of mankind in an analogous way that a president is a representative
      > of his country; hence the talk of Adam as a "prince" of sorts. As our
      > representative, God made a deal with Adam--the covenant of works--according
      > to which, if Adam obeyed one rule he'd live a life of eternal bliss, and if
      > he disobeyed, he'd inherit death for himself and for all of us. So when he
      > disobeyed God, he did so on behalf of all of us, and we have Adams guilt and
      > punishment "laid to our account" (whatever that means--when I'm born, is God
      > like a heavenly bank-teller who opens up my moral account and puts me in the
      > inifinite debit column? Anyway...)
      >
      > So if that is the right way to understand things, then we have conclusive
      > evidence that Adam is in hell, and here's why--we are still condemned in
      > him. See, if Adam repented (looking forward to the future Christ, the same
      > situation we think OT believers were in) then as our representative, we
      > should have had his good act of repentance laid to our account, since he is,
      > after all, our representative.
      >
      > So do we have evidence that Adam never repented? If so, I think we have
      > good reason to reject the federal view of imputation.
      >
      > Here's another reason to reject the view.
      >
      > The federal view rests on a false analogy between an elected head and a
      > "natural" or "generic" head. One reason we might think the represented
      > people have the guilt of their representor laid to their account is because
      > they've duly authorized them to be their agent. Not so with us and Adam.
      > We weren't around to do so, making him an unauthorized representor. God, no
      > doubt, could have authorized him to "represent" us in some sense, but not in
      > the sense the federal view wants to say he represented us.
      >
      > I doubt these are new arguments, but I thought some of you have given these
      > some consideration and wanted to know what (if anything) you all thought was
      > wrong with this way of thinking.
      >
      > -Ben
      >

    • puritanone
      ... I reject that imputation and inheritance are foreign to our normal experience and practice. Actually, it is quite common in the parent-child relationship,
      Message 34 of 34 , Jul 6, 2009
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        > 2. I posed objection two as a difficulty in squaring the whole idea of
        > imputation with how we typically understand justice. My argument was that
        > we normally don't work things like that in our everyday holdings of people
        > morally responsible. I mean how often do we allow a deal people made
        > thousands of years ago to affect our moral standing with another party? How
        > often do we allow it that the good or bad merit of others can be made over
        > to ourselves? How often do we allow an innocent to be executed for the
        > guilty? These are extremely counterintuitive and go directly against almost
        > all of our moral practices, yet they stand at the heart of the Reformed
        > understanding of the Gospel.
        >


        I reject that imputation and inheritance are foreign to our normal experience and practice. Actually, it is quite common in the parent-child relationship, so it should not be at all surprising in the Adam-mankind and Jesus-adopted children relationships.


        Just some examples:

        1. Children who are born to rich parents are born rich; children who are born to poor parents are born poor.

        2. Children who are born to mortal parents will be mortal.

        3. Children often inherit the genetic diseases of their parents. Children of parents with healthy genes inherit those genes.

        4. The children of terrorist parents are more subject to have their house (along with themselves) blown up. (What is it like to be born the child of an Al Qaeda leader? Does the US military really have to wait until the wife and children are out before destroying the house in which a terrorist leader is residing? Do you think that the US military waits until everyone is out except the terrorist leader?)

        5. Rich parents buy their children presents which the children never worked for; penniless parents can buy their children nothing.

        6. Rich parents often open up a bank account for their children and put money in it for the children (a form of imputation), even though the children never earned it. Penniless parents do not do the same.

        7. When a rich couple walks through an orphanage and selects a child, upon adoption that child is immediately rich, even though the child did no more to earn it than the next child that never gets adopted.

        8. Parents are under no moral requirement to lay up money to the children of other parents, but they should lay up for their own children, "for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children." But their own children did not do some special work to receive this blessing.


        Imputation and inheritance are alive and well in the real world we live and act in. We are very familiar with it in our moral practices. But some people try to suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

        - J. Parnell McCarter
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