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[Covenanted Reformation] Re: Federal view of imputation

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  • bob_suden
    Ben, You still don t get it. Granted there has been some improvement, but your latest 2 posts still fail to consider: 1. History. You come to this with a past
    Message 1 of 34 , Jun 8, 2009
      Ben,

      You still don't get it. Granted there has been some improvement, but
      your latest 2 posts still fail to consider:

      1. History.
      You come to this with a past history. As in some people were more upset
      there was a confidential or even secret group like the Effort, but not
      that there was a secret requirement for membership to submit to a secret
      court in the church of Christ that to this day has not been publicly
      acknowledged by its officers on the church's official website. (As
      in how come none of the papers from tattoos to church government by the
      RPGM elders were/are posted online like all the other papers by the
      elders? Evidently things have been in the "very confidential"
      mode ever since Greg Price left Edmonton.) I have even personally
      called you on the phone about it without you respondeoing at all, never
      mind in substance.

      Next up would be the birth control discussion on this forum, in which
      you so bumped Larry off, he wouldn't discuss it anymore with you. I
      didn't say anything at the time, but I concurred with Larry and my
      remarks probably would have been even more caustic than his. It was a
      foolish, if not stupid discussion.

      Consequently, some might be a little skeptical of anything you propose
      to discuss, in that all the previous seems to have been so much water
      off the back of a duck. Further, if I am going to be chided on either
      bringing up the past or even worse, still living in it, the Russian
      proverb according to Solzhenitsyn is that the man with one eye over his
      shoulder on the past stumbles, while the man with both eyes on the
      present in front of him is blind.

      2.Attitude.
      The question is also attitude and tone. Again I don't have a problem
      with a genuine discussion or asking questions, but it seems like there
      is fine line between that and merely venting or displaying our own
      opinion, pride, knowledge and reading at length. Brian and Nick's
      staged efforts on the old PRCE forum even come to mind. I commend to
      you the definition of a dilettante as someone who blithely trips along,
      raising questions and making assertions without really being interested
      in anything other than hearing themselves lecture others at length
      (Prov. 18:2). Not your intention at all? Great, but it certainly seems
      headed that way, if not in fact is. You seem to come with an agenda IMO
      rather than a genuine interest in what others think on the supposed
      question. But if you are going to put forth your views and not just
      questions, you had better expect a critique, if not a prejudiced
      audience.

      As for the patronizing advice of "bowing out of the discussion if
      this bothers you", if you can't stand the heat, get out of the
      kitchen, if not desist from stirring the pot to begin with, even if that
      would leave all the rest of us mortals to wallow in our ungrateful
      ignorance. A pity, that, I suppose, philosophically considered, but
      maybe also a necessary evil.

      3. Substance.
      You tell us you will not defend the use of philosophy on the forum, you
      will just assume you are correct. Great. How arrogant does that sound?
      Not at all, right? Philosophy is unescapable, but that someone may be
      misusing philosophy does not seem to occur and is beyond the pale.
      Further, since when do we have to accept your ipsit dixit, your
      "say so" on this or anything else without a genuine and
      reasonable, if not scriptural argument for it?

      As re. my reference of Rom. 5:12, in that a text out of context is a
      pretext, I meant and assumed that the whole passage is up for
      examination. Neither is it so odd that all rose and fell on Adam as you
      assert (David and Goliath), much more that it is unfair. What does that
      say about the free and unmerited salvation in the second Adam? It too is
      unfair. So what? Again, since when does God's ways or his gospel
      have to conform to our notions? The Bible is after all a revelation -
      that without which we would still be as blind men in a dark room at
      midnight as to the will of God for our salvation. While Scripture is
      not unreasonable, there is a harmony and consent in its parts and
      message, its presuppositions, axioms and truths are not such as are
      discoverable by reason.

      As for your comments on contextualization, if they are not incoherent,
      they might seem to bear great affinity to the New Perspective on
      Paul/Federal Vision and the redefinition of justification as other than
      the imputation of a legal and forensic righteousness in Christ. FTM I
      really would be interested in who you are reading re. contextualization.
      But be prepared. I might really go ballistic then and gmw will have to
      give me my walking papers. But that's the idea, right? The fuddie
      duddies have got to go and we hope they do it quietly please. Run along
      now, you old stick in the mud.

      In short and in conclusion, while John's last post was truly head
      and shoulders above what usually comes out of St. Louis - even though I
      don't think as much of it applied to my comments as he might think -
      I still object to what I see as the attitude and tone, if not substance
      of the rest from the Gateway to the West. Although again I will admit a
      slight improvement in your last efforts, my advice would still be to
      maybe let John post rather than anybody else. Anyway. Just my boorish
      opinion, for the record.

      Thank you.


      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Ben Hart
      <benjamin.hart1@...> wrote:
      >
      > And here's a fourth possibility for what's going on in Romans 5. Paul
      is
      > "contextualizing" his presentation of the Gospel, much in the same way
      he
      > did when he was on Mars Hill. Because the Jews thought in a certain
      set of
      > moral categories, he was just following along with them so they'd get
      his
      > point. Morality for the Jews was a matter of following the law, and
      law
      > concepts doubled for their moral concepts. Accordingly, when they
      violated
      > the law and did something immoral, they needed to go to court and make
      right
      > what they'd done wrong. So the concepts of being declared righteous
      or
      > unrighteous before a judge become the categories in which Paul is
      presenting
      > (contextualizing) the Gospel, and this spills over into his
      presentation of
      > the fall.
      >
      > On Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 1:35 PM, Ben Hart benjamin.hart1@... wrote:
      >
      > > Bob,
      > >
      > > I conceded a while back that what Adam did subsequent to the fall is
      > > irrelevant in that, ex hypothesi, it's not part of the deal he made
      with
      > > God. I went on to say that I didn't hang my hat on that
      objection--it's
      > > just weird, that's all, and weirdness is not damning to any view
      (just think
      > > of quantum physics in that regard). I then said that the one that
      was
      > > really difficult was the second one I raised--the justice of
      imputation
      > > itself; how can one man's guilt/righteousness be made out for
      another? I
      > > said that this seems to directly conflict with our standard moral
      practice
      > > and it was prima facie unjust. Moreover, THIS was the objection
      that
      > > Edwards and Dabney saw as being the big nasty one. I think that
      brings all
      > > of this up to speed.
      > >
      > > You say: Rationalism means it has to be something I can figure
      out/fair to
      > > me.
      > > But whether we voted for Adam to represent us or not is again
      > > immaterial. What does that have to do with anything? Your job is
      first
      > > to listen to what the Bible says before you start jumping to
      conclusions
      > > or objections."
      > >
      > > Respondeo: I'm going to stop defending the use of philosophy on
      this forum
      > > and just assume I'm right. It's naive to think interpretation takes
      place
      > > in a philosophical/theological vacuum, just like it's naive to think
      a
      > > scientist simply reads her theory off the facts; even she interprets
      the
      > > facts in light of her philosophy. I'm not saying Scripture offers
      no help,
      > > but interpreting it requires philosophical sensitivities as well as
      a
      > > healthy faith and reliance on the Holy Spirit. If that makes me a
      > > "Rationalist", so be it, but I'm not interested in justifying my
      > > methodology. If this is not an edifying conversation, then you're
      more than
      > > welcome to bow out. I can say that I've had several people
      privately email
      > > me saying this was an interesting and edifying exchange.
      > >
      > > You say: Romans 5:12 says what? Adam's sin, offense and
      disobedience is
      > > our sin,
      > > offense and disobedience. Do you think that might also include
      guilt?
      > > Does the Scripture have to come right out and say everything before
      we
      > > put 2 and 2 together?
      > >
      > > Respondeo: This what it says, "Therefore, just as sin came into the
      world
      > > through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all
      men
      > > because all sinned--" This is what it DOES NOT say. Adam's sin is
      our
      > > sin. Adam's offense is our offence. Adam's disobedience is our
      > > disobedience. None of these things are stated or necessarily
      entailed.
      > > When he says "because all sinned" this is open to numerous
      interpretations,
      > > the federal view being one of them. It could just be that we
      inhereted a
      > > nature that is bad, kind of like a moral disease. We get a bad set
      of
      > > dispositions that are themselves bad. It could also be a statement
      of
      > > fact--everyone sinned after the fall because they got a bad nature
      through
      > > Adam's misdeeds. A third possibility: the "all" that sinned
      referred to all
      > > those who were presently living (i.e. Adam and Eve), and being their
      natural
      > > offspring, we inherited their bad nature. But any notion of
      covenantal
      > > representation, federal headship, etc. is a theoretical addition--a
      > > philosophical inference (what you call putting 2 and 2
      together)--that isn't
      > > in the text.
      > >
      > > And I should also note that, even if the federal view is right, it's
      a
      > > completely fair question to ask for an explanation of how this moral
      > > arrangement can square with our standard moral practice. From my
      limited
      > > reading on this issue, it's become clear that there is really no
      consensus
      > > amongst the Reformed Community (whatever exactly that refers to) as
      to how
      > > to solve this problem. You don't find much of an agreement in guys
      like
      > > Edwards, Dabney, Turretin, Hodge, and Thornwell, nor in ancients
      like
      > > Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas.
      > >
      > > Kind regards,
      > > 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
        > 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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