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[Covenanted Reformation] Re: Federal view of imputation

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  • Ic Neltococayotl
    gmw, Thank you. Yes I do see a difference. My impression of Ben s e-mails were not that he was departing from some settled Reformed doctrine, but to try and
    Message 1 of 34 , Jul 1, 2009
      gmw,

      Thank you. Yes I do see a difference. My impression of Ben's e-mails
      were not that he was departing from some settled Reformed doctrine, but
      to try and answer questions he had that arose from his understanding of
      the doctrine (and my perception also was his anticipation of
      non-believers questions regarding how original sin comes to us---reminds
      me of the UNSETTLED(?) view of creationism and traducionism (sp?)).
      Afterall we are all at different levels of understanding doctrine and
      unless one comes out torching a doctrine or redefining it (like NT
      Wright and FV peps) we should try to help if we so feel inclined to do
      so...well friends should anyways...maybe such questions are best handled
      over the phone or face to face?

      But to ask people to repent for questioning as they work things
      out...well I do have a problem with that...ask people to repent when
      they have sinned or rejected Biblical truth, I am for that all the
      way...but I do not see this (Ben's questions) to be the case.

      Rutherford's letters are a good reminder of how we should approach
      struggling Christians---whatever that struggle may be...and he was
      Reformed...

      Thanks,

      Edgar


      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
      <ragingcalvinist@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > Edgar,
      >
      > I hope you do see the difference in calling someone to repentance for
      an evident departure from settled Reformed confessional theology, and
      calling someone to repentance for questioning someone's questionable
      assertion of authority.
      >
      > your friend,
      >
      > gmw.
      >
      > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Ic Neltococayotl"
      puritanpresbyterian@ wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > > >Doubters, people with serious struggles
      > > > over deep truths, etc. just aren't allowed in this group, and
      since I
      > > very
      > > > often find myself with doubts and other doctrinal struggles, I
      don't
      > > think I
      > > > belong here. So thanks, truepresbyterian, for being a true
      > > Presbyterian and
      > > > "calling me to repentance" for asking a few hard questions. I hope
      God
      > > > helps to teach you how to deal with those who just aren't getting
      it
      > > but
      > > > really want to.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Deja Vu!
      > >
      > > -Edgar
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Ben Hart
      > > <benjamin.hart1@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Dear True Presbyterian,
      > > >
      > > > To quote my friend Bob S., "You still don't get it, do you?" You
      > > missed
      > > > several of the developments of the dialectic, so let's review real
      > > quickly.
      > > >
      > > > 1. I granted the invalidity of objection 1 in that it
      misunderstood
      > > the
      > > > nature of the Federal View's understanding of the covenant of
      works.
      > > >
      > > > 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 no longer see this as a reason to reject the Federal view, but
      > > merely as a
      > > > doctrine that needs to be accepted with piety since it makes no
      sense
      > > to
      > > > me. The problem is that the federal view often gets explained as
      if
      > > it's
      > > > all very common sense, but it's not.
      > > >
      > > > Now, I am going to take this as an opportunity to officially end
      this
      > > > conversation since I'm not only done with it, but with this group
      as
      > > well.
      > > > I have a few friends here, so I don't mean any offense to them,
      but to
      > > those
      > > > who (to quote NT Wright) are "self-appointed protectors of
      orthodoxy",
      > > all I
      > > > can say is that you have really done a great job solidifying my
      ever
      > > waning
      > > > opinion of the Reformed community. Doubters, people with serious
      > > struggles
      > > > over deep truths, etc. just aren't allowed in this group, and
      since I
      > > very
      > > > often find myself with doubts and other doctrinal struggles, I
      don't
      > > think I
      > > > belong here. So thanks, truepresbyterian, for being a true
      > > Presbyterian and
      > > > "calling me to repentance" for asking a few hard questions. I hope
      God
      > > > helps to teach you how to deal with those who just aren't getting
      it
      > > but
      > > > really want to.
      > > >
      > > > Kind regards,
      > > > Ben
      > > >
      > > > On Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 8:29 AM, truepresbyterian
      > > > no_reply@:
      > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Dear Ben,
      > > > >
      > > > > Your first argument ultimately hangs upon the following
      assertion:
      > > > >
      > > > > "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."
      > > > >
      > > > > But this is entirely arbitrary of you. There is nothing about
      > > Protestant
      > > > > theology or the "federal view" that makes it necessary that
      Adam's
      > > later act
      > > > > of repentance should likewise come under a federal character.
      For
      > > one thing,
      > > > > his breaking of the Covenant may be considered as dissolving the
      > > > > relationship as to any future actions, even as a president or
      prince
      > > by his
      > > > > representative failures may at the same time both (1) involve
      his
      > > entire
      > > > > people in irreversible calamity; and (2) forfeit his position as
      > > president
      > > > > or prince. And Secondly, although the moral law as revealed at
      Sinai
      > > and to
      > > > > the Jewish nation, conjoined with the judicial and ceremonial
      laws,
      > > > > certainly did teach repentance, yet the Covenant of Works itself
      > > does not
      > > > > give any place for repentance, certainly not as a remedy to
      relieve
      > > existing
      > > > > guilt. Adam's repentance only served his own purpose within the
      > > context of
      > > > > an entirely different Covenant, the Covenant of Grace; which
      > > Covenant makes
      > > > > none representative except Jesus Christ himself.
      > > > >
      > > > > As for your second argument, it is not definitive as to what is
      > > said, or on
      > > > > what ground it is spoken. You give God permission to authorize
      Adam
      > > as our
      > > > > representative "in some sense" but you tell us he can only have
      this
      > > > > permission in a sense other than "the federal view wants to say
      he
      > > > > represented us." What this different sense of the federal view
      is,
      > > you have
      > > > > not said, nor why God may not make Adam our representative in
      this
      > > sense.
      > > > >
      > > > > Please understand that I am not writing these things to
      encourage
      > > this
      > > > > discussion further. To some it may seem I am out of place to
      take
      > > upon me
      > > > > such discussion. In fact, I have rather pointedly discouraged
      others
      > > from
      > > > > doing so on public forums in the past. I do so only with a
      desire to
      > > help
      > > > > you, not provoke further rebellion on your part. You act very
      > > dangerously in
      > > > > subjecting essential Gospel doctrines to such suspicion for
      reasons
      > > which
      > > > > are evidently mere trifles. Your heart is not right with God,
      nor
      > > rightly
      > > > > affected with your state of sin and misery, nor with the mercy
      which
      > > God has
      > > > > revealed in his glorious Son. Further discussion on your part,
      > > calling in
      > > > > question such doctrines, with vain notions as will ultimately
      make
      > > the death
      > > > > of Christ to be in vain, is not what will be acceptable in the
      ears
      > > or eyes
      > > > > of any Christian, and it is only to be expected that the
      moderator
      > > will
      > > > > expunge such things from this discussion.
      > > > >
      > > > > You have been called to repentance. There is only one answer
      which
      > > will
      > > > > suffice. All others will displease Christians, and provoke the
      Lord
      > > Christ.
      > > > >
      > > > > True Presbyterian
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > >
      >
    • 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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