Man and His Sin

Sin. It’s all around us. The depravity of man seems to scream from every street corner. Whether it’s a parent abusing a child, a husband committing adultery, a teenager bound to drug addiction, or mass murder; all of us, in some way or another, are acquainted with the devastating effects of sin. The fact that God, upon creating mankind, pronounced everything that he had made “very good” (Gen. 1:31) may seem hard to grasp at times, especially as we look at the deteriorating culture around us. And as believers, it’s easy to see the sins of others.

For many of us though, having been raised in a sub-culture that is predominately Christian, our own personal sin and depravity might not be something to which we’ve given much thought. When was the last time you thought about your own sinfulness and depravity apart from Christ? When was the last time you remembered the mire that you were saved from and thanked God for the redemptive work of Christ on Calvary?

Sin is a Disposition

Heath Lambert in his book, A Theology of Biblical Counseling, says “Sin is a disposition of human beings that leads to a failure to conform to the moral law of God” (217).1 Notice the word disposition. Sin, more than just being the bad things that a person does or doesn’t do, describes who every human being is at their core. Mankind has a nature that is innately oriented away from God and towards sin. This natural tendency towards sin, if not brought into submission under the reign of Christ, eventually leads to sinful desires and behaviors. One must remember, though, that God did not create humanity to possess this sinful disposition, to want sinful things, or to behave in sinful ways. Instead, as we read in the Creation account, God created mankind to live in a state of moral goodness.

The Fall of Mankind

When Adam and Eve, in Genesis 2:16-17, ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil after God had specifically told them not to, they became sinners (Genesis 3:7). This disobedience instituted a spiritual separation between God and man, and physical death became a part of life for man. The consequences of this sin rippled out from Adam and Eve and would affect the life of every person who would ever live, except Jesus, and would touch every element of human existence. This effect is often referred to as the doctrine of total depravity.

The Effects of Sin

Lambert lists seven ways in which man’s life is affected by sin:
1. Sin affects man’s standing before God.
Adam represented the human race before God in his disobedience. Therefore, because of his guilt, every person born into this world is guilty of sin (I Corinthians 15:21-22). This guilt separates man from a holy God who, in his perfect holiness, cannot look upon evil (Isaiah 59:2). Men are sinners, not only because of Adam’s representation, but also because of their own actions that are a result of their sinful disposition.

2. Sin affects man’s motivations.
James, in James 1:14-15, clearly makes this point when he says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”2 Scripture is clear that every sinful act a person commits is the direct result of a prior distortion in the human heart that desires the wrong things. Sinful behavior grows out of sinful desires.

3. Sin affects man’s thinking.
Paul reminds his readers that they are “alienated and hostile in mind” (Colossians 1:21). Sin’s corrupting influence on human thought often results in mankind assuming that bad things aren’t really that evil. Again, this thinking often ends in sinful behavior.

4. Sin affects man’s emotions.
Emotions are gifts from God that allow people to express how they feel. However, because of sin, people’s emotions have been marred. Sinful people feel hatred when instead they should love. This is seen in the life of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1. Sinners feel love for things they should flee from and hate. The proverb writer speaks of people like this when he writes about those “who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil” (Proverbs 2:14).

5. Sin affects man’s bodies.
Apart from affecting the spirit of a person, sin also affects the body. In I Corinthians 15:42-44, Paul paints a picture of the terrible reality of the current physical body we live in. He describes man’s body as perishable, dishonorable, and weak. Sin has horribly corrupted a body that was originally designed to be good. It now creates physical weakness and ultimately results in physical death.

6. Sin affects man’s relationships.
Before the fall, human relationships were designed to work together in joy, harmony, and love. Man’s rebellion against God, however, resulted in enmity and strife in man’s relationship to other people. Paul describes this enmity in Titus 3:3 when he says, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient … passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”

7. Sin affects all of Creation.
The consequences of sin are evident in every human being and every human relationship. Apart from this, though, sin also affects the entire Creation order. In Romans 8:20-22, Paul describes the creation as “being subjected to futility” and “groaning together in the pains of childbirth.” Natural disasters, car accidents, vicious animals, etc., are just a few of the things that stand as testimony to the effects of sin on the natural world.

Conclusion

We’ve painted a bleak picture of who we all are apart from Christ. The doctrine of total depravity, wherein every aspect of human existence is broken by sin, is just that—bleak and hopeless. Article 4 of the Mennonite Confession of Faith states, “As a fallen creature, man is self-centered, self-willed, rebellious toward God, unwilling to yield to Christ, unable to break with sin, and under divine judgment.”

John Piper, speaking on the depravity of man, says, “Total depravity means that apart from God, our hardness and rebellion against God is total, everything we do in this rebellion is sin, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.”3 That describes each one of us. And it is good for us, as believers, to be reminded of the dark reality that sin has stamped on each of us.

Yes, admitting that our condition apart from Christ is really this bad may be hard for many of us. It’s much easier to see the depravity of others and completely overlook our own need for ongoing redemption. I urge all of us to humble ourselves under this truth, terrible though it be. When we do, we will really be in a position to see and appreciate the glory and wonder of the work of God in our personal lives and in the world at large.

Johnny Johnny Beiler lives in Elnora, Indiana where he is currently pursuing certification in Biblical Counseling at Elnora Bible Institute. If he’s not busy working on homework, you may find him waiting tables at a local pizza shop in town. He enjoys interacting with people, hiking/enjoying nature, and diving into a good book with a cup of coffee close by. Johnny is passionate about seeing young men embrace godly masculinity as they are transformed by Christ through the Gospel story.

Works Cited

1. Lambert, Heath. A Theology of Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2016. Print.
2. The Holy Bible, ESV. 2011 ed. Wheaton, ILL: Crossway, 2001. Print.
3. Piper, John. “Introduction Session 1 TULIP.” Desiring God, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.Kauffman, Daniel. Doctrines of the Bible. Scottdale PA: Herald, 1956. Print.

42 thoughts on “Man and His Sin

  1. Thank you for addressing the rather thankless topic of sin. 🙂 Perhaps the best thing about listing the multiple ways that sin has impacted our world is that it reminds us of the multifaceted splendor of Christ’s redemptive work! As the hymn says, “He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found…” Hallelujah!

    I did have one bit of constructive feedback I thought I’d share. It struck me in reading this post that it sounds like it has been shaped at least as much by Reformed theology as by Anabaptist theology. In fact, more so, judging by the authors quoted. Of course, this does not automatically mean the post is theologically imbalanced. I have learned much from our Reformed brothers and sisters. But this Reformed perspective here is a little unexpected, given the professed Anabaptist identity of Radi-Call’s bloggers.

    Here is where I noticed the Reformed influence most strongly (except, perhaps in the bibliography): Under your first point regarding “the effects of sin” you say “Adam represented the human race before God in his disobedience. Therefore, because of his guilt, every person born into this world is guilty of sin (I Corinthians 15:21-22). This guilt separates man from a holy God who, in his perfect holiness, cannot look upon evil (Isaiah 59:2).”

    If I understand this statement correctly, or at least read it at face value, you seem to be saying that (a) we are guilty at birth, (b) we are guilty because of Adam’s sin, and (c) this guilt separates us from God.

    In contrast, this is what Article 4 of the 1963 Mennonite Confession of Faith says: “Although men are sinners by nature because of Adam’s fall, they are not guilty of his sin. Those who perish eternally do so only because of their own sin.” You cite the same article of the same confession later, but do not seem to be in agreement with the sentences I just quoted.

    The Reformed position, which you presented in your post, raises serious questions about the eternal destiny of an infant who dies. One natural partial solution to such questions is the solution of infant baptism, adopted by Reformed churches, but rejected strongly by the early Anabaptists.

    The 1963 Confession of Faith, in the same Article 4, presents a different understanding not only of guilt but of the sinful nature, saying that “children are born with a nature which will manifest itself as sinful as they mature.” This is subtly but significantly different from saying that children are born with a sinful nature.

    I do not claim to understand these mysteries well, but my ponderings thus far have led me to affirm something much closer to the Anabaptist position than the Reformed position regarding Adamic guilt and the sinful nature.

    I do not mean to put you on the spot, Johnny. 🙂 But I thought that this discrepancy from historic Anabaptist understanding might be significant enough that someone on the Radi-Call team might want to either clarify my misunderstanding of your intent or else present some explanation of why you find the Reformed position more faithful to Scripture.

    Thank you!

    PS: One more comment on the bibliography. I note that you do not specify which Mennonite confession of faith you are quoting, and I also note that you list Daniel Kauffman in the bibliography, but do not actually quote him in the post. This makes me sympathize with you regarding the pain of writing bibliographies and makes me curious what Kauffman quote you were considering including. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dwight wrote:

      >>The Reformed position, which you presented in your post,
      >>raises serious questions about the eternal destiny of an infant
      >>who dies. One natural partial solution to such questions is the >>solution of infant baptism, adopted by Reformed churches….

      I direct the following not so much to Dwight as to ANYONE who may happen upon it…

      Adam’s trespass led to condemnation for all men. That’s what God says. Read it for yourself in Romans 5:18. Go ahead…read the whole passage for context – Romans 5:12-21.

      “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men…(v.18).

      Look at it. Look at it hard. Look at it long. Its meaning is perfectly clear. Its meaning is not going to change. You can like it. You can hate it. You can dodge it, deny it or attempt to destroy it. Doesn’t matter. Its meaning is plain. Its meaning remains.

      In Adam’s fall, sinned we all. That’s how the Puritans summarized it. The Puritans got some things wrong. But not this. This they got right. Here they took God at His Word.

      Taking God at His Word often creates problems for us. God Himself, in so many ways, is a problem for us. Yes, I think that is right. Sadly, we find God to be a problem.

      Now, problems require a solution. We don’t just let problems sit out there…we fix them! “Honey, what are we going to do about this problem? We need an answer.”

      Romans 5:18 is a problem… in need of a solution.

      “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men…(v.18).

      That’s a BIG PROBLEM. God set things up that way. God did it. What are we going to do about it? What are we going to do about God?

      Here’s what we can do. Let’s invent infant baptism. That’s a solution!
      It’s not in the NT, but it will get us washed right away. Clean us right up. No condemnation! We can go right around God. Circumvent Him. Who does He think He is… charging us with Adam’s guilt!

      Or we can try this. Let’s invent an Age of Accountability. That’s a solution! It’s not in the Text, but it doesn’t matter. People want it to be there. That’s all that matters. People will see it, if we just tell them it’s there. What’s wrong with God anyway? Doesn’t He have our sense of fairness? If God is going to judge us, then at least let it be for our own sins! Who does God think He is… charging us with Adam’s guilt!

      God is a problem. And our solutions diminish Him. Our theologies have reduced God to god. god we can manage. god we can deal with. god understands us, he likes us and he’s reasonable. he certainly doesn’t hold us guilty for Adam’ sin! Boy, that God is crazy. I’m glad we’ve gotten rid of Him.

      Thank god for infant baptism and the age of accountability.

      Like

      1. Dwight:

        >>>He proves that we are guilty [from Romans 3] by our own actions, without a >>>hint of a mention of Adam’s sin. If we are truly guilty because of Adam’s sin, >>>there is some reason to think his approach was at best incomplete and at worst >>>inefficient.

        🙂 So here you are correcting the apostle Paul???

        Paul chose to demonstrate our corporate guilt in Adam later in his argument and therefore you say “his approach was at best incomplete and at worst inefficient?”

        I’m at a loss for words!!!

        I truly don’t know what to say….

        Maybe you should have written the epistle, Dwight. Plainly your approach
        would have been better organized and more “efficient” than that of the apostle Paul!

        You stand in judgment of the apostle Paul and the Holy Spirit???

        Are you serious?

        Are you so enthralled by your own powers that you don’t know what you’re writing?

        More efficient than the apostle Paul???

        WHAT????????

        Like

    2. Dwight quotes the ’63 Mennonite Confession:

      >>…this is what Article 4 of the 1963 Mennonite Confession of Faith
      >>says: “Although men are sinners by nature because of Adam’s fall,
      >>they are not guilty of his sin. Those who perish eternally do so
      >>only because of their own sin.”

      In sum, men are *_NOT_* guilty for Adam’s sin.

      Yet, Johnny Beiler writes:

      >>Adam represented the human race before God in his disobedience.
      >>Therefore, because of his guilt, every person born into this world is
      >>guilty of sin.

      In sum, men *_ARE_* guilty for Adam’s sin.

      Now, we have a contradiction here… a very deep contradiction.

      So who is right… the ’63 Mennonite Confession or JB?

      Let us pose the question with greater poignancy…

      Who is on the Lord’s side… the Mennonite Confession or JB?
      They both can’t be right. One is faithfully reflecting the Word
      of God and the other is not. One is loyally representing the
      truth of God’s Word and the other is misrepresenting that
      Word. And the issue is not at all difficult to determine.

      “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men….” Rom 5:18

      “For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation,
      but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.” Rom 5:16

      “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so
      by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Rom 5:19

      Notice the contrast that the apostle sets up in that last verse, v19:
      sinners in Adam are opposed with righteousness via Christ. So
      guilt CLEARLY inheres in Paul’s use of “sinners” here. The apostle
      is NOT setting up a contrast between sinful natures contracted
      in Adam with righteousness reckoned in Christ. That makes no sense.
      Paul instead is setting up a contrast between the GUILT reckoned to
      all in Adam’s sin with the RIGHTEOUSNESS that is reckoned to all in
      Christ. THAT is the contrast the apostle is concerned to press upon
      his readers… because THAT is the contrast which powerfully illumines
      the riches of free Grace in Jesus Christ. Compromise our corporate
      guilt in the one man, Adam, and you necessarily compromise the
      wonders of free Grace in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      In sum then v19 teaches this:

      Through the disobedience of the one man, Adam, all were constituted
      guilty sinners. So through the obedience of the one Man, Jesus Christ,
      all may be reckoned righteous through him.

      So the apostle’s use of “sinners” in v19 plainly carries the meaning of
      GUILTY sinners; to reduce the apostle’s meaning to the mere contraction
      of a sinful nature through Adam, hopelessly fractures Paul’s analogy
      and drains the text of its Gospel focus and intended meaning.

      Lastly, we might also call as a witness Ephesians 2:3 –

      “…we were by nature children of wrath…”

      OK. Given all this Biblical evidence, how are we to conclude the matter?

      Who is on the Lord’s side… is it the Mennonite Confession or is it JB?

      Clearly, it is Johnny Beiler. JB has taken his stand in the Word of God.

      Now, a caveat: beware of men who may come and say, “There are
      good and godly scholars who see it differently.” Beware, I say, of men
      who may come and suggest, “That’s just one of several theological
      hypotheses for how the text can be understood.” BEWARE OF THEM.

      This matter is no more uncertain than the matter of the headcovering
      in 1 Corinthians 11. It is perfectly clear, in both cases, what the Word teaches.
      It is perfectly plain, in both cases, EXACTLY what God is saying. In neither
      case is CLARITY the issue. It is plain and self-evident, in both cases, what is
      being taught. Just because men disagree, it does not follow that the meaning
      is unclear. I will write that again: JUST BECAUSE MEN DISAGREE, IT DOES
      NOT FOLLOW THAT THE MEANING IS UNCLEAR.

      The problem is that in both cases the flesh raises its head to contend
      with and oppose the Word of God. The flesh finds these matters to
      be “hard sayings.” The flesh wants to find a way around them, a way
      out from underneath them, a way to circumvent God and His Word.
      The flesh always holds a bias against God and His Word. The flesh
      seeks the easiest path, the path that will allow it the most dignity
      and autonomy. Count on it: the flesh will always spin matters in its
      own interests.

      But as we do in regard to the headcovering, so let us do in this matter
      of God’s reckoning Adam’s guilt to us all. Let us own God’s Word as it
      comes to us. Let us refrain from altering a single syllable of that Word,
      even those parts which are offensive to our flesh. There is one God
      and one Lord, and to Him belong all the rights. He tells what is true.
      He defines for us the way things are. Let God be God, and may His
      Word prevail in each of our hearts and lives.

      “Let God be true though every man be false….” Romans 3:4

      Like

      1. Kevin,

        It is difficult to know how to respond to someone who seems to see everything in black and white, leaving no room for Christian brothers to charitably disagree.

        I am willing to say that your Reformed interpretation of the topic of Adamic guilt may be right, though you do not extend the same grace to me. I am not convinced that the Reformed interpretation of Adamic representation here is correct. More importantly, I am troubled by your inability to distinguish between your own interpretation and what Scripture actually says.

        I would also welcome you to consider that speaking in all caps is the equivalent of shouting, and that you are more likely to win the trust of your readers if you speak in a respectful tone that extends the honor of trusting your readers to understand you without shouting at them.

        For the sake especially of others reading these comments, I will respond briefly to the exegetical points under discussion. You cited three verses from Romans 5. I will repeat them here for clarity:

        “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men….” Rom 5:18

        “For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation,
        but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.” Rom 5:16

        “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so
        by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Rom 5:19

        I would like to point out the verbs in these sentences–the verbs that describe the relationship between Adam’s sin and humanity’s condemnation. Here are the verbs:
        * “led to” (v. 18)
        * “brought” (v. 16)
        * “were made” (v. 19)

        It strikes me that these verbs are very general. They do not specify *how* Adam’s sin “led to/brought” condemnation nor how many “were made” sinners. They just say it happened.

        These verses also do not specify how Jesus’ “obedience/free gift/act of righteous” leads to many being made righteous, either. They just say that it does.

        Neither do these verses say that Adam’s sin affects humanity *by the same means* as Jesus’ righteousness affects us. They just say that the latter (Jesus’ effect) is even more sure than the former (Adam’s effect).

        It is also important to note that Paul’s main focus in this passage is on the certainty of Jesus’ righteousness freeing us from condemnation. He only discusses the effect of Adam’s sin as a supporting argument. So he does not treat it in full; it is not his focus in this passage. He only discusses it enough to buttress his main point. It would be fascinating to be able to pick his brain more on this topic, but he evidently didn’t consider it of primary importance.

        (I would also note that Paul had a wonderful opportunity to teach that we are guilty because of our participation in Adam’s sin earlier in this letter–back in chapter 3 when he was pulling out all his stops to prove that “all have sinned” and “none is righteous, no, not one.” But the way he proves this is by compiling long lists of specific sins [1:21-32; 2:21-23; 3:10-18] that individual humans commit now. He proves that we are guilty by our own actions, without a hint of a mention of Adam’s sin. If we are truly guilty because of Adam’s sin, there is some reason to think his approach was at best incomplete and at worst inefficient.)

        When I look at the whole chapter 5 passage for clues as to how Adam’s sin brings sin, condemnation and death to the rest of humanity, I see several clues. The first verse of the passage (5:12) is perhaps the clearest:

        “…Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”

        This verse tells us something about the link between Adam’s sin and ours. First, note the phrase “came into the world.” Paul could have said other things, such as “came into human nature” or “came into our account.” But instead he says sin “came into the world.” This matches how Paul talks about sin in both chapters 5 and 6 of Romans. Sin is pictured as an entity that “reigns”–an entity in contrast to God, so that we choose which master will have “dominion” over us.

        (I will say that I agree with you that the explanation of us having a “sinful nature” does not fit with Romans 5. There is no mention of it in this passage, and the phrase itself does not appear at all in the best formal equivalence translations of the Bible. The closest passage is Ephesians 2:3, which you cited. But this passage says we were children of “wrath,” not “sin,” and there are balancing passages to consider, such as Romans 2:14, which says–in the ESV at least–that there are some Gentiles who “by nature do what the law requires.” So I think there are hints in Scripture that make a “sinful nature” theology possible, but that the case is not as strong as often supposed.)

        Second (back to 5:12), note the phrase “spread to all men,” describing how it is that “all men” die, and not just Adam. I realize there is fair debate over the final phrase, “because all sinned,” with some saying it means we sinned in Adam (the view I understand you to be arguing for) and others saying it means we each have committed our own subsequent sins. It seems to me that the phrase “spread to all men” helps us out here. Again, Paul could have written something different, such as “death was the sentence given to all men,” or “all men died”–something which would indicate that we died at the same moment that Adam died, or at least received the sentence of death at the same moment. Instead he uses a word that suggests the passage of time: “spread.” This is a hint to me that Paul is not saying that we sinned and received the sentence of death by our participation in Adam our representative or federal head, but that his sin opened the door for sin to enter the world (explicitly stated in the text) and that, since Adam’s deadly act, sin has reigned (again explicitly in the text) as a tyrant exercising dominion (explicitly stated) over humanity, driving us to commit our own acts of sin worthy of condemnation.

        Again, in context, Paul is talking about all this (in broad strokes) only because he is saying that Christ’s work leads to righteousness, justification, and life as surely (nothing is said about it being by the exact same *means*) as Adam’s sin “led to” (explicitly in the text) sin, condemnation, and death.

        Adamic representation or sinful nature may be possible explanations of how Adam’s sin has affected the rest of humanity, but neither is stated in the text. And what is stated (“sin came into the world… death spread… death reigned… sin reigned…”) suggests to me that a more likely explanation is that sin overpowers us from without, beginning from an early age in each of our lives and growing in power even within us as we serve him in ever-increasing measure with our “members.”

        It is also worth noting what is not in this passage: any language about us being “in Adam.” That phrase, common in some discussions of Adamic representation or federal headship, is missing in the text. (It is present only in 1 Corinthians 15, which, as I noted above, talks about death and not about sin and guilt.)

        I may be wrong in my understanding here. (It is true, though not always accepted, that good and godly men differ here in their understanding of both individual Greek phrases and systematic theological conclusions!) But I do humbly submit that I have spent more time actually taking a stand on what the Bible actually says (as opposed to presenting packaged theology or preaching) than others in this particular little online discussion.

        But I am less concerned about proving myself right than about urging us to listen to what the Bible actually does and does not say. It does not honor God or his word when we insist that others affirm beliefs not clearly taught in Scripture, or when we condemn others for disagreeing with us over matters that God has not seen fit to teach as primary doctrine.

        Grace and peace to each one who has read this comment!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dwight wrote:

        >>Ephesians 2:3… this passage says we were children of “wrath,” not “sin,”
        >>and there are balancing passages to consider…. So I think there are hints
        >>in Scripture that make a “sinful nature” theology possible, but that the
        >>case is not as strong as often supposed.)

        Here we have a microcosm of the CONFUSION that you have introduced into the clear and plain meaning of the Apostle Paul in Romans 5. After reading your comments, forgive me for feeling a desperate need for a post-graduate degree from Oxford in order to understand the apostle. Peter did indicate that some of Paul’s writings were rather dense, but Romans 5 is probably not as COMPLICATED as you are making it. In fact, I know it is not.

        You have heard the aphorism, “Death by a thousand cuts.”

        Truth may suffer the same fate, when subjected to a “thousand” insinuations of its “fogginess.” It’s unclear HERE, you say. It’s unclear THERE, you say. And it’s unclear
        at THIS point also, you conclude. Forgive me again, Dwight, but in your comments I hear that haunting voice from the Garden, “Yea, hath God really said…?

        Now, please examine honestly what you have done with Ephesians 2:3.

        Here is the text:

        “… and so we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Eph 2:3

        Here is your argument: NO strong case can be made from Scripture that man, fallen in Adam, possesses a sinful nature. There are HINTS that this may be true, you say, but is it CLEAR? Your answer is… No. “Yea, hath God really said…?”

        The Apostle Paul says that we were…

        BY NATURE…children of wrath.

        Why is God so angry, Dwight?

        Is it because that’s just God’s temperament? No.
        Is it because of our sins foreseen? No
        Is it because of our actual sins? No.
        Is it because He thinks we’ll sin? No.

        What then? What is the CAUSE of this Divine wrath?

        *_FALLEN_* HUMAN NATURE

        That’s what God is so angry towards.

        Our Nature, *_FALLEN_* in Adam

        That is why God’s wrath is upon mankind.

        Do you DENY that, Dwight?

        Now, what is it about OUR NATURE, fallen in Adam, that would provoke God’s wrath? Why is God so angry with FALLEN HUMAN NATURE?

        Because…

        Fallen human nature is SINFUL HUMAN NATURE.

        OUR NATURE, fallen in Adam, is SINFUL.

        Do you DENY that, Dwight?

        Do you DENY that it is SINFUL HUMAN NATURE that
        made us children of God’s wrath?

        IF you deny that, what is it about our nature as human beings
        that provokes God’s wrath? There is SOMETHING about our NATURE
        that draws down God’s WRATH. If it isn’t our nature’s SINFULNESS,
        what is it? What could it be? What other than SINFUL nature would
        draw down God’s wrath upon human nature? Or is God angry for nothing?

        Look, you are studiously avoiding the obvious here, Dwight. It’s like
        arguing that the number 5 doesn’t follow the number 4. Why would
        somebody do that?

        The Biblical case that man, fallen in Adam, possesses a sinful nature is
        so CLEAR, , so STRONG, so PROFOUND, and so IRREFUTABLE that I
        cannot comprehend why a student of Scripture like yourself would
        waste his time insinuating otherwise.

        And this same inexplicable denial of self-evident Truth, which you display
        here in regard to Ephesians 2:3, you lay out for us on an even broader
        canvas at Romans 5:12-21. I cannot comprehend it. I truly cannot comprehend
        it. Maybe your great learning has made you mad? 🙂 I don’t know.

        I do know this. When we’re looking at an idol, we miss what is obvious.

        When we have an agenda, the simple suddenly becomes complicated.

        And please don’t be offended by my CAPS 🙂 They are not intended as
        moments of shouting, but as points of emphasis.

        Like

      3. Dwight:

        >>It is also important to note that Paul’s main focus in this passage is on
        >>the certainty of Jesus’ righteousness freeing us from condemnation. He
        >>only discusses the effect of Adam’s sin as a supporting argument.

        A supporting argument??? Paul discusses the effect of Adam’s sin “as a supporting argument?” NO, the effect of Adam’s sin is the GROUND FACT which makes the free gift in Jesus Christ both urgent and necessary. Supporting argument? NO, the effect of Adam’s sin is FOUNDATIONAL and ESSENTIAL to the apostle’s argument in Romans 5:12-21.

        Like

      4. Dwight:

        >>He proves that we are guilty [from Romans 3] by our own actions,
        >>without a hint of a mention of Adam’s sin. If we are truly guilty because
        >>of Adam’s sin, there is some reason to think his approach was at best
        >>incomplete and at worst inefficient.

        🙂 So here you are correcting the apostle Paul???

        Paul chose to demonstrate our corporate guilt in Adam later in his argument and therefore you say “his approach was at best incomplete and at worst inefficient?”

        I’m at a loss for words!!!

        I truly don’t know what to say….

        Maybe you should have written the epistle, Dwight. Plainly your approach
        would have been better organized and more “efficient” than that of the apostle Paul!

        You stand in judgment of the apostle Paul and the Holy Spirit???

        Are you serious?

        Are you so enthralled by your own powers that you don’t know what you’re writing?

        More efficient than the apostle Paul???

        WHAT????????

        Like

      5. Dwight:

        >>It is also worth noting what is not in this passage: any language
        >>about us being “in Adam.”

        You are missing the *_ENTIRE_* forest for the tree:

        5:15 – many died through ONE man’s trespass

        5:16 – the effect of that ONE man’s sin

        5:16 – the judgment following ONE trespass

        5:17 – because of ONE man’s trespass

        5:17 – death reigned through that ONE man

        5:18 – ONE man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men

        5:19 – For as by ONE man’s disobedience many were made sinners

        The *_ENTIRE_* reason that the apostle employs the term “one” in all of
        those passages is to inform us that we are IN ADAM. That’s the POINT.
        That’s the WHOLE point! Why are you missing the ENTIRE point???

        Death and condemnation belong to mankind, originally and ultimately,
        not because of our own individual sins, but because we are IN ADAM.

        We were born in that ONE MAN; we were conceived in that ONE MAN.

        ONE. ONE. ONE.

        You insist on seeing “in Adam;” Paul gives you “one man.”

        Be satisfied with Paul 🙂

        The apostle is telling you what IN ADAM means. He is giving you
        reason after reason after reason to CONCLUDE that mankind
        is ONE IN ADAM. That’s the POINT!

        Like

      6. I’d like to apologize to you, Dwight, for my remarks a couple comments upstream.

        I should have been much more charitable and humble in my criticism of your statement that Paul’s approach in Romans “was at best incomplete and at worst inefficient.” Someone whose degree of sinfulness is so great as mine has no business laying out the sarcasm as thick as I did on you, Dwight.

        I sinned. I’m very sorry. I offer no excuses. Please forgive me, Dwight.

        Like

      7. “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned–” Romans 5:12

        On Romans 5:12 Dwight wrote:

        >>to me…Paul is not saying that we sinned and received the sentence of
        >>death by our participation in Adam our representative….

        If you are right, then the Gospel is DESTROYED. If you are right, then there is NO good news for anyone.

        If you are right, then the following would necessarily be the result. I’m going to track your reasoning within the Adam/Christ framework of Pauline theology.

        Okay? Here we go with your view of the matter, Dwight:

        Adam sinned. That opened the door to the reign of sin in everyone’s life. And so we each commit individual sins and are therefore solely responsible for own deaths.

        Now, what does your view mean for the converse of Paul’s argument in regard to Christ?

        It means the following; and it’s NOT good news, Dwight.

        Christ obeyed. That opened to door to the possibility of righteousness in everyone’s life. We therefore strive for the righteousness made possible by Christ and we are justified solely on the ground of our own righteous acts.

        So here is the gospel according to the apostle Dwight:

        Our own sins are responsible for own deaths and our own righteous deeds are responsible for our justification before God.

        I know (hope?) you don’t really believe that, Dwight. But that is where your view
        of mankind’s relationship to Adam inevitably leads. It’s BAD news, Dwight. That’s really BAD NEWS. There is no Gospel left to preach with your starting point.

        Now, here is Romans 5:12 again:

        “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned–” Romans 5:12

        Focus on that last phrase… “because all men sinned.”

        If Paul means that death spread to all men because all men sinned IN ADAM, then we have a Gospel. If Paul means that God reckons us sinners because of Adam’s sin, then we actually have wonderful news! Really, really wonderful news!!!

        Why?

        Because if we were united in the ONE man Adam, and die because of HIS sin, then we can also be reckoned righteous through the ONE Man, Jesus Christ, and live because of HIS obedience!!! If we die because of Adam’s one sin, we can also be justified through Christ’s one act of righteousness. That is Pauline theology and it is EXTREMELY good news for a sinner like me.

        Your take on the gospel? It doesn’t excite me.

        The Pauline Gospel? Oh, I’m thrilled out of my mind. The free gift of righteousness reckoned to faith in Christ. Are you kidding me? Righteous? Me? Oh, yes I am! Through the GRACE of God, the ONE MAN’s obedience made me righteous. Now that’s a Gospel! That’s salvation for the sickest of sinners. That’s not only acquittal for all my miserable and vile sins, but it’s the reckoning of righteousness to me in virtue of Another’s obedience 🙂 🙂 🙂 It’s too good to be true, this Gospel of Jesus Christ. But I believe it, I believe it entirely. Dead IN ADAM. Alive IN CHRIST. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it. And I’m stickin’ with it because that’s the GOOD NEWS that the apostle Paul preached.

        Here’s how Paul himself frames the Gospel in Romans 5:18-19…

        “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s
        act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will
        be made righteous.”

        Alleluia. Alleluia. Praise the Lord!

        Like

      8. (The comment thread is getting a bit tangled, so sorry if this shows up out of sequence.)

        Kevin,

        Thank you for your apology. I have not yet read your remarks about which you are apologizing, but I have already chosen to forgive.

        Though I forgive you, however, it is unlikely that I will be engaging more on this particular comment thread (unless there is an unread comment that changes my mind). Radi-Call was glad for some discussion on their blog, and I wanted some clarity about their theological intent and a chance to push back a little by looking closely at a few Scripture passages. I am thankful for the opportunity to engage here in this way, and for the kind response from Ian on behalf of Radi-Call. I am grateful that at least a few people found my thoughts helpful, even if they may not all have fully agreed.

        I value discussions about such theological matters, and I think such theological topics are important both because of our desire for biblical fidelity and because of the practical consequences of our theological beliefs. But I was not looking (nor was Radi-Call, I am certain) for comments that, on the one hand, called Calvinists proud intellectuals or, on the other, suggested that those who question some aspects of Reformed theology are not on the Lord’s side. Given the presence of such voices, I am not sure that further discussion will be edifying.

        Thank you to each for the chance to learn as you shared your understandings!

        “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. (2 Tim. 2:22-25a ESV)

        “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” (Titus 2:7-8 ESV)

        Like

      9. Dwight:

        >>I forgive you

        Thank you 🙂

        >>I was not looking… for comments that… suggested that
        >>those who question some aspects of Reformed theology
        >>are not on the Lord’s side

        I don’t care a whit about Reformed theology and wouldn’t
        raise so much as a whisper in its defense.

        But…

        You undermined the Bible.

        You cast doubt upon the clarity of Paul in Romans 5:12-19.

        You cast doubt upon the wisdom of Paul.

        You subverted Paul’s meaning and outright contradicted him.

        You said, in effect, “Yea, hath God really said?

        So I came out to rebuke that voice.

        “Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound
        in the faith.” Titus 1:13

        Like

  2. >>Man and His Sin

    What strikes my soul, more than anything else in this post, is the title. Don’t get me wrong, the entire article is very good and I enjoyed it (as much as one can enjoy so DEVASTATING and GRIEVOUS a subject).

    But that title… Man and His Sin.

    It’s so GRIM. It’s so narrowly and forbiddingly Grim. There’s a flinty, macabre quality to it, a dour pall cast out over the entire article from the top down. Man and His Sin. With a title like that you know nuance is not in the offing and varieties of perspective will not be proffered. No, this title makes it plain in advance that you’re going to get an unvarnished account, a hard, clear-eyed, grisly look at the most uninviting of ALL subjects.

    My words here are not a criticism in ANY sense. To the contrary, they are COMMENDATION in the highest degree. Sin is the grimmest of all subjects and we must honestly own the hideous nature of our sins. Kevin and His Sin, an article repulsively vile and appallingly sinister.

    Grace, Grace, Grace…I run to Jesus for Atonement and Grace!

    God, be merciful to me the sinner.

    Like

  3. Thanks for tackling this unpleasant subject of sin! It’s something I need to think through more myself.

    I have questions about the statements about total depravity. If we are completely depraved, how can we respond to God and be saved from our sin? To say that we cannot make any good choice of ourselves sounds like we have no free will.

    Like

    1. >>If we are completely depraved, how can we respond
      >>to God and be saved from our sin?

      Think of it this way, Rosina:

      Jesus went to the tomb of Lazarus. And He found exactly what He expected to find… a dead man. Not a dying man. A DEAD man. Lazarus was completely dead.

      “Lazarus, come out!”

      Here, let us ask a form of your question above:

      Since Lazarus was completely dead, how could he respond to God and walk out
      of that tomb? ONE WAY ONLY. Christ would have to raise him from the dead.

      Could Lazarus cooperate with Jesus in that resurrection? No.

      Could Lazarus decide to be resurrected? No.

      Could Lazarus help Jesus with this resurrection? No.

      Did Lazarus contribute anything to his resurrection? No.

      Now, what does all of this have to do with our conversion to Christ? Everything!

      “But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)….” Ephesians 2:4-5

      “And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses….” Colossians 2:13

      The following are various translations of Ephesians 2:1 –

      Amplified: AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead by trespasses and sins

      KJV: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:

      NLT: Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins.

      Phillips: To you, who were spiritually dead all the time.

      Wuest: And you being dead with reference to your trespasses and sins, He made alive,

      Young’s Literal: Also you — being dead in the trespasses and the sins,

      To conclude: fallen man, being spiritually dead, CAN’T respond to God. If he is to live then Jesus must visit him and call him to life. There is no other way.

      “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.” John 5:21

      Like

      1. If we are so completely depraved that we can’t believe in Jesus, that means that only God decides who gets saved and who doesn’t. That is Calvinism, not Anabaptism, if I understand correctly. But I should be quiet and listen to Dwight! 🙂

        Like

      2. Rosina writes:

        >>>That is Calvinism, not Anabaptism, if I understand correctly.

        I have a unique idea. Let’s reject all theological SYSTEMS and simply take our
        stand in the Word of God alone.

        Romans 9:15-16

        “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So it DEPENDS (emphasis mine) not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy.”

        >>>If we are so completely depraved that we can’t believe in Jesus…

        That means we are saved by GRACE, Rosina.

        Like

  4. >>Man and His Sin

    I’ve recovered, by God’ Grace, from the cold and biting GRIMNESS of JB’s title, which lands upon the ear like a brick upon the noggin.

    Here then some further observations:

    1. Witness a Mennonite (of some kind) doing theology! Mennonites, as far as I know, are NOT especially warm to theology. With many Mennonites, in fact, doing theology is against their religion. It has no place, they warn, in “following Jesus.” Well…JB knows differently. He knows that theology is inescapable. JB knows the EVERYONE’S a theologian. It’s just a matter of whether you’re going to be a GOOD theologian or a BAD theologian.

    2. JB is a GOOD theologian. What he provides here is an excellent mini-theology of sin. I may quibble some with the Heath Lambert quote which defines sin in relationship to the so-called “moral law of God,” but on the whole, JB’s theology of sin is deep, thorough, broad and faithful to Scripture.

    3. I like the appeal to a Confession. When doing theology, which ALL Christians do (either well or poorly), we ought not to think that Wisdom originates with us. Others have wrestled with these difficult subjects as well; others, possessed of better minds than us (me!), have attempted concise and faithful statements of the Truth. We should take those Confessional statements seriously. We should consult those Confessional statements. We should NOT receive those Confessions as authoritative, certainly NOT as infallible, but we should respect the Confessions enough to seek them out as aids to Understanding.

    Again, Confessions are fallible, completely human (contrary to the Word) secondary standards that CANNOT bind one’s conscience. We CANNOT appeal to them as Authoritative. But humility demands that we DO appeal to them. The Scriptures alone are the highest, the final and the *SOLE* binding Authority. But minor standards do exist in the Confessions which can assist us, (though liable to error) in our desperate and relentless pursuit to hear the Big Voice of the Holy Word clearly and accurately…so that we can know and obey our God and Savior, and together strive to please Him in all things.

    Finally, Confessions, being fallible, are amendable. In contemporary lingo, we need a Confessional upgrade. And that will be one radiant, wonderful result of the next Great Awakening.

    Like

  5. I’d like to simply and lovingly (albeit public on a blog) agree with Brother Dwight. Reformed theology does not fit with a Biblical understanding and application (Anabaptist or not).

    Reformed theology is a false teaching and one all too accepted and taught in today’s Anabaptist churches. If you listen closely to many sermons and many Sunday school discussions you can plainly hear it amongst us.

    May God grant us wisdom and discernment in the days ahead. May we flee from apostasy.

    While the replies and my reply may seem negative, keep writing, keep seeking, keep churning. God blesses such a heart that wrestles over such things.

    May God grant you Brother, blessings on your studies and life for Him ahead !

    Like

  6. Brothers and sisters:
    Thanks for your comments above!
    As I re-read Johnny’s article after reading the comments, I noticed that he included many Bible references throughout.
    I challenge those of you who disagree with some of his points to first read the passages on which Johnny founded his article. If you still believe he is in error, then share the Scripture on which your disagreement is founded.
    When we completely disregard Reformed theology without understanding its Biblical basis, we end up in our own ditch, covering our eyes to clear Scripture that counters our preconceived beliefs. While our Anabaptist theology has its strengths, we must consider other theologians and wrestle through Scripture which clearly confronts our once-tidy ideas.
    Ian

    Like

    1. Ian wrote:

      >>While our Anabaptist theology has its strengths, we must
      >>consider other theologians and wrestle through Scripture
      >>which clearly confronts our once-tidy ideas.

      An apt admonishment which courageously points the way forward!

      “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” Prov 25:11

      Like

    2. Thank you for your response, Ian. I appreciate your kind tone, and I am in full agreement with your statement that we need to “consider other theologians” beyond our Anabaptist roots. I trust that anyone who knows me well knows that I do this regularly. (In fact, in my reading I may be guilty of an imbalance toward Reformed authors and an ignorance of formative Anabaptist writers and Bible students; I have certainly been accused of leaning too much on Reformed scholars!)

      I am also in agreement that we must wrestle with Scripture. So, I will now turn to that task.

      My request (not demand) in my first comment was two-fold: “either clarify my misunderstanding of your intent or else present some explanation of why you find the Reformed position more faithful to Scripture.”

      I think you indirectly responded to my first request. At this point I assume you indeed believe that “(a) we are guilty at birth, (b) we are guilty because of Adam’s sin, and (c) this guilt separates us from God.” This means that, unless Christ’s redemption does some work not explained in this post, infants who die will be eternally separated from God. This observation does not prove or disprove your position, but it does show the seriousness of what we are discussing.

      I don’t think you responded to my second request. Instead you bounced the ball back to me, asking me to engage with Scripture! 🙂 You did mention that Johnny included many Bible references throughout his article. I see he cited two in the paragraph that I questioned:

      1 Corinthians 15:21-22 (ESV):
      “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

      Isaiah 59:2 (ESV):
      “but your iniquities have made a separation
      between you and your God,
      and your sins have hidden his face from you
      so that he does not hear.”

      Neither of these passages directly states any of the three theological propositions I listed above. Neither says that “we are guilty at birth” (a) or that it is the guilt we bear because of Adam’s sin that separates us from God. The proposition that may seem most nearly proven by these passages is (b) “we are guilty because of Adam’s sin,” but not if you understand (b) in the way we mean it in this discussion, which is that Adam’s sin on its own, apart from any “need” for us to sin ourselves, is enough to make us guilty.

      Nor do either of these passages say that “Adam represented the human race before God in his disobedience.” The idea of Adamic representation is only one possible explanation for how Adam’s sin leads to our sin. It is an attempt to explain what the text says (“by a man came death… in Adam all die”) by adding a hypothesis not stated in the text (“Adam represented the human race”). (A good Reformed commentator such as Douglas Moo will readily acknowledge the same thing. In his comments on Romans 5, he distinguishes between what the text actually says and the various theological hypothesis for how the text’s claims could be explained.)

      There are other interpretive challenges here that we must be honest about. For example, what is the context of Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians 15? What topic was he discussing? What point was he trying to drive home? I see that his topic was resurrection, and that he was trying to drive home the facts that Jesus indeed rose from the dead and that, because of Christ’s resurrection, “those who belong to Christ” (v. 23) will also be raised. In other words, the death that Paul is describing is physical death–the death of our material bodies. He is not focusing here on spiritual death. (In fact, sin is not an important theme of the whole chapter, and it is not even mentioned in this paragraph.) Therefore, when Paul says “in Adam all die,” he apparently means “all” in the broadest sense–including you and me. We, too, will die, for we, too, are “in Adam” in the sense Paul is using the phrase here. Paul describes this death as “the last enemy to be destroyed” (vs. 26). This affirms that he is talking about the “not yet” of Christ’s salvation, not the “already” of our spiritual rebirth.

      We could paraphrase Paul like this: “For as everyone who has descended from Adam experiences the death of their natural bodies, so also all who belong to Christ shall experience a physical resurrection and receive a spiritual body when he comes.” (Compare the first Adam and last Adam language in 15:44-45.)

      If I am reading Paul’s flow of thought correctly here, it means that we are taking Scripture out of context to argue that 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 directly tells us anything about sin or guilt, let alone that it teaches us that “every person born into this world is guilty of sin.”

      Much more should be discussed, including the Romans 5 passage which is so often raised by Reformed authors regarding this topic. I am sorry that I am too busy to respond more right now! But I hope this is enough to help us remember that merely proof-texting is not enough. Especially on a topic like this, where many careful and godly theologians disagree, we must do some hard exegetical work and carefully note what the words of Scripture actually do and do not say. Then, if we go beyond Scripture in an attempt to form a theological hypothesis that explains how the claims of a biblical passage “work,” we must be honest and acknowledge we are presenting something that Scripture itself does not directly say, and that there may be other explanations for what it does indeed say.

      Blessings, brothers and sisters! While we discuss the mechanics of how we became sinful, may we rejoice together in our shared participation in Christ’s salvation!

      (PS: If anyone wants to read more of my exegetical reflections on related topics, they may go here: http://dwightgingrich.com/whats-bit-sinful-nature/ and here: http://dwightgingrich.com/in-adams-sin-we-imperialism-inclusion-romans-5/ and here: http://dwightgingrich.com/which-came-first-original-sin-infant-

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dwight,
        Thanks for your thorough response to my “challenge” :-). And I realize I didn’t answer your questions…
        I am not speaking on behalf of the entire blog, but myself personally…I can definitely see both sides of the argument and am not staunchly convinced on either side. My appreciation for Reformed theologians has significantly grown over the past year and I consider their positions a lot more seriously than I used to.
        I have wrestled too with the question of the state of infants. What is the eternal destiny of all the millions of babies that are slaughtered each year?
        We know what Jesus had to say about children, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14, ESV). Does this guarantee that all children everywhere are saved? Not necessarily. However, it definitely reveals God’s compassion for young, helpless, innocent lives. And depending on how one interprets this, one could feasibly conclude that young children inherit the kingdom of heaven.
        Back to the discussion at hand…
        “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). All sounds pretty inclusive to me. Not just old grandparents, young teenagers, and middle-aged adults, but children and infants too. Across all history. All have sinned.
        Yet the unborn child that has never seen the light of day because his life was snuffed out before birth, how can he be accused of sin and falling short of the glory of God based on his own actions, when he has never even had a chance to sin? One might conclude that he stands condemned before God as a member of the human race…the race that was separated from God way back in the garden of Eden. And that takes us back to Romans 5 again.
        However, I would argue that even if God imputes guilt to infants because of Adam’s sin, the “original sin,” who is to say that God cannot impute Christ’s righteousness to them. This could seem to line up well with Jesus’ care and love for the little children in Matthew 19.
        There are still lots of loose ends in this whole discussion, but to wrap up my comment for the time being, I should clarify a few things.
        First of all, on our blogging team we do have some leanings towards strands of Reformed theology. You will see that in some of our writings, and we appreciate your willingness to point that out. We have been wondering how to stimulate more discussion on our blog, and it appears this topic helped that happen :-).
        Note: That is not why we published this article though :-).
        While we are definitely an Anabaptist blog, we might not always line up with historical Anabaptist theology. In any case, our goal is to call Anabaptists back to The Root and to His Word.
        Secondly, I will let Johnny respond for himself…anything I said does not necessarily define where he (or anyone else) stands on this :-).
        And lastly, I appreciate you taking time to write Dwight! I hope you continue interacting with our content as you have time! We need to be pushed to think deeply and you definitely do that.
        Blessings on your week!
        Ian

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ian, thank you for your kind response! And for answering my questions more clearly regarding the theological commitments of the Radi-call bloggers.

    I am glad you are reading Reformed authors. They have much to contribute, to help stir our minds to examine Scripture more closely. I own and read many of their commentaries.

    I do wish, however, that there were conservative non-Reformed authors more readily available. The conservative Reformed world(s) has a big valley of prominent streams to drink from–John Piper’s ministry, the Gospel Coalition, T4G, 9Marks blogs and books, Challies’ blog, and many more. Many of these are not only explicitly Bible-based, but also professionally presented, with lots of money behind them and lots of mutual reinforcement of big name leaders. Many of these streams have come into being only in the past couple of decades. And there is little to match coming from the conservative non-Reformed world(s). It is easy to conclude, based on what is being efficiently directed our way online and in print, and based on the words found therein, that the only Christians who are really taking Scripture seriously right now are the neo-Reformed camp. This is especially easy to conclude if one has not had time yet to read more widely, or if they do not have any non-Reformed mentors or heroes who demonstrate careful biblical fidelity.

    In addition, I have noted that some of the most prominent non-Reformed biblical scholars and commentators affirm not only Arminianism, but also things such as gender egalitarianism and theistic evolution. I think some of this can be explained by the “fluke” of church denominational affiliations (many of these Arminian scholars belong to Wesleyan or Methodist churches), but it contributes again to the impression among some Anabaptists that those who honor Scripture most carefully are the neo-Reformed camp.

    Such impressions are reinforced further when all too many conservative Anabaptists explicitly base their thinking on history as much as on Scripture, and when they make unfair blanket accusations against all things Reformed.

    Given this setting (prominent Reformed voices, Arminian voices that appear too liberal on some points, and Anabaptists retreating to history and taking unfair pot-shots at Reformed authors), it is no wonder that many conservative Anabaptist youth today are beginning to find a home within, or at least on the edges of, the neo-Reformed world.

    I would suggest, however, that this situation is not a faithful representation of the whole matter, but rather, at least in part, a result of where and when we live within history. In other times, and in other church worlds even today, many of the most biblically-honoring voices do not affirm some of the common doctrines of Reformed theology. That is one reason why I’ve taken time to engage here–to discourage us all from assuming that the voices that are currently most widely promoted or skillfully presented are the last word on the matter, and to remind us that there are good biblical reasons to test their theological claims. I know you already know this, but I’m giving you more help! 🙂

    You raise a couple more Scriptures that it would be fun and profitable to discuss. 🙂 I actually think that there are other Scriptures that offer more support to Adamic representation and infant guilt than what Romans 5 offers. (Consider Hebrews 7:10, which talks about Levi being “in the loins of his ancestor [Abraham] when Melchizedek met him.”) But there are also other Scriptures pointing the other way. (Consider Deuteronomy 1:39, which speaks of “children, who… have no knowledge of good or evil.”)

    Even as we rightly ponder these questions, we need to leave room for mystery. God does not explain such questions in detail. But–and this is the important point around which we can all rally–he does explain them *sufficiently* so that all who have basic mental capacity to receive his word will know enough to respond in repentance and faith.

    I am thankful to have received a heritage which encourages us to test both our own understandings and those of others by the written word. Thank you for your kind words as I’ve attempted to do this here. And many blessings to the whole Radi-call team as you seek to grow in understanding and as you write to honor Christ and bless his people! 🙂 I am encouraged by your efforts. Keep writing!

    Like

  8. There is no sympathy in historic Anabaptism for Reformed thought.
    Calvinism is the playground of intellectuals who pride themselves
    in their mental abilities to create enigmas which have no practical
    application.
    Anabaptism was the religious of the plow man, the shop keeper, the man or
    women un-endowed by religious privilege or noble birth. That God could be
    understood, was the cusp on which they placed their feet to touch
    eternity. That God would stoop low enough to offer them, the dregs of
    humanity, the dignity and the honor of choice, the chance to obey. That
    goodness and godliness were not the capricious twirling of the divine
    finger, but a ladder they were allowed to climb to heights which earthly
    bonds forbade them. They were willing to face fire and sword, and
    banishment, and loss of life and family, because God invited them to
    become the sons and daughters of Heaven.
    That is Anabaptism.

    Like

    1. Jerry Eicher wrote:

      >>>There is no sympathy in historic Anabaptism for Reformed thought.

      I’ll grant that your statement is generally true, but it is
      NOT true of the original Anabaptist himself, Conrad Grebel!

      The following is cut and pasted from the Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.
      The CAPS are mine.

      http://www.gameo.org/index.php?title=Grebel,_Conrad_(ca._1498-1526)

      Grebel was viewed as the outstanding leader of original Swiss Anabaptism.

      Zwingli referred to Grebel as “the ringleader of the Anabaptists.”

      Grebel was won by the powerful Gospel preaching of Ulrich Zwingli.

      As Zwingli from 1522 on gradually swung into a program of practical reform in Zürich after having laid the foundation through four years of preaching, Grebel went with him. Almost at once he was a leader in the devoted group of younger men who joined Zwingli’s side in the conflict.

      The close relationship between Grebel and Zwingli was maintained until the second Zürich disputation of October 1523.

      NOW GET THIS!

      What were these ideas of Conrad Grebel and his associates which Zwingli feared and with which he differed so radically?

      In the first place, they were not ideas referring to the major classic Christian doctrines. It can be said without contradiction that on the cardinal points of Christian theology Zwingli and Grebel agreed, for the former declared that the Grebelites differed from him only on unimportant minor points.

      [Zwingli} says “But that no one may suppose that the dissension is in regard to doctrines which concern the inner man, let it be said that the Anabaptists make us difficulty only because of unimportant outward things, such as these: whether infants or adults should be baptized and whether a Christian may be a magistrate”

      Grebel agreed with Calvin that the existing world order needed to be regenerated according to the will of God, but he differed in the method by which it was to be accomplished.

      No Calvinist ever taught more rigidly the absolute sovereignty of God over the life of the members of the Christian community than Conrad Grebel and his brethren did.

      GREBEL DID NOT FORSAKE ZWINGLI ON ACCOUNT OF ZWINGLI’S DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION AND ELECTION. NO! GREBEL FOUGHT FOR REFORM RIGHT ALONGSIDE ZWINGLI FOR ABOUT TWO YEARS, ALL WHILE ZWINGLI PREACHED AND TAUGHT PREDESTINATION AND ELECTION. NO CONTENTION AROSE OVER THESE TEACHINGS WHATSOEVER! GREBEL, EVIDENTLY, WAS QUITE COMFORTABLE WITH THEM 🙂

      THE ORIGINAL ANABAPTIST WAS A “CALVINIST.” 🙂

      Like

    2. Jerry Eicher wrote:

      >>Calvinism is the playground of intellectuals who pride themselves
      >>in their mental abilities to create enigmas which have no practical
      >>application.

      This is an unfortunate and sadly ignorant caricature of Calvinism
      that sustains no relationship to reality WHATSOEVER.

      I am not a Calvinist, but I have known and do know SCORES of Calvinists.
      And your comment does not even REMOTELY describe any of them.

      The statement is ABSURD and GROTESQUE and SHAMEFUL.

      The statement is NONSENSE.

      Like

    3. Jerry Eicher:

      >>[The Anabaptists] were willing to face fire and sword,
      >>and banishment, and loss of life and family…

      And a GREAT many Calvinists, whom you DESPISE,
      were willing to face the exact SAME tortures!

      Like

      1. I stand by what I said. An anomaly is not an indication of the whole.

        And I have a question for you. Is shouting people down by name calling what they are teaching you at EBI?

        Like

      2. >>Jerry Eicher wrote:

        >>I stand by what I said.

        You can’t stand by what you said. What you said
        is blatantly prejudicial and NOT true.

        “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today
        than he was yesterday.” – Abraham Lincoln

        “Those who never retract their opinions love themselves
        more than they love truth.” – Joseph Joubert

        >>An anomaly is not an indication of the whole.

        🙂

        The anomaly, if they existed at all, would be Calvinists
        who fit your wildly DEFAMATORY description.

        >>Is shouting people down by name calling what they
        >>are teaching you at EBI?

        I use CAPS, not to shout, but as points of emphasis.

        And I’m not a student at EBI. I first learned of the
        institution through this blog.

        Like

  9. I have children. Sometimes it feels like a constant battle to keep everyone “rooting for their siblings”. In the quiet of the morning, before any of them wake up, I enjoy studying, reading, and exploring the ways of our great Lord and Savior, Jesus the King. This blog can be one of those things to turn to, to be challenged, even if you don’t agree with something, and to impart wisdom to each other. Somehow, the last week or two, it suddenly reminds me of that battle I mentioned above. Instead of “rooting for each other”, we have been calling names and posting with snide comments, and emphasizing things with yells. What has happened? Am I, are you, part of the problem?

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy when I disagree with someone. I enjoy the search for truth through discussion. We need that!! But we should never be against our brothers, and never unwilling to admit when they have a point.

    I challenge you, read the verse below, and ask, “Does this describe me?”

    James 3:17-18 (ESV)
    17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

    Thank you, and may true discussion continue!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. >>>Adisciple writes:

      >>>“rooting for each other”

      I don’t root for those who undermine the Gospel and cast doubt
      upon the clear words of Scripture. Nope… can’t do that. My Faith
      requires that such people be OPPOSED, not encouraged.

      So, No, I will not root for Dwight as he DISTORTS Romans 5:12-19.

      And I will not root for Jerry Eicher, either, as he FLAGRANTLY libels
      the Calvinists.

      >>>What has happened?

      In Romans 5:12-19, the apostle Paul rests the entirety of his Gospel
      upon the imputation of Adam’s sin to Jew and Gentile. He takes the
      whole of the Gospel and rests it down upon the truth that ONE man’s
      trespass made all men guilty. And from there Paul tells us the good news
      that ONE Man’s obedience can make us all righteous through faith.

      So along comes Dwight with his smooth manner and learned language,
      and he starts laying the axe to Paul’s doctrine of mankind’s guilt in
      Adam’s sin and mankind’s death in Adam’s disobedience. But here is
      the problem and it’s a HUUUGE problem: If Paul’s doctrine concerning
      Adam collapses, then Paul’s Gospel concerning Christ fails. If Adam’s
      sin is not reckoned to us then neither is Christ’s righteousness
      reckoned to us. That’s how Paul sets it up in Romans 5:12-19. That’s
      the INCONTESTABLE and UNSHAKABLE parallel which the apostle
      propounds.

      So when I saw that Dwight was CONTRADICTING the truth of the Gospel…

      “I had to oppose him publicly, for he was… plainly in the wrong.” Gal 2:11 (Phillips)

      That’s what happened.

      Like

  10. >>”I don’t root for those who undermine the Gospel and cast doubt
    upon the clear words of Scripture. Nope… can’t do that. My Faith
    requires that such people be OPPOSED, not encouraged.”<<

    Thank you for your response, Kevin. My comment was not pointed solely to you, but it helps me know where this discussion is at in your mind. It shows me that the wisdom you are imparting to us is not "open to reason". It shows that this discussion is not meant for redemption and encouragement, but for opposition and self ambition.

    Don't get me wrong, I feel disagreements actually are healthy. They help us stay balanced and going back to scripture, but if we don't consider that each one of us could be wrong, and he could have a valid point, we will not stay balanced and will not be open when searching scripture. If I feel like I know the whole truth, and that gives me the right to only oppose, with no encouraging, I should not lie against the truth, I am proud. And where there is pride, there is opposition from God.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. >>>Adisciple:

    >>>It shows me that the wisdom you are imparting to us is not “open to reason”. >>>…not meant for redemption and encouragement, but for opposition and self >>>ambition.

    >>>I am proud. And where there is pride, there is opposition from God.

    >>>we have been calling names and posting with snide comments

    >>>Am I… the problem?

    Thanks for “rooting” for me, Adisciple 🙂

    Best wishes!

    Like

  12. Good afternoon, brothers and sisters. With some hesitation, I will respond here again, in case anyone is being confused by Kevin’s passion. This post will be long, because some things cannot be said briefly.

    First, I willingly say again that Kevin’s interpretation of Adamic guilt in Romans 5 is possible. I am not convinced by it, but it is definitely not heretical. It has some strong arguments in its favor. But I insist that it remains an interpretation, not what the text actually explicitly says. And I therefore insist that it is deadly to divide the church by demanding that others agree with such an interpretation. To divide over this is no better than to divide over cape dresses or over the eternal subordination of the Son to the Father. To divide over this brings shame to the name of Christ before the onlooking world.

    It is helpful to see what some of the best scholarly evangelical commentaries say about Romans 5. I will share some excerpts here. Why? To encourage all of us to stand humbly before the text of God’s word, learning to distinguish between its voice and the voice of our own interpretations. When we are no longer able do make such a distinction, our voices become arrogant and harsh, wounding Christ’s sheep.

    First, John Stott. In his book “The Message of Romans,” in the BST commentary series by IVP (actually more popular than scholarly), he argues for an interpretation of Adamic guilt nearly identical to Kevin’s. But his tone is much more cautious. After making his argument, he writes this: “These three arguments… seem decisively to support the view that ‘all sinned in and through Adam’.” Notice the word “seem.” And earlier he acknowledges that “Paul’s actual language [in 5:12] could justly be understood” to mean even the Pelagian belief that “Adam was simply the first sinner, and everyone ever since has followed his bad example.” To be clear, I do not affirm this Pelagian position. Unfortunately, despite his admirable humility, Stott does not seriously consider any third alternatives.

    Second, Thomas Schreiner. In his 919-page Romans commentary in the BECNT series by Baker, he likewise argues for the imputation view of Adamic guilt: “Adam as the head of the human race sinned as our representative, and we are sinners by virtue of being in corporate solidarity with Adam… Adam’s first sin was imputed [to all the human race].” But again, notice the humility with which he begins his investigation: “But how was Adam’s sin reckoned to all human beings? This question is more difficult, and the text does not provide an explicit answer.” Please re-read that last line! Then, after presenting his conclusion which I’ve quoted above, his humility remains: “This solution does not answer all the questions.”

    Third, Douglas Moo. His 1012-page Romans commentary in the NICNT series by Eerdmans is the most widely-praised of evangelical scholarly commentaries on this book, and is one of my favorites, even though I disagree with him on multiple points! After a lengthy debate he says this: “All people, therefore, stand condemned ‘in Adam,’ guilty by reason of the sin all committed ‘in him.’ This interpretation is defended by a great number of exegetes and theologians.” But again, notice his caution. When discussing 5:12, he writes this: “Paul says nothing explicitly about *how* the sin of one man, Adam, has resulted in death for everyone; nor has he made clear the connection–if any–between Adam’s sin (v. 12a) and the sins of all people (v. 12d). What he *has* made clear is that the causal nexus between sin and death, exhibited in the case of Adam, has repeated itself in the case of every human being… Probably a majority of contemporary interpreters interpret v. 12d, then, to assert that the death of each person (v. 12c) is directly caused by that person’s own, individual sinning… We must admit that the the case for interpreting ‘all sinned’ in v. 12d as meaning ‘all people sinned in and with Adam’ rests almost entirely on the juxtaposition of v. 12 with vv. 18-19.” When discussing these later verses, he ways this: “In keeping with the alternatives we explored for the interpretation of v. 12d, some take this instrumental connection to be mediate–Adam’s ‘trespass’-human sinning-‘condemnation’ of all–and others immediate–Adam’s ‘trespass’-‘condemnation’ of all. While the text does not rule out the former, we think the latter… to be more likely.” What a gracious final sentence!

    Fourth, Colin Kruse. His Romans commentary in the PNTC series by Eerdmans is more recent than any of the above, and I highly recommend it. Notably, the general editor of the series is D. A. Carson, a prominent Reformed theologian who will be a speaker at the G3 Conference here in Atlanta in January, a conference that Kevin has been urging me to attend. Here are Carson’s prefatory words about Kruse:
    “Romans has called forth a disturbingly large array of interpretations… Enter Colin Kruse… Here his skills come to the fore again: clarity of thought and writing, independent judgment, deep reverence for what the text actually says, and uncommon wisdom in sorting through the vast secondary literature without getting bogged down. It is a pleasure to commend this commentary and include it in the series.” Note especially: “Deep reverence for what the text actually says.”

    So, Carson–who, along with similar Reformed speakers, Kevin is urging me to hear–affirms Kruse’s exposition of Romans. For this reason, and because I own this book on Kindle, I will include longer excerpts than for the above commentaries. Do Kruse and Carson believe, as Kevin seems to, that all voices who question the imputed-Adamic-guilt interpretation are the voice of the snake in the garden of Eden? Let’s see.

    Here is an excerpt from Kruse’s introduction to the entire passage:
    “The apostle further explains what God has done ‘through our Lord Jesus Christ’ by contrasting the glorious effects of Christ’s action with the damning effects of Adam’s action. The only similarity between the act of Adam and the act of Christ is the humanity-wide effects of each, the one (Adam’s) being for evil, the other (Christ’s) being for good. The effect of the ‘one’ in both cases had consequences for ‘all/ the many’.” Notice here that Kruse believes “the only similarity” between Adam’s act and Christ’s act is wideness of the “effect” each had. This suggests that Kruse doesn’t believe Paul is saying that the *way* in which Adam’s act and Christ’s act produce this effect is necessarily the same. Thus, Kruse’s introductory here leaves open the possibility that while Christ’s act affects us by imputation, Adam’s does by some other means.

    Now for longer excerpts. This first is Kruse’s discussion of 5:12:
    “When Paul says, ‘sin entered the world through one man’, he is alluding to Genesis 3 and Adam’s disobedience in eating forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was through Adam (‘ one man’) that ‘sin entered the world’. The apostle is saying more than that Adam’s one sinful act was sin entering the world. What he writes elsewhere implies that Adam’s one sinful act released into the world a new baleful power, called sin. 44 This is implied in numerous places in Paul’s letters, predominantly in Romans, 45 particularly in those texts that speak of people being slaves to sin (6: 6-7, 17-18, 20; cf. Gal 3: 22). It is also implied in those places where Paul speaks of sin seizing opportunity to deceive and entrap people (7: 8-9, 11) and as a force operating within people and rendering their wills powerless to resist it (7: 17, 20, 23, 25), a force which could be overcome only by the action of God in Christ (8: 2-3).

    “While sin entered the world through one man, that was not the end of the matter. Paul adds: and death through sin, that is, ‘and death entered the world through sin’. This refers to the divine punishment for sin Adam and Eve were warned about in Genesis 2: 17: ‘You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die’. However, what Paul focuses on in 5: 12-21 is not the entry of sin as such, but what followed — the reign of death. When the apostle speaks of death entering the world through sin, he is not thinking of the result of sin in respect to Adam only, but of the power of death unleashed into the world as a result of his sin, a power that afflicts all people: in this way death came to all people. This, Paul asserts, is because all sinned. These words translate eph’ hō pantes hēmarton, a clause that has been translated and interpreted in a number of different ways. Crucial for understanding it is the meaning of the expression eph’ hō, which can connote different things. [Footnote: “It is found in only five places in the NT… Fitzmyer, Romans, 413-17, lists a total of eleven possible meanings of eph’ hō.”] The main alternatives for its meaning in 5: 12 are as follows.

    “The NIV construes it as ‘because’, thus yielding the translation ‘death came to all people, because all sinned’. In this case individuals are subject to death because they all have sinned in their own persons. 47 If it is translated ‘in whom’, we get the translation: ‘sin entered the world through one man, in whom all sinned, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people’. In this case, people are subject to death, not because of their own sin but because of Adam’s sin. 48 Ambrosiaster says: ‘For it is clear that all have sinned in Adam as though in a lump. For, being corrupted by sin himself, all those whom he fathered were born under sin. 49 Others construe it differently again — in one case to indicate the result of Adam’s sin was that death passed to all, 50 and in another to indicate the realm in which the effect of Adam’s sin occurs — that is, in the world. 51

    “There is now a tendency among a number of scholars, no matter how precisely they construe eph’ hō, to identify a primary and a secondary cause for human beings becoming subject to death. The primary cause is Adam’s disobedience, through which death first entered the world, and the secondary cause is the sin of disobedience of all human beings, who likewise bring death upon themselves. 52

    Note here the calm manner in which Kruse discusses the interpretive options. He simply lists a variety of possibilities–one of which matches well the interpretive possibility that I’ve been advocating (Adam let sin into the world, so sin reigns over us and makes us sin and thus guilty in our own right). He does not even voice a clear preference for any one of them!

    Now a brief excerpt from Kruse’s commentary on 5:13-17:
    “Considering the stark contrast between the effect of Adam’s action and Christ’s action that Paul will highlight in 5: 15-17, it is surprising that he should refer to Adam as the type of Christ. In one respect alone is Adam the type of the coming one: The action of Adam affected all people in him just as the action of Christ affects all those in him. So that there will be no misunderstanding Paul spends the next three verses (5: 15-17) highlighting the differences, before completing his comparison of the effects of the acts of Adam and Christ (5: 18-19).” Again, notice Kruse’s insistence that “in one respect alone” is Adam a type of Christ–in the breath of who all their actions affect.

    In Kruse’s commentary on 5:18 we read this: “The trespass of Adam attracted God’s judgment that led to punishment that took the form of death. But it was not only Adam who was subject to death, but death ‘reigned’ through him over all people, as Paul put it in 5:12: ‘death came to all people’.” So here Kruse affirms the clear meaning of the text: Adam’s sin led to the punishment of death for all people. But he leaves unclear *how* one leads to the other–pointing only back to 5:12, where he has already simply listed a wide variety of possible explanations.

    In Kruse’s commentary on 5:19 we finally find out what he believes about *how* Adam’s sin leads to our sin: “Paul is saying that because of Adam’s action all people were born with a sinful tendency, one that manifests itself in their subsequent sinful actions. [In a footnote here Kruse quotes another commentator, apparently approvingly: “Fitzmyer, Romans, 421, notes: ‘…Adam’s disobedience placed the mass of humanity in a condition of sin and estrangement from God; the text does not imply that they became sinners merely by imitating Adam’s transgression; rather, they were constituted sinners by him and his act of disobedience’.]”

    So, when Kruse finally tips his hand as to what he believes about *how* Adam’s sin leads to ours, he settles on the “sinful nature” explanation: Adam’s sin gave us a sinful nature, and thus we are sinners who do sinful acts. As I’ve re-scanned Kruse’s commentary on the end of chapter 5, I haven’t found any clear indication that he believes that we are guilty because we sinned “in Adam” or that his sin is imputed to us because he is our federal head or representative.

    Kruse, Colin G.. Paul’s Letter to the Romans (The Pillar New Testament Commentary) (pp. 78, 239-242, 246-247, 249, 252). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.

    So, Kevin, shall we go to the G3 conference and rebuke Carson for publishing a book that distorts the gospel? Or shall we be humble enough to agree that good Bible students who share “a deep reverence for what the text actually says” can still disagree on what sort of theological system best explains the evidence in the text?

    In closing, it is of secondary importance to also note that I have not been attempting to present a balanced view of commentators here. Rather, I have been intentionally choosing prominent evangelical commentators who are most likely to affirm the position that Kevin has been advocating. To be fair, one should also consult commentators who come to other conclusions–such as Grant Osborne, Ben Witherington, and (to name the Romans commentator in the most scholarly Anabaptist commentary series) John Toews. They, sharing a similar reverence for the text, find the imputed-Adamic-guilt theory unlikely.

    May God grant us humility to affirm what is clear in the Scriptures about the gospel–that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” and that we are “saved by grace through faith, not of our own works.” And may he also grant us humility to allow that some things are, by God’s design, less clear, and to extend the right hand of fellowship to brothers and sisters who disagree with us on such matters.

    And Kevin, I implore you, for the sake of the name of Christ, to restrain your words, listen to the rebukes of multiple brothers on this thread and other places where you have engaged online, cease from writing passionate responses in the middle of the night when the best of us are least able to control our tongues, and desist from condemning those whom Christ receives as his own.

    Sola Deo gloria

    Like

    1. >>>Dwight:

      >>>So, Kevin, shall we go to the G3 conference….

      Yes, we shall! I certainly hope to see you in Atlanta in January, as I’ve indicated
      several times via email. In fact, I’d like to get together for dinner at your house,
      if possible, and chat a while. We would bring the pizza, of course! 🙂

      I encourage everyone in the Atlanta region (and beyond) to attend the G3 Conference. We’ve attended for the last two years and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! You will not agree with everything you hear, as we don’t, but you
      WILL experience RICH blessing under the preaching of the Word. I *PROMISE*
      you that. GET THERE IF YOU CAN. You will not regret the expense nor the
      travel. Get there, I say.

      Here is the conference website:

      g3conference.com

      Look closely at the webpage 🙂 You will find me, my wife and our niece on
      the second row, center of the pew, conspicuous for our headcovering
      convictions. The photo is from the 2015 Conference, I believe.

      They ask us, “Are you Mennonite?”

      We say, “No, we are Christians. 1 Corinthians 11 requires women to cover
      their heads when prayer is offered.”

      So please come, as many of you as possible! You will learn from them and
      they will be challenged by you as well. And then we’ll all go over to Dwight’s
      house for pizza!

      And we’ll discuss Romans 5 into the wee hours, when I’m at my best!!! 🙂

      >>>… and rebuke Carson for publishing a book that distorts the gospel?

      I will have to reread your excerpts from Kruse, but if he actually does deny
      the imputation of Adam’s guilt to all mankind, then *YES*, we will find
      DA Carson and reprove him for publishing a book that compromises the
      glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, we will do that.

      I look forward to meeting you, Dwight, in January. And as many others
      of you as can make it. TRY HARD. You will not regret it. I PROMISE you.

      Like

      1. Kevin, while I would indeed enjoy parts of the G3 Conference, I do not plan to attend, nor to host a post-conference gathering with you in my living room. I have sent you a private email with a few more considerations.

        Radi-Call, I do not know how you feel about your comment thread by now. 🙂 I hope my comments have been compatible with your goals and with the goal of listening more carefully to the Scriptures. I remain open to feedback, if you wish to give some. Let me end by affirming again that I agree with the majority of the post above, and that I am encouraged by your writing efforts. Don’t stop!

        Liked by 3 people

  13. As the EiC (editor-in-chief) of Radi-Call I would like to respond to the conversation which has been taking place. First, we as a blog team want this to be a place where mature, encouraging conversation can take place. Does that mean we will always agree? Certainly not! However, comment’s in this thread have digressed to levels which are not God honoring. Therefore, we have decided to close the thread at this time. Our desire is to build each other up not tear down those for whom Christ has died.

    Second, the doctrine which Johnny tackled is not an easy or simple subject. As Dwight has reminded us there are sincere men who come to different conclusions on how Adam’s sin has affected his posterity. It would be most unwise to not listen to each other as we attempt to understand the Scriptures on this doctrine. It seems to me that it may be helpful to have an ongoing conversation on Article 4 and further exegesis of the texts linked to this Article. I am not aware of a lot of current writing on this doctrine from conservative Anabaptists. Also, I am not sure that early Anabaptists were in total agreement in their interpretation of texts such as Romans 5. I faintly remember Pilgrim Marpeck having something close to a Reformed perspective on that particular text. I stand to be corrected as I can not recall where I read that.

    Furthermore, Dwight I would like to give a brief explanation to the original question you posed. Which pertained to the discrepancy between Johnny’s article and Article 4 of the 63 confession. We at Radi-Call believe doctrine is vital for authentic Christian living and therefore have undertaken to work through historic Anabaptist Confessions of Faith. Authors are assigned Articles of the confession but are not required to agree with them in totality. I think it would be safe to say that there are different understandings on this doctrine among the Radi-Call authors. Therefore, it would not be fair to say that there is a consensus among the Radi-Call team on this doctrine. Hopefully this is helpful in answering your question. Also, I do believe your comments were in harmony with the goal of this blog.

    In conclusion, thank you everyone who participated in this discussion and may we continue to push forward in our understanding of Scripture and love for Christ.
    Sincerely,
    Timothy Miller

    Like

Comments are closed.