08
Mar
12

The “Heresy” of Double Imputation?

Heretics are popping up everywhere. If you don’t believe that, just ask the merry band of would-be theologians who are roaming the net and producing you-tube videos that declare the majority of the theologians who have lived since the beginning of the Great Reformation “heretics.”

Now, “heresy” and “heretic” are very strong words. It may be defined as “Any opinions or doctrines at variance with the official or orthodox opinion.”

It has not been that many centuries since even the Reformers were executing people for heresy. This is one reason I am thankful Theonomic Reconstructionists have not come to power. Many of them would no doubt wish to burn me. As you can see, the charge of “heresy” is a very serious charge that a person should never make unless 1) he is certain he is representing the official or orthodox position, 2) there is an official or orthodox position, and 3) the departure is sufficiently grave as to rise to the level of “heresy.”

A person who submits to the authority of the Papacy may be tried for heresy if he departs from the official dogma of the “Church.” A person may be tried for heresy if he belongs to a particular Christian Denomination whose doctrinal standards he has pledged to uphold, but how can a person be an internet heretic? It seems to me, there is no official or orthodox opinion governing the internet. That in itself would suggest that the web is an improper forum to bring such a charge. If those being charged here are guilty of departing from their Denomination’s “orthodox opinions,” it is up to the Denomination to deal with them.

The Issue

The issue in this particular charge of heresy is what they call “Double Imputation.” What they deny is not that our sins are imputed to Christ and that the satisfaction of his death is imputed to believers. In my view, that would be double imputation. If we should add in the reason for the sin problem in the first place, i.e., the imputation of Adam’s guilt, that would involve yet a third imputation [triple imputation]. What they are denying is that the imputation of Christ’s “obedience” or righteousness involves any more than the imputation of the merit of Christ’s death. This aspect of Christ’s obedience is what theologians have referred to as Christ’s “passive obedience.” John Murray, among other theologians, referred to this aspect of Christ’s obedience as his “penal obedience” since he was anything but passive in the offering up of himself as the substitute of his people. In reality, the whole of his humiliation was characterized by obedience so that it is impossible to rightly separate these two aspects of that one obedience. The prevailing opinion [though not the only opinion] among Reformed and Calvinistic thinkers has been that both the obedience and death of Christ have been credited to the believer’s account for justification. For example, the Westminster Confession of Faith states, ” . . . accepting their persons as righteous. . .by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them. . . .” (Chap11, I). “Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified . . . . ” (Chap. 11, III). It seems clear they made a distinction between Christ’s obedience and Christ’s satisfaction/death. In this case, “obedience” would refer to his life of obedience to the precepts of the law under which he was born (Galatians 4:4) and to which he rendered perfect, continual and inward obedience.

The following statement by John Calvin clearly affirms the doctrine they deny:

There is great weight also in these words of Paul: “If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain,” (Gal. 2: 21.) For we hence infer, that it is from Christ we must seek what the Law would confer on any one who fulfilled it; or, which is the same thing, that by the grace of Christ we obtain what God promised in the Law to our works: “If a man do, he shall live in them,” (Lev. 18: 5.) This is no less clearly taught in the discourse at Antioch, when Paul declares, “That through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses,” (Acts 13: 38, 39.) For if the observance of the Law is righteousness, who can deny that Christ, by taking this burden upon himself, and reconciling us to God, as if we were the observers of the Law, merited favour for us? Of the same nature is what he afterwards says to the Galatians: “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law,” (Gal. 4: 4, 5.) For to what end that subjection, unless that he obtained justification for us by undertaking to perform what we were unable to pay? Hence that imputation of righteousness without works, of which Paul treats, (Rom. 4: 5,) the righteousness found in Christ alone being accepted as if it were ours.

It appears to me that those who are bringing this charge of heresy may themselves be the heretics. In reality, that is difficult to determine since it is unlikely they are confessionally bound to any major Denomination. I have examined the doctrinal statement of some of these accusers, and to me it looks quite orthodox. As I understand their statement it seems to affirm what they deny. Re: the Doctrine of Justification they state:

We believe that the justification of sinners is the act of God (Rom. 3:21-26, 8:33) by which He legally declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Isa. 55:6-7; Luke 13:3; Act 2:38; 3:19, 11:18; Rom. 2:4, 5:1; 2 Cor. 7:10) and confess Him as Sovereign Lord (Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 12:3; 2 Cor. 4:5; Phil. 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Rom. 3:20, 28, 4:6), and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Col. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24), and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21). By this means God is enabled to be “just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

Please note they do not say “the imputation of Christ obedient death,” but the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us.”

It seems to me this whole issue calls into question the orthodox teaching that justification involves not only the pardon of our sins but the crediting to our accounts of a positive righteousness. The satisfaction of Christ, though leaving us “righteousness”  in a neutral sense, provides for us no positive righteousness.  Yet, the Scriptures clearly state that Christ is our righteousness and that this is so by imputation. 

The other issue is whether the imputed righteousness is a righteousness belonging to God intrinsically, a divine righteousness untested by the law of God to which we human beings have been subjected,  or is it the righteousness of a true human being who was subject to God’s law and filled it up with perfect obedience.  If we should define “righteousness” as conformity to law, it would seem to follow that the righteousness that is imputed to believers must be the righteousness of one who has been “under law” and who has obeyed it fully.

I will return to what I believe is meant by “Christ’s righteousness” in a moment. First, I would like to pose a few pertinent questions.

1. What do the biblical writers mean by the term “righteousness?”

2. Does God require any righteousness from sinners?

3. If God requires any righteousness from sinners, what level of righteousness does he require? Does he require a perfect life of righteousness, or is the best we can do good enough?

4. Does the Law of God demand perfect, continual and inward obedience from sinners?

5. Is Adam’s unrighteousness imputed to all whom he represented?

6. Have God the Father and God the Holy Spirit ever been subject to the law?

7. Would it be possible to impute to believers a legal obedience performed by either God the Father or the Holy Spirit since neither of them has ever been subject to the law?

8. Prior to the incarnation of Christ and his life of subjection to the law, would it have been possible to impute his “righteousness” to believers? One of those denying this doctrine defined righteousness as “conformity to law.”

9. In the declaration of justification, is God merely concerned with pardoning the believer’s sins or does he also accept us as positively righteous in his sight?

10. Were it not for the imputation of Adam’s guilt, would the law justify us on the condition of perfect, continual and inward obedience? Does the Bible teach we cannot be justified by the law because the law cannot justify or the law cannot justify those who fail to obey it?

I believe the way we answer those questions will determine where we land on this issue.

Let’s examine them one by one and see where they lead us.

1. What do the biblical writers mean by the term “righteousness?”

As I mentioned, one of their own number defined righteousness as “conformity to law.” I believe that is exactly right, though I might expand on it a bit. Since the greatest commandment in the law is to love God supremely, wholly and without rival, we ought to define righteousness as supreme, wholehearted, and unrivaled love for God that manifests itself in perfect, continual and inward obedience to his will revealed in the Scriptures.

2. Does God require any righteousness from sinners?

In Romans, chapter one, the apostle Paul makes it very clear that even those who have no written revelation from God are responsible to glorify him, show him gratitude, and bow before him in worship. If they fail to do so, they are without excuse before him. He concludes that they, together with the Jews are “all under sin.” If God did not expect any righteousness from them, they would not be under the sentence of condemnation. “If they have sinned without the law, they will also perish without the law” ( Rom. 2:12).

3. If God requires any righteousness from sinners, what level of righteousness does he require? Does he require a perfect life of righteousness, or is the best we can do good enough?

4. Does the Law of God demand perfect, continual and inward obedience from sinners?

I want to answer these two [groups of] questions together since they are integrally related. One of the accusers wrote to me the other day, “God does not require a perfect life, just a perfect sacrifice.” This really sums up their position, but is it accurate?

If God did not require a perfect life, why did he pronounce a curse on those Israelites who did not obey his covenant perfectly and continually? “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Gal. 3:10. “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” (James 2:10). Jesus said, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). Their obedience was a mere external obedience. God requires more than that. What the Mosaic law required, but could not provide was righteousness as we have defined it above. Apart from that kind of righteousness, he cannot accept any sinner as righteous in his sight. Believers are more than “just forgiven.” We are credited with a spotless righteousness in God’s presence.

5. Is Adam’s unrighteousness imputed to all whom he represented?

Though this is a larger issue than we are able to deal with in a short blog, I believe Romans 5: 12ff leaves no doubt that it is. To me, the importance of this question is this–Adam stood as a type of Christ in that both stood as the representative of all who are united to them. It is for this reason we have the “In Adam” and “In Christ” language in the New Testament Scriptures. If it was a human righteousness that was lost in the garden, the righteousness God imputes to us needs to be a human righteousness. For this reason, Galatians 4:4 not only tells us Jesus was born “under the law” that he might forge for his people a legal righteousness, it also tells us he was born of a woman, that he might forge for us a perfect human righteousness. The righteousness God imputes to believers in justification corresponds to the unrighteousness he imputed to us in Adam. The death Jesus died effectively pardons the believer’s unrighteousness in Adam, but it does not restore to the believer a positive righteousness.

6. Have God the Father and God the Holy Spirit ever been subject to the law?

7. Would it be possible to impute to believers a legal obedience performed by either God the Father or the Holy Spirit since neither of them has ever been subject to the law?

8. Prior to the incarnation of Christ and his life of subjection to the law, would it have been possible to impute his “righteousness” to believers?

These three questions all speak to the same issue. The answer to all three questions is no. number six is no. If “righteousness is conformity to law,” the righteousness imputed to believers could not that intrinsic righteousness belonging to the Trinity. God in his intrinsic righteousness is not subject to the same law he imposes on his creatures. He defines righteousness for his creatures by the standard of supreme love for the Creator that manifests itself in obedience. It is that righteousness Jesus fulfilled and God the Father imputes to his people in justification. Jesus learned obedience, not because he had ever been disobedient, but he had never been “under the Law.” In his mediatorial capacity, every act he performed was in representation of those “in him.”

9. In the declaration of justification, is God merely concerned with pardoning the believer’s sins or does he also accept us as positively righteous in his sight?

The law had a positive and a negative demand. Positively, it demanded a perfect righteousness. Negatively, it demanded death for law breakers. Death for law breakers only meets one of those demands. It does not provide a positive righteousness. Pardon wipes the slate clean but puts nothing in its place. Christ’s work accomplished both pardon and the imputation of a positive righteousness. Pardon is only half of what God intends in justification. “just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:” (Romans 4:6).

10. Were it not for the imputation of Adam’s guilt, would the law justify us on the condition of perfect, continual and inward obedience? Does the Bible teach we cannot be justified by the law because the law cannot justify or the law cannot justify those who fail to obey it?

I believe the apostle Paul very clearly teaches that the law is able to declare a perfectly obedient man righteous. In Romans 2:13 he wrote, “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” He is not talking about God’s method justification in that verse but about God’s standard of justification. No one who fails to meet that standard will be justified. Privileges of race, religion, ritual, or respectability will be no advantage. Righteousness in conformity to his law is the standard of judgment. Consider also Galatians 3:12–“But the law is not of faith, rather “‘The one who does them shall live by them.'”

The Bible does not teach that no one can be justified by the works of the law because the law is unable to justify; it teaches that the law cannot justify law-breakers. There was one man who went to heaven because he was perfectly righteous in the eyes of the law. That man was Jesus Christ. By imputation, he became a lawbreaker and paid the penalty in full as his people’s representative. He suffered for lawbreaking that was not personally his.

By imputation, we have been declared to possess a law righteousness that is not ours. We are accepted before the throne of God’s unbending justice by the merit of our substitute. We are accepted not because we could suffer enough to purchase pardon for our sins but because the death of our substitute has infinite value to pardon the most heinous of crimes against his holy law. We are able to appear in robes of righteousness before his throne, not because we are good, but because we are united to him who magnified the law and made it honorable and thus fulfilled all righteousness.

The apostle Paul wrote, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21).

” And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord'” (1 Cor 1:30-31). ”

Our sins, when laid upon Christ, were yet personally ours, not his; so his righteousness, when put upon us, is yet personally his, not ours.” – John Bunyan

Righteousness supposes that the whole law has been fulfilled; innocence imports only that it has not been transgressed….In the case of a sinner, therefore, the imputation of righteousness is pre-supposed as the ground of his justification, which, consequently, implies something more than simple remission….If he [i.e., the sinner] cannot himself fulfill the law, another, taking his place, and coming under his obligations, may fulfill it in his name; and the obedience of this surety may be placed to his account.

John Dicks

All Christ did and all he bore was for our salvation. He suffered in obeying. He obeyed in suffering. No fair criticism can ever shew that righteousness in this verse or obedience in v. 19 means simply his sufferings, much less his obedience in the mere act of dying. His circumcision and baptism were as much in fulfillment of all righteousness as his death. His perfect love to God and his equal love to man, evinced in every way, were essential to his righteousness. There is a sense in which Christ’s righteousness is one. It is a seamless robe. There is no rent in it. It is undivided. It cannot be divided. But this is a very different thing from saying that Christ wrought out his righteousness the last few hours of his life. The parallel between Adam and Christ is not intended to be preserved in the shortness of the time in which, or the ease with which ruin and recovery were wrought. No? Destruction is easy. Recovery is difficult. It is so in every thing. A rash act of one may destroy a thousand lives, but all the power of men and angels cannot restore one life. A child may in a few hours burn down a city, which ten thousand men could not build in a year. In a moment Adam brought down ruin. It required the righteousness and obedience of the life of Christ and his agony in the garden and on the cross to bring us to God. Yea, to the same end he ever liveth to make intercession for us. “The truth is, the work of Christ is just the whole of his humiliation, with all that he did and all he suffered in the nature which he humbled himself to assume. That on account of which God exalted and glorified Christ, is that on account of which he justifies and glorifies sinners.

Wm. S. Plumer

Call this “heresy” if you like, but I, for one, will, by God’s grace, never cease to glory in it. It is the glorious gospel of our great God and Savior. R. C. Sproul wrote, ” “This is the description of how salvation comes. It comes as a result of the atoning work of Christ and the exchange of our sin from our backs to His, as well as the cloak of His righteousness being transferred from His account to ours. Anything that eliminates this double exchange, this double imputation of sin and righteousness, falls short of the biblical Gospel.”

Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
‘Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.

Zinzendorf

I have attached a number of brief statements from various Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms, simply to show what has been the widely held “orthodox” opinion through the centuries.

“God imputeth the righteousness of Christ unto us for our own: so that now we are not only cleansed from our sin, and purged, and holy, but also endued with righteousness of Christ.” Confession of Helvetia

“When therefore we do say, that we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1), this is our meaning: that we do obtain remission of sins, and imputation of righteousness, by mercy showed us for Christ’s sake.” The Augsburg Confession

“Casting away all opinion of virtues and merits, we do altogether rest in the only obedience of Jesus Christ, which is imputed to us, both that all our sins may be covered, and that we may obtain grace before God.” The Confession of France

“Christ Himself is our righteousness, because that by His merit we have remission, and God doth impute His righteousness to us, and for Him doth account us just.” The Confession of Saxony

“We are accounted righteous before God only for the merits of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by faith; and not for our own works or deservings, wherefore, that we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine and full of comfort.” The Church of England

“Christ Himself is our righteousness, which imputeth all His merits unto us: faith is but the instrument, whereby we are coupled unto Him.” Confession of Belgia

“What believest thou concerning the forgiveness of sins?” “That God, for the sake of Christ’s satisfaction, will no more remember my sins, neither my corrupt nature, against which I have to struggle all my life long, but will graciously impute to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may never be condemned before the tribunal of God.” The Heidelberg Catechism, Question and Answer 56

“Justification is an act of the grace of God, judging and proclaiming man to be righteous, through imputing to him the righteousness of Christ, which is received by the sinner through faith. ” The Welch Calvinistic Methodists’ Confession

“Those whom God effectually calleth, He also freely justified, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous, not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in His death, for their whole and sole righteousness.” The Philadelphia Confession

“What is justification?” “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.” The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question and Answer 33

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21 Responses to “The “Heresy” of Double Imputation?”


  1. 1 JC
    March 9, 2012 at 2:38 am

    I’ll give you a big ole’ AMEN. I know who you’re talking about. I got to your blog from his. He hasn’t allowed my post to go through.

    Him and his partner right now are on a heresy hunt, looking out for all those creepy New Calvinists.

    Anyway, blessings to you brother!

    • 2 Richard
      March 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      Heresy hunt? Not only harsh, but untrue and a serious accusation in itself. Ironic that the tone of this blog is an indictment on those who wrongly accuse brothers (though I most certainly disagree with your assessment that they are wrongly accusing the NC crowd) yet wrongly judges their motive.

      Interesting, to say the least.

      • 3 JC
        March 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm

        Untrue, really? See for yourself, they’re not bashful about it. Check out the latest top ten and top five “heretics” of our day. You talk about judging motives. There’s no need to judge their motives, they put it on display for the world to see.

        The interesting thing is that you come here to defend a couple guys that spend most of their time, day and night, accusing the brethren.

      • 4 Richard
        March 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

        JC – my apologies for assuming that you were talking about the same two gentlemen that I was. I have had email correspondence with Randy in regards to two other men; men I know and love; men I know who are indeed concerned about truth, period (all facets apply here); men I am happy to call Brothers. Again, these men are not only concerned for truth in God’s, but rather consumed with getting it right. I know these men are willing to abandon anything that is not truly found in scripture. This is in fact what led both of then men I was speaking of to speak out so openly against NC and DI.

        While I cannot speak for Joel and Paul, as I do not know them personally – I can however say that I agree with their overarching discontent with New Calvinism. I see this doctrine as pseudo-glorifying to our Lord and actually a doctrine that, under the guise of Grace, more than cheapens the true Gospel. This theology indeed promotes Antinomianism by supposing there are zero conditions on the covenant.

        As for the aforementioned (by you) – I am also not accusing them of taking the wrong approach. While I agree that at times their blog may present itself as abrasive; this nonetheless does not disqualify the doctrine in and of itself. If their assertions are true, that NC and double-imputation are in fact another gospel (even the writer of this blog would agree with this, but asserts they are on the wrong end) then a harsh tone is not only warranted, but given as example throughout the bible; including Paul and Jesus Himself. The onus is of course to prove this heresy, and to plead with those who are hopefully open to being Berean. Because I have limited knowledge of them (specifically Paul – I have however, seen the proper biblical paradigm in most cases from Joel) I want to refrain from making a judgment in totality. Make sense?

        I am happy to discuss the doctrine; even debating from a sincere desire to let God’s Word speak. I am not, however, interested in accusing the evil one as being the leader of any man until I can determine from scripture that he indeed is ‘off’ biblically and unteachable from the scriptures. Prior to this, making such a damning accusation is not only premature, but as I have said previously – reckless.

      • March 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm

        Actually Richard, I thought the original post was an excellent presentation of ‘double imputation’ as a bedrock of our faith, and one clearly presented by the Apostle Paul in the New testament. I’ve believed it for a few decades at least, just from reading the Bible. I think the issue might be that the ‘fear of antinomianism’, and the enemy stealing a few lunches, is driving the unfounded accusations of ‘antinomian heretic!’ being tossed about. It jas been, from what I have read, the ‘accused’ who have attempted to have intelligent dialogue with the ‘accusers’ while the accusers just label just about everyone but themselves as heretics headed for Hell. And I am trying to be kind and give the ‘heretic hunters’ (that is shat they are really doing as opposed to just dealing with false teaching in a Biblical manner) the benefit of the doubt.

        BTW the way, do you have anything to contribute to the original question concerning double imputation being heresy?

  2. March 9, 2012 at 3:16 am

    Thanks for stopping by, and for your encouraging comment.

  3. March 9, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Very well said. I left a short comment at one site but am not going to debate with a heresy hunter. They will see what they want to see in scripture, no matter what they are presented from scripture or the history of the church. You also did a great job of defining heresy. The thought of calling double imputation heresy is frankly bizzare to me. I see the hand of the enemy at work in what has been happening. How else could men whose confession of faith contradicts their very accusations?

    • March 9, 2012 at 3:40 am

      Thanks brother. I beleive you are right that the wicked one clearly has his hand in all this. One can almost hear the hiss of the Serpent. Have you ever thought that Satan is called ” the accuser of the brethren” and Jesus is referred to as “our Advocate?” I wonder which one these guys are most like.

      • March 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

        IThe thought that Satan is the ‘acusser of the brethren’ has crossed my mind several times lately, along with wondering if these men who label their brothers in CHrist ‘heretics’ are being used by him.

    • 10 Richard
      March 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      You won’t ‘debate’ scripture with these ‘hunters’ – yet if you are referring to your comments on the soundchurch.org blog on this subject (and I think we all know that is who is being discussed here) you won’t even take them to the scripture. I understand that I am biased, but to accuse those of what you gentlemen are without taking it to the Word of God is reckless.

      • March 14, 2012 at 1:17 am

        Richard,

        Thank you for your comments. I want to speak to all of them in one reply if possible. The reality is you don’t have your facts straight. It is true that soundchurch.org is one source I used. I commented on their blog and told them I thought the doctrine they are teaching is terribly misleading. In my view, they are denying the gospel as well as denying their own doctrinal statement. I did not cite anyone in particular because there are others who are making the same claim. It is with one of the other sources of this accusation that I have attempted for months to discuss the Scriptures, only to be accused of being a New Calvinist and a “stinking antinomian heretic.” My views have been twisted and I have been accused of believing doctrines I don’t believe at all. I am most happy to discuss these issues with anyone who wishes to engage me, but a person who accuses me of being a heretic is already off on the wrong foot.

        You also need to be aware that these people are being contacted by email. It is my feeling that often we can accomplish more in private than in a public forum.

        In the comments we made about Satan’s hand in all of this, it wasn’t my intention, at least, and I don’t think it was Dan’s intention to accuse anyone. Our accusation was aganist the wicked one himself. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. . . .I do believe, however, that the Adversary and accuser of the brethren is having a field day in seeking to hinder the proclamation of the gospel.

        Regarding the issue of motive, I have no idea what motivates other people. Jesus said, “the time will come when those who persecute you will think they are doing God a favor.” I guess their motive was OK, even if their actions were not. I suspect all these guys who are sniffing out heretics truly believe they are rescuing God’s truth from the clutches of the enemy. I applaud them for their zeal even if I believe that zeal is horribly misdirected.

        If you have additional concerns, please feel free to state them. I would, of course, prefer that people interact with the theological and biblical arguments presented here.

      • March 15, 2012 at 5:54 pm

        I don’t debate with heresy ‘hunters’ who seem to be out to shoot, bag, and mount on the den wall as many ‘heretics’ as they can. It is one thng to expose ‘heresy’ that we perceive (and we need to be sure of our heresy accusation) and quite another do what some of these heresy ‘hunters’ are doing in their claims that certain men who in fact hold to a sound gospel are heretics by building the ‘straw man’ and then condemning good men of heresy. In at least one case we are left to wonder if anyong but the ‘hunter’ is NOT a heretic. I can also honestly say that at a couple of the accusers have been approached via email (out of politeness) to actually discuss scripture and it did not end well because the ‘accusers’ had already passed sentence and didn’t even want to consider polite conversation. Therefore you cannot honestly make the accusation of NOT attempting to discuss the issues, unless you have supernatural powers or extraordinary hacking skills.

    • March 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      Randy is correct regarding the comment that the enemy is busy. It was NOT a personal accusation, but an observation, and not a particularly insightful one at that. The enemy has been busy since the Garden with various forms of ‘did God really say’, accusing the brethren, causing divisions among genuine brothers in Christ, and a host of other activities.

  4. 14 Richard
    March 13, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Now they are being led by….SATAN? Huh, seems like you are accusing them of something worse than heresy.

    • March 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm

      The enemy being busy in the affairs of men is NOT accusing anyone of anythng, but merely a truth derived first from scripture and sometimes recognizable if we are paying attention.

  5. March 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Richard,

    Let’s talk about real issues. I understand you have respect for the boys at soundchurch, and as I have written I’m sure they believe they are defending the gospel. It is just that if they believe the gospel I don’t, and if I do they don’t. It is just that simple. Either Jesus fulfilled all the conditions of the covenant or he didn’t.

    It is not good news that Jesus died to forgive me for all my past sins, but my future performance will determine whether I remain in the covenant or not. That was clearly the character of the Old Covenant; it is not the character of the New Covenant. The terms of the Old Covenant were “Do this and Live.” The terms of the New Covenant are, “You will obey because you live.”

    Though I believe it is the character of true believers to persevere in faith and in faithful obedience to Christ, that perseverance is never presented as a “condition” of the covenant. Please show me one passage that hints that we must fulfill the conditions of the covenant in order maintain our standing before God.

    The believer’s continued obedience to Christ [though imperfect and incomplete] is the evidence that he belongs to Christ, not a condition for continuing to belong to Christ. In other words, our obedience does not keep us in grace, it is simply the evidence that we are in grace.

  6. May 28, 2014 at 1:11 am

    I would love your comments on this article related to you posting. http://idsaudio.org/ids/pdf/classic/imputation.pdf

    • May 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      As I am sure you have gathered from my article, I am in disagreement with the article you asked me to consider. It seems to me everything comes down to definition. How does the Bible define righteousness? It seems clear to me the answer to that question would be that righteousness in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures is defined as conformity to God’s revealed will. If a criminal on death row died under the penalty of his crimes, we would consider that the penalty for his crimes had been satisfied, but we would not consider him a righteous man. It seems to me these good men go wrong at the point of definition. They have defined “righteousness” as “acceptance with God.” Paul does not tell in 1 Cor. 1:30, for example, God has made Christ “acceptance with God for us.” He has been made “righteousness for us.” Once one wrongly defines righteousness, his conclusions on this subject will inevitably be faulty.

      I absolutely reject their view that we can become righteous without perfect obedience to God. They state, “The righteousness from God is revealed apart from law. This means that we can become righteous without perfect obedience to God.” In explicating God’s righteous standard in Romans 2, Paul wrote, “it is not he hearers of the law who are declared righteous before God, BUT THE DOERS OF THE LAW shall be DECLARED RIGHTEOUS.” Righteousness is clearly defined as obedience to the Law. The verse they cite in Rom. 3 is talking not about how righteousness is obtained but how God’s righteousness is REVEALED. It is not revealed under the Old Covenant Law, but in the gospel. It is not a righteousness apart from the law, but a righteousness [I understand the phrase “the righteousness of God” in Romans to refer to God’s method of putting sinners right with himself in accordance with his covenant faithfulness.] that is revealed apart from the Law. This righteousness is not obtained apart from the Law.

      It seems to me the issue is easily resolved by a proper understanding of the N.T. doctrine of union with Christ. Because of that union, all that he is as our representative in his mediatorial Sonship has been imputed to his chosen people.

      It is not so much that Jesus had to earn for his elect people a righteous standing before God as it is that he is our righteous substitute as demonstrated by his perfect, continual and inward obedience to the covenant under which he was born. It is all that he is as our representative that is imputed to believers. Apart from our need for a righteous standing before God, not merely forgiveness before God, there was really no need for Jesus to have been born under the Law (Gal 4:4). God could simply have imputed our sins to him and satisfied the penal sanctions against us.

      In my view, their understanding of this subject diminishes the glory of biblical justification. Believers are not merely pardoned; we are perfectly righteous before our Righteous Judge.

    • May 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Let me make just two additional comments. First, though I would not invest the idea of a covenant of works with all that Covenant Theology does, I have no question that Adam stood as the covenant head of humanity who, by his disobedience, lost his original righteousness not only for himself but for all his posterity.

      Secondly, there are several texts in the NT Scriptures where I believe the phrase “the faith of Christ”should be translated “the faithfulness of Christ” instead of “faith in Christ.” This would emphasize his faithful obedience to the covenant under which he was born on the basis of which believers are credited with righteousness.

  7. 20 Candy Lewis, Old Toronto
    March 12, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Calvin…the devil himself. And double imputation is from another devil, deceiver and blasphemer, RC Sproul (Snr).

  8. March 13, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Candy, The only thing I can say in response to your comment is that it is a shame ignorance isn’t painful.


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