Dr. Adam Harwood, 2013 John 3:16 Presentation, Part 4/4

May 23, 2013

Below is a portion of a March 21-22, 2013 John 3:16 Conference presentation.

Read the Baptist Press article about the conference here: http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=39992

A free e-book containing the 2013 John 3:16 Conference presentations is scheduled to be released at SBC Today on May 30, 2013.

For audio CDs of the 2013 John 3:16 Conference, click the banner below/right.

 

Objection: What about the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness?

            Calvinistic brothers in the SBC sometimes object: Isn’t the imputation of Christ’s righteousness a response to the imputation of Adam’s guilt? My reply: No. What does the Bible teach us about the righteousness of God? Romans 3:21-22 states: “The righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” 3:28: “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” Consider 4:5: “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness…”

Abraham believed God was able to do what He promised. Consider Rom 4:22-25: “That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness. But the words ‘it was counted to him’ were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Paul’s point in Romans 3 and 4 is that others are made righteous in the same way as Abraham, by faith.

In the Bible, being counted by God as righteous doesn’t require an imputation of Adam’s guilt–it requires believing in Jesus.

 

Why This Matters for Southern Baptists

            Some of you still don’t see a problem. You say, “Southern Baptists have always differed on Calvinism.” True. But in recent years, those differences have turned into division. I’ll give you two examples of this division. Both examples center on one of our institutions, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

We’ve already established that some Christians teach that Adam alone is guilty of Adam’s sin. Others teach that the guilt of Adam’s sin falls on everyone. Consider the differences between Article 3 of the Baptist Faith and Message and a document entitled “An Exposition from the Faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on The Baptist Faith and Message 2000.”[1]

harwood-chart-2

What do we inherit from Adam? According to the BFM, all people (Adam’s “posterity”) “inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin.” When are people under condemnation? “As soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and under condemnation.”

But the SBTS Faculty Exposition of the BFM affirms a different view–one not found in the BFM. The Faculty Exposition makes no mention of: a nature inclined toward sin, becoming capable of moral action, or becoming transgressors. Instead, the SBTS Faculty Exposition of the BFM inserts a view not found in the BFM: “…the guilt of Adam’s sin falls on all…”

I don’t mean to imply that the SBTS Faculty don’t affirm the BFM. They do so as part of the hiring process. Rightly so. But the Faculty Exposition omits concepts found in the BFM and replaces them with a theological viewpoint not found in the BFM, namely that people all people are guilty of Adam’s sin.

Southern Baptists who affirm different views on Adam’s guilt can and should cooperate in the work of the Great Commission. I am addressing this issue publicly to foster greater understanding within the SBC and to suggest these are orthodox but differing views. Both views of guilt are permissible within evangelical theology. But if an SBC Seminary publishes an interpretation of the BFM, this is interpretation should accurately reflect the BFM.

A primary–but not universal–commitment among Calvinistic brothers is that all people begin life guilty and condemned, accountable to God due to the sin and guilt of Adam. Historically, Calvinists become unsettled when inherited guilt is denied. I have no desire to unsettle my brothers in Christ. But, inherited guilt is not affirmed in the BFM. I regard inherited guilt to be both unnecessary and unhelpful for interpreting the Bible. Even so, I have said repeatedly the view is orthodox. Yet I have been accused of wanting to “push” people out of the SBC and my view has been labeled by some as dangerous and heretical. That brings us to our second example of a difference resulting in division.

I need to preface my closing remarks. Monday night, Dr. Al Mohler’s father stepped into eternity. Dr. Mohler is a brother in Christ and co-laborer in Great Commission ministry. I join the SBC family in grieving with the Mohler family. Even so, this convention-wide doctrinal discussion requires a comment regarding his input. My differences with Dr. Mohler are family differences. Family members sometimes disagree but they love and support one another–even in troubling times.

On June 6, 2012, Dr. Mohler penned an article titled, “Southern Baptists and Salvation: It’s Time to Talk.”[2] In the article, Dr. Mohler wrote this about the Traditional Statement described earlier in this presentation: “Some portions of the statement actually go beyond Arminianism and appear to affirm semi-Pelagian understandings of sin, human nature, and the human will — understandings that virtually all Southern Baptists have denied.”

Dr. Mohler’s use of the semi-Pelagian label was unsupported, inaccurate, and divisive. First, he assigned a theological label but failed to support his claim. Until he points out a specific line in the Traditional Statement which affirms semi-Pelagianism, then his claim remains unsupported.

Second, Mohler’s charge is inaccurate. Consider this chart, prepared for a forthcoming book. In the chart, you can read the definitions of semi-Pelagianism drawn from standard theological reference works. Contrast these definitions against the words of the Traditional Statement. Clearly, the charge of semi-Pelagianism is inaccurate.

harwood-chart-3

Third, the charge is divisive. Providing no evidence to support his claim, Mohler incorrectly labeled the Traditional Statement as semi-Pelagian. He did so after the Statement had been affirmed by former SBC Presidents Morris Chapman, Jimmy Draper, Paige Patterson, Bailey Smith, Jerry Vines, and Bobby Welch. The Statement had also been affirmed by current SBC Seminary Presidents, members of the BFM 2000 Study Committee, SBC state executive-directors, and a band of SBC pastors and Seminary professors.

“Why is Harwood making such a fuss about inherited guilt? Either we’re guilty of our own sin or Adam’s sin. In either case, we’re all sinners in need of a savior. Why does this matter?” This is why it matters:

  1. Romans 5:12-21 does not say we’re guilty of Adam’s sin. No Bible verse states that other people are guilty of Adam’s sin.
  2. Sound theology doesn’t require an affirmation of inherited guilt.
  3. There is no consensus on inherited guilt in church history.
  4. Inherited guilt is not found in the BFM. Even more, inherited guilt seems to contradict Article 3 of the BFM.

Yet Southern Seminary–which receives Cooperative Program dollars and trains pastors for all Southern Baptists–publishes an interpretation of the BFM which advocates for the view. And when a collection of Southern Baptist statesmen affirmed a document which denied inherited guilt, their position was labeled by Southern Seminary’s President as semi-Pelagian. This situation is problematic and needs to be resolved.

In closing, unity in the SBC may depend on the answer to two questions:

  1. Will Southern Seminary revise its Faculty Exposition of the BFM so that it more accurately reflects the BFM?
  2. Will Dr. Mohler retract his charge of semi-Pelagianism?
Adam Harwood, PhD
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies
Truett-McConnell College
Cleveland, Georgia

                  [2]See http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/06/06/southern-baptists-and-salvation-its-time-to-talk/ (Accessed March 18, 2013).

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rhutchin

This article argues that the BFM statement needs to be revised in one direction or the other. For example, Dr. Harwood might want it to begin “In the beginning Adam was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice Adam sinned against God and brought sin into the human race.” The use of the term, “man,” rather than “Adam,” confuses the issue. Replacing “man” with “Adam” would help focus the issue but would not resolve it.

Dr. Harwood says, “the SBTS Faculty Exposition of the BFM inserts a view not found in the BFM: “…the guilt of Adam’s sin falls on all…” Is that true? What was the result of Adam’s sin? Wasn’t it that Adam “…fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin,” and are these not these results of the guilt of Adam’s sin? Seems so to me.

The key phrase in the BFM is, “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.” What exactly does that mean? Does this language exclude the conclusion that people were “sinners” who then (naturally) become transgressors or does it mean that people could only be called sinners after personally becoming transgressors?

I think there may have been some “spiritual” politics at play in developing this language in the BFM and the final agreement (purposely?) allows people to take this language in different directions.

Dr. Harwood advocates a particular view. I don’t think we find the BFM to embrace that view to the exclusion of any other view. The lack of clarity in the BFM is an issue, so maybe the SBC needs to address a contentious division over the interpretation of Scripture and see if it can resolve it.

    Dean

    Rhutchin, this statement, “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.” is confusing to you for one reason, it teaches something you do not want to believe.

    If this statement was included in the BF&M for political reasons it was the politics of 1963 not 2000 for this statement is directly from the 1963 version. If you compare the 1963 version to the 1925 version on the matter of man you will see the convention took a purposeful, decisive step way from inherited guilt. The 1925 version reads on man’s fall – “He was created in a state of holiness under the law of his Maker, but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.”

    The changes confuse no one except those who are determined to hold to mankind inheriting Adam’s guilt and condemnation – and that confusion is recent at that. It is in our present day where people openly pray and work for the reformation of the SBC this statement became confusing. It was clear what was happening in 63. Our convention voted to leave those statements out of the 63 version. Why would they do so? For we as a convention decided to reject the inherited guilt and condemnation of Adam. Herschel Hobbs, chairman of 63 BF&M committee, is on record that the 63 version did this intentionally. I can provide the quotes and references if necessary.

      rhutchin

      “Rhutchin, this statement, ‘Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.’ is confusing to you for one reason, it teaches something you do not want to believe…”
      The changes confuse no one except those who are determined to hold to mankind inheriting Adam’s guilt and…”

      I think there is more in play here than you suggest. Jesus tells us that it is out of the heart that the mouth speaks. Therefore, does “capable of moral action” refer to the heart or to the outward manifestation of that which the heart is? It would seem obvious that it is not the outward expression of sin as observed by others that is meant here, is it?

      So, at what point do we fix the condition of the heart as it must certainly be the heart that is “capable of moral action” regardless whether we are able to observe the person to engage in sin? John the Baptist is recorded to have been excited in the womb at the presence of Jesus. Could we not consider that a moral action in obedience to the first commandment and conclude that a baby in the womb is capable of moral action?

      I think the issue involves more than you entertain.

        Dean

        Rhutch, once again I think the difficulty lies with your philosophical system that you place on Scripture. You mandate the Bible teach what you believe. This is never more evident than you equating the leaping of John the Baptist in the womb with obedience. So the unborn fetus made a decision to be obedient, later did the fetus take God’s name in vain or commit adultery in his heart? I find it difficult that a sane person would have such beliefs. If that were the case we could discipline our newborns for misbehavior. A fetus making a decision to be moral!!!!

        However, my comment was intended to relay the thought earlier that it is not difficult to see what our convention did in 63 with the statement on the fall of man. They took a purposeful step away from imputed guilt and condemnation. I see no confusion as to that being their purpose with the changes with the 25 BF&M to the 63.

          rhutchin

          “They took a purposeful step away from imputed guilt and condemnation. I see no confusion as to that being their purpose with the changes with the 25 BF&M to the 63.”

          OK. I only note that they exchanged language that enunciated a clear position to language that obfuscated. It makes me think that some wanted to keep the old language and others wanted to reject it and a poor compromise resulted. So, why not revisit the issue and resolve the issue officially. Of course, it the convention did that, we would probably end up with two conventions.

            Dean

            Rhutch, thank you for your reply. What I am trying to relay to you but not doing it very well is that the language of the BF&M is clear and understandable to everyone who does not have a belief contrary to what it is stating. Your belief on original sin was struck for the BF& M in 1963. SB are on record in the 63 convention as stating humans are not born condemned. When you read what the 63 version says compared to the 25 version it is clear what the SBC did in 63.

            Hobbs, chairman of the 63 committee says so,

            “Thus the result of the fall is that men inherit, not “a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin” (1925), but a “nature and an environment inclined toward sin” (1963). In the latter “condemnation” comes upon individuals following transgression “as soon as they are capable of moral action.” This, of course, agrees with the position generally held by Baptists concerning God’s grace in cases of those under the age of accountability and the mentally incompetent.”

            That is found in – Herchel H. Hobbs, Southern Baptists and Confessionalism: A Comparison of the Origins and Contents of the 1925 and 1963 Confessions, Review and Expositor Volume 76, 1 (Louisville, KY: Review and Expositor, 1979), pg. 63

            Hutch, I would love for our convention to state clearly what we believe about LA, original sin, and UE. We indeed could very well have two conventions. One of consequential size and one who could hold their first annual meeting at the ball room at the Holiday Inn in Topeka, Kansas. :) However, I would hate to see someone as classy as you leave the SBC. You are always gracious.

          sbcissues

          rhutchin,

          Why don’t you suggest that the calvinists ask for that clarification.

          I am confident that would find support on the Trad side.

            rhutchin

            “Why don’t you suggest that the calvinists ask for that clarification.”

            OK. How about it, Calvinists?

    Adam Harwood

    rhutchin,

    Thanks for your note. You were the first person to reply to 3 of my 4 posts this week. You seem very eager to express your disagreement with the viewpoint I have articulated. I appreciate rigorous theological conversations; thanks for engaging. I simply wish I knew more about you and your perspective. For example, are you a Southern Baptist? Are you a pastor? I hope you will reply to those questions.

    You write: “This article argues that the BFM statement needs to be revised in one direction or the other.”
    No, it doesn’t.

    First, part 4/4 addresses the imputation of righteousness objection. Second, it argues that one of our SBC Seminaries publishes an interpretation of the BFM which does not accurately reflect the BFM–and asks if they will revise their published interpretation of the BFM. Third, it makes a case that Dr. Mohler’s label of the Traditional Statement was unsupported, inaccurate, and divisive–then asks if he will retract his charge.
    I don’t support an attempt to revise the BFM.

    Blessings.

    In Him,
    Adam

      rhutchin

      “You were the first person to reply to 3 of my 4 posts this week.”

      Not sure why. Possible explanations-
      1. You are preaching to the choir.
      2. Recent difficulties in posting have deterred responses.
      3. It is s difficult subject that few spend time investigating.
      4. People are traveling or otherwise indisposed.

Darryl W

I can honestly say that in my 4 decades with the SBC my most disappointing moment was when I read Hankins’ statement of soteriology and the names that followed. I have a lot of respect for many of the men that signed the statement, but I believe they made an error in judgement because many in the SBC found the tenor of the document divisive. I also believe that Mohler’s comment was unwarranted.

If Dr. Harwood does not see the Hankins’ document as divisive, then perhaps he is not the best one to call on Mohler for an apology. I applaud Dr. Harwood’s scholarship and passion for the Truth, but this series of articles appears to be tainted by politics IMO.

    Norm Miller

    Nature of the beast, Darryl, politics.

    If someone assaulted your wife, and your raised a hand to defend her, would you consider yourself divisive?

    Defending the faith once delivered both anticipates and responds to divisiveness.

    Shall Trads simply lay back and let those who believe that God damns some people to hell for his good pleasure tell the world, “This is what all Southern Baptists believe”?

    Generally, what spawns divisiveness is a single act. I think you may be confusing the words divisive and defensive, for defending one’s self is not negatively divisive. — Norm

      Darryl W

      Norm,

      I agree some are confusing divisive and defensive. How did the general convention respond in New Orleans? Hanskins, predicted by many to be virtually uncontested, not being voted in as 2nd VP in his own backyard was a good indication that your definition of defending the faith is not shared by most pulpits in the SBC

      Can you not even see the hostility in your reply?

      Darryl

        Dean

        Darryl, with all due respect, you need to get off your high horse. Your tenor is showing through more than anyone’s on this stream. You call Hankins divisive and Hardwood political. You declare Hardwood not worthy enough to call for an apology from Mohler. Yet!!!! when you mention Mohler labeling SBC members heretics it is merely unwarranted. Unbelievable that the trad statement is the high water mark of disappointment for you because it is divisive and merely label calling others heretics as unwarranted. Hello Pot have you met Mr. Kettle?

          Darryl W

          Dean,

          I do apologize if my words were hurtful. I am certainly capable of being prideful but that was not my intention. My description of how I felt when I read the Traditional statement was as accurate as I can convey. It was not my intention to place Hankins and Mohler on some scale of infraction and weigh one as more or less offensive than the other.

          I do not come here often but I was interested in the content of the John 3:16 conference. After reading a few of the responses I realize I should be more careful of my words.

          Darryl

            Dean

            Darryl, your words were not hurtful to me. I am grateful for your humility in offering an apology though one was not necessary for my sake. I understand your disappointment with the trad statement for Dr. Mohler has made several statements that have been terribly disappointing when I heard or read them. Thank you again for your kindness in your reply to me.

        mary

        So the numbers voting against Hankins at the SBC is indicative of the entire SBC, but the number of those signing the Trad statement is to be dismissed as somehow not important? You look at the names on the Trad statement of men and women with centuries of SBC service between them and those people mean nothing – we are to believe these people, some of them credited with saving the SBC during the CR know nothing about what the SBC actually believes. But the vote against Hankins is to be lauded as the will of all 44,000 churches in the SBC? Politics at the local convention is elevated and those willing to sign a statement declaring their agreement on doctrine is divisive?

          Darryl W

          Mary,

          Neither. I do not believe that the SBC vote on Hankins was in favor or against either side of the Calvinism/Arminianism debate. Instead, it was a warning from the SBC rank and file that if you come off as being divisive you will not garner votes. To me, that was a very wise move made by our convention.

          Darryl

            Mary

            And you ignore the SBC rank and file who signed the Trad statement. The fact those opinions mean nothing and are dismissed as not important is where the division comes from. Maybe the divisive people were the ones who voted against Hankins. Maybe the division is coming from those who chose the side of those who want to silence Trads and dismiss them as heretics. Maybe it wasn’t a warning from the SBC rank and file at all but pure politics with the intent of silencing dissent. Only certain people are allowed a voice in the SBC today and those who choose to speak against it are labeled divisive.

            sbcissues

            Darryl,

            You wrote: Instead, it was a warning from the SBC rank and file that if you come off as being divisive you will not garner votes.

            Can I ask you if you WERE EVEN AT the annual meeting when that vote was taken? or in NO period?

            I assure you the vote was everything BUT a “rank and file” vote.

            lydiasellerofpurple

            Darryl, I take it you DON’T think Mohler has been divisive?

            Mary

            If we’re going to start declaring who is divisive we should first start with the Founder’s, but somehow they get a pass every time.

        Norm Miller

        I would say the vote against Dr. Hankins was a vote against the Trad statement.
        Hostility? Realize, Darryl, that the digital format is a pretty sorry way to converse about such topics as we do.
        Get your big boy pants on, bro. — Norm

sbcissues

rhutchin,

For once I am going to agree with something you write. ” The lack of clarity in the BFM is an issue, so maybe the SBC needs to address a contentious division over the interpretation of Scripture and see if it can resolve it.”

It is time to put this issue to bed in the SBC. It is not going to do anything but get worse. While we may BOTH be wrong, one thing is crystal clear; we cannot both be right. Calvinists do not like my theological position any more than I like theirs. Calvinists do not believe a non-Reformed theological position needs to be the theological position of tomorrow’s SBC. That is clearly obvious as the entities of the SBC have been methodically taken control of by calvinist leaning individuals. While the calvinist side consistently cries for peace and unity, they do so with a clear agenda of continuing their advance and it is indeed time to to address what you yourself accurately admit is a “contentious division over the interpretation of Scripture.”

May God bless the future of the SBC!

JB

” In the chart, you can read the definitions of semi-Pelagianism drawn from standard theological reference works. Contrast these definitions against the words of the Traditional Statement. Clearly, the charge of semi-Pelagianism is inaccurate.”

Instead of comparing theological reference works, why not compare the language of the Trad. statement with the canons affirmed at the Council of Orange? I think that would be more helpful. I have done so in my personal study and the Trad. statement does in fact appear to affirm things that the Council of Orange condemned.

    Norm Miller

    We already dealt with this topic as posited by you, JB, in previous interchanges. — Norm

    Jim G.

    Hi JB,

    John Calvin himself stands condemned under Orange. It repudiates double predestination. According to Orange, any double-predestinarian or supralapsarian is completely anathematized.

    Truth is, Orange did not settle anything. It put off til tomorrow what we are quarreling about today.

    Jim G.

    sbcissues

    JB,

    Personally I can care less what the Council of Orange had to say. I have done my personal study of the Bible and what I find is no justification for a calvinistic theological position whatsoever. I think I will take my stand there. While the language of the TS could have been different, to read into the statement that ANYONE either signing or responsible for the writing of the statement is saying that they believe an individual can on their own come to God is a ridiculous charge.

    To continue this argument is either intentionally maligning at best or simply ignorant at worst. Maybe I have those backwards.

      rhutchin

      I don’t think that TS is written very well, but that is an issue for another day.

      One key phrase is, “…we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.”

      It is the connection of a “free response” with the “Holy Spirit’s drawing” that is interesting. I have said this before, but the issue is how to get different decisions from people. If the TS had said “…a free response to the preaching of the Gospel,” there would not be as much of a problem: smart people would believe; dummies would not.

      However, involving the Holy Spirit (God) to draw people using the gospel means that the Holy Spirit is critical to the decisions that are eventually made. If some people accept the gospel and some reject, then we trace those different decisions back to the Holy Spirit and must conclude that God had to discriminate between the two in order to get different results (and that’s election).

      Maybe you can sort that out, because I don’t think the TS people thought through what they said. Perhaps, a case of too many editors trying to please too many people.

        Adam Harwood

        rhutchin,

        You write to Dean that the 1963/2000 revision of Article 3 of the BFM contains “language that obfuscated.” Also, “a poor compromise resulted.” It appears you don’t like the language of the BFM at Article 3. You even suggest it should be revised when you write: “So, why not revisit the issue and resolve the issue officially.”

        In replying to JB, you write: I don’t think that TS is written very well.” Also, ” I don’t think the TS people thought through what they said.”

        It seems you are unhappy with both the BFM and the Traditional Statement.

        If this is your review (http://ugc.christianbook.com/profiles/2016/94875/profile.htm), then you are also unhappy with Whosoever Will.

        I like the BFM, the TS, and Whosoever Will.

        We differ.

        Blessings, brother.

        In Him,
        Adam

          rhutchin

          “It seems you are unhappy with both the BFM and the Traditional Statement.

          If this is your review (http://ugc.christianbook.com/profiles/2016/94875/profile.htm), then you are also unhappy with Whosoever Will.”

          I am not unhappy with anything. I just like well written documents that speak clearly to issues.

          That was my review of “Whosoever Will” but CB has a word limit on reviews so I had to edit it way down. Regardless, I thought “Whosoever Will” did not address the “elephants” in the room on issues and I pointed out areas where I saw this. I read the reviews on the outside cover (and inside); then I read the book; I could not help but wonder if the people who wrote the reviews had actually read the book.

      sbcissues

      First of all, I am sure many have forgotten the TS statement was released a little prematurely because Tom Ascol took it upon himself to let the world know it was out there…

      I suppose EVERYTHING could be better written depending on who it is that is looking at something. Its purpose was also not to become any sort of official document but rather one to voice a differing position on theological issues we felt important.

      Now to your comment, which is a conclusion you draw, If some people accept the gospel and some reject, then we trace those different decisions back to the Holy Spirit and must conclude that God had to discriminate between the two in order to get different results (and that’s election).

      I do not believe God is deterministic where our being born again is concerned as you suggest. Our decisions concerning the convicting, reconciliatory and revelatory work of the Holy Spirit are NOT MADE BY THE HOLY SPIRIT but by the lost person who is being drawn by the SPIRIT through the proclamation of the gospel.

      Here is the deal; it is fine to critique the language. For ANYONE to continue the Pelagian charge is deliberately inexcusable.

      That was my point.

        Adam Harwood

        For clarification: The TS was *not* released prematurely. The final version was sent to SBC state executive directors for their consideration. Two of those state directors forwarded the e-mail to Founders, who began blogging about the statement.

        Blessings.

        rhutchin

        “Our decisions concerning the convicting, reconciliatory and revelatory work of the Holy Spirit are NOT MADE BY THE HOLY SPIRIT but by the lost person who is being drawn by the SPIRIT through the proclamation of the gospel.”

        OK, but you have just attributed the different decisions people make to “being drawn by the SPIRIT through the proclamation of the gospel.” Again, opposing decisions can be traced back to the “being drawn by the SPIRIT’ making the Spirit’s discriminating influence the determiner of the decisions and this is election by God of those that He has determined to save. I don’t think that is the conclusion you want. By involving God in the decision process, you cannot avoid the conclusion that God determines who is saved. The only way I know to avoid God determining who will be saved is to limit God to persuading people but not allowing Him to directly influence the decisions that people make (by drawing, extending enabling grace, or other means).

        sbcissues

        rhutchin,

        You wrote,

        “Again, opposing decisions can be traced back to the “being drawn by the SPIRIT’ making the Spirit’s discriminating influence the determiner of the decisions and this is election by God of those that He has determined to save. I don’t think that is the conclusion you want. By involving God in the decision process, you cannot avoid the conclusion that God determines who is saved.”

        “Being drawn by the Spirit” does provide the conclusion I present because that is what the text says. Men are drawn to the revelation of God in the proclamation of His Word and the reconciliatory work of the Holy Spirit and our eternity is based on what we do with Jesus; not what God does for a select few.

        I never claim that God is “involved in the decision process”; He lays the gospel BEFORE someone and they choose to accept or reject the truths presented by that gospel message. My point is the individual makes the decision; God does not make that decision for him.

        Your concluding statement ALMOST sums up my position: “The only way I know to avoid God determining who will be saved is to limit God to persuading people but not allowing Him to directly influence the decisions that people make.”

        Actually to persuade is the same thing as influence… God does influence and persuade men to come to the cross and to come to Christ. The difference is that He does not actually make the final decision for the lost person to be saved. That decision is the individuals.

        sbcissues

        rhutchin,

        Here is ONE MAJOR problem I have with the concept of God choosing who will and will not be saved, outside the fact that I do not believe the Bible even comes close to teaching that.

        Calvinism maintains that God is NOT responsible for our decisions that are sinful. So an individual that is lost is responsible for EVERY SINGLE decision he makes up to the point of conversion. Ok… an individual gets saved because calvinism posits that God effectually called the elect person to be born again; Lazarus; James; rhutchin come forth and boom you are His child, immediately. You are adopted in to God’s family.

        Now the some of or even most of the decisions you make as a new born Christian are sinful and God is not responsible for those decisions either because He cannot sin nor does He tempt any man to sin.

        Ok… so here we have it. Calvinism expects people to believe that God determines ONE decision in the life of the elect person and NOT ONE decision in the life of the non-elect. We are everyone of us responsible for every decision we make with the exception of one, once we are born of course and that is being born again and that ONE and ONLY ONE decision belongs solely to God.

        Come one… either your definition of God’s sovereignty extends to individuals or it does not. Calvinism basically says that God is sovereign over one decision and that is it… we are responsible for every other decision. I believe we are responsible for EVERY decision but God has made provision for our sin and He has given to us the consequences of our decisions concerning those provisions. I would say my God is supremely sovereign!

        Hope you have had a great Memorial Day Weekend.

Norm Miller

I may be tempted to steal, but does that make me a thief? No. I am a thief when I steal something.

I have a sin nature, but am I guilty of sin? No. I am guilty of sin when I commit a sin.

One rub is this: I do suffer some of the consequences of Original Sin.

Even though as an infant I am sinless, because of Original Sin, I, as an infant, am born into a sinful world, and live in a fallen Creation, and will die as a result of Original sin. My personal, moral culpability before God has NOTHING to do with the same of Adam’s.

Cals seem to want every one of their propositions of their DoG, to have an equal and opposite proposition. To wit: a question on Monday that posited that since Christ’s righteousness is imputed to believers, then Adam’s guilt is imputed to all. Rhutchin seems to reason similarly, thus exemplifying what many Cals do — form a necessarily symmetrical (good & evil) rubric.

And for some Cals, the rubric must be maintained for the system to remain whole and complete. As with all houses of cards — remove one, and they all fall. If Calvinism is built on biblical principles, then why would it all fall if only one is removed. Is God’s Word flawed? Why is it that all of Calvinism must be embraced (as is the opinion of some Cals) or the system fails?

Calvinism is logical — who can argue with that on only that basis?
Logical? Yes. THEO-logical? I say no.

Dr. Harwood: Thank you once again for proffering a treatise that is biblically ironclad, and, as a result, prohibits so many of your detractors from weighing in here. Though the detractors may not be commenting, we know they are reading. And that is enough for me. — Norm

    Shane Dodson

    “My personal, moral culpability before God has NOTHING to do with the same of Adam’s.”

    Then your righeousness before God has NOTHING to do with the Second Adam’s.

    Right?

      Norm Miller

      Thx, Shane, for demonstrating how Calvinists draw unbiblical parallels. — Norm

      Johnathan Pritchett

      Wrong.

      Norm is correct that the parallel you are trying to make is unBiblical. If we are unrighteous by our own culpability and actions, then we can never be made righteous by our own ability (via supererogatory works) . Given that this is obviously axiomatic, the parallel you try to make is totally bogus. There is no need to be made guilty by the actions of another in order to be declared righteous by the actions of another. One does not logically entail the other in any sense whatsoever.

      I also agree with Norm that my moral culpability has nothing to do with Adam. I sinned, Adam didn’t sin for me. The blame game didn’t work in Genesis 3, nor will it work anywhere else. Romans 1:20 states we are “without excuse”. Imputed guilt seems to me to suggest “excuse”. Having a nature and environment that inclines me towards sin doesn’t necessitate excuse. I chose rebellion. The Bible says “all have sinned”, but it is no threat to doctrine to say that this does not mean “all must have sinned” or something like that. We all WILL sin, but it does not follow from that to say “all must sin” or whatever. It only means that all will sin.

      There is a modal fallacy that prevents us to think otherwise.

      I am declared righteous because of faith in the one righteous act of another (Romans 5:18).

      That said, I will say that since I don’t buy into the imputation of guilt of Adam’s sin, I also do not buy into the imputation of Christ’s righteousness either. I am with N.T. Wright on this. Being declared righteous because of the righteousness of Christ does not entail imputed righteousness from Christ to me any more than being a sinner, judged and condemned and being traced back to Adam’s action in the Garden of Eden, entails the imputed guilt of Adam’s sin to me. Which is probably why I find your parallel even more bogus and unBiblical than Norm does.

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Here is another problem.

        If one asserts that the imputation of Adam’s guilt means that this actually MAKES his posterity actually guilty, then a parallel of that position itself breaks down because, unless one is Catholic, the imputed righteousness of Christ doesn’t MAKE one righteous, but only creates a legal fiction for the basis of one being declared righteous even though one is not, and won’t be until the eschaton in the glorified body.

        So that parallel doesn’t work either for imputation schemes.

        If one wants to argue that the imputed guilt of Adam is a legal fiction on his posterity, and hence one is only actually MADE guilty by their own sin later, thus keeping in line with their own parallel with imputed righteousness of Christ, then such a person making this claim has no argument with Dr. Harwood, since Dr. Harwood only argues that people are not actually guilty of Adam’s sin. Hence, the notion of a legal fiction of guilt via imputation, until one’s ratification by personal sin in a state of moral accountability, basically becomes moot and irrelevant to this discussion.

        As such, to demand a strict parallel in a 1 to 1 ratio on another scheme is a bit futile. This is because one can’t assert that the imputation of Adam’s guilt is a “MAKE guilty” imputation and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is just a “declare righteous” imputation and have a 1 to 1 parallel either. In order for the parallel to be 1 to 1, it has to be a “make guilty” imputation and a “make righteous” imputation parallel. This actually overturns the Reformation more than any New Perspective scheme does.

        Thus, demanding such a 1 to 1 ratio from an opponent of one’s view is wrong-headed.

        The best thing to do, whether one subscribes to imputation schemes or not, is to not load parallels with more weight than they can actually hold on any scheme given the Biblical data.

    Shane Dodson

    “…in Adam all die…” (1 Cor 15:22)

    But wait…I will DIE because of the sin of another man???

    That’s hardly fair!

    :-)

      Norm Miller

      So what does that mean, in Adam all die? DO you posit that b/c of Adam’s SIN we all die as his guilt is imputed to us, or we die b/c his sin caused the universe to enter into a fallen state? I opt for the latter — Norm

        Johnathan Pritchett

        Norm, people don’t seem to understand Genesis 3 at all. When one doesn’t simply look there when Adam and his sin are mentioned, a la Rom. 5:12-21 or 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, they are bound to come up with wrong interpretations.

    rhutchin

    “I may be tempted to steal, but does that make me a thief? No. I am a thief when I steal something.”

    Maybe not.

    James wrote, “…every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:”

    This would suggest that temptations take advantage of existing lust and do not generate those lusts. So, only a thief can be tempted to steal. One must first be a thief in order to be tempted to steal – the opposite of your statement.

davekerr

Dr. Harwood,
You say “But, inherited guilt is not affirmed in the BFM. I regard inherited guilt to be both unnecessary and unhelpful for interpreting the Bible. ”

Just to be clear, would you say that though inherited guilt is not affirmed it is within the bounds of the BFM?

Dave

    Adam Harwood

    Dave,

    Thanks for your question.

    You ask: “Just to be clear, would you say that though inherited guilt is not affirmed it is within the bounds of the BFM?”

    My answer to this question appears in point 4 near the end of the essay above: “Inherited guilt is not found in the BFM. Even more, inherited guilt seems to contradict Article 3 of the BFM.”

    To clarify: Some Southern Baptists affirm inherited guilt but claim statements of faith other than the BFM (such as the Second London Confession). Other SB’s affirm both inherited guilt and the BFM. Of course, SB’s cooperate with one another under the BFM.

    In the post, I state that inherited guilt is an orthodox Christian option.

    Your question asks whether I think inherited guilt is within the bounds of the BFM. I will answer your question by employing the language of Article 3 of the BFM:

    Q: Can inherited guilt be considered within the bounds of the BFM?

    A: Only if one is willing to affirm *guilt* before a person is capable of moral action, before transgression, and before condemnation.

    Blessings.

    In Him,
    Adam

      davekerr

      Ok just for further clarification do you think that the BFM and the Abstract of Principles contradict each other?

        Adam Harwood

        Dave,

        You ask great questions.

        If I post a web link, then my comment will get hung up in moderation. So, if you Google the phrase “The ETS, the AP & the BFM,” then you will find an essay I posted on this site in November 2012.

        In the essay, I provide a chart comparing the words of two documents (the Abstract of Principles and BFM 2000) on the fall of man.

        In part, I write: “Both [statements] affirm that people become transgressors as soon as they are capable of moral action. And both refer to condemnation. But the AP places the statement of condemnation before moral capability.”

        Some people seem to regard “condemnation” to include guilt (such as Dr. Tom Nettles at SBTS). According to this interpretation of the AP, people are guilty of sin before they are morally capable.

        Other people consider “condemnation” to include mortality, or the ability to die, but not guilt (such as Dr. Brad Reynolds at Truett-McConnell College, who once served as a professor at SEBTS; his service at SEBTS required him to sign both statements of faith). According to this interpretation of the AP, people should be regarded as guilty only after attaining moral capability.

        So, there appear to be two different ways to define the word “condemnation” in the AP. Also, if one gives primacy to the BFM, then it becomes hard to affirm inherited guilt. But if one gives primacy to the AP, then inherited guilt can be affirmed.

        The wording of the two documents does seem contradictory at this particular point. But two SBC Seminaries are presently in a difficult position on this issue. The AP is an historic document–a founding document of SBTS, our convention’s first seminary. The AP was later adopted by SEBTS.

        The AP was adopted first–nearly 70 years before the convention adopted the BFM in 1925. But the AP remained in place. When Article 3 of the BFM was changed in 1963 to reflect a change in Article 3, the convention faced larger issues than reconciling Seminary statements of faith. Perhaps the subtle difference between the statements was not noticed. I don’t know.

        In my view, it is problematic for any SBC institution to maintain two statements of faith. All SBC entities, including our Seminaries, should have only one statement of faith, the BFM. Institutions are free to affirm other statements which clarify particular issues, such as the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, but Seminary professors should only be required to affirm one statement of faith. In the SBC, that statement of faith should be the BFM. Even with one statement of faith, interpretive questions arise; matters are further complicated with two statements of faith. Of course, this is only my opinion.

        Blessings.

        In Him,
        Adam

      davekerr

      I commented before I was finished..are you satisfied that Dr. Mohler is within the bound of the BFM when stated in his article on the salvation of infants…..”What, then is our basis for claiming that all those who die in infancy are among the elect? First, the Bible teaches that we are to be judged on the basis of our deeds committed “in the body.”(2) That is, we will face the judgment seat of Christ and be judged, not on the basis of original sin, but for our sins committed during our own lifetimes. Each will answer “according to what he has done,”(3) and not for the sin of Adam. The imputation of Adam?s sin and guilt explains our inability to respond to God without regeneration, but the Bible does not teach that we will answer for Adam?s sin. We will answer for our own.”

      ??

      Shane Dodson

      Re.: this matter of moral cupability…

      Do infants die? Of course we know they do.

      Why do infants die?

      Because of the effects of “original sin,” you may say.

      The original sin of who?

      So you’re left with the position of infants dying because of the sin that Adam committed and thus introduced the effects of into the world.

      And this position is better…how, exactly?

        Norm Miller

        Infants die b/c their hearts stop beating. — Norm

JB

Well Norm, I brought it up, but no one addressed the passages. Everybody talked about how they weren’t going to listen to a bunch of Catholics.

    Norm Miller

    Go back and read the responses. Your generalized characterization is inaccurate. There were more than just ‘anti-Catholic’ responses.

    Adam Harwood

    JB,

    Thanks for your note.

    In a forthcoming book chapter, I provide 6 replies to this charge against the Traditional Statement of semi-Pelagianism based on the Canons of Orange (529). Here is one reply:

    Southern Baptists reject baptismal regeneration (salvation via water baptism). But that was a conclusion of this council. Canon 5 refers to “the regeneration of holy baptism.” Also, Canon 13 states: “The freedom of will that was destroyed in the first man can be restored only by the grace of baptism.” The Canons of Orange are not consistent with the BFM. For that reason alone, it should be regarded as non-binding for Southern Baptists.

    Blessings.

    In Him,
    Adam

tsfortner

Let me kindly remind my brethren, including Dr. Harwood, that Calvinists don’t believe that Adam’s posterity inherit Adam’s sin guilt. Adam’s posterity are sinners because Adam’s sin and guilt are imputed (Gk. logizomai) to Adam’s posterity. Thus, all are sinners because they are Adam’s posterity, and Adam’s guilt is “laid to their account” (the central theme of Romans 5). We inherit an environment inclined toward sin because all the created order is marred and distorted by Adam’s sin, but the problem with our sin and guilt from birth is that Adam’s sin and guilt are imputed to our accounts. This is a legal transaction that sets against God before birth and works its way out through our individual sins.

The terms “inherit” and “impute” are non synonymous (for those not familiar with the terms). We agree with the BFM 2K3 statements about inheriting world marred by sin, but believe that this doesn’t describe the entirety of our desperate situation. We need a Savior because we owe a debt we could never pay, a debt of sin and rebellion imputed to our accounts because of the fatherhood of Adam. Jesus Christ, in His sacrifice of Himself, transfers our sin debt to Himself and replaces our debt with His perfect obedience. This “great exchange” is transacted by God Himself and is not something we can do.

I would like to point out that all orthodox Southern Baptists have historically said that we agree with what I have written above. I suspect that Dr. Hankins would agree with it as well, as this is basic to our understanding of our depravity and the substitutionary atonement. I didn’t see a deliberate attempt to undermine either the imputation of Adam’s sin or Christ’s substitution in the “Statement” but perhaps I missed something. Dr. Hankins might not want to be labeled “Calvinistic,” but it is impossible to be an orthodox Baptist and not be “Calvinistic,” if not a Calvinist.

Serving the Savior,

Tom Fortner

    Norm Miller

    Tom: I beg to differ with any statement that lumps ALL Cals as averring anything in unanimity per your first sentence.

      tsfortner

      Inherited guilt is a Catholic doctrine. I know of no Calvinist who would accept inherited guilt, but if you do, please point me in his direction so I can burn him at the stake. ;^)

volfan007

Dr. Harwood,

As always, very well done, and very insightful. And, something I’ve noticed, and I’ve heard from others, who are smarter than me…which are legion, BTW…is that “ism’s” and “extremes” in the Christian faith always stir up division and strife. I think we’re seeing this play out in the SBC. Whenever one group, who is caught up into “ism’s,” begin to want everyone to embrace their “ism,” then it stirs up strife and division.

We’re at a crossroads in the SBC….no doubt about that….are we gonna let an “ism” force everyone to be like them, or are we gonna allow Believers, who can affirm the BFM2K, all play together?

David

JB

Jim,

I was talking about the Trad. statement in relation to the canons affirmed at the council. Many of the canons directly address topics within the Trad. statement.

JB

Norm, why do all of my replies go to the bottom instead of under the comment I was trying to reply to?

    Norm Miller

    Comments subsequent to others are posted in the order they are rec’d. — Norm

Adam Harwood

Darryl,

Thanks for your note. I regret that the tone of the Traditoinal Statement was perceived by some people as divisive. It was not my intention to divide brothers but to affirm a positive articulation of what I believe (and think *many* Southern Baptists believe) regarding the doctrine of salvation.

Darryl, You state that “this series of articles appears to be tainted by politics IMO.” In exactly what way is it political? Perhaps I can clarify my view.

In Him,
Adam

    Darryl W

    Dr. Harwood,

    Thanks for your reply and interest in my opinion. I put ‘IMO’ in the line because as the week progressed I could not figure out exactly where you were headed. In the last few days, I went back to Grudem, MacArthur, Piper, S. Lewis Johnson, Pink, and others to review their positions. As you are well aware, and kindly acknowledged, there is sound exegesis on the other side of the aisle. I was in the hallways of SWBTS when Dr. Dilday was locked out of his office so that may have skewed my opinion of that section into the political realm. I’m certainly not claiming any ignorance or non-participation in SBC politics. On the contrary, my reading of Hankins’ Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism: Toward a Baptist Soteriology convinced me that the Traditional Statement was more about where he wants us to go than where we are. So, your mention of the statement certainly drew my bias as I see you as too learned to not appreciate the political overtones of such ‘positive articulation’. On the other hand, I can see your concern of the Southern statement.

    Darryl

      Lydia

      “On the contrary, my reading of Hankins’ Beyond Calvinism and Arminianism: Toward a Baptist Soteriology convinced me that the Traditional Statement was more about where he wants us to go than where we are. ”

      That is funny. When I read it, it read more like the SBC I grew up in and I wondered how it got to where it is today.

        Darryl W

        Lydia,

        What was like the SBC you grew up in; Hankins’ description of the ‘comptabilist’ view (which he labels as a logical inconsistency) or his new vision that the SBC has never been able to achieve, but should?

        My experience is that the ‘comptabilist’ view was most common. It was certainly taught to me.

        -Darryl

          lydiasellerofpurple

          It seems that assigning implications to a tweet is a bit sophomoric though, since we all know that implications we assign to words on a page (especially so few words) or screen, come largely from our own bias.”

          Lucky for me, growing up in the SBC, our seminary trained pastors did not feel the need to use ten buck words he knew we would not be familiar with. They seemed to have more respect for the congregation back then. Sadly those days have changed and now it is doctrine over people all the way.

          We were never taught (I was in many churches) that we inherited Adams “guilt” for his sin. And we were not taught we were totally depraved and unable worms.

            lydiasellerofpurple

            Oops, Darryl, that was not your comment and it sent before finished. Let me try again:

            “What was like the SBC you grew up in; Hankins’ description of the ‘comptabilist’ view (which he labels as a logical inconsistency) or his new vision that the SBC has never been able to achieve, but should?”

            Lucky for me, growing up in the SBC, our seminary trained pastors did not feel the need to use ten buck words he knew we would not be familiar with. They seemed to have more respect for the congregation back then. Sadly those days have changed and now it is doctrine over people all the way.

            We were never taught (I was in many churches) that we inherited Adams “guilt” for his sin. And we were not taught we were totally depraved and unable worms.

            Also,We were taught free will but also quite a bit about the Holy Spirit in our lives. Something I rarely hear taught about from the Reformed crowd

            tsfortner

            Hi Lydia,

            If I might intervene, the idea that Calvinists see fallen mankind as having inherited Adam’s guilt and are worms is not consistent with what Calvinists really believe. We don’t inherit Adam’s guilt, but instead it is imputed to us because Adam acted in behalf of himself, his wife, and all their progeny. And even though we are fallen, and sin mars everything around us and all we do, we are still capable of incredible beauty in our creations, intricate complexity, and great craftsmanship. The problem is that the good things we do are all capable of being used by us for incredible evil, an evil inside us that is the direct result of the imputation of Adam’s sin. Yes, we are fallen and sinful, but God created the human race redeemable, and He has accomplished this in the sacrifice of His Son. The great beauty in this is that God decided to create us redeemable before Adam was created, much less before he sinned, showing that the cross was never His “plan B.” This is what Calvinists believe about our “totally depraved” condition and our”so great salvation.”

            Lydia

            tsfortner, I am really not interested in bothering with yet another different explanation of what Calvinism really is after reading the T4G and TGC statements on Mahaney.

            Maybe in a decade or so.

      Adam Harwood

      Thanks for your reply, Darryl. You were present for the infamous Dilday lock-changing? Wow.

      My comments and thoughts about the theology faculty of SWBTS are limited to this question of inherited guilt. (I began my studies under Hemphill and completed them under Patterson. I have nothing but positive memories about all of my professors and administrators at SWBTS. I hear similar stories regarding all of our seminaries; the SBC is blessed in this regard.)

      Adam

        Darryl W

        Adam,

        Thanks for your civil reply. My feelings toward my time at SWBTS are similar to yours. My mention of Dilday was to introduce the notion that while I agree with Macgorman that SWBTS did not fall to liberal doctrine, there were certainly problems in the camp. In that vain, my favorite professor is a man with whom I disagree on secondary and tertiary issues nearly across the board. However, he showed me his passion for Christ and the benefits of engaging others across the aisle. We exchanged barbs, made challenges, and drew lines in the sand but it was with mutual respect as brothers in Christ. You have shown similar characteristics and that is much appreciated. In contrast, the vitriolic nature of this forum’s posters (pro and con), some who are officially associated with this site, is inexcusable for Followers of the Way.

        As a reference, my doctrine aligns well with R. Moore, Mohler, Platt, et al; yet, I am absolutely surrounded on a weekly basis by those who hold tightly with the Trad Statement doctrines. I seriously doubt if you could get anyone who engages me on a regular basis, or the state association office itself [not one of my finer moments], describe me as over-sensitive or non-confrontational. A charge frequently found in the ad hominem replies to my posts.

        Having experienced chapel sermons, read journal papers, and heard lectures where fine Christian men allow politics to navigate their pursuit of truth I might have prematurely put you in that category. For that I do apologize. I spent last night trying to put Mohler’s statements into your perspective. While the statements are tame compared to the arsenal available to you scholars I can see where you see the significance due to the position he holds.

        Your work did produce some questions on my part, if you are interested after I give a general description. I do have questions regarding not just inherited guilt but the Bible’s view of inheritance in general, which I felt was under appreciated in the article . Also, I see guiltless infancy as producing a hybrid state that wants of biblical definition. Also questions of justice regarding God’s demand of death for infants in certain passages. If you want to pursue we can. I assume the site owners can give you access to my email, which would come with my permission.

        Best Regards,

        Darryl

          sbcissues

          Darryl W,

          You wrote in a comment earlier: Instead, it was a warning from the SBC rank and file that if you come off as being divisive you will not garner votes.

          Can I ask you if you WERE EVEN AT the annual meeting when that vote was taken? or in NO period?

          I assure you the vote was everything BUT a “rank and file” vote.

JB

Norm, I did reread the responses. No one addressed the language of the Trad. statement in comparison with canons affirmed by the council; specifically the canons I brought up. Most of the responses were about whether or not the council of orange has any authority over Southern Baptists. That’s not at all what I am talking about.

I wanted someone to look at the language of both texts and compare them. Semi-pelagianism was identified and condemned at this council, so it would make sense that one could look to the canons affirmed to see what exactly about semi-pelagianism they found heretical. I believe that a simple reading of both documents shows that the Trad. statement does appear to affirm things that the council condemned. Again, I believe this is why Dr. Mohler said what he did.

    Adam Harwood

    JB,

    Thanks for your note.

    You seem to claim that Dr. Mohler based his label of semi-Pelagianism on the Canons of Orange (529). I doubt it. But we don’t know the supporting evidence for his theological assertion, because he failed to support his claim; he simply applied the label.

    According to the Baptist Press article linked at the top of this page, he was recently provided an opportunity to clarify his view. According to the article, “Mohler declined comment on Harwood’s statements.”

    Until Dr. Mohler clarifies his view, we can only guess why he used the word semi-Pelagian. But until he clarifies or retracts the comment, it is safe to assume that he still holds the view.

    Blessings.

    In Him,
    Adam

      JB

      Dr. Harwood,

      I agree, I’m only assuming that Dr. Mohler based his statement on the canons of the Council of Orange. I don’t really know. After his blog post on the Trad. statement, I was intrigued and I began reading a lot about semi-pelagianism. My conclusion is that some of the language in the Trad. statement bears similarity to the language in the canons. I look forward to reading your book about this topic.

    Norm Miller

    So, were ALL comments anti-Catholic, like you claimed? — Norm

volfan007

JB,

What if I told you that a lot of views of Calvinists sound a lot like the same views of Hyper Calvinists? Would that make you cringe a little bit? For me to compare you with the Hypers? I bet it would.

Also, I could say that all Calvinists are just like the Westboro Baptist Church crowd, since Westboro is a very strongly Reformed Church. Would that make your blood boil a little?

So, for you, or Dr. Mohler, or any other Calvinists to call us Semi Pelagians is wrong… it’s divisive….it’s either ignorance or willful misrepresentation….and, Dr. Mohler and the other Calvinsts, who accused us of such, should publicly apologize.

David

volfan007

Shane,

Death entered the world due to the sin of Adam. Of course, that’s why people and animals die. That’s also why we have volcanoes and tornadoes and cancer…..because of the fall of Adam.

So, what’s really your point? We all agree that Adam’s sin causes us to be born as sinners. We are all lving in the consequences of Adam’s sin. That still not the same as “inherited guilt.” Consequences? Yes. Being guilty of committing Adam’s sin? No. People will answer to God for their own sins…..people are guilty for their own sins.

David

Rick Patrick

Adam,

While everyone else merely weighs in with their personal opinions, you have taken the high road by clearly and carefully demonstrating through documentation two absolutely irrefutable truths:

(1) Southern’s Faculty Exposition AFFIRMS the inherited guilt view not found in the BFM while NOT MENTIONING the inherited sinful nature without guilt view that is found in the BFM, and

(2) Charges that Traditionalist Southern Baptists have embraced heretical Semi-Pelagian views, which flooded the blogosphere and the press in the wake of last year’s Traditionalist Statement, are totally unsupported and without foundation when applying the definitions of standard theological reference books.

Your clarity of thought on this issue is without peer. The way forward in our convention requires that SBC leaders take seriously the arguments you have made in this essay.

JB

Norm,

Pretty much. Most were about the authority of the council or put simply, why y’all won’t listen to what a bunch of Catholics have to say:)

Donald

JB said “I was talking about the Trad. statement in relation to the canons affirmed at the council. Many of the canons directly address topics within the Trad. statement.”

JB,

Maybe you can help me (and others) see exactly what you mean.

Could you give one definitive example of the canons addressing a specific topic within the Traditional Statement?

Could you show how the three articles referenced above under “Semi-Pelagianism contradicted by the Traditional Statement” do NOT contract semi-pelagianism?

Donald

Jim P

A Point: Death’s association with sin.

Death is not a natural consequence of sin like thunder is a consequence of lightning. Death is imposed on creation by the Creator. It is not a foreign, alien force that enters into creation. If one reads Genesis to Revelation death comes off like a verdict and that verdict by God, the Judge.

If God did not impose death into creation then sin would have no restraint and would go unchecked. With death, sin ends. To support this, in Revelation, God, Himself ends even death, the last enemy. God alone is in control from the beginning to the end. The real source of creations problems is not death, but sin. God has always seen the true enemy.

I think it would be help in any discussions on this to see the source of death, whether a natural consequence of sin or a part of God’s plan in dealing with sin.

Adam Harwood

For clarification: The TS was *not* released prematurely. The final version was sent to SBC state executive directors for their consideration. Two of those state directors forwarded the e-mail to Founders, who began blogging about the statement.

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