I Never Ate the Apple

July 5, 2012

Rick Mug 2015 - Version 8

By Dr. Rick Patrick
Senior Pastor
Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church
Hueytown, Alabama


I must confess at the outset I have always been rather sympathetic toward Adam, for although he is not the only man in history to do whatever a naked woman told him, he does have the distinction of being the first. I do not presume for a moment that if it had been me in the garden things would have turned out any differently. I am a sinner who is guilty of my own sin–and no one else’s. To my shame, my sins have brought plenty of guilt upon myself without borrowing any of the guilt Adam’s sins brought upon him.

In a previous article, I dealt extensively with the subject of inherited guilt, responding to a fellow Southern Baptist who rejects the current confessional position of The Baptist Faith and Message on this issue. My treatment was limited to arguments rooted in the various versions of our confession, along with a discussion of the positions espoused by certain theologians and other religious groups. A few of the reactions to my response indicated a desire for a more thorough biblical and theological treatment, which is the purpose for this article, no longer shackled by the chains of a polemical response to the aforementioned brother, but now able to provide a more freestanding exegetical essay.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)

 

Let me disclaim any suggestion that my view on the effects of the fall diminishes the existence of original sin. Because of the fall, we all inherit from Adam a sin nature and the inclination to transgress. Fallen, we will all sin. The issue I am addressing is not sinful transgression, but guilty condemnation. Adam’s sin spread to me and inclined me to transgress, but I am only guilty of sin “because all sinned,” including, of course, me.

The argument appears to hinge upon the translation in this verse of the phrase eph’ ho pantes hemarton. If one takes this to mean “in whom all sinned” then it is reasonable to conclude that each of us actually committed our own sin “in Adam.” Such a view argues in favor of inherited guilt. However, if one takes what James D. G. Dunn described as the “dominant consensus” view, we must render the phrase “because all sinned” and the normal interpretation then favors the inherited sinful nature without inherited guilt perspective. (Dunn, The Theology of the Apostle, 95)

While, then, we are responsible for our own sins and not guilty because Adam sinned, yet we do not just copy Adam in his sin but are predisposed to sin because he brought sin into the world. (Ernest Best, The Letter of Paul to the Romans, 60)

 

But the inherited sinful nature view should not be called a Pelagian view because it affirms the full sinfulness of humanity from the time of conception, which Pelagianism denies. (Adam Harwood, The Spiritual Condition of Infants, 34)

 

In other words, our guilt and condemnation come about because we each personally sin and not because Adam sinned while we were somehow present in him in a way that made us responsible for the sin that he committed. It bears repeating that this in no way denies the transmission from Adam to us of our sinful nature and inclination.

So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:18-19)

 

Proponents of inherited sinful nature without inherited guilt interpret these verses as broadly applying to the very effects of the fall we inherited in our sinful nature. Indeed, this sinful nature leads to our own transgression resulting in our own condemnation and in the death which comes from our own sin. In contrast, through the obedience of Christ, we are able to be made righteous as a result of His perfect sacrifice for our sins upon the cross when we appropriate His grace through repentance and faith.

In other words, the effects of the fall (sinful nature, actual sin and condemnation) still come upon mankind regardless of which view one holds. The difference is that, in the case of the one who rejects inherited guilt, the condemnation comes only after one’s own personal act of sin, which itself resulted from the sinful nature inherited from Adam.

Fathers are not to be put to death for their children or children for their fathers; each person will be put to death for his own sin. (Deuteronomy 24:16)

 

This verse stands for a variety of Old Testament passages (Ezekiel 18:19-20, Jeremiah 31:29-34, Psalm 79:8 and others) which argue against the transmission of guilt from one generation to another. The weight of Scripture supports this personal responsibility, but the contrary position is found as well (Exodus 34:7, Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9 and others) although most interpret the iniquity being visited in these verses as the natural consequences of sin with which families must contend. Although not directly speaking to the special case of our common ancestor Adam, these verses nonetheless lend support to the view that we become guilty only after we have personally sinned.

We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. (Ephesians 2:3)

 

The concept of being “by nature children under wrath” is only problematic for one who denies inherited guilt if one assumes that no personal sins have yet been committed. However, the context of the verse itself disabuses us of such a notion. The sinners in this passage are said to be already living among them “in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts…” By this point, their sinful natures were already under severe condemnation for much more than the sin of Adam in the garden.

It should at least be noted once again that the placement of the word “condemnation” in The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 indeed follows that point in time when men who are capable of moral action become actual transgressors:

Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. (BFM 2000, emphasis added)

 

Clearly, the inherited sinful nature without inherited guilt perspective is the current confessional view of Southern Baptists. One of the most articulate expressions of this view, cited by Harwood, is the following quote by Timothy Dwight, one of the early presidents of Yale College:

When I assert, that in consequence of the Apostasy of Adam all men have sinned; I do not intend, that the posterity of Adam is guilty of his transgression. Moral actions are not, so far as I can see, transferable from one being to another. The personal act of any agent is, in its very nature, the act of that agent solely; and incapable of being participated by any other agent. Of course, the guilt of such a personal act is equally incapable of being transferred, or participated. (Dwight, Theology Explained and Defended, 478)

 

In conclusion, although my purpose in this essay has been to complement exegetically my earlier polemical approach, I must return briefly to the unfortunate insinuations of possible heresy which made these two articles necessary. While I can understand that some Southern Baptists might personally oppose a specific theological view espoused in our denomination’s confessional statement, the idea that they, possessing the contrary view, would actually accuse as heterodox the view of those who faithfully adhere to our confession, is in my opinion, a pill exceedingly difficult to swallow, creating a lump in my throat just above the only Adam’s Apple for which I am responsible at all.

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Jeremy Crowder

I wonder if any person that used the Pelagianism charge has admited they were wrong.

    John M. Harris

    No, they haven’t.

    Chris Roberts

    Has anyone made an accusation of Pelagianism?

      Jeremy Crowder

      modify: Semi-Pelagianism charge. My apology Chris Roberts for the error in fact.

        volfan007

        I’m with CB. They should apologize for this gross mischaracterization and slander.

        David

    Anthony Battaglia

    It would be difficult and a lie to admit to something that just isn’t true. Like or not it is Pelagian theology – “there’s nothing new under the sun”.

      rey

      There is nothing new under the sun. Pelagian theology goes back to Jesus and the OT prophets. Pelagius didn’t invent it — there’s nothing new under the sun. No OT writer, and not Jesus either, teach the idea that we inherit Adam’s guilt. Pelagius must have read Ezekiel18, unlike you and the Calvinist ilk.

        Anthony Battaglia

        REY, “the wages of sin is death”. Babies die in the womb, period. Death is the result of sin. Sin IS transgression of the Law. There is NO OTHER biblical definition or reason for death. Unless you are calling God unjust?

Allen

You should have stayed in Romans 5 and completed Paul’s argument. No one would argue about Paul’s argument for imputed righteousness. You did not “not eat the apple” like Jesus did but you still get credit. How’s that fair? ;) Catch my drift? Imputed guilt and imputed righteousness are key to understanding Romans 5. We don’t inherit a “righteous nature” from Jesus. We inherit righteousness. And from Adam, our 1st representative, we inherit guilt.

    bobby capps

    I agree with Adam, in Romans 5 (not 12, typo) the point is that as sin and guilt are inherited in Adam so righteousness and innocence in Christ. You must see the direct analogy don’t you? And if so, then are you also saying that only the inclination to righteousness is inherited in Christ and innocence is applied as we live sin free if your ‘inclination’ view is applied faithfully to the comparision in the text.

      bobby capps

      or another question more basic: Was I born alive and then died and now “must be born again”? And if not and I was born dead and must be brought to life, then what could possible have made me be born dead save “the wages of sin”?

      Rick Patrick

      I think you agree with Allen (typo) — and yes, the reference should be corrected to read Romans 5:12, so thank you.

      To both Allen and Bobby, let me simply point out, along with Erickson, that humans ratify the actions of both representatives. In other words, we ratify the work of Christ on the cross by appropriating the salvation He offers through repentance and faith, and in the same way we also ratify the sin of Adam to fall under condemnation and guilt.

        Chris Roberts

        We receive the guilt of Adam by virtue of physical birth. We receive the righteousness of Christ by virtue of new birth.

          Rick Patrick

          I suppose you believe that during the roughly nine month period between conception and birth, the guilt of Adam rests on the pre-born as well. In other words, isn’t your view that the guilt of Adam comes about nine months before physical birth?

          Chris Roberts

          Rick,

          I suspect I may know where you are going so let me put it this way, and this works just as well biblically and logically: when I come into physical existence, I inherit sin and guilt from Adam. When I come into spiritual existence, I inherit righteousness from Christ. We know we come into physical existence at conception, but we still normally speak in terms of birth – thus we celebrate new life by birthdays, not by conception days. In a similar way, the Bible doesn’t speak of a conception period for new Christians, it simply speaks of the new birth.

          Either way, as a descendant of Adam, I receive his guilt; as a descendant of Christ, I receive his righteousness.

        Allen

        I think I see what you are trying to say but once we “ratify” the sin of Adam are we or are we not “guilty” of Adam’s sin? Do we get credit for Adam’s sin? Because we DO get credit for Christ’s righteousness once “ratified”.

        Anthony Battaglia

        Just cut to the chase: You’re gonna die Rick, babies die and even in the womb. The wages of sin is death. NO other biblical reason or definition for DEATH. Counted PERSONALLY sinful before a Holy God. Death, death, death. God is just and perfectly righteous and you or anyone else cannot have it any other way. If we are not guilty then no punishment, end of story, BUT we are guilty and death proves it. Sorry, but that finishes a debate that should never start among bible believing Christians. Stop blaspheming the justice of God.

    Rick Patrick

    Allen,

    I do believe in the imputation of guilt, but along with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, I believe in the “mediate” view of imputation rather than the “immediate” view. Dr. Adam Harwood summarizes the issue nicely:

    “Both views teach that all people are sinful and guilty before God due to our relationship to Adam. And both views read Romans 5 as a parallel of Adam and Christ, in which Christ reverses through his obedience the condemnation that resulted from Adam’s disobedience. The difference comes when considering precisely whether a person BECOMES or IS ALWAYS GUILTY of sin and thus under condemnation of sin and death. …The second view is known as mediate imputation… This view affirms that everyone is SINFUL because of Adam, but it denies that we are GUILTY due to the sin of Adam. Instead, we are guilty and fall under condemnation only when God judges our own sinful thoughts, attitudes and actions.” (Harwood, “The Spiritual Condition of Infants,” 33)

      Allen

      I wonder again though, how this would still make Paul’s argument a true parrallel? He’s arguing that Christ makes us “righteouss” before God, so my understanding of justification is that we get full credit for all that Christ did. He took our sin, we take His righteousness. So once we sin are we just guilty of sin, or are we guilty of Adam’s sin as well? Because that seems to be Paul’s argument in Romans 5. Thanks for the discussion…

        Dean

        When one reads chapter five without their own personal grid placed over the top of Scripture they see a celebration of Grace not an argument for imputed wickedness. I have read where the challenge is to keep the analogy or the parallel between what happened in Adam and what happened in Christ. You cannot keep the parallel or the analogy they must break down. In one we get something we deserve in the other we get something we do not deserve. Paul is celebrating the fact that in Christ we get what we do not deserve imputed righteousness. It is a very minority that will take this wonderful chapter and argue for the imputed wickedness of man. What an injustice to the chapter!

Steve Martin

Interesting post.

Semi-Pelagianism (what I think is what we have going on in many Christians – ‘a lot of God, and a little bit of me’) says that we are capable of and need to ‘do’ one or more little things to close the deal….to respond.

The fall puts us in a situation where we cannot. We are bound to sin. We will to sin. We don’t stop sinning…because we don’t want to stop sinning. We actually need a Savior and not a cosmic helper.

Thanks.

    Rick Patrick

    In contrast to your suggestion that anyone would believe salvation is “a lot of God, and a little of me,” consider these sentences from the Traditional Statement completely disavowing such a notion:

    “…no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort.” (Article Two)

    “We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.” (Article Four)

    “We affirm God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.” (Article Seven)

    I think it’s fair to say that the Traditional Statement believes that salvation is ALL of God and NONE of man. What is denied is that God, in providing for man to freely respond, was in fact creating a job for us to perform or a work for us to do. The acceptance of work is not work. When I allow the waiter in a restaurant to fill my glass of water, I do not consider myself to have done anything. And yet, they will typically ask before they refill, and will stay away if I refuse.

      Chris Roberts

      It is contradictory to say that salvation is all of God and none of man, while also saying that man must, by his power, do something (make a choice, pray a prayer, etc) in order to be saved. I am not, at this point, saying that our response is a job, a work, a meritorious act – but nonetheless you are requiring man to take part in his own salvation. In your example of the filled glass of water, this is still the case: unless you did something, your glass would be empty. You had to do something for your glass to be full. In that example, it is the waiter who cooperates with you, who responds to your will, who answers your expressed desire, who waits for you to take the initiative in seeking to have your glass filled. He is standing there with the pitcher, he is offering it, he may even ask you if you would like a refill, but he will not pour the first drop until you, on your own, have asked for him to do so. His action cooperates with your will. Your glass being full is mostly due to his action, but remains partly due to your will. This is the TS view of salvation.

        Mary

        People put their faith in all manner of things. Unless your faith is in the one who has the power to to do what He says He will do, you’re faith means nothing. It’s only God who can accept the faith and stamp it as good. Faith is not a work and is nothing unless/until God stamps the account paid. It’s not the faith where salvation occurs, it’s God stamping the account paid where salvation occurs.

        I can ask a restaurant full of waiters for a glass of water, but if none of them have the water, it does no good.

        The actually work of salvation is on the side of God. He chooses who’s faith to accept. He doesn’t accept faith in ol’ Buddha. His game, His rules, He declares who is saved, who is not.

        volfan007

        Chris,

        You said, “It is contradictory to say that salvation is all of God and none of man, while also saying that man must, by his power, do something (make a choice, pray a prayer, etc) in order to be saved.” No, it’s not contradictory, and it’s the truth.

        Repentance and faith are not works. Works are works. Repentance is repentance. Faith is faith. They are all separate things. Turning to God in simple, humble faith is not a work. It’s just simply a response to the calling and convicting of the Holy Spirit of God. There are absolutely no works involved in it.

        David

          Chris Roberts

          David,

          Call it whatever you want to call it, but I must still do something, even if the something I do is as little as crying out, “God save me!” That is still an action I must perform. I’m surprised it’s something we even have to argue. In order to be saved, there is something I must do. If I don’t do it, I will not be saved.

          Bob Hadley

          Chris,

          I think you have in this last statement contradicted your own positions for it is my understanding the calvinist believes an individual MUST repent and MUST call out to God to be saved; the difference between the TS and calvinist positions are that for the latter it is God who effectually calls the sinner to do those things… whereas prior to that effectually calling the unregenerate man will not do so.

          Might want to rethink this whole exercise… I think you err terribly, no?

          ><>”

          Chris Roberts

          Bob,

          Here is the difference: in the TS, my calling out to God is something I do. In Calvinism, my calling out to God is something God does through me. In the TS, I retain the ability to respond to the gospel. In Calvinism, I have no ability to respond unless God does it.

          But your challenge doesn’t change my point: in the TS, I must do something in order to be saved.

          Bob Hadley

          Chris,

          Let me get this straight… in the TS, my calling out to God is something I do. In Calvinism, >b>my calling out to God is something God does through me.>/b> So… it is NOT you who is calling out; it is God calling out through you? Can you show me a Scriptural passage where God is the ONE who is repenting for ANYONE?

          “In the TS, I retain the ability to respond to the gospel. In Calvinism, I have no ability to respond unless God does it. OK… so you are saying God responds to Himself through you? So it is not your response but His response to Himself…

          You know if you said that in some places, they might put a straight jacket on you.

          ><>”

          Chris Roberts

          Bob,

          Limiting me to just one? Fine. Philippians 2:12-13.

Tim G

Rick,
Great article! Your closing paragraph sums the mess up on this subject in a brilliant way.

Thank you!

Kevin Rhyne

Rick,

I appreciate the tone of this article and chuckled at the turn of phrase at the end. I wonder, however, where are you getting the “ratification” idea that you put forward in the previous comment. How is it possible to “incline” to “ratify” Christ’s “righteous act” when we have an inherited nature of rebellious unbelief?

    Rick Patrick

    Kevin,

    Thanks. As for sourcing the “ratification” concept, it is discussed in Adam Harwood’s excellent “The Spiritual Condition of Infants” available on Amazon.com at the following link: http://amzn.to/MM6Y6Q.

    Here’s a little more, but really, everyone should buy the book:

    “Erickson discerns a need to understand Romans 5 in a way that incorporates human ratification of the actions of both representatives in order to avoid universalism. In other words, if Grudem’s view is correct that all inherit Adam’s guilt, then all should inherit Christ’s righteousness. If, however, it is necessary for humans to RATIFY the work of Christ by APPROPRIATING the salvation offered by Christ, then it is likewise necessary to ratify the sin of Adam in order to fall under condemnation and guilt.” (pg. 18)

      abclay

      Not to speak for Kevin, but I believe he was looking for a Scriptural source, not another explanation of Romans 5 from the same hermeneutic.

      Anthony Battaglia

      Yes all in Adam die and all in Christ live. “In” being the working preposition. It is very elementary. Just cut to the chase: You’re gonna die Rick, babies die and even in the womb. The wages of sin is death. NO other biblical reason or definition for DEATH. Counted PERSONALLY sinful before a Holy God. Death, death, death. God is just and perfectly righteous and you or anyone else cannot have it any other way. If we are not guilty then no punishment, end of story, BUT we are guilty and death proves it. Sorry, but that finishes a debate that should never start among bible believing Christians. Stop blaspheming the justice of God.

Ron Hale

Rick,
Thanks for this great article that gives us a lot to think about … I enjoyed your last sentence:

“While I can understand that some Southern Baptists might personally oppose a specific theological view espoused in our denomination’s confessional statement, the idea that they, possessing the contrary view, would actually accuse as heterodox the view of those who faithfully adhere to our confession, is in my opinion, a pill exceedingly difficult to swallow, creating a lump in my throat just above the only Adam’s Apple for which I am responsible at all.”

Praying no “bad apples” are thrown your way today!

John M. Harris

Calvinism, relying on philosophical rationaligisms since 1618 ;-)

What really perplexes me is when Calvinists argue “well the Bible says ‘X’ and I believe that means ‘Y’ therefore if you don’t believe ‘Z’ you’re a (insert derogatory historical term here).” oh how you Calvinists love your labels, categories, and distilling complex bibliblical issues into nice and neat sound bites that are simple to understand.

The reality is, Calvinism presupposes that not only is extra Biblical understanding possible (to which we would all agree), but that we can be dogmatic about it. No, we can’t. We are not apostles.

Not The Original Les

I rather tend to agree with J. Gresham Machen when he writes,

God said to Adam that if he disobeyed he would die. What is the meaning of that death? Well, it includes physical death; there is no question about that. But, alas, it also includes far more than physical death. It includes spiritual death; it includes the death of the soul unto things that are good; it includes the death of the soul unto God. The dreadful penalty of that sin of Adam was that Adam and his descendants became dead in trespasses and sins. As a just penalty of Adam’s sin, God withdrew his favor, and the souls of all mankind became spiritually dead. The soul that is spiritually dead, the soul that is corrupt, is guilty not only because of Adam’s guilt but also because of its own sin. It deserves eternal punishment.

The very penalty for sin is death. Penalties are enacted to the guilty, not the innocent. This death penalty on all, even the very young (they do die after all) is not just because of actual sin but because of imputed sin and the associated guilt, else there would be no penalty.

Just my thoughts.

Ken Hamrick

Dr. Patrick,

You stated:

Because of the fall, we all inherit from Adam a sin nature and the inclination to transgress. Fallen, we will all sin. The issue I am addressing is not sinful transgression, but guilty condemnation. Adam’s sin spread to me and inclined me to transgress, but I am only guilty of sin “because all sinned,” including, of course, me.

Which part of your nature chooses to sin against God—the physical nature or the spiritual nature? Since sin is a spiritual rather than a physical matter, then the nature that you acknowledge is inherited from Adam involves not only your body, but includes your spiritual nature. If it were only the physical part of your nature that you inherited from Adam, you could look back and deny that you had anything to do with eating the apple—but then you could also object to the injustice of saddling you with a sinful inclination that you did nothing to earn. However, if you rightly see that the nature you inherited from Adam was entire and included the spiritual as well as the physical, then you ought not to deny the corporate spiritual identity of all men in Adam and in his act. All men earned the consequences to nature, body and environment because all men had a spiritual union of origin in Adam when he sinned.

    Rick Patrick

    Ken,

    “However, if you rightly see that the nature you inherited from Adam was entire and included the spiritual as well as the physical, then you ought not to deny the corporate spiritual identity of all men in Adam and in his act. All men earned the consequences to nature, body and environment because all men had a spiritual union of origin in Adam when he sinned.”

    I do not at all deny my spiritual union with Adam, nor my sinful nature. I deny that God punishes men for this sinful NATURE, but rather affirm, along with the BFM2000, that He punishes men for their sinful ACTIONS, resulting in their condemnation only after the sinful nature they inherited from Adam expresses itself through their own personal sin.

    “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors AND ARE UNDER CONDEMNATION.” (BFM 2000, emphasis added)

    Not to be too redundant here, but notice that we are only under condemnation AFTER we become actual transgressors.

      volfan007

      Rick,

      Exactly. What you’re saying here lines up perfectly with what the BFM2K clearly states.

      David

      Chris Roberts

      A nature that is sinful is a nature that exists in rebellion to God. If my very nature is in rebellion, my very self is in rebellion and I am, by nature, a sinner, a sinful person, and subject to the just judgment of God.

      There does not exist a peculiar middle ground in which I, though possessing a sinful, rebellious nature, am not a sinner who merits the judgment of God.

        Ken Hamrick

        Chris,

        I disagree. If God\’s account in Genesis of the first sin told us anything, it told us that it was willfully chosen. If God had created Adam as a baby who was unable to talk, and then told him not to eat any of the apples on the ground under the tree, do you really think that He would have considered it sin if that infant had tried to eat one of the apples? Is that a ridiculous picture? It\’s no more ridiculous than proposing that God would hold infants today accountable for a mere nature, which they did not willfully choose.

        The sin nature is an expression or result of the state of spiritual death into which all are born. Spiritual death is spiritual disunion or separation with God. When Adam sinned, all men sinned in him and all men spiritually died when he spiritually died. Since all men are propagated from him, then we are all conceived in this state of spiritual death. Being spiritually separate from God, we have only self-centeredness, and self-centeredness in the face of God is the essence of sin. However, the brain of a child at conception is not capable of understanding that there is a God, so only when the child develops this accountable understanding of God, good and evil, does his selfishness become willful transgression.

          Chris Roberts

          If my nature – which is part of me, it is who I am – is at enmity with God, if I am at enmity with God, how am I not justly condemned? Even if all we allow is that we are born “inclined” toward sin, how is that in itself not a sinful state? Is God pleased by people inclined away from him? I would agree that there is a difference in how children are held to account for their sin and sinfulness, but that doesn’t lessen the reality of their sinful condition. We all enter the world with a sin nature, which is to say we all enter the world as sinners in rebellion to God and justly deserving of his wrath. Thanks be to God for (1) hints in Scripture (just hints, not enough for dogmatic proclamation) that those who “have no knowledge of good and evil” (Deut 1:39) – in other words, infants and young children – are not judged for sin even if they are guilty, and (2) that we, though guilty and accountable, may receive mercy through Christ. From beginning to end, we deserve wrath. Only by God’s grace is there hope for any of us.

          A side question on the issue of the spiritual state of children: is it by grace that God would welcome into Heaven an infant who dies in childbirth? Or would we argue that God would be unjust to punish such a child? If so, then his going to Heaven is a matter of his merit rather than God’s grace. But if he is welcome into Heaven as a matter of grace, then Heaven must not be what he deserved but God graciously granted it to him anyway.

          Ken Hamrick

          Chris,

          We all enter the world with a sin nature, which is to say we all enter the world as sinners in rebellion to God and justly deserving of his wrath.

          We all enter the world with a sin nature, which is to say we all enter the world spiritually disconnected from God, but not yet in rebellion to Him. Our self-centered, spiritually dead nature will only grow in selfishness and will inevitably sin as soon as an accountable knowledge is reached. We are born sinners the way that some are born musicians (but do not come from the womb playing a trumpet).

          A side question on the issue of the spiritual state of children: is it by grace that God would welcome into Heaven an infant who dies in childbirth? Or would we argue that God would be unjust to punish such a child? If so, then his going to Heaven is a matter of his merit rather than God’s grace. But if he is welcome into Heaven as a matter of grace, then Heaven must not be what he deserved but God graciously granted it to him anyway.

          And what of the injustice of punishing a child for a sin committed by someone else (Adam)? Can even the sin nature itself be a mere misfortune that victimizes us? The fact is that heaven requires more than the lack of sin. It requires a positive and perfect righteousness, which only Christ can give. So not even unborn children can get to heaven without being regenerated and spiritually united with Christ.

          Chris Roberts

          Ken,

          It is not unjust for me to be punished for that which is within me. However I became a sinner, I am born a sinner. I’m putting this in terms of the individual sinner, but yes, this all traces back to Adam and his sin and his fall when Adam, as representative head of the human race, brought guilt on us all by his sin. By his sin, I am born a sinner – but it is still me who is the sinner. And as others have pointed out, why don’t we complain about the justice of being found righteous based on someone else’s righteousness? If inherited guilt is a problem, so is inherited righteousness. But we don’t like the one so we argue against it, yet we like the other so we defend it. Meanwhile, the Bible teaches both.

          When you mention the required active righteousness of children, I would be curious to hear how this works. If we don’t do what we are supposed to do, that in itself is sin. Sin isn’t simply doing what God tells us not to do – stealing when he says not to sin. It is also sin when we don’t do something God tells us to do – when we hold back from helping the poor, etc. If an unborn or small child is in some sense innocent or free from guilt, then he is innocent of disobedience either direction – he is innocent of doing what God says not to do, and he is innocent of not doing what God says to do. In which case, why would he need to be united with Christ? He already has perfect righteousness. If not, then he is a guilty sinner and in need of saving grace.

          Ken Hamrick

          Chris,

          You stated:

          It is not unjust for me to be punished for that which is within me. However I became a sinner, I am born a sinner. I’m putting this in terms of the individual sinner, but yes, this all traces back to Adam and his sin and his fall when Adam, as representative head of the human race, brought guilt on us all by his sin. By his sin, I am born a sinner – but it is still me who is the sinner. And as others have pointed out, why don’t we complain about the justice of being found righteous based on someone else’s righteousness? If inherited guilt is a problem, so is inherited righteousness. But we don’t like the one so we argue against it, yet we like the other so we defend it. Meanwhile, the Bible teaches both.

          I beg to differ on all counts. While there is no particular sin that any sinner can point to with the excuse, “My nature made me do it,” it remains true that no sinner can overcome their own sinful nature—sin is an inevitable part of their existence. For God to put such a powerful bias toward sin within men and then condemn them would not be just. After all, that is not what He did in Adam’s case, so why do we not get the same fair chance?

          No man can bring guilt on another man. God is the God who will judge every man for his deeds, and not for the deeds of other men. Justifying an undeserving man by giving him the righteousness of another is grace; but condemning an undeserving man by giving him the guilt of another is injustice. Biblically, condemnation is never like grace or a gift, but is always earned.

          All men were “in the loins of” Adam when he sinned, just as Levi was in the loins of Abraham when he paid tithes to Melchizedek. It was that spiritual “inbeing” in Adam that identified us with him and gave us a seminal participation in his sin. But we have all been propagated out of Adam. Since we are no longer “in his loins,” then we no longer have that inbeing in him, and we no longer share his personal identity and personal guilt. Those of us who are saved now share a spiritual inbeing in Christ, and thus share in His personal identity and personal righteousness. You see, the parallel is not the same in every way, but is instead an inverse parallel. While the spirit of the first Adam is dispersed by propagation to many descendants, the spirits of believers are collected back into spiritual union with the Last Adam.

          You stated:

          When you mention the required active righteousness of children, I would be curious to hear how this works. If we don’t do what we are supposed to do, that in itself is sin. Sin isn’t simply doing what God tells us not to do – stealing when he says not to sin. It is also sin when we don’t do something God tells us to do – when we hold back from helping the poor, etc. If an unborn or small child is in some sense innocent or free from guilt, then he is innocent of disobedience either direction – he is innocent of doing what God says not to do, and he is innocent of not doing what God says to do. In which case, why would he need to be united with Christ? He already has perfect righteousness. If not, then he is a guilty sinner and in need of saving grace.

          Would you agree that God will not hold an unborn child accountable for not feeding the poor? –Or anything else for that matter? Even Paul, in Rom. 9:11, acknowledges that the unborn do nothing good or bad. But to gain heaven requires more than an empty slate. No one gets there with any sin that has not been atoned for, but neither can any get there without a perfect righteousness, or in other words, a record of having lived out all that God (and His law) requires. This is true even of those who are saved, as we are credited with the record of Jesus’ perfectly righteous life just as if we had lived it. Those who die prior to an accountable understanding have no sin on their record, but no righteousness either. They are the offspring of a sinful people and they inherited the same spiritually dead, self-centeredness that is the sin nature. They sinned in Adam, but in a spiritually corporate way, and while this allows them to escape personal condemnation, it leaves them without any moral merit. Since all men sinned in Adam in a real way, none can object that their situation is unjust. They still stand in need of the Savior to regenerate them with the spiritual life that only union with Him will bring, as well as the saving righteousness that only He can give. Since John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb, then such unborn conversions are not without precedent.

          It is telling that at the Great White Throne Judgment, God will judge every man according to his works, and all who are not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire. There is no confusion of categories here. Only those who have sinful works for which to be condemned will not be found in the Book of Life. There will be none who are without any sinful works but are cast into the fire anyway because they are not found in the Book of Life. God does not allow any nonelect to die prior to accountable sin.

      Ken Hamrick

      Dr. Patrick,

      If you acknowledge that we all had a spiritual union (and corporate spiritual identity) in Adam when he sinned, then there is no reason to avoid the corporate meaning of “for all sinned [in Adam].” The context is emphatic and repetitive: it was “the one transgression” of the “one man” which is pivotal. I agree that we are not personally condemned for that sin in which we had a corporate spiritual participation, but nowhere in Rom. 5 is there personal condemnation for Adam’s sin. Rather, his sin “led to” and “resulted in” condemnation for all men, and it did so by the means of a propagated nature.

      If you agree that we had a spiritual union of origin in Adam, and have been propagated from him in our entire being, then why would you say the following?:

      I do not presume for a moment that if it had been me in the garden things would have turned out any differently.

      Can you not acknowledge that “we were somehow present in [Adam] in a way that made us responsible for the sin that he committed”? I don’t mean personally responsible, but responsible as a race of people who had a spiritual origin in the one who sinned (and have been propagated from him).
      Although we are only under personal condemnation for our personal sins, we are born under the racial (or corporate) death sentence that we corporately earned in the garden in Adam.

        Rick Patrick

        Ken,

        While I admit that my union with Adam transmits unto me a sinful nature, I deny that God punishes any person of any age or mental capacity simply for possessing this sinful nature. He condemns and punishes us for our sinful ACTIONS, not for our sinful NATURES.

        To put it another way, people will go to hell, not due to the sins of Adam or the sins of all humanity, but due to their very own personal sins.

          Ken Hamrick

          Dr. Patrick,

          Are you saying, then, that we are mere victims of misfortune in being born with a sinful nature? You say that no man will go to hell due to Adam’s sin, but isn’t it true that all who go to hell go there–in a sense–because of Adam’s sin. All go there due to being sinners, but none chose to be born with a sinful nature–or did they?

Not The Original Les

Dr. Robert Peterson (CTS) on mediate imputation:

Let me now work with mediate imputation, which is illogical and
difficult to understand. The Calvinist views of mediate and immediate imputation are alike in holding to
representative union between Adam and his posterity and to the imputation of Adam’s sin to the race.
Again, let us briefly review what is either mediate or immediate in the imputation of Adam’s guilt.
Joshua Placeus, professor at the theological school in Saumur, France—which gave us also unlimited
atonement, also called four-point Calvinism, and Amyraldism, because Amyraut was a teacher there—is
the originator of the view of mediate imputation. Previously all of the orthodox reformed scholars had
taught that Adam’s sin was the basis for the condemnation of mankind and that the corruption of human
nature was a result of Adam’s sin. Placeus reversed the order. He made the corrupt human nature the
basis of the condemnation and made the guilt of Adam’s sin dependent on participation in the corrupt
nature,

    Adam Harwood

    Les,

    You noted that Dr. Peterson teaches at CTS, which is Covenant Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian school. It should not be surprising that many Southern Baptists differ with Presbyterians on this issue.

    In Him,

    Adam

      Not The Original Les

      Adam,

      Correct. He is at Covenant, a Presbyterian seminary. I had him for several courses. Fin prof.

      I could have cited Baptists. For instance the LBC 1689:

      “2. Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.”

      “3. They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.”

      “4. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”

      I’m sure I can find others as well. It is not just a Presbyterian interpretation.

      God bless,

      Les

        Adam Harwood

        Les,

        Thanks for your reply. I don’t doubt that he was a fine professor. And I understand that many early Baptist confessions (as well as many of today’s Southern Baptist pastors and theologians) affirm inherited guilt.

        My goal was to note that you offered a Presbyterian theologian as evidence that not all Christians agree with this view held by many (perhaps most) Southern Baptists. This view of inherited sinful nature finds support (this can’t be said too often) in the BFM 2000. My point, which remains, is simply that this should not be a surprise. Although both groups are Christians, Southern Baptists are not Presbyterians. There are many points of theological similarity but there are also differences. This happens to be one of those points of difference. Some Southern Baptists formulate a biblical view of man and sin which affirms our connection to Adam (with its universal and inevitable sinfulness) while rejecting the Augustinian-Calvinist formulation of inherited guilt.

        In Him,

        Adam

Ken Hamrick

Les,

Physical death is a consequence of the race’s sin in Adam, but it is not a personal condemnation. Proof is found in the fact that believers die even though Christ died in our place and “there is therefore now no condemnation…”

    Not The Original Les

    Ken,

    I don’t disagree, though that is the point of redemption in Christ, right? My point above is that physical death is part of the penalty and is proved by actual people dying. Redemption changes spiritual death to life, though we dies, we yet live. I’m not disagreeing with you, I don’t think.

      Not The Original Les

      “we dies.” I should have paid better attention in English class.

      Ken Hamrick

      Les,

      It is illogical to claim that physical death proves personal condemnation in unbelievers but does not prove personal condemnation in believers. Either it is a personal condemnation (a penalty for personal guilt) or it is not. If it is, then no believer would ever physically die. Since they do die, then it is proved to not be a penalty for personal condemnation.

        Not The Original Les

        KEN,

        I’m not sure where I said physical death is the penalty for our personal sins. I’ll have to look back upstream. I think I may just be misunderstanding what you are objecting to about something I said.

        I believe that physical death came to all mankind due to Adam’s sin and it comes to us because of his federal representation of us as our head. We participate. We are then also sinners and guilty because of our participation in Adam as our head.

          Ken Hamrick

          Les,

          Here’s what you had said:

          The very penalty for sin is death. Penalties are enacted to the guilty, not the innocent. This death penalty on all, even the very young (they do die after all) is not just because of actual sin but because of imputed sin and the associated guilt, else there would be no penalty.

          Are those who have been saved in Christ still guilty? No. But yet, we still die. But from what you have said, we must still be guilty “else there would be no penalty.”

          Not The Original Les

          Ken,

          I see the confusion now. I do not believe the redeemed are still guilty and still under condemnation though they all still die physically.

          Ken Hamrick

          Les,

          Then you disprove yourself by your own definition. If you “do not believe the redeemed are still guilty and still under condemnation though they all still die physically,” then you acknowledge that physical death does NOT presuppose or prove guilt.

          Not The Original Les

          Ken,

          If I deny myself it wouldn’t be the first time. But I don’t think I am denying myself.

          The effects of the fall are still in effect. There is both orignal and personal (actual) sin.

          LBC:

          “3. They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.”

          I agree. If I am denying something else I stated, then I mis-stated or you have misunderstood. Sorry for the confusion.

          Ken Hamrick

          Les,

          The difference is that, whereas before, you tried to prove inherited guilt of such confessions by asserting that physical death proves guilt; now you seem to be pointing to the confession to shore up your earlier assertion about death.

          Can you give me a direct answer? Does physical death prove (or presuppose) guilt or does it not?

          Thanks, Les.

          Not The Original Les

          Ken,

          What I have been trying to say is that the consequences for Adam’s sin include physical death. From Romans 5:

          “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin” (v. 12).
          “By the one man’s offense many died” (v. 15).
          “Through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation” (v. 18).
          “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (v. 19).

          I don’t know how to be any clearer.

          Thanks brother.

          Ken Hamrick

          Brother Les,

          Are you being less than forthright? Now you say death is a consequence that falls on all because of Adam’s sin; but until now, you’ve maintained that death is a penalty that proves guilt. Consequences do not necessarily imply guilt. Which is it?

          Not The Original Les

          Ken,

          No, I am not being less than forthright. Let’s back up to what I said at the beginning after the Machen quote.

          “The very penalty for sin is death. Penalties are enacted to the guilty, not the innocent. This death penalty on all, even the very young (they do die after all) is not just because of actual sin but because of imputed sin and the associated guilt, else there would be no penalty.”

          Let me summarize:

          1. Adam, our federal head, sinned.
          2. The rest of us sinned in him. We are guilty.
          3. A penalty for that sin was death, physical and spiritual.
          4. We are all born under that penalty and the consequences of that sin of Adam.
          5. We all die physically, still.
          6. We all need spiritual new birth, resurrection.
          7. Physical resurrection is yet to come.

          “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?””(John 11:25-26 ESV)

          I’ll bring one more Machen quote to bear,

          I have tried to present to you in outline something like the whole picture — man guilty with the imputed guilt of Adam’s first sin, man suffering therefore the death that is the penalty of that sin, not only physical death but also that spiritual death that consists in the corruption of man’s whole nature and in his total inability to please God, man bringing forth out of his corrupt heart individual acts of transgression without number, man facing eternal punishment in hell.

          Whatever lack or clarity I may have demonstrated may be due to my own ignorance and carelessness and to my not understanding exactly what you were objecting to. Agree with me or not, think I am consistent or not. But this is as clear as I can be.

          Ken Hamrick

          Les,

          What you fail to see is that, for the believer, even the imputed sin of Adam is forgiven and wiped clean by Christ. We still die not because we are guilty, but because physical death is strictly a physical consequence on a race of people that has no implications of individual condemnation whatsoever. Even animals die, Les, but they are neither guilty nor condemned.

          Not The Original Les

          Ken,

          “What you fail to see is that, for the believer, even the imputed sin of Adam is forgiven and wiped clean by Christ.”

          No, I don’t fail to see that at all.

          “We still die not because we are guilty, but because physical death is strictly a physical consequence on a race of people that has no implications of individual condemnation whatsoever.”

          I have said it is a consequence. I have also said it had a penal nature to it. I agree with Machen,

          “…man suffering therefore the death that is the penalty of that sin, not only physical death but also that spiritual death …”

          “Even animals die, Les, but they are neither guilty nor condemned.”

          Agree, and they shall not be resurrected to eternal glory.

          It has been fun Ken. Perhaps we acknowledge that we will not totally agree. I have a difficult time keeping up with older comments on these blogs. One is forced to keep scrolling thru looking to see if there is a new response. So feel free to have the last word.

          God bless

          Ken Hamrick

          Les,

          Be blessed! Thanks for the discussion!

Not The Original Les

More Dr. Peterson, with a link (the reason I haven’t linked so far is I’m not sure anyone can view it without a sign-up. i.e. you are not “elect” to see it. You have to “elect yourself.:) )

As I sift through some of the weaknesses I
think it will become evident to you what really is involved is this. Placeus and mediate imputation hold
that we are born sinners because of Adam’s sin. We are not guilty per se, and it is when we live out of
our sinful natures and commit actual sins that we then become guilty. They end up with a dilemma of
either a practical denial of original sin or if you think about it hard enough, it is illogical that we are just
born sinners. How did that come about? It came about because of Adam’s sin. But is not our being born
sinners a punishment? That is, there is a hidden prior guilt so either you have guilt, then corruption, then
guilt which, in effect, is no different than immediate imputation, or you really do cancel that first guilt
and you have us corrupt and then guilty because of our own sins, which veers very close practically to
Pelagianism

NOTE: I AM NOT calling anyone Pelagian. Just quoting another theologian.

Carl Peterson

Rick,

Well presented and thought out article. Thank you. I have a couple of questions though.

1. So, you by necessity have to be arguing that there are a few (humans) alive today that are not under condemnation because they have never sinned. Maybe all adults have but not all children. So not all are under condemnation because not all are guilty. Just most. Right? I have a problem with this because the Bible constantly speaks about all sinning (Rom 3:23) etc.

2. So if the all in regards to sinning is not really all then could the all in some of the more used passages regarding the accessability of salvation not mean all also?

3. So even before I am pronounced guilty of anything I receive an inclination towards sin. In the inherited guilt (also) view one would receive the inclination when one receives the guilt. All come through Adam. Right? But in your position there are some who in sense receive a punishment (the inclination to go away from God) before any guilt. That seems strange to me. Adam did not have the inclination towards sin without the guilt. He had almost truly free will (as we think of it today). Can you give me some more evidence or reasons to believe that God gives an inclination to turn away from Him even before we are guilty of anything?

“When I assert, that in consequence of the Apostasy of Adam all men have sinned; I do not intend, that the posterity of Adam is guilty of his transgression. Moral actions are not, so far as I can see, transferable from one being to another. The personal act of any agent is, in its very nature, the act of that agent solely; and incapable of being participated by any other agent. Of course, the guilt of such a personal act is equally incapable of being transferred, or participated. (Dwight, Theology Explained and Defended, 478)”

this is not completely fair since this is just part of his text but this seems to be an argument based upon a more modern view of what is fair. Also I hope that i can participate in the personal act(s) of Christ through my union with Him. If not then there is no salvation. He might mean something different though. It is early morning after the holiday.

The passage above seems to go against Romans 6 below. That is if I can’t participate in the baptism, death and resurrection of Christ.

ROMANS 6
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin — 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

    volfan007

    Carl,

    I’m not Rick, but I believe that all have sinned. And, of course children sin. We can see their little, sin natures every day. No one is saying that people are not born with a sin nature. But, when are we GUILTY of committing sin?

    Also, ALL do sin. We are ALL guilty of committing sins. All of us. We just do not believe that babies and small children, and the mentally handicapped are held accountable for their sins….until they reach the age where they are KNOWINGLY and WILLFULLY sinning against God. Of course, some mentally handicapped people will never reach that point. Do you believe that the mentally handicapped go to Hell? even though they have no idea what they’re doing? Because, Brother, if you believe that all people are GUILTY before God, then babies and small children and the mentally handicapped MUST go to Hell. Because, they are never born again….they never repent and put their faith in Jesus…..So, you really must believe that they go to Hell to pay for the sin of Adam, forever. You’d have to believe that.

    David

      rhutchin

      Your make the phrase, “…they are KNOWINGLY and WILLFULLY sinning against God.” dependend on age. Should that point depend, instead, on a person’s knowledge of God and sin? Thus, the person who never hears of God or sin should not be held accountable for their sin, should they?

        volfan007

        rhutchin,

        No. It’s an age when someone is old enough to be aware of what they’re doing….a 3 yr old has no way to know what he’s doing is sin against God. Now, a 10 yr old? or a 13 yrs old? Well, they realize that there is a God, and that there are rights and wrongs.

        David

      Shane Dodson

      “Because, Brother, if you believe that all people are GUILTY before God, then babies and small children and the mentally handicapped MUST go to Hell. Because, they are never born again….they never repent and put their faith in Jesus…..So, you really must believe that they go to Hell to pay for the sin of Adam, forever. You’d have to believe that.”

      And here we have what this rabbit trail is REALLY about: folks just NOT wanting to believe that babies, small children, and the mentally retarded would go to hell.

      Again…synergists BEGIN with the premise and then jam it into Scripture.

        Adam Harwood

        Brother,

        Is it possible that something else is occurring? What if the monergists have begun with a false premise (inherited guilt) and read that into Scripture?

        Augustine did so and the result was salvation via baptismal regeneration.

        Calvin did so and the result was salvation via election.

        We are simply suggesting that the Bible presents a different view of our inheritance from Adam. We’re on the same page for 95% of our doctrinal affirmations and our presentations of the Gospel are probably indistinguishable. But on this issue, we differ.

        We, like you, are simply trying to be faithful to God’s Word.

        In Him,

        Adam

          Shane Dodson

          One cannot have it both ways.

          Imputed righteousness but not imputed guilt?

          Perhaps you can explain why babies, small children, and the mentally retarded die.

          “Calvin did so and the result was salvation via election.”

          Is God not free to choose whom He will to be justified, sanctified, and glorified?

          Does not the Potter have freedom over His clay?

      Carl Peterson

      David,

      Interesting post but I think you missed a point. First there would logically be some who have not sinned but have inherited the sin nature. That is unless you believe that the infant sins immediately upon birth. But then again I thought those holding this view believed in a an age of accountability so really infants are not exactly sinning per se. If they were then they would be condemned. But God does not hold it against them because they can’t know any better.

      Second Romans 3:23 I believe does not say that all will in their lifetime sin. It is that all have sinned.

      Third, I am not sure what God does with infants and the mentally handicap. The Bible does not say precisely what God does. But as far as infants I believe that in a grand scope of things the elect will go to heaven and the non-elect will go to hell. I think in our understanding I think those infants and children who are part of a Christian family might have a better shot than those who are not. I think you can see this clearly in the OT. But I do not think that being a child of christian parents makes them elect. I would say the mentally handicap (that really cannot make the choice) are in the same position of infants and children.

        volfan007

        Carl,

        No, they are born sinners, and they sin. They are just not held accountable for their sins, until they reach an age where they’re knowingly and willingly sinning.

        So, you just wonder if God elects babies and mentally handicapped, or not? And, you’re saying that He elects them without them coming to God thru Jesus? with no repentance and faith? Is that what you’re saying?

        David

volfan007

Rick,

You are one smart fella. Thanks for this wonderful post, which is very thought provoking and sound. It’s just a shame that we have people, who’ll come in here, and mischaracterize and attack a person, when you just simply articulated what you believe the Scriptures teach in this matter. And, the attacks on Dr. Hankins are getting tiresome. Some of these people are so mean spirited and just down right hateful in their verbal assaults on Dr. Hankins, and you, and anyone else, who does not adhere to their brand of theology. It’s really sad.

But, thanks again, for boldly standing on truth, and for faithfully sharing your views on this subject.

God bless,

David

    Not The Original Les

    David,

    “It’s just a shame that we have people, who’ll come in here, and mischaracterize and attack a person, when you just simply articulated what you believe the Scriptures teach in this matter.”

    David, this is not helpful. I just re-read back thru the comments so far. I see nothing even close to an “attack of a person.” Why would you try to frame my and others’ comments as an “attack?”

      Lydia

      The last thread was horrible and an obvious attempt to “marginalize” Hankins. I don’t expect you to see it or agree.

        Not The Original Les

        Lydia,

        Good morning. I did not see them as attacks. Maybe you prefer Bullying. Don’t see that either.

          Lydia

          Les, I am aware you don’t see it that way. Perhaps “tactics” to “marginalize” is a better term. I am not concerned with what you may think about it. You are not SBC but a “ruling” elder type Presbyterian.

          Not The Original Les

          Lydia,

          “I am not concerned with what you may think about it.”

          Then why did you comment to me about it?

          “You are not SBC but a “ruling” elder type Presbyterian.”

          Au contraire. I am an ordained SB minister AND not a ““ruling” elder type Presbyterian.” I am a ruling elder in the PCA. You stand corrected. :)

      volfan007

      Les,

      I’m referring back to other blog posts on SBC Today and SBC Voices and in other places….and, just wait….the attacks are coming….just give it a little more time.

      David

        Not The Original Les

        David,

        Sorry about that. I thought you were referring to Rick already being attacked when you said, “It’s just a shame that we have people, who’ll come in here, and mischaracterize and attack a person, when you just simply articulated what you believe the Scriptures teach in this matter.”

        I see now that apparently you were just assuming future attacks.

          Mary

          “I see now that apparently you were just assuming future attacks”

          That’s a snide comment completely ignoring what the man actually said. He wasn’t just assuming future attacks but basing his observation on what has happened previously. But ya just can’t help yourself, Les.

          volfan007

          Les,

          And, looking at past attacks, as I said.

          DAvid

          Not The Original Les

          Hi Mary,

          I didn’t completely ignore what he said. In fact I re-quoted it and acknowledged what I understood him to be saying.

          Maybe it would help to reproduce in one place the remarks.

          David said, “just wait….the attacks are coming….just give it a little more time.”

          I said, “I see now that apparently you were just assuming future attacks.”

          Just an acknowledgement of my understanding of what he said. To quote Lydia, “Sheesh!”

          Lydia

          The last thread was too obvious as to what is going on. I am simply amazed we are glossing over the fact tha an employee of the SBC said that people will be marginalized. SBC Pastors?

          Has our polity changed?

        Lydia

        “Au contraire. I am an ordained SB minister AND not a ““ruling” elder type Presbyterian.” I am a ruling elder in the PCA. You stand corrected. :)”

        no matter. “Ruling” is an interesting word choice for polity descriptions. Very Calvin.

        Is the chronology that you were ordained in the SBC and then became a Presbyterian? Or the opposite.
        .

          Not The Original Les

          Lydia,

          ““Ruling” is an interesting word choice for polity descriptions. Very Calvin.”

          Yes Ruling. Anathema I know for you. Not for the scriptures though.

          “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”

          “Is the chronology that you were ordained in the SBC and then became a Presbyterian? Or the opposite.”

          Baptist first.

          Lydia

          “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.”

          Who decides if they rule well? The other “ruling” elders decide or the people they “rule”?

          25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

          Now, I realize that Calvin his own definition of “servant” that included magistrates and micromanaging the sheep’s lives totally ignoring Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 20 or using mental gymnastics to ignore it. So our discussing this could be moot.

          Not The Original Les

          Lydia,

          “Who decides if they rule well? The other “ruling” elders decide or the people they “rule”?”

          I don’t know about SB churches who have elders (which as I understand call themselves “elder LED”) but in the PCA an elder can be removed from leadership by he other elders AND by the congregation. And that has happened before.

          In addition, harsh and/or elders who “lord themselves” over the flock of God do not negate the biblical model.

          “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:1-3 ESV)

          If they are not “ruling” or “leading” in a godly, Spirit filled manner, they should have the opportunity to be corrected, repent and serve biblically or be removed. And there definitely should be a mechanism (as in the PCA) for such a one’s removal.

          i.e. bad examples negate not the biblical model for elders or “pastors” (who also are elders).

          Lydia

          Les, We simply have different definitions. Mine is not so formal and institutionalized. Elders are the spiritually mature. They would never desire “authority” over people. They are the ones with calloused knees who are humble servants. Who have been through the fire of sanctification. They have “gone before”. Wordly success or intellectual prowess has little to do with it.

          I think what I have described above is considered even with the qualifications in Timothy. We would not want Diotrephes, who loves power, would we?

        Lydia

        “Then why did you comment to me about it?”

        Les, is this the schoolyard? You responded to MY comment and I responded to that.

Rick Patrick

Carl,

Thanks for reading and interacting.

1. Yes, it is fair to say that infants possess a sinful nature but are not yet under condemnation, not yet having personally sinned. In other words, I believe in the so-called “age or stage of accountability.” I do believe that, if they survive long enough, all those children (and other persons of moral capacity) WILL indeed commit sins personally and fall under condemnation, for they do, in fact, possess a sin nature.

It is fair to say, then, that I do not take Romans 3:23 to mean that the baby I hear crying in the church office right now has ever committed a sin. He may be annoying me, and he certainly possesses a sinful nature, but he is not yet under condemnation. At least not by God.

    Rick Patrick

    2. You speak of the “all not really being all” but I’ve already addressed the fact that I don’t think Paul has the infant in mind in this verse. If he does, then the infant has indeed sinned, stands guilty before God right now, and will logically go to hell if he dies. Does “all have sinned” really mean dead infants go to hell?

    3. I hear your concern about separating inherited sinful human nature from inherited guilt, specifically as it relates to the characteristic of man’s inclination to sin, which you view as a punishment in and of itself, suggesting that we must be guilty of sin already, or we would not have the inclination to do it. To me, that almost forces me to have “sinned before I sinned.”

    I think this largely breaks down to whether or not one believes we are condemned for our sinful nature in Adam or for the actual sinful actions we commit ourselves. I believe the latter. My inclination to sin proves my sin nature, my sinfulness if you will, but it does not prove that my condemnation precedes any actual sinful transgression on my part.

    Alan Davis

    Gotta ask Rick; When is that age of accountability? What kind of measurement are we using? No agenda in asking this, just wondering what your take on it is.

Jared Moore

Rick, do you believe that children who die below “the age of accountability” go to heaven apart from needing the death, burial, resurrection, and righteous of Christ?

If so, how do honestly say that Jesus died for children, if indeed, they don’t need His death?

    Tom Parker

    Jared:

    I have a sincere question. Can a child that dies before the age of accountability go to Hell? If so, what scriptures support this?

    Rick Patrick

    Hello My Facebook Frenemy Jared,

    I believe children who die before the age of accountability do indeed go to heaven. Don’t you?

    As to the ground or basis of their eternal life, I agree with Dr. Adam Harwood:
    “If God does welcome infants into heaven, then it is through the person and the work of Christ.” (“The Spiritual Condition of Infants,” 11)

      Jared Moore

      Rick, you didn’t answer the question brother.

      Do children who have not reached the “age of accountability” need salvation from God’s wrath? If they’re not under condemnation, I don’t understand how one can say that Jesus died for them. They don’t need Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, and imputed righteousness.

      Not The Original Les

      Yep, “Do children who have not reached the “age of accountability” need salvation from God’s wrath?” that is a key question that needs a clear answer.

        Tom Parker

        Do these children go to Hell? What is your belief?

          Not The Original Les

          Tom, I agree with the LBC 1689 as far as it goes,

          “Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. ”

          I further clarify that I believe that all infants (and all who are “incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word,” i.e. severely mentally handicapped or deaf and mute) are “regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit.”

        Lydia

        That is the real historical reason why Les’s church, the Presbyterians, baptize babies, Jared. And we are headed there, too.

          Not The Original Les

          Lydia,

          Au contraire. You demonstrate a lack of knowledge why Presbyterians baptize babies. But of course you could enlighten us all with your understanding. Please….:)

          Lydia

          “Au contraire. You demonstrate a lack of knowledge why Presbyterians baptize babies. But of course you could enlighten us all with your understanding. Please….:)”

          Read my statement again. Historical reason. You dumbed it down since then. :o)

    volfan007

    Jared,

    So, you believe that small children and the mentally handicapped go to Hell?

    David

      Tom Parker

      David:

      Wow! You and I agree on something. Surely, based upon the Bible, small children and mentally handicapped certainly do not go to Hell.

      Maybe Jared will give us the scripture that supports his view these go to Hell if that is his position.

      Jared Moore

      David, where did I say that? I’ve actually heard no Southern Baptist Calvinist argue this.

      I believe all children go to heaven due to them having the inability to possess faith in anyone or anything. Somehow, they receive Christ’s imputed righteousness apart from faith because they do not possess the cognitive ability to have faith. God Himself cannot give them faith apart from maturing them miraculously. It’s not because they don’t need Jesus’s righteousness; they desperately do. They receive His righteous apart from faith because faith is an impossibility for them.

      It blows my mind that some of you are so emotionally involved in wanting all children to go to heaven that you’re willing to abandon the exclusivity of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and imputed righteousness for children. In order to do this, you have to argue that most of Scripture doesn’t apply to children.

      At the very least, you must say children need Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, and righteousness; otherwise, you must argue that they don’t need an incarnated God the Son.

        volfan007

        Jared,

        You said, “Somehow, they receive Christ’s imputed righteousness apart from faith because they do not possess the cognitive ability to have faith.” What???? Where’s that in the Bible?

        David

          Jared Moore

          David, we’re dealing with little evidence in Scripture concerning babies. What do we know?

          1. Every baby that died in Scripture, as far as we know, went to heaven. There’s even a few references of this being a fact.

          2. Jesus died for the whole world. Salvation is through Jesus alone. No one gets to the Father, but by Him. All of history in Scripture since the Fall points to man’s need of a Savior, from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Do you really want to say that children don’t need this?

          3. Faith takes belief, which takes a certain cognitive ability. Faith is not mindless. Belief is not mindless. Furthermore, Calvinists believe that faith is a gift. Since God gives both the gift of faith and salvation, He indeed can credit salvation to a child even though they do not possess the ability to receive the gift of faith; but, we have no Scriptural reason to believe any human being goes to heaven apart from the death, resurrection, and righteousness of Christ in their stead.

          4. We cannot abandon the clear teaching of all of Scripture concerning man’s need for God to save him from the evil one, sin, himself, and God.

          volfan007

          Jared,

          1. True.

          2. True, all people must come to God thru Jesus. I never said that children dont need this. Okay….

          3. I’m seeing a lot of your own speculation here…a lot of your own reasoning here….okay…

          4. No one is abandoning….surely not me.

          Okay, Jared, I still didnt see any reason to think that you, and Calvinists who believe as you do, think that babies and the mentally handicapped go to Heaven.

          David

          Jared Moore

          My comment is below brother.

          Alan Davis

          David,
          Gotta ask; where in the Bible does it state that all children go to heaven?

        Lydia

        “believe all children go to heaven due to them having the inability to possess faith in anyone or anything. Somehow, they receive Christ’s imputed righteousness apart from faith because they do not possess the cognitive ability to have faith.”

        What happens to the imputed guilt? It is all over them according to your doctrine.

          Jared Moore

          Lydia, it’s paid for in Christ. The same thing that happens to my guilt and your guilt in Christ.

          volfan007

          Jared,

          They are guilty, Bro. They have not repented and put thier faith in the Lord.

          David

      Chris Roberts

      David,

      Do you believe children and the handicapped go to Heaven on the basis of their merit (young age) or on the basis of Christ’s righteousness? If it is their merit, that they are not guilty of sin, then their place in Heaven is not by God’s grace and there are people in Heaven apart from the grace of God. If it is Christ’s righteousness, then they have need of his righteousness then they are not, on their own, innocent.

        volfan007

        Chirs,

        I do not believe that anyone goes to Heaven on their own merit.

        I do believe that babies and the mentally handicapped go to Heaven, because they’re not held accountable for thier sins. They’ve never reached an age where they knowingly and willfully sin against God.

        In your view, they go to Hell, because they are GUILTY of Adam’s sin….AND, no one will get to Heaven apart from faith in Jesus. I mean, if they’re guilty of the sin of Adam, and they die without repenting and putting their faith in Jesus, then they must go to Hell for their sins.

        David

          Chris Roberts

          David,

          First, please do not try to insist on what I believe. In my view, children who die go to be with the Lord. I could flesh that out if desires, but I’m more interested right now in your view. It is interesting to me how many non-Calvinists will try to turn this into an emotional argument by lying about Calvinists, insisting we believe something that many of us do not believe, even when we explain what we believe and why we believe it. Yes, I believe children are guilty. No, I do not believe they are held accountable, thus they are covered with Christ’s righteousness because of the grace of God.

          Now, back to your view – you do not believe children are guilty of sin, thus you do not believe children need forgiveness. So what role does grace play? I will be received into Heaven because God, by his grace, has forgiven my sins. Children will be received into Heaven because, evidently, they are not guilty of sin and thus do not need saving grace? What grace do they need? If they are sinless, the logical conclusion is they enter Heaven on that merit.

          You cannot say, on the one hand, that children are innocent and go to Heaven because they are innocent, then on the other hand insist that they do not go to Heaven by their merit. It is a contradiction, it does not work. If they go to Heaven because of their innocence, then their reason for Heaven is found in them rather than in God’s grace.

          Lydia

          “I could flesh that out if desires, but I’m more interested right now in your view.”

          Don’t fall for it. It is how they control. They always want people on the defensive. Don’t play their game.

          volfan007

          Chris,

          I believe that children will be in Heaven due to grace. I have already said that I beleive that children sin. They have a sin nature. I do not believe that they are guilty of Adam’s sin, and they are not held accountable for thier own sin’s, until they reach the age of accountability. They will get their due to the grace of God.

          In your view, if they are guilty of Adam’s sin…and under the wrath of God…then how in the world can they go to Heaven apart from putting their faith in Jesus???

          DAvid

          Randall Cofield

          Hi David,

          Its me….the non-cherry-coke-drinking anti-christ… :-)

          I do not believe that they are guilty of Adam’s sin, and they are not held accountable for thier own sin’s, until they reach the age of accountability.

          Could you give a biblical defense of “the age of accountability”? I can’t find it. What I do find is Paul’s declaration that “all the world” stands guilty before God. This would include infants, would it not?

          In your view, if they are guilty of Adam’s sin…and under the wrath of God…then how in the world can they go to Heaven apart from putting their faith in Jesus???

          They can’t. Ac 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

          Here’s the rub. Neo-Traditionalists seem to believe that God can only save those who make a libertarian free will choice to believe. Hence, the logical conclusion must follow that infants cannot be saved (see Act 4:12).

          Conversely, Calvinists believe that God regenerates the unbeliever and then gifts them with faith and repentance. If it is God who truly accomplishes the whole of salvation, it is no difficulty for Him to save infants.

          If you believe God only saves those who make a libertarian free will choice to believe, you have a serious problem when it comes to infants being saved.

          Grace and Peace

          Mary

          “First, please do not try to insist on what I believe”

          That’s so funny cuz up thread Chris Roberts states what is Trads believe! Which just goes to show you that only Calvinist understand Calvinism and only Calvinist can truly understand and state what everyone else believes! Good job there Chris Roberts!

          Mary

          And then how could we forget the days and days and days that Chris Roberts has declared Trads are really semi-pelegian because he says so!

          So yeah David, don’t tell Chris Roberts what he believes – he’s the only one allowed to make declaratory statements on what others believe!

          Lydia

          “First, please do not try to insist on what I believe.”

          Chris, this is exactly what you guys have been doing since day one of this statement whether you recognize it or not.

          Chris Roberts

          Mary and Lydia,

          I thought one of you two kind ladies might try to go there.

          Here’s the difference.

          I look at what the Statement argues, consider the argument, and respond by arguing from Scripture and reason that the Statement, and following arguments, are logically inconsistent. I may be wrong, I may be right, but I make my argument. I am not saying you do not believe what you say you believe, I am saying what you believe cannot work, no matter how much you insist you can. What David above did was claim I do not believe what I say I believe. He did not acknowledge what I say I believe, he did not try to show where my beliefs about children are inconsistent, he simply insisted that I must believe something that I do not believe.

          In the case of semi-Pelagianism (though I am hesitant to return to that can of worms), there again I am not going beyond the Statement or the Statement’s defenders. I am not saying you believe something you do not believe. Based on your own words, I look at the claims, the arguments, the beliefs, and I recognize they mesh very nicely with semi-Pelagianism. I am not claiming you believe something you don’t, I am saying what you believe is also what they believed. You can disagree with me, that’s fine. But when I am taking your own (well, the Statement and its defenders) words and showing how they match the words of semi-Pelagianism, it is not enough to scream, “We are not semi-Pelagian!” I have to be shown why. So far, most of the arguments against the comparison have fallen short of actually dealing with what semi-Pelagians believed.

          Here is my question: Do you believe that human beings are capable of calling out for God’s help before God changes their hearts? Did God have to change you before you were capable of seeking salvation? If you do not believe God had to first change you, then you are either Pelagian or semi-Pelagian. Other clarifications in the Statement make it clear that it is semi rather than fully Pelagian. I have not put words in your mouth, I have dealt with the claims of the Statement and its defenders, and I have recognized that these claims match the historical semi-Pelagian position.

Tom Parker

Jared:

You said:”It blows my mind that some of you are so emotionally involved in wanting all children to go to heaven that you’re willing to abandon the exclusivity of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and imputed righteousness for children. In order to do this, you have to argue that most of Scripture doesn’t apply to children.”

It blows my mind that you can say the above. You are attacking people when that is simply not necessary. Aint no one I know of making the argument you make here.

    Jared Moore

    Tom, what I said is exactly what these men are arguing.

      Tom Parker

      Jared:

      Would you be willing to name these men?

        Jared Moore

        Tom, Rick and David are arguing this. Ask them. They don’t believe children need forgiveness because they’re not accountable for their sin until they willfully sin at or after “the age of accountability.”

          Lydia

          Tom, Welcome to Jared’s world. It will go circular like this for hours if you let it.

          Chris Roberts

          Lydia,

          Nice accusation – but is he wrong? Provide a meaningful, rational argument for why Jared is wrong. Yelling, complaining, belittling are meaningless.

        Lydia

        “Nice accusation – but is he wrong? Provide a meaningful, rational argument for why Jared is wrong. Yelling, complaining, belittling are meaningless.”

        Nice try, Chris. Where is the yelling? Complaining? Belittling, maybe. I have gone around and around with Jared over at Voices concering the fact that I am not a Calvinist yet he insists I am because Mohler said so. I was warning Tom that Jared argues in circles.

        To accuse me of yelling and complaining is ad hominem attack and not worthy of what you claim to want: Unity. You did put forth a resolution for Unity after asserting the Trad signers were semi Pelagians and they had to prove they weren’t. You have strange notions of Unity, friend.

        Now, am I to assume that you consider your responses to be meaningful and rational? As far as I am concerned you have a ton of cognative dissonance in your behavior and words.

          abclay

          I would gladly never reply to another post on this blog if Mary and Lydia would be banished from posting as well. Their tiresome, worthless ad-hominem attacks are taxing.

Randall Cofield

Rick,

The Neo-Traditionalists are claiming the Sandy Creek Baptists as their doctrinal forbears. Here’s their statement on the subject at hand:

Article 3
That Adam fell from his original state of purity, and that his sin is imputed to his posterity; that human nature is corrupt, and that man, of his own free will and ability, is impotent to regain the state in which he was primarily placed.

Peace, my Neo-Traditionalist brother…. :-)

    holdon

    It always amazes me how words of fallible people are made the touch-stone instead of the perfect word of God.

    Randall, how about you: Do you want to abide by God’s word or do you instead hold to some kind of confession? Please give a clear answer.

      Randall Cofield

      Holdon,

      And it amazes me that an Open Theist, who is unwilling to reveal his actual identity (holdon?!), and who is using the TS to argue against Calvinism and for Open Theism, would call anyone to task on the issue of “abiding” by God’s Word.

      Soli Deo Gloria

        holdon

        Did I ever say I was an Open Theist or arguing for Open Theism? You are resorting to false accusations. Duly noted.

        I do not need to reveal my identity. I have used my nickname for online commenting for more than 8 years.

        Yes, I am consistently unmasking the errors of Calvinism, as you well know….

        “For walking in flesh, we do not war according to flesh. For the arms of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful according to God to the overthrow of strongholds; overthrowing reasonings and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God”

          Mike Davis

          holdon,

          The response

          Did I ever say I was an Open Theist or arguing for Open Theism?

          is not a denial and you have yet to deny being an Open Theist. You have, however, denied the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer, which is a first-order doctrine, and have still not answered the four simple questions I asked in the other thread:

          1. Do you believe God is omnipotent and omniscient? Do you believe He knows everything that will happen–not just hypotheticals, but what actually will happen?

          2. Do you believe in substitutionary atonement? I’m not talking about limited vs general atonement–I’m asking if you believe Jesus suffered the very penalty, wrath and anger of God against sinners as their Substitute, taking their punishment in their place, having paid their actual sin-debt in full for them?

          3. Do you affirm every part of the Traditional Statement in its entirety?

          4. What denomination are you a member of?

          I think you should be forthcoming with the other commenters, both the Calvinists and Traditionalists, concerning exactly where you stand.

          holdon

          “You have, however, denied the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer, which is a first-order doctrine”

          Yes, absolutely. It cannot be “first order doctrine”, because it is not found in the bible. But I guess that is not a problem for Calvinism….

    volfan007

    Randall,

    I believe in holding to what the Scriptures teach…whether Sandy Creek held to it, or not…whether Southern Seminary holds to it, or not…..

    The Bible is my authority, Randall. The Bible.

    David

      Randall Cofield

      David,

      Then you should stop claiming the Sandy Creek Baptist “tradition” and admit that the Neo-Traditional Statement has no historic precedent in the SBC.

      Peace

    Adam Harwood

    The BFM 2000 is the confessional statement of the SBC.

      Randall Cofield

      Dr. Harwood,

      Yet the Neo-Traditionalists are arguing that their TS has historic precedence in the Sandy Creek branch of the SBC. And they are doing so precisely because their TS exceeds the bounds of the BF&M. Yet the Sandy Creek Confession contradicts the TS.

      What to do, what to do?!

      But you already know that, right? :-)

      Peace

        Adam Harwood

        Randall,

        I am following the lead of Dr. Mohler, who mentioned in his June 6 blog on the TS: “The presence of more than one tradition and stream of doctrinal influence has been healthy for Southern Baptists. We have been strengthened by both the Charleston and Sandy Creek traditions, representing Southern Baptists who rightly prize their doctrinal understandings, but eagerly work together in the Gospel service.” (http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/06/06/southern-baptists-and-salvation-its-time-to-talk/)

        Did I misunderstand Dr. Mohler’s characterization of the Sandy Creek tradition as non-Calvinists?

        On a related note, Calvinists are not the only ones among the Christian tradition who have affirmed inherited guilt. Balthasar Hubmaier affirmed it and no one has accused him of being a Calvinist.

        Dr. Mohler also notes that Southern Baptists are free to believe MORE not LESS than the BFM 2000. This statement articulates MORE not LESS than the BFM 2000.

        I care little what the Sandy Creek confession affirms or disaffirms in this sense: I never signed that document. I have (literally) signed the BFM 2000 as a professor of theology at two different Southern Baptist institutions. I have also attached my name to this Traditional Statement due to theological convictions. I am not asking you to sign it and I am unsure why the strong opposition to it continues.

        In Him,

        Adam

          Lydia

          “I have also attached my name to this Traditional Statement due to theological convictions. I am not asking you to sign it and I am unsure why the strong opposition to it continues.”

          This is a good point. Why the strong opposition to something not mandatory to sign?

          Chris Roberts

          “I am not asking you to sign it and I am unsure why the strong opposition to it continues.”

          In general, because of its divisiveness.

          But in discussions such as this one, I don’t think there is opposition to the Statement, rather disagreement with its claims. We disagree, fine – noted and understood. Now, are we allowed to discuss our disagreements without being at odds? That’s certainly the greater challenge. Every argument I’ve raised in my comments on this post are not to oppose the existence of the Statement but are to argue why the Statement is wrong in its claims. I don’t mind a person disagreeing with me, but particularly in public forums such as a blog where one presumes discussion is welcome, be ready for me to note my disagreements. :)

          Randall Cofield

          Dr. Harwood,

          I am following the lead of Dr. Mohler, who mentioned in his June 6 blog…
          Did I misunderstand Dr. Mohler’s characterization of the Sandy Creek tradition as non-Calvinists?

          I had some reservations about that statement when I read it. But, as you know, Dr. Mohler is like E. F. Hutton: When he speaks, everybody listens. :-) I think Dr. Mohler was trying to be gracious and conciliatory, but many are now taking that statement and arguing for a “Sandy Creek Tradition” to defend a soteriological statement that is at best Neo-Traditional and without substantive tradition at all.

          Dr. Mohler also notes that Southern Baptists are free to believe MORE not LESS than the BFM 2000. This statement articulates MORE not LESS than the BFM 2000.

          Like I said, when Dr. Mohler speaks, everybody listens. :-)

          I care little what the Sandy Creek confession affirms or disaffirms in this sense: I never signed that document. I have (literally) signed the BFM 2000 as a professor of theology at two different Southern Baptist institutions. I have also attached my name to this Traditional Statement due to theological convictions.

          What I and others are arguing is that the Neo-Traditionalists’ signing of the TS sets them at odds with both the historic background and understanding of the BF&M and traditional Baptist soteriology. Which brings me back to the point my original post to which you are responding: Neo-Traditionalists cannot legitimately claim their soteriological statement is traditional—not even by claiming “Sandy Creek Tradition.”

          I am not asking you to sign it and I am unsure why the strong opposition to it continues.

          Brother, no one here would deny you or anyone else the right to sign the TS. The strong opposition to which you refer has everything to do with the stated motive behind the document and the fact that it is being defended as if it is somehow infallible. It ain’t.

          Grace to you, brother

          Lydia

          “In general, because of its divisiveness.”

          You do not consider the Founders mission divisive? How about the remarks at the Founders breakfast about us being Apostate? Mohler’s remarks on a GC video a while back about New Calvinism being the only place for those who want to see the nations rejoice for Christ? How about funding Acts 29 churches with Driscoll DNA all over them? You think Miss Mildred would like to think of her tithe being spent on funding churches that teach sodomy as normal?

          This statement, to me, is only a response to having Calvinism shoved down throats as being the only truth if you want to be saved. It is that simple. You all have trained and sent out young Patricks to churches all over and you wonder why there is divisiveness.

          The cognative dissonance in the YRR movement is unbelievable. There is very little basic common sense. I can only attribute it to total depravity after being saved. :o)

          Now, as to disagreements about the statement’s contents, the situation is simply that you do not accept the explanations unless they have the same Augustinian/Calvin filter. It is that simple. You refuse to accept them and do not think them biblical. You will have to live with that and think some of us Apostate or heretics.

          What what you guys seem to be doing is rephrasing questions trying to catch people or back them into a corner. The problem with this is that questions are phrased using the Augustine/Calvin overlay. More and more people are catching on. :o)

    Rick Patrick

    Randall,

    I can affirm every single word of that Sandy Creek statement, since it speaks of (a) Adam’s transmission of our sinful human nature, and (b) man’s inability or impotence to perform any kind of work bringing about his own salvation. Frankly, it sounds very much like the Traditionalist Statement to me, as well as the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

    Please note that man’s powerlessness in his own free will to regain his former state in the garden is NOT the same as his freedom simply to accept that which God has done to bring about his salvation.

    On the other hand, the Sandy Creek statement you cited does not at all address (c) either the immediate or the mediate view of condemnation, and (d) man’s free response to accept God’s grace, without which no man can be saved.

    In other words, I agree with that statement entirely, although I almost certainly disagree with you in our interpretation of what that statement really says.

      Randall Cofield

      Dr. Patrick,

      You said:

      I can affirm every single word of that Sandy Creek statement,…

      The Sandy Creek Statement says:

      That Adam fell from his original state of purity, and that his sin is imputed to his posterity; that human nature is corrupt, and that man, of his own free will and ability, is impotent to regain the state in which he was primarily placed.

      Yet you said in your article:

      The difference is that, in the case of the one who rejects inherited guilt, the condemnation comes only after one’s own personal act of sin, which itself resulted from the sinful nature inherited from Adam.

      The SC statement says that Adams sin was imputed to his posterity. Those to whom Adam’s sin is imputed are counted guilty and are under condemnation, just as those to whom Christ’s righteousness is imputed are counted righteous and are justified (Ro. 5).

      You stated that “the condemnation comes only after one’s own personal act of sin.” That doesn’t accord with the SC statement.

      Now you may disagree with my understanding of Romans 5, but I don’t think you can legitimately contend that the SC statement held your view of Romans 5.

      NOTE: There is an individual who has been posting regularly on these threads for weeks who uses your same argument (by which you deny guilt/condemnation by Adam’s sin imputed) to deny the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. I and others strongly suspect (by some of the things this individual has posted) that he/she is an Open Theist. And not one Neo-Traditionalist has opposed anything this individual has posted.

      I noted on another thread that the TS has opened the door to Open Theists and has given them an opportunity to plant a foot firmly in the middle our SBC. If I’m right, and the TS is widely embraced, we are going to be fighting the battle of the encroaching liberalism of the 70’s and 80’s all over again in the 20’s and 30’s.

      Grace to you, brother.

        Rick Patrick

        Randall,

        I’ll try to take these in order:

        1. SIN (our sinful human nature) we inherit from Adam. The whole Sandy Creek excerpt deals with this topic, but never mentions guilt or condemnation.

        2. GUILT (our condemnation) is due to our own sins. My whole article deals with this, a separate matter from the imputation of the sinful nature mentioned above.

        3. RIGHTEOUSNESS
        Although I did not address this, and neither did the Sandy Creek excerpt, and I’m not quite sure why OPEN THEISM is being discussed, and I don’t know who you’re talking about, but it’s not me, I believe in the imputed righteousness of Christ, as taught below:

        “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

          holdon

          “There is an individual who has been posting regularly on these threads for weeks who uses your same argument (by which you deny guilt/condemnation by Adam’s sin imputed) to deny the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. ”

          I guess that individual would be me. Nice try to stick a heresy label to me although I have said that I am not an Open Theist. You place yourself in the category of false accusers and slanderers Mr. Cofield and keep doing it now repeatedly.

          But as I said before “Christ’s righteousness imputed to us” is not biblical doctrine, period.

          And indeed I think there is a corollary here between the discussion of Adam’s sinful act and Christ’s righteous acts during His life. Because that is what is meant generally by “imputed righteousness”. It is then thought that a good bargain can be obtained as follows: Christ takes my sins and I get His righteousness(es). (I am putting as such because it is generally taught that Christ’s righteousness is a quantum that gets transferred to my account as opposed to the state. This is due to a misconception of the word imputation, which involves the estimation of the person’s state, not a transfer of accounts between persons. See the quote of Dwight in the OP: Moral actions are not, so far as I can see, transferable from one being to another. They call this Christ’s “active obedience” in contrast to His “passive obedience” which is His suffering death on the cross. It is taught that Christ’s works during His life somehow get transferred to us.
          Interestingly we do see the accounting notion in Romans 5: 16, where a different word from “imputation” is used: there it is appropriate because it involves the counting of sins, but it is still not a transfer between persons. Never so in Scripture as also Rick Patrick has cited several places.
          Now, the next question is if my sins are gone, why do I still need His righteousness? God has already imputed righteousness to me (that is: He holds me entirely righteous if I believe in Jesus Christ), my sins are gone on the basis of that same faith, why then is a “transfer from Christ’s righteousness” needed? There is no need for it: we have become the righteousness of God in Him.
          We are completely justified by His blood. Even Calvin (not the later “calvinists”) says so. What other justification is necessary?
          But this system puts forward man living in the flesh obtaining righteousness through Christ keeping the law for him. Paul puts the believer raised with Christ, entirely dead to the former state and law and fully accepted in Christ.

          holdon

          Sorry that should have been Romans 5:13 instead of 5:16. “but sin is not put to account when there is no law”

    Ron Hale

    Randall,

    Here is the 1845 version, the updated version that shows the move away from Reformed, it says,

    III. Of The Fall of Man
    “That man was created in a state of holiness, under the law of his maker; but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners; not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, wholly given to the gratifaction of the world, of Satan, and of their own sinful passions, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.”

    I think only their early version is used on Founders website.

    Today … Sandy Creek Baptist Church uses BFM2000 and no reformed confessions are mentioned.

Brad Reynolds

Rick,
Great word my brother. I appreciate the point you made about the fact the BFM2000 states we become transgressors “as soon as (we) are capable of moral action” not before. Thus, in order to affirm the BFM2000 and hold to imputed guilt one must either believe a person is guilty but not a transgressor (which begs the question) or one must believe one of the following: 1) at the moment of conception man is capable of moral action, or one must believe 2) at some other point in the development of the fetus man is capable of moral action. It seems to me these are very difficult concepts to affirm. The first brings into question how without cognitive or physiological abilities one could be capable of moral action. The second seems to beg numerous questions. Two of which are: 1)when in the development of the fetus could it possibly be stated that he/she is not capable of moral action; 2) When does the fetus inherit guilt if not at conception.

Thus, the inheritance of Adam’s sin nature and not his guilt seems to me to fit best with an affirmation of the BMF2000.

It is interesting to note that ALL SEMINARY FACULTY have signed the BFM2000 affirming it as their belief! It is further noteworthy that the 1963 BFM states the same thing – kind of sounds like a historical Baptist belief.

Concerning those who are highlighting Romans 5 it should be noted that Paul’s is stating that righteousness and guilt are applied the same way. I think we can all agree that Christ’s righteousness is only applies via a conscious decision, which by way of application means Adams guilt is only applied via a conscious decision to sin (a concept not original to me – I read of this concept in Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology as he defended infants in heaven).

    Randall Cofield

    Hi Brad,

    Would you therefore contend that if a person dies before they sin with cognizance they are assured of entrance into God’s presence?

    Grace and Peace

      Lydia

      “Would you therefore contend that if a person dies before they sin with cognizance they are assured of entrance into God’s presence?”

      The mentally disabled in adulthood are assured of hell according to your doctrine, then?

        Randall Cofield

        Lydia,

        Not at all. It is the Neo-Traditional insistence on a libertarian free will choice that either:

        1) Consigns them to hell,

        or

        2) Requires a way of salvation other than repentance and faith in Lord Jesus.

        See my response to David above @ July 5, 2012 at 11:48 am

        I answered your question. Would you be so kind as to respond to my question: Would you contend that if a person dies before they sin with cognizance they are assured of entrance into God’s presence? If so, on what grounds?

        Peace, Sister

          Adam Harwood

          Randall,
          Please forgive my interjection. You ask about the rationale for infant salvation “other than repentance and faith in Lord Jesus.” That’s an unfair requirement. Unless a Calvinistic Baptist subscribes to a post-mortem opportunity (as does John Piper, see the footnote in my previous essay on this site), then his view fails to do so as well. Infants, according to a Calvinistic Southern Baptist, are saved by Christ’s work of atonement on the Cross–not an infant’s conscious acceptance of Christ or expression of faith in Christ. That is the answer we provide as well: the Cross of Christ.

          I’m unsure that I can continue to comment on this subject today. Blessings, brother.

          In Him,

          Adam

          Chris Roberts

          Adam,

          What are infants saved from?

          Randall Cofield

          Dr Harwood,

          I actually offered my view this in response to a quote of yours @ July 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm on this thread.

          Grace and Peace

      Brad Reynolds

      Randall
      I think Dr. Harwood provided the answer to your question. However, I want to make sure I and others understand a Calvinist view (as presented in your comment at 1:41 PM). Are you saying that God creates every embryo and then elects all of the embryos that He knows based on His foreknowledge will not reach an age of accountability and regenerates them in the womb and then gives them faith and repentance? Doing this before many of them even have cognitive or physiological abilities. If so then are you not also saying people can be saved without even knowing they are saved? This may prove more difficult to defend than Dr. Piper’s position (thus validating Dr. Harwood’s premise concerning infants that the Calvinist position seems more difficult to maintain than our position).

Jared Moore

David and Rick, do children who have not reached the “age of accountability” need Christ’s death, resurrection, and righteousness? Do they need God’s saving grace? Do they need forgiveness of sin?

David, I’ve already told you that, as far as we know, all babies that died who were referenced in Scripture, went to heaven. That’s why I believe they go to heaven. I’ve also shared with you that, based on the continual testimony of Scripture, all humans need a Savior. All humans need Jesus in the same manner, period. We’re all sinners in need of a Savior.

I don’t understand why ya’ll are arguing that children somehow do not need the forgiveness of sin.

David, you say that children need “grace.” Why do babies who have not been credited with Adam’s sin or sinned themselves, need God’s grace? Do you also believe that they need Christ’s imputed righteousness/salvation?

    holdon

    “I’ve also shared with you that, based on the continual testimony of Scripture, all humans need a Savior. All humans need Jesus in the same manner, period. We’re all sinners in need of a Savior.”

    Yes, absolutely. One key verse for believing that Jesus saves the little children is this:
    “See that ye do not despise one of these little ones; for I say unto you that their angels in the heavens continually behold the face of my Father who is in the heavens. For the Son of man has come to save that which was lost.”

    Scripture is clear: little children are lost. That has nothing to do with them being guilty of Adam’s sinful act.

    “children somehow do not need the forgiveness of sin.”
    Because the Bible never speaks of “forgiveness of sin”. It is always forgiveness of “sins”. The sinful acts. For the sinful nature (sin) there is no forgiveness. For that the remedy is only death with Christ.

    A descendant of Adam is a sinner, because he has that nature. And because he is a sinner, he will sin, not the other way around. An apple tree will bear apples, because it’s a born an apple tree.

    Lydia

    “David, you say that children need “grace.” Why do babies who have not been credited with Adam’s sin or sinned themselves, need God’s grace? Do you also believe that they need Christ’s imputed righteousness/salvation?”

    Because they are dying! Sheesh! We are born “dying” because of Adam’s sin. The condemnation is death. We are born in corrupted bodies that die.

    You believe in imputed guilt for Adam’s sin so you have a problem. Babies cannot repent of this sin they are guilty of so what to do? A lot of mental gymnastics as we see here.

    a few threads ago some Calvinists were trying to show how babies sin all the time. That babies are selfish, greedy, etc to prove this imputed guilt. I have heard this a lot from guys like Washer who try to map crying for a bottle to the sin of selfishness. Praise God he did not have a baby that could NOT cry for a bottle. I know of a couple that has one like that with a feeding tube. They would love for their baby to be selfish. Perhaps these are survival instincts. Jesus was perfect so I am wondering if he ever cried to be fed?

      Jared Moore

      Lydia, do babies need the imputed righteousness of Christ.

      No one has answered this question yet.

        Lydia

        “Lydia, do babies need the imputed righteousness of Christ”

        Since I have seen the game played so much I simply must ask your definition of imputed righeousness. And we know your question is also asked because you are convinced there is imputed guilt. So around we go!

          Jared Moore

          Lydia, imputed righteousness is Christ’s righteousness given to sinners through faith.

          Do babies need Jesus’s imputed righteousness. The Scriptures are clear concerning Jesus’s death, resurrection, and righteous being needed for sinners to be justified in God’s sight. Are babies sinners? If so, then they need Jesus. They need to be cleansed by Him to get to God.

          Do children prior to the “age of accountability” need Jesus as much and in the same manner as children after the “age of accountability.”

      Randall Cofield

      Lydia,

      Because they are dying! Sheesh! We are born “dying” because of Adam’s sin. The condemnation is death. We are born in corrupted bodies that die.

      Ah! So infants are under condemnation because of Adam’s sin!

      See, we do agree on this most critical issue.

      Peace

        Lydia

        “Ah! So infants are under condemnation because of Adam’s sin!”

        Of course. The wages of sin are death. Babies are born “dying” as we all are. death is condemnation and the consequence for Adam’s sin. Death is the consequence and because of that consequence we are all born “sinners” into corrupted flesh and into a corrupted world. We have a gazillion sins. So what are babies guilty of? Crying for a bottle?

        That is not the same as being” guilty” of Adam’s sin and inheriting some sort of sin juice or something for the sin of eating a forbidden fruit. How did the PERFECT ONE, Jesus Christ live in Mary’s womb with all that guilt sin juice in there?

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          I think if you look at the arguments being offered by your fellow Neo-Traditionalists they don’t agree with you.

          I can’t believe you are not just absolutely thrilled to have found some common ground with a nasty old Calvinist. …… :-)

          The answer to your question about Jesus is found in Mt. 1:20 “…for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

          Peace

          Lydia

          “I think if you look at the arguments being offered by your fellow Neo-Traditionalists they don’t agree with you.”

          That is ok, you know. We are not monolithic. Free church.

          “I can’t believe you are not just absolutely thrilled to have found some common ground with a nasty old Calvinist. …… :-)”

          Not so fast…

          “The answer to your question about Jesus is found in Mt. 1:20 “…for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”

          Are you saying the Holy Spirit took out from Mary the guilt sin juice first? According to your Calvinist doctrine, Mary had to have the imputed guilt sin juice or goo or whatever it is, in her. Was it taken out? Where do we find that stated? So, still Jesus Christ, the PERFECT ONE, was in a womb with imputed guilt sin stuff in there with Him.

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          Sigh….

          We are talking about God made flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit. Our sin nature is communicated to us paternally through Adam (Ro. 5).

          Jesus had no earthly father.

          Are you saying the Holy Spirit took out from Mary the guilt sin juice first? According to your Calvinist doctrine, Mary had to have the imputed guilt sin juice or goo or whatever it is, in her. Was it taken out? Where do we find that stated? So, still Jesus Christ, the PERFECT ONE, was in a womb with imputed guilt sin stuff in there with Him.

          Your constant, petty mockery and bitterness truly is tiresome. It seems you have become the very thing you despise in others.

          Sola Gratia

      Not The Original Les

      Lydia,

      “We are born “dying” because of Adam’s sin. The condemnation is death.”

      So do you also agree with Rick Patrick who says in response to, “How then are they saved?”

      “They are not under condemnation in the first place, having never performed a sinful action. God judges sinful acts, not a sinful nature.”

      Are they under condemnation or not?

        Lydia

        Les, My understanding is that death IS the condemnation (wages of sin) and we are sinful as we are born into corrupted flesh and a corrupted world where things like animals and trees die, too. And we do sin— tons. Babies are not aware they sin yet they are under the same death “consequence” as we all are. I do not think they are “guilty” for Adam’s of eating the fruit.

        I think the Calvinist ask “How can babies be saved” because this whole issue does not fit their Augustinian/Calvinist paradigm WITHOUT infant baptism. So it comes overly complicated without infant baptism but insisting on imputed guilt. Another example of how complicated Calvinism becomes and does not pass my illiterate Romanian peasant test.

        That “sacrament” of infant baptism became very important in an era of high infant death with the Augustinian doctrine of original sin which includes imputed guilt. I never once forget that Augustine is the father of the Catholic church. And I take that into consideration when reading Calvin/Luther. Funny how they did not see the problems inherent in the sacraments as a means of grace.

        Because of imputed guilt the entire discussion concerning babies dying becomes a serious quagmire.

        I am foolish enough to believe that God’s grace saves babies who die as infants. They do not need to repent because they are not aware they sinned or what they are “guilty” of.

        I know that is not as glamorous or intellectual as the complicated Calvin position. But I am one who believes that Christianity was understandable in this repsect for the ignorant peasants of the 1st century. Because lots of babies died back then, you know.

          Not The Original Les

          Ok. So you disagree with brother Rick Patrick. That’s fine. I don’t think you’ve said you signed the document.

          Lydia

          “Jesus had no earthly father.”

          Women don’t get the imputed guilt???

          Not The Original Les

          “Women don’t get the imputed guilt???”

          Rediculosity.

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          The Calvinist position isn’t complicated at all. It is no more difficult for God to regenerate an infant and gift them with faith than it is for Him to do the same in an adult.

          It’s the libertarian free will choice camp that has to do the gymnastics. Gymnastics that require them to reject a primary doctrine of the Baptist faith for centuries–imputed guilt. Not to mention producing a contortionist’s interpretation of Romans 5.

          And not to mention concocting a scheme whereby infants with an admitted sin-nature are received into the presence of an infinitely holy God without the atoning work of Christ ever having been effected in them.

          Good grief. My flesh crawls to even type such…

          Soli Deo Gloria

        Not The Original Les

        Oh, I meant,

        “Women don’t get the imputed guilt???”

        Rediculosity.:)

          Lydia

          I was answering Randall, Les. And yes, it is ridiculous. The whole idea of imputed guilt brings tons of problems that require a ton of mental gymnastics with twisting scripture, etc. It was all taken care of convincing folks of the need for infant baptism but without that, it becomes even more complicated.

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          I don’t baptize infants, so your argument has no traction here.

    Tim G

    Jared,
    Are you then saying that all children who die before the age of accountability are all elect? Thus their death proves they are elect?

      volfan007

      Or, that their death causes them to be elect? That they are saved by death?

      David

      Jared Moore

      I’m saying they’re saved by God’s grace through Christ, which is what the Bible says about all humans in God’s kingdom.

Adam Harwood

Great job on this article, Dr. Patrick. You’ve applied appropriate pressure on the soft spot of this theological discussion. If the denial of inherited guilt in Article 2 of the Traditional Statement is unbiblical, then so is Article 3 of the BFM 2000, because it allows (perhaps requires) such a view.

In Him,

Adam

    Randall Cofield

    Dr. Harwood,

    I think a little disclosure may be in order here. Readers, consider the following:

    whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.–1858 Abstract of Principles

    And:

    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.–1925 BF&M

    I could name quite a number of historic Baptist Confession that place condemnation prior to actual transgression, but I digress. Now to the BF&M 2000:

    …whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.–2000 BF&M

    The language is poorly constructed here. Proper construction of the sentence would require the statement to read “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and fall (or come) under condemnation. Plainly, the language is ambiguous at best.

    So what to do? If we are truly “Traditionalists,” we go back to the earlier confessions and interpret the BF&M in light of them. This is how we interpret any document that has prior written forms.

    However, Neo-Traditionalists want to interpret the ambiguous language of the BF&M 2000 on this point according to their new soteriological paradigm.

    No thanks. I’ll stick with traditional Baptist soteriology.

    If you guys want to establish a new paradigm, knock yourselves out. But at the very least you should not insult the integrity and rich history of the Baptist faith by calling your new paradigm “traditional.”

    Soli Deo Gloria

      Adam Harwood

      The language is identical in the BFM 1963. Is it your position that this view of inherited sinful nature (along with a denial of inherited guilt) which has been permissible since the BFM 1963 is in error? Has the Southern Baptist Convention affirmed a sub-biblical doctrine of man for the last 49 years?

        Randall Cofield

        Dr. Harwood,

        Has the Southern Baptist Convention affirmed a sub-biblical doctrine of man for the last 49 years?

        I don’t think so. But then again, I am interpreting the ambiguous area of the article on the doctrine of man by looking back to the prior written forms of the document.

        Of course, the question cuts equally well, if not better, the other direction: Did Baptists for centuries affirm a sub-biblical doctrine of man?

        Peace.

          Adam Harwood

          Randall,

          That is a good question. My aim is not to argue AGAINST the inherited guilt view but to advocate FOR the inherited sinful nature view.

          Blessings, brother.

          In Him,

          Adam

          Randall Cofield

          Dr. Harwood,

          Ok. :-) Then you and I are in absolute agreement on inherited sin-nature. But I don’t think that is the argument of Dr. Patrick’s article at all. You were commending him for putting pressure on exactly the point of inherited guilt.

          Anyway, thanks for the exchange.

          You sharpened me, brother.

          May the God of all Grace be with you.

    Chris Roberts

    Adam,

    I think Article III of the BF&M is problematic, I think it reflects a disturbing drift toward liberal theology (and I have to wonder if there was any “modernist” influence on it) – even a fairly staunch non-Calvinist in my church commented that the change from 1925 to 1963 seemed more influenced by liberal thinking than biblical thinking. I hope we some day go back to the 1925 formulation. The shift is dangerous.

    But the reason I can still affirm Article III is that although it opens the door to a frankly unbiblical view of humanity (one that goes beyond even the Statement, though I believe the Statement is surprisingly unbiblical in its anthropology), it does not close the door to the biblical view. It provides more room, not less.

      volfan007

      Wow, so now, not only were all the good, godly, intelligent people, who signed the Traditional Statement, either igorant, or semi Pelagians; but also, now all the ones, who wrote the BFM, also either ignorant, or opening the door to heresy.

      Brother, this is just arrogant and sad…..really, really sad. And, YOU are the one, who offered the resolution on unity?

      David

        Leslie Puryear

        David,

        Chris Roberts is a Calvinist pastor in a non-Calvinist church. One has to wonder if he was up front with the search committee about his true beliefs before they called him. He doesn’t seem to want to discuss that. Believe me I have tried. I say it’s more than arrogance. It is agenda.

        The Original Les

Shane Dodson

So…given the arguments presented here…

Why do babies die?

    Tom Parker

    Shane:

    What would you say to the parents of a baby that has died? I am speaking of in reference to this babies soul?

      Shane Dodson

      Interesting question, Tom…one that I have personally experienced.

      But the original question remains unanswered.

      Given the arguments presented here…

      Why do babies die?

        Tom Parker

        Shane:

        You said to me:”Interesting question, Tom…one that I have personally experienced.”

        And your response to the grieving couple was?

        What Bible verses, etc.

        Adam Harwood

        I addressed your excellent question in an essay posted on this site last month:

        http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/2012/06/16/inherited-sinful-naturea-view-permissible-as-both-biblical-and-baptist/

          Tom Parker

          Thanks so very much, Adam. I still would love to hear from a minister that has faced the opportunity to minister to a grieving couple what they shared from the Bible with them.

          I sincerely want to know as I can not imagine what it must be like as a minister dealing with this type of situation.

          Rick Patrick

          “Why do babies die?”

          Because we inherit our sinful human nature and death from Adam.

          “What verses do we use?”

          I would look at 2 Samuel 12:23 and Mark 10:13-16.

        Shane Dodson

        “Because we inherit our sinful human nature and death from Adam.”

        That makes no sense.

        Babies die because of their sinful nature?

        Book/chapter/verse, please.

          Rick Patrick

          Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)

          “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23)

          Death comes because of sin. What is argued here is not that absence of our inherited sinful nature and death from Adam, but rather the absence of our condemnation until we personally sin.

          volfan007

          Rick,

          What’s sad is that this has been said 100 times in 100 different places…even in this post…and still, we have someone asking these kinds of questions….it’s amazing to me.

          David

          Shane Dodson

          “Death comes because of sin. What is argued here is not that absence of our inherited sinful nature and death from Adam, but rather the absence of our condemnation until we personally sin.”

          That argument has been refuted.

          So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
          (Rom 5:18)

          Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–
          (Rom 5:12)

          volfan007

          Shane,

          You quote those verses as if we dont believe them, or have never really studied them. lol.

          Does what we are saying go against the BFM2K?

          David

          Shane Dodson

          “You quote those verses as if we dont believe them, or have never really studied them. lol.”

          Shane Dodson

          “You quote those verses as if we dont believe them, or have never really studied them. lol. ”

          Not at all, David.

          YOU take it as though I am quoting those verses as if you didn’t believe them or never really studied them.

          Exegete them, or point me to your already-completed exegesis.

Sean Cole

I have to interject on this blog. I’ve been a casual observer for many weeks now, but I must interject. I have a special needs son who has a rare chromosome disorder which makes him autistic. He is what we would call “mentally incapable”. Part of my journey to embrace the doctrines of grace was struggling with this very issue.

In the non-Calvinist scheme, my son has no chance to use his free will to “accept Christ”. In the Calvinistic theology, one of the chief tenets is that regeneration precedes faith. In my understanding of sovereign regeneration, I believe that the Holy Spirit can sovereignly regenerate babies and mentally incapable people and yet they not actually express this regeneration with outward repentance and faith. They are still saved by Christ alone and all of His merits, yet they cannot articulate this faith.

Yes, I believe the moment my son was conceived he was under God’s wrath and condemnation and the only way he is to be saved is through the merits of Christ alone applied to Him through sovereign regeneration. He and babies can be regenerated by God’s grace and yet not have the capacity to express that in repentance and faith. He will indeed go to heaven but only on the basis of Christ’s imputed righteousness given to him as a gift.

Arminians and synergists don’t have a good answer to this because they have to change the playing rules on human guilt when it comes to this issue in order to preserve autonomous free will choice.

I respectfully present this not as a slam against any person but as a concerned Southern Baptist and Calvinist and a father of a mentally incapable child and a pastor who has had to help parents navigate these difficult water.

    Randall Cofield

    Hi Sean,

    I was deeply touched by your post, and I found it not only poignant but also theologically sober and biblically sound. The hope that flows out of your understanding is both powerful and God-glorifying.

    I’ve watched with interest since you posted this to see the response of the Neo-Traditionalists. The silence is deafening…and gutless.

    This new soteriological paradigm is impotent in the face of reality.

    May God richly bless you, your son, your entire family, and your pastor for your powerful testimony to His amazing grace.

    Soli Deo Gloria

    Adam Harwood

    Sean,

    I was glad to read that you found peace by embracing a Calvinistic paradigm. For that reason, I felt no compulsion to present an alternate view. Even when you wrote that “synergists don’t have a good answer,” I did not feel compelled to present another view. What you have expressed is a Christian view and I have no desire to talk you out of it. I was grateful that you shared your story and my sense was that it would be neither helpful nor necessary to reply. After all, I thought, you didn’t address me in your post.

    But your post left the impression that only the doctrines of grace can offer a reasonable, biblical response to your situation. And Randall followed up by referring to our non-response as “gutless” and our view as “impotent.” You did not object to his use of those words.

    Please forgive me for not offering a reply. Perhaps that was poor judgment on my part. Although I sense that I have already written too many comments on this site, may I offer the reply that was rolling around today in my mind and heart? This is not meant to persuade you to adopt the “Traditional” Baptist view but to let you (and other readers) know that a biblically-informed pastoral reply can be made by Southern Baptists who consider themselves to be neither Arminian nor Calvinistic.

    The situation of a special needs person (specifically a mentally challenged person, whether a child or an adult) can be regarded as similar to an infant. I understand the Bible to teach that sin and death (not guilt) comes from Adam. So, when does a person become guilty? Although there is no “age of accountability” in the Bible, there do seem to be “conditions for accountability:”

    1. You know the difference between right and wrong. (The biblical concept of “knowledge of good and evil” is important. See Genesis 2-3; Deuteronomy 1:39; Numbers 14:29, 33; and Isaiah 7:15.)

    2. You knowingly commit your first sinful act. (The Bible indicates that God judges sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions; the Bible does not provide specific instances of God judging people for their inherited sinful nature. Passages key to understanding whether God judges sinful actions or an inherited nature include the following: Psalm 51:5; Romans 1:18-32; Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; and Ephesians 2:3.)

    Only after those two conditions are fulfilled is a person guilty before God and under condemnation. If that is the case, then God may regard a special needs individual as lacking moral responsibility and not yet under condemnation.

    I have had conversations with parents of special needs children. They have regarded this view to be both biblically sound and personally comforting. In addition to the explanation above, I would offer the following comments:
    – Your child was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139).
    – Children should not be born with special needs. Although an opportunity to experience God’s grace (2 Cor 12), it is not the way life should be. But we live in a world that is broken and fallen due to sin.
    – David modeled in Psalm 13 the appropriate response when we enter difficult times. He brought his questions and his pain to God–continually stating that his hope and trust are in God.
    – People with special needs demonstrate in painful clarity that this world is broken. But Christ through His death on the Cross defeated death and will remake and restore His broken world. Because of God’s decisive victory in Christ, there will one day be neither tears nor pain (Rev 21:4). Jesus makes all things new (Rev 21:5).
    – God is present. He can provide comfort and peace as you trust Him (Rom 15:13).
    – Jesus welcomed little children (Mark 10). He pointed to them as examples for adults of citizens in God’s kingdom. Perhaps as Jesus welcomed little children during His earthly ministry, He also welcomes people who are children in their minds. If so, then Jesus does the same thing now that He did 2,000 years ago. He points to them as examples of citizen’s in God’s kingdom and takes them in His arms and blesses them (v. 16).
    – Jesus alone is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). Jesus alone is our only hope for resurrection and reunion with our loved ones, whatever their “needs” and whether they are adults, children, or infants.

    Sean, brother, my heart goes out to you and your family. And I am thankful to know that you are trusting God in your family’s challenges. Blessings.

    In Him,

    Adam

      volfan007

      Dr. Harwood,

      Thanks for such an excellent response to a very difficult situation. Brother, it’s easy to see why one of the best colleges in the country wants you to be a professor on thier faculty. Also, I appreciate that you take the time to interact in this blog. It is very beneficial to many of us. Thanks.

      David

      Sean Cole

      Thank you for your reply and I think it is very well thought out and I agree with almost everything you said.. I’m not into name calling or using the term “gutless”. My not responding to the person who called out “Traditionalists” as “gutless” should be addressed and I should have said something.

      I do agree that we are judged based upon deeds done in the body whether good or bad and that babies and mentally incapable have not “committed sinful deeds’ and therefore cannot be judged based upon those. I also agree with all of the points you made. The only caveat that I have come to in my understanding of what little Scripture speaks about this is that God can sovereignly regenerate babies and mentally incapable and that I believe that all babies who die in infancy, or through abortion or stillbirth or as a mentally incapable person do indeed go to heaven, have been regenerated, are saved by the blood of Christ, but have not yet been able to articulate by faith what has happened in their hearts.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I try to stay away from the invective that I’ve seen on these sites and want there to be godly conversations without name calling. I am a “compassionate Calvinist” and love my Traditionalist brothers and sisters–most of my family members fall into this camp and my own father has signed the statement as a Director of Missions, so we can agree to disagree on these points and focus on what is more important–getting the gospel to a lost world that desperately needs His grace.

        Randall Cofield

        Sean Cole & Adam Harwood

        Brothers, my use of the terms “gutless” and “impotent” were in appropriate and sinful.

        Sean, I ask you to forgive me for diminishing the beauty of your powerful post @July 5, 2012 at 1:12 pm.

        Adam, I ask you to forgive me for using denigrating terms to describe your position on this matter.

        Father, forgive me for not loving my brothers as I ought.

        Soli Deo Gloria

        PS. I’ll re-post this below so that others do not miss it.

Randall Cofield

Dr. Patrick,

You said:

I agree with Dr. Adam Harwood:
“If God does welcome infants into heaven, then it is through the person and the work of Christ.” (“The Spiritual Condition of Infants,” 11)

Here’s where I struggle with that statement. Neo-Traditionalists contend that a libertarian free will choice must be made by man before God saves. Obviously, infants and mentally challenged individuals are not capable of such a choice.

How then are they saved?

NOTE: I do not believe infants and mentally challenged individuals go to hell.

Calvinists believe that God regenerates the unbeliever and then gifts them with faith and repentance. If it is God who truly accomplishes the whole of salvation, it is no difficulty for Him to thus save infants/mentally challenged.

Dr. Patrick, help me understand how these individuals are saved in the Neo-Traditional framework.

Soli Deo Gloria

    Rick Patrick

    “How then are they saved?”

    They are not under condemnation in the first place, having never performed a sinful action. God judges sinful acts, not a sinful nature.

      Randall Cofield

      Dr. Patrick,

      They are not under condemnation in the first place..

      Brother, if they are not under condemnation, why do they die?!

      If they are not under condemnation, are you not insisting upon a means of salvation other than faith and belief in Lord Jesus?! Do you realize the implications of this?!! The horrific thought comes to mind “they would be better off dying in the womb!” God forbid!!!

      If they are not condemned why would they need the grace of God in the atoning work of Jesus?

      Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

      Ro 3:19 ¶ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

      Brother, it seems that your insistence upon a libertarian free will choice in salvation is forcing you far outside the pale of orthodoxy.

      I beg of you, show me that this is not so!!

      With heavy heart,

      R. Cofield

        Rick Patrick

        Randall,

        Rest at ease, brother, for I am not beyond the pale of orthodoxy. My position is that infants, though sinful and subject to physical death as a result of the sinful nature they inherited from Adam and the effects of the fall, are nevertheless NOT under condemnation for sin until they personally commit one, which, of course, a baby cannot do. Thus, babies do not reach the age of accountability and will go to heaven and not hell.

        Once again, as to orthodoxy, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 teaches this very same view of inherited sinful nature without inherited guilt. The condemnation only comes AFTER man personally sins.

        I trust you will be released of your heavy heart.

          Shane Dodson

          “Rest at ease, brother, for I am not beyond the pale of orthodoxy. My position is that infants, though sinful and subject to physical death as a result of the sinful nature they inherited from Adam and the effects of the fall, are nevertheless NOT under condemnation for sin until they personally commit one, which, of course, a baby cannot do. Thus, babies do not reach the age of accountability and will go to heaven and not hell.”

          You’re beyond the pale of Scripture, Rick.

          So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
          (Rom 5:18)

          Romans 5 ceases to make any sense in the context of the entire book when this false teaching is taken into account.

          “Age of accountability?”

          Rick…three simple words…

          Book. Chapter. Verse.

          :-)

          volfan007

          Shane,

          2 questions….

          1. Does the Traditional Statement fit into the BFM2K?

          2. Do you believe that babies and the mentally handicapped go to Hell? They never repent and put their faith in Jesus. They’re condemned due to Adam’s sin. They’re guilty of sin, because they were born as a human being. So, do they go to Hell?

          David

          Not The Original Les

          David,

          I had just about decided to exit this discussion. Then I see this by you,

          “Do you believe that babies and the mentally handicapped go to Hell? They never repent and put their faith in Jesus. They’re condemned due to Adam’s sin. They’re guilty of sin, because they were born as a human being. So, do they go to Hell?”

          and this by Sean at 1:12 PM Today, July 5:

          “I have to interject on this blog. I’ve been a casual observer for many weeks now, but I must interject. I have a special needs son who has a rare chromosome disorder which makes him autistic. He is what we would call “mentally incapable”. Part of my journey to embrace the doctrines of grace was struggling with this very issue.”

          and he writes more.

          Why don’t you interact with Sean, a fellow SBC pastor who is actually living these questions out?

          Not one of you guys of this neo position has bothered to interact with Sean.

          volfan007

          Les,

          Does the TS agree with the BFM2K? We believe it fits with the Bible, and with the BFM2K. We believe that it does not violate Scripture, at all. In fact, it agrees with what the Bible clearly teaches. And, it fits the BFM2K very, very well.

          David

        alsbc623

        and the oscar goes to….

Patrick

Between Mary and Lydia, I’m having a heck of a time determining which is the bigger witch.

    Not The Original Les

    Patrick,

    That is unnecessary. Disagree with them all you want. But to call them witches is mean-spirited and unkind.

    Les

      Patrick

      At this point I’m so sick of their running off at the mouth that I meant to be mean-spirited and unkind.

        Chris Roberts

        Patrick,

        But it is still not called for. Deal with arguments, deal with Scripture, uphold the Word, tear down faulty positions, and deal graciously with people. That can be difficult, particularly with some people (God know how much I struggle with that, and how often I have to revise what I have written, and at times realize I should have revised!), but it is still necessary.

        I am bothered that some of the attitudes presented against Calvinism have not been called out, that some of the hate has not been named, but at the end of the day they will stand before God, not me. What God has told us to do is respond with grace. My pride wants to push back, but let’s kick the legs out of pride and let the Word stand in our place.

          Patrick

          Extremely well said…particularly given some of the flack that you personally have received.

          Lydia

          No worries, Patrick. I take your statement as a compliment. I am standing up for Miss Mildred, casserole baker and giver of tithes to subsidize YRR education so they can accuse of her being either a heretic or apostate.

          And I realize I have come into a “guy” fight and less frilly, flowery women are not really welcome. I understand your problem well. And I am just glad it is not the 1500’s and Reformed punishment is illegal now. :o)

          Please tell me, Patrick, you are not a pastor in the SBC. Please.

          Lydia

          Patrick, Your words and disposition represent most of my experience with the YRR both in and out of church in my neck of the woods.

          Lydia

          Chris,

          Some of us believe that suggesting your brothers and sisters in Christ are heretics, semi heretics or Apostates is not loving or even fair at all. Especially since they are quite happy to take heretic money. This could even be considered by some as, hate.

          I am constantly wondering why the same curtesies expected are not applied BY Calvinist.

          You are not the arbiter of what is hate. Disagreement is not hate although I have seen a ton of that expressed in Reformed circles for those who dare to disagree with the ruling elders. They tend to call disagreement or dissent: Hate. And that is why I do not trust their words. The whole point seems to be to marginalize the person who disagrees. Paint them as haters.

          I think it only shows how far apart we really are.We are called heretics and it is not hate. We disagree with interpretation or twisted words and it is called hate.

          You are simply using liberal political tactics to marginalize people who disagree.

          Randall Cofield

          Lydia,

          While I agree with others here that Patrick’s statement was of line, your comments are becoming increasingly ungracious.

          While we all need to guard ourselves here, it is not helpful for you to point to other’s bad behavior to justify your own.

          Sister, don’t you realize that you are becoming the very thing that you detest in others?

          Peace….Please….

        volfan007

        Wow, Patrick, that was so Christ like of you…..and, which fruit of the Spirit was that?

        David

          Cb scott

          Patrick,

          Lydia is a friend of mine. Lydia has worked in some rough situations and stood with grace and Christian integrity. I would appreciate it if you don’t call her a “witch” or anything else that would be considered rude behavior on your part again. And if you do engage her again, maybe you should throw in a “yes ma’m” or two now and again for a show of good faith and maybe a little contrition.

          BTW, maybe you should abide by the same in Mary’s case also, you think?

          Lydia

          “Lydia is a friend of mine. Lydia has worked in some rough situations and stood with grace and Christian integrity. I would appreciate it if you don’t call her a “witch” or anything else that would be considered rude behavior on your part again. And if you do engage her again, maybe you should throw in a “yes ma’m” or two now and again for a show of good faith and maybe a little contrition.”

          Thanks CB, I am tearing up…. but stiff upper lip and carry on.

          Oh, I wanted to thank you for really standing up to the “Servetus deserved it” guy over at Voices. Yes, there really are some out there who believe such things. Reminds me of the Nuremberg defense, “But it was the law at the time”.

Rick Patrick

One more time, just to sort of draw us back from the whole “witch” discussion, let me plead with everyone that if you truly desire to comprehend the view of “Inherited Sinful Nature Without Inherited Guilt,” which frankly and clearly finds expression both in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 AND in the Traditionalist Statement, PLEASE read Adam Harwood’s excellent “The Spiritual Condition of Infants,” available on Amazon.com at the following link: http://amzn.to/MM6Y6Q.

    Not The Original Les

    At the risk of being strung up, there are other Southern Baptists who disagree and make a strong case that the idea of no condemnation until actual sin by an individual is not only unbiblical but not in historic or “traditional” Baptist history.

    More significant is the removal in 1963 of the idea that people are because of their inherited sinful nature “under condemnation” (1925), though such culpability is acknowledged to be the case after they “become transgressors.” This significant change cuts in half the authors’ claim in the Preamble that their view of soteriology has been held by Southern Baptists for “almost a century.”

    and…

    The authors and signers of the statement under review flatly reject the historic Southern Baptist position on sin as reflected in our earliest and most influential confessions. In fact, the second sentence of this Article Two’s affirmation is actually much closer to the Mormon view of sin, which says, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” While no evangelical denies that sinners are guilty before God and liable to His wrath by virtue of their own sins, when the authors of this statement add the word “alone” to that point, they transgress the bounds of Protestant orthodoxy.

    http://blog.founders.org/2012/06/response-to-statement-of-traditional_05.html

      Randall Cofield

      Les,

      Be careful, brother! A few weeks back, out of sheer frustration at the lopsidedness of SBC Today’s coverage of this debate, I posted one of Dr. Ascol’s blogs in its entirety.

      Got my butt banned for 24 hours!

      Rick Patrick

      Not The Original Les,

      Thank you for highlighting the fact that the President of the Founders Ministries finds himself outside the parameters of our current Southern Baptist confessional statement.

      Perhaps one day, I’ll write an article about that:
      http://bit.ly/LGB4Z6

        Randall Cofield

        Rick,

        Kill the messenger even though his message is spot-on accurate? This is what make these debates well-nigh impossible. The “other side” can’t possibly say anything of any merit.

        God, give us more Paige Pattersons and Frank Pages.

        Sheeesh.

          Rick Patrick

          Randall,

          I’m being quite civil. I have no idea what you mean about killing any messengers. EITHER you believe Tom Ascol’s view is spot on accurate OR you believe that the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is spot on accurate, but you CANNOT believe both, for they completely contradict each other, by Ascol’s own admission.

          I do agree with you in that I greatly admire both Paige Patterson and Frank Page. I also agree with Dr. Allen’s post yesterday in that we should come together in a polite and reasoned way, give credit where it is due, and generally keep a balanced and kind tone.

    Chris Roberts

    Thanks Rick, I wasn’t familiar with that. Now – should I get the $14, the $22, or the $150 version? :)

      Lydia

      Chris,

      If you click through on the link that says Hardback for 147.62 it takes you to an “any_book” page where they are selling cheap novels for 50 bucks. I would be surprised to find Harwoods book is in Hardback at all as it is listed as paperback only. Please correct me if I am wrong. It seems Amazon has a 3rd party bookseller playing some games. I have seen this same thing on several other books I have looked up recently.

      I just did not want to leave folks with the wrong impression.

        Chris Roberts

        Lydia,

        My guess is the $147 copy is a bound printing of his dissertation before it was released in book form. Bound copies of dissertations can be pretty pricy. I’ll stick with the cheaper version. :)

      Rick Patrick

      Chris,

      That “unknown binding” link on Amazon kinda scares me. I’d go for the Kindle or the paperback.

Adam Harwood

Thank you, Dr. Patrick, for recommending my book on this topic. That is unexpected but appreciated.

I found a couple of paragraphs that are relevant to this discussion from my concluding chapter in the dissertation-turned-book. Below is one paragraph (without the footnotes). I’ll paste the next excerpt into a different comment so that the responses can relate to the relevant excerpt. Keep in mind: This is not the Traditional Statement. It’s simply the view of one person who signed the TS.

“Those who claim that infants inherit sin and guilt are faced with the following inconsistencies in their viewpoint: First, it would be inconsistent for God to hold infants guilty of the sin of another person (Adam) because he states that he holds people responsible for their own sin, not for the sin of another person (Ezek 18:20). Each of us will give an account of himself to God (Rom 14:12). We will not give an account to God of our parents or grandparents or even our furthest descendant, Adam. Second, because the Scriptures indicate that God judges people for their sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions, it would be inconsistent for him to judge infants to be guilty of sin solely based on their sinful nature. Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins (Rom 4:25), not for our sinful nature. Third, if guilty adults must repent of their sin and confess faith in Christ in order to be saved from their sin and guilt (Rom 10:9-13), then why is such a confession not required of guilty infants? The obvious dilemma is that infants are not able to make any kind of confession. But that is not a problem for some people who teach that infants inherit guilt. They state that a confession of faith in Christ is required for the salvation of most guilty people, but not of guilty infants. Fourth, many of the people who affirm infant guilt also think that many (or in the cases of those with believing parents, all) of those infants who die will be cleansed of the stain of original guilt and enter heaven. If so, then they don’t regard infants to be under condemnation until they commit sinful acts. They effectively affirm an age of accountability, in which infants are not presently under God’s judgment but will later become culpable for their sin.”

    Jared Moore

    Adam, I’ll try to respond briefly to each point you made.

    1. It’s not inconsistent for God to hold us accountable for Adam’s sin if indeed his sin is our sin. So, when we’re held accountable for our own sins, Adam’s sin is included as our own. Also, do you believe it’s inconsistent for God to allow humanity and creation to be “stained by sin” they did not commit? Furthermore, Would you also claim it’s inconsistent for God to hold Jesus accountable for our sins, and thus, to credit us with His righteousness?

    2. If Jesus was only delivered over to death for our sins, not our sinful nature, and you believe infants are not sinners, but only possess a sinful nature, then Jesus wasn’t delivered over for them. The only way you can affirm this is if you assume most of Scripture does not apply to infants. You have to look at all those references to the human race and sin, and say, “This doesn’t apply to infants,” but to the references concerning the human race and grace, say “This applies to infants as well.”

    3. Faith and Repentance are required of infants, but they are incapable of it. God Himself cannot give them faith and repentance due to their cognitive ability, unless He miraculously matures them; thus, since they are incapable of even receiving or possessing faith and repentance, at death, they receive salvation through Christ’s finished work alone. In other words, infants still need Jesus as much as any other human being. To me, this is more consistent with all of Scripture, instead of assuming that children do not need Jesus the same way other humans do.

    4. There is no age of accountability in Scripture. It’s assumed. If children are not “culpable” for their sin, then they do not need Jesus’s death, resurrection, and imputed righteousness. Only sinners need Jesus’s imputed righteousness. When Jesus said, “I am the only Way to the Father,” it did not apply to infants, only those past the “age of accountability.” All the other references in Scripture as well concerning Jesus paying for the sins of sinners does not apply to these children. Creation fell with Adam, but it was a by-product of Adam’s sin. In similar manner, are you saying that the redemption of children is a by-product of Jesus dying for sinners?

    Finally, we’re dealing with mystery. All babies who died in Scripture went to Heaven, as far as we know. Thus, it seems that babies go to Heaven. Now, is it better to argue that most of Scripture does not apply to infants, or to argue that all of Scripture applies to them? Is it better to argue that children don’t need Jesus’s imputed righteousness, or that they only need reconciliation with God due to being a by-product of the Fall (Creation fell due to man’s sin).

    I appreciate the interaction brother.

Adam Harwood

This excerpt, also from chapter 18 of my book (http://amzn.to/MM6Y6Q), attempts to explain how this denial of inherited guilt is not a denial of the work of Christ. This should address the questions by Chris Roberts, Jared Moore, and others in the comments above. My book does not focus on infant salvation but I address it because the issue typically arises after I present my thesis.

“For those readers who have been reading through this book waiting for a declarative statement on the spiritual condition of infants, here it is: Infants are sin-stained, not guilty. Infants are not sinless because they inherit a sinful nature. But infants are not guilty because God judges our thoughts, attitudes, and actions, not our nature. If I were pressed to speculate how God might deal with people who die in their infancy, I would offer this suggestion: All people who die in their infancy will be included in God’s restoration of his fallen creation through Christ’s work at the Cross. Perhaps this is the time Jesus mentioned as “the renewal of all things” (Matt 19:28). Paul said that creation would be set free from its bondage to decay (Rom 8:19–23). Although infants are not guilty of sin, they have been stained by it. Even though they have not knowingly acted in ways that would incur God’s judgment, they may be in need of God’s redemptive and renewing work. And it is Jesus who promises, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev 21:5).”

I apologize if posting excerpts seems like a shameless attempt at selling my book. That is not my intention. I am simply attempting to present the biblical-theological rationale for a particular point in Article 3 of the Traditional Statement in order to address the charges that our view is sub-biblical. A fuller treatment of each of the claims made in the excerpts above can be found in my book. I’ll bow out of this comment thread in order to allow people to agree or disagree with the claims I made.

Blessings.

In Him,

Adam

    Jared Moore

    Adam, so, children below the “age of accountability” do not need the substitutionary atonement of Christ?

    That’s a place I’m never willing to go. In order to argue this view, you have to assume that most of Scripture does not apply to children.

      Adam Harwood

      That’s not my claim, brother. They are neither guilty nor under condemnation. But they (having a sinful nature) are still in need of redemption and renewal through Christ’s work at the Cross. But that is different than the salvation of a guilty person. 

      Do statements of God’s judgment against sinful actions not apply to infants? No. But I’m not sure how that is a bad thing. Instead, the view provides  a more consistent theological system. And it’s not a new idea. I demonstrate in my book that the inherited sinful nature view pre-dates Augustine among both eastern and western theologians. In fact, I try to establish from Augustine’s own writings that early-Augustine did not affirm inherited guilt.

      Blessings.

      In Him,

      Adam

        Jared Moore

        Adam, but you say above that Jesus wasn’t delivered over for our sinful nature. You’re saying that’s all infants have. How do infants benefit from the substitutionary atonement if Jesus wasn’t delivered over for our sinful natures?

          Adam Harwood

          Jared,

          Thanks for your note. My aim (as is yours) is to say what Scripture says.

          What I wrote was this: “Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins (Rom 4:25), not for our sinful nature.”

          Romans 4:25 (ESV) refers to Jesus as one “who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” The word rendered “trespasses” is paraptoma. (See TDNT – 6:170,846 for more info.)

          Are you asking me to say more about the nature of the atonement than is found in Romans 4:25? In order for me to state that Jesus died for our sinful nature, I will need to see a passage of Scripture that makes such a claim. That’s all I mean. Otherwise, I’m left to speculate about how God might redeem an infant with a sinful nature apart from an explicit confession of faith in a similar way that you are left to speculate about how God might redeem a guilty infant apart from an explicit confession of faith.

          In the sentence immediately prior to the one you cited, you will find the idea I was writing to support. I wrote, “Second, because the Scriptures indicate that God judges people for their sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions, it would be inconsistent for him to judge infants to be guilty of sin solely based on their sinful nature.” Furhter support for this view can be found in my previous essay: http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/2012/06/16/inherited-sinful-naturea-view-permissible-as-both-biblical-and-baptist/

          In that essay, I wrote: “Ronald Nash was a well-respected theologian and philosopher who taught at Christian colleges and seminaries for 40 years and wrote more than 30 books. He attempted to reconcile infant guilt and the hope of heaven in his 1999 book entitled When a Baby Dies. Nash insists that infants are guilty because of their sinful nature. So, infants are guilty. However, “divine judgment is administered on the basis of sins committed in the body.” He cites 1 Cor 6:9–10, which includes sexual sins and says this excludes infants. So, infants are not guilty. But, Nash writes, infants are guilty due to their sinful nature. So, infants are guilty. However, infants don’t know the difference between good and evil, so they are incapable of personal sin. Nash cites Romans 1, which is “clearly dealing with responsible adults.” So, infants are not guilty. Typically, Ronald Nash is consistent and clear. But in this case, he insists that infants are guilty before God and at the very same time not guilty. How can that be?”

          Ronald Nash was a self-identified Calvinist. He taught at both Reformed Theological Seminary as well as The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Bapitst Press quotes Dr. Mohler calling Nash “brilliant” (“http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=22843”).

          But even when writing an entire book on this topic, Nash could not argue from Scripture that God judges people for their sinful nature. When saying what the Bible says, Nash was only able to cite Scripture which supported the view that God judges sinful, thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

          I also wrote:

          “(7) In the Bible, God judges sinful actions, not our nature.

          Consider the following statements from Scripture about God judging sin: 2 Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” What is the basis of God’s judgment in this verse? Our nature or our actions?

          Consider the argument that Paul builds in his letter to the Romans. In chapter 1, God’s wrath is revealed against the following actions: the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (v. 18), fail to honor or thank God (v. 21), claim wisdom (v. 22) but choose idolatry (vv. 23–25), and practice homosexuality (vv. 26-27). What is the basis of God’s judgment in this passage? Our nature or our actions? The same things can be seen in the rest of Romans 1.

          Romans 3:10 is a classic statement of man’s unrighteousness, “There is no one righteous, no not one.” What follows in vv. 11–18 is not a summary of man’s sinful nature but his sinful actions. We fail to understand or seek God (v. 11), turn aside and fail to do good (v. 12), speak sinful words (vv. 13–14), kill, destroy, fail to live peaceably, and fail to fear God (vv. 15–18). What is the basis of God’s judgment in this passage? Our nature or our actions?

          Reflecting on Romans 1-3, New Testament scholar Harold Hoehner writes, “Paul makes it very clear in Romans that it is their willful acts of transgression and disobedience that bring this wrath.”

          The significance? Augustinian-Calvinists argue for our guilt and the judgment of God based upon our sinful nature but Paul argues for our guilt and the judgment of God based upon our sinful actions, which excludes infants.”

          I hope these excerpts answer your question.

          In Him,

          Adam

          volfan007

          Dr. Harwood,

          Good, good stuff, Bro. Judged for our sinful actions….that is what the Bible teachs. We are not judged and condemned for just being born.

          David

          Jared Moore

          Adam, thanks for the continued interaction. I also responded above to your other comment.

          First, do you have Scripture that proves the nature and sinful actions are separate? For example, in the verse you quote above (Rom. 4:25), the sinful nature would be assumed, if actions cannot be separated from the sinful nature. The heart isn’t mentioned in that verse either, but surely it’s assumed. Also, is the nature different from the “heart”? At the very least, the nature is included with the heart. Scripture pointedly argues that the heart is the source of evil (Mark 7:20-23). Are you saying that Jesus wasn’t delivered over for wicked hearts or that Jesus was delivered over for sins and portions of wicked hearts?

          Second, I’m familiar with Ronald Nash. Just from what you’ve written, it doesn’t seem fair to assume that Nash’s Calvinism is the crux in his book. How many in Christian history have “figured out” why infants go to Heaven? I’m sure you know the answer due to your dissertation being on this subject, but there’s much mystery to this.

          Third, you asked for Scripture references. Here’s a few:

          Rom. 6:4-6 – “4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

          Do you believe “our old self” includes our sinful natures? I believe it includes everything that is our “old selves,” not merely our sinful actions, but also our sinful natures.

          Rom. 8:1-4 – “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

          Jesus was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, and in Him God condemned sin in the flesh. Do you believe this passage includes the sinful nature?

Shane Dodson

“I Never Ate the Apple.”

No.

But you would have.

Thus you share in Adam’s guilt and condemnation.

    Randall Cofield

    Well posited!

    holdon

    So, can I send you my speeding tickets?

    Rick Patrick

    Well, hypothetically, IF I HAD BEEN ADAM, then yes, I WOULD have been guilty of eating the apple, and would therefore have been under condemnation for my own personal sin and no one else’s.

    Shane and Randall, I really wish I HAD been Adam, for then I could look down and answer a mystery that has plagued me for years–did Adam have a belly button? The only other advantage in being Adam that I can see is that I would not be forced to respond to harsh and false charges of heterodoxy from fellow Southern Baptists over the internet.

    Blessings!

      Randall Cofield

      Rick,

      I once heard a guy explain that Adam and Eve had belly buttons this way: After creating them, God stood them up, poked Adam and then Eve in the stomach with His index finger, declaring–“You’re done, and “you’re done.”

      ….to which Adam promptly spluttered “But…but…but you just violated my libertarian free will! This thing is unsightly!”

      :-)

      Brother, it is not my intention to be harsh. I’m having difficulty absorbing some of what I am reading here. I’ve occasioned people before who denied imputed guilt, but I was completely unaware there were any such critters in the SBC. This is gonna take some getting used to.

      Grace to you, brother

      Shane Dodson

      No Rick…

      You don’t get to hide under your “hypothetical” shield, although it is not for a lack of trying.

      You WOULD have eaten the forbidden fruit. You WOULD have plunged humanity into sin.

      The soul that sins shall die, Rick. Do babies die? Do small children die? Do the mentally retarded die? People don’t die for having natures. People die for being condemned.

      Speaking of death…this false teaching will–God willing–die a quick death in the SBC.

        Rick Patrick

        Shane,

        I already admitted in my second sentence that I would have sinned in the garden. As it turned out, though, my first sin was in the late sixties or early seventies. In the Bible, people are condemned for their actual sins.

        You speak of a “false teaching” dying a quick death, but “inherited sinful nature without inherited guilt” has been around a long time. Not only does it not qualify as “false teaching,” but it is the view sanctioned by the BFM 2000.

        We do not sin because we are guilty. We are guilty because we sin.

          volfan007

          Shane,

          ARe you saying that the SBC is teaching false doctrine?

          David

          Shane Dodson

          “In the Bible, people are condemned for their actual sins.”

          In the Bible are people justified for their actual righteousness?

          “You speak of a “false teaching” dying a quick death, but “inherited sinful nature without inherited guilt” has been around a long time. ”

          As long as there has been the true Gospel preached, there have been false ones, yes. My comment was specifically directed toward the SBC.

          “We do not sin because we are guilty. We are guilty because we sin.”

          Wrong. You are guilty because you are in Adam.

          “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
          But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
          Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
          (Romans 5:12-21 ESV)

          Shane Dodson

          “ARe you saying that the SBC is teaching false doctrine?”

          The SBC? The SBC doesn’t “teach” anything. It’s not a person.

          There ARE, however, false teachings running rampant within the SBC, this being one of them.

          Does that clarify?

          volfan007

          Shane,

          What I meant is that the BFM2K teaches what Traditionalists are saying. The BFM2K is the statement of beliefs of Southern Baptists. So, are you saying that the SBC is teaching false doctrine? Is the SBC heretical? Because, the TS goes along with the BFM…..

          David

Randall Cofield

Dr. Patrick,

Dr. Patrick,

These questions really do beg an answer (concerning infants/mentally challenged.

Brother, if they are not under condemnation, why do they die?

If they are not under condemnation, are you not insisting upon a means of salvation other than faith and belief in Lord Jesus?

If they are not condemned why would they need the grace of God in the atoning work of Jesus?

If they are not in need of the atoning work of Jesus, have you not just created a means of entering into God’s presence other than by Jesus Christ?

    abclay

    Randall,

    You should read the book. You can buy it at amazon!!

      Randall Cofield

      Indeed! I’ve heard that rumor.

Not The Original Les

Well boys and girls,

Hat to admit it, but this cause is likely lost.

    Not The Original Les

    Hat should be hate.

    Let me add that thankfully the SB I know, and most of them would not be the YRR or Calvinists type, do not and likely will not subscribe to the neo-traditionalist viewpoint. There is hope. Of course with our sovereign God there is always hope.

      Cb scott

      I don’t know if I hate your hat or not, because I have not seen it. But I can assure you I don’t care much for your cap.

R. Smith

Rick,

I asked this question once before, but I don’t know if it was ever posted as I could never find it. I’ve looked at so many posts that I was unable to remember where I asked the question. I will keep up with this one.

Were you “reformed” when you first came to Hueytown? I ask this because someone told me that you had told him that you were. Is that true, and if so, what happened?

    Rick Patrick

    I distinctly remember the conversation with the Search Committee in asking if I was a Calvinist, and I informed them that I was NOT. This was twelve years ago, so I struggled a bit with what to call myself. I said my views were more Arminian, at which point the leading theologian in the room then probed me on eternal security to make sure I wasn’t one of those either! This illustrates how helpful the Traditionalist label can become.

    I’m not sure how the misunderstanding you mentioned came about. If you want to explore the subject further, it might help me to know the name of the person who took me for reformed. A more private conversation is available through email or telephone using the contact information on the church website.

Lydia

“I may be right, but I make my argument. I am not saying you do not believe what you say you believe, I am saying what you believe cannot work, no matter how much you insist you can.”

Chris, You had a long comment and there was no where to reply so I came down here. You explained your reasoning for the accusation of semi Pelagianism, etc in the commen,too. Taking your explanation on that and the above I quoted, all I can say is that this discussion is not going to work for the simple reason that many of us do not use the Augustine/Calvin filter to read scripture. We have not embraced their hermeneutic. I don’t speak for everyone but that is what I am seeing. So the round and round is pointless.

That is why “what” many are saying cannot work FOR YOU or any other Calvinist. You want to claim that it is why it won’t work from a scriptural point of view as if you only have that truth and they really don’t. It is just arrogant. Was your resolution on unity based up on this belief? How could you ever even think of unity when you do not think what they believe can be scriptural or “work”? Do you see yourself as the one to “enlighten” people?

That is why exegesis does not work in this debate and never will. For some of us and I don’t want to speak for anyone else, our Triune God is not a Determinist God. When we say that, YRR folks immediately interpret that to say we do not believe He is Sovereign. When in fact, I believe he is Sovereign over His own Sovereignty.

At this point, after weeks, I think it is clear that many YRR like yourself are simply trying to “catch people out”. This is done by rephrasing questions, taking statements and twisting them to mean something they don’t mean, etc. At this point it just seems like tactics to paint another group as apostate.

What has touched my soul in this is that Trads have not resorted to hyper Calvinism claims and other such nefarious and vague accusations as the YRR did. They have been fair and patient. This debate did not start on SBCToday with the article. This debate has been going on in many churches for the last few years and tearing them apart. Why? Because YRR guys think people in churches are just ignorant. And that is the only reason I am here. I have seen one too many kind and tolerant person abused by the YRR. This whole movement is psuedo intellectual because you love your knowledge too much and fail to see that it is from man and man’s knowledge and therefore you only read scripture from a man’s perspective. But worse, the YRR movement tends to love knowledge more than what they view as the ignorant people in pews.

I see the Platonic influence on Augustine all over this movement. Man is incompetent and needs a few enlightened ones to lead the masses. The lack of being able to see the arrogance and condescention will eventually be this movements demise or it will go liberal as it has historicially. But not before it has a trail of bleeding and wounded in it’s wake.

Lydia

“While we all need to guard ourselves here, it is not helpful for you to point to other’s bad behavior to justify your own.”

Randall, If my name was Larry or I were a YRR, you would have not responded.

    Randall Cofield

    Lydia,

    May I borrow your crystal ball?

      Lydia

      Randall, you don’t need one for the obvious and consistent. :o)

Randall Cofield

Lydia,

You’ll be pleased to know that there is a blog over at SBC Voices about your beloved Miss Mildred.

Seems she turned 95 yesterday, and a bunch of Calvinists went to the rest home and threw her a birthday party. It is reported that all the meanies present sat enthralled as she regaled them with accounts of God’s grace in her nearly century-long life.

Whodathunkit? How terribly out of character for a bunch of arrogant Calvinists.

(Obligatory emoticon inserted and then expurgated…because…well…its obligatory and I’m a nasty Calvinist)

Peace

    Lydia

    Randall,

    You want to blow my mind? Find me a Traditional Miss Mildred at a YRR or Acts 29 church. :o)

    I was not aware Dave’s church was known as New Calvinist. Maybe it is.

      Randall Cofield

      Lydia,

      The hard-case shtick is wearing a little thin.

      You guys need to make up your mind whether you are deeming SBC Voices Calvinism Central or not. This back-and-forth thing to fit whatever argument you are in the mood to make is too thin to splatter.

volfan007

Les,

So, according to you, we’re all a lost cause. lol. Okay. Then, I guess the SBC is a lost cause then, because most SB’s believe what we have stated in the TS, or close to it… really close to it.

David

    volfan007

    Also, over at SBC Voices, we’ve got a fella saying that Calvin was right in burning Servetus for heresy….I’m not kidding. CB is taking him to task, and he’s actually arguing that it was okay for Calvin to put people in prison and burn’em, if they didnt believe like ole Johnny C.

    Wow.

    Les, do you see the personal attacks now? Incredible.

    David

volfan007

I’ll have to get back to yall later….Swamp People is on, and they’re catching gators in Bayou Sorrel and Pierre Part…..

Choot it, Lizabeth! Choot it!

David

John Wylie

Brethren,
I consider myself to be in the nonCalvinist camp, but have you guys really decided that you’re willing to deny a doctrine that we have always believed as baptists,namely that all humanity is guilty before God? Do you not remember the liberal path that our General Baptist cousins took because of their Arminian doctrine? Your zeal to rid the convention of Calvinism will actually undo the hard fought results of the CR.

    Randall Cofield

    Hi John,

    I’ve raised this exact issue on 3 separate occasions over the past two days and have been summarily dismissed. Probably for no other reason than that I am a Calvinist in the middle of a feeding frenzy.

    I hope that you making the same observation as a nonCalvinist will gain some traction.

    Thank you, brother, for what I consider to be a wise and insightful post.

    Grace and Peace.

    Adam Harwood

    John,

    Thanks for your note. Please don’t confuse a legitimate view of affirming an inherited sinful nature with either Arminianism or “zeal to rid the convention of Calvinism.” For several weeks, serious and careful contributors have been writing on this site in order to clarify that neither is the case. If you are new to this conversation, then you might be helped by reading some previous posts on this issue as well as the Traditional Statement itself. Welcome to the conversation.

    Blessings, brother.

    In Him,

    Adam

John Wylie

Randall,
Thank you so much for your kind comments. I am really distressed by what I see as a serious departure from our baptist faith.

    volfan007

    John,

    No one is dening original sin. No one is saying that people are not sinners. No one is saying that people are not born with a sin problem in their heart and souls. In fact, this part of the Trad Statement goes along with the BFM2K. So???

    David

    Chris Roberts

    John,

    Hopefully we will see a return to more traditional (and biblical) views of humanity in which we recognize the Bible’s teachings that we are truly and completely dead in our trespasses and sins. I have been quite disturbed by the trend of some in the SBC to try and preserve even a hint of natural human goodness, despite the overwhelming biblical evidence to the contrary.

    Take heart! Many of us do not go along with the Statement.

      volfan007

      Chris,

      Can you show me where the TS goes against what the BFM2K teaches?

      David

John Wylie

David,
What is being denied is that all humanity is guilty before God. I don’t have time to list all the scriptures that refute this untenable position. What Adam passed down to us was more than just a sin nature, he passed down to us a death sentence.

    volfan007

    John,

    Many highly intelligent, godly men have said that this statement does not go against what the Bible teaches, but rather, expresses what it teaches. Also, can you show me where this statement goes against the BFM2K? which is our statement of faith….which many, many more highly intelligent, godly men wrote….

    David

      abclay

      David,

      Who, prior to the 21st century, said such things? I’m genuinely interested in reading some of their works to see how they dealt with all of the accompanying problems that this position creates.

        volfan007

        ab,

        Does this statement agree with the BFM2K, or not?

        David

          abclay

          David,

          Yes, but the BFM2k allows for Calvinism as well.

          Who, prior to the 21st century believed this way about imputed guilt?

          Will you answer my question now?

          Randall Cofield

          David,

          I dealt with this further up the thread. The 2k statement is poorly written syntactically and is ambiguous. This requires that we look at prior statements for clarification. That’s what ab is referring to. There is no support for the Neo-Trads interpretation of this article prior to 1963.

          volfan007

          AB,

          I never said that the BFM2K didnt allow for Calvinism. I have always believed it did. But, when Calvinists start crying “false doctrine,” or “unBiblical view,” or “Semi Pelagianism,” or “heresy,” then they are calling all SB’s the same…because the TS goes along with the BFM2K, and goes along with the teaching of the Bible…what the Bible clearly teaches; not the speculations and philosophy of men.

          David

          volfan007

          Randall,

          EY Mullins was one of the main writers of the 1925 BFM. EY Mullins. Is he not the man, whom Calvinists claim took the SBC away from the Founders???

          And, I think you’ve been shown over and over again that the Sandy Creek crowd was not nearly as Calvinist as your Charleston crowd. And, lets not forget the AnaBaptists.

          But, I’d rather go ALL the way back to the Bible…not just to the confessions and creeds of a group of Christians in history.

          David

    Rick Patrick

    Inherited sin nature is affirmed along with the death it brings. Condemnation is also affirmed, but is transmitted not immediately upon conception, but mediately upon one’s first actual, personal sin. We are judged not for our sinful nature or inclination, but for our own sinful actions, and not for the sinful actions of another.

      Shane Dodson

      “We are judged not for our sinful nature or inclination, but for our own sinful actions, and not for the sinful actions of another.”

      I see…but we ARE judged as righteous for the perfect obedience of Another (2 Cor 5:21)…or do you believe that you can be declared righteous by God by YOUR OWN righteous actions?

      You cannot have it both ways.

        Rick Patrick

        Shane,

        I embrace my guilt and condemnation which stems, of course, from my sinful nature inherited from Adam, and which was ratified or confirmed or made real in my life at that moment when I personally committed a sin and thus fell under condemnation.

        In the same way, I embrace a righteousness which is not my own, but which stems, of course, from my new nature in Christ, which was ratified or confirmed or made real in my life only in that moment when I personally accepted God’s grace through repentance and faith and became a Christian.

        Both views embrace the imputed sinfulness of Adam and the imputed righteousness of Jesus.

        The ONLY difference is in the timing of condemnation.

          Shane Dodson

          “I embrace my guilt and condemnation which stems, of course, from my sinful nature inherited from Adam, and which was ratified or confirmed or made real in my life at that moment when I personally committed a sin and thus fell under condemnation.”

          All who are in Adam are condemned. The “judgment following one trespass (not YOUR trespass, btw) brought condemnation…” (Romans 5:16). “One trespass (not YOUR trespass, btw) brought condemnation” for YOU, Rick.

          This trespass is not YOUR trespass; it was Adam’s. But it brought condemnation to YOU (unless you’re going to tell us that “all” doesn’t really mean “all”–which would be shocking for a synergist such as yoursself).

          The judgment following ADAM’S trespass brought condemnation for YOU, Rick.

          You’re reading your tradition back into the text.

          Your arguments are refuted by a plain reading of Scripture.

          “In the same way, I embrace a righteousness which is not my own, but which stems, of course, from my new nature in Christ, which was ratified or confirmed or made real in my life only in that moment when I personally accepted God’s grace through repentance and faith and became a Christian.”

          A lot of credit you take there for your salvation, Rick…but my first problem is with your statement “in the same way…”

          It is NOT in the same way. One man’s trespass did NOT bring you condemnation, you claim…so how can one Man’s perfect obedience bring you righteousness? It is not “in the same way,” at all…no matter how many times you say it is.

          “Both views embrace the imputed sinfulness of Adam and the imputed righteousness of Jesus.”

          And both the imputed sinfulness of Adam and the imputed righteousness of Christ have direct implications for all of us. You deny the condemnation that Adam’s trespass brings yet embrace the righteousness that the Second Adam’s obedience brings.

          Please jettison your tradition, Rick…and allow Scripture to explain and defend itself.

          The ONLY difference is in the timing of condemnation.

        Randall Cofield

        Shane,

        Notice Dr. Patrick’s statement:

        ….my new nature in Christ,….was ratified or confirmed or made real in my life only in that moment when I personally accepted God’s grace….

        There’s the rub on the whole TS right there. “I” must “ratify” “my” salvation, else God’s hands are completely tied and He cannot save me and impute Christ’s righteousness to me.

        When one thinks they are in control of their salvation, it is a natural extension for that one to believe they are in control of their condemnation.

        And there you have it–denial of imputed/inherited guilt. I Never Ate The Apple….therefore I determine whether or not God can save me.

        Ge 3:5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

        Libertarian Free Will at its finest….the Neo-Traditionalists have swallowed the “apple” alright; stem, peel, seeds and all.

        Your earlier assessment that Neo-Traditionalists would have eaten the forbidden fruit was spot-on, brother. They have just devoured it.

        Soli Deo Gloria

      Robert Bunger

      Brother Rick,
      Greetings from Vineland Park! Your article is very good, even if I don’t agree.

      I am probably rehashing what was already discussed surrounding your previous article which focused on the BFM, but I must say that the BFM section III (Man) is so poorly written that it can be interpreted more than one way. When I read (rede) it, it sounds extremely Calvinistic, because it says (for example) that as soon as you are able, you sin, and (for example) MAN (not Adam) fell from innocence (and by implication must now be guilty). But after seeing your comments here I realize it can be interpreted also as you describe. However, it would need to say ADAM, not MAN in almost of section III, for it to clearly agree with the mediate view. Likewise, where it says, “are under condemnation” would need to be reworded for it to clearly agree with the immediate imputed guilt view.

      Thanks for your clear, thoughtful statements.

      May the Lord bless you,
      Bob

    Randall Cofield

    John,

    Brother, I’ve been ’round and ’round with these guys on this thread. I think it is clear at this point they intend to stick to this aberrant teaching. Let’s pray together that more seasoned, cooler heads prevail at the Convention and in the pulpits of our Churches.

    Grace to you, brother.

      t.r.

      To me at least it seems that PRIDE is the main issue. They have got to know by now that the neo-trad document contains aberrant teachings. But instead of editing it, which is what is obviously needed, they rather, dig in their heals. Heresy is more appealing it seems than admission of any mistakes in their document. Plus, they don’t want to have to ask 1000+ people to sign a new document again. So stick with the document just as it is with aberrant teachings and pretend they don’t exist is what they have chosen to do. Pride.

        Adam Harwood

        T.R.,

        I’ll be the first to admit that I am prideful. My sins, even as a saint, cause me to regard myself as the chief of sinners. I like to be right and I like to be viewed as smart. That is pride.

        God opposes the proud. And if there is ONE who I don’t want to oppose me it is God. Thankfully, He gives grace to the humble. So, I continually humble myself before God’s mighty hand and deny myself and follow Jesus. The only reason I would do things like pursuing God and submitting to Him is that I am in Christ, a new creation.

        So, I acknowledge your point about pride but think it has little to do with this doctrinal statement.

        I see several points at which the Traditional Statement differs with Calvinism but none at which it differs with the Bible. I am unsure why you would call the Statement “Heresy.” If you will offer nothing more than unsupported accusations, then I ask that you either offer evidence to support this serious charge or kindly refrain from making such a claim.

        Blessings.

        In Him,

        Adam

          volfan007

          Dr. Harwood,

          Amen. And, it’s awfully hard to have “unity” with people, who keep calling us heretics. It’s just shameful and concerning how some Calvinists behave.

          David