Shellfish, Mixed Fabrics, and Homosexuality: Picking and Choosing?

by Mike Riccardi
Eat More Pork

“Once again, a brilliant post of Jesse’s has stimulated a lot of discussion. Yesterday’s post, in which Jesse shared four thoughts regarding Chick-Fil-A Day, sparked a ton of discussion in the comment thread.

Among other issues, a couple of commenters listed a number of popular arguments for why homosexuality is reconcilable with Christianity. For today and tomorrow, I’d like to address a couple of those arguments that I encounter most often. My hope is that I might serve those who erroneously believe that faith in Jesus and His Word can be reconciled with attempts to legitimize homosexuality.

The objection I want to address today basically boils down to this: “There are plenty other commands in Scripture that Christians don’t follow today, like the prohibition against mixing fabrics (Lev 19:19) or eating shellfish (Lev 11:10–12) and pork (Lev 11:7–8). So why not one more?”

Unbiblical Reasoning

First, I just want to observe that this kind of reasoning is patently unbiblical. The argument concedes that the Bible does indeed condemn homosexuality. We’re not getting an argument from these folks on that. They’re just giving a reason for why we should ignore more of what the Bible clearly says. “We disobey God’s Word all over the place. Why should disobeying His commands against homosexuality be any different?”

If you find yourself thinking this way, I just want to plead with you to realize that this is just not the way a Christian thinks about God’s Word. Someone who loves God in the Person of Jesus Christ does not look for ways to legitimize their disobedience or to free themselves from what He’s actually said. The one who loves God loves His Word. The Word of God is thedelight of the child of God (see Psalm 119Job 23:12Jer 15:16). If God’s Word is something you feel you have to get around or escape, please examine whether you’re truly a Christian at all.

The Purpose of the Law

But aside from the fact that a Christian simply doesn’t reason this way, this objection fails to understand the purposes of the Mosaic Law, and how the Christian under the New Covenant is to relate to the Law given under the Sinaitic Covenant. This isn’t an easy theological issue, and so to some degree I understand the confusion over this issue. But Scripture gives a clear answer, so try to stick with me.

Law Scroll

To Set God’s People Apart

For one thing, these civil and ceremonial regulations functioned to set Israel apart from all the other nations. No other nation cared about eating animals that didn’t chew cud or wearing clothes woven with two different fabrics. No other nation let a perfectly good day of work (and profits) slip through their fingers by resting on Saturday. In all these restrictions, God’s design was for Israel—His people—to be different than all the nations. And He wanted them to be different from the nations because He was different than the gods of the nations.

But God’s people are no longer confined to a particular nation. They are no longer bound by physical, national, or even cultural boundaries (Eph 2:12). The Church is not a civil government or a theocracy, but a spiritual building (Eph 2:21–22). Because of that, we’re not set apart by obeying laws about fabrics, foods, lengths of beards, and days of rest, but by our moral purity and holiness. We are to come out from all moral impurity and uncleanness, and are to be separate, for the Holy God walks in our midst (2 Cor 6:14–7:1).

To Point God’s People to a Savior

So, one function of the Mosaic Law was to set God’s people—the nation of Israel—apart in tangible, physical ways in order to show His own uniqueness.

But the Law was also given to Israel for another purpose: to illustrate God’s standard of righteousness, to show how far short of that standard His people fall, and ultimately to point them to a Savior to provide that righteousness.

Under the Mosaic Covenant, a right relationship with God depended on compliance with all of what He had said. If someone broke God’s Law, that was sin, and sin demanded a punishment. God made a provision to punish His people’s sin in a substitute, and so the sacrificial system was instituted. The consistent bloody exercise of animal sacrifice was designed to make clear to Israel that God was infinitely holy and that He took sin seriously. Day after day, year after year, all of Israel would offer sacrifices for their sins. And one thing they were supposed to come away with after doing that was that they could not live the way God required. God was holy. And they were hopelessly unholy.

Because of this, in Galatians 3 Paul calls the Law a tutor or a schoolmaster.

But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith (Gal 3:22–24).

So the Law was designed to teach Israel that they could never meet God’s standard of holiness themselves, and that they needed to look outside of themselves—to Him—for the gracious provision of that righteousness. And God provided that righteousness in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Law was designed to point to Him!

That’s why when Jesus shows up, He can declare that all foods are clean (Mark 7:19) work on the Sabbath (Luke 6:25). It’s why God’s people no longer have to offer sacrifices in a temple—why when Jesus was crucified the veil of the temple was torn in two (Matt 27:51): because in Jesus, something greater than the temple is here (Matt 12:8)! A Better CovenantAccess to God would no longer be mediated by the regulations of the Mosaic Covenant, but by those of the New Covenant (Jer 31:31–34Luke 22:20), whose mediator is Christ Himself (Heb 9:15).

That’s also why the Book of Hebrews declares that the Mosaic Covenant has been made “obsolete” (Heb 8:13): because the purpose for which that Covenant was given—namely, to set Israel apart and to point them to a need for a Savior—is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the point of the dietary laws. God’s people are no longer set apart by not mixing fabrics, they are set apart by being united to Jesus by faith.

No Longer Under a Tutor

So, the reason that Christians don’t have a problem mixing fabrics or eating pork is notbecause we’re picking and choosing which biblical commands we follow. Neither were the commands culturally conditioned. Rather, they were covenantally conditioned. It’s actually because those commands, which belonged to the Mosaic Covenant, have been fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the Mediator of a new and better covenant. We actually obey the commands of the Law not by carrying them out ourselves, but by looking to Jesus as their fulfillment and trusting Him to provide the righteousness that was the goal of those commands. That’s why Paul says in that same passage in Galatians 3:

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (Gal 3:24–25).

We are no longer under that Law which functioned for us as a tutor! To attempt to keep the dietary laws and other aspects of ceremonial worship would actually be to deny that Jesus’ righteous life and substitutionary sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to achieve God’s righteousness on our behalf. So when Christians exercise their freedom to mix fabrics or to eat shellfish and pork, we are not breaking the Mosaic Law. Rather, we are living obediently in light of its fulfillment in Christ (cf. Matt 5:17).

Why Homosexuality is Different

However, the commandments against homosexuality do not belong to the ceremonial or civil stipulations of an obsolete covenant from a bygone era. Yes, a prohibition of homosexuality is given in Leviticus 18:22. But that prohibition is repeated in the New Testament—God’s revelation for those living under the New Covenant.

  • Romans 1:26–27 – For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 – Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
  • 1 Timothy 1:9–10 – …those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching…

Whereas the New Testament declares the fulfillment (and thus the end) of certain civil and ceremonial laws of the Mosaic Covenant, these New Covenant Scriptures only reaffirm the Old Testament prohibition against homosexuality. This shows us that such a prohibition wasn’t applicable only to national Israel, but is also binding upon the New Testament people of God. According to God’s own Word to His people, you cannot be in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ while living an unrepentant homosexual lifestyle.

You Can Be Washed

But you certainly can be restored to a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ by repenting from the sin of homosexuality. 1 Corinthians 6:11 says that some in the Corinthian church were homosexuals (cf. 1 Cor 6:10–11). “But,” Paul says, “you were washed.” They had been cleansed! Their sins were forgiven, not by pretending it wasn’t sin but by owning it andconfessing it as sin, and by turning from it—forsaking it as something that dishonors God—and by trusting in Christ’s righteousness alone for acceptance with God. My prayer is that those of you reading this would be washed by the blood of the Lamb shed for the forgiveness of sins.”

-Mike Riccardi,

Loving the Law

by R. C. Sproul

“”In giving a summary of what constitutes the true knowledge of God, we showed that we cannot form any just conception of the character of God, without feeling overawed by His majesty, and bound to do Him service.”

—John Calvin

Yesterday, a man I met for the first time asked me, “And what is the Lord doing in your life?” (Something about how he asked the question, the tone of his voice, and his manner in it disturbed me.) The manner of asking was a bit too casual, as if the utterance was mechanical. I suppressed my annoyance and answered as if the question were sincere. I said, “He is impressing upon me the beauty and sweetness of His law.” The man obviously was not prepared for my answer. He looked at me as though I was from another planet. He visibly recoiled from my words as if I was weird for uttering them.

We are living in an era in which the law of God is not given much attention either by secularists or by Christians. The law, we assume, is a relic of the past, part of the history of Judaeo-Christianity to be sure, but of no abiding relevance to the Christian life. We are living out, in practice, the antinomian heresy.

A recent survey by George Gallup Jr. revealed a startling trend in our culture. According to Gallup the evidence seems to indicate that there are not clear behavioral patterns that distinguish Christians from non- Christians in our society. We all seem to be marching to the same drummer, looking to the shifting standards of contemporary culture for the basis of what is acceptable conduct. What everybody else is doing seems to be our only ethical norm.

This pattern can only emerge in a society or a church wherein the law of God is eclipsed. The very word law seems to have an unpleasant ring to it in our evangelical circles.

Let’s try an experiment. I’m going to cite a few passages from Psalm 119 for our reflection. I’m asking that you read them existentially in the sense that you try to crawl into the skin of the writer and experience empathy. Try to feel what he felt when he wrote these lines thousands of years ago:

 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day (v. 97).

• Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart. I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end (vv. 111–112).

• I opened my mouth and panted, for I longed for Your commandments (vs. 131).

• Trouble and anguish have overtaken me. Yet Your commandments are my delights (vs. 143).

Does this sound like a modern Christian? Do we hear people talk about longing passionately for the law of God? Do we hear our friends expressing joy and delight in God’s commandments?

These sentiments are foreign to our culture. Some will surely say, “But that is Old Testament stuff. We’ve been redeemed from the law, now our focus is on the Gospel, not the law.”

Let’s continue the experiment. Let’s read some excerpts from another biblical writer, only this time from the New Testament. Let’s hear from a man who loved the Gospel, preached it, and taught it as much as any mortal. Let’s hear from Paul:

 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6).

• What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through law (Romans 7:8).

• Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good (Romans 7:12).

• For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man (Romans 7:22).

Does this sound like a man who believed the law of God has no place in the Christian life? Read Paul carefully and you will find a man whose heart longed for the law of God as much as David’s.

Church history witnesses that at periods of revival and reformation there has been a profound awakening to the sweetness of God’s law that can easily degenerate into legalism, which usually provokes a response of antinomianism. Neither is biblical. The law drives us to the Gospel. The Gospel saves us from the curse of the law but in turn directs us back to the law to search its spirit, its goodness and its beauty. The law of God is still a lamp unto our feet. Without it we stumble and trip and grope in darkness.

For the Christian the greatest benefit of the law of God is its revelatory character. The law reveals to us the Law-Giver. It teaches us what is pleasing in His sight. We need to seek the law of God—to pant after it—to delight in it. Anything less is an offense against the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

-R. C. Sproul, http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/the-law-of-god/

Stop Stealing [Ex. 20:15]

“The purpose of this commandment is: since injustice is an abomination to God, we should render to each man what belongs to him [Rom.13:7]. To sum up: we are forbidden to pant after the possessions of others, and consequently are commanded to strive faithfully to help every man to keep his own possessions.

We must consider that what every man possesses has not come to him by mere chance but by the distribution of the supreme Lord of all. For this reason, we cannot by evil devices deprive anyone of his possessions without fraudulently setting aside God’s dispensation.

Now there are many kinds of thefts. One consists in violence, when another’s goods are stolen by force and unrestrained brigandage. A second kind consists in malicious deceit, when they are carried off through fraud. Another lies in a more concealed craftiness, when a man’s goods are snatched from him by seemingly legal means. Still another lies in flatteries, when one is cheated of his goods under the pretense of a gift….remember that all those arts whereby we acquire the possessions and money of our neighbors—when such devices depart from sincere affection to a desire to cheat or in some manner to harm—are to be considered thefts….

[God] sees the intricate deceptions with which a crafty man sets out to snare one of simpler mind, until he at last draws him into his nets. He sees the hard and inhuman laws with which the more powerful oppresses and crushes the weaker person. He sees the lures with which the wilier man baits, so to speak, his hooks to catch the unwary. All these things elude human judgment and are not recognized. And such injustice occurs not only in matters of money or in merchandise or land, but in the right of each one; for we defraud our neighbors of their property if we repudiate the duties by which we are obligated to them.

If a shiftless steward or overseer devours his master’s substance, and fails to attend to household business; if he either unjustly spends or wantonly wastes the properties entrusted to him; if the servant mocks his master, if he divulges secrets; if in any way he betrays his life or goods; if the master, on the other hand, savagely harasses his household—all these are deemed theft in God’s sight. For he who does not carry out what he owes to others according to the responsibility of his own calling both withholds and appropriates what is another’s.

…let this be our constant aim: faithfully to help all men by our counsel and aid to keep what is theirs, in so far as we can; but if we have to deal with faithless and deceitful men, let us be prepared to give up something of our own rather than to contend with them. And not this alone: but let us share the necessity of those whom we see pressed by the difficulty of affairs, assisting them in their need with out abundance.

…let a people hold all its rulers in honor, patiently bearing their government, obeying their laws and commands, refusing nothing that can be borne without losing God’s favor.

…Let the ministers of churches faithfully attend to the ministry of the Word, not adulterating the teaching of salvation [cf. II Cor 2:17], but delivering it pure and undefiled to God’s people. and let them instruct the people not only through teaching, but also through example of life….

Let the people in their turn receive them as messengers and apostles of God, render to them that honor of which the highest Master has deemed worthy, and give them those things necessary for their livelihood….

Let parent undertake to nourish, govern, and teach, their children committed to them by God, not provoking their minds with cruelty or turning them against their parents [Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:12]; but cherishing and embracing their children with such gentleness and kindness as become their character as parents.

…children owe obedience to their parents. Let youth reverence old age, as the Lord has willed that age to be worthy of honor. Also, let the aged guide the insufficiency of youth with their own wisdom and experience wherein they excel the younger, not railing harshly and loudly against them but tempering their severity with mildness and gentleness.

Let servants show themselves diligent and eager to obey their masters—not for the eye, but from the heart, as if they were serving God. Also, let masters not conduct themselves peevishly and intractably toward their servants, oppressing them with undue rigor, or treating them abusively….

In this manner, I say let each man consider that, in his rank and station, he owes to his neighbors, and pay what he owes. Moreover, our mind must always have regard for the Lawgiver, that we may know that this rule was established for our hearts as well as for our hands, in order that men may strive to protect as promote the well-being and interests of others.”

-John Calvin, Institutes, 2.8.45-46

Is It Ever Right to Disobey the Government?

Excellent post from the Gospel Coalition by Mark Coppenger:

“Recently, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) heaped contempt upon five ministers called to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The men were there to raise religious liberty concerns over the Health and Human Services Department’s policy of forcing institutions to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to their employees, even when the institutions found these options morally objectionable. Though Romans Catholics were particularly stung by this policy, four other members of the clergy—two Baptists, a Lutheran, and a Jew—came as co-belligerents for the cause of freedom of conscience.

Connolly’s fulminations included the charge that they were being used for “shameful” acts of political demagoguery. He mocked their speaking “as if people are going to jail over this. Shame! Everybody knows that’s not true.”

Actually, a lot of people know that it may well be true, and American Christians are preparing for the day when the state will no longer tolerate their “obstructionism,” their “phobias,” and their “offensive utterances.” Thus a half million believers have already signed the 2009 Manhattan Declaration, which says, in part,

Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.

If this means jail time over refusal to pay fines, so be it. Of course, the specter of thousands of esteemed ministers in holding cells, getting rap sheets, may cause the commissars to go wobbly and back off for fear of the political repercussions.

Fuss Over Nothing?

Could Connolly be right about this being an overheated tempest in a teapot? After all,Americais noIranorSaudi Arabia, where Christian conversion and gospel preaching land you in prison, and even the grave. We’re a liberal democracy, a pillar of Western civilization, with its constitutive freedom of conscience.

But that status is tenuous. Classic liberalism (following Adam Smith and Edmund Burke, not Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) is dying in the mainline Western nations as paternalists, cultural relativists, sensitivity police, and decadence-normalizers move in with their speech and tax codes to cow the faithful.

Åke Green and Daniel Scot are two cases in point. Green, a Swedish Pentecostal pastor on the littleislandofOland, was sentenced to a month in jail for “hate speech” and “agitation against an ethnic group” for preaching a sermon against homosexuality. Fortunately, the Swedish Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s ruling.

Scot, a math professor and Assembly of God minister, had fled Pakistan for the safety of Australia, only to be convicted of “vilifying” Islam when he spoke in churches, explaining the roots of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He was ordered to purchase tens of thousands of dollars in ads inMelbournepapers, apologizing to Muslims. He refused, at great legal expense, and the case went to the Australian Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor. And Americans of biblical conviction are also beginning to feel the heat. For instance, a Methodist retreat center inNew Jerseylost its tax-exempt status for excluding same-sex marriage ceremonies from its grounds.

When Should We Take a Stand?

Of course, this raises the question of when it is appropriate to take a stand, and when it is better to simply retire from the field, as did Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, when it stopped its adoption ministry because the law said it could not discriminate against same-sex households. After all, obedience to the law is the default position for Christians. That’s the teaching of Romans 13:1-7, which Paul wrote when the government was in many ways unsavory. But this is not an absolute duty, for we rightly celebrate the stand of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 and Peter and John’s defiance in Acts 4:1-21, where they ignored an order to stop preaching and teaching in Jesus’ name.

Still, we have to avoid the temptation to become hypersensitive to every affront to our scruples. I may be incensed over where some of my tax money is going, but I shouldn’t turn my back on the IRS in protest. And I may dislike the order to move my abortion protest across the street from a “clinic,” but I don’t need to provoke a trip in the paddy wagon by ignoring the mandated buffer zone.

So where do we draw the line?

We can certainly follow Peter and Andrew in insisting that our gospel preaching is inviolate. And there are moral outrages that no men of conscience could countenance, such as an order by Nazis to turn in Jews for transport to the death camps. But sometimes, the outrage is more particularly anti-Christian, as when 17th-century Japanese were required to show their disrespect for the faith by stepping on a tile bearing the image of Jesus (fumi-e) or face torture and death.

In contrast, in the modern West, speech codes and their supporting humiliations and fines are the bludgeons of choice. But in either case, believers must not flinch from speaking the truth in love, whatever the cost.

What shall we say, then, of that gray area where we’re not murdered or muzzled but merely mugged? I suggest we consider our witness, whether we might be bringing glory or embarrassment to God. For comparison, we might consider our take on other faiths’ possible complaints of ill treatment. For instance, I think we would rally to the side of Muslims forced to serve pork in their rescue mission. Government pressure at this point would be gratuitously offensive, whatever the rationale—whether a recent study placing pork at the base of the food-guide pyramid or the need to sustain the nation’s pork farmers by broad purchase and distribution of their product.

But when an American Muslim woman (or her husband) insists that she wear a niqab for her driver’s license photo (not an issue inSaudi Arabia), then popular sentiment rightly shifts to the government’s side, which counts an ID showing only the eyes an absurdity. By extension, we should reflect on how reasonable or absurd our own complaint might be.

Should Even Unreasonable Religious Beliefs Be Protected?

Of course, the public may not “get it” the first time through. We may need to strive mightily to make our point that a certain religious conviction or principle is crucial to us and that when the state slights our conscience, it behaves badly. Such was the burden on the Miami-area Santeria, the cult sacrificing chickens in their worship. Defenders did well to note that their killings were humane and that there was already a lot of bird “sacrifice” in the land, whether by KFC or the members of Ducks Unlimited.

Some beliefs, though, are not only curious, but dangerous: a Jehovah’s Witness refusing a C-section meant to save her unborn child because she objects to the accompanying blood transfusion; a Christian Science couple declining treatment for their son’s bowel obstruction that could rupture and cause death from peritonitis; a Christian school proudly declaring itself exempt from the general fire code. But the government can be just as unreasonable in pressing its will upon the faithful.

As we make our case for liberty, we need to show our logic, expose the illogicality of our foes, link arms with co-belligerents, exhibit dignity in the face of indignities, and make it very clear that there are limits to our flexibility.

The five ministers who testified before the House committee—Meir Soloveichik, Matthew Harrison, Craig Mitchell, William Lori, and Ben Mitchell—served us well in this regard. But the public debate continues, and it may well happen that Representative Connolly and his ilk will not grasp the gravity of the situation until the jail doors slam on dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of clergy.”

-Mark Coppenger is professor of Christian apologetics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of the seminary’s Nashville extension. He also serves on the editorial team for two online resources, Kairos Journal and BibleMesh. He has a PhD in philosophy from Vanderbilt and an MDiv from Southwestern. His third book, Moral Apologetics, was published in October 2011.
Posted here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/03/14/when-should-christians-engage-in-civil-disobedience/
italics added

The Christian & Evolution: Requiring Adam

Highlights of a post by D.A. Carson at: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/02/29/if-the-apostle-paul-believed-in-the-historical-adam-must-we/

Carson…offers five reflections on Paul’s understanding of Adam:

1. The necessity of the cross requires a literal Adam                                      (1 Corinthians 15:20-27, 45-49)

[N]ot only must we conclude that Paul himself believed in the historicity of Adam, but that the structure of his argument requires the historicity of Adam. In other words, for Paul Adam is more than an optional extra, a mythological accretion which may be excised without loss. Far from it; Paul so tightly relates the saving cross-work of Christ to the significance of historical Adam that it is difficult to see how one can preserve the former if the latter is jettisoned.

2. Human history has a definitive start                                                       (Romans 5:13-14)

 Paul’s reference to the time period from Adam to Moses (5:13-14) certainly presupposes a historical figure (i.e. Adam) at the beginning of the period, corresponding to a historical figure at the end of the period (Moses). Moreover, this period in world history is not simply an abstract, bounded, temporal entity—we are not dealing with a “time” in the abstract; rather, this period is portrayed as a time during which (a) the “law” (of Moses) had not yet been given; (b) sin was in the world; and (c) death reigned. This threefold description can only refer to the Old Testament period stretching from the fall of Adam to the giving of the law to Moses; and it treats the period as real history inasmuch as all die within it.

3. One act of disobedience brought sin                                               (Romans 5:12-14)

Not only does Rom. 5:12-14 lay considerable emphasis on the one sin, one trespass, or one act of disobedience which brought ruin to the race; but implicitly the argument depends on the notion that before that one act of disobedience there was no sin in the race. This accords very well with Gen. 1-3; it cannot be made to cohere with any evolutionary perspective which denies the centrality of a fall in space-time history.

4. Adam was a flesh and blood type of Christ                               (Romans 5:14)

 Adam is portrayed as the “type” (tupos, NIV “pattern,” 5:14) of one to come. The relationship between type and antitype in the Scriptures is complex; but Ellis correctly insists that New Testament typology cannot be thought of apart from God’s saving activity in redemptive history, as determined by God’s definite plan of redemption which is moving toward a predetermined goal from a specific point of beginning. As Versteeg comments, “Thus a type always stands at a particular moment in the history of redemption and points away to another (later) moment in the same history. . . . To speak about a type is to speak about the fulfillment of the old dispensation through the new.”

5. Adam’s particular sin makes each person a sinner                           (Romans 5:15-19)

Adam is not portrayed as the first sinner, of which other sinners are later copies; but as the representative sinner, whose first sin affected the race. This distinction is crucial if the parallel between Adam and Jesus is to be maintained; for Jesus is certainly not portrayed as the first man to perform some definitive righteous act, but as the representative man whose definitive righteous act affects those who are in him. Preserve this parallel between Adam and Christ, and the historicity of Adam cannot simply be pro forma, as far as Paul is concerned.

-D.A. Carson

Total Depravity: The Great Equalizer

“Total Depravity is the great equalizer, for it shows that the best and worst of men, are all equally corrupt in light of God’s perfect standard. “The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:23)…“Total depravity is both the nastiest and loveliest of truths, because it’s only by seeing exactly what I was that I can understand what has been done for me. Knowing the depth of God’s love comes only as I fathom how far he had to stoop to grasp me.” Amen.”

Tim Challies, 02-10-2005,  Full article: http://www.challies.com/articles/total-depravity-the-great-equalizer

We Come, O Christ to You

“We come, O Christ to you, true Son of God and man,
By whom all things consist, in whom all life began:
In you alone we live and move, and have our being in your love.

You are the Way to God, your blood our ransom paid;
In you we face our Judge and Maker unafraid.
Before the throne absolved we stand, your love has met your law’s demand.

You are the living Truth! All wisdom dwells in you,
the Source of every skill, the one eternal true!
O great I AM! In you we rest, sure answer to our every quest.

You only are true Life, to know you is to live
The more abundant life that earth can never give:
O risen Lord! We live in you: in us each day your life renew!

We worship you, Lord Christ, our Savior and our King,
To you our youth and strength adoringly we bring:
So fill our hearts, that all may view your life in us, and turn to you.”

-E. Margaret Clarkson, 1957