Atonement = Inclusion

I’m reading “An Introduction to Torrance Theology” (T&T Clark, 2007; edited by Gerrit Scott Dawson). Each chapter is a paper from a contemporary theologian who shares a Trinitarian vision.

In the paper by Gerrit Scott Dawson (who is also book editor), there is a wonderful explanation of how the atonement accomplished by Christ is not something he did for us in a way external to his person, but is what he did within his own person. Through the incarnation, the eternal Son of God added our humanity to his divinity. Through this union, all humanity is included in the love and life of God—and through this inclusion, humans have atonement with God in its full sense. In short, Atonement = Inclusion.

Here is a quote from the paragraph where Dawson summarizes this point: “Our salvation has occurred within the life of God. It is as secure as his own eternal being! As long as Jesus the eternal Son of God is united to our humanity, so long is he our new and living way to the Father. In as much as we are in Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit, we have been united to the one in whom salvation was wrought once for all, yes, but also in whom the reconciliation of humanity to God continues in the dynamic intercession of our High Priest. He has laid hold of our own humanity in the awful depths, sanctified it and carried it to the throne of his Father. He appears not only in our name but in our skin. So we, in Christ, enter the same communion which Jesus enjoys with the Father in the Spirit. Atonement as an act within the life of God means our inclusion now in the joyful Triune life” (p. 72).

Unfortunately, this essential point is often diminished or even overlooked with a view of the Atonement as a merely “forensic” or “juridical” (legal) event – Jesus dies for our sin and our sin account is wiped clean. While this is true, it is far less than the full truth. The Atonement is about our inclusion in the full life and love of God and it was accomplished fully within the life of Jesus who is the union of God and man. The Atonement was accomplished not only by Jesus' substitutionary, atoning death on the cross, but also by his incarnation, life, ministry, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension and his continuing intercessory ministry from heaven where humankind is now seated with God in Jesus.

The theology of inclusion informs and broadens our understanding of all aspects of our salvation in Christ.

Comments

  1. I too am reading the book, "An Introduction To Torrance Theology". It is a compilation of papers presented at a conference in March 2006 in Baton Rouge, LA, that are focused on the theological work of the Torrance brothers. There is a paper included from Baxter Kruger, as well as seven others.
    David Torrance writes the Introduction in which he includes, as he speaks to Gary Deddo’s paper, a really great story that makes for a good sermon illustration in practical preaching.
    On page 19 he writes: "Because of this focus on ourselves there is frequently in the Christian life a lack of assurance of salvation so that we are not really set free to serve! Many years ago following a very fruitful Billy Graham crusade in Scotland, I spoke to a good and sincere elder of the Church of Scotland. He told me that he had gone forward at a crusade meeting and been counselled [sic]. He told me that he tried to do all that was asked. He tried to repent, to believe and receive Christ's salvation. He 'never seemed to get there'. After listening to him, I startled him by saying, 'What you have to learn is to do nothing at all!' I went on and said to him Christ has accomplished your salvation. When Christ said on the cross 'It is finished', he was saying ' I have done everything for your salvation. There is nothing left for you to do. Your salvation is complete and assured. The only thing left for you to do is simply to say Thank You! And then go on saying Thank You!' As the man listened, a spirit of relief came over him. His face relaxed. The struggle was over. I think he laughed. The worry and stress was over in the joyful recognition that Christ had done everything. He knew that his salvation was assured. He was now for the first time set free to serve God. Many in our churches are like that elder. They believe in Christ. They try hard but peace, the assurance of salvation, the joy in Christian service eludes them. The focus is not altogether on Christ and on what he has done, is doing and will do."
    Of course to use this illustration honestly, we too must believe that “Christ has done everything” needed for our salvation and our continuing walk with him.
    Bill Ford

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  2. Hi there!

    I love the illustration that Bill gives. And it is so indicative of what plays out in Christianity these days.

    You see, we modern Christians are addicted to law. Oh, law sounds great to our minds. But, as Paul tells us, when law entangles itself with our "sinful" nature, it produces death. So, to counter this fact, popular Christianity
    has come up with what I call "easy doism." This teaching is that if we just do certain things, like a few religious action points, then God will be pleased. But like all additive behavior, this reasoning is just an excuse for not giving up our addiction.

    How this plays out is that, while most Christians enter the faith through belief, they are usually quickly enticed to give up on this belief and to instead embrace the idea that doing things is what God wants. The folly of this thinking is that if we want to embrace doism, we must do everything God
    commands under the terms of the law. Well, this "all must be done" demand won't be fulfilled any time soon in any of our lives. Furthermore, Jesus
    will not show Himself in us when we attempt to subjugate Him to our feeble attempts at doing stuff--even religious stuff.

    My point is that God just tells us to believe in the name of His Son, and then that Son, Jesus, will live in us and transform us as He wills. Furthermore, as God, Jesus is much more skilled than any of us at fixing our pathetic lives. But this surrender to Jesus takes real faith, and few really want to trust Him with their lives 100%. The result is a religion filled with additive doism.

    But like the man in Bill's illustration, Jesus can set us free to live joyfully with Him and to be set on the path that does get us "from here to there" with God right now.

    Aloha!

    J. Richard Parker

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  3. I love the title you chose for your post, "Atonement=Inclusion."

    I often talk to Christians, especially pastors, who will say "Jesus died/atoned for everyone but that doesn't mean that all are included in him or that he is included all humanity."

    Such a distinction seems to me to be an attempt to admit what the bible plainly says (in Christ all have been made righteous, Rom. 5:18) without giving up our human idea of God separating himself from us.

    We have to repent of thinking that atonement and inclusion are two different things and believe what Jesus, the Word of God, says: the atonement for humanity is the inclusion of humanity in the Triune Life.

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  4. Jonathan, I believe that the objective reality (Truth) of the Atonement/Inclusion is a given. There is no separation between God and man.

    However, there is a glaring, obvious distinction (not separation) in the subjective (among believers and unbelievers) in the response to the work of the Holy Spirit.

    The WCG Statement of Beliefs speaks to this distinction (not separation). In part we say that the Holy Spirit is "...given by the Father to all believers." This strongly implies that Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Truth poured out on all flesh) is, in some sense, not “given” to unbelievers.

    So, the Atonement/Inclusion is a given and there is no separation between God and man, yet there remains a distinction in the response to the work of the Holy Spirit among human beings.

    Perhaps it is this distinction on the subjective side that some confuse with the idea of separation on the objective side.

    Bill Ford

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  5. I agree that there is a distinction among individuals in their subjective response to the good news of their inclusion.

    However, the distinct human responses to the gospel are not the gospel itself - the issue of how we respond is an explanatory note to the reality being proclaimed in the good news of Jesus.

    So, I think we are called to say to the world "Good news! Through Jesus, God has included you in his life and included himself in your life." If someone says "then why don't I feel it all the time?" then we explain the role that our distinction plays in our experience of the objective truth.

    I think that if we say "yes all are atoned for but not all are included" then we are no longer announcing the good news of what Jesus has done with humanity and are instead announcing the bad news of what we have to do for ourselves.

    A clear declaration of the objective reality of the gospel will evoke the subjective response of belief. A muddled declaration of the gospel will evoke anxiety.

    For example, if I went to my kids and said "I love you, if you believe that I love you" my kids would be left with doubt. My love for them is an objective reality, so I declare it as such. I simply say to them "I love you!" Spoken clearly in that way it evokes belief without doubt.

    In a similar way the Father's Word to humanity is "Your atonement is your inclusion." When we proclaim it with that clarity people will begin to believe.

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  6. (It seems that something went south with my attempt to post my response. So I will try again.)

    The message of the inclusion of all is a wondrous thing. But does not the revelation of that inclusion rest with God?

    After all, Jesus said that no one can come to Him unless God the Father draws him.

    So we can announce the inclusion. But the revelation of that inclusion rests with God's timing and will.

    Aloha!

    J. Richard Parker

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  7. Just after Jesus says that no one can come to him unless the Father draws them (Jhn 6:44) he quotes Isaiah (Jhn 6:45), saying "They will all be taught by God."

    I think what Jesus is saying in Jhn 6:44-45 is that no one can come to him unless the Father calls them (v.44) and he is calling everyone (v.45a.) Those who heed the Father's calling will believe in Jesus (v.45b.)

    So, when we meet people who don't believe in Jesus it's not because they aren't in Christ. It's also not because the Father isn't calling them. It's because of their own lack of knowledge about their identity in Christ or their own refusal to believe the truth about their identity in Christ.

    This is the work that the Holy Spirit is engaged in, dispelling our ignorance and giving us faith to believe what the Word (Jesus) says to us about our inclusion in his relationship with the Father.

    Through the Spirit the Father is calling all humanity to believe in their inclusion in the Son.

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  8. John 6:61-66--Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, "Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him." From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (NIV)

    I think that care must be taken in pronouncing God's call on everyone now. The inclusion of all may be a fact, but the grafting in (calling) of all at this time might not be.

    Aloha!

    J. Richard Parker

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  9. Here is an interesting excerpt of an article from our Statement of Beliefs attached to the WCG explanation of "The Christian".

    "Theologian J.I. Packer makes a ... point in his classic, 'Knowing God':

    'What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father.

    'But cannot this be said of every person, Christian or not? Emphatically no! The idea that all are children of God is not found in the Bible anywhere. The Old Testament shows God as the Father, not of all, but of his own people, the seed of Abraham... . The New Testament has a world vision, but it too shows God as the Father, not of all, but of those who, knowing themselves to be sinners, put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their divine sin-bearer and master, and so become Abraham’s spiritual seed... . Sonship to God is not, therefore, a universal status into which everyone enters by natural birth, but a supernatural gift which one receives through receiving Jesus... . The gift of sonship to God becomes ours not through being born, but through being born again. ...

    'The uniqueness of the Fatherhood of God for those who are in Christ thus seems to be an important theme in the New Testament and one also foreshadowed through Israel’s experience in the Old. For man to be reunited with God in this filial relationship there must be a new birth. The idea of the new birth and the Fatherhood of God are thus important scriptural backdrops to Paul’s idea of adoption.' [end of Packer quote]

    "The uniqueness of the Fatherhood of God for those who are in Christ thus seems to be an important theme in the New Testament and one also foreshadowed through Israel’s experience in the Old. For man to be reunited with God in this filial relationship there must be a new birth. The idea of the new birth and the Fatherhood of God are thus important scriptural backdrops to Paul’s idea of adoption."

    Ted Johnston wrote this article titled "Adoption" in 2000. It is presently included in the WCG Statement of Beliefs.

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  10. I meant to include this last sentence to my previous post:

    So, can we say that Atonement=Inclusion, but Adoption (upon being born again) occurs by faith when a person is drawn by God – according to His time and purpose – to Christ?

    Bill Ford

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  11. Bill makes a point that has been leveled against Barth’s theology. In consideration of his objective-subjective distinctions, he actually makes saving faith subjective (in the experiential sense) as opposed to objective. This is because the theology of inclusion states that Christ is living in everyone already, and therefore any revelatory belief or acknowledgement of this already existing salvation is by definition subjective. Traditional Protestant teaching understands that salvation means the Spirit of Christ indwells the believer at the time of saving belief (an objective truth). I think the majority of Protestants do ascribe to the idea of unlimited atonement, that Christ did die for everyone due to the overwhelming support of Scripture. But in consider of the passage of Romans 5:18, we can look back just one verse to a fuller explanation. “For if by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”

    Roman 5:18-19 is a text often cited by adherents of universalism. Of course it’s been made clear that WCG is not espousing universalism. However, the WCG interpretation of this particular text is common to the universalist mindset. But it is in verse 17 where Paul signals an important distinction in assessing the work of Adam and the work of Christ. To quote Evangelical scholar Douglas Moo, “Throughout Romans 5:12-21, Paul strains to make Adam and Christ as parallel as possible. All the more striking, then, is his breaking of that parallelism by adding the word ’receive’ in verse 17. It is, Paul says, only those ’who receive God’s abundant provision of grace’ who will ’reign in life.’ What must a person do to experience death that Adam brought? Simply be born. What must a person do to experience life that Christ brings? Receive God’s gift - that is respond to the gospel through faith in Christ (See Romans 3:21-26).”

    Consequently, most scholars interpret verses 18-19 as Paul saying that all who are in Adam die and so all who are in Christ will live (as is stated explicitly in I Corinthians 15:22). All people are in Adam, and so all people will die. But only those who “receive the gift” are in Christ, and so only they will live. Such explanation makes sense of the passage and fits well with Paul’s teaching elsewhere.

    There are arguments within Protestant Christianity about what how one becomes saved. All say you must believe. However, explanations of what it means to have truly saving belief find various expressions, ala born again, converted, receive Christ, accept Christ, make a decision, repent. All are attempts to give expression to the reality of entering into Christ, which is synonymous as being recognized as children of God. I totally agree that the issue is trust and that we may or may not ’feel’ our faith at its inception despite its reality. However I do believe the Bible clearly states an objective reality occurs when saving belief occurs. This objective reality as seen in widespread Protestant affirmation is that Christ comes to indwell the believer and the believer becomes a child of God. The person, once lost, at the moment of saving belief becomes saved. We are given assurance of this by the testimony of Scripture and subsequent transformation in life.

    For those of you who do not understand why Barth’s theology did not find a large adherence in Evangelicalism, I urge you to read those who have written critiques

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  12. Great Original Post on the Gospel here!

    I admit, it's hard (no -impossible) for we fallen creatures to believe and receive that the only true Word Spoken about our Lives is Jesus and Who we actually are in Him, and it seems we will reason humanly and endlessly debate to the death how it simply "ain't so" at least for some "until...", but as the original post and quote are pointing out:

    There is a Person, Statement, Fact, Truth and Word from Triune God in the very Person of Jesus Christ about ALL THINGS that our words, arguments and ability and inability to describe and wrestle with can never really change - ALL of Creation IS ABSOLUTELY INCLUDED in the Relationship of Triune God - like it, or lump it, but we ain't gettin out of it!

    We have the freedom in Christ, in the greatest sense, to look past our doctrinal statements and see the Ultimate Reality to which they are trying to point and describe in jaw-gaping, yammering, stammering, baby-talk wonder - JESUS CHRIST!!!

    Here is a statement by Barth, which though resisted and fought, cannot be truly ignored (not because we can't ignore these sentences of course, because we obviously can, but because we cannot ignore the Christ Who they are pointing to and Who indells us all and Who will never let us go - hence the present pleasure or pain we are experiencing in life and in these conversations! :-)

    In his multi-volume work on theology, Church Dogmatics, Karl Barth describes our human reaction to the Word of God which says to us “You are Mine!”

    "We might imagine the conversation to which it gives rise and some of the forms which it necessarily takes.

    The man to whom it is said thinks and says that he is not this new, peaceful, joyful man living in fellowship. He asks leave honestly to admit that he does not know this man, or at least himself as this man.

    The Word of grace replies: “All honour to your honesty, but my truth transcends it. Allow yourself, therefore, to be told in all truth and on the most solid grounds what you do not know, namely, that you are this man in spite of what you think.”

    Man: “You think that I can and should become this man in the course of time? But I do not have sufficient confidence in myself to believe this. Knowing myself, I shall never become this man.”

    The Word of grace: “You do well not to have confidence in yourself. But the point is not that you can and should become this man. What I am telling you is that, as I know you, you already are.”

    Man: “I understand that you mean this eschatologically. You are referring to the man I perhaps will be one day in some not very clearly known transfiguration in a distant eternity. If only I had attained to this! And if only I could be certain that even then I should be this new man!”

    The Word of grace: “You need to understand both yourself and me better than you do. I am not inviting you to speculate about your being in eternity, but to receive and ponder the news that here and now you begin to be the new man, and are already that which you will be eternally.”

    Man: “How can I accept this news? On what guarantee can I make bold to take it seriously?”

    The Word of grace: “I, Jesus Christ, am the One who speaks to you. You are what you are in Me, as I will to be in you. Hold fast to Me. I am your guarantee. My boldness is yours. With this boldness dare to be what you know you are.”

    Man: “I certainly hear the message, but . . .”

    In this perplexed and startled “but” we see the attack, and who it is that is attacked.

    Barth, Karl. Church Dogmatics, Volume IV, The Doctrine of Reconciliation, Part Three, First Half. Eds. G.W. Bromiley and T.F. Torrance. T. and T. Clark: Edinburgh, 1961. p. 250.

    Your Brother in Jesus' Love and Grace,

    Timothy

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  13. Right On, Brother Tim! I really do not think that Packer (see the quote above that is linked to the WCG Statement of Beliefs) and Barth are that far apart. They both are speaking in these limited examples to the response to God’s grace.

    As Mike Feazell wrote in his article “Repentance”, which is also linked to the WCG Statement of Beliefs:

    “God has declared an almighty, thundering, eternal ‘Yes!’ to you through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Repentance is your saying ‘Yes!’ [faith] to God’s ‘Yes!’ [Atonement=Inclusion]. It is turning to God to accept his blessed gift, his righteous declaration of your innocence and salvation in Christ.”

    However, as you have written elsewhere, “So, we cannot possibly be preaching universalism or something that denies human distinction and our ability to participate in the life of God willingly! We believe and preach through this theology that we are distinct creatures in our union with God, which leaves open our ability to reject and oppose God, potentially forever!!” “The Adopted Life”, “Objections to the Gospel”, Volume 1, Issue 3, page 5.

    It is this “human distinction” in the personal or subjective that speaks “Yes” or “No” to God’s “Yes”. And, as long as the answer is a potentially forever “No”, how then can the Spirit work uninvited? Thus the distinction between believers and unbelievers; not separation, but the distinction as noted in Scripture, and to which both Packer and Barth speak.
    Grace & Peace,
    Bill Ford

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  14. Bill references an article I wrote on the topic of adoption that is still referenced within our longer online statement of beliefs.

    I've been invited to re-write this article, and so I shall as soon as I can carve out the time. Thanks for your patience.

    But let me say this now: I do not agree with J.I. Packer in his assertion that only those who proclaim the name of Christ are God's children (implying that the others are children of the devil).

    While I continue to have a high regard for Packer and his work, I see his view on this point as representative of a flawed theology of exclusion, which says that all are excluded from God's life (and Fatherhood) until they personally proclaim Christ as Lord and Savior.

    My view now on this issue (one I've held for some time after years of pondering), is one of inclusion-the understanding that Scripture teaches that all humanity is already included in God's life through and in Jesus. And thus that each human being (past, present and future), aware of this inclusion or not, has been "adopted" (in the way Paul uses the term), and through that adoption each has already become God's dearly loved child.

    This theology of inclusion takes seriously the doctrines of the Trinity (which includes the truth of Jesus' eternal Sonship), Jesus' incarnation (by which Jesus added our humanity to his divinity), and Jesus' role as the vicarious representative/substitute who stands in the place of all humanity. What Jesus is in his humanity we have now become: In Christ, all persons are God's dearly loved children by adoption.

    Does this mean that coming to understand and proclaim this truth personally is of no importance or consequence? Not at all. Indeed to understand and embrace it personally is to radically turn from (repent of) all lies to the contrary. It is to put ones' full trust in this Jesus who alone is our salvation. And it is to pick up one's cross and follow (participate actively) in this Jesus and his life.

    So we invite people to respond in repentance and faith to the good news of what Jesus has done. But our invitation does not carry the message of a person's exclusion from God. Rather it carries the message of their inclusion.

    We invite people to come to know the God who has been their loving Father all along and who has, in his love, secured wonderful gifts for them: their redemption, reconciliation,salvation, sanctification and glorification.

    What a joy to share with someone who is "far off" from God in their own distorted thinking (but not in God's thinking), the very good news that this Father has already included them in his family and all he has is already theirs. We invite them to believe this good news and in believing to open their eyes and hearts to receive what this loving God has had for them all along.

    Our message?: Welcome home child!

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  15. NOTE TO BLOG AUTHOR (I tried to send this earlier, but I’m not sure it went through either in part or in total. I am sending again with added comments).

    Well I don’t believe there is much use for continued discussion for those of us who are in disagreement with the theology of inclusion. If there are those who are undecided, I would simply urge you to read critiques concerning Barth’s theology. As mentioned earlier, Barth did not hold to the infallibility of Scripture. That is by his own admission. Numerous Evangelical scholars concur that you cannot hold to the infallibility of Scripture and to Barthian theology. The WCG workaround for “difficult Scriptures” concerning God’s wrath and ‘children of the devil’ is to divide Scripture into two camps. Some verses are to be viewed from a heavenly perspective. Others should be viewed from an earthly perspective. However, such an application ends up denying that the ‘earthbound’ Scriptures are expressive of actual reality. Each of us will have to judge if such an approach is merited from Jesus’ view of Scripture and the Bible’s own attestation of itself through its authors.

    Bill makes a point (perhaps unintentionally) that has been leveled against Barth’s theology. It is somewhat subtle, but I’ll mention it. In consideration of Barth’s objective-subjective distinctions, he actually makes saving faith subjective (in the experiential sense) as opposed to objective. This is, as has been noted, because the theology of inclusion states that Christ is living in everyone already (in the personal sense and not just the sustaining sense). Therefore any revelatory belief or acknowledgement of this already existing salvation is by definition subjective. Traditional Protestant teaching understands that salvation means the Spirit of Christ indwells the believer (an objective truth) at the time of saving belief . Due to its subjectivity, Barth’s theology arguably blurs when experienced salvation actually occurs and whether genuine belief can subjectively persist and therefore result in continued experienced salvation. To dispense lightly of this dilemma (though it seems it normally is) prompts the universalism charges that followed Barth and will likely follow WCG.

    I think the majority of Protestants do ascribe to the idea of unlimited atonement, that Christ did die for everyone, due to the overwhelming support of Scripture. But in consider of the passage of Romans 5:18, we can look back just one verse (17) to a fuller explanation. “For if by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”

    Roman 5:18-19 is a text often cited by adherents of universalism. Of course it’s been made clear that WCG is not espousing universalism. However, the WCG interpretation of this particular text is common to the universalist mindset. But it is in verse 17 where Paul signals an important distinction in assessing the work of Adam and the work of Christ. To quote Evangelical scholar Douglas Moo, “Throughout Romans 5:12-21, Paul strains to make Adam and Christ as parallel as possible. All the more striking, then, is his breaking of that parallelism by adding the word ’receive’ in verse 17. It is, Paul says, only those ’who receive God’s abundant provision of grace’ who will ’reign in life.’ What must a person do to experience death that Adam brought? Simply be born. What must a person do to experience life that Christ brings? Receive God’s gift - that is respond to the gospel through faith in Christ (See Romans 3:21-26).”

    Consequently, most scholars interpret verses 18-19 as Paul saying that all who are in Adam die and so all who are in Christ will live (as is stated explicitly in I Corinthians 15:22). All people are in Adam, and so all people will die. But only those who “receive the gift” are in Christ, and so only they will live. Such explanation makes sense of the passage and fits well with Paul’s teaching elsewhere.

    There are disagreements within Protestant Christianity about how one becomes saved. All will say you must believe. However, explanations of what it means to have truly saving belief find various expressions; born again, converted, receive Christ, accept Christ, make a decision, repent. All are attempts to give expression to the reality of entering into Christ, which is synonymous in Protestant Christianity as being recognized as children of God. We probably all agree that the issue is trust and that we may or may not ’feel’ our faith at its inception despite its reality. However I do believe the Bible clearly states an objective reality occurs when saving belief occurs. This objective reality as seen in widespread Protestant affirmation is that Christ comes to indwell the believer and the believer becomes a child of God. We are not born again at our first birth. A person, once lost, at the moment of saving belief becomes saved. We are given assurance of this by the testimony of Scripture and subsequent transformation in life.

    Again, for any who do not understand why Barth’s theology did not find a large adherence in Evangelicalism, I urge you to read those who have written critiques regarding his work. Further, the Scriptures refuting the notion that all are adopted in Christ are numerous. But of course, if such Scriptures are deemed to be from our limited earthly perspective, no quantity or clarity of references will upend the theological framework.

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  16. Tony, I appreciate your post. I need to study what you wrote a bit more, especially your reference to my "perhaps" unintentional point against Barth's theology as it relates to faith. Interesting. Perhaps others can enlighten us as to Tony's point?

    In the meantime, I wonder if you have any of those titles handy of the books written by Barth's critics?

    Ted stired by interest in J.I. Packer so much that I have set my Torrance aside for now to scan through "Knowing God". Last night I came across a really great section in that book about justification compared to adoption on page 205.

    Thanks again for your post, and please send along those titles if you can.

    Grace & Peace,
    Bill Ford

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  18. No "sorry" necessary Tony; as a matter of fact, I thought you were quite gracious in your approach.

    Thank you for the information you passed along. Mike Feazell said he started this blog as a discussion board for ministers to exchange ideas for the purpose of helping one another, so thanks for the exchange.

    In all things Charity,
    Bill

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  19. The following comment from Tony McKinney was accidentally deleted above.

    Bill, sorry, I just didn't want to imply you were placing any criticism on Barth from what you said. That's all that was. You can do a search on the Internet on Karl Barth and on neo-orthodoxy and get all kinds of information...and probably more of it is positive than negative on Barth. But I just recommend looking through it to understand precisely why his teaching was not widely upheld. I'll mention a few that you can probably find on the internet. Trinty Review's article on Karl Barth by John W Robbins. One good balanced article on neo-orthodoxy is by Earl Cripe. Jack Cottrell has written an article on universal reconciliation and the inclusive nature of election and the Biblical counterpoints. A good book (I'm told)is by Gordon Clark called "Karl Barth's Theological Method". I'm getting ready to head out the door. I'll try to get you some of the others I saw and some of the comments I've received from other evangelical pastors.

    I'm not wanting to enter into a big debate in all this. People will have to come to their own conclusions. I just hope they consider all the issues. All of us I'm sure want to teach what is true and accurate. I just fear that we are taking God's holiness out of the equation in a way that is not Biblical when adhering to Barth's theological perspective. And of course, the Bible is replete in the Pastoral epistles with Paul's warning about teaching false doctrine...even when we do so unintentionally. I certainly appreciate all of you and wish all of you the best in your studies.

    Tony McKinney

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  20. I have been reading this blog with great interest. But I am getting an impression that concerns me. In fact, this impression has several facets. They are:

    1.) There seems to be a lack of understanding of where the law fits and thus where our righteousness comes from in the work of grace.

    2.) There seems to be a strong reliance on what modern and near modern thinkers have to say about the issues at hand. This reliance seems to take favor over what the Bible's New Covenant writers have to say.

    3.) When the New Covenant writers are cited, it seems to be in "telephone book" fashion without a real sitting down in what they are saying.

    Now I present these facets in order to stir some discussion on our present walk and how we go about determining what the faith once delivered to the saints is.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Aloha!

    J. Richard Parker

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