Thursday, June 1, 2000

6/1/00 Messiah's Update

And A Depraved, If Not Deluded Exposition of Rom.3:9-19 and Total Depravity

What we have here is the blade first, before it sprang up a couple of years later, the full corn in the ear of the Federal Vision theology of the Auburn Avenue Pastors's Conferences and Schlissel's Covenant series. According to N.T. Wright's New Perspective on Paul, the gospel, the Book of Romans, the New Testament is not about justification - how a man might be right with God - but ethics and ecclesiology. The NT Jews were in the covenant already; the NT Jews were already saved. They merely had scruples about sitting down at the same dinner table with uncircumcised Gentile believers. But this new view of Scripture and emphasis on covenant, has to make room for itself. 

Consequently Mr. Schlissel attacks the Reformed confessions, particularly on total depravity, but regardless the sales pitch and flourish of showmanship schtick, his finesse of Rom.3 is hardly compelling. The first question to be asked, if Rom 3:9-19 merely talks about some Jews, but not all, is whether Adam really died the death the day he ate the fruit in the garden?
Gen. 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Literally, no, but spiritually, yes. Adam was driven from the presence of God and eventually died.

The second question is, if Rom. 3:9-19 just refers to some Jews who are wicked or presumptious; that not all Jews literally have mouths as open sepulchres and tongues of snakes, then have all men sinned and do all men need to believe in Christ in order to be saved as Romans goes on to tell us in conclusion to 3:9-19? Or is this righteousness just for those who are particularly wicked?
Rom. 3:20-23 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The historic reading of the passage agrees far better than Mr. Schlissel's account.
Rom. 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. . . .
Rom. 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.
Even egregious misreaders of Scripture and drummers for their own theological innovations.









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