Slipping Into Darkness Just In Time For Easter: Southern Baptists Overthrow Original Sin And Justification By Faith Through The Obedience Of Christ

Adam Harwood, Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at Truett-McConnell College in Clevelend, Georgia, answers a critical question on the minds of many Christians, especially parents, about the eternal destiny of their youngest children. Dr. Harwood provides a meticulous survey of the biblical witness and the historical responses and arrives at a most biblical conclusion. The book includes a foreword by Paige Patterson and has been endorsed by Charles White (Spring Arbor University), James Leo Garrett Jr. (Southwestern Seminary), and Rustin J. Umstattd (Midwestern Seminary).

via Malcolm Yarnell: The Spiritual Condition of Infants.

This language is clearly different from what was originally professed by Baptists, and it becomes obvious that modern Southern Baptists have rejected the doctrine of original sin along with its component of imputed guilt…

…Paul’s realism regarding the human race outside of God’s righteousness in Christ is a necessary framework to his good news that those who have been justified have life (5:18-19); the only way to properly understand what it means to live in Christ is to understand what it meant to be a part of Adam’s race and under Adam’s curse. The placement of these verses helps cement the idea that Paul believed in original guilt: those who have passed from death to life (i.e. from Adam to Christ) have passed from being guilty of Adam’s transgression to being justified (i.e. declared not guilty) in Christ…

…Underlying verse 13 is Paul’s belief that sin is not necessarily an act, but an objective condition, and he is careful to distinguish between sin as a “power” over people and specific transgressions of a known command…

…The sin-condemnation-death complex of Adam is contrasted with the righteousness-justification-life complex of Jesus to make a simple point: the solidaric relationship of humanity with Adam leads to death while the solidaric relationship of believers with Jesus leads to life.59 To dismiss the point that all humanity is condemned by the imputation of Adam’s guilt is to dismiss the truth all that believers are made righteous by the imputation of Christ’s obedience; without the former, the latter cannot make sense.

As is summarized by Jason Smathers, the SBC has been slipping into darkness for some time:

The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith and the The Philadelphia Confession of Faith (1742) both say:

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.

The New Hampshire Baptist Confession, 1833:

all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint, but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.

In 1925 the SBC adopted the first Baptist Faith and Message. Section three on the fall of man had this to say:

“[Adam’s] 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.”

In 1963 section three was edited subtly, but significantly. This confession does not accept that men are by nature objects of wrath and instead moves the time of man’s condemnation to after they commit their own transgressions. In 1998, the Baptist Faith and Message was amended to add a section on the family, but this statement on the fall and all other aspects remained this same:

“[Adam’s] posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin, and as soon as they are capable of moral action become transgressors and are under condemnation.”

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 continues to convey the same doctrine:

“Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.”

This tragedy is being foisted upon the SBC by those who loathe to call themselves Arminians but are so at least in this aspect:

The Remonstrant Opinions revealed that Classical Arminianism taught the error of Partial Depravity. In his polemic against Arminianism as it reared its ugly head in England, the Puritan scholar John Owen produced a booklet entitled A Display of Arminianism[14] to combat this heresy. Quoting from the Classical Arminians of his day and refuting their arguments, Owen has incidentally given us a window into what these Classical Arminians taught.

In his book, Owen devoted a chapter Of Original Sin[15] to examining the doctrine of sin and imputation held to by the Classical Arminians, where Classical Arminianism’s doctrine of the non-imputation of sin is shown.

Quoting the Arminian Venator, it was said that “Infants are simply in that estate in which Adam was before his fall, …”[16]. Boraeus states that “Adam sinned in his own proper person, and there is no reason why God should impute that sin of his unto infants”[17]. Corvinus affirmed that “That it is absurd, that by one man’s disobedience many should be made actually disobedient”[18]. In the Remonstrant Apology, they have even said that “We confess that the sin of Adam may be thus far said to be imputed to his posterity, inasmuch as God would have them all born obnoxious to that punishment which Adam incurred by his sin, or permitted that evil which was inflicted on him to descend on them”[19], and “We account not original sin for a sin properly so called, that should make the posterity of Adam to deserve of Adam to deserve the wrath of God, nor for an evil that may properly be called a punishment, but only for an infirmity of nature”[20].

All of these evidences Owen collected and deduce their view of original sin. Original sin as historically defined is the imputation of Adam’s sin unto the whole human race without respect to the actual sinning of anyone – this the Classical Arminians deny. Rather, especially as seen in the case of infants, infants are born without the stain of original sin (guilt). Through the use of the concept of “prevenient grace”, all infants are stated to be born without the guilt of sin. As Owen states, the Classical Arminians redefine Original Sin to mean “a defect of nature, and not of this or that particular person”[21].

Therefore, in Classical Arminianism, all men are born with an “original sin nature” (thus an “infirmity of nature”), but without “original guilt”. Sin is genetic rather than federal, transmitted but not imputed. Infants therefore are said to be actually sinless but possessing a sinful nature, and it is from this errant notion that the entire Arminian notion of “an age of accountability” is derived, not to mention the teaching that infants by default go to heaven.

On the topic of sin, justification and imputation then lies a most pernicious error in Classical Arminianism, which makes it heresy. It is not simply a denial of Predestination that makes Classical Arminianism heresy, but its denial of Original Guilt, the doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s sin etc which stands behind their teaching of Partial Depravity, which makes it heresy indeed.

As is noted in the Angelfire article, the tension between Evangelical Arminianism and Classical Arminianism is too taut, the former is always in danger of snapping under the strain of explanation which results in the same heresy:

In conclusion therefore, Evangelical Arminianism is indeed orthodox, though at a very steep cost in terms of logical and theological inconsistencies. Due to its instability, Evangelical Arminianism tend to settle into either of two trajectories: towards Calvinism or some form of Liberalism (or it could remain irrationally evangelical). While we would gladly call Evangelical Arminians our brothers and sisters in Christ, we know that they are constantly on a precipice near error, and we should strive to bring them closer to the truth of Scripture, instead of toying with teachings that come, as the Canons of Dordt put it, from the “pits of hell”.

The further the SBC removes itself from its reformation roots, the fewer mooring lines remain to keep it within the safe harbor of historic orthodox Christianity. As has been noted by many, this tendency of the SBC is a drift back to Rome and wreckage upon the rocks of its semi-Pelagianism, the over-throwing of justification by faith, and the embracing of salvation by good works.

8 thoughts on “Slipping Into Darkness Just In Time For Easter: Southern Baptists Overthrow Original Sin And Justification By Faith Through The Obedience Of Christ

  1. Nice article and I see your point of view, I grew up the son of a SBC pastor who still hold these views and is rather dismayed by my Calvinism. It is this spritual drift that make me glad men like Al Mohler are part of the SBC to help right the ship. But it it also worth noting that Rick Warren is a SBC pastor as well, and his belief in Classical Arminianism comes through over an over again, leaning toward the error of Pelagianism.

  2. I’m not sure that’s quite accurate about Mohler, Thomas.

    I think he holds to inherited guilt. But the question in our justification is not whether or not we are guilty, but whether or not God chooses to impute our guilt to our account. That has bearing on the Baptistic idea of an age of accountability, where the question is not who is guilty, but what is God counting against you and why.

    I am not Mohler’s appointed defender or anything. You may be correct about what he teaches, and so could correct me.

    But in the main, I agree with your post. The SBC is not in danger of becoming Classically Arminian. That would be an upgrade. It is in danger of full-on Pelagianism and universalism. Many pockets have already gone there in practice, if not in confession.

  3. What, then is our basis for claiming that all those who die in infancy are among the elect? First, the Bible teaches that we are to be judged on the basis of our deeds committed “in the body.”(2) That is, we will face the judgment seat of Christ and be judged, not on the basis of original sin, but for our sins committed during our own lifetimes. Each will answer “according to what he has done,”(3) and not for the sin of Adam. The imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt explains our inability to respond to God without regeneration, but the Bible does not teach that we will answer for Adam’s sin. We will answer for our own. But what about infants? Have those who die in infancy committed such sins in the body? We believe not.

    However, as I note in this, all the reformers, even Lutherans, believe in the act of possessing the sin nature is where the guilt inheres.

    Mohler doesn’t believe that. It is in the imputation of the sin nature, i.e., when the soul is created in the body at the moment of conception that the sin occurs.

    That said, I could accept his belief that all infants are elect infants… but… then we are faced with very unholy decision to let any live until they reach a moral age. Wouldn’t killing them be an act of mercy? Moral age, by the way, is a very thorny issue itself. Does a child become morally accountable in their first disobedience? To a command? Or, are they morally culpable in their first insistence of self-satisfaction to the exclusion of another? Beyond, Mohler doesn’t deal with Romans 5 on its face. How does a person become guilty? Romans 5 doesn’t put it after the command (law), but before. Too, Paul places condemnation in Adam, not in his progeny. Then, too, Mohler doesn’t handle the supreme penalty for guilt of sinning, “soul which sins will die.” All die. And as all classical reformers have remarked, that is because of the guilt of sin, not its stain.

    Though Mohler claims others sided with him, that is not a canvas of reformed writings over the centuries. His quote of Newton is curious in that it is not a biblical answer, but a “private judgement.” It is without doubt that Spurgeon’s eloquence is emotional. Almost Finneyesque given the fact that it was an evangelistic appeal. My money is on the Scripture and not opinion. Romans 5 is clear, condemnation, not just the taint of sinfulness, came to all men via Adam’s transgression. Mohler doesn’t believe that any will be condemned for another’s sin. By stating it that way he betrays the fact that he doesn’t understand the doctrine. The doctrine is that because Adam sinned all sin. Each is not accounted because Adam sinned, only, but because each without exception does. So when he says we will all appear before the judgement seat, (a misappropriation of Cor 3) to account for sins committed in the body, he fails. Infants commit sin simply by possessing the nature. Calvin believed this, Turretin, and a long pedigree of reformers, beside, that it was the odiousness of the sin nature itself which is sin, and that is what makes all men conceived guilty before the bench.

    As to B. B. Warfield? He held: “Accordingly there are many – adults and infants – of whose salvation we may be sure, but of reprobation we cannot be sure; such a judgment is necessarily unsafe even as to adults apparently living in sin, while as to infants who ” die and give no sign,” it is presumptuous and rash in the extreme.” In accord with the confession he left infant salvation where Scripture does, unanswered. That is our safest bet. B.B. quoted Owen too: “by his grace of election, which is most free, and not tied to any conditions; by which I make no doubt but God taketh many unto him in Christ whose parents never knew, or had been despisers of, the gospel.” Note the many. That is because Owen was quite orthodox and not universalistic in the salvation of infants. But B. B. goes further to explain his own beliefs in accord with the WCF:

    But the fathers of Dort, with truly Reformed loyalty to the positive declarations of Scripture, confined themselves to a clear testimony to the positive doctrine of infant salvation and a repudiation of the calumnies of the Remonstrants, without a word of negative inference. “Since we are to judge of the will of God from His Word,” they say, “which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace in which they together with their parents are comprehended, godly parents have no reason to doubt of the election and salvation of their children whom it pleaseth God to call out of this life in their infancy” (art. xvii.). Accordingly they repel in the Conclusion the calumny that the Reformed teach “that many children of the faithful are torn guiltless from their mothers’ breasts and tyrannically plunged into hell.”78 It is easy to say that nothing is here said of the children of any but the “godly and of the “faithful”; this is true; and therefore it is not implied (as is so often thoughtlessly asserted) that the contrary of what is here asserted is true of the children of the ungodly; but nothing is taught of them at all. It is more to the purpose to observe that it is asserted that the children of believers, dying such, are saved; and that this assertion is an inestimable advance on that of the Council of Trent and that of the Augsburg Confession that baptism is necessary to salvation. It is the confessional doctrine of the Reformed churches and of the Reformed churches alone, that all believers’ infants, dying in infancy, are saved.

    What has been said of the Synod of Dort may be repeated of the Westminster Assembly. The Westminster divines were generally at one in the matter of infant salvation with the doctors of Dort, but, like them, they refrained from any deliverance as to its negative side. That death in infancy does not prejudice the salvation of God’s elect they asserted in the chapter of their Confession which treats of the application of Christ’s redemption to His people: “All those whom God hath predestined unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, . . . so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace. . . . Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ, through the Spirit who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth.”79 With this declaration of their faith that such of God’s elect as die in infancy are saved by His own mysterious working in their hearts, although incapable of the response of faith, they were content. Whether these elect comprehend all infants, dying such, or some only – whether there is such a class as non-elect infants, dying in infancy, their words neither say nor suggest. No Reformed confession enters into this question; no word is said by any one of them which either asserts or implies either that some infants are reprobated or that all are saved. What has been held in common by the whole body of Reformed theologians on this subject is asserted in these confessions; of what has been disputed among them the confessions are silent. And silence is as favorable to one type as to another.

    But really, the subject is not infant salvation. Rather it is imputed guilt. Unless Mohler has changed his position and brought it into line with both the WCF and the 1689, his position that an age of moral accountability must be achieved and a willful act committed by an individual before guilt is imputed, is precisely the position that Dort was fighting in the Remonstrants on this subject. The problem really does have to do with the imputation of righteousness and not merely holiness. For it is both that are credited to our account in Christ. And the juxtaposition that Paul makes is clear. If we don’t impute in Adam the guilt and condemnation of death to all who are conceived, then neither can impute Christ’s merits to all who are born-again. What we are left with is an empowering grace that only allows for congruent merit, but not one that provides us with every spiritual blessing in heaven.

  4. Hi, again, Thomas.

    Real quick (because I have no time and have already lost one whiz-bang response I just typed) could you explain the existence in Romans 5:14 of those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam?

    As I understand what you are saying about original sin, isn’t it your position that this is an impossibility? The baby in the womb is personally guilty of sin. The mere fact of hitting the ground running with a fallen nature is a sin worthy of hell, right?

    If simply being born with, or possessing, a sin nature is itself a damnable act of rebellion, then in what sense would it be a thing that Paul needs to explain, that many died between Adam and Moses? In what sense would Paul need to explain the deaths of those who had not sinned like Adam sinned?

  5. Romans 5:14 is quite simple, actually. We didn’t sin Adam’s sin. Why does Paul need to explain it? For the same reason that he has been laboring in the first chapters to explain that the brothers need to stop judging each other by the law. For we were not condemned by the Law, the Law is meant for good, rather, condemnation came by imputation, not for what each did under the law, but without it by the trangression of another. For all have sinned, even those without the law (and Paul is specifically speaking of the Jewish Law, i.e. Moses), even those who have not sinned in the likeness of Adam.

    Let’s look, though, at more of the context:

    12 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— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 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.

    15 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. 16 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. 17 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.

    18 Therefore, as one trespass [5] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness [6] leads to justification and life for all men. 19 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. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Working backwards we see that righteousness leading to eternal life comes through Christ where sin reigned in death. The law spoken of is the law of Moses. How do I know that? In part it is the context of Romans, but immediately we see that death is the penalty. But death is the penalty for sin, but sin is not accounted where there is no law. Also we see that there was a trespass that was increased, but where there is no law there is no trespass. We must conclude then that the law that was transgressed for which sin which was increased was the commandment given to Adam in the Garden. Notice that condemnation came by the one trespass, an act, where one act of righteousness leads to eternal life. This is the type/anti-type comparison. The one act of Adam/Christ is contrasted with the many acts. But those acts cannot be under the Law of Moses, because death reigned before it. Yet, death reigned even in those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam. So then, they didn’t do what he did, that is, they didn’t eat of the forbidden fruit. Yet, his act is made their condemnation sure. But condemnation comes by an act as is testified to by “many acts.” How then to reconcile this. If it wasn’t by Adam’s transgression as a personal act, for the text says they didn’t sin as he did, but it says they did sin, by what acts did condemnation come seeing there was no law? We have to ask, what is it that Jesus purchases in his one act of righteousness- is it not eternal life? And do we not consider eternal life by understanding that it is by being made partakers in his divine nature? Then what was the condemnation visited upon all the posterity of Adam? Was it not the corruption of the nature? But, if it was not a sin that his posterity committed, but his sin that brought condemnation, we cannot say that it was some sin later they committed under the law, can we? For the text says it was not their sin, but his that brought condemnation. Then, if many acts, it cannot be the acts of violating any laws, for the law was not, yet death reigned. The acts spoken of, others have remarked, are not individual acts of sin, that is, those which violate a law. They are rather, the many who in Adam sinned. So how is it that they sinned, seeing that it was not his sin that they are condemned for but their own, and it is not an act of sin under law? And, doesn’t match the fact that in life the law doesn’t come to us until later, when we can understand, yet many die in infancy? You can see how the fall is reflected even in the conception, gustation and birth, as well as the progressive maturity of the individual. Children die before the law, but for what act is the death penalty exacted? Calvin answers:

    Through him, however, not only has punishment been derived, but pollution instilled, for which punishment is justly due… The first evil disposition or inclination of Adam to sin, was not properly distinct from his first act of sin, but was included in it. The external act he committed was no otherwise his, than as his heart was in it, or as that action proceeded from the wicked inclination of his heart. Nor was the guilt he had double, as for two distinct sins: one, the wickedness of his will in that affair; another, the wickedness of the external act, caused by it. His guilt was all truly from the act of his inward man; exclusive of which the motions of his body were no more than the motions of any lifeless instrument. His sin consisted in wickedness of heart, fully sufficient for, and entirely amounting to, all that appeared in the act he committed.

    Jesus said the same. It is a matter of the nature. Fruit does follow, but they are no more than the same thing. For out of the heart comes the condemnation.

    You see, our first act of sin, knowingly committed does not corrupt the nature. Conversely, it is the corrupt nature, properly wedded to the first act of sin knowingly committed where sinning abides. It is not that they are two sins, the possession of corruption and its fruit, for which we are found guilty. They are one. Or as Jesus said:

    Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.

  6. I think I made a mistake in my reading of your post and then your first couple of comments. I guess I’m not clear where you think Mohler is off-tract. What I probably really need to do is read Mohler in context. I think I initially saw you saying something you weren’t saying…I think.

    Would you agree that the guilt of Adam’s sin, as it works out in us, is in our depraved nature and liability to death? That our fallen state and our slavery to sin and death is the judgment of God on guilty ones?

  7. Would you agree that the guilt of Adam’s sin, as it works out in us, is in our depraved nature and liability to death? That our fallen state and our slavery to sin and death is the judgment of God on guilty ones?

    Yes, that’s right. Death is the penalty. But, it is not mere physical death. That, like sins we consciously engage in, is the expression of the reality. Physical death flows from the spiritual. We are spiritually dead at conception, and will proceed to physical death after birth just as we will proceed to actual sins if God does not terminate our life. However, the latter happen because we are judged guilty because we are by nature. Death and sins flow from that, and in the end we face eternal damnation except that the grace of God intervenes in Christ.

    I quoted Mohler:

    What, then is our basis for claiming that all those who die in infancy are among the elect? First, the Bible teaches that we are to be judged on the basis of our deeds committed “in the body.”(2) That is, we will face the judgment seat of Christ and be judged, not on the basis of original sin, but for our sins committed during our own lifetimes. Each will answer “according to what he has done,”(3) and not for the sin of Adam. The imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt explains our inability to respond to God without regeneration, but the Bible does not teach that we will answer for Adam’s sin. We will answer for our own. But what about infants? Have those who die in infancy committed such sins in the body? We believe not.

    He lists 2 Cor 5:10. The problem is that it is not about unbelievers. Even if it were, wouldn’t it be that we are judged upon the basis of what He has done in us? At least we understand that the good works that we do, if we do any at all, are done by the Holy Spirit. Beside, if 2 Cor 5:10 is tied to 1 Cor 3, the context is teachers, and not even all believers. However, if it is the same as Romans 14, then again, it is about demerit in believers and not about eternal condemnation versus eternal life. As to demerit in believers, we also must balance that over against Ephesians where we are already judged, and already have received our reward which cannot be diminished. He says that we are not judged (as far as condemnation) on the basis of original sin. That is not the orthodox view. Original sin firstly means our own sin, or the sin of our origin, that which we are conceived in (so he is right that we are judge for our own, it is how he gets to it). All are guilty of it as it is secondly related to what Adam did (he gets that correct also). That is, we have original sin because of Adam. That he originally sinned is not what original sin means, however. Original sin properly has to do with the sin nature. He says we are judged at the judgement seat, but that is also not correct. We were judged in Adam, that is the meaning of condemnation by one. How, without judgement, is condemnation spread to all men death because they all sinned if they have not sinned in the body? That is confirmed: John 3:18; John 6:44; Romans 3:3 and 23. Our condemnation then is mediated in Christ, if indeed we are in Christ, for out of all who were condemned in Adam which includes believers, the Father chose some in Christ. They were, again John 3:16, judged from the beginning of the world, and Jesus came that they might have eternal live and surely not perish. So, Mohler up ends the pactum salutis, but also up ends the ordo salutis, in that he places reprobation after an act of the individual where both ordos place it from the beginning being realized in time. Condemnation comes at conception, and new-birth afterward. In Mohler’s scheme we have an imputation of the taint of sin and then regeneration without the imputation of guilt (even though he claims there is). But then, where in is the guilt for which Christ suffers taken away, if it was not as Romans states, the one righteous act of the innocent for the guilty? Did he not die the innocent for the guilty and is not the whole of his work imputed, both his holiness and righteousness? Mohler says we will not answer for the sin of Adam. However, that is a detraction. For no one believes that we will suffer for another’s sin, but because of it. And he agrees, that those who go on to maturity do indeed suffer the noetic effects of the fall. In other words, those who do mature do indeed suffer because of Adam’s sin, and will spend eternity in hell except that they are saved by Christ’s work. So he agrees on one hand and takes it away with another. He says:

    The imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt explains our inability to respond to God without regeneration, but the Bible does not teach that we will answer for Adam’s sin.

    But this was precisely what Dort denounced in the Remonstrants. It is the sin nature which indeed makes it impossible to respond. How is it that we are imputed Adam’s guilt but do not answer for it? For guilt brings condemnation, while our response does nothing. Our response is the fruit. You see, he has confused categories of Adam’s act, and the punishment for it with our act and the reward for it. This is where the Remonstrants ended up. For they started with our personal sin of will as the basis of condemnation and ended up with our act of will as the beginning of salvation. Do we do indeed receive of the punishment of Adam’s sin in the form of sin and guilt? Or does it only becomes so as the Remonstrants would argue by a personal willful act? Our falleness is the punishment and it carries with it its own penalty as Calvin noted of Paul’s conclusions. It is the very fact that our nature lacks holiness and cannot be anything, that is it cannot do anything, but unrighteousness. While Mohler is right we individually suffer for our own sin, he apparently doesn’t understand what Calvin makes clear, what Paul and Jesus made clear, that it is the tree as well as its fruit that are evil and that before a Holy God. And because it is evil, it by being such is guilty of sinning.

    Another thing that helps to understand this is to recognize that we are our nature. It is not as if it were something other than who we are. It is not as if there were sin in us and it is not us. Indeed Paul speaks of it as something separate. But it is a principle of corruption and not an entity apart from us of which he speaks.

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