A Realist’s Review of J.V. Fesko’s ‘Death in Adam, Life in Christ,’ Part 2

Fesko's misrepresentations are disturbing. As I read his section on Augustine[23], I thought maybe he had misunderstood Augustine when Fesko claimed that Realism was about a "biological" union in Adam—that Realism claimed a physical presence of all men in Adam. However, after Fesko described the views of Shedd and Baird (the Realist School of the … Continue reading A Realist’s Review of J.V. Fesko’s ‘Death in Adam, Life in Christ,’ Part 2

A Realist’s Review of J.V. Fesko’s ‘Death in Adam, Life in Christ,’ Part 1

By Ken Hamrick As a proponent of the Realistic view, I was interested in this book by J. V. Fesko, Death in Adam, Life in Christ: The Doctrine of Imputation,[1] because it seeks to explain how Covenant Theology deals with imputation on both sides of the Adam-Christ parallel, as well as engaging other views, among … Continue reading A Realist’s Review of J.V. Fesko’s ‘Death in Adam, Life in Christ,’ Part 1

A Strong Argument for Traducianism

Traducianism is the belief that the immaterial nature (the spirit or soul) is propagated from one or both parents. Creationism is the only Christian alternative, the belief that the spirit is created out of nothing. It is my contention that the biblical case for traducianism is strong, and it should not be avoided, as it … Continue reading A Strong Argument for Traducianism

Some Thoughts on Covenant Continuity

While Abraham, Moses and Israel enjoyed ever more specific and progressive covenants with God, the rest of the world remained under the Covenant of Works given to Adam. Now, Gentiles who are saved by the New Covenant trace their covenantal roots not to Moses but directly to Abraham. Rom. 4:8-12 (ESV) ...blessed is the man … Continue reading Some Thoughts on Covenant Continuity

It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 8: Realistic Substitution

This eight-part series introduces the new perspective of Realistic Substitution, which unties the knots and answers the questions that previous theories could not. It is the ancient Realistic view of Adam further developed and applied to Christ. Leon Morris, in The Cross in the New Testament, was not optimistic regarding the possibility of a "full and final … Continue reading It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 8: Realistic Substitution

It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 7: Traducianism

This eight-part series introduces the new perspective of Realistic Substitution, which unties the knots and answers the questions that previous theories could not. It is the ancient Realistic view of Adam further developed and applied to Christ. Traducianism is the belief that the immaterial nature (the spirit or soul) is propagated from one or both parents. … Continue reading It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 7: Traducianism

It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 6: The Realistic View of Adam

This eight-part series introduces the new perspective of Realistic Substitution, which unties the knots and answers the questions that previous theories could not. It is the ancient Realistic view of Adam further developed and applied to Christ. The parallel between Adam and Christ is striking, as evident in Rom. 5:12-21. Inadequacies in our understanding of how Adam's … Continue reading It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 6: The Realistic View of Adam

It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 5: Under Wrath Until Reconciled

This eight-part series introduces the new perspective of Realistic Substitution, which unties the knots and answers the questions that previous theories could not. It is the ancient Realistic view of Adam further developed and applied to Christ. A One-Sided Reconciliation? The logic of a one-sided reconciliation, in which God is reconciled to us but we are … Continue reading It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 5: Under Wrath Until Reconciled

Unassailable: A Simple Faith in the Bible

By Ken Hamrick "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy." (Ex. 20:11 NASB). "When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the … Continue reading Unassailable: A Simple Faith in the Bible

The Role of the Holy Spirit in Justification

By Ken Hamrick We are justified by faith in Christ. But is that justification a mere legal fiction, as the Catholics object? While many look for the answer in the analogies of marriage and adoption, there is a more explicit answer: it is the spiritual union of Christ in the believer, effected by the Holy … Continue reading The Role of the Holy Spirit in Justification

It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 4: Union with the Substitute

This eight-part series introduces the new perspective of Realistic Substitution, which unties the knots and answers the questions that previous theories could not. It is the ancient Realistic view of Adam further developed and applied to Christ. Old Testament Pictures of Union with the Substitute One vital principle of substitution is union with the substitute. How … Continue reading It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 4: Union with the Substitute

It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 3: Unquantifiable & Nontransferable

This eight-part series introduces the new perspective of Realistic Substitution, which unties the knots and answers the questions that previous theories could not. It is the ancient Realistic view of Adam further developed and applied to Christ. The Unquantifiable Nature of Sin-Debt, Wrath, and Atonement How many sins did Adam commit before he stood in need … Continue reading It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 3: Unquantifiable & Nontransferable

It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 2: Faith is Required

This eight-part series introduces the new perspective of Realistic Substitution, which unties the knots and answers the questions that previous theories could not. It is the ancient Realistic view of Adam further developed and applied to Christ. Old Testament Requirements for Atonement As we have rightly looked to the Old Testament to define atonement, it is … Continue reading It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 2: Faith is Required

It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 1: Definition

This eight-part series introduces the new perspective of Realistic Substitution, which unties the knots and answers the questions that previous theories could not. It is the ancient Realistic view of Adam[1] further developed and applied to Christ. The Traditionalist contends that Jesus died for everyone. The Calvinist counters that since not all will be saved, not … Continue reading It’s Time for New Thinking on Atonement, Part 1: Definition

The Forgotten Theology of Rights & Revolution

Also published at SBC Voices. By Ken Hamrick Was the American Revolution a sinful undertaking? Were the “unalienable rights” written about in the Declaration of Independence not really “endowed by [our] Creator?” It seems to me that the Evangelical church may be forgetting the theological basis upon which our independent nation was established. Triablogue featured … Continue reading The Forgotten Theology of Rights & Revolution

The 3rd Rail: Can a Loving God Determine to Save So Few?

By Ken Hamrick This is the last post in this series, and concludes my attempt to provide a compelling articulation for the middle ground on which so many Southern Baptists stand—holding that God is the ultimate Determiner of destinies and that men have free will in the matter (but without going to the lengths of … Continue reading The 3rd Rail: Can a Loving God Determine to Save So Few?

The 3rd Rail: Unconditional Election is Not Restrictive

By Ken Hamrick See all the posts in the series, 'The 3rd Rail' The posts in this series are not in any particular order; but it may be helpful, before reading this one, to read the following posts: "The 3rd Rail: Inability of the Will is Never Literal," and, "The 3rd Rail: The Fallacy of … Continue reading The 3rd Rail: Unconditional Election is Not Restrictive

The 3rd Rail: The Fallacy of a Restrictive Foreknowledge

By Ken Hamrick See all the posts in the series, 'The 3rd Rail' One fallacy in the debate between Calvinists and Traditionalists is the idea that God’s foreknowledge makes all events necessary. Such logic insists that, since God already knows what you will decide on a certain occasion, then it “would be impossible” for you … Continue reading The 3rd Rail: The Fallacy of a Restrictive Foreknowledge

The 3rd Rail: God Does Good, Men Do Evil

By Ken Hamrick See all the posts in the series, 'The 3rd Rail' It is possible to put so much emphasis on one Biblical principle that another equally important Biblical principle becomes obscured in the shadow, and eventually rejected. Baptist Centrists going all the way back to Andrew Fuller have recognized this problem in the … Continue reading The 3rd Rail: God Does Good, Men Do Evil

The 3rd Rail: Inability of the Will is Never Literal

By Ken Hamrick See all the posts in the series, 'The 3rd Rail' We in the middle watch with dismay as justification for the extremes of one side is claimed to be based on the extremes of the other (in the ongoing Calvinism/Traditionalism debate). Why ignore the middle position? There are more than two choices … Continue reading The 3rd Rail: Inability of the Will is Never Literal

The 3rd Rail: Exegetical Problems with Corporate Election

By Ken Hamrick See all the posts in the series, 'The 3rd Rail' Dr. Eric Hankins, the leader of the Southern Baptist Traditionalist movement, sees election as strictly corporate: The idea that God, in eternity past, elected certain individuals to salvation is a fundamental tenet of Calvinism and Arminianism. The interpretation of this biblical concept needs … Continue reading The 3rd Rail: Exegetical Problems with Corporate Election

The 3rd Rail: The Call to Believe is Not Without a Promise

By Ken Hamrick See all the posts in the series, 'The 3rd Rail' Imagine how sinners would react if the gospel offered no promise of eternal life to those who believe. If there were no amazing grace, no opportunity for forgiveness, no loving heavenly Father to welcome us into His family, no Savior who gave … Continue reading The 3rd Rail: The Call to Believe is Not Without a Promise

The 3rd Rail: Why the Middle View is Here to Stay

By Ken Hamrick See all the posts in the series, 'The 3rd Rail' Calvinists and Traditionalists have been arguing, with varying degrees of amity and enmity, since the SBC was formed. But between these two (with slight overlap of both) is a less argumentative and more cooperative middle view. Because this middle view has commonalities … Continue reading The 3rd Rail: Why the Middle View is Here to Stay

Saved by the Blood of the Lamb

Also published at SBC Voices By Ken Hamrick Throughout the Old Testament, a spotless animal was permitted to die in place of the sinner. Sin required death---either the death of the sinner or the death of an allowed substitute. No person in the Old Testament was qualified to be a sin sacrifice, as Jesus was, … Continue reading Saved by the Blood of the Lamb

Realism & Retroactive Identity in Christ

By Ken Hamrick John Murray’s treatment of sanctification, particularly his essay, “The Agency in Definitive Sanctification,” makes some surprising inroads toward grasping the believer’s retroactive, realistic identification with Christ.[1] He does not go as far as to acknowledge that the reality of the spiritual union of Christ in the believer brings a title to all … Continue reading Realism & Retroactive Identity in Christ

Realism & The Fall: A Response to Steve Farish

By Ken Hamrick The Winter 2017 issue of The Founders Journal contains a brief, informative article on Original Sin, by Steve Farish, entitled, "The Fall Brought Condemnation and Corruption."[1] To his credit, he does not present only the representationist "party line," but also tries to present the realist side and its problems. This is commendable. But … Continue reading Realism & The Fall: A Response to Steve Farish

Admonitions to a Disappointed Young-Earther

This article was also published at SBC Voices.by Ken HamrickRecently, I came across a paper in the Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry, written by Dr. Kenneth Keathley in 2013, entitled, "Confessions of a Disappointed Young-Earther."[1] The piece is well done and gives an informative summary of the various arguments and supposed problems of the … Continue reading Admonitions to a Disappointed Young-Earther

Shedding Light on the Length of Pre-Sun Creation Days: A Text-Based Approach

by Ken HamrickIn the ongoing debate over the Genesis creation account, one supposed problem that seems particularly troublesome for many is the question of the length of a day prior to the creation of the sun (on Day 4). Since the sun is the means by which a day is usually measured, then it is … Continue reading Shedding Light on the Length of Pre-Sun Creation Days: A Text-Based Approach

Racial Reconciliation: Why Most Whites Just Don’t Get it

by Ken Hamrick There's something insincere about any repentant admission that says, "Yes, I'm guilty---and so are you." I do not admit to being a racist, and neither do I think most Americans---white or otherwise---are. Many are racists, but most---or even, all? Contrary to the popular Evangelical party line these days, that cannot be established. … Continue reading Racial Reconciliation: Why Most Whites Just Don’t Get it

Unwillingness & Inability: A Summary of Andrew Fuller’s Solution

By Ken Hamrick The theology of Andrew Fuller, as set out in his greatest work, The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation, is centrally located between those Calvinists who see sinners as walking corpses---no more able to believe than a dead body is able to raise itself from the dead---and those of the other side who … Continue reading Unwillingness & Inability: A Summary of Andrew Fuller’s Solution

When Did the Wise Men Appear? A Christmas Chronology

From my archives...by Ken Hamrick The Wise Men are part of most nativity scenes, and many people assume that they arrived while Jesus was still in the manger, soon after His birth.  Many others, seeking a more accurate chronology, note that Herod killed baby boys who were two years old and under (according to the … Continue reading When Did the Wise Men Appear? A Christmas Chronology

Origin of the Soul: A Defense of Paternal Traducianism

Also posted at SBC Open Forum. By Ken Hamrick Was your soul newly created for you by God, or was it passed down to you from the previous generations, much like your DNA was, and originally came from Adam? This may seem an obscure question, but it is actually foundational to most of theology. Whether … Continue reading Origin of the Soul: A Defense of Paternal Traducianism

Polygamist at Your Altar: What Will Your Counsel Be?

by Ken Hamrick As soon as homosexual marriage becomes legalized and common-place in all fifty states, you can bet that challenges to anti-polygamy laws will shortly follow. Riding the momentum of the moral revolution, polygamy will be easier to legalize than homosexual marriage. Evangelicals, such as Southern Baptists, should take the time now to sort … Continue reading Polygamist at Your Altar: What Will Your Counsel Be?

Helping Old-Earth Creationists Face the Supernatural Question

by Ken Hamrick Instead of arguing for or against the scientific evidence, or arguing the merits of possible exegetical ways to reconcile Scripture with a billions-of-years chronology, I propose that---for the sake of argument---we eliminate the evidence question all together. We can do this by accepting all the scientific claims at face value, and still … Continue reading Helping Old-Earth Creationists Face the Supernatural Question

Fuller & Inability: A Centrist Response to Tom Nettles

An Addendum, incorporating the Rejoinder, was added, 11-25-2014. by Ken Hamrick [13,200 words...] The focus of the debate between Calvinists and Traditionalists returns ever more often to Andrew Fuller. His theology is ideally suited to bringing the two closer together---not merely by a spirit of cooperation, but closer in doctrinal view---the usual argument over his … Continue reading Fuller & Inability: A Centrist Response to Tom Nettles

Does Your Anchor Hold Within the Veil?

Also posted at SBC Open Forum and at SBC Voices.By Ken HamrickHeb. 6:19, "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil..." (NKJV) Col. 1:27, "To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which … Continue reading Does Your Anchor Hold Within the Veil?

Toward Theological Reconciliation: Atonement

Also posted at SBC Open Forum and at SBC Voices. by Ken Hamrick What you will find below is neither an argument for the Calvinist view nor one for the Traditionalist view of atonement. Both ends of the spectrum have been asking the wrong questions, and the best perspective transcends that old debate. By emphasizing that Christ stood … Continue reading Toward Theological Reconciliation: Atonement

Serious Reservations About the Global Faith Forum

Also posted at SBC Open Forum. by Ken Hamrick The 2013 Global Faith Forum (GFF) was concluded Nov. 16, and was held at the NorthWood Church in Keller, TX, where the senior pastor, Dr. Bob Roberts, Jr., founded and leads the movement. I was unaware of such a forum until Dr. Joel Rainey, Director of Missions … Continue reading Serious Reservations About the Global Faith Forum

Young Earth Creationism and Presuppositionalism: A Response to J.W. Wartick

by Ken Hamrick “Young Earth” creationism (YEC), as part of the Christian faith, stands on certain presuppositions, such as the existence of God and the divine, verbal inspiration of Scripture. The kind of apologetic argument that acknowledges that such presuppositions are assumed, and does not attempt to prove them, is presuppositional apologetics. Such presuppositions cannot be … Continue reading Young Earth Creationism and Presuppositionalism: A Response to J.W. Wartick

Compatibilism: A More Immanent Grace

by Ken Hamrick Immanence is mostly forgotten as an attribute of God and a method by which He works in the world. Calvinists and Traditionalists argue over the limits of God's transcendent acts of grace and the limits of men without such transcendent grace. Both sides, it seems, have a presupposed agreement to frame the … Continue reading Compatibilism: A More Immanent Grace

Insurmountable Problems with the Angel-Human Hybrid Theory of the Nephilim

This is an article from my archives of 2011.Ordinarily, I would avoid topics such as this, which are a kind of "tabloid theology" for those obsessed with such things.  But this particular issue has grown in such popularity and its speculative errors are propagated with such tenacious authority that a voice of reason is desperately … Continue reading Insurmountable Problems with the Angel-Human Hybrid Theory of the Nephilim

Who is Guilty of Adam’s Sin? A Centrist Response to Adam Harwood

Also posted at SBC Open Forum and at SBC Voices. by Ken Hamrick Adam Harwood spoke at the 2013 John 3:16 Conference, and the paper he presented there is available on the conference e-book at SBC Today. Like Dr. Harwood, I deny that anyone is born condemned for Adam's sin; but unlike Dr. Harwood, I find … Continue reading Who is Guilty of Adam’s Sin? A Centrist Response to Adam Harwood

Justification is Grounded on Union with Christ

The meaning of the word, justification, is clearly forensic (legal). But the deeper question remains: is that forensic verdict an accurate and true assessment of the believer when united to Christ, or is it a nominal and putative designation of a recategorization within God's mind alone? The answer is found in our union with Christ. Are we joined to … Continue reading Justification is Grounded on Union with Christ

We’re Not ‘Sixers’

Overheard at a doctrinal debate near you: "Based on Scripture, we hold to three plus three---and that works fine for us." "So you hold to six, then?" "What? Heavens no! And I'll thank you to not accuse us of such a thing! We've never held to six, never taught six, and never will. Three plus … Continue reading We’re Not ‘Sixers’

Perseverance of the Saints v Eternal Security

Also posted at SBC Open Forum. The Baptist doctrine of Eternal Security is often confused with the Calvinist doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints, especially since there are many Calvinist Baptists. While the two doctrines are similar and share the same end result, there are important differences. Eternal Security is the doctrine that affirms that … Continue reading Perseverance of the Saints v Eternal Security

Expanded SBC Calvinism-Arminianism Spectrum Chart

The chart is intended to represent the spectrum, with those doctrines that are least likely to be held by Calvinists at the top, and those least likely to be held by Traditionalists at the bottom, but with incremental steps toward the middle mapped out. As you move toward the middle of the chart, you find more … Continue reading Expanded SBC Calvinism-Arminianism Spectrum Chart

Why Do We Die?

The answer to the question of why we die is one of fundamental importance to Christianity. Death can only be correctly understood when traced to the first sin of man in the garden of Eden. Beyond this, it is necessary to determine the relationship that death has to individuals--whether it falls on men as a … Continue reading Why Do We Die?

God is Unavoidably in the Mix

It’s not as simple as God choosing men based on His foreknowledge of their choice to accept His grace and gospel. God’s foreknowledge of men’s choices and actions cannot be divorced from His own planned actions.His actions and the actions of men together form an infinitely complex interaction. Men’s actions are changed by God’s actions, … Continue reading God is Unavoidably in the Mix

What is a ‘Christian’ Nation?

Any nation begun by Christians as a Christian nation — even if founded firmly on “Christian” principles — will inevitably fall away from that Christian foundation and cease being a Christian nation within but a few generations.  Men are born sinners, and can only be changed through Christ — and it is strongly affirmed throughout … Continue reading What is a ‘Christian’ Nation?

The Flesh of Christ and of Men

There is a subtle error, found in many believers — and often zealously defended as if it were a test of orthodoxy. It is the belief that Christ did not have the same kind of mortal body that we have, but instead, had an immortal body even from birth (supposedly like Adam and Eve before … Continue reading The Flesh of Christ and of Men

Beyond Traditionalism: Reclaiming Southern Baptist Soteriology

Also Posted at SBC Open Forum. By Ken Hamrick [15,400 words...] In May of 2012, Eric Hankins published A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation[1]. It has created quite an uproar. The statement does not provide any real depth of argument, and my initial impression was that it was … Continue reading Beyond Traditionalism: Reclaiming Southern Baptist Soteriology

How Do We Know the Bible is True?

How do we know that the Bible is true? How do we know that God exists? How do we know that we are saved, and have a real relationship with Him? No questions are more important than these. The battle for inerrancy has been won in the SBC, but the battle for epistemology will soon … Continue reading How Do We Know the Bible is True?

The Biblical Argument for Age of Accountability

Revised 12/24/2012 to include an exegesis of Romans 5:12-21 Traditionally, the Baptist idea of an age of accountability has been denigrated as solely based on emotion and held in contradiction to the supposedly insurmountable scriptural evidence for inherited condemnation.  While I will not add anything, in the pages below, as to exactly how God redeems … Continue reading The Biblical Argument for Age of Accountability

The Good Shepherd and the Sheep of John 10

I decided to take a fresh look at John 10 and this sheep thing... What I found was surprising. I have long warned of overstretching metaphors (the number one cause of error). Here, I was stretching a metaphor from a different passage into this one, where it did not belong. I'm speaking of the passage … Continue reading The Good Shepherd and the Sheep of John 10