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 which is Augustinian realism. The Realistic or Augustinian view of humanity’s union in Adam is now held only by a minority of Reformed and Evangelicals. But it was the majority view, in its implicit form,[2] up through the 17th century. Simply put, are we held responsible for Adam’s sin merely because God made him our representative, or, is it also because we were all in some mysterious way present and participating in Adam’s sin?

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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 a linked video of an interview of John MacArthur by Ben Shapiro, in which Rev. MacArthur denied that Christians ought ever to be involved in revolutions. Shapiro asks, (at 17:04), “…So, early on, you mentioned that you weren’t sure that the American Revolution is in consonance with biblical values. I was wondering if you could expound on that a little bit, ‘cause I think it’s an interesting idea.” MacArthur replied: Continue reading

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 that Christ accomplished just as if the believer had accomplished it. Instead, he prefers to call it a mysterious “divine constitution.” But he does recognize the “tension” between the historical objectivity of Christ dying and rising again, and the fact of the believer subjectively dying to sin and rising to new life in Christ—and that the two are often spoken of in the New Testament as if they were one and the same events. The believer did not die to sin until coming to Christ in faith; and yet, the power of that dying to sin is firmly grounded in the once-and-for-all quality of Christ’s death—as if the historically objective death of Christ somehow became an historically objective fact of the believer’s life once he came to Christ. Continue reading

Realism & The Fall: A Response to Steve Farish

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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 as a realist, I would like to engage Mr. Farish on some of his points. The realist perspective has much more to offer than he has presented.

From the start, Mr. Farish defines the realistic view in a way that no realist would: “The Realistic View […] understands Paul in Romans 5:12 to mean that all human beings were physically present seminally in Adam at the time of his sin […], so that when Adam sinned, all human beings literally and physically sinned in him.” The terms, “physically present,” and, “physically sinned,” utterly miss the point of the realistic view.  Continue reading