By Ron Halbrook
One of the favorite ploys of brethren who are wandering off into the wastelands of liberalism is to cry, “Brother Somebody teaches the same thing I do, but no one challenges him. This proves that those who oppose me are sectarian in their opposition and are just out to `nail’ me in a personal way.” Early,, in 1977, we wrote Edward Fudge about his repeated u$~of Romans 5:19 (b) – “by the obedience of one shall !many be made righteous” – in his literature attempting to ‘prove that the perfect obedience of Jesus is imputed to Christians. Part (1) of this passage says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners . . . .” Paul sets up a parallel: (1) Adam’s one act of sin introduced death, not the imputation of his personal disobedience to others. (2) Christ’s one act of obedience in death on the cross introduced righteousness, not the Imputation of His personal obedience rendered during the whole of His life – the so-called ~”doing” in addition to the “dying” to the account of other men.
As to 5:19 (b), Ed said that by imputation “the consequences of His perfect obedience are graciously given us, ” but he offered not one comment on part (a). He did say that my questions reminded him of a “sectarianized” and “closed-system religion!’ in which “there is always a self consistent answer . . . .” Methinks that translates that he cannot find any way out of his inconsistency on 5:19 since he is unwilling to affirm thoroughgoing Calvinism. If part (b) is the imputation of Christ’s personal obedience to others, then part (a) must be the imputation of Adam’s personal disobedience to others.
Not to be defeated so easily by sectarianized, closed system, self-consistent religion, Ed ended his letter by claiming that his views on “the security of the true believer” were stated very well by Leslie Diestelkamp’s writings. Anyone who has read much of Fudge’s and Diestelkamp’s writings will be as surprised as we were at this claim, except for the fact that this is a common ploy of false teachers. Ed was hoping to use as a cover for the rank error propagated by the new unity movement the slight differences in the way brother Diestelkamp and some others of us express the believer’s security. Ed conveniently overlooked the overriding consideration that not a particle of difference exists between Diestelkamp and others of us in final applications and practical conclusion! Ed’s claim compares to a Pentecostal Holiness preacher claiming that differences among brethren in expression or explanation of the Spirit’s indwelling Christians today proves that some of us are Pentecostal holy rollers.
To show Ed how grossly Diestelkamp’s writings must be twisted to say that they “state the case well” for the new unity concept of security, we asked brother Diestelkamp to answer the following questions. We then sent Ed the answers which reflect Diestelkamp’s final applications and practical conclusions.
1. Does Romans 5:19 teach that the “doing” (i.e., the life or righteous acts of Christ as-distinct from his “dying” or death) of Christ is put to our account or imputed to us or transferred to us in some way? His answer: “No. “
2. Does the Bible teach that gospel is one thing (facts about the life and death of Christ – plus, perhaps, such commands as faith, repentance, and baptism) while doctrine is another (involving such things as the proper relationship of the church to Christ in worship, mission, organization, etc.)? His answer: “No. “
3. On account of Bible teaching on the security of the believer, can we be assured that we share unity and spiritual life in Christ with instrumental, institutional, and social-gospel brethren? His answer: “No. “
4. On account of the security of the believer, should we (can we scripturally) call on Christian Church preachers to lead prayers in the assembly? His answer: “No. “
5. On account of the security of the believer, could you write 34 articles for the Firm Foundation without specifying the sinfulness of the various institutional, centralized, and social-gospel practices constantly promoted therein? His answer: “No. “
Having cleared Ed’s ploy off the boards, we returned to attempting to discuss Romans 5:19 with him. Illustrating with charts, we showed that Ed was making the consequences of Adam’s disobedience and Christ’s obedience an imputation of their actions to other people, which is thoroughgoing Calvinism. But the Holy Spirit is showing that sin and death entered our world through Adam and that our hope for justification and life entered through Christ.
We invited Ed to deal with the difficulty imposed by the imputation theory, or to give it up. He did neither. If brother Diestelkamp is teaching the peculiar tenets and making the peculiar applications characteristic of the new unity movement, we promise to eat our ten-gallon hat and this issue of Truth Magazine for dessert. All of us believe that truth is truth no matter who teaches it, but the next time you hear some false teacher cry, “Brother Somebody teaches just as I do,” do not jump to any conclusions or eat any hats before you check a little farther!
Truth Magazine XXIV: 31, pp. 502-503
August 7, 1980