Responses to the book, “Walking in Victory” by Dennis McCallum

These responses pick up where a conversation stopped. that conversation covered the first two chapters of the book, and deaqlt mostly with the differences I have with Pastor McCallum’s understanding of Federal Headship. These differences sprout up in my review and responses as I work my way through his book. For a more detailed explanation of my view on Federal Headship and its many deficiences, respond, and we will talk.

chapter 3
Now… the rest of the story (-:
I was hoping Dennis McCallum [hereafter DM] would let the misunderstandings of federal headship be forgotten and left in the past [chaps 1 +2], but he brings it up again in chap 3[C3]. Actually that is a good thing for us, imho, because  i think a proper understanding of our identity in Christ depends on a proper understanding or base of what our identity is Adam was.
Right before he quotes Rom 6, he mentions the federal headship[FH] of Jesus. To refresh, federal headship speaks to representation, like our congressman represents us in Congress. So in FH of Adam, Adam represents the race so that when he fell, we all fell. And his punishment belongs to all of us. In FH of Jesus, because he died we all died, He arose, so will we all. Its not ‘organic’ or intimate, but alien and from afar. So when your representative in Congress votes on a bill, he represents everyone in his district. In a sense, it is if all of those in his district voted as he did. Its not you personally voting, its someone in your place. Its not you sinning in the garden, its someone in your place.
Now for those who get saved, big deal! But is it just to condemn all those who perish because someone else sinned? At its foundation, it, FH, is not righteous.
Rom 6:3-4
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Now remember, i have not read this book, and I am commenting chapter by chapter as i read it. So it is possible i jump the gun and ascribe to DM positions he holds that he isn’t really holding, but is simply taking a different approach than I would in explaining them.

In FH, identity is declared, while in natural headship [NH], identity is inherited. In NH, we have Adam’s identity because we somehow were in Adam. In FH, God has appointed Adam our head, and we have Adam’s identity by declaration.

Let us look at the next three verses after the ones quoted:
For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

The word united in verse 5 is ‘symphytos’ which in Greek means:

  1. born together with, of joint origin
    1. connate, congenital, innate, implanted by birth or nature
  2. grown together, united with
  3. kindred

This word, to me, belongs in a ‘natural’ setting, not a ‘representative’ setting. How are we united with Jesus? Is it by His standing in our place? Well, He did stand in our place, and some C’s believe that once he so stood in their place, there at the cross, they became already saved, even though they were not yet born. Him standing in our place doesn’t make us united with Him.

The next word to look at is ‘likeness’ which is homoioma.

  1. that which has been made after the likeness of something
    1. a figure, image, likeness, representation
    2. likeness i.e. resemblance, such as amounts almost to equality or identity

The likeness is not our identity with Jesus but our death with His death. How, then, are we united with Jesus? The answer is in the previous verses: by baptism. Now some, not DM, take this to mean water baptism and err.  But in this passage and context, using the idea of symphytos as well as speaking of new life [as Paul does in other places] it conjures ideas of the new birth. 1st Corinthians 12 tells us by the Spirit are we baptized into one body.

Not to get ahead, but my point is that there is nothing here of FH or representation.
Some how DM says that not only Jesus died in our place bur somehow we died with Him. I’m not sure what he is getting at specifically, for Jesus died alone, forsaken by man and God. That somehow we can participate in that death is only in how it applies to us in the now.

page 11
In this part, I am mostly in agreement with DM.
For in being baptized by the the Spirit into His body, we become identified with Jesus and no longer are we of Adam, in our spiritual identity. We have been changed, born again. This amazing and most wonderful supernatural change in ‘who we are’ and no “longer mere men” is what leads many of us, including me, to declare that once a person has truly been born again, they can never be unborn-again. But that is a different subject.

The rest of page 11 under the heading, “Using Our Insight”, DM ascribes to FH when it really has nothing to do with FH. And DM finishes the page and on to page 12 with a quote from 1st Cor. 15:
 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive..

Actually both ideas of headship can point to this a s truth. FH: since God appointed Adam as your federal head, in Adam you die. NH: since you inherited a fallen nature from Adam, in Adam you die. But in the former it is a stretch to understand the newness of life we have in Christ simply because God now declares us justified due to our appointed identity with the one who dies. I suppose it is the same stretch that makes us fallen in Adam despite only a representative relation to the one in the Garden.

In  my thinking, since we now have out on the identity of Christ, and are transformed with a new heart and spirit, we who were once dead are now alive. Our ‘dead’ spirit and darkened hard heart have been changed to a ‘live’ spirit and a revelation receiving soft heart.

DM then goes through many Bible passages that show the benefits we have now that we are in Christ and find our identity in Him. Again, note  I am not speaking of the same type of identity that you and I have, say, with The Ohio State Buckeyes, as Our Team. We might move to San Diego and decide the Chargers are now our team. The identity is not just with the mind, but in the whole person. Similar to how marriage how the two become one, but even deeper.

DM shows his confusion between the two headships as he finishes out the chapter. He wants to equate nature and identity which is a natural way to relate: Jessica is your child because she was born of your seed. But on the other side: Jenny Weeks may consider herself your child but not by nature, though she identifies herself as yours.  Thus when she visited Diana in hospice she could identify as her daughter but not in the NH way.
NH says that we are fallen in Adam by inheritance.
FH says that we are fallen in Adam by decree. It can’t explain how we actually get a sin nature.

NH says that we are justified in Christ by decree AND because we are united to Him. Some would say that since sin is a crime against God and thus justice is that only the criminal can rightly suffer the consequences and pay the punishment. It isn’t just that if I murder someone that you serve my sentence: justice is not served by that. That because we are identified with Christ [we are in Christ], we died to sin by the death of Christ. In this way of thinking, we are in Christ and know so by faith. Our faith is the evidence, to us, of our relationship to God, that is: in Christ we are His child, cleansed by His blood [His life given for our sin] so that now [going back to Romans 6] we should [and can] walk in that newness of life.

FH says we are justified in Christ by decree for it is by decree we are united with Him. We are declared righteous [justified] when we have faith and have our identity in Jesus. BUT our nature isn’t changed that way [since it is a declaration not an nature thing] so we find our new nature in Christ ONLY through the indwelling Spirit.

Two things here about this FH view.
One is that those who think like this can not explain how OT saints walked in faith.  OT saints were never indwelt like we are in the NT. Some has the Spirit come upon them at times for inspiration in writing, speaking and doing, but the NT says straight out the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet risen/ascended. So how did OT saints, dead in trespasses and sins, enemies of God, darkened by sin, futile in mind, live lives of faith? They have no decent answer. Most do not even address this.
Second. Here is the place Ken and i part on Traducianism [NH[]. he fails, imho, to follow through with NH and instead reverts to new life simply being due to the indwelt Spirit.

In conclusion,
Though DM and i  disagree on how to use the term FH and what it means, I basically agree with his main thrust in chap 3: we are no longer identified with Adam, sin, and death and now are identified with Christ, holiness, and life.


About parsonsmike

seriously into the Word of God
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