FH: Federal Headship
DM: Dennis McCallum, pastor and author of the book Walking in Victory, which i am responding to in this series of posts.
Chapter 7: LAW SCHOOL
Just to reiterate, I like the main thrust of the book.
DM says that “this is not a magical state of mind that precludes failure. Rather, this mindset is the backdrop for the dramatic but gradual measures God will take in our spiritual growth.”
Very true, but i wouldn’t put God in a box. The measures are gradual most of the time for most people, but I wouldn’t say that God couldn’t move us in leaps and bounds.
With that note of basic agreement stated, let me ‘pile on’ in my argument against his position on headship.
The very next sentence says, “We have an inherited nature tending toward sin…”
Now to inherit something material, like Sharon inherited the Cullman house [partially] can be understood in a FH way. The will decreed that she be one of the inheritors of this property. But when we speak of nonmaterial things being inherited, especially ‘nature’, we are not speaking of the FH way but of the natural way. Most Christendom I do grant, would not blink nary an eye at any of the FH beliefs stated in this book. The teach these things at seminaries if they teach anything on the subject at all. There are some theologians [I know of only western theologians, but there might be others] who know and speak of the differences. But the overwhelming tide doesn’t even know anything but FH exists. [as far as I know]
But truth is truth. If we were created anew at conception, then either [a] God created us with a sin nature [so then it is not inherited from Adam by nature] or [b] the pure spirit God created got tainted when it was put into our naturally derived body of sin. The latter idea is gnostic in that it makes the human body the source of sin. Sin is then a disease, in the DNA. But if that is true, than what is the purpose of God declaring Adam our Head? No one disputes [if they believe the human race started in the Garden] that Adam is the physical Head of the whole human race. Even the body of Jesus came from Adam [Romans 9:1-4] Thus Adam doesn’t need to be our Federal Head to taint us with sin ridden bodies.
So that puts us back at choice [a]. It is still not an ‘inherited’ sin nature, but rather an inherited condemnation, decreed by God and reckoned to all of Adam’s progeny. FH can be used to explain inherited condemnation, BUT not used to explain inherited sinfulness. I of course, as does DM, reject inherited condemnation.
I am not trying to point DM in a bad light, for as i said, it is what is taught just about everywhere. My pastor was taught the same things.
The rest of that sentence is spot on, although i would have changed the word, “autonomy”, to simply ‘free will’, or actually left it out altogether. My position is that the freedom our wills has is God given and not to be confused with the negative things he mentions along with it, like sin, pride, and years of trusting our sin nature.
We don’t have autonomy even if we the freedom to choose among choices, which of course we have. But that is a different subject.
His next sentence read: “That means fundamental change won’t come easily.
As an adjective, fundamental means: forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.
I guess there are ways that what he is saying ^could^ be right. But I think he is talking about our sin nature that needs changed fundamentally.
The nature of a person is not the same as their mindset. If they seek to change their mindset, it does not change the nature. Otherwise, living godly in Christ Jesus could be done by even those not born again. Is this statement true: by choosing to think differently I can fundamentally change my sin nature? Yes, it would not be easy, it would take time, sure. But can one do it?
If I gave you a set of directions, telling you to take two steps right, three steps left, and so forth, and at the end was the buried object you are looking for, but i started you out at the wrong position, would you find it using my directions? Nope.
There is a fundamental flaw in DM’s instructions. He assumes we have sin nature. Now by the mercy and grace of God, I think many people could find victory in Jesus by using this book, prayer, and the Word of God. But wrong teaching leads to more wrong teaching [see the idea of FH]. Eventually it leads some far astray.
The reality is we, as Christians, have already been fundamentally changed -we have been born again from above. We have new hearts and new spirits and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Our challenge is not to change fundamentally in our nature, God has already done that when we got saved, even as our identity changed from of Adam to of Christ. Identity speaks of ‘of’, while nature speaks of ‘in’. We are in Christ because we are made a new [Ephesians 2:9-10], created anew in Christ Jesus. We are not fundamentally split in our beings, one part still in Adam [nature] while the other part [identity] of Christ.
Rather, our challenge is to be renewed in our minds after godliness. [Romans 12:1-3] Now I think that this book is after that very goal, so I think this book can help people reach that goal, but it also promotes errors, hence my objections.
Now, many C’s have the same errors because they are of FH. But I can see why DM, and others who think like him, can also see born again Christians “giving up”. And why those who sit under such teaching even consider the possibility, because it is preached as real. Certainly all agree that those who claim themselves Christian but were never born again give up. But if you are told and taught that you still have a sin nature, and that you need to continue to stand against your very nature, you very well could end up exactly like the legalists and the fakers DM is encouraging us not to be.
Rather, if you are taught the truth, that IF you are of Christ, you will prevail, but that growth and peace are the result of your willful obedience and walking in faith, that even when you fall into a season of sin, you know that God is merciful, that He is still there, that you are still His, and if you doubt that, get up again from where you have fallen. But even more, and i am sure you have experienced this very thing: that it is God who comes to you, one in sin, who tenderly calls you back to the glorious cross, to His blood, to His love and mercy, so it is by His strength of will that we regain our strength of will to walk again in repentance.
It is there, in that place and time, where I have turned my back on Him, spat again into His face, where over and over His love fills me, my wayward heart is broken away from the worldly chains i am seeking to embrace, and i am renewed. Whose heart is so cold that God cannot melt it, whose will so stubborn, that God cannot tenderly draw it? Whose sin is so evil that God shudders away? No one. Not a single person.
Chapter 7 LAW SCHOOL introduction done.
next email begins the section: A RADICAL, EXTREME PASSAGE