Vol. 1  No. 12

November, 1982

Brother Burt's Reply Considered

by Darwin Chandler

The first thing wrong with Glenn’s reply is his title. The words “Imputed Spiritual Life” are his words, not mine. The quotation marks will lead one to think I used either the words, or the idea, and neither is true.

I did not take the position that “death” in Genesis 2:17 is ONLY physical death. Spiritual death is automatic when sin is practiced. The question is “what did Adam and Eve understand by the word?” Also, what does the context indicate the word means in its primary significance? I believe the reader is able to weigh my reasons in favor of “physical” death against Glenn's reasons for “spiritual” death, and reach valid conclusions.

Glenn has trouble with the idea of “substitute victims.” Does he indeed deny that animal sacrifice is built on the whole concept of substituting the victim for the sinner? If so, I do not wonder that he totally failed to understand the thrust of my article.

References to my “assumptions” would be well taken by my brother for his own sake. The readers will note that all of his objections to my article are based on his assumptions. Perhaps I may be pardoned for liking my assumptions better than I like his.

Now for the most noxious part of this matter. My brother reveals to us that “the major reason for the contentions about 'death' and 'clothes'.” His conclusions are that I teach “Christ's life (his righteousness) covers us like the clothes covered them.” The reader is perceptive enough to see that the words in italics are Glenn's words, not mine. The idea is not within gunshot of anything I wrote. Brother Burt reacts more to the sound than he does to the sense. Read carefully here Glenn: I stated that it is the sacrifice of Christ that covers the sinner! Do you not perceive the difference between the merits of Christ's sacrifice, and the merits of His righteous life? In taking the physical life of Jesus on the cross, man is given the right to live through the merits of His blood. “The life of the flesh is in the blood, therefore have I given it to you on the altar to make atonement (covering, D.C.) for your souls; for it is the blood, by reason of the life that makes atonement (covering, D.C.)” Lev. 17:11 (emphasis mine, D.C.). God stated that the basic concept of sacrifice is that of taking the victim's life in order that the sinner might live. Is it not symbolic of transferring “life” to the sinner? There is nothing here that is a “forty second cousin” to the idea of “Imputed righteousness.” Do we suppose that an animal's “righteous life” in any way contributed to the sinners “righteousness”? If my brother cannot see the difference between the benefits of the giving of life in sacrifice, and the theory of the imputation of the righteous living of Jesus Christ, it behooves him to restrain his efforts at further reviews until he can work that out. His effort to make the reader think there is the slightest hint of the Calvinist theory in my article, is repugnant.

I did not believe the theory of imputed righteousness when I wrote the article and I do not believe it now. What SOUNDS LIKE a false theory to Glenn is his problem. I would advocate his need for ear surgery. Glenn, you merely read into my article something you seem to fear is there. Glenn says: “Surely our brother does not believe this false doctrine,” yet makes strong effort to make the readers think I do believe it. Obviously Glenn “sees no difference” in what I have said about the life we receive in Christ, “and the old Calvinistic idea of imputed righteousness.” Yet I cannot be responsible for his incapacity for distinguishing between the life Jesus gave up on the cross, and the life he lived in the flesh. It is the merit of the former which is transferred to the sinner, not the latter.

His second to last paragraph is exactly what I contend for. My whole article is an explanation of how man is made alive and reckoned righteous by the death of Christ. Glenn's imperception is incredible. Indeed “it would seem that there is a need for some extensive study and teaching on this subject.” May I be forgiven for the suggestion that perhaps Glenn needs this study as much as he supposes others do?

I have nothing further to “reply” on this subject. I have more confidence in my brethren than Glenn seems to have. Most of them can see with little difficulty the points I made, and I am perfectly content to allow them credit for having enough sense to make their own conclusions. Would to God everyone else would do the same.