The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D. C.
Friday, August 7th, 2015
I am not one of your supporters on virtually anything, but I’m with you on this P5+1 deal with Iran. I convey my humble support and appreciation to you on this one, this time.
I see the Neoconservatives are working to get 13 Democratic defectors in the Senate and 44 House Democratic defectors by the September 17th deadline for a vote. I hope you win out here. I have so indicated by blogging my support on Facebook. Since I’m a part of the American populist Right and an alternative media presence, this may mean something in giving many of your ideological adversaries something to weigh and consider on the merits of the case at hand.
Those of us who are Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, and David Stockman Republicans are publicly with you against the War Party in the GOP and for a reasonable peace. Best of luck this time around.
Suggestion: You would be well served by publicly insisting that Israel’s mammoth nuclear arsenal and chemical/biological weapons cache receive the same international inspection regimen being insisted upon by Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters for Iran. The United States also needs to pull the plug on supporting Israel financially until it joins in signing the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as Iran has, and stops its illegal settlements on the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and its genocidal policies in Gaza. I also suggest that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) be forced to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
One notes that President Kennedy was the last President to attempt bringing Israel and its domestic lobby to heel on Dimona, inspections, and registration of the American Zionist Council as the agent of a foreign power, the forerunner of AIPAC.
You can insure your legacy by stepping up to home plate on these issues half a century later. I do hope you will understand that Americans across the political spectrum who actually read and think for themselves will back you in this critical effort to avoid an unjustifiable and totally unnecessary war with Iran that promises a wider metastasis.
At the same time, I must honestly tell you that I believe you are barking up the wrong tree on Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and support for NATO’s encirclement policy of Mr. Putin and its provocative deployment of military assets ever closer to his country’s borders. What would we be doing if the Russians were deploying their considerable military prowess on our Canadian and Mexican borders?
The same people who oppose your P5+1 deal with the Iranians are the same crowd supporting your ill advised moves in these places, moves that are the wrong moves for the wrong reasons with disastrous implications for the future. Please reexamine the road you have embarked upon in all of this, and reconsider the sources of the advice you have gotten from advisors who are of the same ilk that began these endless wars of preemption and counterinsurgency with the Bush I and II regimes.
From the Loyal and Usually Vigorous Opposition–
Pastor Mark Dankof
San Antonio, Texas
Mark Dankof commented on the Khan Assassination in Pakistan in 1951 and the release of the American State Department documents which reveal the involvement of the CIA and Harry Truman in the killing:
Dankof: “The Press TV story, citing released American State Department documents, confirms the role of Truman and the CIA in the assassination of PM Khan in Pakistan in 1951, just as the released CIA-MI6 documents on the coup against Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, confirm the details of “Operation Ajax” authorized by Eisenhower and carried out by Kermit Roosevelt.
“All of this is a part of the conduct of the foreign policy of the American Empire in the 20th and 21st centuries, which is nothing more than the continuation of the foreign policy of its predecessor, the British Empire, a foreign policy driven by the House of Rothschild financial and banking dynasty. In the case of the United States, every move made in the foreign policy arena since the establishment of the Federal Reserve Board in 1913 is driven by the following considerations: 1) The Balfour Declaration; 2) the Sikes-Picot Treaty; 3) the 1944 Bretton Woods financial conference which replaced the British pound sterling with the American dollar as the reserve currency of the world; 4) the Nixon-Kissinger agreement with Saudi Arabia in August of 1971 that the continuation of the American dollar as the reserve currency of the globe would peg that dollar to all international oil transactions instead of the gold standard agreed to at Bretton Woods; 5) the establishment of a world central banking system under the aegis of the Bretton Woods system and such entities as the Federal Reserve Board, the World Bank, the IMF, the Import-Export Bank, et. al.; and 6) the employment of the American military, the CIA, NATO, and the like to insure cheap access to the raw materials of countries through the world, especially in the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa. No methodology is deemed too evil to employ in the ongoing development of this world system, including assassination, coup d’etat, economic and cultural subversion, and overt employment of military force. This is the context in which we should understand the Khan assassination among many others, including the murder of John Kennedy in this country in November of 1963. Central Banking, Zionism, the Petrodollar, and the looting of raw materials throughout the globe are always the culprits in this scenario, as they are at present in the coup d’etat facilitated by the American, European, and Israeli elites in the Ukraine in February of 2014, and the continued reckless encirclement of Putin’s Russia by NATO and its military assets.
“This leads us finally, to the consideration of Harry Truman himself. The late Father of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), General Curtis LeMay, confirmed for history that the atomic bombings of Japan had nothing to do with the surrender of that country to end World War II. Truman dropped those weapons to send the Soviet Union a message about American power in the Pacific and throughout the world, and our willingness to employ the atomic monopoly whenever necessary to secure that power. What does this say about Truman? That essentially the same man who ordered these horrific war crimes could and did easily approve the assassination of Khan in Pakistan in 1951, as his modern counterparts of the last 15 years continue to commit crimes for the usual agenda, while wrapping that agenda in the public spin of ‘democracy.'”
The Press TV link is here.
Dankof on Duke on Rense Radio: Starbucks’ “Race Together” Campaign and “‘Dirty Jews’ and the Christian Right”
Reza Saieedi of the Tasnim News Agency of Iran recently interviewed Mark Dankof on the doctrine of American Exceptionalism and other related controversies. The questions and answers follow:
Reza Saieedi: Regarding the idea of American Exceptionalism, in an article for the Heritage Foundation Matthew Spalding wrote: “America is an exceptional nation, but not because of what it has achieved or accomplished. America is exceptional because, unlike any other nation, it is dedicated to the principles of human liberty, grounded on the truths that all men are created equal and endowed with equal rights. These permanent truths are ‘applicable to all men and all times,’ as Abraham Lincoln once said.”
In spite of decades of effort to achieve equal rights, we still see minorities–notably blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans–who suffer from injustice inside the US borders. So what does this notion of exceptionalism really mean in terms of daily life in America?
Mark Dankof: I would reject the mythological interpretation of the reign of Abraham Lincoln as a defender of the Constitution and human rights as the 16th President of the United States.
Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo has written the definitive book on the Lincoln Presidency in my view. It is entitled The Real Lincoln. I reviewed the book some years ago on one of my web sites. In that review, I stated that: “DiLorenzo’s analysis of Lincoln, accompanied by copious historical documentation, shatters the mythology surrounding the 16th President’s motives and agenda in pursuing the War Between The States. The author provides convincing evidence for Lincoln’s overt racism as expressed in his documented views on racial supremacy as manifested in his desire to colonize all American blacks outside the continental United States (p. 4); that Lincoln’s views were matched by a palpable majority in the North who utilized such tools as state constitutional amendments to prohibit the emigration of black people into Northern states like the President’s home state of Illinois (p.4); and that Lincoln’s war which killed 620,000 Americans [equivalent to 5 million deaths in 2002 population numbers and percentages] and destroyed 40 percent of the American economy, was a singularly terrible, unjustified conflict given the proven success in the 19th century of the peaceful end to slavery through the policy of compensated emancipation (p. 4). DiLorenzo duly notes that, ‘Between 1800 and 1860, dozens of countries, including the entire British Empire, ended slavery peacefully; only in the United States was a war involved (p. 4).’”
What then, does The Real Lincoln lay out as the actual road map for understanding the war and the accompanying strategy and psyche of Abraham Lincoln in resorting to armed force against the Southern states? In his tome, DiLorenzo underscores the mythological President’s political and moral failure in pursuing the bloodshed of fellow countrymen with an evil, unnecessary, coercive methodology. The author insists that the prevailing world-wide trends between 1800-1860 would have resulted in the irenic end to the institution of slavery by; 1) compensated emancipation; 2) an encouraged advance of the industrial revolution in the South with capital-intensive agriculture and manufacturing (p. 277); and 3) the inevitable furtherance of Enlightenment philosophy in the American mind and culture, a philosophy which in the end game would have been ideologically incompatible with the continuation of the institution, as had been the case throughout the British empire (pp. 276-277).
For the Loyola College Professor of Economics, the real Lincoln agenda in the War Between the States is located in the fact that: “. . .the War Between the States so fundamentally transformed the nature of American government. Before the war, government in America was the highly decentralized, limited government established by the founding fathers. The war created the highly centralized state that Americans labor under today. The purpose of American government was transformed from the defense of individual liberty to the quest for empire. . . . Lincoln thought of himself as the heir to the Hamiltonian political tradition, which sought a much more centralized governmental system, one that would plan economic development with corporate subsidies financed by protectionist tariffs and the printing of money by the central government. . . . It was Lincoln’s real agenda. . . . Henry Clay’s ‘American System.’ For his entire political life Lincoln was devoted to Clay and Clay’s economic agenda. The debate over this economic agenda was arguably the most important political debate during the first seventy years of the nation’s existence. It involved the nation’s most prominent statesmen and pitted the states’ rights Jeffersonians against the centralizing Hamiltonians (who became Whigs and, later, Republicans). The violence of war finally ended the debate in 1861. . . . A war was not necessary to free the slaves, but it was necessary to destroy the most significant check on the powers of the central government: the right of secession. (Introduction)”
So essentially, the worst aspects of the modern Imperial American Presidency that would be seen in Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, the Bushes, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, are all based on the Lincoln reign. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts agrees essentially with DiLorenzo and with me in these conclusions.
Lincoln’s use of the U. S. Army to engage in the mass murder of American civilians in the American South became the prototype of what would later happen to the American Indians in the Manifest Destiny-driven expansion of the United States westward. This is but one example of where White Americans and Non-White Americans were both victimized by the same dynamics and the same ideology of the allegedly Exceptional American Empire. In the present historical milieu White and Non-White Americans are equally oppressed by a Government destroying the American economy with Globalist Trade Agreements, destroying the legitimacy of American elections with a financing mechanism embodied in the Citizens United and McCutcheon Supreme Court decisions, destroying the American dollar by the fiat money policies of the Federal Reserve Board, destroying the lives of American and non-American alike with the endless wars in the Middle East pursued to further the aims of Israel, the International Central Banking establishment linked to the Petrodollar, and the Energy Consortiums, and destroying the earlier cultural mores of a society rooted in Western Christianity and replacing it with a wholehearted endorsement and promotion of the legitimacy of homosexuality, pornography, abortion, and euthanasia.
Scott McConnell of Buchanan’s The American Conservative recently quoted historian Walter Russell Mead in
demonstrating how Zionist Neo-Conservatives have wedded the doctrine of American Exceptionalism to the notion of Israeli Exceptionalism. The perversion of historic Christian orthodoxy on eschatology in the interest of affirming the heresy known as Christian Zionism is the glue that holds much of this dangerous ideological poison in place in the United States:
“. . . Norman Podhoretz’s son-in-law Elliott Abrams backed Netanyahu, quoting in his favor this four-year-old passage from historian Walter Russell Mead:
‘Israel matters in American politics like almost no other country on earth. Well beyond the American Jewish and the Protestant fundamentalist communities, the people and the story of Israel stir some of the deepest and most mysterious reaches of the American soul. The idea of Jewish and Israeli exceptionalism is profoundly tied to the idea of American exceptionalism. The belief that God favors and protects Israel is connected to the idea that God favors and protects America.’”
Reza Saieedi: Given the details in the newly released Senate Intelligence Committee report of inmates in America’s prisons being tortured, it seems that human rights violations are implemented in both US foreign and domestic foreign policy. What is your take on this? After the Senate Intelligence Committee report compilation and release, now what? Nothing is accomplished by simply stating that these illegal actions took place without some form of punishment for the offending parties. What is the next step?
Mark Dankof: Thomas Jefferson and America’s other Founders recognized that a government dedicated to promoting global Empire abroad would be the same Government destroying the rights of American citizens at home. The revelations about CIA torture are accompanied by the revelations about illegal NSA spying, the USA Patriot Acts, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Much of this is aimed at suppressing the Bill of Rights and the Constitutional protections of Americans at home. When you add to all of this the fact that companies linked directly and indirectly to the Zionist State of Israel are procuring contracts with American intelligence, law enforcement agencies, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Transportation Safety Administration, one can say that the best way of understanding what has happened to the United States in this increasing evolution toward evil internationally and domestically, especially since September 11, 2001 is inextricably linked to the fact that our Government has increasingly adopted the attitudes and the ethos of Israel since 1948. This has included the demonization and marginalization of Americans who have protested these developments.
The release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture is mere public relations window dressing.
Nothing will be done to punish the people involved, or to insure these actions will not be regularly repeated. Ominously, most of the American public doesn’t seem to care. Much of the rest of the public will buy the notion that these actions are justified by “national security.”
Reza Saieedi: The US has recently issued sanctions against Venezuela because of reported police brutality. What is being done to remedy the large number of incidents of police brutality inside America? What entity should issue sanctions against America for their own violations?
Mark Dankof: Nothing is being done. Nothing will be. This is the grim reality.
Reza Saieedi: We call Israel the only true democracy in the Middle East and continue to throw our unconditional support behind it, in spite of its terrible human rights record. Does the meaning of democracy lie in the examples we see in places like Palestine and Ferguson?
Mark Dankof: Israel is an illegitimate State founded in a Talmudic racial supremacist ideology and land theft from its inception. The King David Hotel bombing in 1946 and the Deir Yassin slaughter are microcosms of the larger truth I have stated. It bleeds dry America’s credibility in the world, bleeds dry our economy, and destroys the integrity of our elections and what was once a semblance of journalistic integrity in the mainstream American press. I would be most cautious in comparing the Palestine tragedy with the Ferguson, Missouri tragedy. The American media has deliberately spun the latter in a way which blinds both White and Black Americans to considering the Zionist, Globalist, Neo-Conservative hijacking of our Government and basic institutions. Domestically, the American media has spun Ferguson in a way which intimates that only racial minorities have serious vulnerabilities in the United States to irresponsible police actions against citizens; the American media spin on Ferguson similarly diverts attention from the absolute statistical truths on police crimes against White Americans, and the fact that the most overwhelming problem statistically with violent crime in the United States involves African American crimes against other African Americans, and against White Americans.
Reza Saieedi: Israeli PM Netanyahu has ordered actions that brought about the killing of thousands of women and children and continues a policy of siege in Gaza, prohibiting vital supplies and resources from reaching needy Palestinian families.However he was present at the recent Paris vigil denouncing religious intolerance. What can explain this ironic situation? Can these two attitudes co-exist?
Mark Dankof: Netanyahu’s presence at the Paris vigil in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo incident is a sick combination of tragedy and comedy, as is the presence of the illegitimate President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, who was installed by a coup d’etat launched by the United States, the European Union, and Israeli oligarchs opposed to Vladimir Putin’s rule in Russia. Netanyahu’s routine criminality in Gaza is supplemented by the criminal actions of the Poroshenko regime in eastern Ukraine against Russian ethnics as seen by the Odessa Trade Union fire and a shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a crime with all the finger prints of the Kiev cabal. The United States supports Netanyahu and Poroshenko.
You can draw your own conclusions as to what the larger implications of this happen to be.
Mark Dankof Profile: www.ExpertClick.com/19-2281
[Mark Dankof’s article will appear in the next edition of Table Talk, the national publication of the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod, an affiliate of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). The article is a condensed version of a presentation on the Lutheran version of the doctrine of Justification by Grace Through Faith in Christ made recently to a seminar of evangelical Protestant high school students in San Antonio.]
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed [δὲ οὐκ ἐλλογεῖται μὴ ὄντος] when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign [δωρεᾶς τῆς δικαιοσύνης λαμβάνοντες ἐν] in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.“
Romans 5:12-19 King James Version (KJV)
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God [ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ ἐν] in him.
2 Corinthians 5:21
– King James Bible “Authorized Version” Cambridge Edition
Before we begin to cover the material in earnest, indulge me in a compulsive practice of mine that always characterized my time as an instructor in San Antonio at the former Texas Bible College. It has characterized my time as a humble pastor in a small and struggling Lutheran parish in the Alamo City when I conduct classes on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, and in every other pastoral call I’ve ever had.
That practice is to recommend some of the best books available in assisting believing pastor and lay person alike in the regular and deeper study of God’s Word. Every one of these books I will briefly mention today has been penned by individuals more gifted than I in this endeavor. I am thankful I can access their work. I am thankful I can commend the repository of Biblical knowledge and insight of these men and women to you.
Consider the following as lifelong resources to add to your individual libraries over the course of time. The first resource is the newly released update of the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE, ISBN 9780310276197) a 5 volume set of 3,552 pages compiled under the supervision and superintendence of Dr. Moises Silva, the Revision Editor who has blessed Westmont College, Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary over time with his brand of painstaking scholarship in complete submission to the authority of God’s Word and the Gospel of Christ. Download a free primer on the NIDNTTE at http://www.bit.ly/nidntte.
Several one volume introductions to the Old and New Testament will always serve you in good stead. Try An Old Testament Introduction (ISBN 9780310263418) by Tremper Longman III of Westmont College, and the late Raymond Dillard of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Add An Introduction to the New Testament (ISBN 9780310238591) by D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, both of whom were professors of mine at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.
Since the Charismatic Renewal movement is something one will encounter in so many places today, I will commend to everyone here the book entitled, Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?: 4 Views (ISBN 9780310201557). The contributors include my old friend and instructor at Westminster Theological Seminary, Dr. Richard Gaffin; Robert L. Saucy; C. Samuel Storms; and Douglas A. Oss. Another of my New Testament instructors from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School is the editor of this critical book, Dr. Wayne Grudem.
Finally, I have slavishly used charts as a student and as a pastor trying to plumb the depths of God’s Word. The Zondervan Publishing Company’s series of charts on every conceivable subject is worth your acquisition for the subjects you are drawn to study and examine as the Holy Spirit leads.
Every seminar presentation I make is based on a circle. My reference recommendations are the beginning of the circle which will conclude with where we have now begun.
Let’s begin in earnest. I have been asked to give this largely Protestant evangelical, non-Lutheran gathering of fine young people, a presentation of the essential aspects of orthodox Lutheran theological and Biblical insight on the person and work of Jesus Christ and the implications of this Biblically revealed Christology for the plan God has established from all eternity for the salvation of the Israel of God. By this latter term, I mean all those through the ages who have “confessed with their lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their hearts that God has raised Him from the dead” (Romans 10:9).
Put another way, the person and work of Jesus Christ and its centrality in God’s provision for salvation, is a fact in history if one accepts the Biblical witness. But what are the implications for each of you? Do each of you possess eternal life and salvation in the coming Kingdom of God, or not? If not, the objective truth of the Biblical witness that “. . . the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . ” (John 1:14) is for you, an irrelevancy.
Last summer, I made a presentation to the national gathering of the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod–USA entitled, “The Hands of Time and the Appearance of Logos.” In turn, that address was based on a 1996 talk and subsequent article entitled, “Creeds and Confessions as Liturgy.” The 1996 presentation underscored how the early Confessing Church had to wrestle with all of the ancient Christological heresies whose presuppositions and methodology provide the foundation for every modern Christological heresy which threatens the Confessing Church of the present age. I stated then that:
“Among many heretical movements of significance to the early church were Gnosticism, Marcionism, Montanism, Monarchianism, and Arianism. Out of orthodoxy’s clash with these came an increasingly systematized Christian theological rebuttal and the formulation of affirmative creedal statements. These statements may be seen not only as the voice of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church staking out its position in challenges past — but as the bequeathed legacy to today’s church, which must turn, paradoxically, to the past, to understand the ideological lineage and connections of ancient enemies to modern antagonists, as well to recover its own historical memory as the key to the reestablishment of a previously possessed Biblical identity, obscured by compromise with doctrinal relativism and repristinated apostasy.“
In summarizing these papers of the past two decades quickly, let me simply say that the Biblical witness is clear in the rebuttal of all apostates and heretics in history: Jesus Christ is True God and True Man. His active and perfect obedience to God’s law; His passive obedience to God the Father in willingly suffering death on the Cross at Calvary as the Lamb of God without spot or blemish; and the reality in time and space of his Resurrection from the dead are the sole basis for the salvation and eternal life of all who believe (John 14:6). For those who believe, the Apostle Paul underscores the truism that “. . . no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:3).
Fair enough. But given the comprehensive sinfulness and rebellion of all of humanity described by Paul in Romans 3: 9-20, how is it that the Holy Spirit and saving faith are bestowed upon some and not others? How are some declared righteous by God and not others, since all have an equally and fatally corrosive inability to observe the law perfectly as a prerequisite for earning God’s declaration of righteousness (Romans 3: 20)?
Put another way, the key question is this: How is the righteousness of God in Christ, and the benefit of status as one of God’s redeemed through Christ alone for all eternity, transferred or conveyed to each and every comprehensively sinful person in Adam (Romans 5:12f) who is subsequently able to “confess with their lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in their hearts that God has raised Him from the dead“? (Romans 10:9).
Enter the ingredients necessary for the appropriate reception of believing faith in Christ through the Holy Spirit of God, and the accompanying priceless gift of eternal salvation in Christ, and Christ alone: These are the Imputation of God to the believer of an alien righteousness inherently extrinsic to all of humanity impacted by the sin of Adam. This alien righteousness has its center in the active and passive obedience of Jesus Christ alone. The forensic Declaration of God that the Israel of God is righteous in Christ follows. The believer’s salvific status before God is the result of this process of Imputation and Declaration. He or she can contribute not one whit to what has been accomplished by the Son of God on behalf of each and every Saint. In a nutshell, the Protestant Reformational truth that we are justified by God’s grace alone, through Jesus Christ alone, is absolutely and irrevocably linked to what the New Testament tells us about Imputation and Declaration. The Lutheran tradition and the Reformed are in complete accord on this mysterious truth.
As a pastor and theologian with but limited gifts, I never attempt to reinvent the wheel built by our best scholars and exegetes in time. However, God has given me a special gift in enabling me to find, evaluate, and catalog for your use and mine some of the best Biblical scholarship available either now or in the past. When it comes to Imputation and Declaration, I will summarize what I believe is one of the best recent presentations on the subject of the Evangelical–and truly both Lutheran and Reformed–position on this critical subject.
I commend to you The Gospel Coalition’s relatively recent book entitled “The Gospel as Center: Renewing Our Faith and Reforming Our Ministry Practices” edited by D. A. Carson and Timothy Keller (Crossway, 2012). For purposes of this seminar conversation today, I ask you to zero in on chapter 9, written by Wheaton College President and Reformed Scholar, Dr. Philip Graham Ryken. Chapter 9 is simply entitled, “Justification.”
My summation of that chapter will hopefully provide your own roadmap to future Biblical study of the link between Imputation and Declaration, and the Doctrine of Justification understood in the context of God’s mysterious and merciful provision for salvation in Jesus Christ. My summation largely coincides with that of evangelical Armenian scholar Roger E. Olson, except my evaluation of Ryken is more favorable. Olson is certainly a believer in Christ. But note that his tradition parts with Luther and Calvin on the subject of free will, and with Augustine, Luther, and Calvin on the issue of the semi-Pelagianism of Jacob Armenius. I cannot deal with this at great length now. But please do not miss out on the critical differences inherent in these respective interpretations. Here then is the summary of chapter 9:
1) Ryken calls Justification the “Chief Article.” He says “This doctrine holds a place near the center of the gospel.” (153)
2) Ryken bases most of his exposition of justification on passages from Romans, especially chapters 3 and 5. According to him, these Pauline passages and other passages of the New Testament, taken together, propound the truth that in salvation God “does not simply clear a sinner of all charges; he declares a sinner to be positively righteous. Justification is God’s legal declaration that, on the basis of the perfect life and the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, received by faith, a sinner is as righteous as his own beloved Son.” (155-156)
3) This chapter is, for the most part, a straightforward account of the classical Lutheran-Reformed doctrine of justification as forensic imputation of righteousness. The emphasis is on legal metaphors, on declaration and imputation and not on personal relationship, reconciliation or transformation (of the person being saved). Salvation is primarily a change of legal status in relation to God’s judgment. While the emphasis is on legal metaphors and change of legal status, this fact does provide the foundation for subsequent sanctification and walking in personal relationship with the Biblical God who is a personal being in constant engagement with His chosen.
4) Ryken believes the very doctrine of God is at stake in his doctrine of justification. Anyone who thinks God can simply forgive a repentant sinner without imputing Christ’s righteousness to him or her (something else he makes clear in the chapter) is impugning the character of God.
5) The most fascinating portion of the chapter is the logical symmetry Ryken presents in “The Righteousness of Justification: A Triple Imputation.” Ryken argues that Adam’s sin (meaning guilt) is imputed to everyone; our sin is imputed to Christ (on the cross) and Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us in salvation. The key verses he cites for this triple imputation are Romans 5:12-19 (imputation of Adam’s sin to us) and 2 Corinthians 5:21 (our sins imputed to Christ and his righteousness imputed to us).
As I promised at the beginning of this conversation, we have come full circle at the very end. Why do I say this? Let me first ask two questions only you can answer for yourself: Are these Biblical truths appropriated by you and for you in faith? Second, is what has been the understanding of God’s mysterious provision for your salvation and mine articulated by the Lutheran and Reformed traditions historically, and in my presentation of the position of Dr. Ryken today, the correct understanding of the Word of God?
This is where your journey only begins, as the Holy Spirit of God moves and directs you. Get the newly released update of the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE, ISBN 9780310276197), Moises Silva (ed.) as I directed at the beginning of the circle.
And obtain Strong’s Greek and Hebrew concordances. See the words below in Strong’s concordances. Use Strong’s in conjunction with NIDNTTE. And begin a journey with our Biblical texts cited when we started today, and a lifelong journey with the entirety of God’s prophetic and apostolic Word. You will be glad you did.
Thank you, and may the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
λογίζομαι (logizomai) Strong’s Number 3049
δίκαιος, ία, ιον (dikaios) Strong’s Number 1342
δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosune) Strong’s Number 1343
δίκη, ης, ἡ (diké) Strong’s Number 1349
ἐλλογέω (Ellogeo) Strong’s Number 1677
חָשַׁב (chashab) Strong’s Hebrew Number 2803