Reading through the Predestinarian Network blog-site again today, I came across a most surprising accusation. The page began with a writer apparently accusing me of believing that Christ was made sin merely figuratively and not actually. This was taken to be by other contributors because I used the words ‘as if’. My surprise increased as I read Brandan Kraft’s comment to this unfounded allegation on the blog-site, ‘‘Yeah, he and Fortner were close and both actively promoted this heresy in New Focus mag. I stopped my subscription because of it.’ The name ‘Fortner is a reference to Don Fortner, a fellow contributor to the New Focus Magazine. It would have been helpful if Brandon Kraft, who has often written very positive comments on both Don and me, had explained why he so suddenly and without explanation judged us both to be heretics, especially as he appears to have read my article on Johnson. He does centre on attacking Don but nowhere does he bring my views anywhere in relation to Don’s. I must be satisfied with being called a heretic and that is that.
In the article cited, I firmly reject the opinion that Christ was made sin is to be taken figuratively and not actually. The odd thing here is that Brandon argues himself in the passage that Christ was actually made sin without becoming sinful himself. This was the whole purpose of the atonement and the teaching of my essay of which Brandon is complaining. Admittedly, this once-and-only tremendous event of Christ’s being made sin is difficult to explain as there is nothing parallel with which to explain it. It is here that I have apparently failed as I admittedly have, at times, difficulty in expressing my views in clear and precise English having lived some fifty years of my youth and adult life in non-English-speaking countries and still do.
After establishing that Christ was actually and truly made sin for us, I added a perhaps superfluous statement to drive the matter home. I wrote:
‘God’s ways are past finding out but when God made Christ to be sin for us, He certainly identified His Son as embodying sin and punished Him thus as the representative Sinner. Christ knew no sin but He certainly knew our sins and suffered under them in His agonizing punishment. He certainly carried our sins. The Bible is even stronger in its condemnation of our vicarious substitute, Christ. He was made sin itself as if He had sucked all the sin of all the elect into Himself and was so full of it, He was called ‘Sin’ itself because sin was nowhere else. This was the method prophesied by Daniel that Christ would put an end to sin. Then the Father turned His face from His Son because He cannot look upon sin and the Son cried out in agony, “Father, Father, why hast Thou forsaken me!”
Through these words, and in the entire context of my article which my readers might care to look up, I was emphasizing that Christ actually centered all sin on Himself, taking it from all His elect. He was thus bore our guilt and was punished in our stead, placing His righteousness on us as our security. In order to express the intensity, totality and reality of Christ’s action, I said ‘He was made sin itself as if He had sucked all the sin of all the elect into Himself and was so full of it, He was called ‘Sin’ itself because sin was nowhere else.’ Here, I wished to stress that when God looked on Christ, He saw all the sin that He had taken from His people vicariously as their federal Head. I thought there would be no doubt here that I was talking about actual sin and not figurative sin and that I was referring to our sin laid on Christ and not trying to argue blasphemously that Christ was forced to be a sinner by God. I have enough trouble with people who tell me that God forced Adam to sin to even entertain such an idea! My Predestinarian Network friends, however, were very nice and exact in their dissection of my words. I said that Christ was totally embodied by sin but then, in order to stress this, I made a physical comparison, saying, ‘He was made sin itself as if He had sucked all the sin of all the elect into Himself and was so full of it, He was called ‘Sin’ itself because sin was nowhere else.’ So the Predestinarian Blogger felt I was saying that Christ only became sin figuratively, though I did not say this at all. The ‘as if’ did not refer to the being made sin but to a metaphor describing its totality, finality, reality and absolute nature.
I do realize that I have been dragged into this discussion merely by association. I know Don Fortner (Brandon says we are ‘close’), so I am associated with his beliefs. Don is ‘close’ to someone called Mark Daniels whom I have never heard of, thus I am associated with Don and then automatically associated with Daniels and his beliefs and so it goes on, probably back to Adam! Apparently, because at the end of the chain somewhere someone might either believe that Christ was a sinner or he believes that Christ’s becoming sin was make-believe, I get blamed for believing both these heresies, though I reject them both. If anyone of my readers has access to Predestinarian Network, could they please make my meaning clear? Perhaps Predestinarian Network, as a good-will gesture, might consider printing this rejoinder?
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