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Joe Blackmon

Five point Calvinist here and ocassional commenter--I found nothing accusatory in Adam Harwood's articles and personally found them to be a pattern that both sides of the debate could follow as far as tone. Not once did he accuse anyone of preaching another gospel or impune anyone's character. He asked pointed questions and they were pretty direct. I don't think that's accusatory, however. I don't agree with him, or you, on every point of every doctrine. However, I think Dr. Harwood showed himself to be a gentleman and a scholar.

peter lumpkins


Thanks. I appreciate the insight. I hope 2013 will prove to be a better year for SBC bloggers in choosing our words more wisely. With God's grace, I hope to do my part in nurturing a more friendly environment while not losing, if necessary, robust disagreement. It's a tall order but it surely is not impossible given God's grace to us.

Trust your evening well, brother...


"Pastor! What under the blue heavens have you been teaching your people?! We’ve got a serious, serious crisis here."

Yep and few get it. It is indoctrination. And the drama is incredible from men, no less. I decide when I am guilty? Please! The Holy Spirit convicts me and I RECOGNIZE my sinful state. We are in danger of becoming Unitarians because we do not believe imputed guilt makes sense or is anywhere taught in scripture without redefining concepts? Where do they learn these things? In our seminaries, sadly.

I had not heard of MacGorman but what a treasure trove. My grandmother who got her BA at Western then did post grad at Moody in the early 1900's also wrote a commentary on Romans for her children which has the same position as MacGorman.

If you notice any questioning or disagreement on a doctrinal point means an "accusation". What this really means is "don't question us too closely". And "we must always frame the debate". Otherwise, they don't do too well outside the Reformed bubble with reasonable questions.

The point of any questioning or dissent from their doctrinal stance is threatening and even insulting for some reason and this is the typical response. There is no iron sharpening iron in that movement.


Thank you for introducing me to Dr. MacGorman and for responding to Jared Moore. Keep up to good work, Peter, and a big Hello to your two female lieutenants.


Great article Peter. I agree with Joe that there was no accusatory tone in Harwood's piece. I believe when people read an article that is contrary to what they believe the first reaction is to condemn...I have been guilty of this too. But again, great article--I appreciate you, and your blog!

Rick Patrick

With tongue in cheek, I wonder if Dr. MacGorman's denial of inherited guilt will earn him the same Semi-Pelagian accusations as were lobbed at the signers of the Traditional Statement. Some, who wanted to appear charitable, did not accuse signers of knowingly consenting to such heresy, but felt we just did not know what we were signing, and excused us on the basis of our inattention to detail.

Perhaps these same individuals will excuse Dr. MacGorman for apparently not realizing what he was teaching for half of a century.

Jim G.

Another thing that should not be lost in the discussion is that original guilt did not exist in any way, shape, or form in Christian teaching for the first 350+ years of its existence. Original guilt was the innovation of Augustine who needed the doctrine to fit his quasi-Manichean framework for explaining the existence of evil.

To simplify, Augustine (who was a Manichean auditor for 9 years prior to Christian conversion) applied the Manichean good/evil dualism to the created order, making God the good and human the evil. His version of original sin and guilt becomes that which upholds evil as human AND eternal (leading to unconditional election and the other petals of the famed flower).

NO Christian (and I cannot emphasize this enough) taught Augustine's original sin and guilt before him. He brought it in to the tradition based on his Manichean past. Had the Eastern Fathers read him seriously, he likely would have been posthumously condemned at Ephesus in 431. But we cannot change history, we can only ignore it or, worse, manipulate it.

Jim G.


Jim, Would some examples of "Eastern Fathers" be Anthanasius, Gregory and Chrysostom?

Do you have any ideas on how the Augustinian teaching on original sin affected subsequent translations? Or did it? Was the concept just read back into scripture?

Jim G.

Hi Lydia,

Chrysostom would be an example, as would Cyril of Alexandria. Athanasius was a couple generations ahead of Augustine and Gregory was one generation ahead. They would not have known about him.

I'm not sure Augustine's doctrine influenced any translations. He was influenced by a faulty Latin translation of Rom 5:12, which he used as a proof text for original sin and guilt. After his time, I think it is read back into the text for the most part.

Jim G.


Thanks Jim. The historical apsects of this are so interesting.

Ron F. Hale

I finally got some time to read your article and I’m glad that I did. Thank you for bringing the historic work of Dr. MacGorman into the mix.

In referencing the Federal Theory, Dr. MacGorman said, “However, there is not one shred of evidence in the Bible that God ever entered into such a covenant with Adam. The theory was born in Europe, not Eden.” His wisdom is inestimable!

It seems our Reformed Brethren are demanding a strict uniformity on the issue of original guilt – even in the face of our strong biblical support for original sin and the support of the Baptist Faith and Message, and dedicated Baptist professors (both young and old).

Roger Williams in the face of a strong religious persecution once said, “God requireth not a uniformity of religion.” To which … he leaves Massachusetts to found a city named Providence!

Words like … “heresy” – “preaching another gospel” – “flawed and dangerous to the church” – do not promote unity. Yet, some seem to desire uniformity, not unity.

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