Dr. Adam Harwood, Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at Truett-McConnell in Cleveland, Georgia was interviewed recently by The Christian Index. The interview appears in the latest edition. Below are answers to some of the questions1:
Adam Harwood, assistant professor of Christian studies at Truett McConnell College, has written a book entitled “The Spiritual Condition of Infants.” Free Church Press has recently summarized the book into a 38-page volume, “Born Guilty: A Southern Baptist View of Original Sin.”
Harwood will be addressing the John 3:16 Conference at North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville on March 21-22. Index Editor J. Gerald Harris interviewed the faculty member on the subject matter in his book, which will provide the basis for his address.
Index:Your dissertation became the basis for your book entitled “The Spiritual Condition of Infants.” It also is the basis for a small volume published by Free Church Press entitled “Born Guilty? A Southern Baptist View of Original Sin.” Your first book produced a lot of Internet “chatter” regarding your view of Original Sin. Why has this book received such attention and why has your view been so vigorously resisted by some and completely dismissed by others?
Harwood: My books suggest that the Bible does not require us to affirm that people inherit the guilt of Adam. A better explanation for the biblical data can be found in affirming an inherited sinful nature. An implication of the study – which I do not address because it falls outside the parameters of the study – is that affirming an inherited sinful nature is consistent with affirming an age/stage of moral accountability. In this view, people are not born guilty of Adam’s sin but they will become guilty of their ownsin at the time they attain moral capability.
Index: What do you mean by “inherited guilt”? Is “inherited guilt” the same as “sinful nature”? If not, what are the differences, and why do those differences matter?
Harwood: If I may rephrase the question: “Who is guilty of Adam’s sin?” Christians differ on the answer. Inherited guilt is the view that all people are guilty of Adam’s sin. Many systematic theology textbooks teach that all people are guilty of Adam’s sin, but such a view cannot be located in the Bible.
Instead, we see that Adam’s sin introduced sin into the world, which resulted in death, which spread to all people because all sinned (Romans 5:12-21). Throughout the Bible, God judges people to be guilty for their own sin – not for the sin of other people. The view that we inherit a sinful nature is consistent with Article 3 of the Baptist Faith and Message, which states that all people inherit from Adam “a nature and an environment inclined toward sin.”
It matters because we want to be faithful to say what the Bible says, no more and no less.
Index: What biblical-theological evidences do Reformed Christians normally provide? How do you find those evidences wanting?
Harwood: They cite Romans 5:12-21, which does not state that all are guilty of Adam’s sin. Also, they appeal to the covenants of redemption and works. The first covenant is built upon another doctrine, unconditional election; neither of those covenants is explicitly stated in the Bible. Instead, they are theological concepts read into the Bible.
Dr. Harwood will be presenting at The 2013 John 3:16 Conference at North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville on March 21-22. Check out the website for full details.
Adam Harwood's Born Guilty? A Southern Baptist View of Original Sin by Free Church Press will be available at The 2013 John 3:16 Conference.
1since The Christian Index is a paid subscriber paper, the entire interview is not posted