Difference between Solidarity and Representation?

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InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
The following quote is from Robert A. Morey's "The Bible, Natural Theology and Natural Law: Conflict or Compromise?" (Chapter Four, The Radical Fall of Men Into Sin and Guilt, p. 101).

QUOTE

Three Essential Concepts

There are three essential concepts that form the basis of the doctrines of original sin, vicarious atonement, and forensic justification:

#1 Solidarity

The Bible teaches a concept of solidarity in which an individual is viewed and treated in terms of his relationship to a group, whether it is a tribe, a nation or mankind as a whole, while the "group" is viewed and treated in terms of its relationship to its original head.

Man as Image Bearer

This is why the Bible can speak of each individual human being as having dignity and worth by virtue of his or her participation in the solidarity of the human race. Each individual person is important because mankind as a whole is important. We can view each person we meet as being in the image of God by virtue of mankind's relationship to Adam who was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; James 3:9).

Corporate and Individual Election

An individual Jew was viewed as "chosen" by virtue of his participation in the solidarity of the "chosen" nation. Yet, at the same time, the nation was viewed as "chosen" because of its relationship to Abraham who was individually chosen by God (Gen. 12:1-7)

The Levitical Priesthood

An individual could be blessed by virtue of his participation in the solidarity of his tribe. For example, an individual Levite could be a priest by virtue of his participation in the solidarity of the Tribe of Levi while the Tribe of Levi was viewed as the priesthood by virtue of its relationship to Levi who was individually chosen to be the high priest (Num. 18:6-24).

The Ninevites

Each individual Ninevite was delivered from judgment by virtue of his participation in the solidarity of the nation of Nineveh whose King repented before God (Jonah 3, 4:11). He could just as easily have been punished for the corporate guilt he bore. But the nation as a whole was delivered on a corporate basis when its head repented in sackcloth and ashes. It did not matter if he, as an individual, had sinned or repented. The destiny of his nation was his destiny.

Corporate Guilt and Punishment

The suffering experienced by individual Egyptians during the plagues; by individual Canaanites, Philistines, Amorites, Hittites, etc., during the Conquest; by individual Jews in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities; and all the other judgments sent against nations, were justified by God on the basis of their participation in the solidarity of their nation.
For example, even though a certain individual Egyptian may not have harmed or mistreated the Jews in any way, yet, because he was an Egyptian, he suffered under the ten plagues. His individual actions did not negate his corporate guilt which arose out of his participation in the solidarity of the nation of Egypt.

Even the Righteous

A righteous man can view himself guilty in a corporate sense by virtue of the solidarity of his tribe’s or nation’s sin. Thus Nehemiah confessed the corporate sins of his nation (Neh. 1:5-11).
In the passage above, it is clear that an individual can be viewed and treated by God as being guilty of sins for which his nation was guilty. The fact that he himself had not committed the particular sins in question did not negate the corporate guilt he bore.
It is on this basis that punishment for certain sins was visited on entire cities like Sodom or entire nations such as Egypt. Because of the solidarity of the family unit, the punishment for certain sins could rest on several generations (Exo. 20:5; Josh. 7:24-26; Jer. 22:28-30; 36:31).
God’s corporate blessing or judgment on tribes, cities, nations, and mankind as a whole are possible only on the basis of the concept of solidarity. Such judgments as the Flood or the Conquest can only be understood and justified in this way.

In Our Secular Life

The concept of solidarity is also an essential aspect of politics as well as a Biblical principle. When the leadership of a nation declares war on another nation, each individual citizen is at war whether he knows or agrees with it. He can be killed or his goods seized simply on the basis of being a part of his nation. He must bear corporate guilt and punishment due to the sins of his nation. Thus, human government itself is based on the concept of solidarity. If we condemn the biblical principle of solidarity, then human government must be rejected as well.

/QUOTE

Next Dr. Morey would have examined the representation of Adam and Christ, and the three great acts of imputation (Adam's sin to us, our sin to Christ and Christ's righteousness to us). Suprisingly to myself, he does not mention any other imputation that would have taken place in history. I must wonder, then, why is imputation not applied to solidarity, since, according to Morey, in solidarity the guilt of one person becomes the guilt of everyone. I've always understood that the flood, for example, is explained by the fact that everyone is sinful and guilty of God's wrath, not because someone represented others. What difference is there between solidarity and the representation of Adam and Christ (other than the federal nature of their representation)?
 

Loopie

Puritan Board Freshman
But were there not exceptions to the general rules? Rahab and Ruth are just a few examples where Gentiles were 'grafted' into the nation of Israel. So their representative changed, and just because they came from people groups that were under God's judgment, that does not mean that they always shared in the judgment of their original nation/tribe. I think there is a balance between 'the one' and 'the many'. This is also hinted at in laws such as those expressed in Deuteronomy 24:16:

Deuteronomy 24:16 (NASB)
16 "Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.

This is not to say that there was no corporate responsibility. No doubt there was, but the individual didn't cease to exist. It is similar to the idea that even though we are 'in' Christ and 'one with' Christ, we still have our own names written in the Lamb's book of Life, and we still will receive our own glorified bodies. The balance between 'the one' and 'the many' seems to be 'both/and' not 'either/or'.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Terms:

solidarity: "a union of interests, purposes, or sympathies among members of a group; fellowship of responsibilities and interests." (The American Heritage College Dictionary, 1997).

representation: being, actions, speeches, etc. by one or a few, on behalf of one or many; part standing for whole.

to impute: to count, reckon, ascribe, judge (legally or factually) an object as having certain qualities.​

The term solidarity is used in reference to the existential union itself; not to its organization, nor to that which brings it into existence, nor to its head (if it has a head) or any representation.

The point of corporate consequences is that individuals feel them, due to their representative's actions. Individuals are deemed to have done what historically is done by the representative in the name of the participants. The consequences may be either desirable or undesirable.

It is a common preference among men ostensibly in solidarity with others to maximize the privatization (to self) of scarce benefits intended for equal distribution; while maximizing the socialization of penalties (thus making everyone suffer).

In essence, Jesus Christ overturns this bane, by maximizing the socialization of the scarce (limited) benefits intended for his elect; while maximizing the privatization of the penalties of many, by taking them all into one even himself--see Rom.5:15ff.

Re. the flood or other judgment: persons may suffer consequences of either (or both) 1) the sin of another, whether incidentally, unjustly, or justly; 2) his own sin.

The reason Adam's and Christ's actions are corporately meaningful is because of the positions they are assigned and occupy. They are the official or the legitimate heads of their respective covenants and peoples. Their actions count differently than an ordinary person's do, because of what God says about them and each one's act.

With regard to the book excerpt, it appears that the examples cited are given from Scripture (mainly) in order to demonstrate that Scripture describes and defends the idea of solidarity in numerous ways. Particular non-biblical examples were not given, but a general reference was made to politics and to war. At the same time, the author (I'm quite sure) realizes that the Bible also describes and defends the idea of individual responsibility. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive, but each has its own place and use.

So, everyone begins life corporately guilty before God, condemned from the moment of his first breath; and not on account of his own sin but the sin of Adam who represented all of his ordinarily-generated posterity. At the same time, each man is "damaged goods" inherently, since he has inherited a sin-nature from his parents. He has the contagion in the blood, so to speak. He is not a clean slate, being in a sense dingy although not yet inscribed upon. And if any such condemned person should still protest his sentence, he has an innumerable collection of his own sins for which he cannot give a good account or justify himself. And so he is found guilty on all the bases. He is both corporately and personally culpable.

In Christ, all those whom he represents are blessed with the righteousness of his life and death, supplied to them who otherwise have no justification. Here we have a new solidarity, formed out of union with Christ. His work is counted unto them, as if they had fully satisfied themselves both for their sin's debt, and for their unmet righteous requirements.

Hopefully, this goes some way toward answering your question.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
Terms:

solidarity: "a union of interests, purposes, or sympathies among members of a group; fellowship of responsibilities and interests." (The American Heritage College Dictionary, 1997).

representation: being, actions, speeches, etc. by one or a few, on behalf of one or many; part standing for whole.

to impute: to count, reckon, ascribe, judge (legally or factually) an object as having certain qualities.​

The term solidarity is used in reference to the existential union itself; not to its organization, nor to that which brings it into existence, nor to its head (if it has a head) or any representation.

The point of corporate consequences is that individuals feel them, due to their representative's actions. Individuals are deemed to have done what historically is done by the representative in the name of the participants. The consequences may be either desirable or undesirable.

It is a common preference among men ostensibly in solidarity with others to maximize the privatization (to self) of scarce benefits intended for equal distribution; while maximizing the socialization of penalties (thus making everyone suffer).

In essence, Jesus Christ overturns this bane, by maximizing the socialization of the scarce (limited) benefits intended for his elect; while maximizing the privatization of the penalties of many, by taking them all into one even himself--see Rom.5:15ff.

Re. the flood or other judgment: persons may suffer consequences of either (or both) 1) the sin of another, whether incidentally, unjustly, or justly; 2) his own sin.

The reason Adam's and Christ's actions are corporately meaningful is because of the positions they are assigned and occupy. They are the official or the legitimate heads of their respective covenants and peoples. Their actions count differently than an ordinary person's do, because of what God says about them and each one's act.

With regard to the book excerpt, it appears that the examples cited are given from Scripture (mainly) in order to demonstrate that Scripture describes and defends the idea of solidarity in numerous ways. Particular non-biblical examples were not given, but a general reference was made to politics and to war. At the same time, the author (I'm quite sure) realizes that the Bible also describes and defends the idea of individual responsibility. The two ideas are not mutually exclusive, but each has its own place and use.

So, everyone begins life corporately guilty before God, condemned from the moment of his first breath; and not on account of his own sin but the sin of Adam who represented all of his ordinarily-generated posterity. At the same time, each man is "damaged goods" inherently, since he has inherited a sin-nature from his parents. He has the contagion in the blood, so to speak. He is not a clean slate, being in a sense dingy although not yet inscribed upon. And if any such condemned person should still protest his sentence, he has an innumerable collection of his own sins for which he cannot give a good account or justify himself. And so he is found guilty on all the bases. He is both corporately and personally culpable.

In Christ, all those whom he represents are blessed with the righteousness of his life and death, supplied to them who otherwise have no justification. Here we have a new solidarity, formed out of union with Christ. His work is counted unto them, as if they had fully satisfied themselves both for their sin's debt, and for their unmet righteous requirements.

Hopefully, this goes some way toward answering your question.

Thank you for the lengthy response. So, to whom has God given the authority of representation (other than Adam and Christ)? Do parents represent their children? Do the "representatives" of the state represent the people of the state? Do kings (not anointed by God's revelation) represent their nations? Or was this only something that existed in the Old Testament times?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Parents do represent their children's interests in many things. Law often recognizes that representation, when (for example) a store detective that catches a child shoplifting may remand the child to his parents for correction, rather than to the police. This detective recognizes the original jurisdiction of the parents. Why is this a reasonable course for the store to take? Because the parents represent the child's interest. The parents assume the personal liability of their child.

Parents might be called upon to pay for an item belonging to some other entity that their child broke. Parents may put their children to work around their house. Parents vote in plebiscites not only in their own interests, but also for what they hope is best for their children (who do not yet have electoral franchise). In Presbyterian churches, parental faith and promises are accepted as legitimate representation for their child presented for baptism. It is not the case that a tiny infant cannot have faith (in seed form); but it is the case that he cannot reasonably express whatever faith he may have. But the parents take vows to rear their child in the most holy Faith, and to impress upon him the requirement of his own expression of faith as long as he is under age, and not prepared to "speak for himself," Jn.9:21.

It is certainly true that in countries that elect legislatures or otherwise see agents of minor localities sent forward to broader assemblies, that those representatives should be aware of their function as representatives of the localities that deputized them. The laws these persons enact become rules and penalties for everyone, not merely those who composed them. In my opinion (and these things might vary from place to place), it is dangerous and unwise to speak of one whose role was created to be representative of persons and localities as instead representative of the Government or State. The interest he purports to serve is inverted. He was sent to safeguard the rights and interest of those he represents; and to the degree that he becomes representative of the State toward the governed, the original interest is perverted to his personal prerogatives as a member of the ruling class.

If in his capacity as a representative he acts toward outsiders (constituents other than his own, or outside the whole body of representatives) rather than toward insiders (his constituents), he is then acting in a truly representative manner. His treaty-acts or his bellicose-acts inculpate those he represents. Unless I disavow his representation (to the degree that is possible, when or if that is possible) or along with the other constituents recall him as one violating the local interest, I will be bound by the treaty or engaged in the war that my representative has declared on behalf of all his constituents.

Kings and other heads-of-state are representatives (just consider those titles). The limits of their power to represent will vary according to the laws of their land. Not all such heads (such as titular monarchs without political clout) function in leadership role. Certain things they do may be invested with ceremonious import, but often the majority of what they do is inconsequential to the nation or land to which they are attached. But clearly, being head of something is a vital position. Honor or dishonor to the head affects the whole body.

So, even in modern, egalitarian democracies the notions of solidarity and representation are not totally foreign or forgotten concepts. The acts of legitimate (and sometimes even illegitimate) authority is imputed or counted as belonging in some sense to every person. Folks like that when the results are sweet; for example, if by the industry and wise dealing of such authority a nation's goods and its money are regarded by outsiders as sound and reliable; then even the poor crofter may live quite well on his limited resources. Folks resent it when the results are sour. Jesus trades on this negativity in the parable of the unforgiving servant, Mt.18:25.

Still, there are limits to all human representation, and there should be permission 1) to appeal to a higher head (even to God); and 2) to abandon one representative for another, if the opportunity is given. We should recognize that simply because a person is represented by another, that an equal distribution of consequences is an automatic, necessary, or natural result of said representation. See Ezk.18:1-4 (cf. Jer.31:29-30) for exhibition of divine grace creating opportunity to escape the inheritance of grief. If God allows for limits, then men should recognize limits of liability as well.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
Thank you, once again. This idea of other representatives than Adam and Christ is totally new to me. I've always thought that I'm only responsible for the first sin of Adam and my own actual sins. In light of this, however, I don't understand this passage of Scripture which Eric quoted above,

Deuteronomy 24:16 (NASB)
16 "Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.

What difference does it make if you're put to death for the sin of your representative and not your own actual sin?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Samuel,
In the first place, not all representation is equivalent. Adam and Christ stand in unique headship roles, unlike all other historic representation. But even in these there are noteworthy differences. Adam's failure in one thing (a limit) ruined his posterity. Christ's perfect obedience and righteousness, and his sacrificial death, restore those covenanted with him in every conceivable way (unlimited).

Adam's other sins are not imputed to me. He is responsible for the sinful-nature I've inherited from him, so there's one other natural consequence of his headship related to the covenant of works. His act as a "public person" is that which is applicable to me as a member of the public.

Secondly, I'm concerned that you are taking the idea of representation to an extreme, going beyond all limits, and concluding that God's everlasting judgment applies to inherited guilt in a general way. But verses like Dt.24:16 prove certain limits. Dt.5:9 might be read (wrongly) that cumulative sin and guilt of the fathers are just rolled down on top of the children for three and sometimes four consecutive generations; and this is just a hard-and-fast rule God follows. But that's too much reading into the text, and not enough reading that text in context with all the rest that God has revealed.

The reality is that sin has consequences, like ripples in a pond. What one generations does can damage later generations. This is a form of representation. People often need a rescue, out of the swamp of consequences both of personal failure, as well as the failure of their leaders. God in his mercy breaks the chain of consequences. He gives fresh starts. He supplies new energy that allows a man to overcome the ripple effects of sin. But that is grace and mercy, not something that men deserve.

Human covenants and relationships frequently supply us with analogues to the ultimate covenants and relations. This does not mean that they are precise analogues, in other words that your relationship to your parental, your governmental, or your ecclesiastical heads means that what they do implicates you for all eternity in their activity. However, we can't pretend their acts have had NO effect on us.

Judah WAS in Babylon (Ezk.18), because the father's had sinned. There was some sense in which the children's teeth had indeed been set on edge, because the father's ate sour grapes. But two other facts were also at hand:

1) These children (who were mostly mature adults saying these things) had joined in their father's sins. They were by no means innocent of their own measure of guilt, of willingly participating in their father's sins, until the day that the consequences of all that sin fell on their generation. They mostly resented the fact that this judgment fell in their days, and that Providence willed that they be the generation who saw it.

2) These children experienced certain temporal effects, but they certainly need not experience the eternal effects of their father's rebellion. And if these children would repent of their sins (they need not repent of their fathers' sins) they would experience the renewal of God's blessing toward them. All they thought of was God's judgment. They forgot that God was compassionate, and forgiving to those who repent, who acknowledge that God is holy and right in his ways, and that all their trouble was certainly deserved, even just considered from the standpoint of solidarity, the national sins. What God said to them in exile, he had already said to them in Dt.24.

Daniel, a pious man even as a child-captive in Dan.1, understood this aright, as displayed in his corporate confession of sin in Dan.9, when he was over 70yrs old.​

So, just because you have parents who have represented you, and sinned; or have Government leaders who have represented you, and sinned--doesn't mean that their sins are considered yours by God. There may be different levels at which various participants in national life bear certain portions of blame for bringing shame and ruin on a whole people. And a participant will bear consequences according to his persistent identification with the corporation. Most of these consequences are temporal. They belong to this world.

Adam and Christ bore such a unique relationship to those who were/are in covenant with them, that their actions had/have eternal consequences. Other solidarity, other representation, other imputation are all derivative, picturesque, emblematic, analogical to the ultimate covenant relationships.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
Samuel,
In the first place, not all representation is equivalent. Adam and Christ stand in unique headship roles, unlike all other historic representation. But even in these there are noteworthy differences. Adam's failure in one thing (a limit) ruined his posterity. Christ's perfect obedience and righteousness, and his sacrificial death, restore those covenanted with him in every conceivable way (unlimited).

Adam's other sins are not imputed to me. He is responsible for the sinful-nature I've inherited from him, so there's one other natural consequence of his headship related to the covenant of works. His act as a "public person" is that which is applicable to me as a member of the public.

Secondly, I'm concerned that you are taking the idea of representation to an extreme, going beyond all limits, and concluding that God's everlasting judgment applies to inherited guilt in a general way. But verses like Dt.24:16 prove certain limits. Dt.5:9 might be read (wrongly) that cumulative sin and guilt of the fathers are just rolled down on top of the children for three and sometimes four consecutive generations; and this is just a hard-and-fast rule God follows. But that's too much reading into the text, and not enough reading that text in context with all the rest that God has revealed.

The reality is that sin has consequences, like ripples in a pond. What one generations does can damage later generations. This is a form of representation. People often need a rescue, out of the swamp of consequences both of personal failure, as well as the failure of their leaders. God in his mercy breaks the chain of consequences. He gives fresh starts. He supplies new energy that allows a man to overcome the ripple effects of sin. But that is grace and mercy, not something that men deserve.

Human covenants and relationships frequently supply us with analogues to the ultimate covenants and relations. This does not mean that they are precise analogues, in other words that your relationship to your parental, your governmental, or your ecclesiastical heads means that what they do implicates you for all eternity in their activity. However, we can't pretend their acts have had NO effect on us.

Judah WAS in Babylon (Ezk.18), because the father's had sinned. There was some sense in which the children's teeth had indeed been set on edge, because the father's ate sour grapes. But two other facts were also at hand:

1) These children (who were mostly mature adults saying these things) had joined in their father's sins. They were by no means innocent of their own measure of guilt, of willingly participating in their father's sins, until the day that the consequences of all that sin fell on their generation. They mostly resented the fact that this judgment fell in their days, and that Providence willed that they be the generation who saw it.

2) These children experienced certain temporal effects, but they certainly need not experience the eternal effects of their father's rebellion. And if these children would repent of their sins (they need not repent of their fathers' sins) they would experience the renewal of God's blessing toward them. All they thought of was God's judgment. They forgot that God was compassionate, and forgiving to those who repent, who acknowledge that God is holy and right in his ways, and that all their trouble was certainly deserved, even just considered from the standpoint of solidarity, the national sins. What God said to them in exile, he had already said to them in Dt.24.

Daniel, a pious man even as a child-captive in Dan.1, understood this aright, as displayed in his corporate confession of sin in Dan.9, when he was over 70yrs old.​

So, just because you have parents who have represented you, and sinned; or have Government leaders who have represented you, and sinned--doesn't mean that their sins are considered yours by God. There may be different levels at which various participants in national life bear certain portions of blame for bringing shame and ruin on a whole people. And a participant will bear consequences according to his persistent identification with the corporation. Most of these consequences are temporal. They belong to this world.

Adam and Christ bore such a unique relationship to those who were/are in covenant with them, that their actions had/have eternal consequences. Other solidarity, other representation, other imputation are all derivative, picturesque, emblematic, analogical to the ultimate covenant relationships.

Rev. Buchanan,

I'm afraid we have been talking past each other. I was originally asking about guilt and its imputation from a part to the whole (not the other way around), not whether sin has consequences. It is clear that a false preacher, for example, is responsible for the sins of his congregation that immediately flow from the belief of the false teaching. However, is the opposite true, as well? Does the preacher represent the congeration, making it bear his guilt of teaching false doctrine? This is really no different than asking whether a king represents his nation in waging war against a nation, making his nation bear the guilt of waging war. And by guilt I mean guilt not only before civil laws but also the law of God.

To redemonstrate my own view of the flood, for example,

The flood was the response of God to the level of wickedness that the people of the earth had reached. Therefore, it was caused by the last sin committed by a person before the limit was reached. This person was guilty of bringing the flood on the people of the earth. People who had sinned before the "last sin" were not guilty of bringing the flood on the people of the earth, although their sins did contribute to that end.

Now, why do I say this? Because if we would follow such logic, it would make a person guilty of every sin that was ever linked to his sin (because of the rippel effect of sin; the contribution it makes to future sins). Rather, a person bears the guilt of his sin's immediate effects only (this was concluded in a thread I made in the past on the subject).

The people who were victims of the flood (i.e., everyone) were without excuse to blame God for injustice because they already deserved the full weight of God's wrath, and that is the reason why God could bring about such judgment as the flood on everyone.
 

Loopie

Puritan Board Freshman
If I may Samuel, I would like to ask one question. Isn't it possible for someone in a leadership position, or a representative position, to do a good and righteous thing that leads or causes others to sin? That is, when the preacher speaks the gospel to his congregation, there might be an individual who feels convicted for his sins but hardens his heart. He curses the preacher in his heart and goes out and sins against God.

A different example would be a righteous king who makes a righteous and holy declaration and law. If some of his citizens rebel out of their hatred for God because of what the King did, then would the King be guilty of their rebellion? If a righteous man by righteous action causes a wicked man to gnash his teeth and lash out against God, does that mean the righteous man is guilty for causing that?
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
If I may Samuel, I would like to ask one question. Isn't it possible for someone in a leadership position, or a representative position, to do a good and righteous thing that leads or causes others to sin? That is, when the preacher speaks the gospel to his congregation, there might be an individual who feels convicted for his sins but hardens his heart. He curses the preacher in his heart and goes out and sins against God.

A different example would be a righteous king who makes a righteous and holy declaration and law. If some of his citizens rebel out of their hatred for God because of what the King did, then would the King be guilty of their rebellion? If a righteous man by righteous action causes a wicked man to gnash his teeth and lash out against God, does that mean the righteous man is guilty for causing that?

Eric, you may find it interesting that the Westminster Larger Catechism, when dealing with the question of the heinousness of one sin over another, does not regard the consequences of sin whatsoever, but only the nature of the offender, the offended and the nature of the sin committed. The whole idea that guilt from consequent sins would be imputed to the original sinner seems unbiblical to me, and so I recant my statement, "It is clear that a false preacher, for example, is responsible for the sins of his congregation that immediately flow from the belief of the false teaching." Representation has simply to do with the imputation of guilt from one's sin to the account of another. So, I'm wondering if God does impute a pastor's sin of false teaching (or any other sin in the context of the church) to his church, or vise versa, that is, the church's sins to the pastor. There is a solidarity in a church, yes?
 

Loopie

Puritan Board Freshman
I guess I would say, it depends. Are there individuals who are 'propping' up the false teacher and encouraging him? Are there individuals who trying to get him removed and attempting to turn the sheep back to true teachings? Are there individuals who just look the other way? In Scripture I think we see a balance between 'the one' and 'the many'. Yes there is communal responsibility, but there is also individual responsibility.

With that in mind I would say that the false teacher's sins have a negative ripple effect on the congregation. The false teacher will be held accountable for the abuse of power and influence that he has had. His actions might cause a few listeners to sin, but I do not think he would necessarily be guilty for that specific sin they commit. He would be guilty of abusing and misusing God's word, and for trying to lead Christ's sheep astray, which is damning enough. In the end I differentiate between the guilt of sin being imputed to someone, and the sin of someone having a ripple effect. I think imputation flows 'downhill', such as in the case of Adam's guilt being imputed to those who are 'in Adam' (which is everyone). I think the ripple effects of sin flow every direction. Adam's sin had a disastrous effect on the rest of creation, but that does not mean that the plants and animals have been imputed with his guilt.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
I want to apologize for any unseen sinful behaviour in my comments. There is so much confusion right now that I would like to go back to Dr. Morey's Biblical examples of solidarity and its implications. By these Biblical examples we can all agree that there indeed is a solidarity (whatever that means) which outwardly manifests itself in the equal treatment of a united body of people.

In other words, as a negative example of solidarity, when we read that God punished the whole Egypt for what Pharaoh did, we cannot yet draw the conclusion that the guilt of Pharaoh's sin was imputed to the people of Egypt who were partakers of the punishment of God. All we know is that they were treated equally. Also, we know that no injustice would be made against the people of Egypt, because as sinners they already deserved the full weight of God's wrath of which the curses they suffered were just a short taste.

On the other hand, a positive example of solidarity, such as the one about the Levitical Priesthood, on which was stated,

"An individual could be blessed by virtue of his participation in the solidarity of his tribe. For example, an individual Levite could be a priest by virtue of his participation in the solidarity of the Tribe of Levi while the Tribe of Levi was viewed as the priesthood by virtue of its relationship to Levi who was individually chosen to be the high priest (Num. 18:6-24)."

there should be no thought of an imputation of anything, since imputation by definition has to do with either merit or demerit. We are ultimately blessed in Christ, and the privilege of being a priest by participation in a tribe of priesthood was simply a gift of God based on the work of Christ. Receiving a blessing has nothing to do with our merit or demerit, or the imputation of either from one person to another (excluding Christ).

By Dr. Morey's own definition of solidarity,

"The Bible teaches a concept of solidarity in which an individual is viewed and treated in terms of his relationship to a group, whether it is a tribe, a nation or mankind as a whole, while the "group" is viewed and treated in terms of its relationship to its original head."

I think Morey is forcing the idea of imputation to the Biblical examples of solidarity he gave, because as I've established there is no reason to think that a person is viewed by God as guilty or worthy by some imputation other than that of Adam or Christ's. Now, let there be no misunderstanding here. I'm not saying the idea is necessarily absurd. Rather, I simply am not convinced that the examples that Dr. Morey has given speak of imputation, but rather of God's free will to punish sinners (based on their guilt of Adam's sin and their own sins) or bless sinners (based on the work of Christ).
 
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