Is 2 Corinthians 5:21 Explained by the Doctrine of Double Imputation?

Recently I was listening to Justin Peters’ discernment video on why Todd White should step down as a pastor. I frequently listen to Peters as I respect his vital ministry of calling out those who would impugn Christ through false teaching or shameful and ungodly practices. I don’t know much about Todd White but Peters’ rebuke seems well-placed and quite compelling.

Nevertheless, during the video I was disturbed to hear Peters explain the meaning of 2 Corinthians 5:21 by appealing to a doctrine commonly referred to as double-imputation. Todd White used a hyper-literal apprehension of 2 Corinthians 5:21 to equate Christ with the worst type of sins. In seeking to correct White’s misuse of the passage, Peters appeals to the doctrine of imputation. Once upon a time, I too espoused imputation. I only did so because I had never critically looked into its implications.

Peters has rightly directed his ire toward Todd White for the unfathomable impiety of saying deplorable things such as: “Jesus became child pornography.” However, by Peters arguing that our sins were imputed to Christ (an action which BTW requires Christ to become an epic sinner) how is his position any less sacrilegious?

The following dialogue is between myself and another YouTube viewer who, siding with Peters, questioned my critique of Peters’ explanation.

James @ ChristPlusZero.org
The problem with the idea of double-imputation is that when people start taking it consistently they end up like Todd White. Obviously I disagree with White and second everything that Peters says about White EXCEPT Justin Peter’s stance that imputation explains 2 Co 5:21. Peters wants us to believe that when God imputes sin to us we become sinners but when God imputes sin to Christ He remains holy? You can’t equivocate on the term ‘impute’ and then excoriate someone for daring to be consistent. You don’t need to use imputation when talking about Christ’s atonement. Christ bore our sins. He was a sacrificial sin-bearer. Sacrificial sin-bearers unlike the quintessential sin-bearers (e.g. you and I) are NEVER subjected to imputation. In turn, the quintessential sin-bearer could never purge away his own sin by shedding his own blood because he is not without blemish. PSA adherents conflate disparate notions of sin-bearing and then wonder why a novice would be utterly confused. So, Christ does not have our sin imputed to Him nor do we have Christ righteousness imputed to us as believers. We are righteous because we are found in Christ not having our own righteousness but His. We are “FOUND IN HIM” (Php 3:9). The church will forever be found in Christ and thus each believer has everlasting righteousness by virtue of our union with Christ, not because God has imputed Christ righteousness to us. Lastly, in the O.T. the word for sin (i.e. H2403 chattaah) is never accompanied by the word offering; it is simply implied. Is it so mysterious a thing that the same idiom would sometimes be employed in the Greek?

Levi
Where did Justin Peters say when we are imputed with sin, we are sinners.
We are just sinners so we are sinners, right? Also, how do you define imputation?

James @ ChristplusZero.org
To impute means to esteem, to deem or to reckon as. This is the way that the term is used in both the OT (chasav H2803) and the NT (logizomai G3049) when it pertains to topics of sin and righteousness. This is the way that both Peters and I are using the term. We ARE sinners because God imputes sin to our account. Otherwise, Psalm 32:2 is meaningless. If God not imputing sin makes us righteous (Romans 4:6) then what do you suppose happens when God imputes sin? My point is not novel. The 19th century Presbyterian theologian Albert Barnes states it better than I can:

if he [Christ] was, in any proper sense, guilty, then he deserved to die, and his death could have no more merit than that of any other guilty being; and if he was properly guilty it would make no difference in this respect whether it was by his own fault or by imputation: a guilty being deserves to be punished; and where there is desert of punishment there can be no merit in sufferings…every view which fairly leads to the statement that he [Christ] was in any sense guilty, or which implies that he deserved to die, is “prima facie” a false view, and should be at once abandoned

Barnes, Albert. “Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:21”. “Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible”.

Levi
You say that we don’t have our own righteousness but his.
That’s what Christians mean by imputation.
Likewise, Jesus didn’t have his own sin, he was pierced for our transgressions.
That’s imputation as well. I’m not sure I get your argument.

James @ ChristPlusZero.org
My argument is that Peters is equivocating on the term imputation. To equivocate is to use two or more inconsistent meanings of a term within an argument. As Barnes clearly stated, imputation requires Christ to be a sinner and if so then there could be no merit in His death. Of course, Peters wouldn’t want to be caught supporting such a view so he subtly redefines imputation when he applies it to Christ. In Peters view, Christ is said to be treated like a sinner but He does not actually become a sinner. Imagine if Adam, Eve and Cain all claimed that though God treated them as sinners they were actually guiltless? Would we allow such a claim to go unchallenged? Regarding Isaiah 53:5 you have merely assumed that it refers to penal substitution but you have not demonstrated your case. Obviously Isa 53:5 is susceptible to multiple interpretations. Our job as students of Scripture is to choose the one which accords most with the whole counsel of God. However, even if Isa 53:5 referred to imputation (it doesn’t) Peters would still be guilty of the equivocation fallacy. Peters challenge is to use ‘impute’ consistently.

Levi
I think you have a very niche definition of imputation. What most Christians mean by imputation is being counted as guilty or righteous without necessarily being the same. So, Jesus being imputed with our sin is meant to express he wasn’t himself sinful. No Christian I’ve ever heard has said Adam was imputed with sin. He actually sinned, so he was just sinful. Using the word “imputation” would be redundant at this point.

James @ ChristPlusZero.org
I am surprised by your stance that Adam was not imputed with sin. Such a claim is so fundamental to one’s study of the Bible that to deny it is to deny Christianity. I would be shocked if you could find a reputable Bible commentator who would affirm your stance. Even Peters, I am sure, would utterly reject such a stance. Psalm 32:1-2 (KJV) employs a literary device called a parallelism. The goal of a parallelism is to have identical or equivalent syntactic constructions appear in corresponding clauses or phrases. This means that as “forgiven“, “covered“, and “imputeth not” are all meant to be synonymous, so also are “transgression“, “sin” and “iniquity.” If “imputeth not” in Ps 32:1-2 means “forgiven” then imputeth must mean guilty. This is the second time that I have directed your attention to this verse. You have to decide what the text is trying to convey in a consistent way. If you can’t affirm that Adam was imputed with sin then I am afraid you will not be able to apprehend my point about equivocation. For another example, Romans 5:13 says sin is not imputed there is no law. This means (via modus tollens) that since Adam both had and broke the law then sin was imputed. Secondly, we don’t define terms by looking at how most people use the term. Such a rule would necessitate the absurdity that the majority is always right. The term imputation (without import from a theological camp) does not at all imply that an exchange in reputations took place. The commitment to some sort of great exchange between the reputations of sinners and Christ is not based upon the semantic range of the term impute. So, to transgress God’s law and to have sin imputed to one’s account are equivalent (and not redundant) transactions.

Levi
Please reread my reply. I never said Adam was not imputed with guilt. I said the word is not used because nowadays it is mostly used when the person is not sinful. I know definitions don’t make theology, but you keep saying that Justin Peters is equivocating on the word “imputation”. However, he’s consistently using it in the modern way. The word doesn’t appear in most modern English translations, so it’s largely used to convey a theological meaning rather than the original Greek or Hebrew meanings, and that is perfectly valid. It’s just the way language works. Finally, your argument commits the formal fallacy of affirming the consequent. Namely, it looks like this:

-If a man is a sinner,
they are imputed with guilt.
-A man is imputed with guilt.
Therefore, that man is a sinner.

This is also called the negative inference fallacy, or as I like to call it, assuming the converse. Basically, you are making an “if then” statement into an “if and only if” statement. So, yes, as the Psalm says, blessed is the man who is not imputed with guilt. It does not follow that if Jesus was imputed with our guilt he was therefore sinful. An example that shows that the word can and is used in this way is Romans 14:14. It uses the same Greek word.

James @ ChristPlusZero.org

Levi: Please reread my reply.
James: Ok.

Levi:
I never said Adam was not imputed with guilt.
James:
In fact, you did say this (essentially). Why, for the sake of our dialogue, would there be a distinction between sin and guilt? Biblically speaking, can either exist without the other?

Levi:
I said the word is not used because nowadays it is mostly used when the person is not sinful.
James:
To which ‘word’ do you refer? Also, the phrases “is not used because nowadays” and “mostly used when the person is not sinful” do not occur in any of your prior replies.

Levi:
I know definitions don’t make theology, but you keep saying that Justin Peters is equivocating on the word “imputation”. However, he’s consistently using it in the modern way. The word doesn’t appear in most modern English translations, so it’s largely used to convey a theological meaning rather than the original Greek or Hebrew meanings, and that is perfectly valid. It’s just the way language works.
James:
Both words (i.e. impute and imputation) occur in modern dictionaries. For instance, I just looked up both words using merriam-webster. If you would like to use a modern dictionary then you need to look harder because it is clearly there. You are also free to use a Hebrew or Greek lexicon (which is probably more appropriate) as I did in my second rely. It is important that you do not to conflate the doctrine of imputation with the use of the term in the Scriptures. Any reader should be able to discern how the Scriptures use the term ‘impute’ in either the Hebrew or the Greek using a lexicon (e.g. Strong’s). As far as the doctrine is concerned, I am asserting that the idea of double imputation involves a logical fallacy. I suspect that you have yet to engage with that point because it is insurmountable.

Levi:
Finally, your argument commits the formal fallacy of affirming the consequent.
James:
The argument that you claimed I put forth is not fallacious because the Scriptures use both terms inseparably. Can I sin and not be guilty? Or, can I be guilty and not have sinned? Leviticus 5:5, for instance, implies that both sin and guilty are synonymous (cf. James 2:10). Since you cannot have one without the other then no logical fallacy has been committed. So, if “A man is imputed with guilt” then “that man is a sinner. Also, if “that man is a sinner” then he “is imputed with guilt.”

Levi:
This is also called the negative inference fallacy, or as I like to call it, assuming the converse. Basically, you are making an “if then” statement into an “if and only if” statement. So, yes, as the Psalm says, blessed is the man who is not imputed with guilt. It does not follow that if Jesus was imputed with our guilt he was therefore sinful.
James:
if guilt and sin are inseparable (and they are) then IT DOES FOLLOW that “if Jesus was imputed with our guilt he was therefore sinful.” That is what Albert Barnes and I have been trying to tell you all along. Did you read him? Here is another quote. Notice how the words sin and guilt are used interchangeably:

“all such views as go to make the Holy Redeemer a sinner, or guilty, or deserving of the sufferings which he endured, border on blasphemy, and are abhorrent to the whole strain of the Scriptures. In no form, in no sense possible, is it to be maintained that the Lord Jesus was sinful or guilty. It is a corner stone of the whole system of religion, that in all conceivable senses of the expression he was holy, and pure, and the object of the divine approbation. And every view which fairly leads to the statement that he was in any sense guilty, or which implies that he deserved to die, is “prima facie” a false view, and should be at once abandoned.”

Levi:
An example that shows that the word can and is used in this way is Romans 14:14. It uses the same Greek word.
James:
Romans 14:14 does not show that sin and guilty are separable. Perhaps you made a mistake. In Romans 14:14 the KJV renders the Greek term (logizomai G3049) as esteem. But this is the exact definition that I gave in my first reply when you asked for a definition. So did you mean to point out that I was correct or did you have something else in mind?

Levi
I hope they don’t come across as disrespectful, but you said a lot, so I’ll keep my responses brief.

No, I didn’t in essence say that Adam wasn’t imputed with sin.

I used “guilt” as opposed to “sin” because I thought it communicated the concept more clearly. Read “sin” where I wrote “guilt” if you prefer.

Whether or not Justin Peters is using the standard English use of “impute” is irrelevant. He is using the common Christian use of impute. Even if you don’t like him using that word, you can’t claim he is equivocating when his use is consistent. Neither do semantics have any impact on if the concept he is teaching is biblical.

Finally, the difference is “imputed sin” or “sinful”, which are not interchangeable. In Romans 14:14, Paul clearly says something can be imputed uncleanness without being itself unclean. This necessarily means that the word “imputed” allows for Jesus to be imputed our sin without himself being sinful.

James @ ChristPlusZero.org
Ok. Levi, who said the following: “No Christian I’ve ever heard has said Adam was imputed with sin.
Next, who said the following: “I never said Adam was not imputed with guilt
And now you are saying this: “No, I didn’t in essence say that Adam wasn’t imputed with sin.

You have clearly said those things that you subsequently deny saying. So, you need to decide which stance you are comfortable with using. Either stance implicates you (and by extension Peters to the extent that he agrees with you). In your attempt to defend Peters I fear that you have veered so far off the beaten path that even Peters would be forced to put some distance between some of your claims.

The principle which you seek to (wrongly) glean from Romans 14:14 does not help your cause. If (as you say) God is imputing sin to Christ even though Christ really isn’t a sinner then what does that say about God? If I falsely accuse my neighbor of being a thief even though he is not a thief can I exonerate myself by simply appealing to Romans 14:14? In Romans 14:14, if Paul did say that “something can be imputed uncleanness without being itself unclean” then Paul would be guilty of espousing a contradiction. No, Paul is saying: food that is clean in the conscience of one person can simultaneously be unclean in the conscience of another who deems it unclean. By imputing uncleanness to it “him that esteemeth … [the] thing to be unclean” has actually made it unclean in his mind. Therefore, imputing uncleanness DOES make it unclean in the mind of the person who esteems such things. Therefore, if God imputes sin to the lawbreaker (and He clearly does) then the lawbreaker, in God’s mind, is a sinner. This is the reason why we don’t want to go around telling folks that God imputed sin (or guilt) to Christ. It is indefensible and ironically as injurious as the things which White says. In Peters attempt to excoriate White he has shined light on his own claim which is equally as blasphemous as White’s.

Finally, since you have failed to show how sin and guilt are separable then I can only assume that you have conceded to the idea that calling Christ guilty is to call Him a sinner. I maintain with Barnes that this is not an acceptable stance for a Christian to put forth. I sympathize with the realization that many big names in the realm of evangelical Christianity are guilty of espousing the same thing but I hope you can see that there is a problem with this stance. We can’t allow ourselves to get overawed with these big names and impressive credentials especially when they go on to (perhaps inadvertently) impugn our Savior with the stain of guilt. Jesus never became guilty nor was He ever a sinner. Hebrews 7:26 says that He is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” How can Christ be separate from sinners if He must assume either their sin or guilt? Christ did died for us. His blood did wash away our sins. But the Scriptures required Christ to be without blemish in order for the sacrifice to have merit. How can Christ remain without blemish if God imputes sin or guilt to Him? Christ is our sin-bearer and our guilt-offering but the sin-bearer propitiates sin by relinquishing his life not by becoming a sinner in place of the sinner. So also a guilt-offering offering does not remove guilt by assuming the guilt of the penitent. A guilt-offering removes guilt by relinquishing his life. Why? Because “the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I [God] have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)

Levi
Please make an effort to understand what I’m saying. “No Christian I’ve ever heard has said Adam was imputed with sin … using the word “imputation” would be redundant.” I wasn’t speaking to the concept, but to the language used to express it.

Actually, the reason God could justly punish Jesus for our sins was because he imputed our sins on him (Isaiah 53, Romans 3:21-26, 1 Peter 2:22-25, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:13-14, etc). That’s what the imagery of Old Testament sacrifices pointed toward (Leviticus 16). The people, in a sense, imputed their sin on (in some cases) the animal and then killed the it or sent it away. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. However, he never became sinful himself (Romans 14:14).

Yes, I see no meaningful distinction between “guilty” and “sinful” as I said. But Paul sees a difference between “imputed sin” and “sinful” (or “imputed guilt” and “guilty”).

Final thought. Let’s look back at Psalm 32. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” If the parallel is between “forgiven”, “covered”, and “imputeth not”, then in all three cases, the man had sinned. People don’t sin because sin is imputed on them. Rather, sin is imputed on people because they sin. Blessed is the man on whom the Lord does not impute sin (though he sinned), but instead imputed it on the forever holy Lamb of God.

Thanks for conversing with me.

James @ ChristPlusZero.org
Thanks for conversing with me as well.

I have indeed made an effort to understand what you have said which is why I continue to merely quote your words. You seem to add emendations and caveats as the conversation progresses. Now you have changed your initial claim by merging two disparate sentences together to form a new claim (“No Christian I’ve ever heard has said Adam was imputed with sin … using the word “imputation” would be redundant.”). It is hard to pin down someone who keeps changing their position.

You say: “I wasn’t speaking to the concept, but to the language used to express it.

I do not have any idea what this means. What concept? What language? What is the difference here and why does it matter?

You said “Actually, the reason God could justly punish Jesus for our sins was because he imputed our sins on him

I disagree with the claim that the Bible says that God punished Jesus for our sins. You have not demonstrated this. The verses you provide are neither univocal nor conclusive but are instead susceptible to a whole host of differing interpretations. My safeguard when interpreting such verses is to choose the interpretation that does not require me to embrace heretical outcomes such as God using the “power of darkness” to pour out atoning wrath (Luke 22:53) or Christ becoming a sinner. Have you thought about the implications of God punishing Christ for the world’s innumerable sins (i.e. past present and future)? What would such punishment really look like had it actually happened? Have you thought about why God would still punish Christ even though His blood has already done its job by washing away our sins (Revelation 1:5)? The Bible says that where there is no sin then there is no wrath (Romans 4:15). So where did this mysterious wrath come from? How does the crucifixion’s (i.e. the wrath of Satan) fare with the true wrath of God poured out in the book of Revelation (i.e. the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 vials)? Is the comparison even close? All these things you should have considered before daring to call Christ a sinner.

You say: “The people, in a sense, imputed their sin on (in some cases) the animal and then killed the it or sent it away.

If you could actually show where the Bible says such a thing (i.e. people imputed sin to the offering) that would be impressive. The laying of the hands on the head of the sacrifice was to symbolically transfer the sins of the people to the sin-bearer who would then bear those sins without incurring guilt. That is why earlier on I said: “Sacrificial sin-bearers unlike the quintessential sin-bearers (e.g. you and I) are NEVER subjected to imputation.” Why? Because “the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I [God] have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11). The sin is bore by the sacrificial sin-bearer not for the purpose of imputation but for the purpose of the sin-bearer relinquishing his/its life. Biblical atonement knows nothing about wrath-bearing. Where in the O.T. do you see God pouring out His wrath upon the goats during Yom Kippur (i.e. the day of atonement)? If you could provide such a text that would be impressive.

You say: “I see no meaningful distinction between “guilty” and “sinful” as I said.

Then why did you call my attempt to use these terms interchangeably a logical fallacy?

You say: But Paul sees a difference between “imputed sin” and “sinful” (or “imputed guilt” and “guilty”).

This is false. Show me where Paul ever makes such a distinction? After all this back and forth it is apparent that you still have no idea what the verb impute means. This is discouraging.

You say: People don’t sin because sin is imputed on them. Rather, sin is imputed on people because they sin.

Well, this is a straw man. Actually you are just contradicting claims that you have made earlier. If you now admit that God imputes sin then why would you have a problem with the idea that God imputed Adam with sin? Why would you have a problem with the Bible saying that God imputes us with sin when we break His law? We might have averted many sentences in our dialogue had you simply accepted this to begin with.

You say: Blessed is the man on whom the Lord does not impute sin (though he sinned), but instead imputed it on the forever holy Lamb of God.

Yes. God has imputed sin to us because we broke His law (Romans 5:13). He has reckoned us sinners. But then Christ stepped in and saved the day BY REMOVING SIN WITH HIS BLOOD so now God imputes righteousness to those who exercise faith. Why would God need to treat Christ as a sinner and pour out wrath if there is no sin left to punish? Have you ever thought about that? At no time did God impute sin to Christ. Stop calling Christ a sinner. That is what both you and Peters are doing. It is as bad as what White did. Peters and anyone who thinks like him is being hypocritical. You are mad at Todd White for saying evil things about Christ when you guys are at the same time calling Christ a sinner. If God imputed sin to Christ then He could not be “forever holy” as you state. This is just common sense. One day you (and in fact all believers) will have to stand before the same Christ you have said was imputed with sin and you will be made to give an account for your words. At that time neither Todd nor “most Christians” (to whom you have appealed) will not be at your side to help explain why you chose to call God a sinner.

If using the word “impute” is redundant then please explain why God “redundantly” uses it in Psalm 32:2 to imply that before the atonement all men are imputed with sin. Or, explain why God “redundantly” uses impute in Romans 5:13 to imply that sin is imputed to anyone who breaks God’s law. Or, please explain why God “redundantly” imputes sin to the person in Leviticus 17:4? Or, in 2 Timothy 4:16 why does Paul pray that God not “redundantly” impute sin to those who forsook him? Obviously such examples could be multiplied. Over the course of our dialogue, I have raised several questions and you have ignored most (if not all) of them. Because of that track record I guess I expect you to ignore these as well. It is discouraging when one takes the time to answer in a detailed manner and then the other person simply skips over most of what is said. I do suspect that these questions are insurmountable and that is perhaps why you have chosen to neglect them. It is ok. Just think carefully about these things is all that I ask.

Anyone who claims that sin was imputed to Christ and that He yet managed to remain sinless is engaging in the worst type of equivocation possible. By believing such an irrationality one would be forced to also agree with the claim that when God imputed mankind with sin they also remained sinless. Are you prepared to embrace such an absurdity all for the sake of consistency?

Levi
Okay, I’ll just leave my last thoughts. I never said the fallacy was you conflating “sin” and “guilt”. You misunderstood me to be saying that. I have not been adding emendations and caveats, I’ve been clarifying where you’ve misunderstood me. I think the problem is that you are mixing up the word “imputation” as Justin Peters uses it with the concept you believe imputation teaches.

This was the fallacy I was pointing out.
– If a man is a sinner, he is imputed sin
– A man is imputed sin
– Therefore, that man is a sinner

This is the formal fallacy of affirming the consequent, which is what your entire argument is built on. You keep saying, if Christ was imputed sin, he was a sinner, but that is fallacious.

In Romans 14:14, Paul explicitly says something can be “imputed uncleanness” without being itself “unclean”. So your claim that if Christ was imputed sin, then he was a sinner goes strictly against the biblical usage of the word “impute”.

You say, “The laying on of the hands on the head of the sacrifice was to symbolically transfer the sins of the people to the sin-bearer who would then bear those sins without incurring guilt.” This is a perfect picture of Christ who bore our sins without incurring guilt. We are sinners because we sin. We are blessed when we are not imputed with sin (Psalm 32), which means our sin isn’t counted against us. Christ never sinned, so he was never a sinner. It was our sins that were counted against him (Isaiah 53), which is what sin-bearing means, but he never incurred guilt. The cross didn’t demonstrate the Devil’s wrath (at least primarily), but God’s wrath. That’s what Romans 3 means when it says the cross was to demonstrate God’s righteousness. His just wrath toward sin had to be dealt with, and by the blood of Jesus, who was our sin-bearer, our sin was erased, the price paid in full.

Feel free to reply. I will read it, but I will not respond since this seems to be no longer fruitful.

Edit: I mean no malice by this. We have both had a fair chance to speak and to listen to each other.

James @ ChristPlusZero.org
Levi – no malice taken. I don’t think we got far but I was willing to engage. So that is something I suppose.

I will leave my last thoughts as well:

A. You still do not understand what is meant by the word ‘impute.’ I have used lexicons and Scripture to help get you up to speed but we just couldn’t close the loop. I would refrain from further use of the term until you can actually discern between popular usage vs. biblical usage. Understanding the tenets of a particular theological camp does not necessarily equip one to handle the Scriptures.

B. Perhaps you understand the form of asserting the consequent (i.e. if P then Q, Q therefore P) but you have failed to grasp the meaning of the fallacy. Not every argument that asserts the consequent is invalid especially those arguments where the relationship between the antecedent and the consequent is commutable. I would steer clear of accusing your opponent of committing this particular type of fallacy until you actually understand what qualifies as an infraction. The mistake associated with asserting the consequent lies in the positing of an unnecessary inference. For example, we all know that wet streets do not NECESSARILY entail rainy weather. However, in this case, the antecedent (being a sinner) NECESSARILY entails the consequent (having sin imputed to one’s account by God) and the consequent NECESSARILY entails the antecedent. The synonymous relationship between the antecedent’s proposition and the consequent’s proposition allows one to assert either without regard to its position in the argument. If you could only understand this one point you would probably get down on your knees at once and repent of repeatedly implying (inadvertently it appears) that Christ became a sinner. Alas, it seems like we missed this opportunity.

C. You have failed to apprehend Romans 14:14. I would start by looking at some commentaries on the verse so as to orient yourself with Paul’s concern in the chapter. Anyone who is carefully looking at the text will understand that Paul is not suggesting anything close to what you have stated. We might have made some progress here had you actually attempted to engage with the questions that I put forth regarding this verse. Another missed opportunity.

D. Where was God’s wrath at the cross? Just point it out. You have four gospels from which to choose. What would be the basis for God’s wrath at Calvary in light of the fact that our sins are already covered by the atoning blood? You have been asked this several times but you simply dodged the question. The Achilles heel of penal substitutionary atonement is watching an adherent try to explain why the retributive principle is needed when the sacrificial principle has already sufficed. I would start with Yom Kippur (Lev 16). Good luck trying to find a thorn-crowned goat (i.e. the guilt-offering) with its beard ripped out. If it was possible for Christ to have been euthanized, the atoning blood (i.e. death) of that righteous man is so powerful that our atonement would remain intact. By maintaining that Christ’s untortured blood was insufficient to wrought mankind’s forgiveness you have marginalized its power. By choosing to adhere to PSA you have been bamboozled into the cistern of a theological camp that can hold no water.

E. The fruitfulness of a conversation is gaged in different ways. One way of discovering whether one’s theological stance is defensible is by engaging in dialogues such as this. The fact that most of my questions remain unanswered (or unanswerable) and the fact that my claims remain unscathed could very well be an indication that I am headed in the right direction. Of course, it all depends on who you are mixing it up with.

Thanks for the opportunity. I think we have tried to be civil with one another so that is something as well. I will sum up by restating some of the questions that you side-stepped.

Perhaps, the future will afford you some time to reflect upon these important points:

1. If using the word “impute” is redundant then please explain why God “redundantly” uses it in Psalm 32:2 to imply that before the atonement all men are imputed with sin. Or, explain why God “redundantly” uses impute in Romans 5:13 to imply that sin is imputed to anyone who breaks God’s law. Or, please explain why God “redundantly” imputes sin to the person in Leviticus 17:4? Or, in 2 Timothy 4:16 why does Paul pray that God not “redundantly” impute sin to those who forsook him?

2. If (as you say) God is imputing sin to Christ even though Christ really isn’t a sinner then what does that say about God? If I falsely accuse my neighbor of being a thief even though he is not a thief can I exonerate myself by simply appealing to Romans 14:14?

3. As Barnes clearly stated, imputation requires Christ to be a sinner and if so then there could be no merit in His death. Of course, Peters wouldn’t want to be caught supporting such a view so he subtly redefines imputation when he applies it to Christ. In Peters view, Christ is said to be treated like a sinner but He does not actually become a sinner. Imagine if Adam, Eve and Cain all claimed that though God treated them as sinners they were actually guiltless? Would we allow such a claim to go unchallenged?

4. Hebrews 7:26 says that He is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” How can Christ be separate from sinners if He must assume either their sin or guilt? Christ did died for us. His blood did wash away our sins. But the Scriptures required Christ to be without blemish in order for the sacrifice to have merit. How can Christ remain without blemish if God imputes sin or guilt to Him?

5. Why would God need to treat Christ as a sinner and pour out wrath if there is no sin left to punish? Have you ever thought about that? At no time did God impute sin to Christ. Stop calling Christ a sinner. That is what both you and Peters are doing. It is as bad as what White did. Peters and anyone who thinks like him is being hypocritical. You are mad at Todd White for saying evil things about Christ when at the same time you guys are calling Christ a sinner. If God imputed sin to Christ then He could not be “forever holy” as you state. This is just common sense.

6. Anyone who claims that sin was imputed to Christ and that He yet managed to remain sinless is engaging in the worst type of equivocation possible. By believing such an irrationality one would be forced to also agree with the claim that when God imputed mankind with sin they also remained sinless. Are you prepared to embrace such an absurdity all for the sake of consistency?

7. Have you thought about the implications of God punishing Christ for the world’s innumerable sins (i.e. past present and future)? What would such punishment really look like had it actually happened? Have you thought about why God would still punish Christ even though His blood has already done its job by washing away our sins (Revelation 1:5)? The Bible says that where there is no sin then there is no wrath (Romans 4:15 via enthymeme). So where did this mysterious wrath come from? How does the crucifixion’s (i.e. the wrath of Satan) fare with the true wrath of God poured out in the book of Revelation (i.e. the 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 vials)? Is the comparison even close?

God Bless.