Dear Dr. Seifrid:

I continue my open letter in response to your written statement. You wrote,

In order to prevent confusion among those who have read one or more of Dr. White’s blogs, I offer the following brief response, attempting as much as possible to follow the order of his comments posted on September 9, 2004.

Unfortunately, I did not post anything about our interaction on September 9th of 2004. The only article posted on that date was in response to Paul Owen’s slanderous personal attack piece. My response to the SBTS statement was posted on the 4th and contained many questions directed to you. Why not respond to those? That would truly help clarify your stand for everyone who has been following this discussion (if such a term can be fairly used at this point). Hence, I can only attempt to guess based upon your words what you are referring to. You wrote:

I never have said that “the concept of imputation is an ‘addition’ made by ‘Protestant Orthodoxy.'” I have complained that it was misleading to add the positive imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the forgiveness of sins, as Protestant orthodoxy generally did in describing the imputation of Christ’s righteousness (COR, p. 175). That is to say, as the context of my statement makes clear, that the forgiveness of sins given to us in Christ’s cross and resurrection constitutes the whole of salvation. Paul certainly speaks of justification and forgiveness as equivalent (Rom 4:5-6). Jesus’ words of forgiveness surely imply the same thought (e.g. Mk 2:5). This is not the place to elaborate the implications of this conclusion. This distinction had its origins in internal Protestant debate with Andreas Osiander (whose views we may leave aside here), and came to play a significant role in both Lutheran and Reformed dogmatic systems. But it is hardly central to the doctrine of justification. We can disagree on this matter without calling into question the doctrinal fidelity of the opposing view.

A few of my correspondents over the past few weeks have noted in passing the fact that you, Dr. Seifrid, are a very “nuanced” scholar. That term keeps coming up. It is quite possible I am simply not “nuanced” enough. I just missed the class in seminary that allowed me to understand the following:

Seifrid Statement 2004Seifrid, 2000
I never have said that “the concept of imputation is an ‘addition’ made by ‘Protestant Orthodoxy.'”As a result, there is no need to multiply entities within “justification”, as Protestant orthodoxy did when it added the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the forgiveness of sins.

Maybe there is a massive difference in meaning between “added” and “addition.” But the difference, in context, is lost on me. In fact, the point being made in this entire paragraph is lost on me as well, partly because you did not provide a meaningful source for what you are quoting in the first place. First you say you did not say it was an addition, but, in the next sentence, you say “I have complained that it was misleading to add the positive imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the forgiveness of sins, as Protestant orthodoxy generally did in describing the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.” Did Protestant orthodoxy “add the positive imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the forgiveness of sins” or not? What is the meaningful difference between these statements:

“the concept of imputation is an ‘addition’ made by Protestant orthodoxy”

“it was misleading to add the positive imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the forgiveness of sins, as Protestant orthodoxy generally did.”

“there is no need to multiply entities within ‘justification’, as Protestant orthodoxy did when it added the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the forgiveness of sins.”

Update 12/30/2014: This review eventually became a major series of posts. For those interested in reading the entire series in order I post the links below. RP

Dr. Seifrid on Imputation July 9, 2004
More in Response to Southern Seminary Professor’s Denial of Imputed Righteousness July 9, 2004
Continuing Review of Mark Seifrid’s Views on the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness July 11, 2004
An Interesting Expansion in the LBCF, 1689 July 27, 2004
The Abstract of Principles on Justification July 30, 2004
The Imputation Controversy August 25, 2004
Imputation Controversy #2 August 26, 2004
Why I Care About “Christ, our Righteousness” August 28, 2004
Imputation Controversy #3 August 30, 2004
Southern Seminary and Dr. Mark Seifrid September 4, 2004
A Response to Southern Seminary and Dr. Mark Seifrid September 4, 2004
Listen to Today’s DL for a Full Discussion of the SBTS/Seifrid/Imputation Issue September 7, 2004
From the 1994 WTJ September 7, 2004
A Word of Rebuke to the Firebrands September 8, 2004
And Verily It Got Nuttier September 11, 2004
Yes, I Have a Copy, Thank You September 13, 2004
An Open Letter to Dr. Mark Seifrid (Part 1) September 14, 2004
Seifrid Response, Part II September 15, 2004
Seifrid Response, Part III September 18, 2004
Open Letter to Mark Seifrid, Part IV September 21, 2004
Open Letter to Mark Seifrid, Part V October 2, 2004
If I Misrepresented Dr. Seifrid, then…. December 3, 2004

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