Friday, June 25, 2010

The Old Man? The Sinful nature?

Here is a question from an interview that I came across on Alex Chediak's blog: when discussing the believer's ongoing struggle, should we use the word "flesh" or "old man" to refer to what John Owen called our "remaining corruptions"? Is there a difference? The question was directed towards Dr. Andy Naselli and I found his answer, below, helpful.

The best article I've read on this is William W. Combs, “Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two?” Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 2 (Fall 1997): 81–103.

Those who affirm the Reformed view of sanctification use different terminology to describe the same phenomenon. Some describe Christians as having only one nature, and others as having two. The one-nature and two-nature views are practically identical because both acknowledge a conflict between what Combs calls “two opposing somethings—principles, desires, urgings, etc.” in the believer.

* Two-nature advocates call them natures: (1) the old/sinful/ depraved nature of a regenerate person, i.e., "the flesh" and (2) the new nature of a regenerate person.

* One-nature advocates describe these two aspects of the believer’s one nature as “two struggling principles” (Gerster), “two opposed sorts of desire” (Packer), or “contrary urgings” (Packer).

The "old man" or "old self," on the other hand, refers to the whole unregenerate person:

* Sin reigns as his master (Rom. 6).

* He is totally depraved.

* He is characterized by sin.

* At conversion a Christian puts off "the old man" (Col 3:9; Eph 4:22), who was crucified with Christ (Rom 6:6).

A Christian, thus, is a "new man" or "new self." This refers to the whole regenerate person:

* Though he still struggles with sin (Gal 5:16–26; 1 Pet 2:11), Jesus the Messiah (not sin) reigns as his Master (Rom. 6).

* He is still depraved but not totally depraved; he is genuinely new but not totally new.

* He is characterized by righteousness.

* A Christian puts on the "new man" at conversion (Col 3:10; Eph 4:24).



    In Jeremiah 17:9 we are shown the true face of EVIL!

    Satan in the Thought of Augustine
    The great adversary / Satan to the early Christians was the Roman and Jewish systems. The Jewish system passed away in AD70, and Roman opposition ceased once the empire converted to Christianity under Constantine. Visible persecution of Christians ceased, for the most part. The lack of visible adversaries perhaps encouraged mainstream Christianity to conclude that the adversary / Satan was therefore invisible and cosmic. It was against this background that Augustine came onto the scene.
    The logical and analytical mind of Augustine probably had the greatest influence in codifying Christian thought on the Devil, and setting the tradition in stone for future generations. He realized the weakness of the common Christian position on the Devil, and more than any others, scoured Scripture for support of the idea. He focused upon the symbolic prophecy of Revelation 12, that immediately prior to Christ's return there would be a battle between Michael and his angels / followers, and the system symbolized by "the dragon". What Augustine surely willfully ignored was the basic context of Revelation 12- that this is a prophecy of the future, rather than a description of events in the past, at the beginning of Biblical history.

  2. Leonardo de la Paor says Hi to Chris de la Paor, that's your name in Irish, Chris!