So I was interested by this snippet of discussion in the White Horse Inn broadcast from last week:
Michael Horton: So, "What Would Jesus Do?" is not the gospel?
Retired Episcopal Bishop C. FitzSimons Allison:
It is contemporary adoptionism. ... It's an ancient and classical heresy in which it reduced the work of Christ to giving us a good example. ... Jesus was baptised and we heard the Father say, "This is my beloved Son with Whom I am well pleased,"... according to the adoptionists, He did what none of the rest of us have ever done, which was to be perfect. And therefore he's like a kind of Roger Bannister, breaks the 4-minute mile, and he becomes the image by which if we just try harder, if we are scolded enough, then we will run the 4-minute mile: we will be like Jesus. And it ignores the complete OT presentation of a Messiah who came to take away the sins of the world: that God did something that we were unable to do. The Messiah came and made it all right by his actions. It leaves out 2/3 of the whole meaning of the gospel.And yet, let's get this: neither is the gospel, "God has accepted the unacceptable: so now go and do likewise - accept yourself."
Horton, summarising Allison: It is law to tell people, "Accept yourselves," it is gospel to tell people, "This is how God has made you acceptable to Him."
So what isn't law? What is gospel? Allison says the key is imputation - not known or loved as a word because it's so awkwardly and variously translated into English (account, credit, reckon, etc.): we have no good translation for it. Of this, Allison says,
The word itself, λογιζομαι (logizomai),... is the verb form of λογος (logos). ... It's not merely that God by His action in Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to have mercy, but I am imputed as righteous, even though I am not righteous, and by that wording of me as righteous, I begin to become the kind of righteousness that we see in the second person of the Trinity.Horton: So it is actually a speech-event: God has declared us righteous.