HB reader Nick writes to ask about the imputation of Christ’s active obedience. Is it true that the Westminster divines, Twisse, Vines, and Gataker opposed the imputation of the active obedience of Christ and that the phrase, “the whole obedience of Christ” was cropped to “obedience” (in WCF 11.1) to accommodate them? Is it true that John Owen and William Cunningham affirmed IAO but haven’t made it a matter of central importance? Is the IAO essential to being Reformed? What is lost if we deny the IAO? This is a 4-part question. The theological question are these: Was there a chronological distinction in the obedience of Christ? Can we distinguish between his “suffering” (passive) obedience and his “active” obedience at the end of his life? What did Jesus do? Did he clean the slate for us, so that we can do our part? Was his obedience necessary to qualify himself to be our Savior?
Here’s the episode:
There’s a chapter on this in Recovering the Reformed Confession (available in hardcover and via Kindle)