Clearing Up Centuries of Confusion

Posted on March 22nd, 2012

As you can imagine, I read a lot of material for Dead Men Rising. Some of it was poor, some traditional (usually a collection of unrealistic statements that were confusing and self-contradictory), and some outstanding.

Writers such as John Stott, N.T. Wright, and J. Sidlow Baxter showed great insight into this badly misinterpreted section of Scripture. Some of them agreed completely with my insights although none put all the pieces together as I had done.

One statement I came across was by a great scholar of a generation ago, Dr. William S. Plumer in his Commentry on Romans. As he wrestled with Romans 6 and conflicting ideas, he said, "Paul's language in this chapter is very bold and highly figurative. Yet I believe no commentator has attempted to unite these two interpretations, and present sin as a tyrant and task master, tormenting his servants with the horrors of guilt, and wielding his vile power to seduce them into deeper pollution."

I was stunned by what I read for two reasons. First, that no commentator had attempted to do what Plumer only touched on. No one else had fully explored what he was just beginning to see and what he could only comment on in passing. Second, as I read his quote I realized I had done what he said no one else had done. God had given me the perspective no one else had fully explored.

Now, having written my commentary on Romans 6:1-14, I am excited that centuries of confusion can be cleared up. I realize that is saying a lot, but I say it with honesty and giving God all the glory! As others have read the manuscript they have concurred that Romans 6 now makes complete sense to them whereas before it was confusing.

Pastor Ray Meunich, another reviewer of my manuscript said this:

“One of my haunting memories from my early years as a pastor is the time I was asked by a college student about what the Bible means when it says we have died to sin and now live to God. We were on a chartered bus heading towards a Bible conference. This young man was serious about victory over sin and about correct theology. I tried to put on a confident face as I muddled my way through an explanation that didn’t’ ring true for me experientially and just plain sounded confusing as it came out of my mouth. I could tell by the young man’s expression that everything I had said was clear as mud.

"How many times since then have I sat through and even led confusing Bible studies on this topic of the 'sinful nature' and death to sin! What a breath of fresh air this book has been to me! What clear sense it makes of the passages! I have already endorsed and will continue to endorse Dead Men Rising as a must read for those I know who are serious about the theology and practice of the new life and sanctification!”

Yes, Dead Men Rising does make clear and consistent sense of Romans 6:1-14, but more importantly it will heal the heartbreak and despair that many have experienced through the centuries from not understanding Paul's thought.

To God be all the glory!

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