New Book: Original Reason

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A Note on the Subject Matter of Original Reason

The Covenants Interpretation of scripture is yielding new and deeper insights into the Word of God.

It was through my study of the proper division of the Bible’s Old and New Covenants that I arrived at the insights that filled the pages of my first book, Rightly Divided. Just this month I completed the follow-up, a book called Original Reason. At the start, I hadn’t intended this book to be a “follow-up.” Back in 2004, I had an idea for an additional chapter for Rightly Divided—something to be inserted into a revised edition some day. Then it was two chapters. Then, in a strange twist, it was a flood of new ideas, all seemingly in a totally different vein. My ideas took such a leap, and the material covered such seemingly fresh and unrelated topics, that I regarded my newer writings as a completely different focus. It took years before I saw all the connections. And the connections to my first book were, oddly, some of the last I was to recognize. But now that it is finished, I can look back and see that the Covenants Interpretation of scripture shaped my thoughts from the beginning.

In Original Reason, I tackle scriptural issues that, on the surface, seem far removed from the subject of Biblical covenants. I would never have thought that the approaches of my first book would have had application here. But the breakthrough was a proper understanding of how Christ accomplished His earthly mission. I would not have made the discoveries I made had I not understood that everything Christ accomplished, He accomplished by obeying the Father—not by exercising or expressing His own will prior to the cross.

This led me to the solution of a question that has perplexed theologians for ages.

It might seem a strange thing to say, but probably the biggest unanswered question about the Bible is also the most fundamental question anyone could ask about the Bible. And that question is, “How does God save man?”

Odd, of course, because the Bible tells us, in so many different ways, how we are saved. It tells us that we are saved by the sacrifice of Christ. By the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. By Christ “being sin for us.” By cleansing us through His shed blood. By taking the punishment that we deserved. By “ransoming” us. With so many answers, why would the question be unresolved?

More than 100 years ago, the theologian James Freeman Clarke described the quandary thus:

“Now, while the scriptures say a great deal about the fact that Christ’s sufferings save us from our sins, they say very little as regards the way in which they save us from our sins…. The scriptures state the fact; the theologians have supplied the explanations. Innumerable have been the theories devised by theology to show in what way the sufferings of Christ have availed for the salvation of men—theories of imputation, theories of substitution, theories of satisfaction. He was punished in our place; he paid our debt; he was our federal head and representative; he satisfied the justice of God; he appeased the wrath of God….”

Clarke and others have decided that the Bible does not offer any conclusive answer to this question. Thus, what we find today is a proliferation of “atonement theories.” They are “theories” (not doctrine, not exegesis) because someone is always able to ask yet another unanswerable question of them, and thus no single theory ever satisfies everyone—there is always something more to be asked.

The findings shared in Original Reason are that this state of affairs came about because of a misinterpretation of a key passage in Genesis, an error compounded by further misinterpretations from the book of Romans. Original Reason overturns the spate of theories with a single, unassailable scriptural explanation. Along the way, Original Reason puts to rest forever the misleading and destructive 1,600-year-old doctrine known as Original Sin. Even though most churches today do not consciously subscribe to the idea of Original Sin, that doctrine colors their thinking in ways they never imagined.

This volume, like my first book, is a “detective story” of sorts—one that begins with a small, overlooked (but extremely important) detail in scripture and builds to an ever-broadening scope, culminating in a conclusion that is faithful to the Word and inspirational to the faithful. When you are finished reading this book, you will truly know how Christ’s obedience to the Father became your pathway to salvation. And it will be not just a blessing for you to treasure, but an indispensible tool for leading others to their own reward.

Jesse Mullins

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