In January, 2007, David Beckham, an aging European soccer player, signed a contract worth a quarter of a billion dollars to play soccer in the United States. There is something fundamentally at odds with common sense here. In the same month, the University of Alabama, a tax-funded university, agreed to pay a new football coach four million dollars a year, plus bonuses if his team gets into a bowl game. How could this happen?

Odd as it may seem, there is a theological issue here: the doctrine of representation. The biblical doctrine of representation says that every man is represented judicially before God by one of two men: Adam or Christ. Either Adam’s sin is imputed judicially by God to a person or else Christ’s perfect humanity is imputed. There is no third choice. To use the analogy of a race, life on earth is a two-man race. Each of us is represented by one of two runners. Your representative finishes either first or last. So do you. There are no second-place or third-place medals.

Men want to avoid thinking about time and eternity in terms of judicial representation before the throne of God. The stakes in such a race are too high. The doctrine of judicial imputation is too theocentric. It places too much authority in the declarative acts of God. So, men seek to be represented in other ways. The most popular ways are corporate more than individual. Men gain representation by participating in corporate liturgy.

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