Republication of the Covenant of Works

It is rather amazing to me to see how worked (!) up people can get over the republication thesis. Is it that people just hate Meredith Kline? Or do they just hate Westminster California? I hear and read overstated cases on both sides. I have read that the republication thesis was the standard position among Reformed theologians in the post-reformation era. This is surely overstated. I have also read that not only is the republication idea heretical, but that no Reformed author ever believed it before Meredith Kline. This is also quite overstated. I have hesitated to write about it, because my own thoughts on the subject were anything but settled. They still aren’t settled. I see helpful insights on both sides (although it must be said that there are an enormous number of individual positions on the nature of the Mosaic covenant). What I am attempting to do in this post is simply to clear away some misapprehensions on both sides.

Definition of republication: that there exists in the Mosaic covenant some sort of republication of the covenant of works. Almost all advocates of the republication thesis I have read agree that the essential nature of the Mosaic covenant is that it is part of the covenant of grace, and that the republication has nothing whatsoever to do with how Old Testament Christians become saved. Most advocates of the republication thesis agree that people were saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone both before and after Christ came. This is not something that most critics of the republication thesis are willing to concede (that republication advocates actually believe this about OT believers). Little, however, is to be gained by caricature, and it is time that the critics saw this. As a matter of fact, there is no Reformed theologian I know of who believes that people in the Mosaic economy obtained eternal salvation by their works in the Covenant of Works.

Another misapprehension among critics is that the Westminster Standards explicitly forbid this notion. It does not. The relevant wording in WCF 7 is as follows: “Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others…The promises of it, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof; although not as due to them as a covenant of works” (section 6). The key phrases here are “under the law” and “to be thereby justified, or condemned.” Republication advocates (at least those claiming to be confessional) do not advocate that OT believers are in any way under the law as a covenant of works to be thereby justified or condemned. Unfortunately, the normally careful Cornel Venema makes a mistake concerning this point in CPJ 9 (2013), p. 161, where he states, “[T]he Confession expressly denies that the law was given through Moses ‘as a covenant of works.'” The correction that is important here is that Venema leaves out the qualifying phrase “to be thereby justified, or condemned.” With regard to the last phrase in section 6, again, most republication advocates will say that the republication does not re-obligate us to the covenant of works. As Fesko says, “[T]he Mosaic covenant is part of the Covenant of Grace but that I maintain that the former republishes, not re-administers, the covenant of works” (CPJ 9, 2013, p. 178). The key words there are “not re-administers.” In section 6 of WCF 7, in other words, the phrase “to be thereby justified, or condemned” controls the whole section. The promises of obedience to the law did not come to OT believers by way of the covenant of works. I feel sure most republication advocates would agree with this.

The fact is that republication of the covenant of works in the Mosaic economy is, in the theology of most of its advocates, simply another way of talking about the pedagogical use of the law.

However, against some republication advocates, I do not believe that the WCF proves the republication thesis, either. Chapter 19 is often referenced in this regard, but chapter 19 does not say that the covenant of works was republished. It says that the moral law that was used in the Adamic covenant as the covenant of works was later given at Mount Sinai. It is that same moral law that is the subject of the sentence in WCF 19.2, not the covenant of works. Republication is therefore not proven or disproven by the Westminster Standards.

Another common misapprehension is that the republication view is quite novel and new. It most certainly is not. There probably are sources that have been “accommodated” to the modern viewpoints. Turretin’s view is, for instance, enormously complex and difficult to parse. However, James Buchanan, John Colquhoun, and the Marrow divines are not difficult to parse at all, and they quite clearly advocate the republication view, with almost all of the distinctives that the modern advocates have. Here is James Buchanan, in his monumental work on justification:

The Law-considered as a national covenant, by which their continued possession of the land of Canaan, and of all their privileges under the Theocracy, was left to depend on their external obedience to it,- might be called a national Covenant of Works, since their temporal welfare was suspended on the condition of their continued adherence to it; but, in that aspect of it, it had no relation to the spiritual salvation of individuals, otherwise than as this might be affected by their retaining, or forfeiting, their outward privileges and means of grace. It may be considered, however, in another light, as a re-exhibition of the original Covenant of Works, for the instruction of individual Jews in the principles of divine truth; for in some such light it is evidently presented in the writings of Paul (Justification, BoT edition, pp. 38-39).

Can anyone seriously doubt that Buchanan was an advocate of the republication thesis?

Here is John Colquhoun, in his work A Treatise On the Law and the Gospel:

The violated covenant of works, as I observed above, was not, and could not be, made or renewed with the Israelites at Sinai; for it was a broken covenant, and besides, it was a covenant between God and man as friends, whereas now man has become the enemy of God. but though it was not renewed with them, yet it was, on that solemn occasion, repeated and displayed to them. It was not proposed to them in order that they might consent, by their own works, to fulfil the condition of it, but it was displayed before them in subservience to the covenant of grace that they might see how impossible it was for them as condemned sinners to perform that perfect obedience which is the immutable condition of life in it…Now the covenant of works was displayed in this tremendous form before the Israelites in order that self-righteous and secure sinners among them might be alarmed, and deterred from expecting justification in the sight of God by the works of the law…Although the Sinaic transaction was a mixed dispensation, yet the covenant of grace and the covenant of works were not blended together in it…The law promulgated from Mount Sinai to the Israelites as the matter of a national covenant between God and them…the promises of that national covenant were promises of temporal good things to the Israelites, both as a body politic and as individuals, and of these in subservience to their enjoyment of religious privileges. The inheritance of the earthly Canaan as typical of the eternal inheritance was given to Abraham by promise (see p. 67 for a further delineation of the national promises that the republished covenant of works would give to an obedient Israel). See pages 55, 57, 61, 62, 64, and 66 of the SDG edition for the quotations.

Lastly, The Marrow of Modern Divinity:

God never made the covenant of works with any man since the fall, either with expectation that he should fulfil it, or to give him life by it…[L]et no man imagine that God published the covenant of works on Mount Sinai, as though he had been mutable, and so changed his determination in that covenant made with Abraham…[I]t was added by way of subserviency and attendance, the better to advance and make effectual the covenant of grace; so that although the same covenant that was made with Adam was renewed on Mount Sinai, yet I say still, it was not for the same purpose. (Christian Heritage edition, pp. 83-84).

On pages 81-83, there are supporting quotations from Polonus (maybe Polanus?), Preston, Pemble, and Walker that advocate a republication of the covenant of works at Sinai. Now, the idea of republication is not the view of all the Reformed fathers, and it would be difficult to say what the majority view was. A lot depends on which elements one includes in one’s definition of republication. There is the element of the covenant of works renewed as pedagogical. Then there is the element of a national covenant (which can be made for different purposes, as the Colquhoun quotation shows; i.e., not all advocates of a republication thesis believed that it was republished for the purposes of giving the land to Israel upon condition of obedience.). In Kline’s view there is the additional element of simple merit, which is certainly not something all republication advocates share.

Can the critics of republication please stop claiming that all these ideas are purely novel, and haven’t been around until Kline came on the scene? That should now be manifestly absurd.

On the other side of the coin, there seems to me to be some exaggeration on the part of republication advocates as to how widespread the view was in the Reformation era and post-Reformation era. Here is where the danger of accommodation comes in (making old authors speak with modern categories). It does not appear to me from my current vantage point that republication was the majority view. A careful reading of Turretin would seem to bear this out (Venema’s careful handling of Turretin seems mostly on target, although Fesko does have some legitimate points in response. The whole exchange in CPJ 8-9 is essential reading for this debate).

So here is where I currently am: I advocate a form of republication that is very similar to Colquhoun’s. The republication was given to Israel primarily for the purposes of the pedagogical use of the law (though not only for this purpose). Of course, it is helpful to bear in mind that in this pedagogical sense, the covenant of works is always republished throughout the entire Bible. It is always there, sometimes more in the background, sometimes more in the foreground.

There is something unique about the Mosaic economy, however. I believe that there was a national covenant made with Israel, but not for the purposes of giving them the land. That was already promised in the Abrahamic covenant. John Colquhoun’s list of privileges and promises that hinge on the obedience is more in line with what the Scripture says, in my opinion. It is, therefore, a very limited republication view that I espouse. I reject Kline’s view of simple merit, if he means strict merit. No one can merit strictly except Jesus Christ.

143 Comments

  1. May 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    From my interaction with it, this is what I know from reading, going to this years’ GPTS conference that many lectures addressed (republication), and studying the PNWP Republication report (looking forward to the OPC Study report as well). 1) The Mosaic covenant is viewed as a merit based covenant for the nation of Israel to enter the promised land. If they didn’t fulfill the covenant they would not as a nation enter, if they did they would. 2) A lot of emphasis is placed on Galatians 2-3 and the use of the law, but in my mind neglects thinking through other letters of Paul. Their view of the law there in my mind unhealthily gives them a view of the moral law that is dangerous. That is they deny the moral law. They deny it because they deny the three-fold distinction (moral, ceremonial, civil) [How are these guys holding to the Standards?]. Yet they say they hold to God’s moral will. I’m still confused about this and how #1 and #2 work together. But it seems they want to maybe not in words in but in practice/application want to get rid of WCF 19. If one desires to do so, they would be compromising the whole of the Standards. So needless to say I’m concerned about it.

    It seems Lane you only interact with Fesko, what about T. David Gordon: http://www.tdgordon.net/theology/abraham_and_sinai_contraste.pdf http://www.tdgordon.net/theology/covenants_in_the_bible.doc http://www.tdgordon.net/theology/covenants_in_the_bible.doc

  2. Ryan said,

    May 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Didn’t Owen and Vos also hold to republication? I could be mistaken. I find this topic interesting, please post more on it!

  3. Pete Rambo said,

    May 22, 2015 at 1:35 am

    It will yet be published again. Isaiah 2:2-5. The King will rule with a rod of iron, Psalm 2, and the nations will come into compliance or be judged. Zech. 14:16-21

    We best be learning to to walk in the ways of the everlasting Word of our King.

    May He remove the spirit of slumber.

  4. May 22, 2015 at 9:39 am

    It does seem opponents of RPB want all proponents to be Klinean in their commitments, thereby ignoring the historical and alternative expressions of this important issue. I can’t help but assume that since Mr. Tipton is on the OPC committee and is voicing frustration here, things must not be going too well….

  5. greenbaggins said,

    May 22, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Andrew, I am a bit puzzled by your reply. Where do republication advocates deny the moral law? And where do they deny the threefold distinction between moral, civil, and ceremonial law? I’m not tracking as to how republication runs against the grain of the three-fold distinction.

    I am fairly convinced now that Israel did not inherit the promised land by a republished covenant of works. It was promised to Abraham. Their inheritance of Canaan was by grace. This is Colquhoun’s position. Please point out where Colquhoun denies the three-fold distinction.

    My question for the critics of republication is how they would explain the curses and blessings in the last part of Deuteronomy. Those curses and blessings are dependent on obedience and disobedience. It seems a bit difficult to explain all that by the covenant of grace.

    Ryan, I hope to write more on the topic. Vos held to a version of republication, that is true. It’s in RHBI, p. 255 and Reformed Dogmatics 2.130. Owen’s view is not really republication. He held that the Mosaic economy was really a third covenant, unlike the CoW and the CoG.

  6. kent said,

    May 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks Lane. You have again summed it up as well as anyone I have read. It’s an issue of great complication and endless pondering of the several points of view, only outdone by Sabbath arguments.

    I understand the academic game of rivalry, having to throw darts at Kline in order to establish elbow room.

    I don’t understand the unlettered people who keep fooling themselves that they have an exhaustive understanding of Kline and another 100 theologians and Puritans. They cobble together secondary and nth-degree sources that reek of jealousy of Kline and (as noted by you) an unreasonable hatred of all things WSCali.

    Oh well, the internet lets the second group have a life, I guess…

  7. Nathan said,

    May 22, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Lane,
    Most of your post is very helpful. However, the elephant in this discussion that isn’t being addressed is that WCF 4.II says Adam and Eve had the law of God written in their hearts and then says “[b]eside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; …” I understand the law, in 4.II, to be the moral law defined in 19.II. The covenant spoken of in 7.II was the Covenant of Works, which is the ‘command’ in 4.II. Therefore, Dr. Waddington’s article in CPJ 10 pages 193-194 was correct in questioning if the moral (natural) law must be understood as the Covenant of Works.
    I have no problem with republication. The question is, what was republished? Many of the sources that the Professors at Westminster California quote in their writings, like The Marrow, actually are addressing the moral law being republished and not the Covenant of Works. I agree with WCF 7.I-II that the Covenant of Works was the first covenant between God and man, but I think that the moral law wasn’t part of the Covenant of Works. The Covenant of Works was added to the moral law. The Ten Commandments was a republication of the moral law.
    The problem, in this, debate is that we think that WCF 7.I binds God to communicate with man only through the means of a covenant, but that is not what the Confession actually says. It says God has to voluntary condescension which He does by covenant. I would argue that the stress of the wording is the voluntary condescension is needed between us and God, and the way God has chosen to express Himself is through covenant. I have actually written about this on my blog.
    Dr. VanDrunen’s response to Waddington’s article was understandable, but Dr. VanDrunen seemed like he wasn’t willing to reconsider the assumption that God’s voluntary condescension must be through covenant.

  8. May 22, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Lane, your overly simplistic analysis falls very short of the situation. The people I know have never claimed many of the things you have stated here. For instance, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t acknowledge the minority position that some of the Divine’s held to such as Owen, Bolton, the Marrow Men, etc. But is their view the one being represented by the likes of people such as Dr. R. Scott Clark, Estelle, Van Drunen and Modern Day advocates representative of their position? I believe your analysis falls very short and seems rather vitriolic and rhetorical here.

    The Modern view Recasts Covenant and Creation. It changes the substance of the Mosaic Covenant as seen by our Confession. I believe you should read Moses and Merit a lot closer. Also note the references involved with the book.

    Their claims are not false. And since they are not false these things should be examined more closely. They have done their homework unlike you. BTW, this is more about the authors and theology of the book ‘The Law is Not of Faith’. Many have notices that the same terminology is being used but with different definitions. So one has to be very careful. I do have to remind others that the Meredith Kline who wrote By Oath Consigned changed his position concerning the substance of the Mosaic Covenant. So a person needs to remember that when reading Kline.

    https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/creation-and-covenant-recast-and-collapsed-together/

    https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/two-different-definitions-of-merit/

    Discussions from our own Puritanboard….

    Concerning the differences between the Marrow Men and the Modern Day Reformed guys.
    https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-marrow-of-modern-divinity-and-the-recent-republication-issue/

    Dr. R. Scott Clark….. Proves his position differs from the Confession in my estimation.
    https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/very-good-discussion-on-r-scott-clarks-7-point-summary-of-republication/

  9. greenbaggins said,

    May 22, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Randy, your comment has caught me a bit off-guard. I assure you that no vitriol was intended. In fact, it was exactly the opposite that I intended: light and not heat. I believe that if you are seeing vitriol in the post, it is because you are importing it there. Furthermore, it is a single blog post. It cannot hope to address everything. I am a generalist by nature. I have to see and articulate the big picture. My post wasn’t even intended to orient people towards the entire controversy. It was aimed at removing misconceptions. And I have seen rather extreme vitriol directed towards Kline and the WSCAL position by MANY people.

    Secondly, Owen did not hold a republication view. I wonder at your lumping him in with the republication view. He held that the Mosaic economy was a tertium quid.

    Thirdly, you offer only assertions. You have not addressed the particular points I raised.

    Fourthly, you seem to think that the WSCAL folk are all cookie-cutter Kline. This is manifestly not the case with, say, Fesko. I would suggest that it is actually your analysis that is simplistic.

  10. Everett said,

    May 22, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Just want to point out that above Mr. Johnson wrote, “I can’t help but assume that since Mr. Tipton is on the OPC committee and is voicing frustration here, things must not be going too well”

    I’m pretty sure that blogger on this sight, while named Lane, is not the Lane Tipton of WTS and the OPC Study Committee fame. The ‘about’ page clears this up: My name is Rev. Lane Keister. I am a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) pastor currently serving Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro, SC.

  11. Rutherford said,

    May 22, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    R Andrew McSynder (Neo-Covenanter),

    How many times and in how many places are you going to bring false charges against elders in the Church.

    If you are so concern again why don’t you get your denomination involve. I am sure the RPCNA and it’s seminary, RPTS, is going to bring a solution to all the reformed theogical matters. Never has….

    Prof. R. Scott Clark has clearly communicated his view to you and has made it public. Check the Heidelblog. It is you that needs to do the homework and be a good Presby by following proper church order.

  12. Jim Dodson said,

    May 22, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Dear Sir,

    I submit the following considerations respecting this debate:

    First, the Mosaic covenant is the publishing of the covenant of grace to Israel. All publications of the covenant of grace include the necessity of the keeping of the natural moral law as a condition of sanctification (which is typified by the land of Israel–it is holy, i.e., sanctified). This is not, however, a republication of the covenant of works, unless (as Bannerman probably meant) you are speaking of the substance of the natural moral law contained in it.

    Second, the Mosaic covenant, being a typical dispensation of the covenant of grace, contained positive enactments meant to serve as types and shadows of the New Testament dispensation of the same covenant under Christ come. This is the reason Mr. Keister perceives Owen as seeing the Mosaic covenant as a “tertium quid,” a third thing, neither covenant of grace or covenant of works. Owen understood the Mosaic dispensation to be a typical one and that involves establishing things and usages designed to point to something else.

    Third, one different they all miss is this–the covenant of works is not testamentary. The covenant of works was established within men by nature. It is concreated. Thanks to Palmer Robertson (his “Christ of the Covenants” is hostile to this distinction) and Meredith Kline, there has been a total eclipse of the ability to distinguish diatheke as covenant versus diatheke as testament. Most of the book of Hebrews assumes the latter rather than former definition is mostly in view (Hebrews 13:20 ties the latter, testament, to the former, covenant). Testaments are written, which is why the writing of the Scriptures began with Moses even though sin and death was in the world from Adam to Moses (cf. Rom. 5:14). Only with Moses does the covenant of grace find itself expressed in a testamentary form. (Yes, there was a covenant of grace published since the Fall, e.g., Gen. 3:15 [the proto-evangelium]; but it was not done in a testamentary way–a written codicil). Moses adds elaborate typical services beyond simple sacrifice (which shows the law, and guilt for breaking it, written on the heart by nature, cf. Rom. 2:14, 15) or circumcision (which declares that salvation is not to be found through the flesh, i.e., through nature but through grace, cf. Gen. 17:7). Circumcision is a “re-publication” of the promise of the proto-evangelium concerning the “seed of the woman.”

    Fourth, with Moses, God has “republished” the covenant of grace, which contains the natural moral law, in a peculiarly typical fashion, in order to prepare the people of God for the coming of Christ. Thus, the law, by which Paul means the Mosiac covenant, is a school-master to lead us to Christ, cf. Gal. 3:24. Under Moses, because of the testamentary nature of the revelation, the whole publication of the covenant of grace is, for the first time, reduced to writing. This accounts for the whole being denominated “law,” because all written communiqués, especially those which are testamentary (e.g., codicils), may be denominated “law.” This is the point of Galatians 3:15, “though it be but a man’s covenant [diatheke, testament], yet if it be confirmed, no man disanulleth or addeth thereto.” The Mosaic ceremonies were the confirming of the testamentary character of his written “law.” It assumed legal status as a whole (including the “republished” natural moral law). Again, Galatians 3:17 makes clear that the “law,” the Mosiac covenant (which is not a covenant of works but a testamentary dispensation) cannot disannul the promise which is the covenant of grace published to Abraham. In other words, the typical features of the Mosaic dispensation are not designed to make the promise of the covenant of grace of none effect but are designed “because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19) to serve until the coming of Christ. The Mosaic dispensation was made because the people of God making transgressions (parabasis); they were “overstepping boundaries” which Moses would now bring into better focus through typology and ceremony.

    Fifth, it seems to me that VanDrunen and others mistake the relation of the natural moral law with the covenant of works. The covenant of works contained all the precepts of the natural moral law; however, the covenant of works per se did not consist in any direct reference to that law concreated in man. Had the covenant of works in any way depended upon the performance of the natural moral law, Adam’s failure might be attributed to some defect in his creation (contrary to Eccl. 7:29). The failure was not natural moral but elsewhere. The covenant of works was suspended upon the positive command given regarding the eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, cf. Gen. 2:17. Adam’s disobedience was not against nature but against a command which existed only grounded upon the bare will of his Creator. In response, Adam’s disobedience arose from a will that, though created unfallen, was liable to fall, if the agent in possess of that will in anyway declined from his Maker. That said, the Mosaic covenant cannot properly be said to be a republication of the covenant of works because it does not reiterate that very command upon which the covenant of works depended. From doubt and a corruption of his will, Adam corrupted the whole nature from which all human persons descend. This corruption is transmitted by ordinary generation (which is why, of course, Christ is excepted). Natural moral law is not the covenant of works, though it is contained in that covenant as well as in the covenant of grace. It assumes a different relation to each because of the difference in each covenant. However, Moses not only does not republish the condition of the covenant of works, it is important to remember that his typical observances are not serving the same purpose as did the command “not to eat.” Therefore, these typical, or ceremonial, observances cannot be construed to be somehow “new” positive commands like that given in the garden. Adam was given the positive command as a condition; Moses delivered the various ceremonies not as conditions but as shadows.

    Sixth, it is the nature of the covenant of grace to find its warrant in positive precept rather than natural precept. In this sense, even the covenant of works displayed a gracious character, since there was no natural connection between the command concerning the tree and everlasting life. The difference with the covenant of grace properly considered, and the Mosaic economy made this clear as well, is that the condition does not depend upon the creation but upon the Creator as Redeemer.

    Grace and peace,
    Jim Dodson

  13. May 22, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    My name is Randy Martin Snyder. I am not a mono-covenantalist. Who are you Rutherford? Just wondering why the comment and why the slander was made anonomously? I know other men who hide in cowardice like that also. I won’t address you any longer unless you want to come out of anonymity.

    Lane, I believe heat was brought out instead of light when you were referring to Dr. Venema. It seems you are missing a big part of this equation which states, “In some sense.” The Republication of the Covenant of Works is republished, ‘In Some Sense.” And Venema makes that distinction on the very same page you are sighting. He even quotes the whole Confessional point you say he is missing here. He makes the distinctions. Reread your CPJ. Especially the next line after your quote. “It is related to the in-some-sense issue I believe as opposed to the confessional understanding. “Unlike the covenant of works, which required “personal and perfect obedience” to the law as the condition for obtaining life and blessedness, the Mosaic econmy requires faith in Christ alone for Salvation.” CPV Does he not make the in-some-sense issue clear throughout page 161 as he addresses the Chapter 19 issue? I believe he is addressing the issue of a Covenant of Works re-instituted even for land blessings and retention. The in-some-sense issue. But even that is a wrong way to think also. That is what this whole merit issue is about. I am not sure I have read anyone from the 17th and 18th Century who believes that the Covenant of Works was reinstituted for land possession or re-issued as a means outside of grace and based upon strict merit to obtain and retain the land. There are Covenant Promises, Reward, and Cursing issues under the Covenant of Grace but not in the sense as some of these guys are stating.

    I think you mishandled this issue concerning Venema.

    Also, if you look at Owen he is believed to hold to the Republication of the Covenant of Works. It doesn’t look like what Modern Day Republicationists hold to though maybe. I would think you new that. Remember as a Reformed Baptist, I read a lot of Owen. Also if you would reread Mark Brown he said Owen believed that the Covenant of Works was republished. It matters on how we define republished. I believe the Law of the Covenant of Works was republished. Maybe men of old didn’t see the need to define that a bit more since the teaching was being so distorted as it is now days.

    http://www.christurc.org/blog/2011/01/27/the-covenant-of-works-revived-john-owen-on-republication-in-the-mosaic-covenant

    On point number 4 you have made another blunder. Where have I said or made that accusation? You are slandering me here brother.

    I address particulars by links to my blogs because they are referenced with references. I do give particulars. Read them.

  14. greenbaggins said,

    May 22, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Randy, you are getting frustrating very rapidly, because you are misunderstanding me completely, and accusing me of things that were very far from my mind.

    First point. I was in no way disrespectful to Venema. I highly respect him. I disagree with him on the point regarding WCF 7. I DID NOT ACCUSE him of making the mistake of misrepresenting the republication advocates. You are completely making that up, and it is nowhere in the blog post. I disagree with Venema’s take on chapter 7 of the WCF. He thinks it rules out republication. I disagree. In the process of my disagreement, I mentioned that Venema is normally very careful. Later on, I mention Venema in a context of where I agree with him. HOW IN THE WORLD can you accuse me of disrespecting him and bringing more heat than light? It is you with the reading problems at the moment, not me.

    Furthermore, are you aware that I edited that piece that Venema put in the CPJ, and therefore read it straight through at least five times? Could it be that I am remembering Venema better than you are?

    As to slandering you in point 4, you wrote, “But is their view the one being represented by the likes of people such as Dr. R. Scott Clark, Estelle, Van Drunen and Modern Day advocates representative of their position?” This is lumping a lot of people together that don’t agree on every point in dispute. I was assuming you were including Fesko in this crowd, since he is a contributor and editor to TLINOF. If you were not including Fesko, then I was in error. Even if you weren’t, it is still a lumping together kind of comment. It is not a huge stretch from your statement to what I said. Are you not including in one group all the followers of Kline, and accusing them of the same error? Because that’s sure what it sounds like to me. At any rate, if you weren’t saying that, you picked a singularly unclear way of saying it.

    Brother, I have always in the past had the most cordial relationship with you. You seem to have turned on me like a raging bull. What is going on here?

  15. May 22, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Call me Lane.

  16. May 22, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I want to take this off board. I think you are missing a lot. Your words prove this to me. I hate internet communication. I posted a response but others are not willing to look at the references. They just want the rhetorical to go on.

  17. May 22, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Lane, at the same time please read the links I posted before you call. They are extracts the OPC are going to have to deal with. They are mosty extracts of the three WSCal guys who graduated from there. I would say Lane Tiption is negligent in my estimation concerning the Kline of 1969 and the Kline of the latter years. I even charged him with that face to face at the Reformed Forum Conference. You and I discussed this issue here. Are Kline and Karlberg Confessional?
    http://www.puritanboard.com/f30/kline-mark-karlberg-not-confessional-concerning-mosaic-69258/

  18. May 22, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Frustrating? Yeah it is.

  19. brandonadams said,

    May 22, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Lane, you defined republication as “that there exists in the Mosaic covenant some sort of republication of the covenant of works.” I don’t think that’s an adequate definition, but working with that definition, why do you deny that Owen held to republication? Owen believed “that there exists in the Mosaic covenant some sort of republication of the covenant of works.” Can you clarify? (Are you familiar with the subservient covenant view?)

    Thanks

  20. David R. said,

    May 23, 2015 at 12:28 am

    I’m surprised that you view Turretin as “difficult to parse” on this issue but Colquhoun not. I see it the other way around because for Turretin, there are just two substantially distinct covenants and the Mosaic was the covenant of grace (albeit “clothed with form of a covenant of works” for pedagogical purposes). Relatively simple and clear by contrast with Colquhoun’s position, which is more complex, as he holds that there is also a “national covenant” distinct from both the CoW and the CoG. Additionally, his national covenant is gracious (unlike Owen’s), yet it punishes transgressors (temporally). I like Colquhoun, but on this issue I’m still trying to figure him out.

  21. CT said,

    May 23, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Looks like Randy demonstrated your point. Thank you for the helpful post. I’m looking forward to the OPC report.

  22. May 23, 2015 at 8:57 am

    I reject Kline’s view of simple merit, if he means strict merit. No one can merit strictly except Jesus Christ.

    Lane, I appreciate that you devoted at least one sentence to the issue of “merit”, which actually is the heart of the debate, not whether there have been variable (and decidedly minority) versions of republication in Reformed history.

    If the “merit” at play in the Klinean system is analogous to the medieval church’s “congruent merit ” scheme (acknowledge by a prominent Repub advocate), then you might want to consider that critics have substantive grounds for concern, vis a vis being driven by hatred of Kline or WSC as you suggest.

  23. greenbaggins said,

    May 23, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Mark, you are correct that merit is a very important part of this debate (I don’t know whether I would call it the heart of the debate, but it certainly is very important). I do not intend for this post to be the only thing I write about it. I’ll probably write a post solely on the merit issue. One of my concerns, however, is that critics, while being rightly concerned about the merit issue, sometimes throw out the baby with the bathwater. I have seen more than one person hereticize Kline and WSC, though. That ought not to be the case even if Kline is wrong on the merit issue. the rhetoric I’ve seen is pretty heavily one-sided against Kline and WSC.

  24. May 23, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    CT, I admit that I don’t always see clearly. I am not sure how you think I prove Lane’s point. If anything I believe he actually proves he is just as prone to do what he is trying not to do. I have been guilty of that myself. He actually accused me of things that just aren’t true.

    Lane You Stated,
    “First point. I was in no way disrespectful to Venema. I highly respect him. I disagree with him on the point regarding WCF 7. I DID NOT ACCUSE him of making the mistake of misrepresenting the republication advocates. You are completely making that up, and it is nowhere in the blog post.”

    Please read the following slowly Lane. I don’t want to be misrepresented again.

    Lane, I still think you are incorrect concerning your lifting one phrase out of context concerning Dr. Venema. You really didn’t address that. All you said was that you edited the piece so you know what you are talking about. That really isn’t an answer to what I wrote.

    On the issues you accuse me of before, I never said you were disrespectful toward Dr. Venema. I wish people wouldn’t accuse me of things that I didn’t say. You have done that a few times now. And that is bearing false witness brother. I also never said you accused him of misrepresenting the views of the Republication advocates. I did say you mishandled Venema’s article as I noted before. I even quoted from it and tried to help you see the context of the article via page 161. Just the past two issues I mention here should give you alarm to how you might be handling the reading and this situation also. You are the one importing things here that never crossed my mind. They also never crossed my pen here

    Please give me a call at your convenience next week. Unfortunately it is 500 race weekend here. I have to serve guests who are coming into town.

    Your admiring brother,
    Randy

  25. brandonadams said,

    May 23, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    “One of my concerns, however, is that critics, while being rightly concerned about the merit issue, sometimes throw out the baby with the bathwater.”

    Lane, I think a way for there to be more nuance on this discussion is for proponents of Klinean republication to admit that Klinean republication is unconfessional on the question of merit. Kline was very open about his rejection of WCF 7.1. If other modern proponents of the view have modified Kline’s position and don’t agree with him there, then they need to state clearly that Kline was unconfessional and state clearly how they differ.

    The reality is, I have not seen that done. Instead, I see modern proponents defending Kline’s view as confessional. This directly ties in with what you said regarding WCF 19.2. They follow Kline’s rejection of 7.1 by arguing that natural law itself contains the works principle and is itself the covenant of works (rather than seeing the covenant of works as added onto the natural/moral law; see DVD in TLNF). That’s why they argue the way they do about 19.2.

    So if you would like to see more nuance and you want to avoid throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it’s necessary to at least agree to throw out the bathwater. That has not been done, so far as I can tell.

  26. Stuart (OPC) said,

    May 23, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    As I recall, I was not that favorable to an OPC study committee on republication for several reasons: 1) I lean against republication but am ambivalent on the matter. Perhaps more study would push me one direction or the other but it just does not seem all that pressing to me; 2) any real exponents of republication that have crossed the line into real heresy (in hypothesi) should be dealt with judicially and not by attainting a more general view via study committee (in thesi); 3) I can’t help but feel like there are other more pressing issues for my denomination to consider. If WSCal sends us a student that is heterodox, vote against him in his theological exam; 4) I am not certain underlying assumptions about the covenant that inform the debate on the covenant of works/grace distinction are sufficiently clear (at least to me—maybe I am the heretic).
    Before this controversy had ever come to my attention I wrote an article on “The Blessing of Abraham” (see http://www.kerux.com/Author.asp?id=12) suggesting that the suzerainty model for covenant has its limits and (contra an earlier post) that testament needs closer inspection and integration into our thinking. Perhaps a slight bias to superlapsarian scholasticism might put me in the cross hairs of those concerned with mono-covenantalism. Angelic election seems to be superlapsarian—was there any kind of testament or covenant God had with them? How different is angelic election from human election? I put out these questions and propositions not to advocate some heresy but to suggest there are some questions about the concept of covenant itself that still remain to be settled in my mind. Again, my article pre-dated all of this controversy, including the mono-covenantal stuff, so I don’t feel any tie to any party.

  27. dgwired said,

    May 24, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Mark VDM, “If the “merit” at play in the Klinean system is analogous to the medieval church’s “congruent merit ” scheme (acknowledge by a prominent Repub advocate), then you might want to consider that critics have substantive grounds for concern, . . .”

    Then why is it that Klineans have been uniformly opposed to Shepherd and Federal Vision for actually making fuzzy the lines between the Reformation and Roman Catholic soteriology?

  28. Jack Miller said,

    May 24, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    brandonadams @26

    They follow Kline’s rejection of 7.1 by arguing that natural law itself contains the works principle and is itself the covenant of works (rather than seeing the covenant of works as added onto the natural/moral law…

    Could you give me your understanding of WLC Q. 93? The moral law is not presented here by the Divines as a covenant of works, yet…

    Isn’t there is something intrinsic to the moral law that evinces the principle of the covenant of works, i.e. do this and live… disobey and die?

    Q. 93. What is the moral law?
    A. The moral law is the declaration of the will of God to mankind, directing and binding every one to personal, perfect, and perpetual conformity and obedience thereunto, in the frame and disposition of the whole man, soul, and body, and in performance of all those duties of holiness and righteousness which he oweth to God and man: promising life upon the fulfilling, and threatening death upon the breach of it.

  29. brandonadams said,

    May 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Hi Jack,

    Natural law itself does threaten punishment (disobey and die), but it does not promise [eternal] life upon the fulfilling. 7.1 is clear about this. The promise of life upon fulfilling was offered in the covenant of works (7.2) above and beyond the law itself (and was thus a voluntary condescension).

    How then are we to understand WLC93? The surrounding questions place Q93 in the context of Adam’s original state in the garden and I believe it is describing the moral law in that context – i.e. as it was given as a covenant of works to man. Note the prooftexts provided by the Catechism at that last section of the answer: Rom 10:5; Gal 3:10, 12; Rom 5:12. These are the same texts provided in 7.2 for the covenant of works.

  30. Jack Miller said,

    May 24, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    brandonadams,

    What surrounding questions are you referring to that point to Adam’s original state?

    It seems to me that WLC93 is a straight forward definition of the moral law, leading to the following questions as to how the moral law relates to the reprobate and then how it relates to the regenerate. In fact Q97, addressing the regenerate, states “yet besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men”… These “all men” are just that – specifically the reprobate men under the covenant of works and also the regenerate under the covenant of grace.

    Of course the Q97 answer previously states “Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, so as thereby they are neither justified nor condemned…” That is, the demand for death upon sin is still present as well as the promise for life upon obedience, but for the regenerate Christ has paid the penalty of death for sin and has fulfilled the requirement for life.

  31. Jack Miller said,

    May 24, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    And hence we must judge what Paul understands by the law of works, what by the works of the law, and what by faith. The law of works is that which demands works to be done by man himself, as the condition of life, or the cause of claiming the reward: the tenor of which is this, The man who doeth these things shall live in them, Rom 10:5. Such a law was given to Adam of old, who, if he had persevered in his integrity, would have obtained a right to eternal life by his works of righteousness.

    The same doctrine Moses repeated in his ministry. For he also inculcated the same precepts upon which the covenant of works had been built: he both repeated the same solemn saying, He who doeth these things shall live in them, Lev 18:5, and also added another, Cursed be he who shall not perform the words of this law in doing them, Deut 27:26. That this is the curse of the law, as it stands opposed to the covenant of grace, Paul teacheth, Gal 3:10, which, however, is not so to be understood, as if God had intended, by the ministry of Moses, to make a new covenant of works with Israel, with a view to obtain righteousness and salvation by such a covenant. But that repetition of the covenant of works was designed to convince the Israelites of their sin and misery, to drive them out of themselves, to teach them the necessity of a satisfaction, and to compel them to cleave to Christ: and thus it was subservient to the covenant of grace, Rom 10:4.

    Herman Witsius, Conciliatory or Irenical Animadversions on the Controversies Agitated in Britain Under the Unhappy Names of Antinomians and Neonomians (trans. Thomas Bell; Glasgow: W. Lang, 1807; originally published in Latin in 1696), 86-87.

    http://upper-register.typepad.com/blog/2015/05/witsius-on-the-subservient-repetition-of-the-covenant-of-works.html

  32. brandonadams said,

    May 24, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    I meant Q92 and Q94 as context. Regardless, the main point is the rest of what I said :) Not sure what you’re trying to demonstrate with your comments on 97. Also not sure why you’re quoting Witsius to explain the meaning of the Standards. Feel free to interact with what I have said regarding 7.1-2 and their proof texts, as they relate to WLC93.

  33. Jack Miller said,

    May 25, 2015 at 12:11 am

    Hi brandonadams,

    Ignore the Witsius quote as it is relevant to the overall thread but not our discussion.

    Q92 states that the rule of obedience besides the command to not eat of the tree… was the moral law. Q93 then defines the moral law as threatening death and promising life.

    Q94 then says that that moral law (a rule of righteousnes that also threatens death upon sin and promises life upon obedience) is of use to the regenerate and the unregenerate. Q95 through Q97 explain the use of the moral law as defined in Q93 to all men and specifically the unregenerate and the regenerate.

    If we are equating natural law in man’s heart with the moral law then it would seem to me that it follows that the natural law reflects the covenant of works conditions.

  34. May 25, 2015 at 9:01 am

    dgwired, it is a puzzle indeed why the Klinean camp would oppose medieval congruent merit in terms of justification, but hold to medieval congruent merit in terms of sanctification and temporal rewards for OT Israel. I could take a cue from Lane and speculate that this theological schizophrenia is simply driven by a hatred of Shepard, but that would get us nowhere in terms of substantive discussion.

    So one getting something right (opposition to FV) does not excuse getting something wrong (Klinean Medieval Merit Scheme). By way of illustration, Scofield could clearly articulate justification by faith alone apart from works, but that does mean we accept the dichotomous hash he made of covenant theology.

  35. brandonadams said,

    May 25, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Jack, you’re not reading what I’m writing :) Have a good day.

  36. Jack Miller said,

    May 25, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Brandon, I would say likewise… ;).
    cheers

  37. David R. said,

    May 25, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Jack, I think you’re being unfair to Brandon, who has indeed engaged with what you have written.

    You like to quote Robert Shaw, so here he is speaking to this issue (citing from his comments on WCF 7:1):

    Man is naturally and necessarily under a law to God. This results from the necessary and unalterable relation subsisting between God and man, as the one is the Creator, and the other his creature. God might, therefore, if he had pleased, demanded all possible obedience of man, without making any promise securing his establishment in a state of innocence and enjoyment, and his advancement to a state of still higher felicity, as the reward of his obedience. And though man had gone through a long course of obedience, without a single failure, he could not have laid his Creator under any obligation to him, or been entitled to any recompense. But God graciously condescended to deal with man by way of covenant, and thus gave him an opportunity to secure his happiness by acquiring a right to it – a right founded upon stipulation, or upon the promise.

    Now, the objection being raised against your interpretation of WLC 93 is that it contradicts WCF 7:1. See the problem?

  38. Jack Miller said,

    May 25, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    David, I doubt Brandon needs you to come to his aid. And no, I don’t think he is understanding what I’m getting at (which may very well be due to my lack of clarity or that he simply thinks it not relevant to his argument), Nor am I sure that you are seeing my point. So here goes…

    I’m fully aware of WCF 7.1 and have that section very much in mind in what I wrote above. The question I’m approaching concerning God’s condescension via covenant with man is whether that covenant is intrinsic to the image of God in Adam given at creation, which includes the moral or natural law, or was that convenant added to the moral law in Gen. 2:16-17.

    David Vandrunen’s book “Divine Covenants and Moral Order” is helpful. And of course he lays quite a bit of ground work to come to some conclusions, a few of which are here:

    “It would be better to see the creation of human beings in God’s image as itself an act of covenant establisment… If my interpretation of the image and likeness of God in the context of Genesis 1-2 is accurate, then there is no element of the covenant of creation, as traditionally understood in Reformed theology, that is not already a constitutive aspecy of the human race’s natural relationship to God. By their image-bearing nature human beings were morally obligated before God, and by their image-bearing nature their were destined for eschatological life…

    The commands of 2:15-17 are best understood, in my judgment, not as supplementing Adam’s natural moral obligation but as focusing it…

    God’s creation of human beings in his image and likeness was itself an act establishing a covenant, whose terms would be focused (though not substantively changed or supplemented) in the supernaturally revealed commands of Genesis 2:15-17… (pp. 84-86)

    My thoughts: The above coincides with the sections of the WLC that I cite above regarding the moral law and it’s instrinsic (even inseparable) covenantal aspect shown in its threatening of death for disobedience and promise of eschatological life upon perfect obedience.

    Back to WCF 7.1 – There is a theological and biblical case to be made that the natural law indeed does contain the works principle or covenant of works (threatening and promise as relates ot obedience). That is why the WLC sections I mention are, in my view, on point. They present the moral law as not only a rule of righteousness but as threatening death upon sin and promising life upon obedience. Sinful man can no longer keep that covenant (he needs Another Adam) but it is still in play and part and parcel with the moral law. And taking that view doesn’t reject WCF 7.1. The command to “not eat of the tree…” in Gen. 2 brought to the forefront as a test the covenantal arrangemenat that already existed via God’s covenantal condescension at his creation of man. Yet WLC 19 makes note that this occurred in the garden for that is when it comes to the forefront in the biblical account.

    Much in the same way WCF 7.3 calls the covenant of grace “a second” covenant made with man because it comes forth in Gen. 3 after the garden covenant test in chapter 2. Yet WLC 31 teaches that the covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam and all the elect in him which alludes to the covenant of redemption before creation which preceeds the covenant of works with Adam.

    blessings brothers…

  39. brandonadams said,

    May 25, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Jack, you’re not reading 7.1 correctly. Man as reasonable creature (apart from covenant) owes obedience to God without any possibility of eschatological life. Kline rejected that and therefore he was very open about his rejection of 7.1. Why can’t Kline’s followers be as open as Kline was?

  40. May 25, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    David Vandrunen’s book “Divine Covenants and Moral Order” is helpful.

    LOL!!!!

  41. Jack Miller said,

    May 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Brandon, you’d be more effective by explaining your objections rather than (now twice) simply stating I’m wrong because in your view I’m reading you and 7.1 incorrectly. I’m not defending Kline but simply stating my view. As I understand, nothing I wrote negates 7.1 in that man owes obedience to God apart from covenant. Man indeed does. The argument is that the law to which man owes obedience (strictly due to the fact that it is God’s law for man) was nonetheless given to man in a covenantal arrangement at his creation. That covenant arrangement allowed for man to have the possibility of fruition not due to any obedience strictly to the moral or natural law itself as 7.1 teaches. So God’s condescension in covenantal arrangement isn’t necessary for man’s obligation to obey even though that law was given to him covenantally.

    I have nothing further to add unless you want to engage this some more.
    Blessings…

    MVDM – pathetic…

  42. brandonadams said,

    May 25, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Jack, you’re contradicting yourself. You started this conversation by stating that “there is something intrinsic to the moral law that evinces the principle of the covenant of works, i.e. do this and live… disobey and die.”

    My answer was that no, any reward of life attached to the moral law was not intrinsic to the moral law but was attached to it because it was given as a covenant of works. That’s how I explained Q93.

  43. Jack Miller said,

    May 25, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    @43
    Jack, you’re contradicting yourself – in your view, Brandon, but maybe, in part, due to the word intrinsic. As I stated in my last comment, it might be my lack of clarity (note your conflating reformed tradition and WCF tradition to some confusion over at FB). The word intrinsic is not accurate. All I meant to say is that the moral law was not given apart from God’s covenant of works arrangement at man’s creation. When the moral law was written on Adam’s heart it was written covenantally. The moral law does not exist in man apart from a covenantal arrangement from God in a federal head – either the broken covenant of works in Adam or the fulfilled covenant of works in Christ. I hope that clarifies.

  44. May 25, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    MVDM – pathetic…

    Not a bad alternate way to describe my thoughts on your citation, J.M. As effective as a Remonstrant citing Arminius to support his argument at Dort. Entertaining, though. Thanks.

  45. Jack Miller said,

    May 25, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    MVDM – pathetic…

    – yawn.

  46. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    May 25, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Guffaw…

  47. May 25, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I would like to ask of the ‘non’republicationists that if indeed it was a given that Kline overstepped, or if it be possible that Kline be ignored altogether, is there still a problem with the republication commitment of say Fisher/Boston? If so, I would like to hear more about it. Sadly, it seems that Kline is a popular whipping boy that it is still unclear if there is an argument against any other forms of republication. Irksome.

  48. David R. said,

    May 25, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Jack,

    It’s your aid I’m trying to come to, not Brandon’s. ;)

    It doesn’t matter how you relate creation/image of God to the covenant-making. Any way you formulate it, you still have to deal with the question whether man by virtue of creation/image of God/natural law *merits* eternal life from his Creator on condition of perfect obedience. And there is no way you can make the Confession and Catechisms give a “yes” answer to that question.

  49. Jack Miller said,

    May 25, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    David, I agree with your comment above and am in no way saying man “can merit” eternal life “by virtue of creation/image of God/natural law.” My point is a more narrow one which, if you’re not picking up on, I’ll not elaborate on further here. Maybe I’ll take it up on my blog. Thanks. I do appreciate your heart and insights.

    Brazil – still trying to imagine what that is like for you. Blessings…

  50. brandonadams said,

    May 25, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Great, so you’re in agreement with the first answer I gave to your question :) Q93 has in mind the law as it was given to Adam as a covenant of works.

    Let me attempt to clear up some confusion. You seem to be focused on the question of when and how the covenant of works was communicated to man, arguing that it was communicated to man at the same time as the moral law – both were written on man’s heart at creation. Now, that is obviously related to Kline’s idea of covenantal creation, but it’s not actually the real focus. The real focus is the question of merit.

    The question is if the law itself is a covenant of works, or if the law was given as a covenant of works. Can the two be distinguished, or are they identical?

    In Kline’s response to Fuller “Covenant Theology Under Attack” he responds to Fuller’s emphasis on pre-fall grace in order to create a continuum between pre and post-fall covenant. Kline’s response is the wrong one. His response is to reject WCF 7.1 altogether, rather than pointing out that Fuller’s teaching was contrary to it.

    Kline: The statement of Jesus appealed to (Luke 17:10) does indeed indicate that we can never do something extra beyond our covenantal obligations, as a sort of favor for which God should be grateful. But this does not mean that human works of obedience are of no merit

    Note, Luke 17:10 is the prooftext in WCF 7.1. The confession appeals to it to show that “human works of obedience are of no merit.” Kline rejects this interpretation.

    Kline:

    At this juncture, advocates of the Fuller approach adduce a second argument to justify their use of the term grace rather than works for the pre­Fall covenant. They say that even if it be granted that Adam’s obedience would have earned something, the reward to be bestowed so far exceeded the value of his act of service that we cannot speak here of simple justice. We must speak of “grace.”

    We have already criticized the duplicity of using the term grace in the covenant with Adam in a sense totally different from the meaning it has in the gospel. Now we will focus on the denial of the simple justice of the pre­Fall arrangement. For one thing, the alleged disparity in value between Adam’s obedience and God’s blessing is debatable. It could be argued that insofar as man’s faithful act of obedience glorifies God and gives pleasure to God, it is of infinite value. But the point we really want to make is that the presence or absence of justice is not determined by quantitative comparison of the value of the act of obedience and the consequent reward. All such considerations are irrelevant.

    http://www.upper-register.com/papers/ct_under_attack.html

    Kline is clear in his rejection of the concept of merit taught in WCF 7.1. Instead of justice according to a condescended covenant reward, Kline argues for “simple justice.” Any consideration of the inability for creatures to merit from their Creator is “irrelevant.”

    Joseph Pipa noted in a recent lecture that Kline was very open with him about his rejection of 7.1. I heard that from someone else recently too, but I can’t recall who now. Lee Irons wrote a paper called “Redefining Merit.” The paper was written with Kline’s help and input, and at his prodding. Here is how Irons elaborates on these statements from Kline:

    If we grant the fundamental correctness and validity of Kline’s concerns, what would such a systematic overhaul of the concepts of merit and justice look like in broad outline?… Kline clearly rejects the voluntarist position that all merit is based upon God’s free and gracious condescension to make himself a debtor to man’s finite works…

    Kline searches for an entirely new definition of merit: “God’s justice must be defined and judged in terms of what he stipulates in his covenants.” The covenant is the revelation of God’s justice…

    We need to be airlifted out of the medieval battlefield, leaving the embattled medieval schools to the fate of their own mutually-assured destruction. Our desired deliverance is to be found in Kline’s redefinition of the very notion of merit. At times one may think that he agrees with the voluntarist position that all merit is defined by the covenant. But his understanding of that covenant is different. It is not a voluntary condescension of divine grace but a revelation of divine justice. Upon hearing this, one may then jump to the conclusion that Kline is an intellectualist, looking for an abstract definition of justice not based on God’s will as revealed in covenant. But this too turns out to be a false lead, for Kline rejects any ontological definition of merit that looks for a proportionality of intrinsic value between the deed and the reward. Again, merit is defined by God’s covenantal revelation. Divine justice cannot be deduced by ontological or metaphysical valuations, but can only be discerned through the spectacles of the covenant…

    When WCF VII.1 is read in this broader context, it begins to appear more and more like a vestigial organ whose surgical removal would not jeopardize the continued vitality of the larger organism… No longer is it possible to argue that the reward offered was out of all proportion to the work rendered, and that therefore Adam’s work would have been accepted according to grace rather than the strict merit of works… he was not condescending in the freedom of his grace but covenanting in the revelation of his justice.

    http://www.upper-register.com/papers/redefining_merit.pdf

    So it is crystal-clear: Kline’s view of merit was a rejection of the Westminster Confession’s view of merit.

    How does this affect the question of republication? Well, according to the WCF there is a distinction between the moral/natural law and the covenant of works. The moral/natural law is the duty that reasonable creatures owe their Creator. It says “Do this.” The covenant adds to this law a reward “Do this, and live.” Thus the moral law itself/intrinsically does NOT contain the works principle. Instead, it is simply “a perfect rule of righteousness.” Only the covenant of works contains the works principle.

    Logically distinguishing the law from the covenant, however, does not preclude us from viewing the covenant as communicated together with the law to man at creation, as our discussion on WLC 93 suggests. Nehemiah Coxe notes:

    First, God made him a reasonable creature and endued him with original righteousness, which was a perfection necessary to enable him to answer the end of his creation. Eminently in this respect he is said to be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27) and to be made upright (Ecc 7:29). This uprightness or rectitude of nature consisted in the perfect harmony of his soul with that law of God which he was made under and subjected to…

    Adam was not only under a commination of death in case of disobedience, but also had the promise of an eternal reward on condition of his perfect obedience to these laws. If he had fulfilled this condition, the reward would have been due to him by virtue of this compact into which God was pleased to condescend for the encouraging of man’s obedience and the manifestation of his own bounty and goodness…

    He was capable of and made for a greater degree of happiness than he immediately enjoyed. This was set before him as the reward of his obedience by that covenant in which he was to walk with God. Of this reward set before him, these things are further to be observed.

    1. Although the law of his creation was attended both with a promise of reward and a threatening of punishment, yet the reason of both is not the same nor necessary in the same way. For the reward is of mere sovereign bounty and goodness. It therefore might have been either less or more, as it pleased God, or not proposed at all without any injury being done. But the threatened punishment is a debt to justice and results immediately from the nature of sin with reference to God without the intervention of any compact. It is due to the transgression of it, even by those that are already cut off from any hope of reward by a former breach of the covenant…

    S6. From these things it is evident that God dealt with Adam not only on terms of a law but by way of covenant…
    2. But it is certainly concluded from that promise of reward and the assurance that was given to Adam which he could never have obtained except by God condescending to deal with him by terms of a covenant…

    [Natural men] expect a reward of future blessedness for their obedience to the law of God and to stand before him on terms of the covenant of works. This necessarily arises from man’s relationship to God at first in such a covenant (which included the promise of such a reward) and the knowledge of these covenant terms communicated to him, together with the law of creation.

    So it is not simply Kline’s claim that man was created in covenant that is controversial. What is controversial is what he means by that in light of his rejection of 7.1. Irons elaborates:

    rather than making the covenant of works an expression of voluntary condescension toward unfallen man, it must be regarded as the expression of God’s justice and goodness toward rational beings created in his image and created for eternal, Sabbatical enjoyment of God. The covenant of works will of necessity now be viewed not as an additional structure superimposed upon the created order, a created order that could very well have existed apart from a covenant relationship with the Creator, but as an essential part of God’s creating man after his own image…

    once God freely determined to create a rational being endowed with the divine image in terms of his God-like ethical consciousness and dominion over the creation, then he was no longer free not to enter into a covenant with this creature…

    It is therefore incorrect to speak of God voluntarily condescending to the creature to make a covenant. For the very fact of creation itself has already constituted man in a covenant relationship with his Creator… he was not condescending in the freedom of his grace but covenanting in the revelation of his justice.

    Kline’s covenantal creation is a rejection of the Westminster conception of merit and of the law. It is not simply a statement about how and when the covenant was communicated. It is a statement about merit and the law that is contrary to WCF.

    This is the theme that VanDrunen picks up on. In his chapter in TLNF:

    Perhaps most pertinent for present purposes is whether the Adamic covenant, in light of its association with natural law, was itself part of (created) nature or something above and additional to nature. A Brakel represents one line of thought in the earlier Reformed tradition in stating explicitly that Adam “was created in this covenant from the very first moment of his existence.” Yet among other Reformed theologians there has been some ambiguity, in my judgment. Turretin and Bavinck, for example, both claim that God made man in his image with a natural knowledge of the moral law and the awareness that a judgment of reward or punishment must follow obedience or disobedience. At the same time, both also fear to assert that God had any sort of natural obligation to grant eschatological life to Adam upon his obedience and therefore speak of the covenant, with its unexcited promise to reward obedience with life, as something added on to creation in the divine image…

    A Reformed theologian of recent days has cut through this ambiguity – however unwittingly, given that he does not interact with his predecessors or use the terminology of natural law on this point. Meredith G. Kline (1922-2007) follows his Reformed predecessors closely in affirming the works principle operative in the covenant with Adam and in associating this works principle with the reality of the image of God. He resolves the ambiguity patent in many of his predecessors, however, by refusing to separate the act of creation in the image of God form the establishment of the covenant with Adam. For Kline, the very act of creation in God’s image entails the establishment of the covenant, with its requirement of obedience and its prospect of eschatological reward or punishment.

    So the distinction between the law and the law AS a covenant of works is gone. The law IS a covenant of works.

    VanDrunen then applies this to the question of republication:

    if the Reformed tradition is correct in seeing the Mosaic law as a particular application of the natural law for theocratic Israel, and if the natural law proclaims the works principle, then there is at least an initial presumption for recognizing the works principle as one of the constitutive aspects of the Mosaic covenant…

    A simple syllogism is lurking in the background: if natural law proclaims the works principle (section one), and if the Mosaic law expresses and applies the natural law (section two), then we would expect to find the works principle operative in the Mosaic covenant…

    Building upon Kline’s rejection of 7.1, VanDrunen winds up denying more of the WCF. As Lane explained in his post above, 19.2 simply states that the moral law, not the covenant of works, was republished/delivered on Mt. Sinai.

    I. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which He bound him and all his posterity, to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.

    II. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables: the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.

    The law was given to Adam as a covenant of works. But it was given to Israel as a perfect rule of righteousness (note “as such”). VanDrunen therefore contradicts 19.2 because he says the law itself is the works principle and therefore cannot be given in any other sense. As I said initially, this is where all the modern Klinean proponents who argue for republication from 19.2 are confused: they have an unconfessional definition/understanding of the moral law. They think it inherently contains the works principle. And as I said, this is rooted in Kline’s unconfessional redefinition of merit.

    This definition of moral law also contradicts 19.5-7 which says that this same moral law continues to bind justified Christians who have been freed from the works principle. VanDrunen anticipates this and admits that yes, Christians are not under the same law as the one referred to in Rom 2:15-16.

    Sorry that was so long. Hope it helps clarify the issue.

  51. Jim Dodson said,

    May 26, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Brandonadams, your comment that follows is the pith of the matter. It is, I believe, a most accurate assessment of the underlying principle being missed in this discussion. Hopefully, everyone will give this due consideration.

    “How does this affect the question of republication? Well, according to the WCF there is a distinction between the moral/natural law and the covenant of works. The moral/natural law is the duty that reasonable creatures owe their Creator. It says “Do this.” The covenant adds to this law a reward “Do this, and live.” Thus the moral law itself/intrinsically does NOT contain the works principle. Instead, it is simply “a perfect rule of righteousness.” Only the covenant of works contains the works principle.

    Logically distinguishing the law from the covenant, however, does not preclude us from viewing the covenant as communicated together with the law to man at creation, as our discussion on WLC 93 suggests.”

    Furthermore, your diagnosis of the failure of VanDrunen et al. is spot on.

    “So the distinction between the law and the law AS a covenant of works is gone. The law IS a covenant of works.”

    How do those who equate the natural moral law with the covenant of works, rather than an adjunct of it, explain Paul when he says we are not without law to God, but under the law to Christ (1 Cor. 9:21)? Is the covenant of grace also a republication of the covenant of works? Or, is it possible that the natural moral law is a rule of righteous under both covenants–that of works and of grace? Perhaps a few musty divines at Westminster had a better grasp of theology when they distinguished.

    It should be rather obvious that any Fall predicated upon a lapse from a law concreated in man (i.e., moral natural law) would raise questions about the original creation. Was the Fall metaphysical or moral?

    Grace and peace

  52. Jim Dodson said,

    May 26, 2015 at 1:48 am

    Clearly, WCF VII.1, makes covenant the operating principle by which keeping of the law bears fruit of God “as their blessedness and reward.” Covenant is the voluntary condescension of God. Truly the law is unto life (Rom. 7:10), if a man use it lawfully. That is, if he use it in covenant with Christ. However, should he use it in conjunction with a broken covenant of works, he will find it a law unto death. Nonetheless, the end for which God gave man the natural law was life. Death is due to a broken covenant of works from which flow all actual sins (i.e., violations of moral law) and their consequences. Conversely, life is due to the covenant of grace kept for us in Christ from which flows all of good works (i.e., works conformable to the moral law).

    Grace and peace

  53. dgwired said,

    May 26, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Mark VDM, well if you think the Klinean view is a dichotomous hash, then you haven’t been reading Paul who says that the law is not of faith. Perhaps Paul has to write what he does in order to explain why God promised prosperity in the land based on faithfulness and not simply on faith. Could be that Klineans are dealing with Scripture as it is, not trying to impose unity on it the way Rome and Kline’s critics do.

  54. May 26, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Joseph Pipa noted in a recent lecture that Kline was very open with him about his rejection of 7.1. I heard that from someone else recently too, but I can’t recall who now.

    Brandon, perhaps you read it in Dr. Strimple’s article on the Mosaic Covenant, in which he too notes Kline’s rejection of 7.1.

    http://tinyurl.com/m26yecj

  55. May 26, 2015 at 11:01 am

    dgwired, or perhaps you should allow the possibility that Klineans are not dealing with Scripture (and the Confession) as it is, and are trying to impose a disunity on it the way Scofield and his theological progeny do.

  56. May 26, 2015 at 11:38 am

    God promised prosperity in the land based on faithfulness and not simply on faith.

    Faith + works = temporal blessing for the OT saints?

  57. Jack Miller said,

    May 26, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Brandon, just a brief reply to your last comment. You wrote:

    So the distinction between the law and the law AS a covenant of works is gone. The law IS a covenant of works

    attributing your conclusion to DVD. Vandrunen doesn’t make the conclusion that the natural law IS a covenant of works. On page 300 of the same TLNF essay he writes:

    The natural law is the law OF the original Adamic covenant of works, the law know through endowment with the image of God, in which even one sin would, and in fact did, bring the judgment of death.

    His point is that the natural or moral law when given to Adam at creation was given WITH the covenant of works attached to it, not that the natural law IS the covenant of works. His case that the covenant of works is still attached to the natural law is supported by various scripture passages, one of which is his unpacking of Romans 2:14-15 on the same page. And this is why theologians such as Owen write concerning the Law:

    The law guides, directs, commands, all things that are against the interest and rule of sin. It judgeth and condemneth both the things that promote it and the persons that do them; it frightens and terrifies the consciences of those who are under its dominion.

    In Owen’s quote we see both the Law’s rule of righteousness and the threats of the covenant of works. Yet Owen writes that the Law “judgeth and condemneth.” The Law becomes a synecdoche for the moral law and the covenant of works attached to it, much in the same way that Paul uses the term in his letters.

    This gets back to my point that the moral/natural law was given at the creation of Adam WITH the covenant of works attached to it. This doesn’t violate WCF 7.1 as, in my view, that covenant arrangement was a condescension of God to man. But once that the covenant of works was given the principle upon which God rewards Adam is to the justice related to the covenant arrangement and not grace.. And again, I am not trying to defend Kline as to his position on 7.1. So I don’t read what DVD wrote as denying 7.1 at all.

  58. brandonadams said,

    May 26, 2015 at 11:59 am

    For what it’s worth here, in the interest of promoting fruitful dialogue, I think Kline is largely right about the Mosaic Covenant and the temporal blessings in Canaan. I believe the law was given on Mt. Sinai as a covenant of works, for temporal blessings and life in the land (not eschatological life or death). But I don’t hold to WCF and I recognize the WCF does not allow it (I hold to LBCF, which does allow it – see removal of “as such” in 19.2 and absence of 7.5-6). I disagree with Kline on 7.1 (LBCF agrees with WCF here).

  59. David R. said,

    May 26, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Jack, showing that Owen thought that sinners merit eternal condemnation is altogether different from showing that he thought that the righteous merit eternal life in strict justice (which he denied). He is clear that the covenant of works is gracious (albeit remunerative). Did you read the Hebrews 8 commentary?

  60. David R. said,

    May 26, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    dgwired, when Paul said “the law is not of faith,” which law did he mean, the law that promises eternal life on condition of perfect and perpetual obedience, or the “law” that merely promises temporal blessings on condition of external obedience?

  61. AB said,

    May 26, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I’m with CT, I look forward to the OPC report.

    There’s a thread with 800+ comments between David R (Hi David) and Jeff Cagle, can be found here (copy paste into your browser, substitute the [dot] for a “.”, for anyone who is new to these things, they cover a lot of ground:

    oldlife[dot]org/2014/08/republication-matters/

    who’s next?

  62. AB said,

    May 26, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I’m with CT, I look forward to the OPC report.

    There’s a thread with 800+ comments between David R (Hi David) and Jeff Cagle, can be found here, to anyone who is new to these things, they cover a lot of ground:

    oldlife[dot]org/2014/08/republication-matters/

    who’s next?

  63. Jack Miller said,

    May 26, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    David, I’m not citing Owen as regards the merit question. And yes, I’ve read his Heb. 8 commentary.

  64. dgwired said,

    May 26, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    David R., why would it be either-or if the law that promises temporal blessings is a republication in some sense of the eternal law?

  65. dgwired said,

    May 26, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Mark VDM, Israel wasn’t going to stay in the land merely by faith. Heck, Moses didn’t even get there.

    And why don’t you object to Brandon Adams who writes:

    ” I think Kline is largely right about the Mosaic Covenant and the temporal blessings in Canaan. I believe the law was given on Mt. Sinai as a covenant of works, for temporal blessings and life in the land (not eschatological life or death).”

    Isn’t he a friend of Misty Irons?

  66. Jack Miller said,

    May 26, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    David,

    Not to answer for Darryl, but as you know, T. David Gordon says that with the word law Paul is referring to the Sinai Law-Covenant (as he does in many other places in his letters) when he says the “law is not of faith”, Israel’s temporal blessings and stay in the land being conditioned on their obedience to the covenant and not to faith in the promise (although originally given the land due to the grace of the Abrahamic promise) which pointed to the truth that only perfect obedience could merit the blessings of eternal life under the covenant of works.

    “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the Lord your God…” Deut. 28.1

    “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…” Deut. 28.15

    Does this make the M.C. a covenant of works? Not in my opinion in that the M.C. was more than the conditions attending to Israel’s dwelling in the land.

  67. May 26, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    dgwired, no reason to object, since Brandon is candid enough to state:his agreement with Kline puts him at odds with the WCF: I don’t hold to WCF and I recognize the WCF does not allow it.

    So as a WCF subscriber, you might consider his assessment that Kline is out of bounds a little more carefully.

    And if “faithfulness” and not “faith” is the condition of the Old covenant, then that sounds eerily like an “Old Testament Federal Vision” (in some sense, of course).

  68. David R. said,

    May 26, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    dgwired, but if “Klineans are dealing with Scripture as it is,” then why do they think Paul is speaking of “a republication in some sense” of the law and not simply speaking of the law?

  69. dgwired said,

    May 26, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Mark vdm, so this is really about catching someone?

  70. dgwired said,

    May 26, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    David R., because “the law” is not one thing. But as you surely know, a big part of the law for Israel was circumcision. You don’t circumcise, bad things happen. Paul has a different view of circumcision and the Judaizers.

  71. John Drake said,

    May 26, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    It beats me what’s right about Kline’s view. I’ve heard so many different descriptions of it that I’m not sure that I understand what it is. But–re “the law is not of faith”–if you look carefully at Galatians 3, what do you suppose the Holy Spirit means when he says that the Law came 430 years after the promise to Abraham (without setting aside that promise), and that it ends when Abraham’s promised Seed comes? Can that really mean that there was no moral law until 430 years after the Abrahamic covenant?

  72. May 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    dgwired, although it really doesn’t pertain to the substantive discussion, I can’t be certain of what the Klineans’ motivations are and who they may want to catch.

  73. May 26, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    […] upon Kline’s rejection of 7.1, VanDrunen winds up denying more of the WCF. As Lane Keister explained here (and I have explained here and Robert Strimple notes here), WCF 19.2 simply states that the moral […]

  74. AB said,

    May 26, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    John Drake,

    Like him or don’t, he seems to have garnered some respect for his body of theological work:

    Theologian John Frame has called Kline “the most impressive biblical theologian of my lifetime,” adding that Kline’s work “is orthodox, yet often original, and it always provides [a] rich analysis of Scripture.”[1]

    Lane, thanks for the post.

  75. roberty bob said,

    May 26, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    to #57 . . . M V D M . . . who wonders whether faith + works = temporal blessings for the OT saints . . .

    Doesn’t Psalm 37:3 provide the answer?

    Trust in the Lord and Do Good;
    Dwell in the Land and enjoy safe pasture.

  76. May 27, 2015 at 12:02 am

    […] the Presbyterian Church in America and is pastor of Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro, S.C. This article appeared on his blog and is used with […]

  77. John Drake said,

    May 27, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Thanks, AB. What I was trying to say (except that my fingers and brain were operating at different speeds) is that there are so many different claims about what Kline’s view is and entails that I no longer am certain which is correct.

    As Lane said, it is amazing how worked up people get over this. But I perceive more heat than light. I wonder how many caricatures and straw men are at play here. If someone could calmly make a list of theses for discussion–that both sides could agree are accurate–then I think they would serve us well at this juncture.

  78. B said,

    May 27, 2015 at 9:53 am

    I do not have the time in my schedule to read all the comments but here are the challenges to the blog and some of the comments as I see them. They are the same challenges to some at WS CA and The Law is Not of Faith authors. It seems to me the fundamentals of our Scriptures and Confessions are being replaced with complex arguments leading many into questions and confusion about rather clear parts of Scripture.

    1) What was the requirement of the Covenant of Works? A. Thou shalt not eat the forbidden fruit. What was Adam’s Sin? Eating the forbidden fruit. When did this happen again in Scripture?

    2) What happened at Sinai? Many things: Of primary importance, a) Exodus 24 – the blood of the sacrifice is sprinkled before God. After profession of faith is made by the people, the blood is sprinkled on the people. This is the covenant of grace in perhaps its clearest OT type.
    <p<
    b) Exodus 34 – God reveals Himself to Moses by declaring his name. Within his name are his attributes – "forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin". (Covenant of Grace).

    c) Exodus 20 – God gives the moral law in written form that the people already had. Most notable evidence is the 4th commandment which begins with “Remember…” When Christ comes in NT he also comes warning, just like in Exodus…and Deuteronomy. Does Christ have to repeat Deut. to explain what it means to “perish”?

    3) Did God republish the moral law at Sinai? Yes indeed. He does it throughout Scripture and His Earthly ministry. Did God republish “the” covenant of works at Sinai? A small child can answer that and if they have memorized the children’s catechism, they are already answering it on a regular basis. No.

    4) Did Christ fulfill the Covenant of Works? No. It was made with Adam, Adam fell. Christ fulfilled the Covenant of Grace. What was Christ bound to do by the Covenant of Grace? To Keep the whole law for his people (perfectly) and to suffer the punishment due to their sins.

    Maybe we need to pause the discussions on the covenant of works with Adam and start grasping what really is taking place in the Covenant of Grace. There is a works element in the covenant of Grace – Christ had to keep the whole law perfectly and He had to suffer and die*. While the first Adam representing all mankind failed with his own works requirement, the second Adam fulfilled His duty which saved all of the elect.

    No work for the partakers of the benefits earned by Christ. But there was indeed work done by Christ who earned those benefits for the partakers. The endless writings on republication are, in this writers opinion, far more complex than the texts require and are starting by seemingly ignoring the fundamentals.

    * Clearly I hold a 2 covenant view of Scripture. Covenant of Works and Covenant of Grace. I hold to the position so simply stated in the children’s catechism and inferred in WSC – With whom did God the Father make the covenant of Grace? With Christ His eternal Son.

  79. Ron said,

    May 27, 2015 at 10:02 am

    A well-known theologian from Escondido once wrote this:

    The blessings of the new covenant do not depend on our obedience, but on God’s grace: He will put His Law within us, so that it will not only be an external command that condemns us but an inward longing of our heart; He will be our God and we will be His people – yet another one-sided promise on God’s part. Instead of always giving imperatives (like ‘Know the Lord’), in the new covenant people will know the Lord because He has revealed Himself as their Savior.

    It might be useful for this present discussion to zero in on this: “The blessings of the new covenant do not depend on our obedience, but on God’s grace…”

    Whatever the author meant, it cannot pivot upon the question of whether man needs grace to obey in a manner pleasing to God, or whether obedience will be present in those who receive blessings in the new covenant. Reformed folk affirm both, our need for grace and the resultant obedience that comes by grace. Moreover, certainly we appreciate through scripturally informed experience that obedience in the life of the believer can beget increase of blessings, and that this too is a principle that transcends testaments. In other words, proverbs living will generally be a means to good things bestowed (blessings if you will). To deny this is to reduce all new covenant blessings to the spiritual: forgiveness of sins; adoption of sons; gift of the Holy Spirit; and the hope of glory. Does anybody really want to do that?

    There are many discontinuities between the old and new covenant, yet notwithstanding should we find a break in the principle that sovereign grace effects creaturely obedience, which in turn places the believer in the path of increased covenant blessings? In fact, isn’t both the “willing and the doing” that God is pleased to grant is in-and-of-itself a covenant blessing? Sure, the blessings are more extraordinary under the newer economy but so will be the obedience I should think. Can God under the newer economy be our God without our walking in his ways (statues Ezekiel 36), and obeying His imperatives? In my estimation, neither covenant was ever to be viewed through the lens of a quid pro quo, for true obedience is nothing other than what John Murray called the “reciprocal responses of faith.” Wasn’t Israel’s problem that they saw God’s goodness as something earned as opposed to blessings bestowed by grace, received through faith-wrought obedience? And, isn’t our obedience, which too is grace-bestowed, sometimes necessary in order to receive many physical blessings that the covenant contemplates?

    On the other hand, maybe the author meant this:

    When the apostle says in Ephesians 1:3 that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessings in Christ, I am struck afresh by the indicative, that these blessings are ours now – and that we are not dependent upon God’s works of future providence in order to gain them. Our task is by grace to appreciate the full blown reality of these blessings and when we do, we too with Paul will praise God for them – even in spite of our circumstances. (Also, chapters 4-6 have a preceding context.) I would like to think that these: (forgiveness, adoption, sealing of the Spirit and the hope of glory) – are the blessings to which the author is referring, which are not dependent upon obedience. The reason I am somewhat reluctant to read him quite this way is that those sorts of spiritual blessings belonged to God’s elect under Moses; yes, these blessings were theirs in much smaller measure and without as much assurance perhaps, but nonetheless they were still present and they had nothing to do with obedience. Or maybe the author is just comparing the physical blessings under Moses (that came through obedience) with the spiritual blessings under Christ (that are 100% ours without remainder through union with Christ)? Maybe he is just not footnoting that today we have physical blessings under Christ (through faithful obedience), just like under Moses they had spiritual blessings (upon conversion).

    As for Sinai and the covenant of life:

    Under Moses I’m not sure how there could have been an offer of everlasting life through obedience that was anything but disingenuous given that God’s people had past sins, concupiscence and Adam’s guilt imputed to them. That apostate Israel assumed they could have been received as righteous by law-works doesn’t suggest to me that the covenant under Moses was to have been understood as making such a hypothetical / conditional offer. That a proper use of the law can show us the futility of earning our salvation does not imply that there was an offer on the table – and if there was an offer on the table, then the offer was on the order of: keep trying Mr. Legality, and when you exhaust all your bread, “come to me”, but only after you’ve mourned over your sin and become poor in spirit. But what non-Klinian would disagree with that?

    All in all, I think the discussion is not well defined…

  80. Reed Here said,

    May 27, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Maybe if we considered the Mosaic Covenant from the perspective of the New Covenant for a second. Both seem to coordinate very well across the ordo salutis. The key difference is that the Mosaic Covenant is insufficient in some manner. Is that insufficiency across the board, or in just some elements of the ordo salutis?

    If we look at possession of the temporal promises it looks an awful lot like a sanctification oriented problem. If we look at it in terms of eternal promises it looks like a glorification problem. To be sure, both are connected. The temporal promise is a type of the eternal, and to possess the eternal is to possess the temporal.

    Maybe republication is nothing more than the pedagogical use, to show the need for the new birth, something clearly not a promise of the Mosaic Covenant.

  81. May 27, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Reed hits on something I’ve seen a number of times in these discussion:, a confusion of the first *use* of the law with the law *as a Covenant of Works*. If “republication” is now argued to simply another way of restating the pedagogical use, then there is no need for a republication paradigm and we can all move along. However, I believe republication is attempting to say more than the “law in its first use”.

    Gillespie is helpful in explaining the law as a Covenant of Works is annulled/abrogated for believers:

    “1 .The Law, as it commandeth and directeth obedience according
    to the will of the Law-giver,is not repealed,annulled,or abrogated
    by Christ and by the Gospel : though the Law considered
    as a Covenant, holding forth obedience to the commands
    thereof, as a possible way of Life, be annulled and abrogated
    :
    See Rom. 3,20,23,28, Therefore by the deeds of the Law
    there shall no flesh he justified in his sight: for by the law is,
    the knowledge of sin. for all have sinned, and come short of
    the glory of God. Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified
    by faith, without the deeds of the law. Rom. 8. 3, for what\
    the law could not do, in that it. was weak, through the
    flesh.
    ~ Patrick Gillespie, “Ark of the Covenant Opened”.

  82. AB said,

    May 27, 2015 at 11:41 am

    John Drake,

    No problem, I am a deacon in the OPC, have been a member in the OPC since 2001. Just a little about me. I’m 33 years old. Grace and peace.

    At oldlife.org, dgwired’s blog, republication has been discussed many times in the past, and particularly in the last year as we await the OPC report on the subject.

    I would refer you or anyone back to this comment.

    For me personally, I’ve pondered the issue and the debate, and as one who is a fan of Meredith Kline, I admit my own biases. In my simple brain, I see it as the tension that we will always have as Christians in seeing how the old and new covenant fit together in the one redemptive historical plan of God to save a people for himself from the beginning. That’s overly simplistic. All that to say, I’ve got a great church in the OPC, that which I am very thankful for, and I like the topic so much that I mean it when I say that I look forward to the report coming out. More heat than light is common over contentious topics, such as 2k theology, creation matters, sabbath issues, the list goes on (maybe you have heard of frame’s essay “machen’s warrior children?”

    That comment I just wrote here is what you get for directing comments my way, so I hope you enjoyed wading through my prose ;-P

    Again, grace and peace,

    Andrew Buckingham

  83. May 27, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Another excerpt from Gillespie, distinguishing the law as precept from turning it into an admixture of the Covenant of Works with the Covenant of Grace:

    “Though the Law and preceptive part of the Covenant
    of works doth appertain to the new Covenant, yet are not
    the commands and conditions thereby required, and the obedience
    given thereunto, conditions of the new Covenant, which
    standeth only of faith, Rom. 4. 5, 16, But to him that worketh
    not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly , his faith is
    counted for righteousness. Therefore it is of faith, that it might
    be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed’,
    not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is
    of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. Act. 16.
    3 1 , And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
    shalt be saved, and thine house. For, 1. This were upon
    the matter to confound the conditions of the two Covenants
    which are stated as to be contra-distinguished in
    terms, that there is no mixture nor semblance of mixture to
    be admitted .
    But Israel which followed after the
    law of righteousness, hath- not attained to the law of righteousness.
    Wherefore ? because they sought it not by faith, but as it
    were by the, works of the law.: for. they stumbled at that stumbling stone.
    Rom. 10. 3,4^6, 8, For they being ignorant of Gods
    righteousness..”
    ~ Patrick Gillespie, “Ark of the Covenant Opened”.

  84. Jack Miller said,

    May 27, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Regarding the proof text Luke 17:10 and WCF 7.1, my question is whether the proof text refers to unfallen man and the law apart from any covenant or unfallen man and the law in covenant. To me it isn’t clear. But could it not be referring to the former? Certainly apart from any covenant it would be true that he cannot merit from God in any sense. Yet commenting on 7.1, Robert Shaw writes in “The Reformed Faith” –

    But God graciously condescended to deal with man by way of covenant, and thus gave him an opportunity to secure his happiness by acquiring a right to it – a right founded upon stipulation, or upon the promise. “Man,” says the celebrated Witsius, “upon his accepting the covenant, and performing the condition, does acquire some right to demand of God the promise; for God has, by his promises, made himself a debtor to man; or, to speak in a manner more becoming God, he was pleased to make his performing his promises a debt due to himself,—to his goodness, justice, and veracity. And to man, in covenant, and continuing steadfast to it, he granted the right of expecting and requiring that God should satisfy the demands of his goodness, justice, and truth, by the performance of the promises.”

  85. John Drake said,

    May 27, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    As Lane said, it is amazing how worked up people get over this. As I said, I’m still trying to figure out which of the competing descriptions of so-called “republication” is accurate. There seems to be no real agreement on exactly what we are debating over. Consequently, people keep talking past each other.

    Lane wrote: “Almost all advocates of the republication thesis I have read agree that the essential nature of the Mosaic covenant is that it is part of the covenant of grace, and that the republication has nothing whatsoever to do with how Old Testament Christians become saved. Most advocates of the republication thesis agree that people were saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone both before and after Christ came. This is not something that most critics of the republication thesis are willing to concede (that republication advocates actually believe this about OT believers).”

    It’s sad (and destructive) that there seems to be more heat than light. But in my perception — and it appears to me to be borne out by this thread — the “heat” seems to come largely from those who oppose “republication” (even if the “light” hasn’t been altogether bright from those who advocate it—e.g., the term “republication” almost seems to be designed to confuse).

    But — I ask again — if you look carefully at Galatians 3–4, what do you suppose the Holy Spirit means when he says that “the law” came 430 years after “the promise” to Abraham (without nullifying that promise), and that “the law” ended when Abraham’s promised Seed came and the church moved from being under a guardian to its maturity? Surely that does not mean that there was no moral law from before the Fall until 430 years after the cutting of the Abrahamic covenant and that there has been none since Christ accomplished his redemptive work, does it? But if it does not mean that, then that would mean that it is using “the law” in a different sense than “the moral law,” a redemptive-historical sense in which new covenant Christians are no longer “under the law,” would it not?

    What puzzles me is that it seems that those who are bent on opposing so-called “republication” are also bent on denying this. But why would they be? Isn’t that what God’s Word clearly says? Could the answer to that “why” provide insight into the reason for the “heat” of their opposition to “republication?”

  86. Jack Miller said,

    May 27, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    John Drake,

    T. David Gordon answers:

    For Paul, nomos is a synecdoche, a figure of speech that refers to the Sinai covenant in its entirety, by referring specifically to its most salient or prominent aspect: law. The clearest indication of how Paul uses the term is at Galatians 3:17: “the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.” In this context, it is unmistakeable that “the law” is that covenanting act at Sinai that comes 430 years after the covenant with Abraham, which was characterized by promise.

  87. rfwhite said,

    May 27, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Lane: picking up on one key focal point of your post — the pedagogical function of the Law — and also on Reed’s remark in 83, it seems useful to make a couple of summarizing observations.

    With regard to defining the Mosaic Covenant as “some sort of republication,” I’d suggest that you can drop the “some sort of” wording in favor of saying that republicationists see the Mosaic Covenant as a republication of the Covenant of Works modified to be compatible with the Covenant of Grace. That there is such a modification is definitional to republication.

    Also, as I see it, you’re on the right track to point out that, according to republicationists, the purpose of this modification was pedagogical (i.e., to expose the people’s spiritual inability and to teach their need for faith in the one true Seed). Right in line with Gal 3-4 and Hebrews, as far as I can tell.

  88. Ron said,

    May 28, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Also, as I see it, you’re on the right track to point out that, according to republicationists, the purpose of this modification was pedagogical (i.e., to expose the people’s spiritual inability and to teach their need for faith in the one true Seed). Right in line with Gal 3-4 and Hebrews, as far as I can tell.

    Dr. White,

    If a modification, would that mean that the law under Moses could not have served as a tutor to show Israel their need for an alien righteousness, to be appropriated through faith alone? And, if the law could have served in that capacity, wouldn’t that have been one of God’s intended uses of the law at the time?

  89. Ron said,

    May 28, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Fowler,

    All I’m driving at is “if there was an offer on the table, then the offer was on the order of: keep trying Mr. Legality, and when you exhaust all your bread, “come to me”, but only after you’ve mourned over your sin and become poor in spirit. But what non-Klinian would disagree with that?

    IOW, what’s the great insight of republication given this interpretation? Secondly, why don’t the major proponents state clearly how they’ve been misunderstood? Frankly, given what they couldn’t have possibly be saying, I’m sympathetic to Reed’s and your posts, but if that’s all they’ve meant all along….

  90. Ron said,

    May 28, 2015 at 8:41 am

    John,

    I like your post.

    Regarding this: Surely that does not mean that there was no moral law from before the Fall until 430 years after the cutting of the Abrahamic covenant and that there has been none since Christ accomplished his redemptive work, does it? But if it does not mean that, then that would mean that it is using “the law” in a different sense than “the moral law,” a redemptive-historical sense in which new covenant Christians are no longer “under the law,” would it not?

    Why not the ceremonial law? It was pedagogical, temporary (unlike the moral law), the example given in Galatians and a distinguishing element of Israel if not the most prominent feature by why they were characterized – the circumcision.

  91. rfwhite said,

    May 28, 2015 at 9:56 am

    91-92 Ron: If there’s an insight, it relates to the nature of the modification. IOW, it’s that the modification limits the application of the principle of personal works: it applies only to the retention (vis-à-vis reception) of the earthly-temporal blessings by Israel and its king. The Law puts Israel (with its king) on probation, and the lesson from the (pedagogical) probation is that, if they were ever both to receive and to retain the heavenly and eternal blessings, they must find them in that one Seed of Abraham, born of woman, born under the Law, who had proven to be non posse peccare according to the Covenant of Works first published in Eden and then republished (with modifications) in the Mosaic Covenant at Sinai.

  92. Ron said,

    May 28, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Thank you, Sir. I think I’m tracking.

    it applies only to the retention (vis-à-vis reception) of the earthly-temporal blessings by Israel and its king. The Law puts Israel (with its king) on probation,

    But of course, there was also a retention aspect to the covenant prior to the fall. So, on that front I find also an actual republication and not so much a modification, (noting as well that the retention aspect, as it was from the beginning, pertains to works performed through faith). Any modification might pertain to the idea that perfect works were no longer necessary for at least some degree of retention. Things were no longer binary as before.

    and the lesson from the (pedagogical) probation is that, if they were ever both to receive and to retain the heavenly and eternal blessings, they must find them in that one Seed of Abraham…

    Given sin in all forms (imputed, natural and willful), yes that would be the lesson. Same thing though… In one respect I see modification but on the hand I find no modification. The requirement for consummation was the same, perfection; yet the modification pertained to the new way of substitution, hence pedagogical.

    (For what it’s worth, I’ve always taken the prospect of prelapsarian consummation at best highly speculative until reading Beale’s NTBT. I now find it at best a proper inference, though still not a necessary one, in the strict sense of necessary.)

    In sum, if we’re depicting republication fairly, I don’t see reason for controversy. Given the long-standing controversy, I’m not sure I can subscribe to this solution, though I’d very much like to. :)

  93. Patrick said,

    May 28, 2015 at 11:28 am

    From an exegetical standpoint, I don’t see how it is possible to distinguish between how Israel receives the land from how Israel maintains the land. Deuteronomy indicates that entering and remaining in the Land are based upon the same principle. As Dillard and Longman have pointed out: “Possessing the land in the first and keeping it in the second are both tied to Israel’s obedience to God’s commands (4:25; 6:18; 8:1; 11:8-9, 18-21; 16:20).”

    We see this also in that the first generation out of Egypt did not receive the Land even though it was promised to them because of their unbelief and disobedience. Likewise Israel was exiled because they acted just like that first generation: unbelief and disobedience. In commenting upon 2 Kgs 17:7-23, Matthew Henry writes, “. . . the same sin that kept them out of Canaan turned these out, and that was unbelief.”

    And so if there was a “works principle” to keep the land then there was a “works principle” to enter the land.

    There is clearly a tension here between the conditional and unconditional aspects of the covenant that applies to both entering and maintaining the Land. This is why the tension can’t be resolved by positing two types of covenants (promise/unconditional covenants and law/conditional covenants) and by distinguishing between entering (promise covenant) and remaining in the Land (law covenant).

    All redemptive covenants, including the Abraham and New covenants, have unconditional and conditional aspects. The same way we coordinate them in the Abraham and New covenants will be the same way we coordinate them in the Mosaic Covenant. After all, they are the same covenant in substance.

  94. rfwhite said,

    May 28, 2015 at 11:34 am

    95 Ron: Agreed, there was also a retention aspect to the covenant prior to the fall but the modification is the limitation to the nation’s retention of earthly-temporal blessings. The nation’s reception of blessings was on the principle of grace, that is, because of another’s (Abraham’s) obedience. Not so in the pre-fall situation.

  95. rfwhite said,

    May 28, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    96 Patrick: The discussion of Dillard and Longman notwithstanding, the conditional and unconditional words of God are compatible because, and only because, both words anticipate Christ. As you say, the distinction between the Abrahamic-New covenant and the Mosaic covenant is not one of substance; it is one of administration. Hence the distinction between the promise and the law. The former is of faith; the latter is not.

  96. Patrick said,

    May 28, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    “As you say, the distinction between the Abrahamic-New covenant and the Mosaic covenant is not one of substance; it is one of administration.”

    This is not what I am saying. The Abrahamic covenant, like the Mosaic covenant, differs from the New covenant in terms of administration. The gospel is administered by types (e.g. the land) in both the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, unlike the new covenant. Thus they essentially have the same administration, although the MC is much more elaborate.

    In other words, I would say something like this: “the distinction between the Abrahamic/Mosaic covenants and the new covenant is not one of substance but one of administration.”

    Regardless, I am still interested in learning how it is possible from an exegetical standpoint to distinguish between entering and retaining the Promised Land.

  97. May 28, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    The former is of faith; the latter is not

    Then they are not of the same substance.

  98. brandonadams said,

    May 28, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    @100 (Mark). Yup. It’s pretty simple. As Patrick has said, “You keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

    The simple fact that the Mosaic Covenant may serve or promote the gospel through its pedagogical proclamation of the works principle does not therefore make it an administration of the covenant of grace. “Administration of the covenant of grace” means of the same substance: faith, not works. If the blessings and curses of a covenant are earned through works, not faith, then it is a covenant of works, not a covenant of grace (Rom 11:6).

    That doesn’t mean it is THE covenant of works (offering eschatological life on the condition of perfect obedience). Nor does it mean Israelites weren’t saved by the covenant of grace. It does mean the Mosaic Covenant was neither of those. If you want to argue that one layer of the Mosaic Covenant offered (temporal) rewards based upon works, and a different layer offered (eschatological) rewards based upon faith, then you would need to argue the Mosaic Covenant was a mixed covenant – which again means it was not the covenant of grace.

    Historically, many reformed theologians have believed that the Mosaic Covenant was a covenant of works for temporal life and blessing in the land of Canaan. But they also understood that such a belief meant a rejection of the Mosaic Covenant as an administration of the covenant of grace because they understood what that phrase means. That is to say, not every reformed theologian (not here to argue about the label) agreed with the view put forward in the WCF.

    Bolton:

    There are two other opinions which I will here mention. [1]Some men think it neither a covenant of works, nor a covenant of grace, but a third kind of covenant distinct from both. [2]Others think it a covenant of grace, but more legally dispensed.

    [1]Those who consider it to be a third covenant speak of it as a preparatory, or a subservient covenant, a covenant that was given by way of subserviency to the covenant of grace, and for the setting forward or advancing of the covenant of grace. Those men who hold this view say that there are three distinct covenants which God made with mankind – the covenant of nature, the covenant of grace, and the subservient covenant.

    The covenant of nature was that whereby God required from the creature as a creature perfect obedience to all divine commandments, with promise of a blessed life in Paradise if man obeyed, but with the threat of eternal death if he disobeyed the command, the purpose of all this being to declare how virtue pleased, and sin displeased God.

    The covenant of grace was that whereby God promised pardon and forgiveness of sins and eternal life, by the blood of Christ, to all those that should embrace Christ, and this was purposed by God to declare the riches of His mercy.

    The subservient covenant, which was called the old covenant, was that whereby God required obedience from the Israelites in respect of the moral, ceremonial, and judicial laws. Blessings in the possession of Canaan were promised to obedience, and curses and miseries to those who broke the covenant, and all to this end, that God might thus encourage their hearts in the expectation of the Messiah to come.

    This subservient or old covenant is that which God made with the people of Israel in Mount Sinai, to prepare them to faith, and to inflame them with the desire of the promise and of the coming of Christ;…

    If it be neither a covenant of works, nor a covenant of grace, then must it of necessity be a third kind of covenant: and it must needs be such a covenant as does not stand in opposition to grace, nor is inconsistent with the covenant of grace, for if this be not so, then God will have contradicted Himself, overthrown His own purpose, and repented of His own promise which He had given before. Hence it is called a subservient covenant. It was given by way of subserviency to the Gospel and a fuller revelation of the covenant of grace; it was temporary, and had respect to Canaan and God’s blessing there, if and as Israel obeyed. It had no relation to heaven, for that was promised by another covenant which God made before He entered upon the subservient covenant. This is the opinion which I myself desire modestly to propound, for I have not been convinced that it is injurious to holiness or disagreeable to the mind of God in Scripture.

    [2]There is, however, a second opinion in which I find that the majority of our holy and most learned divines concur, namely, that though the law is called a covenant, yet it was not a covenant of works for salvation; nor was it a third covenant of works and grace; but it was the same covenant in respect of its nature and design under which we stand under the Gospel, even the covenant of grace, though more legally dispensed to the Jews. It differed not in substance from the covenant of grace, but in degree, say some divines, in the economy and external administration of it, say others.

    Samuel Bolton (0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00). The True Bounds of Christian Freedom (Kindle Locations 1211-1215). Kindle Edition.

    The two views are clearly distinguished. They are not the same view. To use the language of [2] to describe [1] would do nothing but cause confusion.

    @90 RFWhite

    With regard to defining the Mosaic Covenant as “some sort of republication,” I’d suggest that you can drop the “some sort of” wording in favor of saying that republicationists see the Mosaic Covenant as a republication of the Covenant of Works modified to be compatible with the Covenant of Grace. That there is such a modification is definitional to republication… according to republicationists, the purpose of this modification was pedagogical

    This does not advance the discussion, nor provide any clarity. Yes, there was a modification, but what was the modification? Various modifications have been offered in relation to the republication of the covenant of works (see above) but not all of them are compatible with the WCF. Thus its necessary to specify precisely what this modification is. Saying it was for pedagogical purposes does not narrow it down.

    As recap from Brenton Ferry’s taxonomy (though I am elaborating from what he said), there are two main types of republication:

    1) Material: the moral law, the precepts, are repeated (and as we saw above, this does not include the works principle, which is added to the moral law). This agreed by all and taught in 19.2

    2) Formal: not just the precepts, but the works principle as well, is repeated by Moses. There are several versions of this formal republication. Some of them are compatible with the WCF, some are not. If the repetition of the works principle is relegated to the “administration” level (meaning rewards are not conditioned upon it), then it is compatible.

    a) Relative – To carnal Jews it represented broken old covenant, to believing Jews it represented Christ’s accomplishment.

    b) Pedagogical – The Old Covenant declared and promulgated the CoW to Israel but did not “make” the CoW (the CoG was “made”). If you were to view the text as a contract, the “do this and live” would be under the heading of “your need for salvation” and would appear in blockquotes with a footnote that says “see the original covenant of works with Adam.” “Do this and live” would not appear under the terms/conditions of the contract. It is informational, not a condition for receiving the offer of the contract.

    c) Hypothetical – In coordination with the Pedagogical republication, it hypothetically offered life to any who obeyed the law perfectly.

    d) Typological – The do-this-and-live principle foreshadows Christ’s active obedience (similar to Gal 3:16, 19). (Note, this does not mean it applied to Israel’s tenure in the land. It means it has reference to Christ)

    e) Complex – Both the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace were republished on Mt. Sinai.

    From this list, a) – d) are compatible with the substance/administration view because these can all be relegated to the administrative/appearance level, rather than the level of substance (the terms of the covenant).

    I would add a missing category:

    f) Canaan – the works principle “do this and live” functioned only for temporal life and blessing in the land of Canaan. The law functioned as a covenant for life in the land.

    Owen:

    It is not, therefore, the peculiar command for the institution of the legal priesthood that is intended, but the whole system of Mosaical institutions. For the apostle having already proved that the priesthood was to be abolished, he proceeds on that ground and from thence to prove that the whole law was also to be in like manner abolished and removed. And indeed it was of such a nature and constitution, that pull one pin out of the fabric, and the whole must fall unto the ground; for the sanction of it being, that “he was cursed who continued not in all things written in the law to do them,” the change of any one thing must needs overthrow the whole law…

    And the whole of this system of laws is called a “command,” because it consisted in “arbitrary commands” and precepts, regulated by that maxim, “The man that doeth these things shall live by them,” Romans 10:5. And therefore the law, as a command, is opposed unto the gospel, as a promise of righteousness by Jesus Christ, Galatians 3:11, 12. Nor is it the whole ceremonial law only that is intended by “the command” in this place, but the moral law also, so far as it was compacted with the other into one body of precepts for the same end;

    -Hebrews 7:12, 18, 19

    Both e) and f) are incompatible with the substance/administration view of the Mosaic Covenant.

    https://contrast2.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/kline-on-administration-of-the-covenant-of-grace/

  99. rfwhite said,

    May 29, 2015 at 9:51 am

    101 Brandon: You’re right that in comment 90 I did not state the modification I had in mind and, to that extent, my comment doesn’t advance the discussion. That’s why I came back and added a summary of the modification I had in mind in comments 94 and 97. Even so, that summary is not adequate for any purpose other than an attempt to summarize. My point in comment 90 was to express support for Lane’s post and to suggest that we can and should try to improve on the language “some sort of (republication).”

    As for “saying it was for pedagogical purposes does not narrow it down,” you’re right again, provided that there’s a shared understanding of that point. You do understand it, so more has to be said to move the discussion along. Yet, as Lane indicated in his post and Reed suggested in comment 83, there are those who don’t understand it, so a statement to that effect has to be made and repeated as needed. Then more folks can interact with material like yours/Ferry’s.

  100. rfwhite said,

    May 29, 2015 at 11:15 am

    99 Patrick: In response to your interest “in learning how it is possible from an exegetical standpoint to distinguish between entering and retaining the Promised Land,” this has been done, as you may know, in the literature to which Lane pointed us in his post. But, for example, the distinction comes about from those texts such as Gen 22:16-18; 26:4-5; 35:11-12; Deut 4:37-38; 7:6-8; 9:4-6; 10:14-15, in which God’s grant of the land to Israel was pointedly grounded not on the nation’s obedience but on the obedience of another (the fathers, especially Abraham).

    100 Mark: Would you unpack your shorthand? What I mean is this: do you mean that we differ on the point that Christ is the substance of the two administrations? Or do you mean that you disagree with republicationists when it comes to how faith and works relate in and to the two administrations? If my questions mean you have to repeat yourself, don’t hesitate to refer me to the relevant comments[s] above or elsewhere.

  101. rfwhite said,

    May 29, 2015 at 11:29 am

    100 Mark: let me add this question to help me understand: if the promise and the law are of the same substance (Christ), and if the promise and the law are not distinct in that the former is of faith and the latter is of works, then how are the promise and the law distinct? Again, don’t repeat yourself; just refer me to the relevant comments[s] above or elsewhere.

  102. May 29, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    rfwhite, it is not that the law and faith are not distinct, but that the substance of the one covenant of grace is the same in all of its various administrations. Dr. Cornel Venema states it better than I can:

    The traditional formula of Reformed covenant theology, that
    the covenant of grace is one in substance though diverse in administration, entails that the Mosaic covenant was substantially a covenant of grace and only accidentally distinct from other administrations of the covenant of grace. This means that the distinctive features of the covenant of grace, which distinguish it in substance from the covenant of works, characterize the
    Mosaic administration in its entirety. It also means that whatever features
    of the Mosaic administration distinguish it from other administrations of the covenant of grace belong to the category of adjuncts or accidents, which do not materially affect its nature or character.

    The theological problem posed by the republication thesis can be stated
    rather simply. If what belongs to the substance of the covenant of works does not belong to the substance of the covenant of grace in any of its administrations, it is semantically and theologically problematic to denominate the Mosaic administration as in any sense a covenant of works. As I observed in my summary of the historic Reformed doctrine of the prelapsarian covenant of works, the substance of the covenant of works is the promise of God to grant life to Adam (and his posterity) upon condition of perfect and personal obedience. The wayof life and blessing in the covenant of works is, as its name appropriately
    indicates, the way of obedience to all of the requirements of God’s holy law. Adam’s inheritance of life and blessedness in unbroken communion with his Creator was radically contingent upon his own obedience to the covenant’s obligations. However, in the covenant of grace, the Lord promises graciously to grant to believers, upon the basis of the saving work of Christ as Mediator, the inheritance of life and blessing in fellowship with himself. Christ’s mediatorial work includes not only his substitutionary endurance of the penalty of his people’s disobedience to the law of God but also his substitutionary obedience
    to all of the law’s requirements. Though the covenant of grace requires a believing reception of the promise of salvation upon the basis of the work of Christ, this reception, and all of the fruits of obedience that spring from true faith, are graciously bestowed upon the elect people of God. In all of its administrations, the covenant of grace promises life by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Justification and life in fellowship with God is, in every administration of the covenant of grace, freely granted to believers for the sake of Christ’s work as Savior. Because the Mosaic administration of the covenant includes everything that belongs to the substance of the covenant of grace, it communicated the same grace of Christ, albeit in the form of anticipatory types and shadows, as is communicated in the new covenant in Christ. The promises and obligations of the Mosaic economy are substantially the same as the promises and obligations of the new covenant economy.

    When the fundamental and substantial differences between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace are acknowledged, it is difficult to see how the Mosaic administration could be in any sense a republication of the covenant of works.”

    “The Mosaic Covenant a ‘Republication’ of the Covenant of Works? A Review Article: The Law Is Not of Faith: Essays on Works and Grace
    in the Mosaic Covenant” MAJT 21 (2010): 35-101

  103. brandonadams said,

    May 29, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    104 rfwhite:

    98 rfwhite: As you say, the distinction between the Abrahamic-New covenant and the Mosaic covenant is not one of substance; it is one of administration. Hence the distinction between the promise and the law. The former is of faith; the latter is not…

    100 Mark: Then they are not of the same substance.

    104 rfwhite: if the promise and the law are of the same substance (Christ), and if the promise and the law are not distinct in that the former is of faith and the latter is of works, then how are the promise and the law distinct?

    According to the substance/administration view, the substance that the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and New Covenants all share is not simply Christ, but more specifically, the gospel: the promise of Christ received through faith alone. Faith, not works, is the substance shared by all these covenants.

    Calvin on Hebrews 8:

    But what he adds is not without some difficulty, — that the covenant of the Gospel was proclaimed on better promises; for it is certain that the fathers who lived under the Law had the same hope of eternal life set before them as we have, as they had the grace of adoption in common with us, then faith must have rested on the same promises. But the comparison made by the Apostle refers to the form rather than to the substance; for though God promised to them the same salvation which he at this day promises to us, yet neither the manner nor the character of the revelation is the same or equal to what we enjoy. If anyone wishes to know more on this subject, let him read the 4th and 5th chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians and my Institutes.

    The substance of the Mosaic covenant was the promise received through faith. It’s only difference with the New is outward appearance (manner of revelation).

    I think some of the confusion here is that when you said “The former is of faith; the latter is not…” you were referring to the Mosaic administration, implying that the Mosaic administration is not of faith. According to the substance/administration view, when the law is contrasted with faith, what is being contrasted is not the Old vs New Covenant, but the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace. “Law” in this context, does not refer to the Mosaic Covenant/administration, since the Mosaic Covenant/administration is of faith.

  104. David R. said,

    May 29, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Interestingly, Turretin (for one) viewed the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants to be, not only the same in substance, but also the same in administration (or “economy”), since for him, the two distinct administrations are typical (OT) and antitypical (NT). (See Institutes 12.7.)

  105. rfwhite said,

    June 1, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    106 Brandon: as far as I can tell, we don’t differ on the point that the substance of the covenant of grace in its varied administrations. We differ on how the promise and the law relate. As you may have guessed, my comment that “the former [i.e., the promise] is of faith and the latter [i.e., the law] is not” was intended as an echo of Gal 3.12 in the context of Gal 3-4, where Paul expounds the discontinuity and continuity of the promise and the law. In your view, is there discontinuity as well as continuity between the two? If so, what is the discontinuity?

  106. rfwhite said,

    June 1, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    105 Mark: Taking Venema’s comments as our common reference, I don’t disagree, except in one specific but, I believe, critical point.

    Venema’s exposition obscures the distinction between two contrasting but compatible ways to life and blessing within the administrations of God’s covenants. Agreeing with Venema, everlasting life would have been rewarded to Adam on condition of his obedience. The same condition, however, did not apply to Adam’s seed. Just as everlasting death was imposed on Adam’s seed because Adam’s disobedience imputed to them and through no demerit of their own, everlasting life would have been granted to Adam’s seed, not on condition of their own obedience but on condition of Adam’s obedience imputed to them and through no merit of their own. As we’d agree, Adam is a type of Christ, before and after the fall.

    We’d agree too that, after Adam failed his probation, God introduced the Covenant of Grace, and He promised in it everlasting life as a gift to Adam’s believing seed not on condition of their own obedience but on condition of the one victorious Son’s obedience. I’d presume too that we’d agree that, when God introduced the Covenant of Grace, the distinction between two contrasting but compatible ways to life and blessing was still critical. Perhaps, however, we disagree that that distinction remained critical even when God introduced the Mosaic administration. Or, more narrowly, perhaps we disagree on how that distinction was presented in the Mosaic economy. I’m not sure.

    In any case, I’d say that the Mosaic economy employed both principles. Let me explain. First, the old economy employed the principle that life and blessing were conditioned on obedience by promising to reward life and blessing in the land only to Abraham’s seed who satisfied the Law’s demands. Given the people’s moral inability, the Law rewarded no one (prior to Christ) according to his own obedience, and so, in this regard, the many seed of Abraham came under the Law’s curse.

    The Mosaic economy, however, also employed the principle that life and blessing were available on condition of another’s obedience. It did so especially through the representative conduct of the mediatorial offices of prophet, priest, and king. But, by referring the people to the obedience of those officers, the Mosaic economy also hearkened back to the obedience of another, namely father Abraham, on account of whose obedience God had made them heirs of the land in the first place: it was teaching them the principle of grace. The Mosaic economy, then, employed both principles: the righteousness of the Law and the righteousness of faith, and thus it shut the people up to faith in the obedience of another, namely the one true Seed of Abraham to come. That’s a summary of the way I’d see the Mosaic economy as an administration of the Covenant of Grace.

  107. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    June 1, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    rfwhite, you wrote: But, by referring the people to the obedience of those officers, the Mosaic economy also hearkened back to the obedience of another, namely father Abraham, on account of whose obedience God had made them heirs of the land in the first place: it was teaching them the principle of grace.

    Making Abraham’s obedience the meritorious ground for inheriting the land goes right back to turning the covenant of grace into a covenant of works. It is by faith that Abraham was accounted righteous, not by his works. So what you describe is teaching a works principle, not a grace principle. The grace principle would point us to faith in Christ, not Abraham.

  108. brandonadams said,

    June 1, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    108 rfwhite:
    First, to clarify, I am not arguing my position here. I am clarifying what the substance/administration (WCF) view is, in contrast to the view you are articulating.

    “We differ on how the promise and the law relate.”

    I don’t believe so. The difference lies in what is meant by “the law” in Gal 3:12. You believe that “the law” refers to the Mosaic Covenant (correct me if this is not the case). The substance/administration (WCF) view believes that “the law” refers to the Adamic Covenant of Works. According to the substance/administration view, “law” in Gal 3:12 cannot refer to the Mosaic Covenant, because the Mosaic Covenant is “of faith.” Instead, it refers to an abuse of the Mosaic law – that is, it refers to those who “abstract” the law from the Mosaic Covenant and deal with the law alone, apart from its covenantal context. When the law is abstracted from the Mosaic Covenant, it represents the Adamic Covenant of Works (works principle), and not the Mosaic Covenant (faith principle).

    Calvin on Gal 4:24

    By the children of Sinai, it will afterwards be explained, are meant hypocrites, who are at length expelled from the Church of God, and deprived of the inheritance. What, then, is the gendering to bondage, which forms the subject of the present dispute? It denotes those who make a wicked abuse of the law, by finding in it nothing but what tends to slavery. Not so the pious fathers, who lived under the Old Testament; for their slavish birth by the law did not hinder them from having Jerusalem for their mother in spirit. But those who adhere to the bare law, and do not acknowledge it to be “a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ,” (Galatians 3:24,) but rather make it a hinderance to prevent their coming to him, are the Ishmaelites born to slavery.

    Again, I’m not articulating my personal view here. I’m simply showing that if you hold to the substance/administration view and believe the Mosaic Covenant is an administration of the covenant of grace, then you cannot say that “the law” in Gal 3:12 refers to the Mosaic Covenant (which is of faith).

    So the discontinuity is between the Adamic Covenant and the Covenant of Grace/Mosaic Covenant. Any discontinuity between the Mosaic and New Covenant is simply a matter of outward appearance (the way the law was revealed in thunder and smoke, and how obscure the gospel was compared to now). I don’t agree with that position, but that is the view put forward by the WCF.

  109. rfwhite said,

    June 1, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    110 Mark: as I see it, we’re talking past each other because we don’t share a common understanding of how the principle of grace was foreshadowed and typified before Christ’s incarnation, at least not as it relates to Abraham’s roles.

    I’m not talking about the grace according to which Abraham was accounted righteous and made an heir of the heavenly city-country in the new earth. I’m talking about the grace according to which Israel, Abraham’s seed according to the flesh, received the earthly land of Canaan. In other words, I’m talking about how Abraham was a shadow and type of Christ, not how Abraham was an heir of Christ. We agree about the latter; I’m not sure about the former.

    If I’m right that we’re talking passed each other about Abraham and Israel according to the flesh as a shadow and type of Christ and His seed aka Israel according to the Spirit, indulge me and let me say that, as I understand it, God administered the Covenant of Grace in history through the mediation of certain believers whom He constituted as shadows and types of Christ. Abraham was one of those believers. To foreshadow and typify Christ, God condescended to count Abraham’s exemplary works of faith both as the ground of his appointment as a mediatorial representative for his physical seed and as the ground of his physical seed’s special earthly and temporal blessing.

    Although Israel according the flesh received inheritance blessings by reason of their union with Abraham, those blessings were and could only be earthly and temporal. Why? Because the obedience of Abraham was neither perfect nor perpetual – nor could it have been. We’d agree that Abraham’s obedience fell short of the perfect and perpetual obedience required to obtain heavenly and eternal inheritance for himself or his seed. His obedience was deficient as both active and passive obedience. He could not satisfy the requirements of God’s law that would result in the justification and eternal life of his seed. Nor could he pay the penalty for violation of God’s law, either for himself or for his seed, since he was a sinner.

    Abraham’s deficiencies meant that only his one true righteous Seed, Christ Himself, could provide by His mediation of the Covenant of Grace the special heavenly and eternal inheritance blessings for believing Abraham and those of faith. By faith in his one righteous Seed, then, Abraham had found a righteousness better than his own and an inheritance better than Canaan. Even so by faith could his many seed.

    When God condescended to constituted Abraham a shadow and type of Christ, He was applying the principle of works to Abraham and the principle of grace to Israel. When God counted Abraham righteous and an heir of Christ, He was applying the principle of grace to Abraham. The application of both principles points to Christ.

  110. rfwhite said,

    June 1, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    111 Brandon: thanks for clarifying what your view is. I suppose it’s clear by now that I don’t share your understanding of the WCF’s view.

  111. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    June 2, 2015 at 8:28 am

    rfwhite, I don’t believe we are talking past each other, but that are operating with different definitions of some basic terms such as “grace”, “works”, and likely “merit”. Typology does not rescue or harmonize the differences. I commend reading the entire Venema article I cited above as he explains this well.

    As I see it, you zealously (and correctly) guard eternal rewards as of “grace alone”. No works. No merit. Yet, you allow Abraham’s obedience to constitute a work meriting temporal rewards. This must then also hold true for Moses and I suppose, any other covenant figure in redemptive history. This by definition means one cannot hold to the Abrahamic or Mosaic as administrations of the covenant of grace only. It must be some other covenant. I categorically reject any human merit post fall, either for eternal or temporal rewards. Qualifiers such as ‘typological” or “congruent” to the term “merit” does not change the fact we are still talking about human merit.

    As a side note, Brandon @ #111 above is an accurate description of the confessional view.

    Thanks for the conversation. I look forward to Lane’s further post on merit, for that is the lynchpin on which the Klinean recasting of covenant theology rests.

  112. June 2, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    I think Westminster Confession of Faith 19.6 actually speaks quite clearly to this whole republication debate.

    It speaks of the use of the law to the regenerate, that “the threatenings of it [i.e. the law] serve to show what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God’s approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof; although not as due them by the law as a covenant of works.”

    Paul uses the 5th commandment explicitly in Ephesians 6:1-3, and even includes the promise annexed to it (although adapting it to those in the New Covenant age,where we are not looking to the land of promise in Canaan).

    The children of Israel did not “earn” or “merit” entering the land or staying in it. But the Lord chastised His people for disobedience, and still does. And the Lord blessed His people for obedience (even that which is far from perfect), and still does.

    I think Ephesians 6:1-4 can really shed some light on this whole discussion. He uses/quotes the law, including the promise annexed to it. And that promise (I think) sheds light on the right use of the law, both in the New Testament as well as in the Old.

    In the words of the Confession, in this life, for believers, there are afflictions for disobedience and blessings for obedience. And this does *not* then make this a covenant of works (or even “sort of” a covenant of works, frankly). God gives us threatenings and promises in order to deter us from sin and to encourage us toward obedience (like a good father does with his children). The issue here is not justification, as no one is justified by the works of the law (Romans 3:20). The issue is sanctification.

  113. brandonadams said,

    June 2, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    rfwhite,
    Simply because Abraham, or any other figure in the OT, was a type of Christ and thereby taught people about Christ does not therefore mean that a covenant made with that person was the covenant of grace. Romans 5:14 says Adam was a type of Christ. That does not mean the Adamic Covenant of Works was “an administration of the covenant of grace.” The type is not the thing typified. Abraham was not Christ. Receiving blessings based upon the work/merit of Abraham is not the same thing as receiving blessings based upon the work/merit of Christ. The first can teach about the latter, but it is not the latter.

    I’d say that the Mosaic economy employed both principles. Let me explain. First, the old economy employed the principle that life and blessing were conditioned on obedience by promising to reward life and blessing in the land only to Abraham’s seed who satisfied the Law’s demands. Given the people’s moral inability, the Law rewarded no one (prior to Christ) according to his own obedience, and so, in this regard, the many seed of Abraham came under the Law’s curse.

    The Mosaic economy, however, also employed the principle that life and blessing were available on condition of another’s obedience. It did so especially through the representative conduct of the mediatorial offices of prophet, priest, and king. But, by referring the people to the obedience of those officers, the Mosaic economy also hearkened back to the obedience of another, namely father Abraham, on account of whose obedience God had made them heirs of the land in the first place: it was teaching them the principle of grace. The Mosaic economy, then, employed both principles: the righteousness of the Law and the righteousness of faith

    Your last sentence is incorrect. The righteousness of faith is specifically the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to sinners through the instrument of faith in Christ’s work alone. Thus “the righteousness of faith” cannot refer to the righteousness of Abraham as a representative of his physical seed. You could say “The Mosaic economy, then, employed both principles: the righteousness of the Law and the righteousness of the lawkeeping of a representative.” But you are arguing that Israel was blessed with Canaan on account of Abraham’s work, not Christ’s work. Therefore it was not operating upon the principle of “the righteousness of faith.”

    To foreshadow and typify Christ, God condescended to count Abraham’s exemplary works of faith both as the ground of his appointment as a mediatorial representative for his physical seed and as the ground of his physical seed’s special earthly and temporal blessing.

    I believe you are correct here, biblically. However, I don’t think you’ve connected the dots for what that means about the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants, I would argue because you don’t seem to understand what is meant by reformed theologians when they say the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants were administrations of the Covenant of Grace. Let me ask you this: Do you believe that both the Abrahamic and the Mosaic Covenants were the both the Covenant of Grace? Or do you just believe that they simply served the purposes of the Covenant of Grace while being distinct from it?

    Mark @114: This by definition means one cannot hold to the Abrahamic or Mosaic as administrations of the covenant of grace only. It must be some other covenant.

    Rfwhite, this is the necessary conclusion of your view. Brother, I believe your interpretation of Scripture is correct. Israel entered the land on account of Abraham’s works and their works (not their faith) were their condition for remaining in the land (though God was long-suffering towards them and waited until Christ came to enforce the full covenant curses). But you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t say the Mosaic Covenant was a covenant of works (in contrast to faith) for life in the land and that it was also the covenant of grace.

    You agree with the Lutherans’ reasons for rejecting Westminster Federalism (I agree with them too). Owen notes:

    The Lutherans, on the other side, insist on two arguments to prove, that not a twofold administration of the same covenant, but that two covenants substantially distinct, are intended in this discourse of the apostle.

    1. Because in the Scripture they are often so called, and compared with one another, and sometimes opposed unto one another; the first and the last, the new and the old.

    2. Because the covenant of grace in Christ is eternal, immutable, always the same, obnoxious unto no alteration, no change or abrogation; neither can these things be spoken of it with respect unto any administration of it. as they are spoken of the old covenant…

    You are saying that the difference between the law of works (Mosaic Covenant) and faith (Covenant of Grace) cannot be spoken of as a difference in administration/appearance/accidents/form.

    Owen agreed too:

    4. These things being observed, we may consider that the Scripture doth plainly and expressly make mention of two testaments, or covenants, and distinguish between them in such a way, as what is spoken can hardly be accommodated unto a twofold administration of the same covenant.

  114. rfwhite said,

    June 3, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    114 Mark: a few quick notes …

    You say that my allowance for “Abraham’s obedience to constitute a work meriting temporal rewards … must then also hold true for Moses,” no, it doesn’t hold true for Moses since God does not count his exemplary works of faith as the ground of his posterity’s temporal blessing; in fact, such an arrangement is pointed rejected in the text.

    You say you “suppose” that that same allowance holds true for “any other covenant figure in redemptive history.” Well, no, as I said, it applies only discriminately, to those believers of God’s choice, especially to those in the mediatorial offices.

    For what it’s worth, if you ever care to learn any more about my views, you can find an exposition of them in my essay (with E. C. Beisner), “Covenant, Inheritance, and Typology: Understanding the Principles at Work in God’s Covenants,” in G. P. Waters and G. L. W. Johnson, eds., By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007). As it relates specifically to merit and (your assumptions about) my views of it, you’ll find in that essay that I reject the whole congruent/condign merit distinction as one that makes sense only within the larger scheme of infusionist justification. It is alien to the construct of imputationist justification that defines Reformation (and especially Reformed, covenantal) soteriology.

  115. rfwhite said,

    June 3, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    116 Brandon: a few comments.

    I agree with your first paragraph, “Simply … latter.”

    You go on to say that my “last sentence” – The Mosaic economy, then, employed both principles: the righteousness of the Law and the righteousness of faith “is incorrect.” You make this claim, don’t you, because you assume that I would refer “the righteousness of faith” to Abraham’s righteousness, not to Christ’s righteousness?

    You are mistaken in this assumption. As I go on to say at the end of the sentence you cited, and thus it [the Mosaic economy] shut the people up to faith in the obedience of another, namely the one true Seed of Abraham to come.

    That last statement makes it pretty clear that I meant that the righteousness of faith was the righteousness of Christ. Granted, for me to spell out in explicit terms the concern you’re raising, it would be best to import the gist of my subsequent comment in 112, where I stated: the obedience of Abraham was neither perfect nor perpetual – nor could it have been. … Abraham’s deficiencies meant that only his one true righteous Seed, Christ Himself, could provide by His mediation of the Covenant of Grace the special heavenly and eternal inheritance blessings for believing Abraham and those of faith. By faith in his one righteous Seed, then, Abraham had found a righteousness better than his own and an inheritance better than Canaan. Even so by faith could his many seed.

    As for whether I’ve “connected the dots” or not, you will probably want to become more fully informed about my views from what I’ve published on the subject (see comment 117). As an ordained PCA teaching elder since 1994, I have believed and taught that the Abrahamic and the Mosaic Covenants were both administrations of the Covenant of Grace for over 20 years now.

  116. brandonadams said,

    June 3, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    118 rfwhite, I have read your chapter, though it has been several years. I have no doubt you affirm that the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants were administrations of the covenant of grace. I simply do not believe you understand what that affirmation means.

    Your view is in agreement with the Subservient Covenant view articulated by reformed theologians of the past. They say exactly what you say: the land and blessings of Canaan were conditioned upon Israel’s obedience according to the principle of Leviticus 18:5. They also say exactly what you say in that this taught Israel, typologically, of Christ and the gospel, and thus the gospel was revealed to them.

    But they had a better understanding of what the theological language of the Mosaic Covenant being an administration of the covenant of grace meant, and they therefore denied that the Mosaic Covenant was an administration of the covenant of grace, because they were saying something different. If you affirm that the Mosaic Covenant was an administration of the Covenant of Grace, then you must affirm the difference between the Mosaic and the New Covenants is limited to:

    The judgment of most reformed divines is, that the church under the old testament had the same promise of Christ, the same interest in him by faith, remission of sins, reconciliation with God, justification and salvation by the same way and means, that believers have under the new. And whereas the essence and the substance of the covenant consists in these things, they are not to be said to be under another covenant, but only a different administration of it. But this was so different from that which is established in the gospel after the coming of Christ, that it hath the appearance and name of another covenant. And the difference between these two administrations may be reduced unto the ensuing heads: —

    1. It consisted in the way and manner of the declaration of the mystery of
    the love and will of God in Christ; of the work of reconciliation and
    redemption, with our justification by faith. For herein the gospel, wherein
    “life and immortality are brought to light,” doth in plainness, clearness,
    and evidence, much excel the administration and declaration of the same
    truths under the law. And the greatness of the privilege of the church herein is not easily expressed. For hereby” with open face we behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord,” and Lord changed into the same image,” 2 Corinthians 3:18. The man whose eyes the Lord Christ opened, Mark
    8:23-25, represents these two states. When he first touched him, his eyes were opened, and he saw, but he saw nothing clearly; whence, when he looked, he said, “I see men as trees, walking,” verse 24: but upon his second touch, he Lordevery man clearly,” verse 25. They had their sight under the old testament, and the object was proposed unto them, but at a great distance, with such an interposition of mists, clouds, and shadows, as that they saw men like trees, walking,” —nothing clearly and perfectly: but now under the gospel, the object, which is Christ, being brought near unto us, and all clouds and shadows being departed, we do or may see all things clearly. When a traveler in his way on downs or hills is encompassed with a thick mist and fog, though he be in his way yet he is uncertain, and nothing is presented unto him in its proper shape and
    distance; things near seem to be afar off, and things afar off to be near, and every thing hath, though not a false, yet an uncertain appearance. Let the sun break forth and scatter the mists and fogs that are about him, and immediately every thing appears quite in another shape unto him, so as indeed he is ready to think he is not where he was. His way is plain, he is certain of it, and all the region about lies evident under his eye; yet is there no alteration made but in the removal of the mists and clouds that interrupted his sight. So was it with them under the law. The types and shadows that they were enclosed in, and which were the only medium they had to view spiritual things in, represented them not unto them clearly and in their proper shape. But they being now removed, by the rising of the Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings, in the
    dispensation of the gospel, the whole mystery of God in Christ is clearly
    manifested unto them that do believe. And the greatness of this privilege
    of the gospel above the law is inexpressible; whereof, as I suppose, we
    must speak somewhat afterwards.

    2. In the plentiful communication of grace unto the community of the
    church; for now it is that we receive “grace for grace,” or a plentiful
    effusion of it, by Jesus Christ. There was grace given in an eminent manner unto many holy persons under the old testament, and all true believers had true, real, saving grace communicated unto them; but the measures of grace in the true church under the new testament do exceed those of the community of the church under the old. And therefore, as God winked at some things under the old testament, as polygamy, and the like, which are expressly and severely interdicted under the new, nor are consistent with the present administrations of it; so are sundry duties, as those of selfdenial, readiness to bear the cross, to forsake houses, lands, and habitations, more expressly enjoined unto us than unto them. And the obedience which God requireth in any covenant, or administration of it, is proportionable unto the strength which the administration of that covenant doth exhibit. And if those who profess the gospel do content themselves without any interest in this privilege of it, if they endeavor not for a share in that plentiful effusion of grace which doth accompany its present administration, the gospel itself will be of no other use unto them, but to increase and aggravate their condemnation.

    3. In the manner of our access unto God. Herein much of all that is called
    religion doth consist; for hereon doth all our outward worship of God
    depend. And in this the advantages of the gospel-administration of the
    covenant above that of the law is in all things very eminent. Our access
    now to God is immediate, by Jesus Christ, with liberty and boldness, as
    we shall afterwards declare. Those under the law were immediately
    conversant, in their whole worship, about outward, typical things, — the
    tabernacle, the altar, the ark, the mercy-seat, and the like obscure
    representations of the presence of God. Besides, the manner of the making of the covenant with them at mount Sinai filled them with fear, and brought them into bondage, so as they had comparatively a servile frame of spirit in all their holy worship.

    4. In the way of worship required under each administration. For under
    that which was legal, it seemed good unto God to appoint a great number
    of outward rites, ceremonies, and observances; and these, as they were
    dark in their signification, as also in their use and ends, so were they, by
    reason of their nature, number, and the severe penalties under which they were enjoined, grievous and burdensome to be observed. But the way of worship under the gospel is spiritual, rational, and plainly subservient unto the ends of the covenant itself; so as that the use, ends, benefits, and advantages of it are evident unto all.

    5. In the extent of the dispensation of the grace of God; for this is greatly
    enlarged under the gospel. For under the old testament it was upon the
    matter confined unto the posterity of Abraham according to the flesh; but
    under the new testament it extends itself unto all nations under heaven.

    Sundry other things are usually added by our divines unto the same
    purpose. See Calvin. Institut. lib. 2:cap. xi.; Martyr. Loc. Com. loc. 16,
    sect. 2; Bucan. loc. 22, etc.

    Since Owen believed the difference was more than this, that the Mosaic Covenant was a covenant of works for life in the land of Canaan, he said the Mosaic Covenant was of a different substance and was not the same in substance as the Covenant of Grace.

    Unto this covenant belonged the decalogue, with all precepts of moral obedience thence educed. So also did the laws of political rule established among them, and the whole system of
    religious worship given unto them. All these laws were brought within the
    verge of this covenant, and were the matter of it. And it had especial
    promises and threatenings annexed unto it as such; whereof none did
    exceed the bounds of the land of Canaan…

    This is the nature and substance of that covenant which God made with that people; a particular, temporary covenant it was, and not a mere dispensation of the covenant of grace

    ’I exercised the right, power, and authority of a husband towards them; I dealt with them as a husband with a wife that breaketh covenant:’ that is, saith the apostle, ‘“ I regarded them not” with the love, tenderness, and affection of a husband.’ So he dealt indeed with that generation which so suddenly brake covenant with him. He provided no more for them as unto the enjoyment of the inheritance, he took them not home unto him in his habitation, his resting-place in the land of promise; but he suffered them all to wander, and bear their whoredoms in the wilderness, until they were consumed. So did God exercise the right, and power, and authority of a husband towards a wife that had broken covenant. And herein, as in many other things in that dispensation, did God give a representation of the nature of the covenant of works, and the issue of it…

    I agree with what you say about the works principle and the Mosaic Covenant, but the necessary consequence is that it is therefore not the Covenant of Grace.

    I’m sure I’ve worn out my welcome, so I will try to keep quiet now. Thank you for entertaining my comments.

  117. brandonadams said,

    June 3, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Sorry, one more question:

    rfwhite, Do you believe that OT saints were eternally saved by virtue of the Mosaic Covenant?

  118. Ron Henzel said,

    June 17, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Brandon,

    You wrote:

    “‘Administration of the covenant of grace’ means of the same substance: faith, not works.'”

    This appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of administration in Covenant Theology. On the contrary, in Westminster Standards terms, “administration of the Covenant of Grace” means that it is something that administers the substance, but is not confused with it. The administration is not “of” the substance in the sense that it shares the substance, otherwise the administration itself could never be abrogated, and yet past administrations have been abrogated (cf. WCF 19.3). Furthermore, administrations contain accidents, which by definition are non-essential, and thus not part of the substance of the Covenant.

    Thus it cannot follow that “OT saints were eternally saved by virtue of the Mosaic Covenant.” OT saints were eternally saved by virtue of the Covenant of Grace, and those saints who were under the Mosaic Law were saved by virtue of the Covenant of Grace because all the prior revelations of it were included in the Mosaic administration (cf. Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:374).

  119. brandonadams said,

    June 18, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Hi Ron, I do not believe I am the one with a fundamental misunderstanding. WCF teaches that “there are not two covenants… but one and the same.” The Old Covenant and the New Covenant are the same covenant. The Mosaic Covenant is not distinct and separate from another covenant, the Covenant of Grace. It is the Covenant of Grace. The Mosaic Covenant as a whole is not relegated to the level of “administration” or “accidents.” The Mosaic Covenant has a substance and accidents. The substance of the Mosaic Covenant is the substance of the New Covenant and they are both the substance of the Covenant of Grace. The accidents of the Mosaic Covenant were the accidents of the Covenant of Grace during that time. The Mosaic Covenant is not abrogated. Only its accidents are. The Mosaic Covenant continues in the New Covenant, but now with different accidents. To use the metaphor of the same man putting on different clothes, the Mosaic Covenant is not just the old clothes – it is the man in his old clothes (according to Calvin and WCF’s substance/administration view).

  120. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    June 18, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Excellent, Brandon.

  121. Ron Henzel said,

    June 19, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Brandon,

    You wrote:

    Hi Ron, I do not believe I am the one with a fundamental misunderstanding. WCF teaches that “there are not two covenants… but one and the same.” The Old Covenant and the New Covenant are the same covenant.

    To say “there are not two covenants” is not the same as saying “they [i.e., the Mosaic Covenant and the Covenant of Grace] are not two covenants,” or (a better statement of the Westminster position) that they are not distinct in the sense that one is an administration of the Covenant and the other is the Covenant itself. You are playing a verbal shell-game here in order to prove that the Westminster-defined administrations are the substance of the Covenant of Grace rather than what we really believe: that the administrations contain the substance.

    I suppose you might have some semblance of a point here if the part of the confession from which you cite, the final sentence in WCF 7.6, mentioned either the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, the Law of Moses, or even the Old Testament, but it does not. The final sentence is not making a point about the administrations—equating the administration with the substance, as you would have it—but making a point about the substance by simply announcing that the substance was the same under each administration. To say that the substance was “one and the same” under each administration is not the same as saying that any administration (or as you would have it, the Mosaic administration) is “one and the same” with the substance of the Covenant of Grace. You have ripped your citation from its context and have thus introduced a fundamental distortion of its meaning.

    A proper consideration of the context demonstrates that the topic from WCF 7.4 through WCF 7.6 is “This covenant of grace” (the beginning of 7.4). WCF 7.5 tells us that it was administered differently under the Law than under the Gospel, and proceeds to enumerate how it was administered under the Law. WCF 7.6 then tells us how it is administered under the Gospel. And then, at the end of 7.6, it states that it was the same Covenant of Grace under both administrations.

    So on the one hand it is partially true that, as you put it,

    The Mosaic Covenant is not distinct and separate from another covenant, the Covenant of Grace.

    Because while the administrative covenant of Moses was not separate from the Covenant of Grace during its time of administration, it was nevertheless, and still is, distinct from it. This becomes obvious when we consider that Covenant of Grace will never be abrogated because its substance is eternal, but the the administrative Mosaic Covenant already has been abrogated. As defined by the WCF, the Mosaic administration consisted of promises, types, and ordinances “which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious” (WCF 7.5), but are so no longer. Therefore, as a covenant administration, the Mosaic Covenant was obviously distinct from the Covenant of Grace.

    Thus your statement

    It [the Mosaic Covenant] is the Covenant of Grace.

    is a complete misrepresentation of the Westminster position. And to respond to what you also wrote:

    The Mosaic Covenant as a whole is not relegated to the level of “administration” or “accidents.”

    Of course it isn’t! The Mosaic Covenant when viewed “as a whole” includes the substance of the Covenant of Grace. But that does not change the fact that also “as a whole” it is an administration that consists of accidents (properties not essential to the Covenant of Grace), and that these accidents are what make it distinct from every other covenant, including the Covenant of Grace.

    You wrote:

    The Mosaic Covenant has a substance and accidents.

    I’m sorry, but while in some contexts a statement like this might fly, in the context of this discussion it simply introduces more semantic confusion. The Mosaic Covenant, as an administration of the Covenant of Grace, has its own substance, not to be confused with the substance of the Covenant of Grace. That substance consists of properties that are essential to its particular administrative purpose, but accidental to the Covenant of Grace, and therefore temporary.

    You wrote:

    The substance of the Mosaic Covenant is the substance of the New Covenant and they are both the substance of the Covenant of Grace.

    It depends what you mean by this. If by “the substance of the Mosaic Covenant” you mean “the substance it contained by way of administration,” there is no problem. But if by that you mean the substance that made the Mosaic Covenant distinctive and temporary is the substance of the Covenant of Grace, then there is a rather obvious problem, especially with the Westminster brand of Covenant Theology.

    Turretin, for example, speaks of the the substance of the Covenant of Grace as “the internal truth of the Gospel” that was “lying under” or “latent under” the external administration of the Mosaic Covenant (Institutes of Elenctic Theology 12.7.32, and 43, Dennison edition, 2:227 and 230).

    You wrote:

    The accidents of the Mosaic Covenant were the accidents of the Covenant of Grace during that time.

    While it may be true that there is no distinction between substance and accidents in the version of Reformed Baptist Covenantalism to which you subscribe, it is not true in the Westminster tradition. So to speak about “the accidents of the Covenant of Grace” at any time needs to be qualified in light of your Reformed Baptist biases. The particular qualification that needs to be made here is that Covenant of Grace has never had any accidents inherent or essential to it. To say that it did would be a contradiction in terms, since accidents (non-essential properties) are by definition not part of the essence. And since substance and essence are interchangeable terms here, if it’s not part of the essence, its not part of the substance.The Mosaic Covenant contained the substance but was not the substance.

    So, in one sense, one can say that the Mosaic Covenant was a covenant of grace (lower case). But to call it the Covenant of Grace is clearly misleading, at least if you subscribe to the Westminster Standards. But even if one were to find such a statement among the countless volumes of Reformed writings of Westminster-variety Covenant theologians, given the covenantal-theological context it would be tantamount to someone saying that one can quench one’s thirst with a bottle of water. The Mosaic Covenant is analogous to the bottle, while the Covenant of Grace is analogous to the water (cf. Institutes 2.10.23). The bottle is not an essential property of the water.

    You wrote:

    The Mosaic Covenant is not abrogated. Only its accidents are. The Mosaic Covenant continues in the New Covenant, but now with different accidents.

    Again, this just plain doesn’t fly in the Westminster tradition. It’s rather appalling to see anyone ascribe such notions to it.

    You wrote:

    To use the metaphor of the same man putting on different clothes, the Mosaic Covenant is not just the old clothes – it is the man in his old clothes (according to Calvin and WCF’s substance/administration view).

    Once again, it is difficult to imagine a more grotesque distortion of the views of Calvin and the WCF. Calvin, for example, wrote:

    It hence follows that the Law was a temporary covenant, for it had no stability, for it was that of the letter; but that the Gospel is a perpetual covenant, for it is inscribed on the heart.

    [John Calvin, Commentaries on the Prophet Jeremiah and Lamentations, (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1855), 215.]

    Since you are a Reformed Baptist, it is perhaps understandable that you can only think of the following two options.

    (a) The Mosaic Covenant is the Covenant of Grace

    (b) The Mosaic Covenant is separate and distinct from the Covenant of Grace

    But the Wesminster position is neither of these, but rather this:

    (c) As a temporary administration of the Covenant of Grace, the Mosaic Covenant was united to the substance of the Covenant of Grace while it remained distinct from it as accidents of the Covenant.

    As R. Scott Clark and others have so succinctly summarized it, the Mosaic Covenant was a temporary administration of the covenant of grace.

    But then, all of the administrations of the Covenant of Grace are ultimately temporary, including the New Covenant administration. One day the New Covenant will, too, be replaced, and the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper will give way to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, since while now we know in part, then we will know in full, and the Covenant of Grace will continue under an eternal administration as we are forever with the Lord.

  122. brandonadams said,

    June 19, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Ron, you are quite confused.

  123. Ron Henzel said,

    July 22, 2015 at 5:21 am

    R. Scott Clark wrote:

    Perhaps the most persistent error in the history of Reformed covenant theology has been conflate the administration with its substance or to collapse the administration of the covenant of grace into its substance. If we say that anyone who participates in the administration has the substance, then we are sacerdotalists. We’ve turned the covenant of grace into magic. This is the error of the Romanists and the Federal Visionists. If we allow the substance to swallow up the administration, then we lose the administration. This is what Baptists do with the new covenant. They divorce it from the history of redemption.

    What Is The Substance Of The Covenant? (3)

  124. David R. said,

    July 25, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    This sentence is nonsensical:

    The Mosaic Covenant, as an administration of the Covenant of Grace, has its own substance, not to be confused with the substance of the Covenant of Grace.

    To say that the MC is an administration of the covenant of grace is to say that the MC is substantially the covenant of grace. Reformed scholasticism 101.

  125. David R. said,

    July 25, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Clark’s essay is dealing with a completely different problem, namely, that of membership in the covenant of grace.

  126. Ron Henzel said,

    July 26, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    David R.,

    I realize that my choice of wording is not typical, but it is far from nonsensical. Earlier in the comment from which you quote I affirmed at three other points that the Mosaic Covenant contains and exhibits the substance of the Covenant of Grace (per WCF 7.6), so I clearly have not said that the Mosaic Covenant differs from it in substance. And I clarified the meaning of what you cited in the very next sentence:

    That substance [i.e., the substance of the administration’s accidents as opposed to the substance of the Covenant of Grace] consists of properties that are essential to its particular administrative purpose, but accidental to the Covenant of Grace, and therefore temporary.

    And Clark’s essay is actually an extended discussion of On the Substance of the Covenant of Grace Between God and the Elect, by Caspar Olevianus, which can be found here, here, and here. It is not limited to the topic of membership in the Covenant, but is directly relevant to my previous comments.

  127. brandonadams said,

    July 27, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    “The substance of the accidents” is equivalent to saying “the up of the down”, “the in of the out”, “the black of the white”, “the change of the unchanged” etc. Substance and accidents are opposites. The accidents do not have a substance. That’s what makes them accidents. As David said, it’s nonsensical.

  128. Ron Henzel said,

    July 27, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    The administrative features of the Mosaic Covenant—i.e., its sacrificial system, its priestly order, its civil law code, etc.—existed simultaneously as:

    a) non-essential properties (i.e., accidents) of the Covenant of Grace, and

    b) essential properties (i.e., the substance) of the Mosaic Covenant’s administration of the Covenant of Grace.

    This is all I have said on this point. It is not nonsensical if you observe the distinctions I am making.

  129. David R. said,

    July 27, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Ron, what you said in the sentence I quoted is analogous to saying, “John Smith, when he is sitting down, has his own substance, not to be confused with the substance of John Smith.” That is nonsense.

    But what you are saying now is not the same thing, but rather is analogous to saying, “Sitting down is not essential to John Smith, but it is essential to sitting down.” At least this sentence is not nonsensical, but it hardly needs saying!

  130. Ron Henzel said,

    July 27, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    David,

    Well, as I see it, I have simply stated the same thing I wrote previously in a different form. In any case, I have been making these points in response to the following assertion by Brandon (in his comment of June 18, 2015 at 7:11 pm):

    The Mosaic Covenant is not distinct and separate from another covenant, the Covenant of Grace. It is the Covenant of Grace. The Mosaic Covenant as a whole is not relegated to the level of “administration” or “accidents.”

  131. David R. said,

    July 27, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Ron, Brandon was simply explaining what it means to say that the MC is an administration of the covenant of grace. As he pointed out, it is to say that it IS the covenant of grace.

  132. Jack Miller said,

    July 28, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Hi David R.,

    Help me here on how you would understand WCF 7.5-6. Two different administrations of the covenant of grace, i.e. administered differently via different elements and ordinances. The administration of the CoG is different under the Law from that under the gospel. Those ordinances, types, sacrifices by which the covenant of grace was administered under the Law are done away with. Yet that Law administration via those elements that are no longer in effect is the covenant of grace? While the different gospel administration via different elements – the Word and sacraments – is the covenant of grace? How can two different administrations both be the same thing (one of which is now obsolete having been found wanting per Hebrews)? I can see how the substance of both is the covenant of grace and both are administrations of it. And I would say that the gospel administration is the fully revealed covenant of grace, but how so the Law’s administration which was inferior to the gospel, was different, and now is gone?

    cheers,
    Jack

  133. David R. said,

    July 28, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Hey Jack,

    Always happy to help you! ;)

    Yet that Law administration via those elements that are no longer in effect is the covenant of grace?

    Yes. That’s what it means to say that the MC is an administration of the CoG.

    While the different gospel administration via different elements – the Word and sacraments – is the covenant of grace?

    Correct.

    How can two different administrations both be the same thing (one of which is now obsolete having been found wanting per Hebrews)?

    The administrations are not the same thing, that’s the point. The substance is the same but the administrations (i.e., accidents) are different.

    Again, a good analogy is the difference between a man sitting down and the same man standing up. The man is the CoG, the man sitting (let’s say) is the MC and the man standing is the NC. The differences caused by his various bodily positions are purely accidental. Hope that helps!

  134. David R. said,

    July 28, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Suppose the man in the analogy is a friend of yours, John, who at the moment is sitting on your couch watching TV. During a commercial you begin a conversation with him and you address him by name. He stands up to stretch and the conversation continues. There’s a third friend with you (Bill) who overhears and suddenly looks at you with a startled expression. You ask him what’s wrong and he says, “I just heard you call him John.” You respond, “Of course, that’s his name!” Bill responds, “But how can that be? John was sitting down; therefore, this standing person must certainly be someone else.”

    What would you think of Bill’s “logic”?

  135. Jack Miller said,

    July 28, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    David,
    So the only difference between the Sinai Covenant and the Gospel is equated with merely a position of one either sitting or standing… Seems that the N.T., especially Paul, makes more of a distinction, in fact quite a bit more.

    I’ll continue to think on your comments. Thanks.

  136. brandonadams said,

    July 28, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Seems that the N.T., especially Paul, makes more of a distinction, in fact quite a bit more.

    Jack, your assumption is that the Westminster substance/accidents position adequately captures Scripture’s understanding of the Old and New Covenants. Don’t start with that assumption. I agree with you that the NT does not explain the difference in terms of sitting vs standing, and that’s why I reject the substance/accidents explanation.

  137. Jack Miller said,

    July 28, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Brandon,

    Thanks. I think that the WCF could be clearer here. So as far as that goes, I hold some reservations as to the adequately of its explanation of these things. I find myself, more or less, in a general Kline or T. David Gordon position. And I’m aware that Kline wanted to revise this chapter due to paragraph one. I’m not convinced this chapter is iron clad when it comes to understanding the covenants only via a substance and accident lens.

  138. August 13, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    What amazes me is how many people want to misunderstand grace and works. Yes, they want to. It amazes me that people can’t see that grace may reward imperfect obedience. It also amazes me that people always want to attribute all judgement to be based upon a Covenant of Works. There is judgement that belongs to the House of God when it is has disobedience reigning in her heart. And it may be gracious discipline to help her return. Do this and live is not just a word for Adam. It is a principle given to us, the Church, also. Just try living in deep sin as a Christian and you will find yourself in a bad place. You won’t be receiving blessing for obedience. You will be receiving the discipline of the Lord. Remember St. Paul telling the Corinthian Church to deliver a person over to Satan? And why?

    1Corinthians 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    Does that sound like blessing?

    Or how about this situation?
    Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

    It sounds like there is also a Do this and Live principle in the New Covenant for the Redeemed also. Especially as Paul noted in Ephesians Chapter 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

    We have ruined the term Grace and have very little knowledge of it as Americans. Grace is much more than Unmerited Favor. But that is usually the only understanding given to it. It is very rarely understood in the terminology that even St. Paul used as he encouraged us to work out our Salvation in fear and trembling. Grace is so much more than unmerited favor. It has been dumbed down by American Christianity. Even by our Modern Reformed Thinkers.

  139. August 13, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Men have been turning Administrations of the Covenant of Grace into a Covenant of Works ever since the fall. They even do it to the New Covenant. So why is it so hard to make the John Cameron, Samuel Bolton, Klinean, Escondido leap to turn the Old Covenant into a Covenant of Works when God never intended for it to be as James Durham and many others have noted. I have a blog with plenty of Reformers noting that very fact. Samuel Bolton might have been at the Assembly but he arrived after chapter 7 was complete.

    Some have accused the Non-Repub guys of not dealing with the book of Romans or Galatians or Leviticus. First off, I am not so sure that Republication and Non-Republication are good identifying points. Everyone acknowledges that the Law known as the Covenant of Works as given to Adam was republished. Not everyone is willing to admit a Covenant of Works was reinstituted. I have dealt with the passages as have many others who do not believe that the Covenant of Works was reinstituted. Calvin did also and Kline’s view concerning the Law and Galatians stands in contrast to Calvin’s understanding.

    https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/possible-misconceptions-about-galatians-law-and-gospel-are-opposed/

    Well, enough for now.

    I am trying to understand this and I have obviously come down on a side where I believe the new paradigm falls short. This is a hard issue to wade through because some men are using the same language but mean very different things as I have found out. I am praying and hoping honesty and Unity may be achieved. Kind of like how Reformed Baptists and Reformed Theologians may find unity in Christ even though they disagree with each other.

    https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/the-charge-of-lutheranism-is-not-about-distinction-it-is-about-dichotomy/

    https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/very-good-discussion-on-r-scott-clarks-7-point-summary-of-republication/

  140. Dr. Mark W. Karlberg said,

    October 11, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Critique of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church
    Report on Republication – by Dr. Mark W. Karlberg

    The Report on Republication written by a committee of five and approved for distribution by the 2016 General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is currently being read and studied by many in the Reformed community. According to the summary of the GA provided on the denominational website (http://www.opc.org/GA/83rd_GA_rpt.html): “The assembly voted to distribute the report to presbyteries and other interested parties for study. The report would not carry constitutional weight, as if it were the official statement of the OPC, but the assembly determined it would be a profitable document. The report includes a list of topics pertaining to covenant theology for presbyteries to consider as they examine candidates for the ministry.”

    Chief attention in this Report is given to the “controversial” views of Professor Meredith G. Kline. Judged in the light of the long-standing theological dispute within the OPC and Westminster Seminary (East and West), this focus is wholly misguided. More grievous, the committee has placed Confession above Scripture, and in so doing commends to its readers an unscriptural construct regarding the first covenant God established with Adam as federal head (the Covenant of Works). It promotes the medieval, scholastic (i.e., speculative) dichotomy between a natural (legal) state for Adam at creation and a subsequent covenantal (gracious) relationship established between the Creator and the creature, God’s image-bearer. The first covenant before the Fall affords the human race represented in Adam the opportunity of receiving eternal reward and blessing for obedience. We are told that this reward is not earned (or “merited”), but is granted as a gift of grace. The error of this formulation of the Covenant of Works shapes the committee’s understanding of the subsequent redemptive covenants, those which are part of the single, ongoing Covenant of Grace spanning the entire redemptive era from the Fall to the Consummation. Adopting this view in the Report on Republication, the committee undermines the traditional Protestant-Reformed teaching concerning the antithesis between “Law” and “Gospel.” This in turn clouds one’s understanding of the vital covenantal structure of redemptive revelation (including the way of salvation), thus opening the door to misformulation of the crucial doctrine of justification by faith alone, what has been a major bone of contention in the dispute raging ever since the days of Norman Shepherd in the mid-1970s. The doctrine of the Covenant of Works and the doctrine of soteric justification are inextricably intertwined; critical here is the opposition between principles of inheritance, that of works (“legal) and that of faith (“gracious,” in the accurate, biblical sense of the word).

    It is most unfortunate that this Report was approved for distribution. For a full critique of the Report and clarification of issues (including the historical development of this unresolved debate) see my article, “Troubler of Israel: Report on Republication by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church Assessing the Teaching of Professor Meredith G. Kline” ( here:
    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/The%20Trinity%20Review%20Special%20Issue%20Troubler%20of%20Israel%20KarlbergonRepublicationReport.pdf ). In this critique I have noted:

    It was never Kline’s intent that his work should be the center of controversy. The fact that it came to be so is more a sign of the times, a very sad development for Reformed orthodoxy indeed. Whether we consider Kline’s opposition to Gregory Bahnsen’s theonomy, the Shepherd-Gaffin reformulation of doctrine (specifically, justification by faith alone, election, and the twofold covenants), or John Murray’s recasting of covenant theology, Kline surely is to be recognized and honored for his unwavering stand for the truth of Scripture, for his life-long devotion to the Church of Christ, and for his commitment to orthodox Reformed teaching. The differences between Kline and Murray (notably, interpretation of the Mosaic Covenant) moved to the forefront only as a consequence of the dispute surrounding the teaching of Norman Shepherd.

    My essay concludes: “One would hope that a newly-appointed committee of the OPC would redress the grievous wrong that has been committed with regard to this committee’s reading of the work of Kline and restate the biblical teaching pertaining to the covenants, giving priory to Scripture rather than the Confession.”

    Previously posted on The Aquila Report (October 9, 2016)


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