The OPC Republication Report, Part 8

In this post we will address Part I, Chapter 2, section III B of the report, entitled “Not Names, But Things.” The main burden of the section is to note that Reformation era writers often relied on juxtaposition for qualification, especially when it comes to any kind of formulation of republication. Robert Baillie’s statements are an excellent example of this principle. The reason why it is important is that the juxtaposition needs to be seen and acknowledged, or else a particular writer might be relegated to the realm of the heterodox. Baillie’s own position is that the substance of the Mosaic covenant is the covenant of grace (or else the Old Testament fathers are lost), but that the clothing, as it were, is of the covenant of works, and is tied to temporal blessings. But this clothing does not change the substance of the Mosaic economy into anything mixed. If one part of Baillie is quoted, and another part ignored, then a highly distorted picture of his views could emerge. The committee recommends similar care with regard to modern advocates of republication.

This whole principle is then placed in a larger context of the word/concept distinction. They argue that it is not problematic to call the Mosaic covenant a covenant of works. The term itself does not convey much. It is rather what is meant by the terms in the way they are used that has to be ascertained. It is a good caution for anyone in the debate to slow down and listen more carefully. Sometimes I get the impression that critics of republication don’t always listen very carefully, or else they sometimes (not always!) listen to secondary sources before primary (like using Patrick Ramsey for interpreting Kline instead of Kline for interpreting Kline).


  1. Jack Bradley said,

    January 26, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Lane, I’m glad to see you blogging your way through this report. I do think the authors allow Kline to interpret Kline, and by the end of the report his own interpretation is enough to indict him. I think Kline is clearly representative of substantial republication.

    I will wait for your comments on each section before elaborating, but after my thorough reading of the paper, I cannot avoid that conclusion.

    Although the authors deny that final conclusion, I do admire their candor in critiquing Kline. And I think they frame the issue accurately:

    P. 84: “The Mosaic covenant was either a covenant of grace that differed only in administration from the Abrahamic and new covenants (among others), or it was a substantially distinct covenant covenant that stood in essential contrast to grace.”

  2. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 27, 2017 at 7:53 am

    @ Jack:

    What major pieces of evidence influence your view, and why is the report’s conclusion insufficiently persuasive?

  3. Jack Bradley said,

    January 27, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Jeff, I don’t want to jump ahead of Lane’s timetable – but I will be providing my reasons as we go along.

  4. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 27, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks. I’ll stay tuned.

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