The OPC Republication Report, Part 10

In this post, we will cover Part I, Chapter 3, sections I and II of the report, dealing with creation, law, and covenant.

The committee makes a very important point with regard to creation and covenant, and that is that creation and covenant are not synonymous. It is quite true that the covenant of works was a special act of providence (providence set over against creation). However, the committee is equally clear that this point does not preclude republication views by itself, since some republication advocates appear to hold to a closer relationship of creation to covenant, whereas others do not (although they give no citations here, which would have been helpful).

The second section deals with the relationship of law and covenant, which is fairly complicated. They have in common that they both require perfect and personal obedience. However, law is something imprinted on the human heart at creation, whereas covenant is not. The WS’s treatment of both is fairly nuanced. Their description is that covenant is a broader category than law. However, the requirements of perfect and personal obedience, combined with the sanctions for disobedience and blessings for obedience have made republication a possibility, especially in Hodge and the Marrow men.


  1. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 7, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    @ Lane:

    Report 3.II: Second, it appears that covenant is a larger category than law; that covenant contains law, for law itself, it would seem, does not include threats and promises for sin and success in the same manner as does covenant (WCF 19.1, and especially 19.6). Nonetheless, in descriptions of the law in LC 93, the catechism notes that there are threats and promises contained within the law. The law has covenantal features, and is presented in a covenantal context. Perhaps the catechetical text intends for us to see that that there are ways in which law does promise a general pattern of blessing for obedience, and harm for disobedience; or it may see threats and promises as features of every covenant administration, and not merely that of the covenant of works. And yet it is in statements like these that advocates of a substantial republication of a works principle see an olive branch being offered to their seventeenth-century forbears, and by extension to themselves.

    This confuses me. I am unclear which position the committee is taking on the relationship between the moral law and the CoW.

    Is the moral law contained within the CoW because the law itself does not threaten and promise?

    Or is the moral law coextensive with the CoW because the law does threaten and promise, has covenantal features, and is presented in a covenantal context?

    This reads as if the committee couldn’t agree and so decided to present both options as viable.

  2. Bill Murray said,

    February 10, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Pardon, but I am coming into this discussion late and need some clarification. Who is writing the above “Report, No.10” (as well as nos. 1-9)? Jeff Cagle, Lane Keister, or other? Thanks.

  3. greenbaggins said,

    February 10, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Bill, welcome to the blog. I (Lane Keister) am the blog owner. If there is no name attached to the blog post, then I wrote it.

  4. greenbaggins said,

    March 10, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Jeff, I would say that the committee believes that the law CAN be contained within the CoW, certainly at its first giving. This does not mean that the covenantal context for the moral law is always the CoW, but that law functions naturally within a covenant.

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