CoWs at Sinai/Two Kingdoms/Law-Gospel Dualism & the Westminster Standards

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by Casey, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. Yes, these are confessional (Westminster Standards) doctrines

    5 vote(s)
  2. No, but these doctrines are compatible with the Westminster Standards

    2 vote(s)
  3. No, and these doctrine contradict (are not compatible with) the Westminster Standards

    6 vote(s)
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    Dear friends,

    I have had an issue with this since getting into discussions regarding these topics on the PB. Every time I seek a serious answer, I get none, or else I get a response that isn't related to my question. I would just like some clear answers. The rest of this post is basically some of my older posts that weren't answered re-worked into a single thread.

    This thread is about the Westminster Standards, not what the Three Forms of Unity say, and not what this or that Reformed theologian has said (if Calvin or any other number of Reformed theologians held to a particular view, that doesn't mean the Confession does). Please stick to the Westminster Standards and draw your arguments from them alone. Thanks.

    I've not been impressed by the gymnastics done in WCF 19 to force a "republication" doctrine into the Confession. I've also not liked hearing about the law-gospel dualism that folks seem to have been imposing on the Confession and the Scriptures, as if this Lutheran touchstone is now the mark of truly Reformed theology. Nor have I been persuaded of the radical (also dualistic) two kingdom view. I don't believe these views are biblical, and I don't believe they're confessional. Perhaps they are simply extra-confessional, perhaps they are contra-confessional. I don't know. If you have an opinion, please share it.

    I think there's a reason Klineans rarely quote from the Westminster Standards when it comes to supporting their view of the Mosaic Covenant, the "two kingdoms," and their law-gospel dualism. Quite simply, these teachings aren't there. (It would be interesting to see just exactly how many times Horton references the Westminster Standards in his book God of Promise.) I really can't understand how you can honestly read these Lutheran views out of the Westminster Standards, I don't see it. And if you don't think these are Lutheran doctrines, then please see the next paragraph.

    Disagree? Please prove from the Westminster Standards: (1) the republication of the CoWs at Sinai (answering the copied post #1 below); (2) the law-gospel dualism (answering the copied post #2 below); and, (3) the radical two-kingdom view. Please do this only using the Westminster Standards, that is, if you want to determine which is the actual "confessional" view. And according to RSC, the confessional view is the Reformed view. ;)

    Thanks, and I'm definitely looking forward to the discussion.


    ------------------------------ Copied Post #1: (link to the original) ------------------------------

    I don't believe this to be the case. The only place (if my memory serves me right) the Confession ties the CoWs with the law is in 19.1, the first covenant (see WCF 7.2). Anyway, here are some reasons why I believe your interpretation isn't probable:

    (1) If the CoWs "republication" doctrine was taught in the Confession, they would have put it in Chapter 7, not the chapter on Law. Chapter 7 says nothing regarding any idea of "republication" but rather says that the Mosaic and the New covenants are "one and the same" covenant of grace, only under two different administrations.

    (2) WCF 19.2 says "this law," not "this covenant of works." The law is distinct from the covenant of works. If the Confession intended to convey the idea of "republication," 19.2 would have read, "This law as a covenant of works, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness..."

    (3) This is further proven by WCF 19.3 where we again read of "this law" when it says, "Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel..." WCF 19.3 here explicitly equates "this law" with the moral law.

    (4) "This law" (of WCF 19.1, 19.2, and 19.3) is the moral law which "doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof" (WCF 19.5). Therefore, believers are "under the law" in the sense that all believers are required to obey it.

    (5) But, true believers are "not under the law, as a covenant of works" (WCF 19.6, 2 times).

    What is the problem with reading the "republication" doctrine into the WCF? Well, first, it's not there. You only get it if you presuppose that law = CoWs. But second, it places believers under the covenant of works (which the Confession explicitly denies). If "this law" of 19.2 is meant to be understood as the CoWs (and not the law per se), and if 19.3 equates "this law" with the moral law, and if the moral law forever binds all (even the justified), then the justified (even in the New Covenant) are still under the CoWs. Even if this logic is denied and you modify the meaning of "this law" to fit the republication view, it still places justified believers from the OT under the law as a covenant of works, which is explicitly denied by the Confession (19.6 again, unless OT saints weren't "true believers").

    The "this law" throughout this chapter of the Confession must mean the same thing at every place (i.e., the moral law, not the law as a covenant of works). But if this is the case, then the logic in my previous paragraph beings to work itself out. I know that you and Dr Horton don't believe that NT saints are "under the law, as a covenant of works." But if you consistently follow your interpretation of WCF 19.2 consistently through the rest of the chapter, then this would be the result.

    ------------------------------ Copied Post #2: (link to the original) ------------------------------

    Thank you for your posts -- I appreciate the discussion, brother. :)

    The thread asks which view is the Reformed view. Do you believe the law/gospel distinction that you are trying to uphold is clearly and consistently made in the Westminster Standards? Do you believe the they teach the law/gospel distinction (as you understand it)? As imperative/indicative? As "do"/"done"? I take it for granted that the Reformed view on the law/gospel distinction could be demonstrated from the Standards.

    Let me quote a Lutheran on this issue:
    Obviously the Lutheran view is that orthodoxy depends on this distinction, that Scripture fundamentally contains two different messages ("doctrines"), and that maintaining this distinction is the highest goal of Christian theologians. (I'd be interested to know how much you agree with these points.)

    Interestingly, the Westminster Standards do make a distinction regarding the Old and New Testaments, not that it is law/gospel, but that contained in Scripture are things to be believed and things to be done:
    I think at this point the Lutheran would be quick to say, "one is gospel and one is law!" But the Standards don't jump to clarify this. I don't recall the Standards ever equating "things to be believed" as gospel and "things to be done" as law (WCF 3.8 speaks of those who "obey the gospel"), as though the Christian life was inherently dualistic on account of a do/done paradigm.

    The gospel includes the call to repentance (we could also compare the call to faith), but according to the indicative/imperative distinction this cannot be so, because "Repent!" is an imperative. Compare the Lutheran view (which is clear and consistent at maintaining the law/gospel distinction) with that of the Reformed view (which has neglected the distinction):
    Lutherans believe the law/gospel distinction is fundamental to the faith (and they uphold it rather consistently!). Some have suggested on this (or the other) thread that if the distinction is neglected, then that's going in the direction of the FV. Okay, if it's such a fundamental distinction (and to be understood in the way WSC understands it), then where do the Westminster Standards teach it? That would be quite the omission if it's so fundamental to the Christian faith.

    I'm not denying there is such a thing as a law/gospel distinction, I just don't believe it is to be defined as imperative/indicative. I think the more important distinction for the Reformed is that of the two covenants (CoWs, "do this and live"; CoG, "live and do this"), and included in both of these covenants is the law (the difference is the individual's relationship to the law). These covenants are weaved throughout the Standards in a clear and consistent way, while it seems to me the Standards fail at upholding your view of the law/gospel distinction. Jesus didn't seem to clearly and consistently uphold the law/gospel distinction either, as he told the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more" (John 8:11).
  2. RTaron

    RTaron The Grandpa (Affectionately Called)

  3. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor


    I think I get it! Your post is so long and imposing that it resembles the CoW, showing us the impossibility of fulfilling the terms? :lol:

    Sarcastically Yours,
  4. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

  5. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    Dr. R. Scott Clark wrote on his blog (link) in the first of a 3-part series on the republication of the covenant of works at Sinai:
    Why does this logic not equally apply to WCF 19.3 which also speaks of "this law"? Is the moral law (see 19.3) synonymous with the covenant of works? Isn't (for sake of argument, applying this logic consistently) the antecedent of "this law" in 19.3 pointing to 19.1 just as 19.2 points back to 19.1? :scratch:

    This logic obviously (at least to me!) leads to an absurdity as I argued above (see copied post #1 up top) and, if consistently followed through, places all justified believers in the covenant of works. Throughout Dr. Clark's three posts on the republication of the covenant of works at Sinai he appeals to WCF 19 in the support of his republication view which seems to me purely illegitimate.

    I don't think Dr. Clark has been frequenting the PB as much as he has in the past, but I would appreciate it if someone who holds to his interpretation of WCF 19 would offer an answer. I'd be happy to set straight on this if I'm misreading Dr. Clark or the Confession.

    I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here but I haven't yet heard an answer. :candle:

    Thanks, and I pray all my brothers and sister of the PB have a blessed Sabbath. :)
  6. ADKing

    ADKing Puritan Board Junior


    I do not think you are beating a dead horse. These are the sorts of questions that need to be asked and answered. One can easily draw the sorts of conclusions you are drawing from statements such as this. Keep asking!

    Of course, as has been asserted many times on the PB in these discussions in the past, the key is that the law was given to Adam as a covenant of works. These are distinct ideas. It is possible for the law to be given to a people without being a covenant of works. This same law was delivered to Israel at Sinai, but that does not mean it was delivered in the same way.

    As to the Westminster Standards, I do recall quite vividly several years ago during a certain well-known judicial case in a denominaton you are familiar with ;) that many of the followers of the accused, some of whom I knew personally, were actually making statements to the effect of the desireablity of altering the Confession to suit their Klinean viewpoints. Hmm...

    A blessed Sabbath to you as well.
  7. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    I am waiting for you to give us the answers, Casey!

    I think that your desire to limit discussion to the confession alone is problematic. I understand what you are trying to do, but phrases like, "this law" may need to be fully fleshed out (not proven necessarily) by looking at the intent of the Divines themselves. This is no easy task and can be difficult to argue on a discussion board because everyone can pull their favorite quote out of their hat when they need it.

    I agree with your frustration.

  8. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate


  9. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I'm going to try not to take sides in this debate.

    I do think that the term "republication" is being used in different senses by different speakers on the topic.

    I think that some people are using it simply to speak of the fact that in Moses, it is as if he takes an old book (entitled The Covenant of Works) and "republishes" it. In other words, nothing changes with respect to pagination, the author's name, date of original publication still on the flyleaf.

    It's actually more like a "reprinting" of the original standard: except there was never anything that looked exactly like this in the Garden. Because the moral law was internal.

    This view is, as far as I can tell, largely unobjectionable, especially if one understands that there is no divine intent to (as Casey put it) to put any who are in the Covenant of Grace "back" under the Law as a Works-covenant.

    What demands care in handling is: the moral standard never varies, whether one is pre-Grace or post-Grace. I agree with Casey's pointing to the Covenant of Grace as the foundational context for the Mosaic administration. "I... brought you out" is a statement of gracious salvation. If one really believes in this God, he will be saved, he will live, and he will "do this," imperfectly but honestly. He won't be doing it to earn (or keep!) his salvation.

    Now if the "form" of the covenant is outwardly that which resembles the old Covenant of Works, what are they doing who enter into it, having no part in the Covenant of Grace? That is the main question, it seems to me, respecting this question of "republication."

    I have objected to too much speech regarding this "form" of Works-covenant in the abstract, such that we end up speaking about the "visible administration" AS IF it is IN FACT a Covenant of Works; that is, I object to giving the "accidents" of this Covenant of Grace administration so much reality that the typological ends up with "its own substance."

    So what, indeed, were the unbelievers (those outside the Covenant of Grace) judged for with respect to the Sinai covenant wherein they were outwardly received? Well, I would say they were judged in much the same way as reprobate members of the church today will be judged. They were judged for unbelief in the substance of the covenant they swore to, however ignorantly they swore; they were judged with respect to their vows of obedience and submission they failed to live up to, not having the Mediator for their cause; and they were judged on the basis of the original Covenant of Works, by which they were already condemned in Adam. But it is unnecessary to bring this last point up, since the context of the discussion is this later covenant, which they also broke.

    Finally, I agree with armourbearer when he says that the relationship (CoG to CoW in the Sinai covenant) should be spoken of as primary and subordinate. And then one can talk about "republication" all day.

    What do you think?
  10. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't have any difficulty in expositing the "heir under age" illustration of the apostle Paul by saying that the covenant made with Israel was wrapped up in legalities and had the appearance of being a covenant of works. But I am certain that the child was an heir of the covenant of grace because the heir has come of age and received all the entitlements of adopted sons as privileges of the covenant of grace. So I adhere to Westminster's formulation: two covenants, works and grace, and two testaments of the covenant of grace, old and new.
  11. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    I'm not saying that looking at the historic milieu in which the Confession was drafted is wrong. :) It is helpful, no doubt, in bringing out the meaning of the Confession. But what this or that Westminster divine said doesn't define what the Confession says (as you seem to admit). The Standards were written as a summary of what the church believes and, thus, they can be interpreted in their right.

    The big question of this thread is: Do the Westminster Standards teach the (Klinean) republication of the CoWs at Sinai, the (Lutheran/Klinean) two-kingdom doctrine, and the (Lutheran/Klinean) law-gospel dualism?

    Now to answer that question, I take it for granted that you don't start opening books by the various Westminster divines. Rather, the Standards themselves need to be looked at. Will any Klineans who believe the above doctrines please demonstrate that these are taught in the Westminster Standards? That's really all I'm asking. I keep hearing that these are Reformed doctrines; please prove that these are confessional doctrines.

    Something like the quote from Dr. Clark above is what I'm looking for. It's at least an attempt to show the Confession teaches this (even if I don't believe the reasoning is valid).

  12. RTaron

    RTaron The Grandpa (Affectionately Called)

    I agree with AKing. Keep asking. This is why we have confessions. My own children can read WCF 19:2 and see that "and, as such," is modifying "a perfect rule of righeousness".

    And like you have said, simply reading on in the confession we find that for the church, the ten commandments are not to be used as a covenant of works. 19:6“The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof;(s) although not as due to them by the law, as a covenant of works

    Keep up the good work. I don't know where this error is going but the consequences could be huge. Next they will be redefining what a covenant of works is, or maybe they already have.
  13. ADKing

    ADKing Puritan Board Junior

    Very prescient of you. They have in fact. Now Kline can speak of a "typological" covenant of works. In which relative obedience (that is still mingled with sin as is all obedience pot-fall) can merit typoligical blessings. This blatantly contradicts the reformation understanding of merit (which they only hesitatingly and qualifiedly affirmed possible for Adam) and makes it possible for God to accept less than perfect obedience as the basis for rewards that supposedly typify heavnly rewards!
  14. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    Private poll added. :)

    Please vote according to your personal opinion.

    I'm interested in seeing the results . . . :gpl:
  15. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    For what it's worth, I find the OP a loaded question. Also For what it's worth, I don't consider myself a Klinean ( actually I haven't read much of Kline's work) or a Lutheran (or as some may say a "Crypto-Lutheran").

    Regarding the idea of "republication" I would point to Shaw's commentary on the subject:

    As I have said, I have not read much of Kline so I don't know what his position is. But I do think Shaw hits the nail on the head.

    Regarding the "radical ( dualistic) two kingdom" view, I would point to WSC Q&A 102:

    Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition?
    A. In the second petition, which is, Thy kingdom come, we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed;and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced,[215] ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

    In explaining the "radical" view, I would point to Fishers Commentary:

    I don't think anyone would consider Fisher a Lutheran much less a Klinean.

    Regarding the Law/Gospel distinction or dualism as the OP has noted, I would need further clarification as to what is meant by "dualism". I definately see a distinction but not a dualism.
  16. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    Could you please point to the Westminster Standards on the subject instead? I tried to be clear in the OP on this. Do you agree with Dr. Clark's reading of Chapter 19? Can you answer my critique of his use of the Confession in Chapter 19?
    I see two kingdoms here: Satan's kingdom and God's kingdom. Where is the civil/spiritual kingdom distinction in this catechism answer?

    It's not that I deny a distinction between civil and spiritual "realms," but I don't see the WSC/Lutheran view in the Westminster Standards, one that is ruled by Scripture, the other ruled by "natural law."
    I agree there is a distinction between law and gospel. Actually, I am using the term "dualism" as a reference to the WSC/Lutheran view on the law and the gospel.
  17. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    With all due respect Casey, it appears that you are looking for "specific" language in the Standards that meet your qualifications. That's why I stated that the OP was a loaded question. It also looks like you have issues with WSC in that you think at least Dr. Clark is a Lutheran or at least a closet Lutheran and I can only imagine that you also believe that the whole Seminary is in cahoots with the Lutherans in order to subvert your view of Reformed Theology. Now if you do have an issue with WSC and Dr Clark, as a Moderator, I'm going to suggest that you take it up with the Administration of WSC. I'm sure they would like to know that one of their faculty members is not living up to the standards of their Seminary.

    For what it's worth, the answers I gave are the Reformed view and I thought that is what you were looking for in regards to your questions. Sorry for the confusion.
  18. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    Specific language that meets my qualifications? Because I'm asking people to look at the Standards? I'm at a loss. I don't get what's wrong with asking if something is taught in the Standards. Did you read my OP?

    I only quoted from Dr. Clark's blog as an example of an argument from the Westminster Standards (the only one I recall seeing lately). And I only speak of it as a "WSC/Lutheran" or "Klinean" view because I don't know what else to call it. If you can suggest more appropriate terminology, I'll be happy to use it.

    This thread isn't about WSC, although it obviously touches on some of the doctrines that some of their professors teach. I'm not interested in contacting the Seminary. There are plenty of posters on this forum that aren't at WSC who believe these doctrines.

    What is wrong with asking if these doctrines are taught in the Westminster Standards?
  19. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Yes I did read the OP. And I attempted to answer it as best I could. But I guess I made a wrong assumption in that you not only wanted to know where these issues were taught in the Standards but some kind of explanation as to why these views that you have categorised as "WSC/Lutheran/Klinean" are actually Reformed. For instance Dr. Clarks explanation of WCF 19 is valid and his explanation in the 3 parts blog posts on re-publication are in line with the WCF as Robert Shaw points out in my initial response.

    Granted that WSC 102 does not use the term civil/spiritual. This is what I meant by "specific" language. One has to dig a little deeper to determine what the Divines meant by Kingdom of Satan and God's kingdom. This is why I quoted Fisher in regards to this concept.

    As far as what to call these three teachings, I would suggest you try "Biblical" or "Reformed". For as you noted a number of folks on the board see nothing unconfessional about re-publication, the Two-Kingdoms and the Law/Gospel distinction especially since Lutherans do not meet the qualifications for membership on this board.

    BTW, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking folks to look to the Standards. I wish more would actually do it.
  20. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    In your post, you only once quoted from the Westminster Standards. That's why I asked if you had read it. In the OP I make it very clear that I want to know if the Standards teach these doctrines, not Shaw, and not Fisher.
    If you believe this, would you be willing to respond to my objections to that interpretation of WCF 19?
    You're right, WSC 102 does not use the terms civil/spiritual. So perhaps trying to read that particular doctrine out of WSC 102 is not appropriate. The distinction in WSC 102 is not between a civil kingdom and a spiritual kingdom (as though the civil kingdom were Satan's kingdom), but between God's kingdom (which includes all elect) and Satan's kingdom (which includes all the reprobate). In WSC 102, you are not a member of both kingdoms (as in the civil/spiritual view), rather, you're in one or the other.
    They may or may not be "Biblical" (that's not the question of this thread, and to call it biblical is to beg the question). I cannot call these doctrines "Reformed" because I don't see them in the Westminster Standards. Anyway, if "Reformed" is defined by the confessions, then that's why I'm asking for it to be demonstrated that the Westminster Standards teach these doctrines. You don't first call the doctrines "Reformed" and then find them in the Confession; rather, you find them in the Confession, which establishes that they are Reformed.
    Yes, there are people on this forum that don't believe these doctrines are unconfessional, which is the very reason for my asking where these doctrines are in the Westminster Standards. :)
  21. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    The ch. (23) on "The Civil Magistrate" may speak a little to the two-kingdoms doctrine:
    23:1 God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates, to be, under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers.

    23:3 The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven:...​
    The language in the second para. defines one kingdom over which magistrates (of kingdoms) have no authority.
    23.4 ...Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted, much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever.​
    This para. puts ecclesiastical persons (who are of a different "kingdom," remember) as private persons under another kingdom's authority. And it affirms that not even the pompous pope can dictate to a secular kingdom in temporal affairs, so subjecting all into ONE kingdom.

    But Jesus is still king over both.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  22. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Does the WCF talk about "law and gospel" and if so, how?
    7:5 This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel:...​
    There, we have the terms distinguished according to "time" which, alone, could be the beginning of a very sharp division in thinking about the two. Time is also the reference of "Gospel" in ch. 21.6 and 25.2. The following language keeps focus on the temporal nature of the issue at this point:
    ...under the law, it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all fore-signifying Christ to come: which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith...

    7:6 Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance, was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper: which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory; yet, in them, it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy,.... There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.​
    Note that the phrase "two covenants of grace" implies that the "time of the law" might have mistakenly been thought of as a "first-version" covenant of grace, but still a gracious covenant. But the truth is it is all one grace-covenant.

    Nevertheless, the two "times" do set forth two different ways of speaking.

    Ch. 15.1 refers to one of the duties of a minister of the Gospel as preaching "repentance unto life", an "evangelical grace," which by the sinner grieves and turns from sin as, (15.2) "contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God;" which is to be followed by purpose and endeavor "to walk with Him in all the ways of His commandments," by which good works (16.2) they may "adorn the profession of the Gospel."

    I don't see as much contradiction to the "Lutheran" view here as Casey does, above. Frankly, we should not preach "repentance" as if we were preaching "gospel" at that moment. Being able to repent is a matter of Grace, but it is the law that calls it forth, not the gospel which announces forgiveness. We don't repent because we've been forgiven (if we are talking about particular sins we've done since our conversion). We're forgiven when we repent (see Mt 6:15).

    In the chapter on "The Law" (19), the law and gospel are distinguished. They are not made enemies, but rather complementary. 19.5 "... neither doth Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation." 19.7 "19:7 Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it;..."

    Ch. 19.6 states at the end: "So as, a man’s doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law; and not under grace."

    The clearest indication that the law is not the gospel, and the gospel not the law is the separate treatment the law receives in the Standards. Furthermore, we who are ministers are ministers of the gospel, not ministers of the law and gospel, thus placing a distinct emphasis on the gospel over against the law.
    WLC Question 72: What is justifying faith?
    Answer: Justifying faith is a saving grace, wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God, whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery [by the law, BGB], and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition, not only assents to the truth of the promise of the gospel, but receives and rests upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin, and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.

    WLC Question 97: What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?
    Answer: 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; yet, besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them: How much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; and thereby to provoke them to more thankfulness, and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule of their obedience.​
    However, it does not appear that the same sort of paradigmatical division of law and gospel functions as the lens through which Christianity is understood in the Reformed tradition as in the Lutheran (which is why we aren't Lutheran, I guess). The Scriptural phrases "obey the gospel" and "obey not the gospel" are both inserted in the language of the standards, as well as the "promises" of the law, showing that there are commands and promises respecting each.

    All together, I think this study shows 1) that both of these Reformation traditions understand that the law and gospel are two essentially different things, and 2) that the Reformed side does not make set forth law/gospel as the preacher's or the interpreter's fundamental, confessional paradigm (although it should not be slighted as not a useful tool--we might thank the Lutherans for preserving this notion in the church). Under the WLC questions dealing with preaching (155-160), this particular division is not set forth, even under other language, where it might be expected.

    For your perusal, then.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  23. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior



    Can one be a member in good standing of a Confessing Presbyterian Church and hold to Kline's theology?

    I don't know enough about Kline's theology to judge one way or another.


  24. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Kline regarded the Confession as containing an old theocratic error which he opined to be renewed in theonomy. He utilised an "intrusion" hermeneutic to combat this "old/new error;" hence that hermeneutic must also be contrary to the confession. It is this hermeneutic, I believe, that undergirds his distinctive view of the Sinai economy.
  25. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior


    You may want to start another thread on this subject.
  26. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks, Rev. Buchanan, for taking the time to write those posts. This is exactly what I was asking for. :) But I haven't quite seen the views that I'm asking about clearly brought out of the Standards. I'm not denying these distinctions, I just don't see them sharply made in a dualistic manner in the Standards.

    Of course I believe that the civil magistrate is a distinct institution from the church. But I don't see that the church is to be governed by the Scriptures and everything else by "natural law" (as some might have us believe). Regarding the law and the gospel, there are different ways of using the term "law." I don't like the idea of limiting it to an imperative, and I don't think the Standards allow that idea. Especially if we see that "law" and "gospel" are used as time markers, "law" specifically referring to the Mosaic administration of the covenant of grace.

    It seems to me, according to your study, that "gospel" has special reference to the time when the substance (Christ) of the covenant of grace had been manifest. The essential elements of that covenant revealed through Moses haven't changed. But now we know that, at this time in history, we live when Christ has come, and so we call this time "gospel" time.
  27. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    I can see this is a touchy subject. It's been a few days since I posted this -- any chance someone will respond to the 2 copied posts in the OP?

    If not, I will conclude that these are extra-confessional doctrines, and perhaps even contra-confessional, until I'm convinced otherwise.
  28. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    I would say no, but that is just my opinion. Start a thread about it. I'd like to see it debated.
  29. Philip A

    Philip A Puritan Board Sophomore

    Not likely; as noted above, you've already set up your qualifications in such a way that nobody can answer them to your satisfaction.

    Again, your OP made it clear from the beginning that you had already made that conclusion.
  30. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    My question would be satisfactorily answered if those holding to these doctrines would actually argue from the Standards instead of everything but the Standards.

    I am baffled that you think it's inappropriate to limit the discussion to the Standards when I'm asking what the Standards teach.

    What in the world is going on here? Why are so many people chafing at my question?
    If I had already made up my mind, I wouldn't have asked the question.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2008
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page