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. Blessings, Casey ------------------------------ 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).