Puritan Board Doctor
Trying to work through this. How does overemphasizing the CoW lead to antinomianism? Could you connect the dots for me?
In addition to Andrew’s comments, I’ll add my own two cents. The problem in the Klinean formulation is not necessarily overemphasizing the covenant of works but redefining the covenant of works. It redefines the moral law as THE covenant of works. The moral law is fundamentally part of the creation covenant, and actually woven into the fabric of man's nature in creation, so that his natural drive even before the Fall is not just to be righteous (historic Reformed position) but also to earn salvation by merit (Klinean position). It's a very subtle twist but has important implications. So, when Christ fulfills this covenant of works, he also fulfills the moral law in creation. This moral law/covenant of works was also "republished" in the Mosaic law, and so with Adam/Moses fulfilled by Christ, the moral law/creation covenant is fulfilled completely. In Christ, the Christian is under a new law as a new creation. That is where the potential for antinomianism can creep in. Under this conception, those in Christ live under a different moral standard than Adam/Moses, usually called by proponents "the law of Christ" or "love" (usually defined as New Testament or new covenant laws or imperatives) in contrast to the inferior moral law/mosaic law/covenant of works which focused on "merit".
This is a different conception from the historic Confessional position, which maintained that the moral law remains the same standard of righteousness for both covenants. The moral law was the standard man was created to live by, and only became a means for earning eternal life AFTER God condescended to make the covenant of works with him. In the covenant of grace, you obey the same moral law (not a new one) out of love and gratitude to the Father as his redeemed child. Same moral law and standard of righteousness but different covenant relationship to God. And it's also the same standard to which man is renewed and restored in Christ. So, there's no difference between "love" and "law" in the Confessional position. Both are defined by the same moral law.
Back to mono-covenantalismm, it's possible to fall into antinomianism too. You could argue that Christ fulfilled the conditions of the covenant, therefore we have no obligations to fulfill it ourselves. But it's very hard to be a consistent antinomian if you are going to take the whole Bible seriously. Even those who would advocate a formal antinomianism (moral law is no longer binding) usually advocate some sort of obedience to a new covenant law. And as Sinclair Ferguson has pointed out so well in "The Whole Christ" (highly recommended!) antinomianism is fundamentally controlled by a legalistic conception of God in it's overreaction to legalism. And usually antinomianism is unstable, and will inadvertently create some practical form of legalism (i.e. conformity to it’s scheme of antinomian faith or pursuit of confirmatory experiences from God) in order to know they are true Christians. Another helpful study on the various forms of antinomianism is “Antinomianism, Reformed Theology’s Unwelcome Guest?” by Mark Jones.
Again, my two cents...