Dr. Clark's 7 point summary of Republication

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by Shawn Mathis, Aug 26, 2014.

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  1. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore

    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  2. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    There are places in the NT where if you missed the point you could think that salvation was by works e.g. the Parable of the Talents. The reality is that works done through faith in Christ will be rewarded in Heaven."Works" done without grace will not.

    Likewise, the only way the Israelites were going to be able to do the good works which would see them enjoy secure and blessed tenure in the Land was by grace through faith.

    It was their neglect of grace and embrace of idolatry that led to their first exile. It was their neglect of grace and embrace of works religion that led to their second exile.

    Under the CoW broken by Adam the positive sanction of reward is out of reach for sinners, without someone else fulfllling the CoW for them - a graciously provided Saviour and Mediator in whom they must exercise faith, and without which they could not produce works pleasing to God in the NT or the OT.

    The negative sanction of the Curse hangs over the sinner who has not embraced Christ, and that applies to unconverted sinners within the OT and NT CoG administrations.

    True believers are not subject to the Curse but things such as illness and death are made unto them means of chastisement and sanctification.

    E.g. the first exile carried out by the Babylonians was part of the Curse of the already broken CoW for those Israelite sinners who had not truly embraced grace. For people like Ezekiel or Daniel, who had, it was a means of chastisement and sanctification.

    There is no need for an impossible Republication of the CoW at Sinai. Under the Mosaic Covenant God was graciously teaching the people about the already broken CoW as part of the CoG in a way suited for them.

    In the New Testament He graciously teaches us about the already broken CoW in a way suited to us.

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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2014
  3. mvdm

    mvdm Puritan Board Junior

    Shawn, do you have an opinion as to whether the 7 points clarify or resolve any of the concerns raised by the PNW of the OPC?
  4. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore

    Why would this be different than the seven points offered beyond the language of "republished"? For the record, I do not believe "republished" is a helpful term but could be construed to mean what you wrote above, it seems to me.
  5. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore

    Mark, I do not. At this juncture in my investigation, I have a "gut reaction" to certain things but want to stick with "just the facts." The historical quotes offered by Dr. Clark are certainly something that should make people pause who wish to denounce any and all usage of the word "republication" or like language.

    To some extent there is a blending of issues here as I have noted before: republication and social/culture theories (theonomy, neo-kuyperianism, etc.) are logically separable in my mind. Further, similar to the question of the origin of the soul, traducianism or creationism, it may be people have strong inclinations one way or another but the specific "answer" to the origin of the soul was never formally settled in Reformed confession (I'm thinking of Berkhof's treatment here). The same may be here given, again, the historical evidence of this language. Of course, bringing out the limits of acceptability is a worthy goal right now.

    my two cents (with inflation),
  6. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Not really. What I mean is quite different to what Dr Clark is talking about. I'm talking about God teaching the Israelites as part of His revelation to them, about their relationship to the CoW which as sinners they had already broken in Adam. The Republicationist thesis is that the CoW was in some sense renewed, so that God encouraged and commanded the Israelites to seek temporary good in the Land by means of merit through works, while they were to seek their personal salvation by grace.

    After being broken, the CoW wasn't abrogated, but it was made completely hypothetical to sinners as a way of salvation. The moral law of the CoW still stands over sinners, binding them to perfect obedience. The Curse of the broken law is being outworked in their lives and ultimately will lead to eternal death. I found what Robert Dabney said in his "Systematic Theology" on the present status of the broken CoW very helpful.

    Dr Clark is proposing a renewed CoW "in some sense" at Sinai, by which the Israelites would merit some temporal rewards. He's not talking about the Lord teaching the Israelites about an already broken CoW including the important teaching that any rewards would have to be by grace not by works.

    Secure tenure in the Land and the blessings in the Land were types of Heavenly rewards for good works done by grace through faith ultimately in Christ - although we agree that the Israelites were taught about Christ in a shadowy way. It would be a completely wrong and misleading teaching about the already broken CoW for the Lord to teach the Israelites to seek secure tenure in the land by means of a new CoW.

    The sanction of reward is utterly out of reach by means of the CoW, or a republished/renewed/new CoW at Sinai, for sinners.

    How were they going to refrain from idolatry and produce the obedience God desired, by works or by grace?

    In the Second Temple period, how were they to escape from self-righteous works religion and produce the fruits God desired, by works or by grace?

    Also, how can secure tenure and blessing in the Land be sought by works, and yet personal salvation, including sanctification, be sought by grace. It was the obedience and true good works that are produced by personal salvation by grace through faith upon which secure tenure in the Land depended.

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    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  7. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior


    When you say,

    Briefly, you've quite misunderstood me. You've quite reversed what I said.

    You've assumed that I must think that that "the Israelites would merit some temporal rewards" but I neither said nor implied that.

    Please re-read what I actually wrote.
  8. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm sorry for that, Dr Clark, but as TLNF showed, the Republication Thesis takes a number of differing forms.

    I must have presumed, without carefully reading your points, that you took a more "strict" view that Israel needed to do something by works, rather than by grace leading to true good works, to enjoy the continued types of Heavenly rewards in the Land.

    My apologies.
  9. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Some of these points are inimical to reformed theology. One of them explicitly contradicts the Confession on the perpetually binding nature of the moral law. Others are overtly Antinomian. This is a very poor reading of Witsius and a bad representation of the reformed faith.

    There is quite a deal of difference between saying that the law was a republication of the covenant of works and that there was a republication of the covenant of works when the law was given.
  10. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    I am not sure that Dr. Clark explicitly contradicts the Confession on the perpetually binding nature of the moral law for Point 3 which states that:

    is followed by point 4c in which the moral law serves,
    and point 7 which, speaking of the moral law says that:

  11. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The Confession distinguishes the moral law from the temporary and typical. What is perpetual for the Confession is temporal for Dr. Clark. Moreover, whereas the Confession identifies both tables as being perpetually binding, Dr Clark divides the two tables and poses a different function for them under the new covenant.

    David Dickson: "all the precepts of the moral law belong to the law of nature, naturally engraven upon the hearts of men, which cannot be abrogated, but oblige all men perpetually, and necessarily, from natural reason itself, Rom. 2.15."
  12. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    Have you had a chance to read the interchanges on the Confessional Presbyterian Journal over the past couple of years? I think Venema's interchange with Fesko is very helpful.
  13. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

  14. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore

    Rich, I have read the first round. I have not gotten around to the second round. Frankly, I find Dr. Clark's description here and in another blog posting more helpful.

    For all readers here: please read Dr. Clark's response to my question (question and response). What do you all think of his response?

  15. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore

    Tim, What do you think of this part of the points: "4.B “Serve, in both tables, as the norm for Israelite civil life and to serve, in the second table, a [sic] the norm civil life after the expiration of the Israelite theocracy (civil use).”

    I can only read this as stating only the second table as norming civil life and not the first table as well.
  16. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    That point isn't really about Republication itself but about an R2K view of our era.

    To be honest I still don't understand Dr Clark's view."Works" produced carnally as in Second Temple Judaism are not what God was looking for from the Israelites, yet the sanction of Heavenly reward typologically prefigured in the Land and its benefits was held out to them on CoW terms. I think it more likely that the demands from God for obedience in order to enjoy the type of Heaven refer to what we would call in the NT "evangelical" obedience. This corresponds the type with the reality.

    We as under the NT administration will lose any title to the inheritance of Heaven if we don't enter into the life of the CoG and produce evangelical obedience. We will die under the CoW broken by Adam because, although we were maybe even born and lived under the administration of the CoG we have despised the proferred grace as many of the Israelites did, and they suffered the consequences, either personally through aspects of the judicial law or nationally by exile, which was a means of teaching people about the Curse and its ultimate consequences.

    Now, under the NT, the whole of the NT Church can't go into exile, nor is that held out as a possibility. The candlestick can indeed be removed from particular locations, so e.g. the whole of the Church in Asia Minor can "go into exile".

    But the OT was different from the NT, in that it was provisional, and the peculiar spiritual privileges of the Israelites were provisional, so this maybe explains the peculiar tutelary function of the possible loss of the Land when the proferred grace was despised and the already broken CoW clung to by those under this administration of the CoG.

    God was warning the Israelites by the exile and return, that they could yet reject Him disastrously - but not totally nor finally (Rom 9-11) - even in the glorious antitypical Messiah, if they didn't embrace the proferred grace in the OT administration of the CoG, and instead clung to the broken CoW.

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  17. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    I missed that point on first reading.
  18. One Little Nail

    One Little Nail Puritan Board Sophomore

    So which of these two is it?

    as I see a need for a CoW's of sorts to have been fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ to merit us our Righteousness.
    Was there not just new terms added to it like the Mosaic statutes that if a man do he shall live,also with the threatenings
    of death if it is not kept entire & perfect.

    Just to digress that man was already fallen & could not hope to fulfil these conditions, nor was intended to, but
    the Law has its work in pointing us to Christ, and it was He who came to fulfil its righteous demands to purchase
    everlasting righteousness for us, Psalm 40:7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

  19. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    If it was a republication of the Covenant of Works no one would have survived the first offense. Even Adam ceased to exist in his first natural state as soon as he violated the Covenant. The Law was republished as is noted by Dr. Strimple. http://tinyurl.com/kw8l7b7 The Covenant of Works was not reinstituted in any shape or form.
  20. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes, that is how I see it. And it was used to teach them their need of Christ. So, why claim a "republication" of an entire covenant that was already broken? Even typologically?
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014
  21. mvdm

    mvdm Puritan Board Junior

    Which in standard Reformed orthodoxy is called the "first use" of the law. Clark's 7 points appear to conflate the "first use of the law" with the covenant of works, and I think other Klinean "repubs" are doing likewise.
  22. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I think it's partly to do with Kline's view of Israel being a type of Christ. Now Israel was a type of Christ and type of the NT Church over whom Christ is Head.

    More particularly and properly, the Prophets, Priests and Kings, were types of Christ, as the coming Anointed One who would render them obsolete.

    I think there are ways in which Christ's fulfilling all righteousness for His people is typified in the OT, without all this "Republication of the CoW" or "Republication of the CoW, in some sense" theory.

    For instance, not only was the animal slain in sacrifice - pointing to Christ's passive obedience in the CoW - but also it had to meet a certain standard of fitness - pointing to Christ's active obedience in the CoW.

    Dabney comes out against Republication, in his Systematic Theology, but what does he mean here:

  23. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore

    That is what it appears to me as well. That is why I pointed out that law is not the same as covenant. And as someone else pointed out, there was an alien element in the seven points, 4B, that does not appear to be necessary and reflects their version of Two Kingdoms. The two issues are logically separable but practically joined at the hip in this American context.
  24. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    It is the second. There was a republication of the covenant of works in the law that it might serve as a schoolmaster to lead to Christ, but the law itself was a republication of the covenant of grace that Christ Himself might be trusted for salvation.

    If it were the first, and the law itself was a republication of the covenant of works, the law would be abolished in its entirety when believers are delivered from the covenant of works. In opposition to this the Confession states the moral law for ever binds all, regenerate and unregenerate. Believers are delivered from the law as a covenant of works, but they are not delivered from the morality of the law. They receive its precepts from the hand of Christ and serve Him in obeying its precepts.
  25. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I interpret Dabney as saying that the scheme might be acceptable were its "subordinate" nature recognised. In its present form it is made to "co-ordinate" and even to conflict with the covenant of grace at certain points, which is unacceptable.
  26. mvdm

    mvdm Puritan Board Junior

    I agree they *should* be logically separable, but I've long said that the Klinean repub view of the Mosaic covenant is the root from which R2k weed grows. They must defend the root to keep the whole plant alive.
  27. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore

    Mark, I suspect as much that the Klinen viewpoint is the root of R2K. I am not sure exactly how. That is why asked if 4.B had to be part of republication.
  28. mvdm

    mvdm Puritan Board Junior

    Quick boil down (which of course does not adequately flesh it out): Klinean repubs insists on a very negative view of Mosaic law as always condemning as a COW, tied to theocracy --e.g., see T. David Gordon's borderline blasphemous essay trashing the Mosaic economy in TLINF. Since the Old Covenant has passed and theocracy is gone, in the New Covenant, we are under now under the "law of Christ" and appeals to the Mosaic law are portrayed as attempts to re-establish theocracy, eg. Lee Irons, Matt Tuininga, David Van Drunen. This drives the first table, second table division, where acknowledgment or involvement with first table duties in the common realm puts us back under that old, temporary, typological, theocratic, theonomic Covenant of Works. R2k depends on this negative portrayal in order to create the dichotomous "redemptive realm=grace realm" and "common realm=law realm".
  29. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore

    So, the assumption is that all the OT (or vast portions?) is typology and thus not useful beyond pointing to Christ? But this does not explain why attempts to use the Mosaic law are inherently wrong when Dr. Scott states that the typological overlays the moral:

    "6. In the old covenant two things were happening simultaneously: a typological, pedagogical, formally legal (but not strictly legal) administration of the covenant of works (see #4 above) and an administration of the covenant of grace in which sinners were justified and saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone."

    "7. In the new covenant that law, in both tables, stripped of its Israelite, typological features (e.g., land tenure, saturday sabbath), remains as a perpetual, universal norm for all humans."

    Thus, as for a skeletal outline to be sure, it is missing important elements that must link 4.B (denial of use of First Table for civil matters) with republication beyond using an ad hominem ("negative portrayal"). If one were to drop the word "republication" in the 7-point description then one can see the artificiality of 4.B (or, rather, arbitrariness).

    But given points 6 & 7 the simple existence of typology does not negate the usefulness (application) of OT laws. If it is "simultaneously" then it overlays and does not tell us exactly what is only typological (and thus not applicable today [again, an assumption contrary to, say, Calvin who finds much moral non-Christological use out of ceremonial laws]).

    There is a moral system driving the answer to the question of what is merely typological (land tenure, saturday sabbath, etc.) and that appear to be R2K. But if the Living in Two Kingdoms book is a summary of that moral system, it, too, is deficient, seemingly bringing in both the Klinean model (without explicitly stating as such) and, again, a moral assumption along the lines of NT-only ethics and/or libertarian-like culture and/or First Table is only binding in the church (pick-one) (which was not explicitly stated as such in the book).

    This all leads me back to my previous comments: there are some unspoken assumptions in both discussions (republication and R2K); that they both assume each other. But this should be made explicit and defended accordingly (maybe the second series of essays in Confessional Presbyterian does that? Rich? Anyone?). Otherwise, summaries like the one discussed here just become an exercise in begging the question, or rather, unwittingly inserting hidden premises.

    At least with Lee Irons all the theological cards were on the table. I read his defense before GA and it was crystal clear. [No, I am not accusing anyone of hiding things. There is just more clarity needed or, likely, I need to read even more than I have].

    thanks, I'll have to review what I've read and listen to some Heidelcasts.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  30. One Little Nail

    One Little Nail Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes the CofW's was broken by Adam as the Federal Head of Mankind, we are all fallen & have no ability to keep the Law,
    even to the Letter, let alone the Spirit. We are all in Adam stand condemned, notwithstanding our own sin.

    Christ came to become the New or 2nd Adam or Federal Head of His people, to do so He needed to fulfil the Covenant of Works on our behalf to merit Righteousness for us, His people, in a Covenant form.

    It was not sufficient for The Lord Jesus Christ to do so by keeping the Moral Law perfectly as body to gain salvation for His people, the keeping of the Law with all the other prescribed ordinances, ceremonies, Johanine Baptism etc, would have only earned the Lord Jesus his own salvation, though when tied in with Him fulfilling the terms of the Covenant of Works he was perfectly fitted to be the Federal head &, Mediator of the Fulfilled Covenant of Grace, the New Covenant.

    Thats why I believe a republication of the CofW's was necessary, not that fallen,helpless mankind could earn his own salvation, that is ruled out & impossible, it was, if I can coin a term a Christological Republication of the Covenant of Works.
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