Horton, the Mosaic Covenant, and the WCF

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spicedparrot

Inactive User
Lutheran similarities

Is it me or does anyone else see the connections between this schema of republication of the covenant of works to be remarkably similar to the confessional Lutheran theologians descriptions of "Law" and "Gospel"? I find the parallels interesting. Of course, I think this view of the Covenant Theology should also lead one to a higher view of the sacraments and their importance in the covenant renewal ceremony.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I can understand your logic Rev. Winzer and I'm fearful to disagree from you as I have greatly benefited from your posts in the past. However up and until I read 'God of Promise' I was a Reformed Baptist and it was actually through reading this book that I moved from the baptist position to the paedobaptist position.

You shouldn't be fearful to disagree with me; your disagreement may force me to become clearer in my thinking, which is a good thing. I'm glad God of Promise was helpful to you. I wouldn't want to give the impression I think the book is useless, and certainly wouldn't want to undermine your conviction concerning infant baptism. Not at all. But from a traditionalist's perspective the work tries to wed too much modern thinking within the classic schema, and that is what I find problematic. Blessings!
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I'm hesitant to add thoughts on this because I am no expert on either the traditionalist view on this or the Klinean view. I've certainly seen the material but am in no way qualified to fully critique it.

It is hard for me sometimes to figure out where the objection to Dr. Horton might be more distinctly Presbyterian.

I have read the book and found it very helpful but primarily in the realm of the discussion of the Sacraments and fleshing those ideas out a bit more for me. I'll be honest, however, that I don't know that I completely like the way that Abraham, Moses, and David are introduced. It seems that suzerain treaty language is used just as much as Scriptural language. I think it's interesting to see parallels to Hittite suzerain treaties but to couch your language based on patterns seen in other Near Eastern documents makes things harder for me to appreciate at times rather than easier.

I believe the basic idea is preserved about the type of the Old Covenant in Moses is not the Abrahamic promise but a "binding up" period in both schemas. Let's be honest here that Paul does not take a great deal of time in Galatians and other places explaining what he means by his terms but it is clear that the Law came after Abraham and had a distinct character from the promise that was made.

I think Dr. Horton makes this notion very clear in the text but I'm still skeptical about all the Royal Grant/Suzerain treaty language utilized.
 

G.Wetmore

Puritan Board Freshman
The New Testament makes clear (e.g., Acts 10; Acts 15; 2 Cor 3; the book of Hebrews!) the Mosaic Covenant is finished. It was, as Paul says in Gal 3, a "pedagogue," that is, a harsh school teacher (with a stick in his hand!). Its function was to drive the Israelites to Christ through the promulgation of 613 commandments. At every point in their daily lives the Israelites were reminded of their sin and need for a Savior. Corporately, Israel served as the world's largest and longest and most colorful sermon illustration. Thus the writer to the Hebrews (ch. 2) says that Moses worked for Jesus. Moses' whole reason for being was to serve as a pointer to Christ (and as a pointer to the ultimate realities in heaven; see Heb 11).

SemperFideles:
I believe the basic idea is preserved about the type of the Old Covenant in Moses is not the Abrahamic promise but a "binding up" period in both schemas. Let's be honest here that Paul does not take a great deal of time in Galatians and other places explaining what he means by his terms but it is clear that the Law came after Abraham and had a distinct character from the promise that was made.

Just to clear something up. . . . . .

One of the favorite passages of those who follows Kline's covenant theology is Galatians 3. They argue that this passage shows that the Mosaic covenant, and specifically the law given there, has expired. This is their main passage for showing that the Mosaic covenant was a republication of the covenant of works. The problem is that their interpretation of Galatians 3 is absolutely impossible.

Firstly (although I won't make a big deal out of this argument, even though it is fatal to their interpretation) the analogy of Scripture from Matthew 5 debunks their interpretation. Their Christ said that the law found in the Mosaic covenant would not pass away.

But, the main problem with their interpretation of Gal. 3 is that it isn't speaking of the moral law. Paul uses the term law, but he is clearly speaking of those laws which were restorative, or ceremonial in character. Firstly, this is seen when the historical occasion for the book is taken into account. Who is Paul writing against? The Judaizers, who were trying to make the people submit to the ceremonial law. Secondly, it is clearly seen to be the ceremonial law in his argument concerning the school master. The Kliniean covenant theologians interpret this schoolmaster as being Mosaic law. This is seen clearly in the following statement made previously by Dr. Clark
It was, as Paul says in Gal 3, a "pedagogue," that is, a harsh school teacher (with a stick in his hand!). Its function was to drive the Israelites to Christ through the promulgation of 613 commandments.
The problem is that conception makes no sense whatsoever in Paul's argument.
Gal. 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal. 3:24 So that the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal. 3:25 But now faith that is come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Paul here teaches that the law kept them in prison, shutting them in until something happened, that is until the sacrificial atonement of Christ. And that law was a school teacher to bring them to Christ, in order that they might truly be justified by faith. After this there is no longer a need for a tutor.
This is basically the argument the author to the hebrews makes concerning the ceremonial law. The restorative law (ceremonial) taught justification by faith, but it could not accomplish that which it pictured. It was always picturing, always teaching, but never accomplishing. It was a schoolmaster, it lead them unto Christ, the ultimate reality of what it pictured, that they might be justified.
Now I challenge Dr. Clark, or anyone else to show how the law is in any way a schoolmaster that will lead us to faith in Christ. IT CANNOT BE DONE. One might say that it shows us our sin, and our need for him.
Its function was to drive the Israelites to Christ through the promulgation of 613 commandments.
But this is not Paul's argument. The law truly does show us our guilt, but it does not in any way lead us to Christ to be justified by faith! You could give a million people a copy of the moral/judicial law and they could study it all of their lives, and not a one will come up with the fact that God was going to provide a sacrifice for sin. Redemption is not found or pictured in the moral law.
Dr. Clark's argument is basically: 1) the school teacher is harsh "with a stick in his hand." 2) the mosaic law is harsh. Therefore, the school teacher is the mosaic law. That is simply poor reasoning. What if I said: 1) Elephants are dangerous creatures. 2) Sharks are dangerous creatures. Therefore elephants are sharks. This is not acceptable reasoning. Dr. Clark needs to show how the judicial/moral law in any way teaches someone justification by faith. He also needs to change his view of the law as a harsh teacher with a stick in his hand. David surely did not have that view of God's perfect law when he wrote
Psa. 19:7 The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul: The testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple.
Psa. 19:8 The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart: The commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psa. 19:9 The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring for ever: The ordinances of Jehovah are true, and righteous altogether.
Psa. 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb.
Psa. 19:11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: In keeping them there is great reward.

So I challenge you to open your Bibles to Galatians 3 and read it again, and ask yourself whether or not it makes more since to view the "law" being spoken of as those ceremonial laws that passed away at the atonement of Christ, or if it is a rejection of the Mosaic moral code.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Along those lines, may I commend Chapter 7 in Theonomy a Reformed Critique by Moises Silva entitled: Is the Law Against the Promises? The Significance of Galatians 3:21 for Covenant Continuity as well as Moises Silva, "Faith Versus Works of Law in Galatians Galatians , (pp. 217-48) in Justification and Variegated Nomism edited by Carson.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
I'm no Klinean (actually far from it) but it appears to me that by "law" Paul means more than the ceremonies. I'm not sure how you can substitute "ceremonial sacrificial system" in the following verses of Galatians 3:

Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them
especially since the quotation by Paul is from Deuteronomy 27, which clearly is a summation of the Mosaic law in toto rather than just the ceremonies.


Galatians 3:12 But the law is not of faith, rather (a)"The one who does them shall live by them.
(here citing Lev. 18:5, clearly a do passage, not a ceremonial sacrificial system passage)

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"
(the curse of the law referring to commandments, not ceremonies)

So I have read Galatians 3 again, and without being Klinean (or even agreeing with Horton on the republication aspect) I will side with Calvin, and not Mr. Wetmore:

We must again remind the reader that Paul does not treat exclusively of ceremonies, or of the moral law, but embraces the whole economy by which the Lord governed his people under the Old Testament. It became a subject of dispute whether the form of government instituted by Moses had any influence in obtaining righteousness. Paul compares this law first to a prison, and next to a schoolmaster. Such was the nature of the law, as both comparisons plainly show, that it could not have been in force beyond a certain time.

But a question arises, what was the instruction or education of this
schoolmaster? First, the law, by displaying the justice of God, convinced
them that in themselves they were unrighteous; for in the commandments of
God, as in a mirror, they might see how far they were distant from true
righteousness. They were thus reminded that righteousness must be sought
in some other quarter. The promises of the law served the same purpose,
and might lead to such reflections as these: “If you cannot obtain life by
works but by fulfilling the law, some new and different method must be
sought. Your weakness will never allow you to ascend so high; nay, though
you desire and strive ever so much, you will fall far short of the object.” The
threatenings, on the other hand, pressed and entreated them to seek refuge
from the wrath and curse of God, and gave them no rest till they were
constrained to seek the grace of Christ.
Such too, was the tendency of all the ceremonies; for what end did sacrifices
and washings serve but to keep the mind continually fixed on pollution and
condemnation? When a man’s uncleanness is placed before his eyes, when
the unoffending animal is held forth as the image of his own death, how can
he indulge in sleep? How can he but be roused to the earnest cry for
deliverance? Beyond all doubt, ceremonies accomplished their object, not
merely by alarming and humbling the conscience, but by exciting them to the
faith of the coming Redeemer. In the imposing services of the Mosaic ritual,
every thing that was presented to the eye bore an impress of Christ. (Calvin, on Galatians 3)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
This thought from Calvin shows that the Mosaic ritual was an administration of the covenant of grace: "In the imposing services of the Mosaic ritual, every thing that was presented to the eye bore an impress of Christ."
 

non dignus

Puritan Board Sophomore
This thought from Calvin shows that the Mosaic ritual was an administration of the covenant of grace: "In the imposing services of the Mosaic ritual, every thing that was presented to the eye bore an impress of Christ."

Yes, indeed. The impress of Christ vanquishing the serpent from the temple/garden.
 

G.Wetmore

Puritan Board Freshman
fredtgreco wrote:
I'm no Klinean (actually far from it) but it appears to me that by "law" Paul means more than the ceremonies. I'm not sure how you can substitute "ceremonial sacrificial system" in the following verses of Galatians 3:

Quote:
Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them
especially since the quotation by Paul is from Deuteronomy 27, which clearly is a summation of the Mosaic law in toto rather than just the ceremonies.


Quote:
Galatians 3:12 But the law is not of faith, rather (a)"The one who does them shall live by them.
(here citing Lev. 18:5, clearly a do passage, not a ceremonial sacrificial system passage)

Quote:
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"
(the curse of the law referring to commandments, not ceremonies)

So I have read Galatians 3 again, and without being Klinean (or even agreeing with Horton on the republication aspect) I will side with Calvin, and not Mr. Wetmore:

I guess I wasn't clear, I apologize. When I referenced Galatians 3, I was specifically referring to Gal 3:23ff and their interpretation of the schoolmaster as the judicial law. I believe that in the earlier part of Gal 3 Paul is simply referring to the Mosaic administration. I do believe that even in that earlier part of Gal 3 the Klineian interpretation is wrong, but I don't think I have the time right now to give an exegetical paper on that section. Suffice it to say that I think that Paul is talking about a misunderstanding (judiazer view) of the Mosaic law, as a covenant of works.
Paul is arguing that the Mosaic administration was never meant to be a covenant of works. This judiazer tendency to view the Mosaic adminstration as a covenant of works and not as a covenant of grace is clearly expressed by Paul in Rom 9 when he writes
Rom. 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith:
Rom. 9:31 but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.
Rom. 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works. They stumbled at the stone of stumbling;
Rom. 9:33 even as it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.
The problem with the Judiazer mentality is that though they followed the law, they did not arrive at the true meaning of the law. Why did they not arrive at the true meaning of the law? Because they sought it not by faith, but treated is as though it were by works, therefore they stumbled and fell. They did not understand that the Mosaic covenant was not a covenant of works, but it was meant to be lived out in faith, not by works!

Paul goes on to say
Rom. 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved.
Rom. 10:2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
Rom. 10:3 For being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.
Rom. 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth.
Rom. 10:5 For Moses writeth that the man that doeth the righteousness which is of the law shall live thereby.
In seeking to follow the law as a covenant of works, they were ignorant of God's righteousness, and they instead sought to establish it on their own, and they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end, the telos, the aim of the law unto righteousness to everyone that believes. In this context, Paul qoutes Moses saying that the man who truly seeks after the righteousness of God in the law, that is the righteousness that is by faith, shall live thereby. In other words, when the law is followed how it was meant to be given, in faith and not by works, it will be an experience of life to them and not death. The judiazers turned this around and acted as though the man who lived according to the law would merit life by it!
I believe that what Paul is doing in Galatians 3:12 is qouting that passage from the false understanding of the Judiazers, he is showing that their false understanding of the law as a system of merit unto life does not fit with God's rigtheousness that is revealed by faith.

What he is arguing against in the first part of Gal 3 is a false understanding of the Mosaic law, that pits law against the promise.
Gal. 3:17 Now this I say: A covenant confirmed beforehand by God, the law, which came four hundred and thirty years after, doth not disannul, so as to make the promise of none effect.
Gal. 3:18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise: but God hath granted it to Abraham by promise.
Paul here is saying that the Mosaic covenant is not of works, he says if it were by works, it would be no more by promise, but it is by promise. In the false understanding of the Mosaic administration they thought it was by works not by promise. This is exactly what Paul is correcting.
Somehow the Klineians come to this passage and simply reinvent the judaistic mentality by saying it was a covenant of works, but not works unto salvation, but works unto inheritence. But this has nothing to do with Paul's argument here.

It isn't the easiest passage to understand, and it surely is one of those passages that made Peter say that some things in the writings of Paul were hard to understand.

My whole point about the schoolmaster, is that when Paul gets to that point in his argument he turns to the ceremonial character of the mosaic administration. I understand the qoute from Calvin to an extent. A true understanding of the judicial and moral law would show the Israelites that they had no righteousness, but this does not teach them justification by faith. It would teach them that they can't justify themselves, but if all they had was the moral and judicial law, they would not have been able to come to the conclusion of any type of salvation, but simply of judgment.

That it is clear that the school master is the restorative law is seen in Paul's arguing that it led them to justification by faith. Furthermore, he then says that it is now passed away when the object of faith is revealed, which is Christ. Again, what was the historic situation? the Judiazers were trying to make them observe the jewish ceremonies. This is why Paul moves on to say:
Gal. 4:9 but now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage over again?
Gal. 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years.
Gal. 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain.
They were trying to return unto the schoolmaster, going back to the rudiments, puting themselves in bondage again. And then he explains, they observe days and monts and seasons and years. He is afraid of them, because they are trying to go back under the ceremonial aspects of the law.

So again, I apologize for the confusion, I wasn't clear in my last post when I just said Gal 3 and didn't specify. I was specifically referring to the argument Dr. Clark used concerning the schoolmaster.
 

Catechist

Puritan Board Freshman
Different relation of the Law

Herman Witsius wrote,

"That the expression to be of the law, and that, to be of the works of the law, are not in all respects the same; for, those may simply be said to be of the law, to whom pertained the giving of the law, Rom ix. 4. that is, the Jewish nation, to whom the law of God was delivered, and who, in consequence of that giving of the law, and of the covenant founded thereon, became what they are, a people peculiar to God.

But seeing works, on the business of justification, which was the dispute among the Galatians, are always set in direct opposition to faith, those who are of the works of the law, cannot be of justifying faith.

If you object, that the law is in like manner opposed to faith; I answer, the law has a twofold relation: a legal, strictly so called, as it contains the condition of justification, by a personal and proper obedience; and an evangelical, as, by its types and shadows, it leads to Christ. Whoever, according to the former relation, are of the law, are not heirs, Rom iv. 14. but whoever were of the law, so as to discover in it the gracious promises of the gospel, belonged to that seed of Abraham, to which the promise was declared.

And according to this different relation of the law, the apostle in a different sense says, that some of are the law; some who, because they want to be of the law, are not heirs; namely those, who reckon their works as a condition of righteousness with God, either for purification or satisfaction; and some again who are of the law, and yet are heirs; namely those, who suffer themselves to be led by the law, as a schoolmaster, to Christ. But works contradistinguised from faith, can have no other than an opposite relation in justification."

From the above quote taken from Witsius "The Economy", it does not sound as though he is advocating that the Jewish nation as a whole was placed under a republished covenant of works. But acknowledges those who are of the works of the law, as not heirs.

"In the last place, I do not imagine that either of these can be proved from any passage of scripture: either, that those can be called the true spiritual sons of Abraham, who are of the works of the law: or, that those, who, in faith and a good conscience, observe the precepts of the ceremonial law, can, on that account be said to be under the curse. I find Rom. iv. 16. is quoted as a proof of the former; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all."

Rev. Winzer, it appears that what Witsius wrote here above is in agreement with what you have stated here below.

"I much prefer the version presented by older reformed teachers, that there is an external and internal aspect to the covenant. Hence they are not all Israel who are of Israel. They are not all in the covenant of grace, who are outwardly of the covenant of grace; those only externally of the covenant of grace are inwardly under the condemnation of the covenant of works. This is that which is specifically taught. They only meant that the law considered in and of itself is a covenant of works, that is, as a means of justification. There is no attempt to equate this with the Mosaic administration, the theocratic nation of Israel, the land as inheritance, or any other Klinean peculiarity."

Am I understanding your position correctly?
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
Okay, for all of you gentlemen out there who are claiming that republication is a novel view, and that it cannot be found in earlier reformed writings, what will you do with these quotes from Herman Witsius' (1636-1708) Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man?


Vol. 2, book 4, sect. 47: "Now concerning this covenant, made upon the ten commandments, it is queried, whether it was a covenant of works or a covenant of grace? We judge proper to premise some things, previous to the determination of this question. And first, we observe that in the ministry of Moses, there was a repetition of the doctrine concerning the law of the covenant of works."

Vol. 2, book 4, sect. 48: "Secondly, we more especially remark, that when the law was given from Mt. Sinai or Horeb, there was a repetition of the covenant of works."


He then goes on to discuss how the covenant at Sinai was neither formally the covenant of works with sinners on an individual basis, nor was it a covenant of grace. What does Witsius claim the Mosaic covenant to be then?


Vol. 2, book 4, sec. 54: "What was it then? It was a national covenant between God and Israel (emphasis in original)..."


Grasping this concept only helps to make sense of what continued to happen between God and Israel regarding the promised land. Every time they messed up and broke the national covenant of works, things went south; when they obeyed, God rendered to them their due blessing. I honestly cannot figure out why some get so upset over this view when it seems to me that it really clarifies and makes sense of the bigger picture. What orthodoxy, can it be claimed, does this position distort or destroy? :candle:
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
The citations that are provided above pretty much trash the following two statements (sorry, gents) :judge:

From the above quote taken from Witsius "The Economy", it does not sound as though he is advocating that the Jewish nation as a whole was placed under a republished covenant of works.

Rev. Winzer, it appears that what Witsius wrote here above is in agreement with what you have stated here below.

"There is no attempt to equate this with the Mosaic administration, the theocratic nation of Israel, the land as inheritance, or any other Klinean peculiarity."
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
Also, I just found this in Hodge's ST, vol. 2, p. 375 (Horton cites this in his end notes for chapter 5 of God of Promise):

"Besides this evangelical character which unquestionably belongs to the Mosaic covenant, it is presented in two other aspects in the Word of God.

First, it was a national covenant with the Hebrew people...

Secondly, it contained... a renewed proclamation of the original covenant of works..."
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Finally, it has been argued by some (e.g., some of my friends on the Puritanboard) that the doctrine of re-publication is "unconfessional." To this I appeal to the logic implied by the grammar of WCF 19.1 and 2. 19.1 which reasserts the doctrine of 7.2, that God “gave to Adam a Law, as a Covenant of Works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it: and endued him with power and ability to keep it.” 19.2 says, “This Law, after his fall…was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments….” (Articles, 30–31). The phrase “covenant of works,” in 19.1, is appositive to the noun “Law.” Thus the “Law” is reckoned here as a covenant of works. Thus when, 19.2 establishes “This law” as the subject of the verb to be, “was delivered,” the antecedent of “this Law” can be none other than the “Law” defined as a covenant of works in 19.1.
Dr Clark, I would be interested in understanding your position a bit more clearly -- would you say then that believers participating in the Mosiac administration were under the law as a covenant of works? Also, who was the head of this republished covenant of works? Still Adam? Now Moses? Somehow corporate Israel? Or with each Israelite individually?
 

G.Wetmore

Puritan Board Freshman
Okay, for all of you gentlemen out there who are claiming that republication is a novel view, and that it cannot be found in earlier reformed writings, what will you do with these quotes from Herman Witsius' (1636-1708) Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man?


Vol. 2, book 4, sect. 47: "Now concerning this covenant, made upon the ten commandments, it is queried, whether it was a covenant of works or a covenant of grace? We judge proper to premise some things, previous to the determination of this question. And first, we observe that in the ministry of Moses, there was a repetition of the doctrine concerning the law of the covenant of works."

Vol. 2, book 4, sect. 48: "Secondly, we more especially remark, that when the law was given from Mt. Sinai or Horeb, there was a repetition of the covenant of works."


He then goes on to discuss how the covenant at Sinai was neither formally the covenant of works with sinners on an individual basis, nor was it a covenant of grace. What does Witsius claim the Mosaic covenant to be then?


Vol. 2, book 4, sec. 54: "What was it then? It was a national covenant between God and Israel (emphasis in original)..."


Grasping this concept only helps to make sense of what continued to happen between God and Israel regarding the promised land. Every time they messed up and broke the national covenant of works, things went south; when they obeyed, God rendered to them their due blessing. I honestly cannot figure out why some get so upset over this view when it seems to me that it really clarifies and makes sense of the bigger picture. What orthodoxy, can it be claimed, does this position distort or destroy? :candle:

You can quote Wistius, or anyone else you want, it makes no difference to me. If they hold Kline's position they are just as wrong as he is. I challenge you to give scriptural evidence for this, don't just answer based upon your system.
I always find it strange that in these conversations, whenever someones Scriptural interpretation is challenged, they immediately go to Church history, and simply prove that someone else held the same error. So unless you claim that Wistius is the final aribiter of theological disputes, your response is sadly lacking.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
You can quote Wistius, or anyone else you want, it makes no difference to me. If they hold Kline's position they are just as wrong as he is. I challenge you to give scriptural evidence for this, don't just answer based upon your system.
I always find it strange that in these conversations, whenever someones Scriptural interpretation is challenged, they immediately go to Church history, and simply prove that someone else held the same error. So unless you claim that Wistius is the final aribiter of theological disputes, your response is sadly lacking.


First off, don't be such a hothead. My posts were answering the question that you posed of whether or not Witsius did in fact hold this position, and second, whether or not this view merely a "Klinean peculiarity". It had nothing to do at that point with the question of exegesis, merely whether or not this was an historically acceptable position. So I gave citations from both Witsius and Charles Hodge proving that, yes, Witsius did hold that view, and that, no, Kline was not the first to come up with it, so it cannot be termed a "Klinean peculiarity".

Second, this position is not one that can be proven one way or the other by a facile use of proof texts. It is a big picture question, namely, a systematic look at the whole of the Mosaic economy, covenants in general, and the thematic doctrines that we see coming out as we look at them. If you want to take the "I don't see an explicit passage of Scripture proving it, therefore, I refuse to believe it" that's fine, just realize that by this logic you will also have to do away with doctrines like the inclusion of children in baptism, the covenant of redemption, the invisible church, a Calvinistic view of the Lord's Supper, and numerous other doctrines that are not explicitly laid out in Scripture, but rather are understood by inference from a number of passages. If you consistently take this hermeneutic you will eventually become a baptist by conviction; notice that most baptists reject many (some baptists reject all) of the doctrines that I made mention of above. It is not so easy to get a handle on every doctrine.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
I honestly cannot figure out why some get so upset over this view when it seems to me that it really clarifies and makes sense of the bigger picture. What orthodoxy, can it be claimed, does this position distort or destroy? :candle:


Gabriel, I should have looked at your profile and surveyed your posts earlier, and I would have found the underlying problem that folk such as yourself have with this position.

You are a theonomist who is attending GPTS. The pastor who just about gave himself a myocardial infarction over this view when he thought I was even hinting at it is a recovering theonomist who also attended GPTS. By this I am able to explain two things:

The first is that (and I'm not saying that this holds true for everyone who attends GPTS) the few men who I have met who are graduates of that institution have a rigid view of how the languages work, and tend to be myopic proof-texters rather than more thoughtful, big picture, theologians. Again, not all, but it is a pattern that I have observed. This would explain your hesitancy to accept a view without a Scriptural proof, and apart from systematic inference.

The second, and in my opinion the more important factor, is that theonomists (current or recovering) hate the idea that the Mosaic economy could have been a national covenant of works, because it takes the wind out of their sails regarding the application of the Mosaic code to modern nations. If it was unique to their theocracy, then it is not necessarily valid to apply it to, say, the U.S., as one example.

I don't have a great desire to carry on this debate with papers and graduation looming large, so I'll leave this thread at that, and wish you all a great afternoon!
 
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fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Gabriel, I should have looked at your profile and surveyed your posts earlier, and I would have found the underlying problem that folk such as yourself have with this position.

You are a theonomist who is attending GPTS. The pastor who just about gave himself a myocardial infarction over this view when he thought I was even hinting at it is a recovering theonomist who also attended GPTS. By this I know two things:

The first is that (and I'm not saying that this holds true for everyone who attends GPTS) the few men who I have met who are graduates of that institution have a rigid view of how the languages work, and tend to be myopic proof-texters rather than more thoughtful, big picture, theologians. Again, not all, but it is a pattern that I have observed. This would explain your hesitancy to accept a view without a Scriptural proof, and apart from systematic inference.

The second, and in my opinion the more important factor, is that theonomists (current or recovering) hate the idea that the Mosaic economy could have been a national covenant of works, because it takes the wind out of their sails regarding the application of the Mosaic code to modern nations. If it was unique to their theocracy, then it is not necessarily valid to apply it to, say, the U.S., as one example.

I don't have a great desire to carry on this debate with papers and graduation looming large, so I'll leave this thread at that, and wish you all a great afternoon!

Adam,

Please work on you papers primarily - it is more important.

But you should avoid making statementns like that above. As an non-GPTS student (RTS Jackson, thank you) what you have said is unfair and untrue. I could just as easily (and in my mind with greater accuracy) have said Westminster West graduates are unthinking Klineans who have an overly Lutheran view of the Law, and that would be untrue and unfair.


At the same time, Gabriel, I would invite you to ask Dr. Pipa (or Drs. Shaw or others) how to properly discuss this matter. You obviously are missing the point in several areas, as your interaction with me (a non-Klinean!) on Galatians 3. My point was that Paul's use of "law" is consistent in all of Galatians 3, and that the early portion of Galatians 3 makes it impossible to view 3:23 as being the ceremonial law alone. For evidence supporting my exegesis (which I have done, having just preached through Galatians), I provided a spot on quote from Calvin. You chose not to respond to the exegesis or citation at all.


I say this not to win an argument or be critical, but to help yopu in thinking through this. If you doubt my sincerity, as Dr. Pipa about my motives.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
Adam,

Please work on you papers primarily - it is more important.

But you should avoid making statements like that above. As an non-GPTS student (RTS Jackson, thank you) what you have said is unfair and untrue. I could just as easily (and in my mind with greater accuracy) have said Westminster West graduates are unthinking Klineans who have an overly Lutheran view of the Law, and that would be untrue and unfair.

Thanks for the admonishment, Fred, you're right on both counts. I will now apologize for that unfair cut, and get back to work.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Thanks for the admonishment, Fred, you're right on both counts. I will now apologize for that unfair cut, and get back to work.

You are welcome, and I will be praying for you today as you complete the important work of the end of a term.

God bless you!
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I guess I don't need to "weigh-in" ... (MDiv. GPTS, 2001)

Forgive and forget, I always say...
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Hi Casey,

see:

http://www.wscal.edu/clark/covtheses.php

rsc

Dr Clark, I would be interested in understanding your position a bit more clearly -- would you say then that believers participating in the Mosiac administration were under the law as a covenant of works? Also, who was the head of this republished covenant of works? Still Adam? Now Moses? Somehow corporate Israel? Or with each Israelite individually?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rev. Winzer, it appears that what Witsius wrote here above is in agreement with what you have stated here below.

Hi Kevin. Thankyou for the excerpts from Witsius. I think it's more a case that I'm in agreement with Witsius, as he was one of the men I studied to arrive at the conclusion which I have stated here.

Archlute, note carefully what Witsius says is republished: "we observe that in the ministry of Moses, there was a repetition of the doctrine concerning the law of the covenant of works." By this it is not meant that the law was given as a covenant of works to Israel. Witsius specifically concludes, "The covenant made with Israel at mount Sinai was not formally the covenant of works" (Economy, 2:184). Rather, "the carnal Israelites, not adverting to God's purpose or intention, as they ought, mistook the true meaning of that covenant, embraced it as a covenant of works, and by it sought for righteousness" (ibid., 184, 185).

As noted previously, those divines who speak of a republished covenant of works do not mean that the law was specifically given as a means of self-justification, but only that certain elements of the covenant of works were revived, and that for the purpose of showing man's condemnation in a state of nature. "Do this and live," "Cursed is the man that continueth in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them," are elements which were part and parcel of the covenant of works. Moreover, the same elements are published in the gospel: "He that believeth not is damned." See the Marrow of Modern Divinity for a clear explanation of this point.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
He also states on 2:185 that it was not a formal covenant of grace either. On p.186 he connects it to Israel as a national covenant, not individual, and states that it was neither formally one or the other, but it is clear that there was a republication of the CoW principle on a national level during this administration. As I noted, Hodge believed the same.

It seems that one of the sticking points in this discussion is that one side keeps their focus upon the individual, and the other the national aspect of the covenant. Those who see it primarily with reference to the individual dislike the republication idea, but others see the events at Horeb to be a constituting of a covenanted nation where the focus is upon the collective people. That being said, I have no problem with a republication of the CoW, on that theocratic level, as it explains quite well what would be the future of Israel's history.
 

G.Wetmore

Puritan Board Freshman
First off, don't be such a hothead. My posts were answering the question that you posed of whether or not Witsius did in fact hold this position, and second, whether or not this view merely a "Klinean peculiarity". It had nothing to do at that point with the question of exegesis, merely whether or not this was an historically acceptable position. So I gave citations from both Witsius and Charles Hodge proving that, yes, Witsius did hold that view, and that, no, Kline was not the first to come up with it, so it cannot be termed a "Klinean peculiarity".

Second, this position is not one that can be proven one way or the other by a facile use of proof texts. It is a big picture question, namely, a systematic look at the whole of the Mosaic economy, covenants in general, and the thematic doctrines that we see coming out as we look at them. If you want to take the "I don't see an explicit passage of Scripture proving it, therefore, I refuse to believe it" that's fine, just realize that by this logic you will also have to do away with doctrines like the inclusion of children in baptism, the covenant of redemption, the invisible church, a Calvinistic view of the Lord's Supper, and numerous other doctrines that are not explicitly laid out in Scripture, but rather are understood by inference from a number of passages. If you consistently take this hermeneutic you will eventually become a baptist by conviction; notice that most baptists reject many (some baptists reject all) of the doctrines that I made mention of above. It is not so easy to get a handle on every doctrine.

Firstly, this post sounds a lot more hotheaded than anything I wrote to you.

Secondly, I never made any statement about what Wistius believed.

Thirdly, I never said give an "explicit" Biblical passage. I did ask for Biblical warrant, those are two completely different things. For some reason you call me a "myopic proof texter" because I think that what you believe needs to be backed up with Scripture. Well I am glad to be called a proof texter, because I believe that whatever I think about Scripture can't come from my own mind, but must be able to be proved from God's word. I don't think that this is simply done by quoting one verse, but it has to be shown from Scripture. I don't believe that I said anything that makes you say I am "myopic" in my argumentation. Your characterization of me as
If you want to take the "I don't see an explicit passage of Scripture proving it, therefore, I refuse to believe it" that's fine
is sadly unwarranted.

you then say:
by this logic you will also have to do away with doctrines like the inclusion of children in baptism, the covenant of redemption, the invisible church, a Calvinistic view of the Lord's Supper, and numerous other doctrines that are not explicitly laid out in Scripture
And by the way, I do think that I can argue for those positions from Scripture. If I didn't, I wouldn't hold to them.

I have a feeling that you really are a proof texter at heart. Unless you believe that you can hold to any doctrines you want and not defend them from Scripture, in which case I would simply say that we hold to a different religion, because I don't believe that we have the right to invent God according to our own whims, but I am confident that you don't either. So lets just stop the name calling.

All I am asking for is some Scriptural argument for you case, not just an assertion that it is a systematic doctrine, because even systematic doctrines must come from Scripture. As the WCF teaches, our doctrines must either be expilicity taught in Scripture, or be derived from Scripture by good and necessary concequences.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
I guess I don't need to "weigh-in" ... (MDiv. GPTS, 2001)

Forgive and forget, I always say...

Sorry, Bruce. I meant no ill towards you by that comment.

Wouldn't it be great to have intercollegiate sports competitions between the various Reformed seminaries over the breaks, in order to "work out our differences"? :eureka:

(or how about the Reformed vs. Fuller, et al??? :smug: )
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
He also states on 2:185 that it was not a formal covenant of grace either. On p.186 he connects it to Israel as a national covenant, not individual, and states that it was neither formally one or the other, but it is clear that there was a republication of the CoW principle on a national level during this administration. As I noted, Hodge believed the same.

Witsius was amongst a minority who believed it was a "mixed" covenant. I haven't studied Cocceius, but I suspect this is one of the areas where Witsius was mediating for the Cocceian school. Either way, there is no republication of the covenant of works in Witsius, only of certain elements of the covenant of works. Hodge followed Turretin in stating that it was essentially a covenant of grace. This is the standard reformed position.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
Firstly, this post sounds a lot more hotheaded than anything I wrote to you.

Secondly, I never made any statement about what Wistius believed.

Thirdly, I never said give an "explicit" Biblical passage. I did ask for Biblical warrant, those are two completely different things. For some reason you call me a "myopic proof texter" because I think that what you believe needs to be backed up with Scripture. Well I am glad to be called a proof texter, because I believe that whatever I think about Scripture can't come from my own mind, but must be able to be proved from God's word. I don't think that this is simply done by quoting one verse, but it has to be shown from Scripture. I don't believe that I said anything that makes you say I am "myopic" in my argumentation. Your characterization of me as is sadly unwarranted.

you then say:
And by the way, I do think that I can argue for those positions from Scripture. If I didn't, I wouldn't hold to them.

I have a feeling that you really are a proof texter at heart. Unless you believe that you can hold to any doctrines you want and not defend them from Scripture, in which case I would simply say that we hold to a different religion, because I don't believe that we have the right to invent God according to our own whims, but I am confident that you don't either. So lets just stop the name calling.

All I am asking for is some Scriptural argument for you case, not just an assertion that it is a systematic doctrine, because even systematic doctrines must come from Scripture. As the WCF teaches, our doctrines must either be expilicity taught in Scripture, or be derived from Scripture by good and necessary concequences.



Whatever, Gabe. You're not interacting with the material from Witsius and Hodge that I posted, nor my analysis of your position, and I don't feel like wasting my time arguing with you. Believe what you'd like, I've got more important things to do right now. Adios.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
Witsius was amongst a minority who believed it was a "mixed" covenant. I haven't studied Cocceius, but I suspect this is one of the areas where Witsius was mediating for the Cocceian school. Either way, there is no republication of the covenant of works in Witsius, only of certain elements of the covenant of works. Hodge followed Turretin in stating that it was essentially a covenant of grace. This is the standard reformed position.

Well, Rev. Winzer, you're asserting one thing, but when I look at the statements from those men that I highlighted above it seems to me that they held differently. That Witsius was holding a mediating position for Cocceius is just speculation.

I would really like to see someone interact with this on the national level, as I made mention of above, and how that would pose a problem to the CoG. It seems to me that having the Mosaic Covenant as a republication of the CoW on a national level with Israel does not preclude it from being administered within the CoG.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Archlute, you have set out to defend Kline's notion on the basis that it has reformed precursors. It has been shown clearly that the one person you quote -- Herman Witsius -- did not believe it was a national covenant of works. You have no reformed precursors for Kline's opinion. That is the fact of the matter.
 
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