John MacAurther and the 3-fold division/third use of the law

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by GulfCoast Presbyterian, Aug 20, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. GulfCoast Presbyterian

    GulfCoast Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    For those of you more familiar with MacAurther's "body of work":

    1) Does he agree with the division of the OT law into the 3 divisions of civil, cerimonial, and moral?
    2) If so, does he agree with the traditional reformed position on the "third use of the law?"

    I gave away my MSB as I got tired of filtering out the dispie stuff, so if anyone has a primary source reference, that would be helpul.

  2. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    2). I have no idea
    1). He's a Dispensational, so it's a no, or at least I believe so. I haven't come across anything like that in his Bible Commentary.
  3. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Can't comment on MacArthur (don't know) but this is a very helpful resource on the topic:

    View attachment 3033
  4. GulfCoast Presbyterian

    GulfCoast Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    Here is a post from the Executive Director of Grace to You, Phil Johnson, which would lead me to believe that both both questions would be within the Mac Camp, Dispensational or not:

    Pyromaniacs: A Primer on Antinomianism

    Now I am even more puzzled.
  5. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    hmmm...that is interesting. I think Phil, though a Dispensational too, comes across as more reformed. I am going to have to look through macarthur again.
  6. GulfCoast Presbyterian

    GulfCoast Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    Dr. Clark: Thanks for the reference!
  7. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I was looking it up and while reading his Roman's commentary, he doesn't say 'third use' so far as I can see, however he did say this "...." is part of the moral law, etc. So in a weird way, he holds to some division, but thinks that the Sabbath is a ceremonial law that has been abrogated by Colossians 2.

    He also frequently saw Jesus' use of the ten commandments (excluding the sabbath obviously said above) as 'the moral law'
  8. GulfCoast Presbyterian

    GulfCoast Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    I did find some information where GTY executive director Phil Johnson seems to posit keeping the sabbath as both a a moral issue and a cerimonial issue. In his comments in the link above he says:

    "In short, I think the Fourth Commandment does contain a moral principle involving rest from our labors. (That same principle appears in a different light, where it shines even more prominently, in the gospel.) But the specific OT restrictions regarding the seventh day were ceremonial observances."

    Sounds like a bit of "cake and eat it, too." But overall, I guess the "GTY" camp is not as monolithic as I supposed.

    See also:
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  9. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    My guess is that Phil's post likely is similar to MacArthur's position. I think there are probably very few things that they disagree on. If so, I'd be surprised if Phil would make it public.

    I know that some TMS grads believe in the Threefold Division as well. However, I don't know where to look in the Study Bible as it has no index to the study notes. Tony Cappocia's site used to be an excellent resource with all of the Mac Q&A's but that's all been removed. That's because Grace to You has that all in house now and I don't know where to look.

    Remember that the MacArthur camp believes that dispensationalism only has to do with eschatology and ecclesiology. That's one reason why the Dallas types accused of him of turning toward Reformed theology during the Lordship controversy. Back then i.e. late 80's Mac wasn't even a 5 pointer.

    I will say that it's pretty clear that Mac/Phil from a practical standpoint are stronger on the Third Use than the Sonship/"Gospel Centered" types who equate any mention of the law with legalism and tend to equate any talk of effort toward holiness as "performance-based religion."
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page