Kline Works-Merit Pardigm?

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by JWY, Nov 5, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JWY

    JWY Puritan Board Freshman

    Looking for guidance and resource recommendations to study the so-called 'Kline works-merit paradigm.' What is Meredith Kline’s position regarding a distinct ‘grace principle’ separated from a distinct ‘works principle’ in the post-fall covenants? What authors/works/issues are central to this discussion?
  2. Tbordow

    Tbordow Puritan Board Freshman


    This may help:

    "Also contradicting the contention that no divine covenants have ever been governed by the works principle is the irrefutable biblical evidence that the Mosaic economy, while an administration of grace on its fundamental level of concern with the eternal salvation of the individual, was at the same time on its temporary, typological kingdom level informed by the principle of works. Thus, for example, the apostle Paul in Romans 10:4ff. and Galatians 3:10ff. (cf. Rom 9:32) contrasts the old order of the law with the gospel order of grace and faith, identifying the old covenant as one of bondage, condemnation, and death (cf. 2 Cor 3:6-9; Gal 4:24-26). The old covenant was law, the opposite of grace-faith, and in the postlapsarian world that meant it would turn out to be an administration of condemnation as a consequence of sinful Israel's failure to maintain the necessary meritorious obedience. Had the old typological kingdom been secured by sovereign grace in Christ, Israel would not have lost her national election. A satisfactory explanation of Israel's fall demands WORKS, NOT GRACE, as the controlling administrative principle." (Kline - Kingdom Prologue)
  3. JWY

    JWY Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Todd
  4. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman

  5. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    And I disagree with Kline. I think Patrick Ramsey does a good job in revealing what Romans 10:4 and Leviticus 18:5 say when considering the whole Counsel of God. In fact when we looks at Paul's references we would think that Paul is pitting Moses against Moses and the Old Testament against the Old Testament in his New Testament writings if we just lift passages out of texts without considering other passages Paul also references. Paul isn't pitting the OT against the OT or Moses against Moses when we look at the fuller context for understanding.

    Enjoy this short read.

    Paul’s Use of Lev. 18:5 in Rom. 10:5 | Patrick’s Pensees
  6. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Also in light of the passage mentioned in 2 Corinthians 3, which calls the Old an administration of Death, one must also read the prior passages to understand what context St. Paul is referring to the Mosaic Covenant in.

    Christ was Preached in Moses. In fact Jesus said as much.

    The Mosaic was an administration of death the same way the New Covenant is to those who seek to turn the New Covenant into a Covenant of Works or to those who stumble because they will not believe Moses or Christ. For they corrupt the Word of God and the Covenant of Grace in refusing the Cornerstone and Saviour. As Paul mentioned, "to one they [Paul and the Apostles] are a savour of death unto death." And how do they who consider them a savour unto death do it? They do it by what Paul says he doesn't do in the proceeding verse, "For we are not as those who corrupt the Word of God."
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  7. JWY

    JWY Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Brandon!

    ---------- Post added at 02:18 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:03 PM ----------


    Thanks for the information and insight. I chose this topic for a research paper and I'm quickly realizing that I have seriously 'out-kicked my coverage.' :) So, I'm trying to read both deeply and widely while begging for HELP to narrow this down a little bit!
  8. brandonadams

    brandonadams Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Jeff,

    You've got your hands full. In case this may be of help, here are bookmarks I have made over the last couple of years in regards to "republication" (the Kline works-merit principle in regards to the Mosaic covenant)
    republication - Brandon Adams on Diigo

    In addition, here are relevant posts on my blog where I have tried to wade through the issue (if it helps get you a jump start on resources):
    Summary of Venema’s Review of TLNF « Contrast
    WCF/SDF/LBC 19.1,2 and Republication « Contrast
    Kerux vs TLNF « Contrast

    In my opinion, the two most helpful articles in opposition to the view are:

    In defense, you have:
    Cross-Examining Moses

    and here's one from Kline:

    Books | Meredith G. Kline Resource Site
    https://patrickspensees.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/klhortonian-theology-and-the-mosaic-covenant/ (browse all of Ramsey's posts on the topic - they are very helpful)
    https://sites.google.com/site/themosaiccovenant/ (opposed to Kline)

    Have fun :)
  9. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

  10. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Just a small FYI. This issue has lead me to be very inclined to understand the paedo bapstim issue in a totally different light. I am now seeing that the substance of the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and New Covenant are all of the same kind and that they are all very similar. I am seeing all of the Covenants after Adam as being administrations of the Covenant of Grace. I have grown in understanding the concept of Covenant Children better concerning the Covenant of Grace since this past Summer. I have been very slow in examining the substance of the Covenants. As I have noted before, it started with examining the law / gospel distinctions and seeing that the dichotomizing of law and gospel appears to be solidly Lutheran and not Reformed. I have been following this discussion for the past several years. It has caused me to see things in a clearer light I believe. I am thoroughly Reformed in my confessional understanding now I believe.

    I remember making a statement last Summer that I would never change my position. I have never had a major theological change since I became a Christian in 1981. I grew in my understanding concerning the positions I held but I can't say I have ever had a major theological change. I was born into the faith being Calvinistic. I became a Christian reading a Bible in a Navy Barracks back in 1981. When I read John 15:16 I just believed it. I was a Reformed Baptist for many years and just viewed the Mosaic Covenant as a mixed Covenant of Works and Grace. I know that isn't true any longer. The Law / Gospel dichotomy teaching and the Republication of the Covenant of Works discussions have truly been eye opening for me. I believe I am seeing the beauty and continuity issue a bit more clearer. The Covenant of Grace is clearer as is the doctrine of Union with Christ and they are much more beautiful than I thought them to be. The doctrine of Union in Christ is much more clearer to me as it clearly reveals the whole gospel and not just some point of it. I believe Horton (White Horse Inn) and the ilk of their kind severely hamper the definition of the gospel and they diminish it by redefining it to only a proclamation. Salvation is of the Lord and Salvation isn't just about justification. It is about justification, sanctification, and glorification. Our justification for all of eternity is by Grace alone through the instrument of faith. It is preceded by our Election, Predestination, and regeneration which leads us by grace into a most holy faith in our Loving Lord Jesus Christ's person and work. Then (in sanctification) we are being saved and delivered daily by that same grace and faith from the power of sin which causes us to mature and act accordingly in loving God's law, even though we do it so imperfectly. This union in Christ also makes me persevere in hope for the final glorification in Him. Can you imagine what we will be like? If we saw anyone who has been resurrected and glorified it would probably confuse us and make us think we should worship them or reverence them as Peter desired to do when he saw Moses and Elijah in the Mount of Transfiguration. We will be His Shining Ones. This is our inheritance. And it is all because of the Covenant of Grace in Christ.

    Anyways, I am not going to make a big to do about it and hope no one else does. I have taken a middle ground on the subject for a time trying to weigh out my understanding and what I believed as a Credo only baptist, but figured I ought to say something about why this study has been important to me these last few years and where it has led me to. I just want the beauty of Christ revealed and the Covenant of Grace to appear as glorious as it is in God's Glory and work. He is most beautiful.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  11. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    Doesn't Horton have a rather odd perspective on this subject?
  12. JWY

    JWY Puritan Board Freshman

    It's my understanding (feeble opinion) that Horton, along with many at Westminster West, and others, hold to variants of the Klinean works-merit paradigm. Although I tend to disagree with some of their positions, they do have at least a palpable presence in the history of Reformed thought. Their positions are not a theological novum, but neither could they be considered, in my opinion, reflective of a conclusive, historical, Reformed consensus. Just thoughts!
  13. JWY

    JWY Puritan Board Freshman

    Here's where I am at right now (but I am certainly open to correction): It looks to me like the Klinean works-merit paradigm is right in the middle of the tension between the three groups William B. Evans labels as the 'Repristinationist' camp (Westminster West and the Klinean works-merit paradigm folks), the 'Biblical-Theology trajectory' camp (Vos, Murray, Gaffin, Tipton, etc.) and the 'Revisionist' camp (Norman Shepherd and the FV). And this tension seems most exposed in the broader, perpetual Justification debate. I hold to (what I consider to be) the stronger Reformed tradition that sees Justification and Sanctification as distinct, yet inseparable, simultaneous realities of 'Union with Christ' (i.e., Biblical-Theology trajectory camp).

    The Repristinationsist/Hortonian approach (as I understand it) 'appears odd' to many Reformed, because it projects a more Lutheran view that identifies Justification as the alpha point in the ordo salutis, and places 'Union with Christ' consequentially and therefore, subordinately, within the ordo salutis framework. This structural commitment (it seems to me) often finds expression in a doggedly myopic, rhetorical over-emphasis of Justification to the relative exclusion of Sanctification, and eventually invites accusations of antinomianism.

    Kline seems to be a primary asset in the Hortonian soteriological schema, especially the Klinean argument for the Republication of the CoW in the Mosaic Covenant. Is the Klinean republication schema, which is built upon a prelapsarian, Edenic covenant, works-merit paradigm, the root argument that is driving the Repristinationist/Hortonian schema, or is it truly a derivative of an organic, Biblical-theology?

    So, my new question is this: (a) Is the Repristinationst/Hortonian soteriological position a logical consequence of their commitment to a Klinean works-merit paradigm, or (b) is their affinity toward the Klinean works-merit paradigm merely a useful, argumentative tool to support their predisposition toward a Lutheranized ordo salutis, or Lutheranized hermeneutic, or (c) is the Hortonian soteriological position really closer to the ‘Union with Christ’ schema than it might appear on the surface, and only seems divergent because of the sustained rhetoric of their external polemics?

    For the record, I largely agree with Horton’s recent polemical efforts (e.g., 'Christless Christianity'), but I sometimes wonder if he/they are on offense or defense, if that makes any sense. At times he/they seem to acquiesce toward a traditional ‘Union with Christ’ view, only to fall back to a more Lutheran position with a steady stream of qualifications and clarifying statements. I really want to believe that Horton and company are only appearing to lean upon a more Lutheran ordo salutis schema for pragmatic, rhetorical effect in their ecclesial and soteriological polemics, but I’m beginning to believe that this Lutheranized ordo is really symptomatic of a deeper, central dogma, one that is built upon a Lutheranized hermeneutic committed to rigid and narrow dichotomies such as Law/Gospel, Faith/Works, 2K Christ/culture, etc.

    These are tough times…‘Machen’s Warrior Children’ are not only battling with broader Arminian and semi-Pelagian bastions of what can still be identified as broader evangelicalism, but they are also battling liberal theology in the academy and stubborn, residual, denominational enclaves in most mainline theological traditions. They are correcting errors in the NPP, the FV, the non TR’s (including from their perspective, the ‘Union with Christ school), the RCC and liberal Protestant ecumenism. I don’t want to throw stones at the Repristinationist/Hortonian camp, especially since I agree with and admire much of what they are doing and saying. I only want to be fair and balanced, Biblical speaking of course.

    Comments, clarifications, and rebukes are hereby welcomed!
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page