The Two Covenants? (WCF)

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Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
My husband and I have been reading the WCF after our Bible study together. I have a question regarding covenants.

The WCF states that the first covenant was a covenant of works which Adam broke. The second covenant was (is) the covenant of grace. I like the way this brings together the people of God, both OT and NT.

However, Jeremiah 31 seems to differentiate between the covenant that the Israelites had in the OT (the "Old Covenant) with the coming in the book of Hebrews of the NT (the "New Covenant") which was ratified by Christ's blood.

Can someone help me understand how this works together? :confused:
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Kim, we would say that it is one covenant (the same from OT to NT) but two different administrations. How did the benefits and revelation and disposing of the covenant change from Old to New?

The old saw shadows and signs as through a glass dimly, the new saw Christ in his fullness. The Cross is the full revelation of God's attributes and spoke about in the OT. This is the brief answer - one covenant, old and new administrations.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
However, Jeremiah 31 seems to differentiate between the covenant that the Israelites had in the OT (the "Old Covenant) with the coming in the book of Hebrews of the NT (the "New Covenant") which was ratified by Christ's blood.

Can someone help me understand how this works together? :confused:
The WCF explains that the covenant of grace has two primary administrations -- and those two administrations are contrasted in Jeremiah 31. Section 5 deals with the OT administration, section 6 with the NT administration. :)
WCF Chapter 7

5. This covenant [i.e., the covenant of grace] was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law, it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come; which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the old testament.

6. Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance, was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper: which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory, yet, in them, it is held forth in more fullness, evidence and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the new testament. There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations.​
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
Okay, one covenant, two administrations. That makes sense.

Yet the Bible refers to these two different "administrations" as "covenants." Why did the WCF not adopt the biblical terminology? It seems confusing to talk about two "covenants" (works and grace) that are not specifically called covenants in the Bible, and then talk about two "administrations" that are called covenants in the Bible.

I get what each part of the covenants and administrations mean. I just wonder why the terminology is different. Kind of like, "Why do people park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?" :lol:
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Yeah, it can be confusing. :) But it's not wrong to speak of the two administrations as covenants. They are. But they're covenants (the old and new) that are so closely linked that, essentially, they are one covenant.

The WCF, though, is using very specific and precise theological language. The word "Trinity" isn't in the Bible, but the concept is there. The phrases "covenant of works" and "covenant of grace" are the same -- the actual phrases aren't used, but the concept is there in Scripture.

We could something similar about the word "justification." In the WCF (and when we speak about justification most of the time), there is a very specific meaning in mind -- it's a technical term. And the word "justification" is used in Scripture with that meaning. But in the Bible, the word "justification" can also be used in different ways with different meanings (consider Paul's use in contrast to Peter's use -- they aren't talking about the same kind of "justification").
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
There is one Covenant of Grace administered in different administrations of this over arching Covenant. The Covenants of Promise which led up to the New Covenant are from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. Christ is the Promised seed who fulfilled the Abrahamic seed promised. And He instituted the New Covenant in His blood, but they are all tied together in the administration of the Covenant of Grace which was announced to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15.


I really like the Westminster here.

7:6 Under the gospel, when Christ, the substance (Gal_2:17), was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed are the preaching of the Word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Mat_28:19, Mat_28:20; 1Co_11:23-25): which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simplicity, and less outward glory; yet, in them, it is held forth in more fulness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy (Jer_31:33, Jer_31:34; Heb_12:22-28), to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Testament. There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations (Psa_32:1; Act_15:11; Rom_3:21-23; Rom_4:3, Rom_4:6, Rom_4:16, Rom_4:17, Rom_4:23, Rom_4:24; Gal_3:14, Gal_3:16; Heb_13:8).
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Kim,

One thought to keep in mind is that the word "new" (as in "new covenant") does not mean brand-spankin new, but renewed. The Greek term "neos" means new in time, just arrived, like "I have a new job". The Greek term "kai-nay" generally means something that has been renewed, as in "I've got a new attitude" (In other words, I've got my good attitude back).

In the OT, God made a covenant with David; was it not part of the OC? God made a covenant with Josiah; was it not part of the OC? God made a covenant with Abraham, etc. So even though there was but one covenant of grace, there were many administrations of it even in what we would call the "Old Covenant". Each covenant built on the foundation that was previously laid.

This is why, to answer your specific question about Jeremiah 31, God explicitly says that He will make this covenant "with the house of Judah and the house of Israel". The difference in Jeremiah 31 is the response of the people, and the wide-spread diffusion of His saving grace. The parties to the covenant don't change, but the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is greater.

One Christ, one gospel, one means of justification, on Spirit of God, one Father of all, etc.

The covenant has been renewed in Christ, and enlarged, just as the covenant was renewed and enlarged in the "Old Testament" times, as note above.

Cheers,

Adam

My husband and I have been reading the WCF after our Bible study together. I have a question regarding covenants.

The WCF states that the first covenant was a covenant of works which Adam broke. The second covenant was (is) the covenant of grace. I like the way this brings together the people of God, both OT and NT.

However, Jeremiah 31 seems to differentiate between the covenant that the Israelites had in the OT (the "Old Covenant) with the coming in the book of Hebrews of the NT (the "New Covenant") which was ratified by Christ's blood.

Can someone help me understand how this works together? :confused:
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
It has helped me to understand that salvation for the people of God has always been by grace, through faith in Christ.

In the Old Testament, looking toward the promised Messiah, Redeemer (Jesus).

In the New Testament, looking back at the promised, risen Savior (Jesus).

In Luke 24:27:

"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself."
Christ is explaining that Moses and the Prophets (and in some translations, also the Psalms) were all talking about HIM.

In Hebrews 11:26

"He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward."
This is speaking of Moses.

So, clearly, Moses was looking in faith toward Jesus for his salvation. Not as much was revealed about Christ, more and more was progressively revealed about Christ, but enough for Moses to put faith in the promised Christ and be saved- just like we do in the New Testament.

You will find this "continuity" makes much more sense of the Bible as a whole. We owe a great debt to the Reformers for this. Dispensationalism as a system breaks this up and tends to render most of the Old Testament irrelevant.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I only have one little point to make.
Regarding the "linguistic argument" that asserts a qualitative nuance to "new" depending on the word used: it would be more accurate to describe this as an example of the lexical fallacy. We don't decide what the "new" covenant is all about on the basis of typical word usage. There was no "inviolable rule" in Greek culture or language (any more than we have such "rules", but only conventional and variable usage) that different words for "new" made that kind of "fine" distinction. Perhaps we can find a general category of use, but it is never more than general.

FURTHERMORE (!) I give you two separate references to the NEW COVENANT, from the same book of the Bible, that use first one term, and then the other! Compare the Greek of Heb. 8:13 (kainos), and Heb. 12:24 (neos).
 

Stomata leontôn

Puritan Board Sophomore
Would it be incorrect to boil this down to: The old Testament saints were saved in Christ who was to come, and the New Testament saints in Christ who did come?
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Rev. Buchanan,

Thanks for interacting with (presumably) my thoughts on the two words for new.

As you undoubtedly know, Heb 8:13 uses the word that is generally used with regard to the "new covenant" vs. the "old covenant" (cf. Mt. 26:28, Luke 22:20, 1 Cor 11:25, 2 Cor 3:6, Heb 8:8, and 9:15). The one exception you rightly pointed out (and this is the only exception I'm aware of - please correct me if I'm wrong) seems to serve to bolster the point I was making.

The renewal of the covenant was accomplished by a recent set of actions performed by Christ the Mediator. "Late in time behold Him come, offspring of the Virgin's womb." In this way, the covenant is "neos".

I challenge your claim that arguing from the basic meaning of a term is a lexical fallacy. The one excpetion in Scripture does not serve to overthrow the rule. By definition an exception serves to prove the rule, as I stated it previously. Words have meaning, and for the general usage to be the term "kainos" with "diatheke" with one exception of "neos" demonstrates that there must be something underlying the divergence. Simply because the same English word is used is not relevant.

To me, the Heb 12 passage seems to be stating that, unlike the Old Covenant mountain, with fire and cloud and smoke, we come to a recently begun, or fresh covenant, inaugurated by what was just accomplished (the Mediatorial Blood recently sprinkled in the heavenly tabernacle).

Thus, as you rightly stated, there is no "inviolable rule" in any language's vocabulary, grammar etc. BUT, if words have no meaning, then we are without hope. The basic meaning of the terms may be easily demonstrated from a perusal of Moulton and Geden, and, from what I've seen in my studies, supports the conclusion I made above.

Thanks again for the interaction.

Cheers,

Adam

I only have one little point to make.
Regarding the "linguistic argument" that asserts a qualitative nuance to "new" depending on the word used: it would be more accurate to describe this as an example of the lexical fallacy. We don't decide what the "new" covenant is all about on the basis of typical word usage. There was no "inviolable rule" in Greek culture or language (any more than we have such "rules", but only conventional and variable usage) that different words for "new" made that kind of "fine" distinction. Perhaps we can find a general category of use, but it is never more than general.

FURTHERMORE (!) I give you two separate references to the NEW COVENANT, from the same book of the Bible, that use first one term, and then the other! Compare the Greek of Heb. 8:13 (kainos), and Heb. 12:24 (neos).
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Adam,
The argument you have set forth cuts two completely different ways. I have noted that some baptists as well as various dispensationalists will use the kainos/neos argument to claim that this terminology proves that the New Covenant is "a covenant of a different KIND not simply different in ERA or TIME." We need a better argument than a dictionary option that to answer that. We need something besides an alternative "nuance" or "gloss" such as renewed.

See where I'm coming from?

I don't disagree at all about the value of knowing or using the basic or preponderant meaning of a word. We begin to understand an English sentence in "Moby Dick" the same way--by vocabulary. But that knowledge is only an intermediate step to determining the shade of meaning of that word in a variety of contexts.

My point was (and remains), the best we can say about the New Covenant, based on the word NEW itself is that this covenant is "new" in multiple senses. If, for example, the writer of Hebrews is thinking and writing of the New Covenant, he is unquestionably thinking of it first of all as an Old Covenant term. And plainly he is not so wedded to a concept transferred into the Greek language that ONLY kainos will suffice to express it. διαθήκος καινος has obviously not achieved the status of "technical term", though it is clearly the precise language of the LXX at Jer 31:31 (38:31 in the LXX).

Jesus said "New Covenant" (Lk. 22:20, cf. Mt.26:28; Mk. 14:24), and Paul quotes him in 1 Cor. 11:25. The indirect reference seems to be Jeremiah, so a self-conscious relation (once the words are recorded in Greek) to the LXX is most reasonable.

Paul uses the words again in 2 Cor. 3:6. You don't have the term used elsewhere in the NT outside of Hebrews 8 (again a direct reference to Jeremiah), and Hebrews 9 (still close enough to call it the same context). So, essentially two contextual references in Hebrews, and this writer goes out of his way to use two different words to describe the same covenant.

What is the upshot of all this: only this point--we simply cannot say that an essential point of interpretation of the "newness" of the New Covenant is explicitly stated in the use of kainos. Even if there was an even greater number of references, a single use of neos would greatly weaken such a case. It wouldn't simply "test" the rule, if the rule hasn't been established on more than a handful of uses.

The fact that we have a single OT reference point to the LXX, to which 3 (or 4) of the 6 NT references point (or 7 of 9, depending on how you wish to count them), leaves only 2 Cor. 3:6, "us... ministers of the new (kainos) covenant)" to which the closest linguistic parallel is found in the Heb 12:24 passage, "Jesus, Mediator of the new (neos) covenant"!

We can, and probably should, say that this is a "renewed" covenant of sorts, "fresh" and "on new lines as opposed to old" as AT Robertson renders; but we also have to say that it is "young or not yet old" (ATR) and “recent,” “lately established," (JFB). And we are going to have to answer the Dispensational and baptist contention that kainos isn't on such "new lines" as to fairly be called a "new" KIND of covenant entirely, one that (for example) has no "visible administration" anymore!

Blessings, friend
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The solution lies in a distinction between "covenant" in the dogmatic sense, which seeks to take in the whole of the biblical teaching concerning man's relation to God, and "covenant/testament" in the exegetical sense, which is more concerned with the nature of the biblical covenants as specific transactions in the history of redemption. I think alot of confusion would be spared if the Confession's "frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a Testament" were more consistently observed. Hence we could simply say that there are two covenants, works and grace, and two testaments, new and old. There is then no need to speak of "renewed" covenants on an exegetical level, because the old testament is the covenant of grace administered under the law and the new testament is the covenant of grace administered under the gospel. There will of course be some scholars who outrightly refuse to adopt the testamentary language. Oh well, you can't please all of the people all of the time!
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Rev Buchanan,

Thank you again for your input!

As you will find in my original post, I don't consider the linguistic solution to be the sole argument, or even a primary one. I was merely hoping to illustrate what I demonstrated from redemptive history: that God renewed the covenant of grace, but never supplanted it, with Abraham, Moses, David, Josiah, etc. Each is part of the one covenant of grace, and is a fulfillment of the previous covenants. Each of these, in turn, builds the foundation for the New Covenant. The real covenant that all the rest prepare us for.

Adam,
The argument you have set forth cuts two completely different ways. I have noted that some baptists as well as various dispensationalists will use the kainos/neos argument to claim that this terminology proves that the New Covenant is "a covenant of a different KIND not simply different in ERA or TIME." We need a better argument than a dictionary option that to answer that. We need something besides an alternative "nuance" or "gloss" such as renewed.

See where I'm coming from?

Indeed, a point well made. A covenant of a different kind would be a "heteros" covenant, a word not used, if I'm not mistaken, with reference to the diatheke.


Even if there was an even greater number of references, a single use of neos would greatly weaken such a case. It wouldn't simply "test" the rule, if the rule hasn't been established on more than a handful of uses.

Not that this is relevant, but this is the same sort of argument used by FV proponents to show that justify can mean something other than declaring righteous. I take that issue in the same light; the basic meaning controls, unless there are contextual considerations that make one reconsider, or be forced to move outside of the basic semantic range.

Again, thank you for your input! I appreciate your breadth of scholarship, and willingness to bear with my ignorance.

Cheers, and blessing as well!

Adam
 

Reformed Christian

Puritan Board Freshman
...because the old testament is the covenant of grace administered under the law and the new testament is the covenant of grace administered under the gospel.

I appreciate the language of "different administrations of the same covenant," however I'm not sure this oversimplification is adequate to deal with the relationship of the Mosaic and New Covenants.

For example, Michael Horton in God of Promise is very helpful. And what's interesting is that he does not use the language at all of "different administrations" of the Covenant of Grace. In fact, the tenor of his work is that the Covenant of Grace runs "parallel with" the legal, national, typological "republication of the covenant of works" of the Mosaic covenant. For example he says,

"For the apostle to the Gentiles, the simplistic identification of the Old Testament with "law" and the New Testament with "grace" is unthinkable. God's covenant of grace, announced beforehand to Adam and inaugurated with Abraham, is precisely the same as to its content in both testaments...Nevertheless, within the Old Testament itself, Paul finds two discrete covenantal traditions: Abrahamic and Sinaitic. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the unilateral promises of the first and the typological fulfillment of the bilateral conditions of the second." (page 68)​

Again, when speaking of the discontinuity of the Old and New Covenants he summarizes his arguments and concludes with,

"...it hardly seems possible to reduce the history of God's relationship with his people to a covenant of grace. Abraham and David witness to an "everlasting covenant" fulfilled solely by Yahweh's unconditional resolve, while the Sinaitic covenant was intended in the first place as a temporary, transitional order anticipating the eschatological kingdom of God throughout the whole earth. The covenant of grace is uninterrupted from Adam after the fall to the present, while the Sinai Pact, conditional and typological, has not become obsolete (Heb. 8:13), its mission having been fulfilled (Gal. 3:23-4:7). (page 75)​

I love what he calls Israel under the Mosaic law, a "theocratic parenthesis of redemptive history in which the typological kingdom is front and center."

Again he says,

"The continuity is between Old and New Testaments, not between the Abrahamic and Sinaitic covenants...The theocracy - the outward administration of the ministry of Moses, most closely identified with the old covenant - has only a typological continuity with the new covenant." (page 102)​

This understanding of the typological nature of the national, legal, temporary Mosaic covenant - which is, at least in part, a republication of the covenant of works, is what makes me hesitate to oversimplify this issue. It is one things to say that in the Old Testament God's people were under the covenant of Grace - through the Abrahamic covenant - and another, at least to me, to make the Mosaic covenant "a different administration of the same covenant" as it is often articulated. As Horton strikes a balance and points out,

"If it is wrong to say that the Sinai covenant is simply identical to the Abrahamic covenant of grace, it is not quite right to say that the Sinai covenant (hence, the theocracy generally) is nothing more than a republication of the original covnant of works made to Adam before the fall...Thus we conclude that although the Sinai covenat is gracious in terms of the history leading up to it and in the fact that through Moses' appeasing God's anger, ultimately Israel's tenure in the land - give to Israel by divine grace - is lost by disobedience." (pages 54,55)​

If you haven't read the book, it's a great introduction to Covenant Theology - God of Promise by Michael Horton.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
For example, Michael Horton in God of Promise is very helpful. And what's interesting is that he does not use the language at all of "different administrations" of the Covenant of Grace. In fact, the tenor of his work is that the Covenant of Grace runs "parallel with" the legal, national, typological "republication of the covenant of works" of the Mosaic covenant.
I wonder why he wouldn't use the language of "administration" when the WCF itself does?
WCF 7.5. This covenant [i.e., the covenant of grace] was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law, it was administered by . . .​
Again he says,
"The continuity is between Old and New Testaments, not between the Abrahamic and Sinaitic covenants...The theocracy - the outward administration of the ministry of Moses, most closely identified with the old covenant - has only a typological continuity with the new covenant." (page 102)​
This understanding, though, is in direct contradiction to WCF 7.5-6 -- in which it is asserted in the Confession that the administration of the covenant of grace under law (section 5) is essentially one and the same covenant of grace administered under the gospel (section 6). Horton apparently means that there is only a typological continuity between the Mosaic and the new covenants? Is a typological continuity an essential continuity?

And I looked on p. 102 to read some here. Strangely, Horton also argues against Robertson on the page, saying,
"The sacrifices under the Mosaic economy, Robertson contends, show that this was not a works type of arrangement. But, . . ."​
Does Dr. Horton subscribe to the Westminster Standards? It seems to me the general thrust of his book is to argue against WCF Chapter 7.
 

Bygracealone

Puritan Board Sophomore
For example, Michael Horton in God of Promise is very helpful. And what's interesting is that he does not use the language at all of "different administrations" of the Covenant of Grace. In fact, the tenor of his work is that the Covenant of Grace runs "parallel with" the legal, national, typological "republication of the covenant of works" of the Mosaic covenant.
I wonder why he wouldn't use the language of "administration" when the WCF itself does?
WCF 7.5. This covenant [i.e., the covenant of grace] was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law, it was administered by . . .​
Again he says,
"The continuity is between Old and New Testaments, not between the Abrahamic and Sinaitic covenants...The theocracy - the outward administration of the ministry of Moses, most closely identified with the old covenant - has only a typological continuity with the new covenant." (page 102)​
This understanding, though, is in direct contradiction to WCF 7.5-6 -- in which it is asserted in the Confession that the administration of the covenant of grace under law (section 5) is essentially one and the same covenant of grace administered under the gospel (section 6). Horton apparently means that there is only a typological continuity between the Mosaic and the new covenants? Is a typological continuity an essential continuity?

And I looked on p. 102 to read some here. Strangely, Horton also argues against Robertson on the page, saying,
"The sacrifices under the Mosaic economy, Robertson contends, show that this was not a works type of arrangement. But, . . ."​
Does Dr. Horton subscribe to the Westminster Standards? It seems to me the general thrust of his book is to argue against WCF Chapter 7.

Casey, Horton is not arguing against the Westminster standards. We do well to take into consideration what the WCF goes on to say about the covenant of works in chapter 19 (emphasis added):

WCF 19:1-2 WCF 19.1 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.(1)

(1)Gen. 1:26,27; Gen. 2:17; Rom. 2:14,15; Rom. 10:5,12,19; Gal. 3:10,12; Eccl. 7:29; Job 28:28.

WCF 19.2 This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables;(1) the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.(2)

(1)James 1:25; James 2:8,10,11,12; Rom. 13:8,9; Deut. 5:32; Deut. 10:4; Exod. 24:1.
(2)Matt. 22:37-40.

As Rev. Winzer has noted, all of this has been said before in the link provided above; it's worth the read.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Friend, I must respectfully disagree -- WCF 19.2 is about the law, not the covenant of works.

And I don't see how your post has interacted with anything I've said in my previous post. :um:

I've been through the other thread -- interesting reading indeed. :)
 

Bygracealone

Puritan Board Sophomore
Friend, I must respectfully disagree -- WCF 19.2 is about the law, not the covenant of works.

Casey, WCF 19 specifically ties the law of the CoW to the law given at Sinai. Hence the words "this law" in 19.2 point back to the law described in 19.1.

And I don't see how your post has interacted with anything I've said in my previous post. :um:

My response was a direct response to your questioning Horton's faithfulness to the Westminster standards.

I've been through the other thread -- interesting reading indeed. :)

I thought so too. Did you not find your questions addressed there?
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Friend, I must respectfully disagree -- WCF 19.2 is about the law, not the covenant of works.

Casey, WCF 19 specifically ties the law of the CoW to the law given at Sinai. Hence the words "this law" in 19.2 point back to the law described in 19.1.
I don't believe this to be the case. The only place (if my memory serves me right) the Confession ties the CoWs with the law is in 19.1, the first covenant (see WCF 7.2). Anyway, here are some reasons why I believe your interpretation isn't probable:

(1) If the CoWs "republication" doctrine was taught in the Confession, they would have put it in Chapter 7, not the chapter on Law. Chapter 7 says nothing regarding any idea of "republication" but rather says that the Mosaic and the New covenants are "one and the same" covenant of grace, only under two different administrations.

(2) WCF 19.2 says "this law," not "this covenant of works." The law is distinct from the covenant of works. If the Confession intended to convey the idea of "republication," 19.2 would have read, "This law as a covenant of works, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness..."

(3) This is further proven by WCF 19.3 where we again read of "this law" when it says, "Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel..." WCF 19.3 here explicitly equates "this law" with the moral law.

(4) "This law" (of WCF 19.1, 19.2, and 19.3) is the moral law which "doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof" (WCF 19.5). Therefore, believers are "under the law" in the sense that all believers are required to obey it.

(5) But, true believers are "not under the law, as a covenant of works" (WCF 19.6, 2 times).

What is the problem with reading the "republication" doctrine into the WCF? Well, first, it's not there. You only get it if you presuppose that law = CoWs. But second, it places believers under the covenant of works (which the Confession explicitly denies). If "this law" of 19.2 is meant to be understood as the CoWs (and not the law per se), and if 19.3 equates "this law" with the moral law, and if the moral law forever binds all (even the justified), then the justified (even in the New Covenant) are still under the CoWs. Even if this logic is denied and you modify the meaning of "this law" to fit the republication view, it still places justified believers from the OT under the law as a covenant of works, which is explicitly denied by the Confession (19.6 again, unless OT saints weren't "true believers").

The "this law" throughout this chapter of the Confession must mean the same thing at every place (i.e., the moral law, not the law as a covenant of works). But if this is the case, then the logic in my previous paragraph beings to work itself out. I know that you and Dr Horton don't believe that NT saints are "under the law, as a covenant of works." But if you consistently follow your interpretation of WCF 19.2 consistently through the rest of the chapter, then this would be the result.
And I don't see how your post has interacted with anything I've said in my previous post. :um:

My response was a direct response to your questioning Horton's faithfulness to the Westminster standards.
Yes, and in my post I believe I have demonstrated areas where his book is contrary to the Confession. I'd be happy to be corrected. :) But I didn't see anything in your post that dealt with my interaction with the quotes from his book.
I've been through the other thread -- interesting reading indeed. :)

I thought so too. Did you not find your questions addressed there?
The topic is discussed, but I don't recall these quoted sections from his book explicitly being addressed . . . :um:
 
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Bygracealone

Puritan Board Sophomore
In the other thread noted above, Dr. Scott Clark does a fine job of illustrating the connection of the word "law" in 19.2 to 19.1 with the CoW. He also shows that men of the likes of Thomas Boston also believed there was a link. Here are his comments:

Quote from thread: http://www.puritanboard.com/f31/horton-mosaic-covenant-wcf-21024/

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. This reading of the confession caused Thomas Boston, in his notes in E. F., The Marrow of Modern Divinity (Scarsdale, NY: Westminster Discount Books, n.d.), 58, to exclaim,

"How, then, one can refuse the covenant of works to have been given to the Israelites, I cannot see.” These same theologians also held that Moses was an administration of the covenant of grace. The doctrine of unity of the covenant of grace and the doctrine of republication were regarded as complementary not antithetical.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Thank you for your post, and I understand that some have read the Confession that way, but you neglected to interact with any of the arguments in my post. In my post I argue that it's impossible to understand "this law" in the way you have expressed.

Please interact with my post. I know the argument to see a republication of the covenant of works in WCF 19, I just don't believe it is faithful to the Confession. And you still haven't interacted with what I said in Post #18.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
There is no republication of the covenant of works in WCF 19. The Confession teaches the law is moral, created with man, being written on his heart. OTOH, the covenant of works is a post creation, providential transaction which included positive obligation and a promise of life. The republication of the law at Sinai in no sense implies the republication of the super-added covenant of works. WCF 19 gives no credence to a republication of the covenant of works. The Marrow of Modern Divinity certainly teaches no such thing. It claims the legal aspect of the covenant of works was promulgated at Sinai in subordination to the covenant of grace. Hence there is no republication theory there; and there definitely is no hint of a "national covenant of works." The linked thread shows that the farthest any covenant theologian was willing to go was in the direction of a mixed covenant, as represented by men like Witsius; but even this theory repudiated the idea of a national covenant of works.
 

Bygracealone

Puritan Board Sophomore
Rev. Winzer, I hate being on the other side of you when it comes to these types of things and in the older thread you gave me much to consider-thank you. At the end of the day, I'm still persuaded by what Horton, Clark, and others have put forth, but I hold my position with the utmost respect for you and many other men whom I esteem highly.

Casey, in re-reading the older thread I noticed that you posted and interacted in that discussion. So, if Dr. Clark's answers weren't persuasive to you, then I'm sure I won't do any better. You weren't won over by him and I haven't been won over by you or the others. So, I suppose we should just move on to the next subject and agree to disagree on this matter while continuing to study.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
About every 2-4 weeks. :lol: Actually, we could probably run some kind of statistical data searches on the site to find out for sure . . . :think:
 
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