Question on Republication

Status
Not open for further replies.

Oecolampadius

Puritan Board Sophomore
Can anybody quote any statement from the WSC "republicationists" which denies the Sinaitic Covenant as containing the grace of eternal/ultimate salvation (Thomas Boston saw the CoG as contained in the preface of the Sinaitic Covenant)?

I don't have a copy of The Law is Not of Faith but I do have Horton's 'Introducing Covenant Theology' and on page 54 he says this:

At the same time, it is also true that after the fall all covenants were founded on historical prologues that were indisputably gracious in character. As we have seen, Israel was not chosen and liberated from Egypt because of their righteousness. Even the Decalogue begins with the exodus liberation event. This is a straightforward suzerainty treaty: "I have done X. Therefore, you do Y." At the same time, what happens at Sinai itself is not gracious. This pact made by the people establishes personal obedience to every commandment as the basis for life in the land. The nation-state can break God's covenant; the land promises are temporary and conditional, as Adam's probation was. They are not the final, ultimate reality.[emphases mine]

What Horton is saying here is very different from Thomas Boston's view of the Sinaitic Covenant.

In the paragraph that I quoted, Horton is acknowledging a similarity between the Sinaitic Covenant and all the other postlapsarian covenants. The similarity is that they all begin with a historical prologue. However, the similarity ends there for, unlike Boston, Horton is NOT saying that the historical prologue contains (or evidences) a covenant of grace.

Horton is merely acknowledging its gracious character for the historical prologue is a declaration of the mighty act that God (exodus from Egypt) did for His people which is then made the basis for the conditional (breakable) Sinaitic covenant.

The most striking difference of all is that, for Horton, there was only ONE covenant delivered at Sinai and this was conditional and breakable, BUT, for Boston, there were TWO that were delivered at Sinai, not one:

Wherefore I conceive the two covenants to have been both delivered on Mount Sinai to the Israelites. First, the covenant of grace made with Abraham, contained in the preface, repeated and promulgated there unto Israel, to be believed and embraced by faith, that they might be saved; to which were annexed the Ten Commandments, given by the Mediator Christ, the head of the covenant, as a rule of life to his covenant people. Secondly, the covenant of works made with Adam, contained in the same ten commands, delivered with thunderings and lightnings, the meaning of which was afterwards cleared by Moses, describing the righteousness of the law and sanction thereof, repeated and promulgated to the Israelites there, as the original perfect rule of righteousness, to be obeyed; and yet were they no more bound hereby to seek righteousness by the law than the young man was by our Saviour's saying to him, 'If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments - Thou shalt do no murder...' (Matt. 19:17-18). The latter was a repetition of the former.The Marrow of Modern Divinity, p. 77[emphases mine]

To summarize:
Horton - one covenant - conditional and breakable - not a covenant of grace. (It has accompanying elements that exhibit a gracious character but in itself it is not gracious.)

Boston - two covenants - 1) covenant of grace and 2) covenant of works (Boston qualifies this by saying "were they no more bound hereby to seek righteousness by the law than the young man was by our Saviour's saying to him, 'If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.")
 
Last edited:

WAWICRUZ

Puritan Board Freshman
Joel, what do you make of Horton, in another piece of his, basically affirming the "evangelical" aspect of the Mosaic Covenant, in agreement with Charles Hodge?

Scripture itself assumes a distinction between the typological land-promises for a transitory administration (national Israel) and the perpetuity of the Abrahamic covenant (of grace) for the salvation of believing Israelites. It is upon this logic that Paul's arguments in Romans 9-11 depend. We do not thereby hold that the Old Testament is equivalent to a "covenant of works," but that during the Mosaic "tutelage," the status of national Israel as the typological-theocratic kingdom of God on earth was transitory and conditional. Belonging to the nation (law) was not equivalent to being a child of Abraham (promise). Charles Hodge expresses it well:

Besides this evangelical character which unquestionably belongs to the Mosaic covenant ["belongs to," not "is equivalent to"], it is presented in two other aspects in the Word of God. First, it was a national covenant with the Hebrew people. In this view the parties were God and the people of Israel; the promise was national security and land prosperity; the condition was the obedience of the people as a nation to the Mosaic law; and the mediator was Moses. In this aspect it was a legal covenant. It said 'Do this and live.' Secondly, it contained, as does also the New Testament, a renewed proclamation of the covenant of works" ("Covenant of Grace," ed. Michael Bremmer, Sola Scriptura web page; cf. C. Hodge, Systematic Theology [Eerdmans, 1946], 117-122).

No Jewish person found justification in obedience under the Mosaic economy, but the servant-nation-like Adam, typological of Christ, could only be justified on those terms, as the exile and, finally, Jesus' "woes" (including the cursing of the fig tree) demonstrate. The nation is not justified and is not a type of the kingdom of God today, but Jewish people are still coming to saving faith just as their father Abraham. Source: What's Really At Stake
 
Last edited:

Oecolampadius

Puritan Board Sophomore
Joel, what do you make of Horton, in another piece of his, basically affirming the "evangelical" aspect of the Mosaic Covenant, in agreement with Charles Hodge?

Scripture itself assumes a distinction between the typological land-promises for a transitory administration (national Israel) and the perpetuity of the Abrahamic covenant (of grace) for the salvation of believing Israelites. It is upon this logic that Paul's arguments in Romans 9-11 depend. We do not thereby hold that the Old Testament is equivalent to a "covenant of works," but that during the Mosaic "tutelage," the status of national Israel as the typological-theocratic kingdom of God on earth was transitory and conditional. Belonging to the nation (law) was not equivalent to being a child of Abraham (promise). Charles Hodge expresses it well:

Besides this evangelical character which unquestionably belongs to the Mosaic covenant ["belongs to," not "is equivalent to"], it is presented in two other aspects in the Word of God. First, it was a national covenant with the Hebrew people. In this view the parties were God and the people of Israel; the promise was national security and land prosperity; the condition was the obedience of the people as a nation to the Mosaic law; and the mediator was Moses. In this aspect it was a legal covenant. It said 'Do this and live.' Secondly, it contained, as does also the New Testament, a renewed proclamation of the covenant of works" ("Covenant of Grace," ed. Michael Bremmer, Sola Scriptura web page; cf. C. Hodge, Systematic Theology [Eerdmans, 1946], 117-122).

No Jewish person found justification in obedience under the Mosaic economy, but the servant-nation-like Adam, typological of Christ, could only be justified on those terms, as the exile and, finally, Jesus' "woes" (including the cursing of the fig tree) demonstrate. The nation is not justified and is not a type of the kingdom of God today, but Jewish people are still coming to saving faith just as their father Abraham. Source: What's Really At Stake

Warren, you seriously need to ask, "What was the purpose of the quote from Hodge in this article?"
"Charles Hodge expresses it well:" - Charles Hodge expresses WHAT well?

Is the quote meant to affirm the "evangelical aspect" of the Sinaitic covenant or was that merely accidental to the point that Horton was trying to make by quoting Hodge?
Take note that the quote from Hodge begins with "Besides this evangelical character..."
Obviously, the main point being raised, is that which is besides the evangelical character.

Furthermore, you have to ask why does Horton have to qualify that opening sentence with an editorial statement - "["belongs to," not "is equivalent to"]"?
The answer to that, I believe, is that Horton was careful to make that distinction because he does not want us to read Hodge's statement in a way that it would appear as if Hodge was saying that the Sinai Covenant was a covenant of grace despite its "legal" character.

Now if you were to consider the rest of the quote apart from that first sentence, doesn't it appear to you that Horton's purpose in quoting Hodge is to support his thesis that the Sinaitic covenant is not an administration of the covenant grace but is more like a "suzerain treaty," which is conditional and breakable?
 

WAWICRUZ

Puritan Board Freshman
Joel, I think the following statement from Horton's "Introduction to Covenant Theology" (which you've also quoted from above) would shed clearer light on my previous quotation of Horton's "evangelical" view of the Mosaic Covenant:

Thus, it is not only the case that the covenant of promise (Abraham and his seed) appears as the solitary basis for real hope already in the Old Testament, but that it appears already in the Law itself—that is, the Law considered as Torah, the part of the Old Testament that is particularly concerned with the giving of the commands at Mount Sinai.—p.44.

Based on the previous quotation and this one above, it does appear that Horton sees the Covenant of Grace even in the Mosaic Covenant, as does Thomas Boston.

---------- Post added at 09:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:14 PM ----------

Warren, you seriously need to ask, "What was the purpose of the quote from Hodge in this article?"
"Charles Hodge expresses it well:" - Charles Hodge expresses WHAT well?

Is the quote meant to affirm the "evangelical aspect" of the Sinaitic covenant or was that merely accidental to the point that Horton was trying to make by quoting Hodge?
Take note that the quote from Hodge begins with "Besides this evangelical character..."
Obviously, the main point being raised, is that which is besides the evangelical character.

Furthermore, you have to ask why does Horton have to qualify that opening sentence with an editorial statement - "["belongs to," not "is equivalent to"]"?
The answer to that, I believe, is that Horton was careful to make that distinction because he does not want us to read Hodge's statement in a way that it would appear as if Hodge was saying that the Sinai Covenant was a covenant of grace despite its "legal" character.

Now if you were to consider the rest of the quote apart from that first sentence, doesn't it appear to you that Horton's purpose in quoting Hodge is to support his thesis that the Sinaitic covenant is not an administration of the covenant grace but is more like a "suzerain treaty," which is conditional and breakable?

Plus the whole thrust of your argument above begs the question, since it already assumes an anti-CoG-in-the-Mosaic Covenant stance on the part of Horton, stating as a premise what still needs to be proven, when an unbiased reading of the quote would lead to a pro-CoG-in-the-Mosaic Covenant conclusion.

In fact, Horton's qualification, "["belongs to," not "is equivalent to"]," indicates an intentionality on his part to state that the Mosaic Covenant has an evangelical disposition (CoG) belonging to it.
 

Oecolampadius

Puritan Board Sophomore
Joel, I think the following statement from Horton's "Introduction to Covenant Theology" (which you've also quoted from above) would shed clearer light on my previous quotation of Horton's "evangelical" view of the Mosaic Covenant:

Thus, it is not only the case that the covenant of promise (Abraham and his seed) appears as the solitary basis for real hope already in the Old Testament, but that it appears already in the Law itself—that is, the Law considered as Torah, the part of the Old Testament that is particularly concerned with the giving of the commands at Mount Sinai.—p.44.

Warren,

It is one thing to say that the promise of the Abrahamic covenant was in effect during the Mosaic administration because the promise is immutable (Horton);
It is another thing to say that, at Sinai, two covenants were "delivered" (Boston).

How can you not get that? Don't let your zeal blind you to the finer details of what Horton is saying:

"it appears already in the Law itself—that is, the Law considered as Torah, the part of the Old Testament that is particularly concerned with the giving of the commands at Mount Sinai."

Do you know what the Torah is?
It is the Pentateuch - that "part of the Old Testament" (Horton's words) that consists of the first five books of the bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Torah is commonly translated as Law in English because Law (and Sinai) finds a prominent place in the Pentateuch.

Horton's point here is that, in the same grouping of Scripture (all written by Moses), where you find the covenant made at Sinai (Exodus 20), we also find the Abrahamic covenant established (Genesis 15).

That's why Horton, in your quote says, "Law considered as Torah"; not Law as a covenant of works; not Law as the ten commandments.


Brother, I'm getting the impression that you are grasping at straws here simply to prove me wrong. The reason that I replied to you in the first place was to provide an answer to your question. Now, instead of dealing with my answer directly, previously, you have quoted from another work written by Horton and, when that didn't work, here you are trying to pit one paragraph of the book (which, In my humble opinion, you've misunderstood) with another paragraph which I've quoted. Horton can't get any plainer and clearer than this:

"what happens at Sinai itself is not gracious"
 
Last edited:

WAWICRUZ

Puritan Board Freshman
Joel, I believe that's a quite simplistic reading of Horton's statement, for the sentence preceding that quote states:

So even in the Law itself, which emphasizes the personal obligation of each Israelite to fulfill the terms of the national covenant, the attention shifts to the representative king who fulfills Israel's personal obligation and therefore the terms of the everlasting covenant. — p.44

Yes, I know what the Torah is (LOL), and Horton is not simply stating that Moses' corpus points to Christ, but that the Law itself, the Sinaitic Covenant, "which emphasizes the personal obligation of each Israelite to fulfill the terms of the national covenant" shifts the attention to Christ, which is nothing more than the potency of the Covenant of Grace.

So again, that quote of mine where Hodge is mentioned is in perfect alignment with the notion of Horton as seeing the CoG in the Sinaitic Covenant. In fact, the heading to the section where the quote was extracted from is "Law (Covenant of Works) and Gospel (Covenant of Grace) in the Old Covenant." Quite an unusual title for someone who supposedly does not see the CoG in the Mosaic Covenant.
 

discipulo

Puritan Board Junior
The bottom line here is that Horton is very confusing.
What’s happening to you guys here?

No benefit of doubt, no gracious engagement, you dismiss one of your

most brilliant dogmaticians as confusing just because he can deal with a difficult

subject on a way that you don’t agree or is just not easy to follow? Come on?

Rev Buchanan in a couple of years I came here often to explicitly read your

posts, my thank you record (the older one) testifies to that, you are one of the

most coherent, solid, clear writer (I dare to say theologian) here at the PB.

I agree with most of what you wrote on this so far, it is not an easy topic,

We all agree on this.

You even concede that:

Was there a covenant-of-works "motif" to the Old Covenant? Absolutely. And in that sense, the CoW was "republished" as it was connected to the ethico-religio conduct of the people.

Take Rev Keith on a parallel thread who also mentioned how he has been

engaging this for a while and has no easy answers – surely he doesn´t give up

saying Horton, VanDrunen, or Estelle are confusing.

But Rev Buchanan, when you mention the guys at WHI having it all wrong

concerning the Pharisees, by saying they had it all right.

Do you really mean guys of that theological caliber forgot Mathew 23 (just to

mention one saying of our Lord about the race of vipers)?

Can’t we be a bit more interacting and intelligent on this?

Rev Buchanan couldn’t it be that the guys at WHI were saying something altogether different?

Geerhardus Vos wrote: this Pharisaical philosophy asserted that the law was

intended, on a principle of merit, to enable Israel to earn the blessedness of the

World to come. It was an Eschatological and therefore most comprehensive

Interpretation. (Old and New Testaments Biblical Theology page 126)

Vos goes to pains to explain on not few pages the anthitesis – bordering the Paradoxical - purpose

of the Law for Israel. Israel was meant to be pointing to a Perfect Kingdom, an Over Realized

Eschatological Figure of the Israel of God.

Couldn’t be more along these lines that the WHI were saying what they were saying?

First the WHI guys flirt with antinomianism (in In my humble opinion that is a ridiculous accusation - on this I suggest a reading on Vos concerning the Law, it might be

surprising, on these Turkish state of affairs) , guess what? next moment the WHI are praising the Pharisees?

It must be a dispensational parentheses before going full blooded at the throats of FVers and NPPers (we can’t blame them on this or can we?)

Maybe we are the ones who have to interact deeper and wider, not take a tree for the forest.

Let´s be fair in our theological assessments.

We may or not consider Republication as present in the Mosaic Covenant,

but who (certainly not Horton) is (or for that purpose could be) denying that from Genesis3:15 onwards

there is Gospel all over the Pentateuch?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Cesar,
Thank you for being too kind about my contributions.

Not all the disagreement in here takes an extreme form. (For some persons it does, and I think that's unfortunate). I listen to the WHI because I am greatly blessed by it. I agree with far more than I disagree. But public statements, orally or in writing, are subject to public scrutiny. And so, disagreement with a formulation, or with something else, isn't a personal attack. It isn't even an accusation that someone is taking his own thought to the place that it seems to another person it points.

I don't think you'll find that I've stated positively that MHorton contradicts Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees. I can only repeat the statements he's made, which are a part of the conversations on the WHI. Others have quoted him from his writings. These are "popular" programs and writings, not always intended for those with the patience and training to get through many shades of meaning, and a tricky nuance or two.

When he says that the Rich Young Ruler was asking the "right" questions, based on a fair assessment of the Siniatic covenant as a legal covenant, I think most folks hearing him say that are not thinking down through multiple layers of theological strata, and differentiating between Sinai as a legal-covenant, and Sinai as an administration of the Covenant of Grace. They're hearing what he elsewhere writes purposefully, "What happens at Sinai itself is not gracious." As pointed out above, that statement is not, strictly speaking, in regular accord with the likes of Hodge and Boston, when their statements are taken in their own wider contexts. It is important to show that they might themselves have had something more to say respecting the newer formulations, especially if limited statements of theirs were being enlisted for support.

I think this kind of language is actually a step backwards in our appreciation of covenant theology. That's what I think, and I don't feel as though I shouldn't say as much, because then people will stop listening to all the good things that MHorton and Co. say and write; or some other bad product of an open and principled disagreement.

The conversation on the WHI contains frequent disclaimers on the subject of antinomianism, which is good. They are addressing potiential objections in that department, no doubt because they've had enough real objections sent their way. But not every notion gets that disclaimer, and so far as I know, viewing Sinai proper as a thoroughgoing, legal-in-nature covenant (so that it is ALL law, and a Works-Covenant per se) doesn't get much on-air nuance. It is presented as THE Reformation (Reformed and Lutheran) perspective.

Well, that view is more compatible with Lutheran than Reformed developments up through the Confessional era, however well it represents a common root. And there isn't anything personally hostile about pointing out that is a reasonable conclusion to draw from the evidence. On the one hand, I am very much appreciative of the work of WSC contributors who have resurrected the "law-gospel" distinction as a Reformed, not merely Lutheran, category. On the other hand, I'm not so content with a recasting of Sinai as strictly law. That cannot be squared with the Westminster identification of Sinai as an administration in the first place of the Covenant of Grace.

WCF 7:5 speaks of the "time of the law" as distinguished from the "time of the gospel," but it leads off by saying "THIS COVENANT [ref. 7:4, "This covenant of GRACE..."] was differently administered..." So, 7:6 concludes, "There are not therefore two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations." The moral law (WCF19) was given first in Eden "as a covenant of works" (19:1), and repeated as "a perfect rule of righteousness" at Sinai. Both the similarities and the differences must receive correct emphasis there. And as a rule of righteousness, it serves a redeemed people properly under the category of Sanctification. Used as a Covenant of Works (for Justification), it is abused.

We should not adopt the convenient Lutheran hermeneutic of differentiating each proposition in Scripture as either law or gospel. The "magic bullet" solution, the "golden key" to unlock the mysteries of Scripture, is as fabled a hermeneutical quest as the Fountain of Youth, El Dorado, and the Holy Grail. There is no "template" we can (figuratively) lay atop the Bible, so that the hidden message is laid bare. It takes pains and prayer to wrestle (sometimes) with Scripture until it gives up its blessing. The Covenant of Grace, with Christ at its center, is a Reformed principle that colors and characterizes our interpretation.

When we start talking about "what happens at Sinai" as being fundamentally "not gracious," we thus propose that in a material respect, Sinai should be examined according to the Covenant of Works. This is right in line with Kline's "upper and lower registers:" where we encounter Sinai initially, below, it is legal, and should be realized legally; where we go with Sinai, heading above, we start to appreciate it spiritually. This is shifting us in the direction of the baptists, who simply dispense with the "lower register" entirely once the New Covenant arrives. We have a Christian duty to view Sinai the way it was intended from the beginning--properly--as fundamentally a gracious administration. That is one of the reasons for the importance of starting the hermeneutical task in Genesis with Abraham, rather than in Exodus at Sinai, see Gal. 3 & 4.

As I argued above, there is no simple mechanism by which we can decouple the Covenant of Grace elements inherent in (I think, from what I've heard/read, Kline/Horton would say "associated with") the Siniatic covenant, from the Covenant of Works elements. The difference is in the participants, something Heb.8:8 indicates when it speaks of the "fault" being "with them." The CoG is not an "advance" made after the Work of Sinai is attempted again, and failed again. The CoG is "in your mouth and in your heart," Rom.10:8, quoting Dt.30:14. It is right there, in the midst of the law, yes even to its very core.

So, I think we make a mistake teaching and treating the Old Covenant as if the Pharisees actually understood its true nature in any material respect. What "rang" of the CoW in the law was reminiscent of the first-covenant, the Edenic Covenant. The Israelites themselves were expected to view such commitments as they made as being "typological" commitments, while having an eye toward the Promise, and respecting the intent of the sacrifices. To the degree they could not and would not so receive the covenant, and were blinded by the glory of the Old Covenant, to that extent they were solidly engaged in the outward covenant administration alone, and were committed to works of service that they had promised but could not honor.

I think I can disagree with men I respect and admire, without being accused of malice toward them. And it sounds at times as though they are saying more (for example) than Vos (in your quote), who I daresay does not credit the "Pharisaical philosophy" with having made an honest pitch at comprehending the Old Covenant, for all the effort they put into it. Buying into the back end of a paradox didn't earn the Pharisees title to that whole which they failed to grasp by faith. I say: the Rich Young Ruler was an abject failure, and not true to his own testimony, when he said he had successfully kept the (outward) form of the law from his youth. And that is just the opposite of what I heard on the WHI.
 
Last edited:

discipulo

Puritan Board Junior
Rev. Buchanan

I stand corrected here! I was pretty unfair to you and I don't even disagree substancially with you on the topic.

Please forgive my unkind words. Of course I know your remarks on that particular whi episode must have been justified and taking

into the right account the context, clarity, audience, etc,

I should have known better. Thank you for your thoughtful, irenic and quite charitable thorough response.

I´ve got a bit sensitive (over sensitive I guess) concerning Mike Horton being criticized here on the PB, of course no one is above criticism,

never the less with what goes on out there in the jungle of evangelicalism, there is a certain latitude (not much is needed anyhow)

we must give to Confessional Reformed Theologians who are lifting high the Banner of Sovereign Grace.

So your post became for me the proverbial drop of water, my outburst was totally unfair and unecessary. I'm sorry!

Please keep up the good work for His Kingdom, here, at your Church and where ever the Lord is using you.

Here your posts have certainly been illuminating to me. Thank you.
 

Gage Browning

Puritan Board Freshman
This thread has been fun to chew on! I have a couple of thoughts that are in my mind as I worked my way through the thread. It seems to me that somewhere in the administration of the Mosaic Covenant there was grace. The Exodus or deliverance of God’s people out of bondage in Egypt was tied closely, if not directly, to God remembering the gracious covenant He had established with Abraham. ESV Exodus 2:2 "And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel‐‐and God knew."
I have heard it said that God dealt graciously with his people in the Administration of the Mosaic Covenant, although, the thing that makes it unique is the introduction of Law that couldn't be kept by the people. It also seems to me that the Mosaic Covenant had a works‐principle built into it that was introduced that would constantly teach the children of Israel that they were sinful in need of redemption. In other words, the covenant itself was at least preparatory.
Of course none of this is super easy for Presbyterians, since it seems as Fesko explains in his book that even the Westminster Divines were split. The famous Westminster Assembly
that ran from 1643‐1649 seemed to have maybe a total of 4 views at the assembly, on the nature of the Mosaic Covenant. In his book "The Law is not of Faith" he says discussing the Westminster Assembly, " I do not find in any point of divinity, learned men so confused and perplexed (being like Abraham’s ram, hung is bush of briars and brambles by the head) as here." He was talking about the place of the Mosaic Covenant. So I find it hard to find my own way around the Mosaic Covenant. Seems that my Presbyterian Fathers were a little confused as well!
 

mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
as Fesko explains in his book that even the Westminster Divines were split. The famous Westminster Assembly
that ran from 1643‐1649 seemed to have maybe a total of 4 views at the assembly, on the nature of the Mosaic Covenant. In his book "The Law is not of Faith" he says discussing the Westminster Assembly, " I do not find in any point of divinity, learned men so confused and perplexed (being like Abraham’s ram, hung is bush of briars and brambles by the head) as here."

It is Fesko who is confused or is confusing. While there were different minority viewpoints at the assembly, the Westminster Divines clearly settled on the view of the Mosaic as an administration of the covenant of grace, not a republication of the covenant of works. This has been demonstrated repeatedly. One would be ill advised to try to learn the role of the Mosaic in covenant theology from "TLNOF".
 

Gage Browning

Puritan Board Freshman
Well you may be right about Fesko being confused, and you may not even like him or agree with him, but the quote I used for Fesko was made by I think the seventeenth century Puritan Anthony Burgess and I used it just to show that it's a difficult issue historically. I'm not trying to learn about the Mosaic Cov by reading Fesko. I used Fesko to just to show that there may have been some confusion at the Assembly. It seems to me there may have been up to 4 views at the Assembly. Some of the commissioners viewed it as a covenant of works. Some viewed as a mixed covenant of works and grace. Some viewed it as a subservient covenant to the Covenant of Grace and some simply viewed it as the Covenant of Grace itself. So I'm not sure it was as clear cut at the Assembly as you think. However, I agree with you that the Mosaic is an administration of the One COG, as Bavinck said, "On the one hand, therefore, the law was subservient to the covenant of grace; it was not a covenant of works in disguise and did not intend that humans would obtain justification by their own works On the other hand its purposewas to lay the groundwork for a higher and better dispensation of that same covenant of grace to come in the fullness of time." -Reformed Dogmatics: Volume 3…Sin and Salvation in Christ (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 20060),p. 222. I was merely trying to point out that historically it has been a difficult issue. Even in our most recent scholarly debates there seems to be 3 views:
(1.) The Mosaic Covenant is a gracious covenant from start to last. This view is a minority view and was held by some very good men like Robert L. Dabney
and John Murray.
(2.) The Mosaic Covenant is a mixed bag in that it is both a gracious extension of the Abrahamic Covenant and a covenant with a host of laws and demands.
This is probably the dominant view today. It is held by a number of very good men…men like Francis Turretin, O. Palmer Robertson and Louis Berkhof.
(3.) The Mosaic Covenant is a works covenant on a typological level. It holds that the Mosaic Covenant is a republication of the Covenant of Works with Adam. This is an older view enjoying a bit revival. It is held by some very good men like Charles Hodge, Herman Witsius and Meredith Kline.

There may be other good men who are "confused", but it seems to be a difficult issue "historically".
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I wouldn't put Hodge in that 3rd category.

However I have never read a convincing argument that can put RoCoW into Chapter 7 of the WCF. Ch. 7, sect. 5 could not be more clear that the Mosaic Covenant was an administration of the Covenant of Grace. In section 6 is even more clear the the "Law" does not differ in substance from the one Covenant of Grace.
 

discipulo

Puritan Board Junior
Well you may be right about Fesko being confused, and you may not even like him or agree with him, but the quote I used for Fesko was made by I think the seventeenth century Puritan Anthony Burgess and I used it just to show that it's a difficult issue historically. I'm not trying to learn about the Mosaic Cov by reading Fesko. I used Fesko to just to show that there may have been some confusion at the Assembly. It seems to me there may have been up to 4 views at the Assembly. Some of the commissioners viewed it as a covenant of works. Some viewed as a mixed covenant of works and grace. Some viewed it as a subservient covenant to the Covenant of Grace and some simply viewed it as the Covenant of Grace itself. So I'm not sure it was as clear cut at the Assembly as you think. However, I agree with you that the Mosaic is an administration of the One COG, as Bavinck said, "On the one hand, therefore, the law was subservient to the covenant of grace; it was not a covenant of works in disguise and did not intend that humans would obtain justification by their own works On the other hand its purposewas to lay the groundwork for a higher and better dispensation of that same covenant of grace to come in the fullness of time." -Reformed Dogmatics: Volume 3…Sin and Salvation in Christ (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 20060),p. 222. I was merely trying to point out that historically it has been a difficult issue. Even in our most recent scholarly debates there seems to be 3 views:
(1.) The Mosaic Covenant is a gracious covenant from start to last. This view is a minority view and was held by some very good men like Robert L. Dabney
and John Murray.
(2.) The Mosaic Covenant is a mixed bag in that it is both a gracious extension of the Abrahamic Covenant and a covenant with a host of laws and demands.
This is probably the dominant view today. It is held by a number of very good men…men like Francis Turretin, O. Palmer Robertson and Louis Berkhof.
(3.) The Mosaic Covenant is a works covenant on a typological level. It holds that the Mosaic Covenant is a republication of the Covenant of Works with Adam. This is an older view enjoying a bit revival. It is held by some very good men like Charles Hodge, Herman Witsius and Meredith Kline.

There may be other good men who are "confused", but it seems to be a difficult issue "historically".

2 and 3 are not mutually exclusive, to think that the Mosaic Covenant would be just a Legal Meritorious Works Covenant would be just plain (in my opinion wrong)
dispensationalism.

In that sense the anthitesis Law - Gospel could be taken too far, I believe that is what Rev. Buchanan means, one can start pulling lines appart till

the fabric of Redemptive History is no longer solid, how could we understand the Gospel without the Law?

That's why we must keep preaching Law in our Churches, we must keep reading the Law in our Worship Services.

But no sound Reformed theologian would defend any kind of Post-Lapsarian Individual Justification - Salvation on the basis of Works - Merit.

No Biblical Reformed Theologian thinks that the Mosaic Covenant is a parentheses in Redemptive History

No one even suggested any kind of suspension of the CoG, look at the word ATONEMENT in Leviticus, what could it be more Gracious?

Fesko, Estelle, Horton, Van Drunen et al (the Law is not of Faith authors) are Confessional Reformed Theologians.

For instance Kline, who refreshed, so to speak, Republication, was an ordained Minister in the OPC (like Fesko is),
a life defender of the Westminster Standards.

We must be a bit more carefull pointing error and placing words in their writings that were never there.

To my knowledge all those Theologians agree that the CoG Genesis 3:15 covers the whole spectrum of Redemptive History (Historia Salutis - Salvation History,
come on, even a not very orthodox aka neo orthodox Lutheran like Oscar Cullmann sees it this way) .

The Merit Works fabric of the Mosaic Covenant is applied to Israel as a National Covenant in relation to the Land.

Is this Typology and Protology ? Of course. The Second Adam, our Lord Jesus, fulfilled not only the personal obedience to the Law

that His sheep (since the Fall till Consumation) could never perfectly attain, clothing His Church with His Righteousness, but He also
was the Perfect Israel - from Egypt have I called my Son, 40 days (for the 40 years) in the Desert with a period of great Temptation,
the True Vine, the Temple rebuilt after 3 days, He is the true Kingdom of God and His Church (also His Church in the Desert Acts 7:14) united to Him, the Head, becomes the real Kingdom, the true Israel, the Israel of God. Not anymore an ethnic poltical territorial Kingdom till Consumation.

In that sense Israel as a Figure and Shadow of the Kingdom of God, was an over realized eschatological allegory pointing forward toits fulfillment in Christ, but also looking back REPLICATING what happened with the first Adam, Fall and Expulsion from Eden into Exile.

You may ask, was Israel obedience as a Nation perfect? No it couldn't be, it was a Nation made of sinners needing redemption and santification.

But was God keeping Israel unconditionally in the Land? No, there was Exile, there was Captivity, even for regenerated justified by Grace men like Daniel or
Jeremiah or Neemiah.

CoG is individual (with each man and his household like the Passover tells us so clearly), but there is a National Covenant for typological pedagogical purposes, replicating the Pre Lapsarian Covenant with Adam, that is the RoCoW.

In a time of revisionism concerning the Covenant of Works (that no denied in the Reformed Oryhodoxy period in the XVII cent.) that has a somehow a pedigree, Barth comes to mind, but from the Confessional Reformed Camp: John Murray, Klaas Schilder (the founder of my Denomination and I don't agree with him on this at all) , Clarence Stam, Palmer Robertson, Kamphuis, Berkouwer, etc, etc

It is very clear to me that the RoCoW is a very important doctrine that by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture.

It may not be always an easy exegesis to aprehend or make, but as Scripture explains Scripture, it gives us a very timely and needed foundation to the Pre Lapsarian Covenant of Works between God and Adam. We surely need to affirm the Perspicuity of Scripture on this Vital Doctrine!
 
Last edited:

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Is this Typology and Protology ? Of course. The Second Adam, our Lord Jesus, fulfilled not only the personal obedience to the Law

There is a sense in which Christ is Israel, and also a sense, on the other hand, in which He is the representative and head of Israel, but not Israel itself.

There may be a sense in which Israel points to Christ, but the typology is complex because there is such a close trelatiionship between Christ and His Old Covenant and New Covenant people. Indeed Christ even became one of the Covenant people; a Jew by circumcision and a Christian by baptism. Therefore Israel points as much, or more, to the NC Church as to Christ, and we can see ways in which the promises to Israel regarding the Land are fulfilled not so much in Christ Himself, but (also) in the Church.

But the Republicationists need to remember that Israel would have needed Christ even if she had been very godly and remained in the Land, because she would never have been sinlessly godly and the Lord was under no delusions that she would be.

Christians also in principle promise to be morally perfect in this life at conversion and at new obedience when they repent. But God knows they won't be and has made provision for that in the CoG.

Maybe the fact that she failed so spectacularly - and the fact that the New Covenant Church has been so ungodly too - emphasises the need for one Man to come from among the Covenant people, Jewish and Christian, to be the Covenant surety and mediator that will "stand in the gap". it will be our eternal song that Jesus of Nazareth did this admirably.
 

discipulo

Puritan Board Junior
Is this Typology and Protology ? Of course. The Second Adam, our Lord Jesus, fulfilled not only the personal obedience to the Law

There is a sense in which Christ is Israel, and also a sense, on the other hand, in which He is the representative and head of Israel, but not Israel itself.

There may be a sense in which Israel points to Christ, but the typology is complex because there is such a close trelatiionship between Christ and His Old Covenant and New Covenant people. Indeed Christ even became one of the Covenant people; a Jew by circumcision and a Christian by baptism. Therefore Israel points as much, or more, to the NC Church as to Christ, and we can see ways in which the promises to Israel regarding the Land are fulfilled not so much in Christ Himself, but (also) in the Church.

But the Republicationists need to remember that Israel would have needed Christ even if she had been very godly and remained in the Land, because she would never have been sinlessly godly and the Lord was under no delusions that she would be.

Richard, I totally agree with you, Palmer Robertson's the Israel of God is great on this. The Vine and the Living Branches - partaking of the administration

and the Life of the CoG and saddly some dead fruitless branches - only externally in the Covenant like Esaú

(Vos, Schilder, Berkhoff, didn't like the internal / external diferentiation - they prefered Legal / Vital - concern for over scholastic aristotelic distinctions I guess,

Ned Kloosterman has a good article on this, he doesn't mention scholasticism though, but Schilder was very concerned, because of Kuyper's speculations,

on the dangers of scholasticism, Schilder was old school and yet he nailed Barth right on, well, now from Muller et al we know that fear is unfounded)

so In my humble opinion I believe Internal / External is a sound biblical covenantal terminology (while Legal / Vital could bring Law / Gospel back to the center of the Covenant

interesting to follow where this could lead.... ) anyway for me a good foundation for the Internal / External

For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. Romans 2:28-29 see Deuteronomy 10 also)

Romans 9 brings it to an important tension

For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel

I agree with you Richard, Israel is also the Church, the Church in its younger age pointing in shadows and figures to Christ,

This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness Acts 7:38 Luke here uses Ekklesia,

then Christ came and He appointed 12 apostles (like the 12 tribes of Israel).

Dispensationalists accuse us Reformed of Replacement Theology, but it is Reformed Theology that really does justice to Israel,

the Israel of God is no longer confined etnically, territorially, politically, it has both Jews and Gentiles, People bought by our Lord from every nation, tribe, tongue,

race, into the whole World. The Kingdom of God is finally beginning to fulfill the Cultural Mandate that Adam failed to do.

But the Republicationists need to remember that Israel would have needed Christ even if she had been very godly and remained in the Land, because she would never have been sinlessly godly and the Lord was under no delusions that she would be.

Richard, I don't see any reasons to be concerned over the so-called Republicationists on this.

They don't need to remember because they never forgot it, how could they?
Our blessed Reformed Sacramentology is deeply grounded on that, Francis Turrentin has a great passage in his Institutes showing

how Circumcision and Baptism are deeply related, like you mentioned also in Christ's fullfillment of the Law.

Indeed Paul doesn't allow them and us to forget!

For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Wasn't also Moses a figure of Christ, telling of a future Prophet to come like himself, Deuteronomy 18:15-19, while Paul reveals in a deeper sense how Moses was a type - baptized into Moses - of the true Federal Head

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3

please see the similar Sacramental terminology for the Church united to Christ in the following passage. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body,so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body Jews or Greeks, slaves or free and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Republication never forgeting the pattern of redepmtive history: Creation Fall Redemption

complements it with Fall Exile Restoration in Israel as a post figure of Adam, who was also a figure of Christ (Romans 5:14)

Israel, also called God's son as Adam is called, also fails the Cultural Mandate, also fails to be Light to the Nations, also goes into exile.

But all of it is meant for the Glory of One and One Alone, it all like you wrote so well:

emphasises the need for one Man to come from among the Covenant people, Jewish and Christian, to be the Covenant surety and mediator that will "stand in the gap". it will be our eternal song that Jesus of Nazareth did this admirably.

I think Richard we agree, mostly in everything. I am just trying to say that if your objections to Republicationism are founded, I will (would) share them.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Thanks for that, Cesar. I'm sure - hope- it is an intamural debate that will generate more light than heat.

I think it boils down to a question of what we believe is a CoW and what we believe is a CoG and whether, or how, we believe in maintaining that distinction. The language of republication is confusing from a systematic perspective.

In the archetypal CoW with Adam, the first Man would have purchased salvation for himself and his offspring by his own works.

In the CoG salvation is obtained for fallen and sinful Man by God in Christ.

In the case of the Israelites, who were sinners just like us, not perfect like Adam or Christ, they had typological mediators, Moses, the Judges, the Kings, the Priests and the Prophets, and they also had the finished work of Christ working backwards.

They needed this just as much to keep prosperous tenure in the Land as to have personal salvation.

The Israelites weren't saved by their own works. If they had produced satisfactory works to remain in the Land it would have been evidence of God in Christ's gracious work in them, not cause for boasting. Their graciously-produced good works would have been graciously rewarded by God, as our are/will be.

The Israelites were just as dependant on the grace of God in Christ as we are, including for their earthly stay in the Land of Israel. So to talk of RoCoW is just plain confusing.

Are Republicationists saying that the Israelites could have purchased secure and prosperous tenure in the Land in their own strength.

They were warned by God not to think this, but to depend on Him for everything.
 

discipulo

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks for that, Cesar. I'm sure - hope- it is an intamural debate that will generate more light than heat.

Richard you've been more than patient with my quite erratic posts, Packer used to say the Puritans had cool heads and hot hearts, like we should have too.

I get a bit carried away by typology and protology, but it's such a blessing to find Christ in each page of Scripture.

I don't do any justice to the Doctrine of Republication, how could I, english is not my native language, and one thing is to read Theology another thing
is to understand it and write about it, I struggle with all of it

I just see you, in my opinion, over concerned about the Doctrine and those who defend it, the doctrine has a good old pedigree amongst Reformed Theologians,
maybe it is just a frame work hyphotesis (these last words are written with tongue on cheek, I know Kline is not popular because of this, and Kline did
more than a bit of influence in those who stand for Republication), an hermeneutical tool to reconcile the Mosaic Covenant with the Unity of the Covenant of Grace.

Is it artificial, is it going beyond the boundaries of Special Revelation? I couldn't say. It makes a lot of sense to me, it brings consistency to the reading of a
CoW with Edenic Adam, it creates an inner stregnth of Law going back and forth Redemptive History, it keeps the Whole Story in Tension and Cohesion,
that is the tension we sense in Galatians, Romans, Hebrews. Law and Grace.

But for instance Murray (I was reading his booklet on the Covenant of Grace) flats the Mosaic Covenant easily in continuity with the Abrahamic Covenant, but again he turns the Adamic Covenant into a Gracious Covenant, so like with Berkouwer under Barth, Grace floods Redemptive History.

But while Water is always at the same level everywhere, Fire isn't.

There is Law and Consuming Fire in the Sinaitic Revelation, people couldn't even get near the Mountain on Fire.

Are there Good News revealed? Certainly. But how to make the whole of the Mosaic Covenant Gracious? Even Moses didn't enter the promised land because of disobedience. Only the second generation did - typology of the new birth? - with the exception of Caleb and Joshua.

Ok, I leave a link to a blog from a fellow here on the PB, Tod Peddlar, quoting from the Marrow of Fischer, that Thomas Boston (very dear to your heart I'm sure) recovered from the oblivion of the unfair charge of antinomianism - Grace always seems too good to be true to us sinners.

In Principio ... Deus: Marrow Theology: Republication of the Covenant of Works, part I
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
I think we'll have to leave it there, just now Cesar.

"Republication of the Covenant of Works" seems to me a strange way of speaking about the Mosaic Covenant, or part thereof, because the grace of God to sinners was behind it all.

E.g.
Even Moses didn't enter the promised land because of disobedience.

In the New Covenant we can miss out on many things because of sin - we may be struck down with an illness because of sin - but that doesn't make it a RoCoW.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top