Why are NT laws so debated so much?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Paul Nowlan, Aug 2, 2009.

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  1. Paul Nowlan

    Paul Nowlan Puritan Board Freshman

    The Law of Moses is quite explicit. God goes into great detail over clothing, food, worship, the Sabbath, etc.

    NT laws, however, are not always that explicit. Hence, two people can read the Bible intently and reach different conclusions on:

    - sprinkle vs dunk baptism
    - infant vs believer baptism, etc.

    Is one side wrong and spreading falsehood, or are these relatively minor points of contention.
  2. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    One side is right, the other is wrong. One side glorifies God in their works and teaching of proper baptism while the other side is sinning. For those who disagree on this board however (and I say this generally speaking for I do not know the hearts of others), there is honest disagreement and not intentional sin in theological conclusions. We don't know all of the answers because of our limitations, wicked hearts, and because the Lord saw it fit to allow his body to consider such issues for His glory. While there is much debate over the issue, we find unity in Christ and in a good conscience. Even a Berean can be wrong. :)
  3. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    I assume you mean to say "Why aren't NT laws debated so much?"

    There is a degree of debate within evangelical circles regarding e.g. baptism and church government (independent or presbyterian).

    Also there is debate between the Pentecostalists/Charismatics and Cessationists regarding five of the gifts of the Spirit, while at least sixteen other gifts that are mentioned are not debated. As far as this board is concerned debate about the supernatural gifts is off the menu, and that seems to be a good idea in line with the Confession's Cessationist position.

    There is also some degree of debate within Reformed circles about the precise role of women although that is largely agreed upon.

    The OT's teaching cannot be ignored in any of these debates as God's Word is a unified whole, as Josh points out above.

    Even regarding the debate between theonomists and other Reformed people, there is usually large agreement on God's law (in OT and NT) generally, apart from the particular area of the application of the penal laws of Moses to modern Christian states.

    The Church is slowly learning, maturing and being perfected in line with Ephesians 2:19-22 and Ephesians 4:11-16, q.v.

    The Bible is also being progressively illuminated (unpacked) by the Spirit.

    The Church is being prepared for greater things.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
  4. Paul Nowlan

    Paul Nowlan Puritan Board Freshman

    My question is really difficult to put in words.

    The "Law of Moses" is really cut and dry in many cases. You gather firewood on the Sabbath, you die. To offer these specific sacrifices in order to be atoned. Farmers are to give a 10% tithe this way and another 10% tithe this way...This is specifically how you build the Ark of the Covenant, etc. There are hundreds of detailed laws to govern many aspects of life.

    The "NT laws" are generally not as specific. There is no detailed instruction as to how to baptize (at least in my opinion). There are relatively few specific instructions as to mandated giving to poor, church buildings, church goverance, etc.

    This is not to say that the NT leaves believers without direction. This is to say that the OT is *more* specific and detailed.

    I suspect that as a "new creature" in Jesus, NT believers should not need a multitude of laws governing food, clothing, etc.
  5. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Well everything had to be more specific for the babyhood of the Church, which was between the time of Moses and Christ. We must be careful not to take elements of babyhood with us into adulthood when we study the Mosaic law. See e.g. I Corinthians 13. There is greater liberty in the New Covenant, as there is in adulthood. There is less of the picture-book and less of the big stick. There are also fewer boundary rules than there were under the Old Covenant. But we have to be careful, (a) that we do not lose our liberty to those who would bring back elements of the Old Covenant that have passed away or, (b) that we do not abuse our liberty as an excuse for sin.

    Also, as I've said, the Old Testament is part of the context in which we study the ethical principles and commandments which are in the New. When studying an ethical teaching in the NT, the OT can't be forgotten. I don't know if there's less disagreement about the New than the Old (?)

    As I've said there is a degree or two of disagreement about applying the teaching of Christ in the Gospels and also Apostolic teaching. There would be greater disagreement if we went beyond the bounds of evangelicalism and Reformed teaching, but we don't want to go where people who profess Christianity don't even accept the Bible as God's inspired, infallible and inerrant Word.
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