R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Fresh from the afterglow of a recent post on sex, I’ll take another stab with a remark about gay marriage. Noah Millman observes in passing an exchange between David Frum and Andrew Sullivan which went like this:

the question – as Andrew Sullivan posed it repeatedly to David Frum over the years, Frum being well-aware of these alternative approaches to the marriage “problem” and their potential normative costs – is: what, in your worldview, are you offering to gay people, if not marriage? And there was never a good answer to that. And, there being no good answer – good in the sense of being something that would be readily accepted as an answer – the marriage movement grew, and burgeoned.

I know some of this exchange had to do with policy alternatives to existing marriage laws, but I am still puzzled by the substance of Sullivan’s question — as if changing marriage law will fundamentally change gay life in the United States. As most married couples know, the respect of a spouse is as important to the survival of a relationship as is romance, more so. Right now in the U.S. gay men receive more respect without marriage than African-American men ever did before (and arguably after) the Civil Rights Act. The image of gay men may trade on stereotypes but compared to those associated with heterosexual young males, being articulate, having impeccable taste, knowing table manners, being able to throw a great dinner party, knowing how to decorate a room beat pretty much any day of the week being crude, unrefined, poorly read, wearing t-shirts and baseball caps backwards, drinking bad beer, and watching televised sports. In fact, it takes marriage to domesticate most heterosexual men. Gay men generally don’t need it.

Of course, this is not argument against gay marriage. It is only to say that marriage may not be the panacea that Sullivan imagines. Here the old line of Irving Kristol comes to mind. When asked about gay marriage, Kristol said, “Let them have it, they won’t like it.”

139 thoughts on “R-E-S-P-E-C-T

  1. Watching the grand march at prom the other night. The only openly gay male member of the student body came out with a girl on each arm. He was sharply dressed in a thoroughly modern suit. “Wow, he really knows how to dress!”, my wife remarked. Shortly thereafter my wife chided me for wearing my “Jesus sandals” with white athletic tube socks. Sigh…

    Like

  2. Erik, I’m with your wife. Can’t you get with it and at least wear some of those anklet athletic socks that so fetchingly reveal male pattern baldness on the lower leg?

    Like

  3. …and the gay guys seem to be liked by the pretty young ladies. That seems to say something about how men treat women.

    Like

  4. Women that marry metrosexuals should realize they’ve hit the gold mine–masculine without being muscular. My wife needs that encouragement everyday.

    Like

  5. Mark G: …and the gay guys seem to be liked by the pretty young ladies. That seems to say something about how men treat women.

    RS: It might also show the depravity of the human soul since people would rather receive all the positive words rather than hear Christ spoken of in an exalted tone.

    Like

  6. RS: It might also show the depravity of the human soul since people would rather receive all the positive words rather than hear Christ spoken of in an exalted tone.

    Mark G – the two aren’t mutually exclusive, and both show the depravity of the human soul.

    Like

  7. I’ve been systematically exterminating those short socks as I’ve come across them in my home. I only embrace the long ones I can pull up. Just when I think the short ones are gone another pair inevitably appears, however. It’s an endless task.

    Like

  8. Erik – what’s even worse is when one of a pair gets a hole and gets thrown away – then you wind up with sub-ankle and super-angle pairs. ‘Course, being old I can get away with it, unless we’re leaving the house – then I have to pass general inspection.

    Like

  9. I buy about 20 pair of the same socks at once, saves me from worrying about an unmatched sock for a few months.

    Like

  10. Erik,

    Seriously, socks and sandals, what’s next? A Euro-mullet, and some obscure soccer jersey! A fanny pack?!?!

    Mix in a pair of split toe sandals, or flip flops, they are actually making some really nice ones that are more comfortable than most of the strappy sandals you are into. It can’t be hard to just stop wearing something.

    And don’t fire back “judge not lest ye be judged”, because some cultural fashion statements just ought not be made…all I a trying to say is When in Rome buddy, this is the 21st century, feel free to join us anytime.

    Like

  11. But more to the point of the post:

    When asked about gay marriage, Kristol said, “Let them have it, they won’t like it.”

    Ahh but divorce lawyers will, it’ll open up a whole new market. I joked with a few of the lawyers I know out here during the Prop. 8 campaign, asking them if they were motivated to vote it down purely on business interests. They got a good chuckle, but maybe it had some truth in it.

    Whatever one’s views on gay marriage might be, personally, I do not see much of our day to day American lives changing one way or the other. Both sides will continue to bicker, using ever more eschatological if not apocalyptic rhetoric about the ghastly consequences to society if their side doesn’t win the day. Then there will be those of us on the sidelines rolling our eyes wishing all the shouting could stop. I wonder what will happen to America when she is all worn out from her culture wars…seriously, can this stuff go on forever?

    Like

  12. Jed says: “then there will be those of us on the sidelines rolling our eyes wishing all the shouting could stop. I wonder what will happen to America when she is all worn out from her culture wars…seriously, can this stuff go on forever?”

    Earth to Jed! We are in a war! We are to fight the good fight of faith. So no, it’s not going away anytime soon. Moreover, we are supposed to overcome the world, with our faith. How about joining the battle instead of standing on the sidelines rolling your eyes?

    Like

  13. Jed,

    I can’t stand flip-flops. Jesus didn’t wear them and neither will I.

    I was at least wearing Jeans and not shorts with the white socks. I do have minimal standards.

    Like

  14. Jed – I wonder what will happen to America when she is all worn out from her culture wars…seriously, can this stuff go on forever?

    It will get better when the Boomers pass from the scene. This stuff all goes back to Johnson, Nixon, Vietnam, the New Left, the Counterculture, etc. We don’t really have modern parallels.

    Like

  15. Can that go on forever?

    Can theonomists type endlessly in a combox in defense of theonomy.

    Can Californians stop passing propositions that litter the law books with one redundancy after another.

    Can my bro-in-law stop wearing his stubbies from 1985

    Will I ever again be allowed to make fun of my wife’s ‘effiminate’ friends on FB

    These are truly pressing issues that I’d like the Pope to give some authoritative interpretation, in my favor, on.

    Like

  16. Jed, maybe America’s culture war is like Ron and Tammy Two’s marriage–all about sex and dysfunction. I wish one side had that hair and mustache, though, especially when it gets braided and shaved down the middle.

    Like

  17. Sean muses: Can theonomists type endlessly in a combox in defense of theonomy?

    “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”

    To what end Sean?

    “so that we may no longer to children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

    Until then, the theonomist must encourage his flummoxed brothers😉

    Like

  18. Doug,

    Two things:

    1) Your theonomic postmillenialism demands that the political and cultural structures of this world be transformed, so of course any “non-biblical” (i.e. non-theonomic) political and cultural is means for war. I am not convinced, but I understand where you are coming from. I just don’t have the time or interest in arguing this over the course of hundreds of comments. I know what you believe, you know what I believe, and those aren’t likely to change.

    2) Jesus, in his own words sidestepped the theocratic impulses of his disciples, who even at the time of his ascension were wondering if he would restore the Davidic theocracy, he said this was not the time, and it wasn’t for them to know anyway. After Pentecost, and the gift of the Spirit, it seems that the apostles finally understood the spiritual nature of the Kingdom in the inter-advental age. The apostles did see themselves as combatants in a war – but it was spiritual, not political – and not once after Pentecost are political matters addressed except to underscore the Christian’s duty to submit to the state. The spiritual battle to them was far more pressing, because this was where the battle for the knowledge of God, the salvation of souls, and the expansion of the Kingdom through the church was being fought. It seems that the NT ethic of warfare is summed up well between Paul in Ephesians who notes, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood” and John who underscores the call to martyrdom (if necessary) to maintain faithful witness, rather than engaging a spiritual war with physical or earthly means – “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”

    All this to say, the present age is passing, and God will deal justly for all the ways in which his Law has been trampled upon, which is why I do not get all up in arms over the sins of people who by nature are sinful, and have been given over to sin by God himself. I am far more interested in how God calls sinners from death to life, and how he sustains his church on their heavenward journey. I am loathe to join in the political and cultural wars of a passing age, because I think these simply give unnecessary offense to those whom the church is called to witness to – after all we aren’t trying to convert them to our politics, but to our Lord, and he can sort out their politics if they really need sorting.

    Like

  19. Erik,

    Jesus didn’t wear them and neither will I.

    Ahh, I see, you employ the WWJW (What Would Jesus Wear) ethic. Well, I don’t think Jesus had socks…and I hope the same ethic isn’t employed with you and deodorant.

    Like

  20. I’m getting deeper and deeper into the “i just don’t care” era of my life, and it’s liberating. On Saturday I was at the mall wearing socks in New England Patriots crocs. This can also be a strategy by which one can proactively choose what the wife and kids will complain about (crocs, bedhead, etc) so that, when the family is finished complaining, they just don’t want to get into more substantial complaints.

    Jed sed: “personally, I do not see much of our day to day American lives changing one way or the other.”

    In 2009 Varnum v. Brien legalized gay marriage in Iowa. In the first year of gay marriage there were 2,220 same-sex marriages in Iowa, of which only 815 involved Iowa residents. More than likely the number of in-state gay marriages has been considerably fewer in subsequent years. So the numbers are pretty low, and I don’t know anyone who would say same-sex marriage has impacted their life. It’s the snooziest apocalypse one can imagine.

    Like

  21. To echo Mikelmann, I live in Iowa and I don’t think I have met a same-sex married couple. I did see two middle-aged women with a kid in their cart at the grocery store that looked suspicious, though…

    Let’s see what Sarah says (1:30):

    Like

  22. In the background I hear sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me–sock it to me

    Like

  23. Ironically – or perhaps consistently, in an inside-out kind of way – I’m usually barefoot at the YMCA. (tae kwon do and yoga)

    Like

  24. DGH says: Jed, don’t let Jesus get in the way of the law.

    What an ignorant statement if there ever was one! The “law” was all about Christ! For once in your life Darryl, actually read the law with eyes of faith. And presto! You can see Christ! As Paul once said, “is the law against Christ? God forbid!

    Yet you repeat that same inane mistake on a daily basis. Stop it!

    Like

  25. @M&M; (back in 76) when California passed the law that anyone 18 or above can have any sort of sex they want with anyone they choose, we didn’t have NAMBLA parading up an down or streets, for first few years either. So what’s your point? Psssst, sin is progressive!

    You don’t think “Gay same sex unions” will have a negative effect on society? Just out of curiosity, have you ever read the Bible? What happened to nations that opened themselves up to sodomite perversions in days gone bye? Was God happy with those nations?

    Like

  26. M&M: Consider 1 Kings 11:6-7

    So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and did not wholly follow the LORD, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.

    The point is, it took God over three hundred and fifty years to finally judge Israel for the sin of Moleck. Using your tortured logic, one could have said, it wasn’t “that bad” in the first few years. Because the sky didn’t fall in the first decade. But God is not mocked, and whatever a nation sows, it will reap, so why act so non-caring? Don’t you give a damn about your fellow man? Do you really think open sodomy will have no effect on our culture? What ever happened to telling the truth?

    I say this, because I think your better than this!

    Like

  27. Yes Kent, in Galatians 3:21. “Is the law against the promises of God?

    The promise was Christ! I just replaced Christ for the promise, to drive the point home so you would see the verse from a different angle. The law was all about Christ, in shadow form, so when Paul says, is the law against the promise, he could just have easily said, “is the law against Christ”? His answer?

    God forbid!!!

    Like

  28. Darryl, I wasn’t being deceptive; Jesus is the promise. Here is a direct quote Psalms 119:41

    “Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD; your salvation according to your promise.”

    Clearly Jesus was the promise, amen? Therefore when Paul says, “is the law against the promise”? He could just as easily have said, “is the law against the Christ”? Same answer either way:

    God forbid!!! The law was not against either faith or Christ! Here is one more direct quote: 119:158

    “I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands.”

    Once again Darryl, David looked at the law with faith, and could keep the commandments. Why? He kept them “in Christ”, just like us today.

    Like

  29. Doug, I just said something like “it’s 60 degrees and partly sunny,” to which you replied “what kind of logic is that!! There are locust-carrying tornadoes ALL AROUND YOU!!!” Okay, so I paraphrased somewhat.

    Anyway, when I read Deuteronomy 11, I say a repeated pronoun: “you.” “You” does not refer to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or even William Bradford.

    Also, first table violations are more heinous than second table violations. So if you want to pre-empt judgment maybe you should concentrate your efforts there.

    Like

  30. Kent, as King David makes clear, only through faith could a Saint keep the commandments of God.

    “I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands.”

    Like

  31. Doug, you messed up, it’s not good relying on your memory when you can just look it up.

    Just admit you were wrong.

    No harm was done.

    Like

  32. Mike, I was referring to you saying,

    “So the numbers are pretty low, and I don’t know anyone who would say same-sex marriage has impacted their life.”

    The same could have been said, about Solomon allowing alters to be built too Moleck; in the first few years. It might have looked like a *snoozer* to some men of Israel; for a season. BUT, God did say he would drive Israel out of the land, if they sacrificed their children to Moleck, YET, it took over 3 hundred years for their sin to reach a judgement level. Sin starts out small, and grows like a weed. So your perception about how same-sex marriage impacts lives, is very short sighted, and not grounded in how things really work.

    Like

  33. Kent, I didn’t mess up. I miss-quoted that verse on purpose! Jesus was the promise! I purposefully tried to jar you out of your stupor, by using Christ instead of promise, since they are synonymous it is perfectly true.

    Like

  34. FWIW Kent, at least you were paying attention, and wondered where I quoted that verse. Mission accomplished! Now, once you accept that Jesus was the promise, perhaps you will be able to understand that the law, was to be appropriated by faith, and any other approach was sin. The same is true for us today.

    Romans 14:23

    “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

    Kent, that is just as true for you and me, as during the Mosaic covenant. Faith, equals upholding the law, because faith looks to Christ. This is why David could say in Psalms 119:32

    “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!”

    The same is true today! We can only obey “in Christ”, just like David in during the law. Faith has always been the key, because the object of faith is Jesus.

    Like

  35. Doug, the point has been made in the past about theonomy’s soteriological parallel to Catholicism. But there is also a logical one.

    The Roman Catholic claim is that we need the Magisterium to authoritatively conclude on what the Bible teaches, since otherwise there are as many formulas as there are formulators which hampers religious unity and begets spiritual chaos. Protestant theonomic reasoning is that because there is so much chaos in civil society about moral and political right and wrong it means that natural revelation is lacking and so we need the Bible to clarify matters. So as in Catholicism the Magisterium clears up special revelation for sacred society, in theonomy the Bible clears up natural revelation for secular society.

    That sounds good, but maybe the answer is to be a little more at ease with the idea that both the Bible and nature are sufficiently clear and the lack of unity about what each reveals only demonstrates the fact that people can get stuff really wrong whether it pertains to supernatural or natural questions. It seems to me that both Catholicism and theonomy, then, demonstrate what some call the illegitimate quest for religious certainty, one running over the light of nature with the Bible to order society, the other setting a Magisterium above the Bible to order ecclesiatical life.

    Like

  36. Doug – I purposefully tried to jar you out of your stupor

    Is Doug now the unofficial Old Life stuporjarrer?

    This ongoing debate would be funny if it weren’t so boring and annoying.

    Like

  37. Poor Doug! Standing alone against a big bunch of ostriches! High ime we spend our efforts on BOTH of Jesus’s commandments. Let these guys talk about cigars, booze, and even nicer things like sports, cats… I am not a theonomist, But if these “wise” men who know everything, think I am… well… They TALK as though spiritual things, like evangelism, are our ONLY duty, But I see little DOING here. How can we talk about faults like theirs without sinning as critics? They think we can’t. I don’t think criticism is always sinful, do you? Let’s us stop wasting all this time @ OLT and get back to our major duty of feeding folks and minor, but real, duty, helping those in need and fighting “wolves” on earth, who are out to “kill” and kill!!! Love, Alexian “pastor” Bob Morris

    Like

  38. Sounds harsh, but all OLTS guys— There is more than one situation in which “shake the dust from off your feet” must come. Love, Old Bob

    Like

  39. The irony of ironies! I wasn’t even referring to theonomy when I admonished M&M. I was rebuking his non-caring (couldn’t give a darn) attitude regarding same-sex marriage; and then saying it won’t have much of an impact on society. This has nothing to do with theonomy, just gross indifference.

    You guys just imported theonomy into the equation, because you know I happen to favor theonomy. Regardless of how we feel about theonomy, I think all Christians should be grieved by this situation (same-sex unions) in our nation. And pray for a sea change of thinking, in our nation. If Jesus grieves over sin, so should we.

    Like

  40. Erik says: Doug – I purposefully tried to jar you out of your stupor

    Erik, you will notice that my point was not theonomy. It was that the Mosaic covenant preached the same gospel we hear today. Both administrations needed to be apprehended by faith. The whole ceremonial law, was the gospel in figures. This isn’t a boring argument, it’s very exciting! So I’m not stuck in a (theonomy only) mode. I will only bring up theonomy when someone else brings it up first, okay?

    So the stupor comment was to jar men out of confused mindset espoused in “The Law Is Not Of Faith”. That is what I was aiming at!

    Like

  41. Doug, the hyperventilation about sex is usually fueled by the theonomic impulse (Behold! There is homosexualism in them hills! Quick, break open the Bible and stop it!). And given your reputation with theonomy always so close to the surface, well, can we really be blamed? But then you make a prescription about how Xns should be sufficiently indignant in one direction about the headlines. Wouldn’t you be more at home at the Bayly Blog?

    Like

  42. Doug, it’s too bad the apostle Paul is no longer around for your stupor jarring, seeing as he prophesied; “the law is not of faith” . I’d a paid to watch that nouthetic counseling session.

    Like

  43. Way back in elementary school I walked across the playground and noticed some unusual activity. Up on a porch-like structure were two kids fighting. After a while one of them left only to have another one take his place. So I asked what was going on and was told that the guy staying on the porch just wanted to fight anyone and everyone. So I approached the porch, asked if he really wanted to fight again, and he said he did. So we fought. Then he fought someone else. And on it went.

    But I digress. Doug said:

    “The irony of ironies! I wasn’t even referring to theonomy when I admonished M&M. I was rebuking his non-caring (couldn’t give a darn) attitude regarding same-sex marriage; and then saying it won’t have much of an impact on society. This has nothing to do with theonomy, just gross indifference.”

    Doug, I stated “I don’t know anyone who would say same-sex marriage has impacted their life.” This is a fact, the veracity of which is easily known by me and not in the least accessible to you. And you have no way to measure the extent of the darn I give by my recitation of this fact. There was a poll in which 92% of Iowans said gay marriage has not impacted their life; the other 8 per cent are theonomists and Sean Hannity fans. But your theonomic twitch doesn’t allow you to do calm analysis.

    So this is the big one? The big sin that brings sudden judgment? But I thought it was taking prayer out of schools, then abortion. And you gathered together survival gear for the y2k problem, didn’t you? Anyway, gay sex has been legal for quite some time now – you say The Big One is allowing gay couples to inherit from one another and making them go to court to divorce? I say blasphemy is worse, and the coach or your favorite football team probably blasphemes every time the team practices.

    Like

  44. M&M says, So this is the big one? The big sin that brings sudden judgment?

    Me:Who said there would be sudden judgment? If you read my post, King Solomon was the first King to allow alters to be built to Moleck. Was it sudden judgment? No, it took over three hundred years for God to run Israel out of Jerusalem. But it was still a very wicked and foolish thing for Solomon to do!

    What really pissed me off about your post was your inane sighting of a poll. Why would any Christian rely of a poll? LOL! Do you think if Israel ran a poll when Solomon first allowed alters to Moleck to be built, they would said those alters impacted their lives? Probably not.I think you are acting short sighted, and shallow for even mentioning a poll. In fact, I could go on and on, but I will let it rest with this, who cares about polls, when we have God’s Word?

    Finally for someone who “claims” to have read Bahnsen, you have no idea what public blasphemy is. No football coach has EVER has committed such a sin. Unless you relegate blasphemy to saying (god damn) or something like that. Pssst, that’s not it! Now who is acting like Sean Hannity? BTW, I almost never watch his show, probably as much as you; to much yelling and not enough real dialog.

    Like

  45. Sean retorts: Doug, it’s too bad the apostle Paul is no longer around for your stupor jarring, seeing as he prophesied; “the law is not of faith” . I’d a paid to watch that nouthetic counseling session.

    Sean, Sean, Sean! How can you get is so backwards? Paul was certainly referring to the misuse of the law, as Calvin so aptly pointed out. You have it so twisted you’re not making a bit of sense! Unless you really believe that Paul was at odds with the whole old testament, God forbid! Remember Satan is rather fond of taking Scripture out of context, much like you’re doing right now; stop it!

    Like

  46. @M&M; here is a real question for you: Do you honestly believe that since our society hasn’t been wiped out by God, ever since our nation has allowed legal sodomy, that that means:

    a: God never will judge us.

    OR

    b: God is now indifferent regarding sodomy in general society.

    I’m trying to figure out how your mind works on this issue. Does God change? Has God changed?

    Like

  47. Doug, the scolding has worn thin. I could just as easily admonish you to “Stop it!”, for you have admitted that you continue to criticize TNLF without actually having read it; and it is self-evident that you have misread Calvin on Galatians 3.

    So shall we shout at one another some more, or can we discuss like reasonable human beings? I would vastly prefer the latter. Let us, please, do that.

    Here is Calvin on Galatians 3.10.

    And yet it does not follow from this, that faith is inactive, or that it sets believers free from good works. For the present question is not, whether believers ought to keep the law as far as they can, (which is beyond all doubt,) but whether they can obtain righteousness by works, which is impossible. But since God promises life to the doers of the law, why does Paul affirm that they are not righteous? The reply to this objection is easy. There are none righteous by the works of the law, because there are none who do those works. We admit that the doers of the law, if there were any such, are righteous; but since that is a conditional agreement, all are excluded from life, because no man performs that righteousness which he ought

    — Calv Comm Gal 3.10

    Your claim about Romans 9 has been, if I have read correctly, that the Pharisees did not receive righteous in the law because they approached the law without an attitude of faith. You deny that one could hypothetically be righteous if one could hypothetically keep the law.

    My claim (and those of the others here) is that the Pharisees did not receive righteousness in the law because they were unable to keep the law. Hypothetically, one could be righteous by law-keeping, and in point of fact, Jesus was righteous, in the sense of Hebrews, because of His obedience to the Law.

    Calvin’s commentary directly supports the latter view. The two bolded sentences are identical to my claim.

    This is confirmed in the commentary further down. Calvin writes,

    But it may be objected: “As the law is the rule of a devout and holy life, why is it said to be added ‘because of transgressions,’ rather than ‘because of obedience?’” I answer, however much it may point out true righteousness, yet, owing to the corruption of our nature, its instruction tends only to increase transgressions, until the Spirit of regeneration come, who writes it on the heart; and that Spirit is not given by the law, but is received by faith.

    — Calv Comm Gal 3.19

    This is the corollary point: The principle that “the law is not of faith” includes the fact that receiving of the Spirit comes by faith and not by law.

    This has direct bearing on your hypothesis that God sanctifies nations. For sanctification is the work of the Spirit. And the Spirit comes by faith and not by the law. It therefore follows that nations will not be sanctified by the law, but only as their citizens come to faith. THAT is the point of anti-theonomy. It is not disregard God’s Law, not at all. It is only to say that God’s Law cannot sanctify because it cannot change the heart. The changing of the heart is the unique work of the Spirit, who is received by faith.

    Like

  48. God may well judge us for gay marriage. But if Romans 1 is correct, gay marriage is a *judgment* for the previous sins of abandoning the faith and blaspheming the creator. And if Ezekiel is correct, we are already under judgment for loving money and luxury while neglecting the poor. So many, many sins; so little outrage to go around.

    Like

  49. Jeff says: Your claim about Romans 9 has been, if I have read correctly, that the Pharisees did not receive righteous in the law because they approached the law without an attitude of faith. You deny that one could hypothetically be righteous if one could hypothetically keep the law.

    “As if it were by works”

    That says it all! Case closed! Pssst, Jeff we are all born of sin, so we are already polluted out of the gate. Since we are fallen, no one could ever hypothetically keep the law. It’s simply out of the question.

    Like

  50. Jeff, try to deal with Romans 9

    “as if it were by works”

    That is the ultimate slam dunk if there ever was one. Those six words destroy TLINF.

    In fact, Sean has gone so far as to say, the ESV and NABS and the KJV have not translated that verse correctly lol! Sean understands what you keep missing, if that verse is correct, then TLINF is false.

    Like

  51. OK Doug, you’re right: there are gangs of gay spouses roaming the streets, climbing through the windows, snatching people up. Hide the wife, hide the kids. And a demonic malevolence settles on the countryside like a dense fog. All this from a poll of theonomists.

    I’ve had my turn with you. I find you unable to rightly interpret simple sentences. I don’t think blog commenting is your area of strength. I also didn’t think the kid on the porch was a great fighter but he fought nonetheless.

    Like

  52. Doug, I’ve only followed off and on your conversation with Jeff. I referred you to T. David Gordon’s exegesis and asked you to refute it. All you’ve done is scoff and chuff and otherwise scold. Briefly looking at Jeff’s explanation to you, my perusal is drawn to this;

    “This has direct bearing on your hypothesis that God sanctifies nations. For sanctification is the work of the Spirit. And the Spirit comes by faith and not by the law. It therefore follows that nations will not be sanctified by the law, but only as their citizens come to faith. THAT is the point of anti-theonomy. It is not disregard God’s Law, not at all. It is only to say that God’s Law cannot sanctify because it cannot change the heart. The changing of the heart is the unique work of the Spirit, who is received by faith.”

    I think you should live here for a while.

    Like

  53. Jeff, remember Peter warns us that Paul’s words can be twisted and easily misunderstood. TLINF is a case in point! When Paul refers to the law in the abstract, he’s not talking about the Mosaic covenant, which was an administration of the covenant of grace. To think the law could be approached “as if it were by works” would damn one to hell. This is why TLINF is D.O.A.

    Like

  54. Doug, just for the sake of clarity, I’d probably take issue with this part of what Jeff says;

    “It therefore follows that nations will not be sanctified by the law, but only as their citizens come to faith.”

    I’d buy it, if we were talking about the church as a “nation” or “citizens”, which Paul does, but this speaks to an eschatological position and a 2k discussion. What Jeff and I seem to agree on, I’ve never talked with Jeff directly about it, is that there are competing, even contrary principles being set against each other by Paul in Galatians; The law is not of faith. This statement is set within the context of Paul expounding on “why” the mosaic, and it’s pedagogical role in bringing the Abrahamic promise to fulfillment in the NC.

    Like

  55. M&M, once again you missed my point. And I can’t understand a sentence? Look in the mirror brother! If you can’t see big trouble legalizing an action (sin of sodomy) that has caused God to destroy cities and nations in times past, then I wonder about you.

    As I have written time and again, it took over three hundred and fifty years for God to destroy Jerusalem once they first started sacrificing their children in the fire. Why can’t you understand that huge point?! Let me make an analogy:

    How long has America been sacrificing her children to the god of convenience? I don’t know when God’s hand of judgment will fall, but it will certainly fall, lest our nation repents from this horrible sin. If God hates abortion, then we his people should as well.

    Like

  56. Sean, the competing principles are in the human heart, not the law. What was Israel’s problem? “They lacked faith, they looked at the law, “as if it were by works”.

    Your right, the law has no power in and of itself to change the heart. I agree! But the Spirit uses the law in sanctification! The Spirit makes the commandments come to life, as they reflect God’s will for us. So that “in Christ” we uphold the law. It was the same for David when he said:

    “I will run in the way of your commandments, when you enlarge my heart!”

    Like

  57. Sean says: It is only to say that God’s Law cannot sanctify because it cannot change the heart.

    Me: I agree, and so does Greg Bahnsen!

    BTW, that is theonomy 101

    Like

  58. Doug,

    You gotta slow down. You’re now claiming I’m a closet theonomist, which is about as likely as me being a closet homosexual, and everyone knows I came out years ago. Just don’t tell my wife. See what I did there?! I went absurdum AND tied it back into the overarching topic of the combox. It’s a twofer, and I’m here all week, folks.

    Doug the problem with your take on Gal. is that Paul doesn’t highlight the jews heart on the issue, he contrasts the Mosaic cov. itself with the NC;

    12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

    Paul is citing Lev. 18:5 as to the NATURE of the mosaic cov. Or what I’m calling material or working principle. It’s this principle that is contrary to faith.

    Now before you scream and throw things at the screen, live here for a while as well and then when you stop fidgeting, go and take your gay neighbor to the pub, and ask him if he really knows what he’s asking for by wanting the legally punitive side of marriage and divorce. I thought the gays were all “Oscar Wilde” about how marriage kills the allure of sex?! They’re gonna lynch Andrew Sullivan before it’s all said and done.

    Oscar Wilde;

    “Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.”

    Like

  59. Doug the problem with your take on Gal. is that Paul doesn’t highlight the jews heart on the issue, he contrasts the Mosaic cov. itself with the NC;

    That’s where your wrong Sean. Paul is shooting at the Judiazers misuse of the law. And because of your brittle understanding of Paul, you are contradicting other testimony in Scripture. This is why it’s obvious Gordon’s take on Galatians 3:10 is certainly wrong.

    By the way Sean, Dr K does’t think Gordon proved his case either!

    Like

  60. Doug: Jeff, remember Peter warns us that Paul’s words can be twisted and easily misunderstood.

    Yes, I do remember that. For that reason, I will pay close attention to grammar and context below.

    Doug: TLINF is a case in point!

    Once you’ve read it, we can discuss that hypothesis.

    Doug: try to deal with Romans 9

    “as if it were by works”

    That is the ultimate slam dunk if there ever was one.

    I’m left to infer your argument, which appears to run something like this. Please correct the details if necessary.

    (1) Paul teaches that the error of the Jews was to pursue the law as if it were by works.
    (2) This means that pursuing the law in some other manner is correct.
    (3) And that manner is the manner of the Spirit,
    (3a) By fulfilling the law in the power of the Spirit.

    I would like to point out that one can read the same exegesis from Catholic apologists like Bob Sungenis. And they argue that legalism that tries to merit righteousness by list-keeping is wrong, but keeping the law by the Spirit merits righteousness. In this reading, Romans 9 draws a contrast between right law-keeping (by the Spirit) and wrong law-keeping (as if by works).

    The affinity to RC soteriology should cause us to at least pause.

    Now for the passage.

    NASB:

    30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is [t]by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it [u]by faith, but as though it were [v]by works.

    SBL:

    30 Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν; ὅτι ἔθνη τὰ μὴ διώκοντα δικαιοσύνην κατέλαβεν δικαιοσύνην, δικαιοσύνην δὲ τὴν ἐκ πίστεως· 31 Ἰσραὴλ δὲ διώκων νόμον δικαιοσύνης εἰς [l]νόμον [+ δικαιοσύνης] οὐκ ἔφθασεν. 32 διὰ τί; ὅτι οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως ἀλλ’ ὡς ἐξ [m]ἔργων·

    Literal Trans: What therefore do we say? That the Gentiles, the ones not pursuing righteousness, obtained righteousness, and a righteous the one of faith. But Israel pursuing a law of righteousness into a law did not attain. On account of what? That not of faith but as out of works

    Alright.

    First question: Into what did Israel not arrive?

    Answer: The law of righteousness.

    Second question: What is the law of righteousness?

    Answer: Contextually (meaning: chap 2 – 5) it is the Law of God.

    Third question: Why did they not attain to this law of righteousness?

    Answer: Because “not by faith but as if by works.”

    Fourth question: What does this mean?

    Here’s where the rubber meets the road. To answer this, we look at the contrast of the Gentiles. What did the Gentiles obtain?

    Here, the parallel structure helps clarify the grammar. It is clear that katalambano (“obtain”) is intended to be the synonym of phthano (“attain”). But there is a difference in accent: the Gentiles obtained in the sense of receiving, but the Israelites did not attain in the sense of reaching to.

    Now: we see that the Gentiles did obtain by faith. What did they obtain? Righteousness, which per Rom 4 is the righteousness of not having sins imputed.

    Why did the Israelites not obtain this? Because not by faith, but as if by works.

    Already, we can see that the argument above is incorrect. It should read,

    (1) Paul teaches that righteousness is obtained by faith, not by works.
    (2) Therefore, righteousness does not come from the law (whether pursuing the law as if by works OR obeying the law by the power of the Spirit), but by faith.

    The Gentiles did not become righteous by obeying the law in a different way, but by being justified by faith.

    Thus, Romans 9 is irrelevant to the question, “Could someone hypothetically be righteous by keeping the Law?”

    The contrast drawn there is not between pursuing the Law as if by works VS pursuing the Law through the Spirit, but rather obtaining righteousness by faith VS obtaining righteousness by the Law.

    Paul is saying that righteousness cannot be obtained by law-keeping.

    So now we ask, why not? Is it because law-keepers are not righteous, OR is it because no-one is a law-keeper? Paul has already answered this question in chap 2 – 3.

    “for it is not the hearers [j]of the Law who are [k]just before God, but the doers [l]of the Law will be justified. ” — Rom 2.13.

    “we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 10 as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one;
    11 There is none who understands,
    There is none who seeks for God ” — Rom 3.9 – 11

    That answers the question. No-one is justified by keeping the law BECAUSE no-one keeps the law. IF they did, then Rom 2.13 would be definitive: they would be just before God.

    That’s the Hypothetical Works Principle, and Romans 9 does not address or negate it. Instead, Romans 9 negates receiving righteousness by the Law in favor of being made righteous by faith.

    If Romans 9 were written to negate the hypothetical works principle, then it would have to be written thus: “The Gentiles have obtained a righteousness, the righteousness that comes from keeping the law by faith [or by the Spirit].” It would draw a contrast between right law-keeping and wrong law-keeping.

    But it does not. It draws a contrast between law-keeping and faith.

    To summarize: There are two possible reasons that righteousness cannot be had by the law. One possible reason is that obeying the law does not make one righteous. The other possible reason is that no-one obeys the law.

    Romans 2.13 and 3.10, as well Gal 3.10, as well Calvin’s commentary on Gal 3.10, point univocally in the second direction. Romans 9 has nothing to say about that question.

    There is a convolution here, an apparent paradox, that makes it difficult to see one’s way clear.

    IF one accepts the hypothetical works principle, then Jesus’ obedience is meritorious. This means that His people have imputed to them his righteousness (whether in toto or per-item is irrelevant), and righteousness is thus by faith. This is historic Protestantism.

    BUT IF one denies the hypothetical works principle, then Jesus’ obedience is not meritorious (though His suffering is). It thus remains for His people to be righteous by the right kind of law-keeping. Thus, righteousness is by Spirit-filled law-keeping. This is Tridentine Catholicism.

    Where does your soteriology fall? It wants to have a little of each. You affirm righteousness by faith, but deny the hypothetical works principle and … ta-da! … your pastoral approach is to focus on law-keeping, both for believers and for nations.

    What *is* that? It’s not Catholic exactly, but it’s not historic Protestant either.

    Like

  61. Job errrr MM, it’s either that or Doug’s exegesis is so unintentionally similar to Cross’/Stellman/Sugenis/insert your favorite prot turned RC apologist, it’s like killing two birds with the proverbial single stone. A stone that I keep waiting for Doug to brandish and prove he’s gonna stand in the gap for God and stop blustering.

    More Oscar Wilde;

    Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.

    The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.

    “Long engagements give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage, which is never advisable.”

    In married life three is company and two none.

    One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
    “The proper basis for marriage is mutual misunderstanding. The happiness of a married man depends on the people he has not married. One should always be in love – that’s the reason one should never marry.”

    Like

  62. Sean, with quips like that you’ll never be invited to speak at the “I Kissed Dating Good-Bye (sponsored by the Courtship Is the New Evangelical Fade)” conferences. And if you have a daughter, you can forget being invited to Purity Balls. He-he, Purity Balls.

    Like

  63. Sean,

    Don’t forget W.C. Fields and Groucho Marx on marriage:

    Fields:

    No doubt exists that all women are crazy; it’s only a question of degree.

    I was married once–in San Francisco. I haven’t seen her for many years. The great earthquake and fire in 1906 destroyed the marriage certificate. There’s no legal proof. Which proves that earthquakes aren’t all bad.

    (To the question: Do married people live longer?–Fields responded:) “No, it just seems longer.”

    Marx:

    Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?

    The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his checkbook open.

    Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.

    I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.

    Like

  64. Paul is citing Lev. 18:5 as to the NATURE of the mosaic cov. Or what I’m calling material or working principle. It’s this principle that is contrary to faith.

    And that is what I am denying! There was no working principle offered in the Mosaic Covenant. God did not have a double standard or two ways to achieve salvation. It was always through Christ alone, period.

    Like

  65. Mencken:

    Bachelors know more about women than married men; if they didn’t they’d be married too.

    Strike an average between what a woman thinks of her husband a month before she marries him and what she thinks of him a year afterward, and you will have the truth about him.

    Men have a much better time of it than women. For one thing, they marry later. For another thing, they die earlier.

    The present system [of choosing one’s spouse], to be sure, also involves chance. Every man realizes it, and even the most bombastic bachelor has moments in which he humbly whispers: “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” But that chance has a sugarcoating; it is swathed in egoistic illusion; it shows less stark and intolerable chanciness, so to speak, than the bald hazard of the die. Thus men prefer it, and shrink from the other. In the same way, I have no doubt, the majority of foxes would object to choosing lots to determine the victim of a projected fox-hunt. They prefer to take their chances with the dogs.

    Like

  66. Zrim, once I was informed we were just a big echo chamber of fanboys, quips, and one-liners, I figured; “O.K.”. As I’m digging back through my RC past, one of the things I remember in the piety of the very devout was an fairly public self-righteousness. Earthy RC’s never partook. So, I’m thinking if one is new to RC it’s easy to get self-righteousness, even snobbery, confused with thin-skinned. But, I digress. That and if we really don’t believe marriage is a sacrament………………… Plus, how do you get more gay than Oscar Wilde? Someone hijacked the gays and sold them a bill of goods.

    Todd, thank you.

    Like

  67. Jeff asks:

    1) Paul teaches that the error of the Jews was to pursue the law as if it were by works.

    Exactly!
    (2) This means that pursuing the law in some other manner is correct.

    No, it had to be apprehended by faith. Just like Paul said.

    (3) And that manner is the manner of the Spirit,

    Jeff, can you speak in the language of the Bible? The righteous pursued the law by faith, just like King David. Is this really so hard?

    (3a) By fulfilling the law in the power of the Spirit.

    No Jeff! Christ was the aim, or end of the law! In other words, the ceremonial law was all about Christ! And the only way anyone could walk in a way pleasing to God was by faith. Not in the law itself, but in what the law pointed too; Christ Jesus himself!

    Like

  68. “And that is what I am denying! There was no working principle offered in the Mosaic Covenant. God did not have a double standard or two ways to achieve salvation. It was always through Christ alone, period.”

    Doug, did I miss it? is this your contrary exegesis or even Dr K’s?

    Like

  69. OK, thanks for the corrections. So the revised standard Doug argument is

    (1) Paul teaches that the error of the Jews was to pursue the law as if by works.

    Like

  70. Stupid smart device

    (1). Paul teaches that the error of the Jews was to pursue the law as if By works.

    (2) What they should have done was to apprehend the law by faith

    (3) The ceremonial law was all about Christ

    (4) So the only way to walk in a manner pleasing to God was by faith.

    Is this right?

    Like

  71. Sean, the piety of very devout evangelicals also yields a public self-righteousness. But we didn’t have any earthy ones. But I found the echo chamber remark odd and, ironically, insulting. Sanctification is hard, especially when it’s justifying.

    Like

  72. (1). Paul teaches that the error of the Jews was to pursue the law as if By works.

    Paul says the Jews problem was that they lacked faith, and pursued the law, “as if it were by works”. Anything that is not of faith is sin Jeff, both in old and new administrations.

    (2) What they should have done was to apprehend the law by faith.

    Jeff, we are saved by grace, through faith, and that is not of ourselves. It was the same in both administrations. God circumcises our heart, (born again) we respond with repentance and faith. It’s all a gift from God.

    (3) The ceremonial law was all about Christ.

    Yes, it pointed to Christ. The whole Temple was a parable about Christ. We are now living stones and a temple of God with Christ being our cornerstone.

    (4) So the only way to walk in a manner pleasing to God was by faith.

    Jeff, everything that is not of faith, is sin. This is why it’s ludicrous for anyone to insinuate the law could have been achieved in ones own strength. The concept is laughable, and I can’t believe you guys have latched to this view.

    BTW Jeff, you call me position RC, but my WCF workbook printed in 61 doesnt know of this work principle in the Mosaic covenant. My workbook agrees with what I have espoused. So I don’t think it’s fair for you to label me a RC, because I’m not. Ironically, who were the RC’s most afraid of? Was it not Greg Bahnsen? So I hold to Bahnsen’s Systematic theology and get called a RC?

    Like

  73. Jeff, if you understand total depravity, then you would know the concept of keeping the law (in ones own strength) was out of the question. God hates the sacrifice of the wicked, it’s a stench in his nostrils. So the only thing acceptable to God is a broken and contrite heart. Which is a result of God’s work in our life “regeneration”. The notion that God encouraged anything other than faith is laughable. Why would God lie? Since anything that is not of faith is sin!

    Like

  74. Doug: This is why it’s ludicrous for anyone to insinuate the law could have been achieved in ones own strength.

    No-one has ever insinuated this. In fact, if you read my post above more carefully, you will see that I am affirming that inability is the reason that people cannot be justified by the law.

    If you’ve been reading people here as saying that we *can* keep the law in our own strength, then I can understand why you’d balk at that — but your reaction is based on a misunderstanding.

    So do I understand by your response that I have accurately summarized your argument?

    Like

  75. Doug, to elaborate. Man’s inability to keep the Law is a given. And for this reason, we should not think of God providing the Law for the purpose of tempting people into legalism, or of giving an alternate method of salvation. Both of these options are entirely off the table.

    Joshua, for example:

    Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.” But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.” Josh 24.19

    The author is portraying the Hebrews as foolish in this regard.

    And Paul:

    The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. Rom 5.20a

    And we understand that this does not mean that God gave the law in order to make people sin, but rather so that sin might be clearly seen as sin.

    So the purpose of the giving of the law WAS NOT to induce people to be righteous by keeping the law. It was rather to expose unrighteousness.

    But, there was indeed One who was righteous and who did keep the law, and was declared an obedient Son on that account. Hebrews 3.1-6.

    I hope that helps clarify the position.

    Like

  76. Fine Jeff, now just admit that there was nothing in the law, that was antithetical to faith and we will be in perfect agreement. This notion that God put something in the law, that was against faith is ridiculous. The problem, as I have pointed out, was with the heart of the people, not with the law.

    The law, just like the gospel today, needed to be apprehended by faith. In fact, the law contained the gospel in figures, amen? If you agree to this very reasonable proposition, then you deny TLINF as you should imho.

    Like

  77. Gal 3:12

    [f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”

    Doug, I need your or Dr K’s exegesis

    Like

  78. Jeff says: So the purpose of the giving of the law WAS NOT to induce people to be righteous by keeping the law. It was rather to expose unrighteousness.

    Me: PLUS, give the people provisions for when they did inevitably sin. And not only for forgiveness, but sanctification as well. When God offered Israel forgiveness and sanctification for their sins, that is completely gracious! This is why the law, was an administration of grace! There was nothing in the law, that was antithetical to faith. God is not double minded!

    “And your sins shall be forgiven”.

    Like

  79. Sean, this is a classic example of letting the Bible interpret the Bible. Try to follow basic logic; since everything that is not of faith is sin, (according to Paul) then God could not have put something in his good law, that encouraged sin. Therefore, Paul is saying, “If you’ll are going to deny Christ, (which the Judiazers were) then keep the whole law”, as in ha ha, no one can do that.

    Paul is NOT saying it’s even possible, since we all know anything that is not of faith is sin. He’s making fun of the Jewish mindset of his day. He surely isn’t suggesting that it is possible to save yourself by law! Once you see this obvious truth, VanDurnen and Gordon’s work falls apart at the seems, as it should.

    Like

  80. Sean, this is (down below) Venema’s response: Notice, *young* Sean, how he says, that the historic Reformed distinction between the three uses of the law provides a better answer to the complex question. This puts you and VanDrunen on the outside looking in.

    iv) “In my critical assessment of the republication thesis of TLNF, I have intimated that the historic Reformed distinction between the “three uses” of the law provides a better answer to the complex question that this thesis aims to resolve.”

    v) “The tendency to identify the holy law of God with the covenant of works or what the authors of TLNF term the “works principle” of covenant inheritance, creates an instability with respect to the Reformed view of the third use of the law.” [primarily has VanDrunen in mind here]

    See Sean? VanDrunen talks out of both sides of his mouth. That’s what instability means😉 Or to be a little more gracious, VanDrunen is inconsistent when it comes to his understanding of the third use of the law. A novel understanding at that!

    Like

  81. Sean, read it and weep; more of Dr. Venema.

    i) One in Substance, Diverse in Mode of Administration – “Though the authors of the volume profess their adherence to the historic Reformed theology of the covenants, they offer an account of the Mosaic economy that seems at odds with the classic Reformed position that there are only two covenants, a prelapsarian covenant of works and a postlapsarian covenant of grace, of which the Mosaic covenant is a particular administration. The traditional formula of Reformed covenant theology, that the covenant of grace is one in substance though diverse in administration, entails that the Mosaic covenant was substantially a covenant of grace and only accidentally distinct from other administrations of the covenant of grace. This means that the distinctive features of the covenant of grace, which distinguish it in substance from the covenant of works, characterize the Mosaic administration in its entirety. It also means that whatever features of the Mosaic administration distinguish it from other administrations of the covenant of grace belong to the category of adjuncts or accidents, which do not materially affect its nature or character.
    The theological problem posed by the republication thesis can be stated rather simply. If what belongs to the substance of the covenant of works does not belong to the substance of the covenant of grace in any of its administrations, it is semantically and theologically problematic to denominate the Mosaic administration as in any sense a covenant of works.”

    Me: Notice Sean how polite the good Dr. is? Let me boil it down for you. VanDrunen is against the traditional understanding of “reformed theology”! Quit calling me a RC, when all I’m doing is upholding the traditional reformed understanding of covenant theology!

    Nuff said!

    P.S. That means DGH is out to lunch as well, since he had a hand in this “off the reservation” collaboration.

    Like

  82. John Murray is another powerful witness who stands on the traditional reformed side with me.

    John Murray: “The disposition to construe the demand for obedience in the Mosaic economy as having affinity with works rather than grace arises from failure to recognize that the demand for obedience in the Mosaic covenant is principlly identical with the same demand under the gospel. When we re-examine the demand for obedience in the Mosaic covenant (cf. Exodus 19:5, 6; 24:7) in the light of the relations of law and grace in the gospel, we shall discover that the complex of ideas is totally alien to a construction in terms of works as opposed to grace. Obedience belongs here no more ‘to the legal sphere of merit’3 than in the new covenant. The New Testament believer is not without law to God but under law to Christ. He delights in the law of God after the inward man and he therefore reiterates the exclamation of the Old Testament saint, ‘O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day’ (Psalm 119:97). And he also is not forgetful that he who was the incarnation and embodiment of virtue, he who is the supreme and perfect example, said, ‘I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart’ (Psalm 40:8).” (“Law and Grace,” in Principles of Conduct)

    Like

  83. Doug: Paul is NOT saying it’s even possible, since we all know anything that is not of faith is sin.

    Again, no one is saying that it was possible. If your critique is based on the assumption that people (I, Gordon) are saying that it was possible, then your critique is resting on the wrong foundation.

    To go further,

    Doug: The problem, as I have pointed out, was with the heart of the people, not with the law.

    Full agreement there. There was and is nothing wrong with the law of God. The question is, “What was its function.”

    So far, we have identified at least one: To expose transgressions.

    You want to assert a second function, to provide a provision for forgiveness of sin. I have previously argued that the sacrifices were distinct from the commands; you aren’t happy with this distinction. So I suggest that we find a point of common ground. Can we agree that the provision for forgiveness is limited to the ceremonial law?

    That is, neither the moral law nor the civil law exhibit grace?

    Like

  84. Jeff and Sean, I stand behind Murray’s paragraph 100%!

    Murray was the systematic theology professor at Westminster Seminary of Philadelphia, no? Murray was considered the best systematic “reformed” theologian of his day, no? Murray is “reformed” 101 on how *we* are to view the covenant of grace. One covenant different administrations. Therefore the law is in perfect harmony with grace, “in Christ”, during both administrations according to Murray!!!

    Please quit calling my perspective, which aligns perfectly with Dr. John Murray; a RC position! I find that repugnant and mean spirited.

    John Murray places VanDrunen, Gordon, and Hart, on the back porch and in the dog house of the reformed world. Sean, If you want to hang (theologically) with these dubious characters, (TLINF gang) you’ll need to take an exception, you’re OPC, right? The law was just as gracious as the gospel; in that it saved the elect just like the gospel does today. Faith is still the key, as it was back then.

    . TLINF’s view of the Mosaic covenant, is tortured and confused, (that’s putting it nicely) saying it’s both legalistic and grace. The whole reformed community should get on their heels and say; Stop it!

    Like

  85. Venema via Doug: The traditional formula of Reformed covenant theology, that the covenant of grace is one in substance though diverse in administration, entails that the Mosaic covenant was substantially a covenant of grace and only accidentally distinct from other administrations of the covenant of grace. This means that the distinctive features of the covenant of grace, which distinguish it in substance from the covenant of works, characterize the Mosaic administration in its entirety.

    Actually, I have no argument with this. This is one reason that I distinguish between the sacrifices (which belong to the essence of the covenant) and the commands (which do not).

    The key question, now, is Does the Law belong to the essence of the Mosaic covenant, or to its administration? I can’t speak for Gordon (though I suspect I know what he would say). For myself, I would emphatically say that the Law (civil, ceremonial) belonged to its administration only.

    It’s entirely possible that Gordon would say the same.

    So I think Venema might be talking past Gordon, taking aim at a view that Gordon does not hold.

    I am pretty confident that you, Doug, have misunderstood somewhat of the position.

    Doug: Quit calling me a RC

    That would be my fault, not Sean’s. I’ll leave off. The intent was not to say that your soteriology is identical to Rome’s, but that it shows some similarities.

    But I’m pleased that the association outrages you, in that it shows a desire on your part to be justified by grace and not works. Hold on to that thought.

    Like

  86. Doug: TLINF’s view of the Mosaic covenant, is tortured and confused

    Doug, it’s actually not truthful for you to assert something like this if you haven’t verified it for yourself. It would be much better to interact with the views presented here, until of course you have actually read TLNF.

    There’s another good reason: The view I’m presenting owes much more to Calvin and Hodge than to Gordon and Fesko. So even if you blew gaping holes into TLNF with your atomic Venema quotes, my own view would still stand.

    Like

  87. Doug,

    I actually appreciate some of the distinctions you’re beginning to make. The question however is not whether the mosaic covenant is an administration of the covenant of grace, but HOW or in what manner is it so. Paul is arguing for a pedagogical use of the law or sinai as it regards the NC. IOW, the law is a schoolmaster to lead you to Christ. So, HOW does the law do that? Certainly we can talk about it typically, but the point of emphasis for Paul, particularly in Gal, is to draw out it’s antithetical nature. So, what is it about Sinai that is NOT conducive to the NC or in this case the Abrahamic promise? Paul cites Lev. 18:5 as principle; by which it doesn’t share coherence with the NC. And he says it in this way; the law(sinai, torah, moses) as considered from the point of view of Lev. 18:5 is NOT of faith. As a matter of fact it was/is not so, so that IT(the law) might imprison us in our sin(I can’t save myself& see God’s goodness and my badness), so that, we might come to Christ. This is the pedagogical use. So, there’s no deficiency in the law, it did it’s job in service of the gospel. But, HOW it did that, as considered from Lev 18:5, was to posit a works principle, by which we might despair and come to Christ APART from our works and by faith through grace embrace Christ. The continuity on the grace/faith continuum you’re looking for is back to Abraham and necessarily so, because if we make of the Law, as considered per Lev 18:5, of the principle of grace and faith, then it’s not available to perform it’s pedagogical purpose(driving us) to embrace Jesus Christ by faith.

    Like

  88. Doug, I did accuse you of sounding RC, and I did it on purpose to offend you. I may dislike theonomy, a lot, but it doesn’t mean I want you or any theonomist to flee to Rome. It was my own version of stupor-jarring. Can’t say I’m sorry you took offense because, like Jeff, I don’t want you wittingly or unwittingly near that cliff.

    Like

  89. Jeff, you really need to read this very carefully, and then please interact. As you will see, Murray destroy’s your command/suggestion theory.

    John Murray: “The disposition to construe the demand for obedience in the Mosaic economy as having affinity with works rather than grace arises from failure to recognize that the demand for obedience in the Mosaic covenant is principly identical with the same demand under the gospel. When we re-examine the demand for obedience in the Mosaic covenant (cf. Exodus 19:5, 6; 24:7) in the light of the relations of law and grace in the gospel, we shall discover that the complex of ideas is totally alien to a construction in terms of works as opposed to grace. Obedience belongs here no more ‘to the legal sphere of merit’3 than in the new covenant. The New Testament believer is not without law to God but under law to Christ. He delights in the law of God after the inward man and he therefore reiterates the exclamation of the Old Testament saint, ‘O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day’ (Psalm 119:97). And he also is not forgetful that he who was the incarnation and embodiment of virtue, he who is the supreme and perfect example, said, ‘I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart’ (Psalm 40:8).” (“Law and Grace,” in Principles of Conduct)

    Like

  90. Doug,

    I think it is widely acknowledged today that Murray’s theology has some substantial problems. Those problems were not too germane to the chief debates that concerned the conservative Reformed denominations during the years when Murray was active. They have only been uncovered by more recent debates. You act as if there’s some kind of estoppel at play, implying that we now have to accept Murray’s problematic theology as authoritative or “traditional” because those criticisms weren’t levied during the years of Murray’s primary activity. Nothing could be more absurd.

    During the years of Murray’s primary activity, conservative Reformed denominations were primarily concerned, if not obsessed, with distinguishing themselves from the Protestant mainline. Thus, while Murray’s theology may have been viewed with some skepticism, it wasn’t perceived as dangerous. Its deficiencies became more apparent with the rise of theonomy in the 1980s.

    Like

  91. Bobby; are you now willing to throw Dr. Venema under the bus as well? It was Dr. Venema who said “The traditional formula of Reformed covenant theology, that the covenant of grace is one in substance though diverse in administration, entails that the Mosaic covenant was substantially a covenant of grace and only accidentally distinct from other administrations of the covenant of grace. This means that the distinctive features of the covenant of grace, which distinguish it in substance from the covenant of works, characterize the Mosaic administration in its entirety.”

    Bobby, my position lines up nicely with the traditional formula of Reformed covenant theology. It also lines up perfectly with Dr. John Murray. So let’s not call my position a RC position, okay? This notion, that the Mosaic covenant had a works principle inside of it, is ludicrous. As I have proven from Scripture, the only problem was Israel’s lack of faith, period, end of story. The law preached the same gospel, it just needed to be apprehended by faith, JUST LIKE TODAY.

    Like

  92. Doug,

    Where did I “call [your] position an RC position”? Nowhere! Why does theonomy necessitate that we struggle against SSM, and yet excuse its proponents when they perpetuate one false statement after another. I also recall the theonomist bookseller, Great Christian Books, that had a penchant for charging customers’ credit cards for books that they had no intent of shipping. Maybe you guys should focus less on the Culture War, and focus a bit more on things like lying, cheating, and stealing.

    Also, I have no idea who “Dr. Venema” is. I did an internet search and came across a guy at some obscure seminary in Indiana. Is this who you’re referring to? It looks like he’s something of an apologist for neo-Calvinism. Surely you can’t be suggesting that Kuyperianism is “traditional” Reformed theology. Kuyperianism strikes me as nothing more than a failed effort to re-imagine Protestant theology through the lens of German Romanticism. I see no reason to be beholden to such a philosophical concoction.

    Like

  93. D.G. Hart,

    Sullivan sure is scoring a lot of points of late. One wonders why. I did see him make a defense of classical liberalism at Harvard once. It was obvious he knew his stuff and that he was gifted rhetorically. But he lost me when after laying out a great summation for classical liberalism he then went on to be a pure apologist for statism progress and ever widening expansion into individual life.

    Great insights concerning Civil Rights legislation in comparsion with gay culture. As a hetersexual black man (an Old school Presbyterian even!), I’m not seeing a whole bunch of domestication going on when a man and woman hook elbows sort of speak. In a word, domestication is not attenuating the list of negatives you so aptly mentioned spoiling masculine culture in these years.

    Not that it matters: I’m fairly well read, tidy, refined, don’t wear baggy clothes unless weigh-loss has occurred; don’t sport backwards hat wearing, and I’m neither married or gay. Lol.

    Some men — quite a few I hope — can be about town without being either gay or married. That’s not to put down ladies, of course. They are wonderful and mysterious creatures. Especially when confessionally Presbyterian.

    Cheers! (Keep up the good work Mr Hart)

    djbeilstein

    Like

  94. David – “don’t wear baggy clothes unless weigh-loss has occurred”

    You’ve officially become a middle-aged man. The only time we make a fashion statement is on accident.

    I did some clothes shopping today for the first time in a long time. Actually my wife did. She brings clothes home and I try them on. If she likes them, we keep them.

    The one thing you lack is a good woman to make most of life’s difficult decisions for you.

    Like

  95. David,

    A Hart piece from the “Dictionary of the Presbyterian & Reformed Tradition in America” on John Gloucester (1776-1822):

    “Presbyterian minister and founder of the first African-American Presbyterian church. Born a slave in Kentucky and converted by the preaching of a Presbyterian minister, Gideon Blackburn. Gloucester began to receive training for the ministry when Blackburn purchased him and took him to his home in Tennessee for instruction in Presbyterian divinity. After Gloucester preached to the nearby Cherokees, Blackburn advocated in 1807 that the Presbytery of Union license him to preach. At the same time, Archibald Alexander, then pastor of Third Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, who met Gloucester at the 1807 general assembly, asked him to go North for the purpose of serving in the Evangelical Society, an agency that evangelized blacks in Alexander’s hometown. Blackburn agreed to free Gloucester to comply with Alexander’s request. Gloucester’s preaching led in May 1807 to the organization of the First African Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. he was finally licensed to preach in 1810 by the Presbytery of Union and a year later transferred his credentials to the Presbytery of Philadelphia.

    In addition to pastoral duties and overseeing a sabbath school and a day school, Gloucester traveled frequently to raise funds for the manumission (freeing) of his wife and four children. In 1818 he went as far as England to secure the remainder of the fifteen hundred dollars he needed. His trip was successful, and upon his return to Philadelphia he was reunited with his family. Gloucester’s two sons, Stephen and James, followed in their father’s footsteps, the former founding the Central Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia in 1844 and the latter organizing the Siloam Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn in 1849. Gloucester’s admirers remembered him as an excellent preacher and an even better singer. Consumption (tuberculosis) contributed to his death.”

    Like

  96. Bobby, if you had been paying attention, the charge has been leveled at me, that my position looks like a RC apologetic. Then you jump in on post 110 and act like you haven’t heard this? Read Bobby, read, before you pop off. As for Dr. Venama, this his bio:

    While studying at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1979-1981, Dr. Venema was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Theology. He served as pastor of the Christian Reformed Church of Ontario, California, for six years before coming to Mid-America.

    Dr. Venema serves as President of the Seminary in addition to his systematic theology teaching responsibilities. He has served as an elder in his church and preaches on a regular basis. Dr. Venema also speaks and teaches in a variety of church and conference settings.

    His special interest lies in Reformation theology, particularly the work of the Reformers John Calvin and Heinrich Bullinger. Dr. Venema’s books, Heinrich Bullinger and the Doctrine of Predestination: Author of “The Other Reformed Tradition”? and Accepted and Renewed in Christ: The “Twofold Grace of God” and the Interpretation of Calvin’s Theology, reflect this interest. He is the author of several other books including But for the Grace of God: An Exposition of the Canons of Dort; What We Believe: An Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed; The Promise of the Future; Getting the Gospel Right; Children at the Lord’s Table?; Christ and the Future; The Promise of the Future Study Guide; and The Gospel of Free Acceptance in Christ. Dr. Venema is a co-editor and frequent contributor to The Outlook and the Mid-America Journal of Theology.

    Bobby, I would call those pretty impressive “reformed” credentials, wouldn’t you? He’s President of MARS systematic theology. And Dr. Venama thinks TLINF is faulty and not in keeping with the traditional view of the Mosaic covenant being the same in substance as the new covenant. The difference is in administration only. The same covenant! That is reformed covenant theology 101. You and your ilk have strayed off the reservation.

    I stand with the reformers who thought there were only two covenants, once before the fall, and one after, PERIOD. And none of this works principle nonsense sneaked in the back door of the Mosaic. Once you accept the traditional way of understanding the covenant of grace, we will be in harmony.

    Like

  97. Doug – “He’s President of MARS systematic theology”

    Erik – I don’t groc. How can we except the testimony of a theologian from another planet? I know you are from California, Doug, but let’s not get crazy. Is his interpretation corroborated by any theologians from Saturn or Jupiter?

    Like

  98. Did any other “Mad Men” watchers pick up the “grok” reference from the kid in the run down house that Betty goes to to look for the girl? Heinlein reference, but he wrote “Stranger in a Strange Land” in 1961 and it’s the mid to late late 60s now on the show

    Like

  99. Sorry Erik, but I wouldn’t consider watching “Mad men”, which to me, is akin to eating “unclean food” in the Mosaic covenant. When you open yourself up to that kind of entertainment, (worldly) it causes you to think in line with the world, rather than thinking God’s thoughts after him. I’m not saying it’s a sin, per se to watch TV, it’s just very unwise, and begging for disaster in my humble opinion.

    Watching shows like “Mad men” can’t help you to walk by faith in Christ, therefore I think you should drop that nonsense, like a bad habit. How about reading Psalms every month? Just read five chapters a day for 30 days, and you got it! In addition to your other Scriptural disciplines of course.

    Then do that for about three or four years soaking in the Psalms, and praying for God to open the eyes of your heart, and see all the ways you see life differently. I suggest you will have more joy and confidence in your walk with God. And you will spend in your prayer life on things that are eternal, rather than wasting your time on “worldly entertainment”, most of which is trash. Spend 90% of that time you waste on TV and transfer it to meditation on God’s word, and see how things change.

    Keep pressing on!

    P.S. You know I love you bro!

    Like

  100. Doug,

    I appreciate Murray for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that he completed my crossover from credo to paedobaptism. I think his treatment of the church is outstanding.

    But you should be aware that while he was at WTS, there was a rift between himself and others. Kline, certainly. But even those in between found themselves qualifying some of his statements. O. Palmer Robertson, for example, in Christ of the Covenants, places some distance between himself and Murray’s tendency to collapse the covenant of works into the covenant of grace.

    In other words, Murray (like all of us) had some weak spots in his theology. His weak spot was a tendency to minimize the systematic theological work of the 16th and 17th centuries in favor of his own exegesis. In general, I admire that spirit, and I resonate with it.

    But what I’ve learned is that there are places where we have to listen to the collective wisdom of the church, and one of those places is in this area of the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.

    Murray’s tendency is to flatten the two. It’s not that he ignored Calvin, Witsius, et al. It’s that he thought they needed correction.

    That tendency is evident in the quote you provide. Let’s dissect it.

    Thesis: “The disposition to construe the demand for obedience in the Mosaic economy as having affinity with works rather than grace arises from failure to recognize that the demand for obedience in the Mosaic covenant is principly identical with the same demand under the gospel.

    Support: (1) When we re-examine the demand for obedience in the Mosaic covenant (cf. Exodus 19:5, 6; 24:7) in the light of the relations of law and grace in the gospel, we shall discover that the complex of ideas is totally alien to a construction in terms of works as opposed to grace.

    (2) Obedience belongs here no more ‘to the legal sphere of merit’ than in the new covenant.

    (3) The New Testament believer is not without law to God but under law to Christ.

    (4) He delights in the law of God after the inward man and he therefore reiterates the exclamation of the Old Testament saint, ‘O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day’ (Psalm 119:97).

    Before we evaluate his supports, observe that in all four supporting statements, he emphasizes the continuity of Old and New testaments without any mention of their differences.

    Can you agree so far?

    Also, have no idea what you mean by my “command/suggestion theory.” What do you have in mind?

    Like

  101. Yes Erik, your leisure time would be much better spent typing thousands and thousands of words on oldlife, going absolutely nowhere…

    Like

  102. Jeff, when God commands us to obey, as in “do this and live”, I see that command as an exact parallel to the command to obey the gospel. You see a difference, no? You see brute commands in the Mosaic covenant while Murray and myself see no difference in either testament. We are commanded to offer ourselves up a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable duty in the new testament. What is more of a brute command than that? Living sacrifice? Wow!

    Both Testaments have commandments, with an offer of life for those who obey. Our life is hidden in Christ in both testaments. Not just our justification either, our obedience or sanctification is also life, when we walk in faith! It was the same in both testaments. Faith equals life, (Christ) while anything else, equals death. Of course faith is a gift of God lest anyone of us should boast.

    Now let me quickly say, that our salvation is grounded on the completed work of Christ and amen! But good works are the reason God saved us, so both justification and sanctification are very important. If we are truly saved, (born of God) then we must press on to the higher calling found in Christ Jesus. Which is just another way of saying, “walk by faith”. It was the same in both testaments. Both testaments have commands, both testaments were all about Christ. Both testaments required the elect to walk by faith.

    Like

  103. Bobby bellows; Also, I have no idea who “Dr. Venema” is. I did an internet search and came across a guy at some obscure seminary in Indiana.

    So MARS is some obscure seminary? Here is the point Bobby, not everything we debate can fairly be called NeoCalvinism. How we view the covenant of grace is one of those things. The traditional perspective has no truck with TLINF, as in none!

    The irony is that men like DGH, refer to themselves strict subscriptionists to the WCF, when in reality he’s waaaaaay off the reservation. If you hold to the teaching of TLINF then you need to take an exception from the WCF. Psssst, DGH, is not really reformed with his perspective of the covenant of grace.

    Like

  104. Doug,

    What are your thoughts about these two:

    What law can do is in some respects quite obvious, in other respects frequently overlooked. (1) Law commands and demands; it propounds what the will of God is. The law of God is the holiness of God coming to expression for the regulation of thought and conduct consonant with his holiness. We must be perfect as God is perfect; the law is that which the perfection of God dictates in order to bring about conformity with his perfection. (2) Law pronounces approval and blessing upon conformity to its demands. The commandment was ordained to life (Romans 7:10), and the man that does the things of the law will live in them (Galatians 3:12). Law not only enunciates justice; it guards justice. It ensures that where there is righteousness to the full extent of its demand there will be the corresponding justification and life. Only when there is deviation from its demands does any adverse judgment proceed from the law. (3) Law pronounces the judgment of condemnation upon every infraction of its precept. The law has nought but curse for any person who has once broken its sanctity; he who is guilty at one point is guilty of all. ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them’ (Galatians 3:10). (4) Law exposes and convicts of sin. It exposes the sin that may lie hid in the deepest recesses of the heart.

    AND

    What law as law cannot do is implicit in what we have found to be the utmost of its potency. (1) Law can do nothing to justify the person who in any particular has violated its sanctity and come under its curse. Law, as law, has no expiatory provision; it exercises no forgiving grace; and it has no power of enablement to the fulfilment of its own demand. It knows no clemency for the remission of guilt; it provides no righteousness to meet our iniquity; it exerts no constraining power to reclaim our waywardness; it knows no mercy to melt our hearts in penitence and new obedience. (a) It can do nothing to relieve the bondage of sin; it accentuates and confirms that bondage. It is this impossibility to alleviate the bondage of sin that is particularly in view in Romans 6:14. The person who is ‘under law’, the person upon whom only law has been brought to bear, the person whose life has been determined exclusively by the resources and potencies of law, is the bondservant of sin. And the more intelligently and resolutely a person commits himself to law the more abandoned becomes his slavery to sin. Hence deliverance from the bondage of sin must come from an entirely different source.

    I would especially like your thoughts on the three bolded sentences.

    Like

  105. Doug,

    As an observer on this conversation, here’s a piece of advice. Your appeal to authority (Venema, Murray) is a bit much, and is a well known logical fallacy.

    As other posters have noted, Venema and Murray are both great Reformed thinkers, who have said more or less helpful things on covenant, et al. It frankly doesn’t matter where they teach, or got their degrees, beyond demonstrating minimum competence, which they obviously both have.

    Let’s just stick to the substance of the arguments?

    Like

  106. “Doug,

    Why do you give as a “Website” on the comment form a link to http://www.oldlife.com? Just curious.

    When I click your name, this is where I get taken… more often than not some spammy forwarding url. Strange.”

    Brian, crying has never gained sympathy at OldLife. 2kers would never claim to practice against a neocal and they would expect better from you.

    &

    “Doug,

    As an observer on this conversation, here’s a piece of advice. Your appeal to authority (Venema, Murray) is a bit much, and is a well known logical fallacy.

    As other posters have noted, Venema and Murray are both great Reformed thinkers,”

    Have you really read here, Brian, or are you just looking to make any attack against Doug Sowers? Liberty of thought is a 2k principle which you are violating here.

    This was written earlier in this thread, “Also, I have no idea who “Dr. Venema is. I did an internet search and came across a guy at some obscure seminary in Indiana. Is this who you’re referring to? It looks like he’s something of an apologist for neo-Calvinism.” Did you read that?

    Also, Doug has been arguing against a man whom I and most others highly respect, Jeff Cagle. Jeff Cagle has been arguing against some of the arguments that Murray has made with Doug Sowers. Mr Cagle writes very sensibly. Doug has tried to argue sensibly also. Maybe, Brian, you should too, try an argument.

    Personal attacks are not arguments. Calling something a logical fallacy does not make it one. Especially after the arguments by those men whom Doug has mentioned have been layed out. Do like others, make a measured argument

    &

    Like

  107. James,

    What a strange post. I directed a question and a comment at Doug… at which point you intervened, and attacked me for attacking him. Hmm.

    To the first point, I’m not crying (and in fact, I don’t know what this means). I regularly click on names to get taken to the websites, blogs, etc. of the posters to find out more about them. Doug’s name takes me to a bogus url. I wondered if that was on purpose, or accidental (maybe he thought he was supposed to enter “oldlife” in the field for “website”, and mistakenly figured it was a dot.com… I dunno), so I asked him a question. Seems reasonable enough.

    Yes, I had read most of the posts in the chain, including that you refer to. The fact that Doug didn’t know who Venema was prior to his Google search doesn’t mean that he couldn’t employ an argument to authority. Doug’s argument has repeatedly claimed that “covenant theology 101” as referenced by these two guys settled the debate. That simply doesn’t follow, and it’s not much of an argument.

    Like

  108. Brian Lee: Yes, I had read most of the posts in the chain, including that you refer to. The fact that Doug didn’t know who Venema was prior to his Google search doesn’t mean that he couldn’t employ an argument to authority.

    RS: Doug was actually quoting Bobby who had no idea of who Dr. Venema was before an internet search (copied below). Doug was saying (if I am reading it correctly) that Bobby was bellowing and then quoted Bobby without the quote marks. Just for clarity with no attack on anyone.

    Doug Sowers
    Bobby bellows; Also, I have no idea who “Dr. Venema” is. I did an internet search and came across a guy at some obscure seminary in Indiana.

    RS: By the way, you (Brian Lee) was giving a plug for a book about a month or so ago. It was entitled “Johannes Coecceius and the Exegetical Roots of Federal Theology.” After your plug (shameless at that) of the book I ordered it and discovered that the author was Brian J. Lee. Interestingly enough, when I click on your name (at OldLife) it takes me to a Christ Reformed Church in Washington D.C. The author is also said to be a pastor of Christ Reformed Church in Washington D.C. I made the assumption that you and the author are one and the same. By the way, they don’t give your book away. With all of that said, what does Cocceius teach that is helpful with the discussion Doug and Jeff Cagle are engaged in?

    Like

  109. Brian,

    Simply, what Richard said. A lot of this last page has been about what you mistakenly attribute to Doug Sowers

    Like

  110. My apologies if I misread or misattributed. Yes, I am the BJL who is the pastor of Christ Reformed Church in DC (URCNA).

    Cocceius’s federal thought is very complex (baroque or scholastic would be a fitting description). Though, speaking very broadly, I’d say it would be safe to put him into the “law is not of faith” wing of how to read the Mosaic economy. Most of the Reformed theologians I read for my research in the seventeenth century follow the line of Witsius, that there is some legal aspect or principle in operation in the Mosaic economy that is both a typological republication of covenant of works and a contrast to the principle of grace in the New Covenant.

    I’m surprised (and pleased) you ordered my book. It was sort of tongue in cheek, but I appreciate it. Obviously, as a dissertation project, it takes a fairly narrow slice of the story to study in detail. But it was a great introduction to the covenantal thought of the period, and how exegetical issues really drove it forward.

    Like

  111. Jeff, let me say, I would make careful clarifications before I could sign off on that. First of all the law did in fact offer forgiveness for both intentional and unintentional sins. So what Paul is alluding to in Galations, is the law in the abstract with out faith. When a Saint or the elect appropriated the law mixed with faith, his hope was in Christ. The reprobate, could only see the law, “as if it were by works”.

    It’s exactly the same today, when people hear the gospel, many are baptized, who really don’t have true God given faith, and will approach going to church “as if it were by works”. It the same in both administrations.

    Like

  112. Doug, I don’t mind at all telling you who wrote it.

    But it would be a more helpful experience for you to react to it, consider its claims, and then Google for it. As you know, we all have a tendency to assess things according to which “team” they come from.

    By letting the arguments be anonymous, you have a better chance of giving them fair hearing.

    But if that seems to weird to you, then Google will get you there in one step.

    JRC

    Like

  113. Jeff, whoever wrote those paragraphs is self conflicted, when he says:

    (3) Law pronounces the judgment of condemnation upon every infraction of its precept. The law has nought but curse for any person who has once broken its sanctity; he who is guilty at one point is guilty of all. ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them’ (Galatians 3:10)

    Me: the law did not pass judgment upon every infraction: for the elect! Because the curse of the law, was dealt with by Christ on the cross. The law offered forgiveness for sin, see all the ceremonial laws which pointed to Christ. How on earth can this author miss this obvious fact? Just look at John the Baptists parents, in Luke 1:6; who were *blameless* in all the commands of the Lord. Were they sinless? Of course not! But there faith was counted unto them as righteousness, just like Father Abraham. So whoever wrote those paragraphs is missing something very big, the faith of the old testament Saint. Moreover, he is taking Paul, and James grossly out of context and forgetting the big picture. All the Saints of old were covered in Christ, retroactively, by promise, connected by faith , which is a gift from God.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s