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Whatever happened to the Law and the Gospel?

By Fred Malone

When one looks at the New Testament teachings of Jesus and the writings of the Apostles, one would think that a confession of faith ought to have some explanation of the law of God as well as the gospel of Christ. You cannot read the Sermon on the Mount, Romans, Galatians, James, or 1 John without seeing many references to the law of God or the commandments of God. Yet in the progression of Baptist confessions from England into America we see a decided and obvious reduction of any serious reference to the law of God or the commandments of God.

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The Division of Old Testament Law

February 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Tom Hicks

Are believers in Christ required to obey any part of Old Testament law? Both Dispensationalists and proponents of New Covenant Theology, or Progressive Covenantalism, as one version of it has come to be called, simply say “no.” In their view, the laws of the Old Testament are fulfilled and abrogated in Christ. Believers are only required to obey the “law of Christ,” which is taught in the commands of the New Testament alone. That’s a simple hermeneutic that draws a sharp line between the testaments and tells believers they don’t have to obey any Old Testament law. One of the major problems with this perspective is that New Testament authors seem to assume the authority of the Old Testament in matters of certain kinds of law. Another problem is that in spite of objections to the contrary, the Old Testament doesn’t treat all of its laws the same way either. We often hear that “the Law” is a unit, that all of it is moral, and that if any of it is abrogated, then all of it must be. While the issues involved in this dispute among sincere brothers in Christ certainly require more than a simple blog post, I offer the following short critique of those views which teach that Old Testament law is monolithic and without any divisions.

 

 

 

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Resources for Studying the Law and the Gospel

September 20, 2016 Leave a comment

by Jon English Lee

A proper understanding of the relationship between the law and the gospel is crucial for any minister hoping to be effective in his preaching and counseling. Indeed, a flawed understanding of the relationship between law and gospel leads to all sorts of problems:

Errors in this doctrine have spawned dispensationalism, theonomy, the New Perspective on Paul, hypercovenantalism, legalism, antinomianism, shallow evangelism, shallower sanctification, worship errors and unbiblical mysticism.[1]

 

 

 

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The Law and the Gospel

September 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Founders Journal · Fall 2004 · pp. 7-12

The Law and the Gospel

Romans 6:14

Fred A. Malone

If I could do one thing to improve the effectiveness of pastoral preaching and pastoral care in the church, it would be to call all pastors to understand the doctrine of the Law and the Gospel in Scripture. When I first went to serve as Ernie Reisinger’s associate in 1977, he required me to study Romans 6:14 on the Law and the Gospel and placed a book in my hand to help: The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton. Ernie’s book on The Law and the Gospel contains much of what we talked about in those days.

There is much controversy and ignorance over this doctrine today. Errors in this doctrine have spawned dispensationalism, theonomy, the New Perspective on Paul, hypercovenantalism, legalism, antinomianism, shallow evangelism, shallower sanctification, worship errors and unbiblical mysticism. Yet our Reformed and Baptist forefathers generally did not succumb to such errors before 1900. Why not? I believe it was because they understood the biblical doctrine of the Law and the Gospel. You can see it in their confessions of faith and their writings. [1] I pray that today’s pastors, especially Baptist pastors, will restudy this doctrine and reform their lives and ministries by these truths.

 

 

 

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Doctrinal Assumptions and Technical Terms of the Confession on the Sabbath, 22.7

The Doctrinal Assumptions and Technical Terms of 2LCF 22.7

Copyright © 2016 Richard C. Barcellos. All rights reserved.

The Second London Confession of Faith 22.7 reads:

As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive-moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished. ( Exodus 20:8; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10 )

Entering chapter 22 of the Confession, we do not start over theologically. This chapter, as with others, assumes or utilizes many assertions made prior to it and cannot be understood properly without identifying and understanding those assumptions or assertions and the terms associated with them. Terms and phrases are used which embody concepts already utilized in the Confession. As will be noted, it assumes chapter 19, “Of the Law of God” and chapter 4, “Of Creation” especially. This ties the theology of the Christian Sabbath in the Confession to the law of God and creation. The Christian Sabbath is part and parcel with the system of doctrine contained in the Confession. To understand the confessional formulation properly at this point, we must understand….

 

 

 

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Eschatological Fulfillment and the Confirmation of Mosaic Law

(A Response to D. A. Carson and Fred Zaspel on Matthew 5:17-48)

by Greg Welty

The following is a series of comments on D. A. Carson’s exposition of Mt 5:17-48, in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 8, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984). D. A. Carson’s interpretation of this crucial text – which includes Jesus’ relation to the law (vv. 17-18) and the nature of his six ‘antitheses’ (vv. 21-48) – is often appealed to by New Covenant Theology (NCT) advocates as emphatically supporting their distinctive teachings concerning the moral law of God, and as undermining the traditionally Reformed view of the same.

I regard Carson as in general a fine exegete, and a great blessing to the church. I have profited greatly from several of his books (Exegetical Fallacies, The Gagging of God, etc.). In particular, his commentary upon Matthew combines a cautious spirit with remarkable exegetical skills (including a firm grasp of redactional criticism). However, I was disappointed to find his treatment of this crucial text afflicted with a number of self-contradictions and implausibilities. Since I have lost track of the number of times that NCT advocates have pointed me to Carson’s exegesis as the intellectual foundation of their movement, I felt it was time to make some critical comments, and to defend the traditionally Reformed interpretation of this text as championed by those such as John Murray and Patrick Fairbairn, and encapsulated in the WCF and 2LBCF. Thus, my comments below.

After critiquing Carson, I close by providing a positive account of Mt 5:17-48 which both incorporates one of Carson’s key insights from v. 17, and yet retains the….

 

 

 

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Random Thoughts

March 22, 2016 2 comments

I’m running out of unique Thomas Sowell pictures. Onward, anyway…

The mess in the Anglican Communion demonstrates a real problem for Western Progressivism, both political and theological. One of the primary goals of all Progressivisms is escape from traditional moral structure. One of their central tenets, though, is deference to any cultural or ethnic group perceived to have been marginalized. So what exactly are they supposed to do when the representatives of the marginalized cultures – say, African bishops – don’t care to go along with moral permissivism?

 

 

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Avoid Legalism: Emphasize the Law

by Tom Hicks

Many of today’s young evangelicals have happily thrown off the legalistic fundamentalism of their childhood. They’ve come to a greater understanding of God’s abundant grace, and the gospel has liberated them from slavery to guilt and fear. That’s a very good thing. But I submit that recovering the gospel alone isn’t enough to keep legalism at bay. We need a renewed emphasis on the law of God or else legalism will inevitably reemerge. Specifically, we need a clear emphasis on (1) the law as a covenant, and (2) the law as a standard or rule.

The Law as a Covenant

The law as a covenant says, “Do this and live” (Lev 18:5; Ez 20:11; Lk 10:28; Rom 10:5; Gal 3:12). It demands perfect obedience for eternal life (Gal 3:12; 5:3). It makes no provision for forgiveness of sins (Gal 3:10). The law covenant is inflexible and absolute. Even one sin against the law covenant brings guilt and eternal condemnation…..

 

 

 

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Sabbath Rest and Human Embodiment

by Jon English Lee

*This post is the latest in a series looking at the Sabbath. Previous posts include: Sabbath Rest and Faith, Early Puritan Sabbatarians (Part 3), Early Puritan Sabbatarians (Part 2), Early Puritan Sabbatarians, Pre-Puritan Sabbatarians? Martin Bucer’s De Regno Christi, Pre-Puritan Sabbatarians (Part 3), Pre-Puritan Sabbatarians? (Part 2), Pre-Puritan Sabbatarians? Henry Bullinger on the Sabbath (Part 1), Where is the Sabbath in the Early Church (Part 3), Where is the Sabbath in the Early Church? (Part 2), Where is the Sabbath in the Early Church? (Part 1), Ecclesiological Implications of the Sabbath (Part 2), Ecclesiological Implications of the Sabbath (part 1), Sabbath Typology and Eschatological Rest, Paul and the Sabbath, Jesus and the Sabbath, The Sabbath and the Decalogue in the OT, a look at God’s Rest as Prescriptive, an examination of the Sabbath as a Creation Ordinance.

The previous post in this series on sabbath rest contained some of my thoughts regarding the necessity of faith and its relationship to rest. In this post I want to continue to think through some other personal implications of weekly sabbath rest being biblically prescribed. Specifically, I want to begin to answer the question “What does sabbath rest have to do with our human embodiment (or, theologically speaking, our anthropology)?” These are just the beginning ramblings of some ideas I am still working through, so I hope you will comment below with your thoughts.

Sabbath Rest and Physical Embodiment

The sabbath pattern also takes into account the embodied nature of our existence. By that I mean that physical rest is a human necessity because of the physical aspect of our being, and that weekly sabbath observance creates space for the regular and proper maintenance of human physical bodies.[1]

 

 

 

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Sabbath Rest and Faith

by Jon English Lee

*This post is the latest in a series looking at the Sabbath. Previous posts include: Early Puritan Sabbatarians (Part 3), Early Puritan Sabbatarians (Part 2), Early Puritan Sabbatarians, Pre-Puritan Sabbatarians? Martin Bucer’s De Regno Christi, Pre-Puritan Sabbatarians (Part 3), Pre-Puritan Sabbatarians? (Part 2), Pre-Puritan Sabbatarians? Henry Bullinger on the Sabbath (Part 1), Where is the Sabbath in the Early Church (Part 3), Where is the Sabbath in the Early Church? (Part 2), Where is the Sabbath in the Early Church? (Part 1), Ecclesiological Implications of the Sabbath (Part 2), Ecclesiological Implications of the Sabbath (part 1), Sabbath Typology and Eschatological Rest, Paul and the Sabbath, Jesus and the Sabbath, The Sabbath and the Decalogue in the OT, a look at God’s Rest as Prescriptive, an examination of the Sabbath as a Creation Ordinance.

Sabbath Rest and Faith

This post seeks to demonstrate that weekly sabbath plays a very important role in the spiritual life of believers. Specifically seeking to answer the question “What is the relationship between sabbath rest and faith?”, this post will have brief descriptions of the lessons that weekly rest teaches believers, including: God is the source of all blessings; God has instituted a system of rest, not anxiety; Labor is good, but God is ultimate; and man is utterly dependent upon God for everything.

Resting Requires Faith

Resting takes faith. For people to truly rest, they must recognize their own inadequacies and inabilities. To take one day a week off from our normal work is to proclaim with our lives that we are ultimately insufficient. Resting demonstrates to the….

 

 

 

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