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Posts Tagged ‘Law of Moses’

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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1689 Federalism Response to Wellum’s “Progressive Covenantalism and the Doing of Ethics”

by Brandon Adams

A 20 page paper by Stephen J. Wellum titled “Progressive Covenantalism and the Doing of Ethics” was posted in the New Covenant Theology Facebook group recently [Note: it has since been removed as it was not supposed to be posted publicly – it will be available in this volume]. It presents a good opportunity to bring to attention some of the important areas where 1689 Federalism (a particular version of covenant theology) disagrees with Westminster Federalism (what Wellum simply refers to as “covenant theology”), as well as highlight where 1689 Federalism believes Progressive Covenantalism errs. My comments will be brief, and I won’t be summarizing his argument, so make sure to read it first.

Covenant theology has sought to do ethics and establish the basis for moral law by following the venerable tradition of dividing the Mosaic law into three parts: moral, civil, and ceremonial… A direct equation is made between the Decalogue and eternal moral law and a general hermeneutical rule is followed: unless the NT explicitly modifies or abrogates the Mosaic law (as in the ceremonial and civil parts), it is still in force today. This rule becomes the principle by which moral law is established across the canon.

This is an important point. This is how modern RB and paedobaptist covenant theology answers the question, but it is not how 1689 Federalism answers the question. Unlike the other groups, we do not believe the Old and New are two administrations of the same covenant, therefore we do not believe the Mosaic covenant continues to be in force today aside from specific laws (or categories of laws) that have been repealed. Progressive Covenantalism is simply unaware of our position (I don’t blame them for that). We believe the entire Mosaic covenant, and thus the Mosaic law, is abrogated. Therefore we do not follow Westminster Federalism (“covenant theology”) in arguing that all Mosaic law is still in force today unless abrogated (because it was all abrogated).

 

 

 

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The preservation of the scriptures confirm that they are divine revelation

January 29, 2014 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Objection against Moses and the Prophets. Answer to it.

9. I am aware of what is muttered in corners by certain miscreants, when they would display their acuteness in assailing divine truth. They ask, how do we know that Moses and the prophets wrote the books which now bear their names? Nay, they even dare to question whether there ever was a Moses. Were any one to question whether there ever was a Plato, or an Aristotle, or a Cicero, would not the rod or the whip be deemed the fit chastisement of such folly? The law of Moses has been wonderfully preserved, more by divine providence than by human care; and though, owing to the negligence of the priests, it lay for a short time buried, — from the time when it was found by good King Josiah, (2 Kings 22:8; 2 Chronicles 34:15,) — it has continued in the hands of men, and been transmitted in unbroken succession from generation to generation. Nor, indeed, when Josiah brought it forth, was it as a book unknown or new, but one which had always been matter of notoriety, and was then in full remembrance. The original writing had been deposited in the temple, and a copy taken from it had been deposited in the royal archives, (Deuteronomy 17:18, 19;) the only thing which had occurred was, that the priests had ceased to publish the law itself in due form, and the people also had neglected the wonted reading of it. I may add, that scarcely an age passed during which its authority was not confirmed and renewed. Were the books of Moses unknown to those who had the Psalms of David in their hands? To sum up the whole in one word, it is certain beyond dispute, that these writings passed down, if I may so express it, from hand to hand, being transmitted in an unbroken series from the fathers, who either with their own ears heard them spoken, or learned them from those who had, while the remembrance of them was fresh.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 8-Henry Beveridge Translation