« Merit and Moses: An Unstable Paradigm? Part 2 | Main | Merit and Moses: Spiritual Schizophrenia? Part 1 »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jesse Cook

I did not read the book, but if MM banishes Turretin it would seem that the authors of the MM would have to assert that Samuel Bolton, a member of the Westminster assembly, is out side the circle of orthodoxy as well. If a Westminster Divine is not orthodox, then we just lost the definition of orthodox.

Bill Baldwin

As you say, you could provide many more examples. My own favorite comes from the Westminster Divines themselves. Note WCF 7.2 "The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works". Now note their proof text. Gal 3:12 "And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them." They use a quote describing the Law of Moses to prove that the Adamic covenant was a covenant of works.

What can this mean coming from men who, we are told, believed in the "Mosaic covenant as a pure covenant of grace in its substance"? How can describing Adam's pre-Fall situation in those purely gracious terms prove that his covenant was of works? Again, what can this proof text mean coming from men who supposedly thought that "the blessings and the curses of the law in the Mosaic covenant do not function in any way as a covenant of works"? Why then did they use Paul's citation of those blessings and curses as proof that Adam's covenant was of works?

In the final analysis, even the Westminster Divines must be set outside the MM-defined circle of orthodoxy, hoist by their own footnote.

And then it gets worse.

In 1940, the OPC's 7th General Assembly set up a Committee on Texts and Proof Texts. The committee reported back to the 18th General Assembly in 1951. By the 23rd GA in 1956 everything had been approved and was sent to the Committee on Christian Education for printing. (Give me a moment here while I catch my breath.)

The OPC-specific Confession retained Gal 3:12 as a valid proof text for the notion that the first covenant was of works. It also added a couple of proofs--Gen. 2:16–17 and Hos. 6:7.

Take a look at Hos. 6:7. "But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me." (The translation is from the KJV, of course. I don't know if the Committee on Texts and Proof Texts would have subscribed to the translational interpretation provided by Kline, the ESV, NASB, ASV, NIV, and the Vulgate : "But they *like Adam* have transgressed the covenant." That would make this an even more powerful example. But it works either way.) The Committee on Texts and Proof Texts proves that the Adamic covenant was a covenant of works by citing a verse that talks about Israel transgressing against the Mosaic covenant.

Again, how is this possible if the only orthodox position holds that the Mosaic covenant was "a pure covenant of grace in its substance," one whose blessings and curses "do not function in any way as a covenant of works"?

The kicker? Guess who chaired the Committee on Texts and Proof Texts. That's right. John Murray.

The comments to this entry are closed.