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Listener Feedback: National Israel, Republication, and Single-Volume Systematic Theologies

On the sixth anniversary of Christ the Center, we respond to listener feedback with the original contributors. Jeff Waddington, Jim Cassidy, and Camden Bucey speak about a variety of subjects, including the corporate and individual aspects of life in Israel, the republication of the Covenant of Works in the Mosaic economy, and suggested single-volume systematic theologies.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

Richard Lindberg

6 years ago

I enjoyed listening to the three of you talk today. Your discussions are always spirited. A questions I’ve been wondering about relates to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. It seems to be important to Jesus (the one who hears these words of mine is like one who builds a house on a rock), why does the Sermon not find much of a place in the Reformed catechisms (other than the Lord’s prayer)?

CM

6 years ago

Don’t forget these gems after Hatch’s book:

The Modernist Impulse In American Protestantism, Hutchinson

The Broadening Church, Loetscher

Redeemer Nation, Tuveson

The War for Righteousness, Gamble (most recent, Dr. Gamble would make a great guest on the show).

Blessings

Mark G

6 years ago

Jeff, I would love to know your thoughts in reference to your comments regarding Kline’s take on republication. You mentioned that you are less and less convinced of the Klinean view. Could you spell out in general what Kline’s view was and how and why you’re differing? I think Kline’s two-level fulfillment notion is helpful and I think the Mosaic Covenant recapitulates the CoW, but that the Mosaic Covenant is progressive or significantly advances redemption or expands on the CoW. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Jef Waddington

6 years ago

Mark

You ask very good questions. Let me try to tackle each in order:

Meredith Kline’s view of the republication of the CoW in the Mosaic administration involves the idea that the Mosaic covenant is an instance of the CoG with a national, typological overlay. In other words, individual Israelites are saved by grace as we are, but that the nation of Israel was under a CoW-like arrangement with regard to temporal blessings in the land. In even different words, there is a clear distinction between the historia salutis (Israel resembles Adam in the Garden of Eden in the Promised Land) and the ordo salutis (how individuals are saved).

There is something unique about the Mosaic administration as an instance of the CoG, but it is nevertheless a CoG and not a form of the CoW. To use standard language, the Mosaic administration is as to substance the CoG even though it differs from other administrations as to accidents. So Kline is right when he notes that the Mosaic administration is unique, but I have questions about thinking of it as having two layers: one individual (soteriology) and one national and typological (eschatology and pedagogy). As others have noted, this would appear convoluted and spiritually schizophrenic. For a thorough assessment of the republication idea, see Cornelis Venema’s book review: http://www.midamerica.edu/resources/journal/21/venema21.pdf.

Having said all this, and maybe some of our Puritan experts can chime in here, the Puritans had the notion of a national covenant, an idea that came over to America and may be the source of the idea of America being a chosen nation. This idea of a national covenant related to temporal blessings in a land and was not directly related to individual salvation. On one level it looks to me like the Puritan idea of the national covenant resembles the national typological overlay of the Mosaic administration. This is a question I need to work on.

My assessment of the republication doctrine is also tied in with the NL2K question. So there is much work that needs to be done on this.

Mark G

6 years ago

Thanks Jeff. I read the Venema article and there is a lot of good stuff to think on.

One thing I am confused about is how does the meritorious work of Christ fit into the CoG? Does it fit at all or is Christ’s merit better understood in relation to the Covenant of Redemption. But then if I recall correctly O. Palmer Robertson in “Christ of the Covenants” rejects the idea of a CoR. That would seem to imply that there has to be a “works principle” within the CoG “in some sense.”

Another thing that confuses me is when the WCF equates the 10 Commandments with the moral law without qualification whereas in the catechism it argues, for example, that the Sabbath has changed from the last day to the first day of the week. Since God’s moral will does not change I guess the change in days and land promises must be considered as “accidents” but this qualification is not stated in the WCF. This also brings up questions about the division of OT law into moral, civil, and ceremonial, which is relevant to the relationship between OT law and contemporary law/government/culture. It’s not uncommon to hear folks in adult Bible class say that the 10 commandments should be the basis of law in modern states.

It seems to me that OT law cannot be easily divided up into moral, civil, ceremonial. For example, the civil and ceremonial cannot be amoral. It seems that in Israel’s theocracy that the civil and ceremonial are largely confounded, or at least not always sharply divisible. It’?)s not hard to understand why Kline came up with the two-fold typological/moral distinction, i.e., other than that he was perhaps also reacting (over reacting?) to theonomy’s two-fold moral/ceremonial distinction.

Nathan

6 years ago

Is the CTC group still considering talking about Phillip S. Ross’ book “From the Finger of God” in a future episode? Besides Nick Batzig’s review in the Puritan Reformed Journal and Peter Myers article in WTJ 74/2 building on Ross’ book there has been very little discussion about this book, or the topic it addresses, that has been building for at least 40 years within the Reformed world.

Keith Furutani

6 years ago

Thanks for the discussion. Nice to know there are people much smarter than me struggling to understand the Mosaic Covenant…

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