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Vos Group #55 — Did the Later Prophets Create an Ethical Monotheism?

We turn to pages 206–211 of Vos’ book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to continue our discussion of critical theories of prophetism. Vos tackles a modernist, critical theory of the development of monotheism under the prophets. Vos wants the reader to enter into a modernist world–a critical world. In that world, there are three main things you will face:

  • A finite and developing conception of deity
  • A mechanical and purely natural conception of history
  • An errant and merely human conception of the Bible

These are the key features of a “critical” approach to the prophets. But, as Machen pointed out so clearly, these three conceptions represent a different religion: a fundamentally Pelagian conception of religion.

Vos helps us see, by contrast, that the kingdom of God and the demand that he be worshipped exclusively is built into man as the image of God. Adam, from the start, was bound to God in a religious relation by creation that the covenant of works was to advance. Man, from the beginning, exists to worship God–to glorify and enjoy God forever in covenantal fellowship. For the liberal to reverse this relation and insist that God must serve the purpose of man is to lay bare that the critics truly do have a different religion. On this, Vos and Machen are one.


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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.

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