In What Sense? Republication and Merit discussion in the Pacific Northwest OPC


I would like to pass along more information as a follow up concerning the Pacific Northwest Session meeting I brought attention to here. Confusion in the Camp / Merit and Reformed Theology

On September 26, 2013, a pre-presbytery conference (Presbytery of the Northwest, OPC) on the doctrine of republication was held at First OPC in Portland, Oregon. The presbytery’s information page with links to the entire audio and handouts may be found here: PNW Republication Conference.

Session One is a presentation by Brett McNeill and Mark Collingridge. They set forth the case for viewing the Mosaic covenant as a republication of the covenant of works in some sense. Their handout which was made available at the beginning of the conference can be found here. Republication: A Biblical, Confessional and Historical Defense

Their presentation can be found here.
First sessions mp3.

Session Two was done by Randy Bergquist and Rob Van Kooten. They understand that the views of the authors of ‘The Law is Not of Faith’ and Meredith G. Kline concerning the Mosaic Covenant and the Republication of the Covenant of Works is specifically a recent formulation that appears to be out of harmony with the Westminster Standards.  A copy of the audio of this presentation is embed with the PowerPoint presentation that was presented at the conference.  You can view it on Youtube at the link provided after this paragraph.  In the text of the presentation, a communication to the PNW from Rev. Marc Renkema is referenced. “The Works-Paradigm of Meredith G. Kline.”  You can view it as it is posted as the last item on this blog.  Prior to this recent conference Messrs. Bergquist and Van Kooten, along with Andy Elam, wrote what ended up being a small booklet on this topic.  It can be accessed as it was made available.   “A Booklet on Merit in the Doctrine of Republication”.  I personally believe this assessment to be better theologically and confessionally.

You Tube Video / Powerpoint presentation.

The Division of The Mosaic Covenant into Upper and Lower levels. / OPC-PNW Republication Session 2

Overture – The Presbytery of the Northwest

At the stated meeting of PNW, the following overture was adopted by the presbytery: Overture to the 81st General Assembly of the OPC.

The Presbytery of the Northwest respectfully overtures the 81st General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church to establish a study committee to examine and give its advice as to whether and in which particular senses the concept of the Mosaic Covenant as a republication of the Adamic Covenant is consistent with the doctrinal system taught in the confessional standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.


[1] There is conflict over this issue among the teaching and ruling elders of the church, sufficiently serious and pervasive to injure the unity and peace of the whole body.

[2] A resolution over this doctrinal question, rendered in accord with the General Assembly’s constitutional power as defined in the Form of Government XV.6, will help to negotiate disagreements, maintain unity, and advance the gospel testimony of the whole church.

Rev. Marc Renkema’s references

The Works-Merit Paradigm of Meredith G. Kline

(emphasis and underscoring added)

The following are quotes from Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue (Two Age Press, 2000).

“. . . we must keep in mind the typological level of the kingdom that was secured by Noah’s righteousness if we are to perceive the consistency of the works-grant with the grace principle that was operating at the permanent, fundamental stratum of the Covenant of Grace. The flood judgment was but a type of the messianic judgment and the kingdom in the ark that was granted to Noah as the reward for his good works was only typological of the messianic kingdom. Therefore, the covenant of grant to Noah was not in conflict with or an abrogation of the grace of the redemptive covenant that had been revealed to the Sethite community of faith and, of course, continued to be operative in the sphere of eternal realities in the days of Noah and his covenant grant” (pp. 238-39).

“Because of Abraham’s obedience redemptive history would take the shape of an Abrahamic kingdom of God from which salvation’s blessings would rise up and flow out to the nations. God was pleased to constitute Abraham’s exemplary works as the meritorious ground for granting to Israel after the flesh the distinctive role of being formed as the typological kingdom, the matrix from which Christ should come. Within this typological structure Abraham emerges as an appointed sign of his promised messianic seed, the Servant of the Lord, whose fulfillment of his covenantal mission was the meritorious ground of the inheritance of the antitypical, eschatological kingdom by the true, elect Israel of all nations. Certainly, Abraham’s works did not have that status.

They were, however, accorded by God an analogous kind of value with respect to the typological stage represented by the old covenant. Though not the ground of the inheritance of heaven, Abraham’s obedience was the ground for Israel’s inheritance of Canaan. Salvation would not come because of Abraham’s obedience, but because of Abraham’s obedience salvation would come to the Abrahamites, the Jews (John 4:22)” (p. 325).

The following quotes are from Meredith G. Kline, God, Heaven and Har Magedon (Wipf & Stock, 2006).

“. . . in the case of some of these grantees, including Noah, their righteous acts were the grounds for bestowing kingdom benefits on others closely related to them . . ., just as in the case of Christ . . .” (p. 79).

Abraham’s obedience had typological import. The Lord constituted it a prophetic sign of that obedience of Christ, which merits the heavenly kingdom for his people. That Abraham’s obedience functioned not only as the authentication of his faith for his personal justification but as a meritorious performance that earned a reward for others . . . is confirmed in the Lord’s later revelation of the covenant promise to Isaac . . .” (pp. 102-3).

“ . . . Abraham, the grantee of the covenant promise. His exemplary obedience was invested by the Lord with typological significance as the meritorious ground for his descendants’ inheritance of the promised land . . .” (pp. 127-28).

From Kline’s “Covenant Theology Under Attack” (Unmodified version).

“But this [Luke 17:10] does not mean that human works of obedience are of no merit. Though we cannot add to God’s glory, Scripture instructs us that God has created us for the very purpose of glorifying him. We do so when we reflect back to him his glory, when our godlike righteousness mirrors back his likeness. Such righteousness God esteems as worthy of his approbation. And that which earns the favor of God earns the blessing in which that favor expresses itself. It is meritorious. It deserves the reward God grants according to his good pleasure.”

From Kline’s, “Gospel until the Law: Rom 5:13-14 and the Old Covenant.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 34/4 (December 1991): 433-46.

“Classic covenantalism recognizes that the old Mosaic order (at its foundation level—that is, as a program of individual salvation in Christ) was in continuity with previous and subsequent administrations of the overarching covenant of grace. But it also sees and takes at face value the massive Biblical evidence for a peculiar discontinuity present in the old covenant in the form of a principle of meritorious works, operating not as a way of eternal salvation but as the principle governing Israel’s retention of its provisional, typological inheritance” (p. 434).

For more, you may access

Additional reminder.
Just as a side note, I discovered a few years ago that the Kline of ‘By Oath Consigned’ was not the Kline of ‘Kingdom Prologue’.  His views concerning the Mosaic Covenant had changed and he became unconfessional in between the two books.