Creation, Condescension, and Redefinition of Covenant Merit

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The doctrine of God’s voluntary condescension goes hand in hand with the distinction that developed in Reformed theology between “covenanted” merit and “strict” or “proper” merit. Covenant merit is assigned to Adam in the covenant of works, whereas strict merit is assigned to Christ in the covenant of grace. What is the difference between the two? Covenant merit is a lesser category of merit when compared to strict merit. Adam’s merit is said to be “improper” when it is measured against the standard of Christ’s “proper” merit. This designation of covenant merit reflects the ontological considerations which pertain to Adam’s status. It seeks to take into account the Creator creature distinction and God’s act of condescension (WCF 7:1) to enter into covenant with Adam. According to the Confession, the establishment of the covenant of works is God’s appointed means of condescension, so that man as mere creature may know and enjoy God as his ultimate blessedness and reward.

…The merit of Christ, in contrast to Adam’s “covenant” or “improper” merit, falls uniquely into the category of “strict” or “proper” merit. Adam was a mere creature, and was dependent on God’s voluntary condescension to enter into the covenant of works. Jesus Christ, the second and last Adam, is uniquely set apart in his role as the Mediator of the covenant of grace. In the incarnation, Jesus is by nature true God as well as true man. He possesses a sinless human nature, which would qualify him (like Adam) to perform perfect and personal obedience. Christ was able to merit eschatological life in more than the “covenanted” sense. Our Savior, being the divine Son of God, is uniquely qualified to merit eternal life in the covenant of grace in the “strict” or “full” sense of the term.

This truth is implicitly taught in the Westminster Confession, where Christ is said to satisfy the justice of God and “purchase” (i. e., “merit”) the eschatological reward of the covenant for his people.

  The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, has fully satisfied the justice of His Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for those whom the Father has given unto Him (WCF 8:5).

The [Klinean] republication view teaches that man was in covenant with God at the very moment of creation. This is an important shift from the traditional viewpoint. Ontological considerations demand that there be at least a logical distinction (rather than a chronological or historical sequence) between God’s creating man and his entering into covenant with him. The [Klinean] republication teaching now erases this confessional distinction (which is based upon the “great disproportion” between the Creator and creature), and thereby turns God’s providential work of establishing the covenant into an aspect of the work of creation. Thus, we may say that the two distinct acts have been conflated or collapsed into essentially one act in this new view. For all intents and purposes, the relationship between God and man is not first that of sovereign Creator over his finite creature, but is from the point of creation a relationship of “God-in-covenant-with-man.” For Professor Kline and those who have followed his lead in the republication position, it is improper to even consider man’s existence apart from covenant. Thus, man’s covenantal status seems to “trump” his creaturely status. Professor Kline makes this clear in Kingdom Prologue.

Man’s creation as image of God meant, as we have seen, that the creating of the world was a covenant-making process. There was no original non-covenantal order of mere nature on which the covenant was superimposed. Covenantal commitments were given by the Creator in the very act of endowing the mancreature with the mantle of the divine likeness. …The situation never existed in which man’s future was contemplated or presented in terms of a static continuation of the original state of blessedness (Kingdom Prologue [2000], p. 92).

…The obliteration of the distinction between creation and covenant is extremely significant for laying the foundation of a new paradigm of merit—one that is divorced from ontological considerations.

We have already observed that the Creator-creature distinction lies at the center of the doctrines of God, man, and of the covenant in the history of Reformed theology. This distinction is also central to the traditional understanding of merit, as the differences between Adam’s covenant merit and Christ’s strict merit rest on ontological factors. It is apparent that the adherents to the Republication Paradigm have followed Professor Kline in their departure from the tradition in this regard.

… In this redefined view of merit, there is no longer any need or place for the previous distinction made between Adam’s covenant merit in contrast to Christ’s strict merit. In  terms of the definition of merit, Adam and Christ can equally earn the rewards of their respective covenants according to the principle of simple justice.

It is also important to note another ramification of this new paradigm. Just as the respective obedience of Adam and Christ would be deemed equally meritorious according to the definition of “simple justice,” so also the works of others, beyond (or between) the two federal heads, may equally be counted as meritorious. The [Klinean] Republication Paradigm allows for only one category or definition of merit (“covenant merit”) which is applied equally to Adam, to Christ, as well as to other figures after the fall (such as Noah, Abraham, and Israel). This explains why meritorious works of obedience are possible for sinners between Adam and Christ in this new paradigm. The redefinition of merit “allows” God to make another meritorious arrangement outside of the ones made with the two Adams. After the fall, in the Mosaic covenant, for example, God may decide to make an arrangement in which he promises temporal-typological blessings on the basis of Israel’s imperfect, sincere, national obedience, instead of the perfect, entire and personal obedience which was required of the two covenant heads.

The redefinition of “covenant merit” does not require any ontological considerations. In fact, it does not even require moral perfection on the part of man. Thus, the fact that Israel’s works are those of fallen sinful creatures is completely irrelevant. They are meritorious because God says so. All that matters is that they fulfill God’s covenant Word, which alone defines and determines what constitutes merit and justice in any given covenantal arrangement.

Booklet on Merit
portions from pp. 32-42

Moses and Merit

Follow up post after this one.
https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/creation-and-covenant-recast-and-collapsed-together/

“Further problems arise once this basic departure is discerned. One begins to see a metaphysical reworking of the categories of grace and justice in relation to the “covenant of nature.” Instead of a providential dispensation (see Shorter Catechism question 12), the covenant of works is turned into a creational entity which characterizes the natural relationship between God and man. Human morality is, in its very essence, made a covenant of works. Grace is only operative where sin abounds.”  Rev. Winzer

 

Why I Was Drawn Into The Nuanced Republication and Mosaic Covenant Study

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note: Click on the blue texts for links.

If anyone is interested, I first was drawn to this issue of Republication and the Mosaic Covenant as a person who was a Reformed Baptist for 30 years.  I had strong leanings toward Reformed Theology.  It took me a long time but I finally started to understand the differences between Reformed thought and Reformed Baptist thought.  Reformed Baptists hold to a view that the substance of the Mosaic Covenant is not an administration of the Covenant of Grace but that the Mosaic Covenant administers the Covenant of Grace along with a Covenant of Works.  It is a view that is similar to that of Samuel Petto, John Owen, Fred Malone (a modern day switcher) and somewhat similar to that of a recent Orthodox Presbyterian Professor of Great Influence at Westminster Theological Seminary West (not Philadelphia) even after death, Meredith G. Kline in his later days.  The Kline who wrote the book ‘By Oath Consigned‘ was not the same theologically as the Kline of ‘Kingdom Prologue’ many years later as is noted by Mark Karlberg .  He seems to have taken on a more Lutheran Theology the Reformers of the Westminster Standards understood.

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/the-charge-of-lutheranism-is-not-about-distinction-it-is-about-dichotomy/

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/lutheran-reformed-differences-back-during-the-time-of-the-westminster-divines/

As a Reformed Baptist, whenever I would debate issues concerning church membership and baptism I viewed the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant to be different substantially.  Since the New Covenant was purely an Administration of the Covenant of Grace it had a different membership make up than the Mosaic Covenant.  The New Covenant membership was made up of those who were truly regenerate or Elect.

London Baptist Confession of Faith 26.1.

The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The Old Covenant membership was a mixture of unregenerate and regenerate as the Mosaic Covenant was a mixed Covenant.  The Mosaic Covenant administered both the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace as a stand alone Covenant.

Reformed Baptists view Covenant Theology somewhat similar to that of Johannes Cocceius from what I understand.  Covenant Theology was progression from a full blown out Covenant of Works that slowly faded away through the progression of Redemptive History as the Covenant of Grace took over and found its fulfillment in the coming of the Second Adam (Jesus Christ) in the New Covenant.

For the life of me I couldn’t understand why Dr. Clark and other Presbyterians weren’t anti-paedobaptists since they held to a position very similar to the Baptist position. That position is that the Old Covenant and New Covenant are substantially different.  It seemed they believed the Mosaic was a Covenant that administered both the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace making it different in substance from the New Covenant.  I understood that they claimed succession of the Covenant of Grace from Abraham but I thought that was a bit of a stretch since God also required the same obedience of Abraham as He did from Israel in Genesis 17:1,2.  (side note.  For a good concise understanding about this from a Reformed perspective look here.)

In 2007 Rev. Winzer tried to help me understand the issues concerning administration but I didn’t understand what he meant by the Mosaic being an administration of the Covenant of Grace.  I was too dispensational in my thinking.  And Dr. Clark wasn’t helping me understand it since he held to a view very similar to Kline’s later views along with those of a few minority Divines of the past such as Samuel Bolton who joined the Westminster Assembly after Chapter 7 was already written.  I believe he learned this particular view from a Divine named John Cameron.

Then we started having Law / Gospel discussions on the Puritanboard.  Those got rather heated but I had a different view of Grace that was closer to the Majority view of the Divines.  I believe that view is stated well by Samuel Rutherford.

The obedience of faith, or Gospel-obedience, in the fourth place, hath less of the nature of obedience than that of Adam, or of the elect angels, or that of Christ’s. It’s true we are called obedient children, and they are called the commandments of Christ, and Christ hath taken the moral law and made use of it in an evangelic way, yet we are more (as it were) patients in obeying gospel-commands. Not that we are mere patients, as Libertines teach; for grace makes us willing, but we have both supernatural habits and influences of grace furnished to us from the grace of Christ, who hath merited both to us; and so in Gospel-obedience we offer more of the Lord’s own and less of our own because he both commands and gives us grace to obey. And so to the elect believer the Law is turned into Gospel, he by his grace fulfilling (as it were) the righteousness of the Law in us by begun new obedience, Rom. 8:4.   Samuel Rutherford (The Covenant of Life Opened, 198-199).

The justification / sanctification discussions started to get heated up around 2009 and they started to escalate more after 2011 in my estimation.  I also noticed that this debate had to do with the same hermeneutical issue concerning the Mosaic Covenant.  Men were dichotomizing Law and Gospel (Grace) as the Lutherans did and not truly understanding the differences between the Reformed and Lutheran view of Law and Gospel.  We were both using the term distinctions about Law and Gospel but when Klineans were using the terminology it was a dichotomy instead of a mere distinction.  I explain that in one of my blogs.

Then the Natural Law / Two Kingdoms issue (Radical Two Kingdom in some critics thoughts) started to rear its head up and it also had to do with the same root issue of Law / Grace.  Thus its root in my estimation goes back to the hermeneutic some Professors are using that is more Lutheran than Reformed concerning the Covenant of Grace and the Mosaic Covenant.

I started to discuss this issue with some of the other leadership on the Puritanboard as my views were becoming more focused and I realized I wasn’t a Reformed Baptist any longer.  I believed that the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant were the same in substance as they were administrations of the One Covenant of Grace.  I fully agreed with WCF chapter 7.  It wasn’t hard for me to change for a lot of reasons.  I was already a member of the RPCNA back in the mid to late 80’s and had returned back to that Congregation.  I had also been a member of a PCA Church Plant before I returned back to the RPCNA.  For some reason the light bulb just didn’t turn on for me until 2011.  I can’t explain it except I had been so indoctrinated as a Reformed Baptist that I couldn’t understand the terminology of my Reformed brothers.

So after much time waiting to openly confess my change (as I was counseled to do) I posed this question on the Puritanboard.  It was the beginning of my open confession as I was learning. Are Kline and Karlburg Not Confessional Concerning the Mosaic?

http://www.puritanboard.com/f30/kline-karlburg-not-confessional-concerning-mosaic-69258/#post887978

I also made this post on the Puritanboard Blog area to start helping others understand why I was becoming a Reformed Theologian instead of a Reformed Baptist.  I ended up starting my own personal blog and moved it there.

These are some of the reasons I started to pursue this issue and this is where it has lead me thus far.  I am not one who has had many changes in my theology since I became a Christian.  I actually was born a Calvinist and didn’t know it.  You can read about it here. I wasn’t even a classical Scoffield / Darby dispensationalist which was the eschatological view that many of my friends in the Navigators held to.  I was Premil for a short time but I shortly became an Amil with a Positive bent when I started learning about the differences.  I have had a lot of growth over the past 33 years but not a lot of Theological shifting as some people experience.

Well now you all might have some understanding about why I have pursued this.  I also want you to know that I have not pursued these issues apart from counsel and apart from being under authority.  I keep close to my Elders and listen to them and I listened to the Leadership of the Purianboard who has placed a lot of trust in me as a Moderator.  I have not acted as a Lone Ranger who has been out to correct and purify the Church because I am right and everyone else is wrong.  I am a man under authority.  I am a sinful man who needs the counsel of my Elders and Leadership and I have tried to be faithful in obeying them.  They have had to reel me in a few times in the past few years also.  They have helped me to keep it between the lines the best they can and I am most grateful for them and their work.  I truly believe Hebrews 13:7, 17.  There is blessing in submission.

Heb 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

Heb 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

In my estimation I found that the particular view of Republication that Popular Modern Reformed Teachers are holding to (Michael Horton, Bryan Estelle, David Van Drunen, R. Scott Clark, etc.) and their view of the Mosaic Covenant to be out of bounds.  It effects the doctrine of Christology (His Kingship and authority, Two Kingdom / Natural Law), Soteriology and how the Gospel is defined (ie. Justification is overemphasized and sanctification denied leading to a form of antinomianism possibly.), and the doctrine of Union with Christ has been debated due to this.

This teaching has a hermeneutic with fingers that reach into many different areas of theology.  So I have tried to understand it the best I can.  I am sure I still have much to learn.  So I will keep on trying.

Be Encouraged,

For the peace and Unity of the brothers.

Be Encouraged dear Elders and brothers in Christ,

Randy Martin Snyder

“Our object should not be to have scripture on our side but to be on the side of scripture; and however dear any sentiment may have become by being long entertained, so soon as it is seen to be contrary to the Bible, we must be prepared to abandon it without hesitation.”
William Symington

The Covenant of Grace, The Sinaitic and the New

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The Covenant of Grace, The Sinaitic and the New
Drs. J van Gunderen and W. H. Velema
Concise Reformed Dogmatics pp. 548-550 P&R 2008

3. The Sinaitic Covenant.  We can say with Bavinck that the covenant with the fathers is the foundation and core of the Sinaitic covenant (R. D., 3.220).  God’s faithfulness toward the patriarchs is mentioned as the motive (Deut. 7:8).  There is continuity so that also the covenant with Israel bears the character of a covenant of Grace.  This is sufficiently clear from the words of Exodus 20:2, although in the phase of the history of the covenant there is a great emphasis on the observance of God’s commandments.

Sometimes the distinction between the covenant with Abraham and that with Israel at Sinai is almost turned into a contrast.  Thus it is said that although the latter is indeed not a covenant of works, it is presented in a form that is strongly reminiscent of a covenant of works (Aalders, 1939. 179).  We can object that the emphasis on what God demands from his people does not take us into the sphere of a covenant of works.  In Deuteronomy the central idea is that the people will keep the covenant.  Blessing and curse depend on this (Deut. 27-30), but it is the obligation to respond to God’s love that carries the covenant (see Deut. 6:4-5; 7:6-8; 30:19-20).  The Law is the torah, which plays a role within the covenant.  It provides the instruction that is required to make the people walk in the way of the covenant.  Just as Abraham is called to walk before God’s face when the Lord allies himself with him (Gen17.1), so the law that is given to Israel serves the covenant as a further explanation of the statement, “Walk before me and be thou perfect” (cf. Bavinck, R. D. 3.222).

4. In connection with the prophesies concern a new covenant or an eternal covenant, which God is about to establish with his people (Jer. 31:31-34; 32:37-41; Ezek. 37:24-28), the question arises whether this is a covenant other than the covenant made with Israel or whether we must think in terms of a renewal of the covenant.

Some theologians contrast the Sinaitic covenant with the new covenant.  The bond with the people of God in the covenant of Sinai is purely external and national, in the new covenant it is purely internal and spiritual.   Today we deal with the new covenant.  The members of the covenant are members of the invisible church , the living members of Christ (Aalders, 1939, 158f.).  An important conclusion is that covenant and election are quantitatively identical.  The number of covenant members is identical to the number of the elect.  Incidentally, the covenant appears to include illegitimate members, to whom also God has said that he establishes his covenant with them to be their God, but who refuse to acknowledge him as their God.  This can be interpreted as a breach of the covenant on their part (Aalders, 1939, 193,222).

According to Reiling, the prophecy of the new covenant implies that the old covenant no longer exists.  It has been breached by the people and there is nothing left to be restored or renewed.  The old covenant and the new covenant constitute the same covenant only to the extent that God remains himself.  As far as the covenant people are concerned, however, we must speak of two fundamentally different covenants. (J. Reiling, Verbond, oud en nieuto, 1976.111)

While Aalders, Reiling, and others emphasisze the discontinuity of the covenant with Israel and the new covenant, others point to continuity.  The distinction is not that the old covenant is only external and the new covenant internal.  This would constitute an essential difference.  It is disputed by L. H. Vander Meiden (1955.35).  The difference lies entirely in the area of the history of redemption (Wiskerke, 1955.174).

Regarding the relationship between the old (Sinaitic) covenant and the new covenant (Jer.31), we must keep in mind both the similarities and the distinctions between them.

  1. It is in essence one covenant of God with his people.  When the covenant first established with Abraham was subsequently ratified with Israel at Sinai, it retained the character of a covenant of grace.  Jeremiah 31 implies in a surprisingly new manner that God commits himself to extend his grace and faithfulness toward people who do not at all deserve it (cf. in this regard Jer. 31:32).  He renews his covenant with his people.
  2. The new covenant is none other than the old covenant.  The Law that is to be written in the hearts is the same law that was given earlier.  The all-encompassing promise (Jer. 31:33), “I…will be their God and they shall be my people,” is the same promise of Moses’ time (“I … will be your God, and ye shall be my people,” Lev. 26:12).  One may not infer from Jeremiah 31:33-34 that in earlier days the law was not yet written in the hearts or that there was then no forgiveness of sin and knowledge of the Lord.  This “internalization” (See F. Malaresta, Interiority and Covenant, 1978, 68-77) was already promised in the books of Moses (Deut. 30:6).  The Law was indeed written in the hearts of the godly, and the saints of God stood in the right relationship to him.
  3. The manner in which God deals with his people has not changed in the new covenant.  He grants promises such as those expressed in Jeremiah 31:31-34 not just to those who have been chosen to eternal life.  Just as those in Genesis 17 and Exodus 19, they are promises that require a believing response.
  4. There is nevertheless a clear progression in the history of the covenant, which is at the same time redemptive history.  “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant” (Jer. 31:31).  More blessings can be expected in the future.  In essence, what was granted under the old covenant is given to a fuller and richer extent under the new covenant.  Thus there is indeed a difference in degree (cf. Vander Meiden, 1955, 41).
  5. As far as the fulfillment of this prophecy is concerned, some place it after the exile, because the context refers to people returning (Jer. 31:23-25) and because they would then naturally be preoccupied with the law (cf. Neh. 9.38-10.31).  In our view the prophesies concerning the new covenant refer more to a new, enduring dispensation the covenant.  This new dispensation came when Christ completed his work as Mediator and when his Spirit was poured out (see Heb. 8:6-13; 2 Cor. 3:6).  Believers from among the Jewish people and from the nations of the world are proof that God fulfils his promise (cf. Rom. 9:24-26; 2 Cor. 6:16-18).  Thus the church of Christ represents the people of the new covenant. 

Report on the Overture presented by the PNW OPC on the issue of Republication

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http://opc.org/GA/81st_GA_rpt.html#Mon

Here are portions from a report concerning the 81st General Assembly Overture on the Mosaic Covenant and Republication put forth by the Presbytery of the Northwest OPC.

The 81st General Assembly by Daniel F. Patterson

Overture from the Presbytery of the Northwest

An overture was brought to the assembly by the Presbytery of the Northwest (PNW) asking the assembly to establish a study committee to examine and give its advice as to whether and in which particular sense 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.

One of the representatives for the PNW, the Rev. Randy Bergquist, was granted 30 minutes to present the reasons for the overture, in which he outlined the history and context that lead them to bring the overture.

After the presentation by the representatives of the PNW, the advisory committee recommended that the overture be denied. A substitute motion was then made, namely, that the General Assembly grant the overture from the PNW. The assembly took quite a bit of time debating whether to substitute before running up against the order of the day, the morning break, at 10:15 a.m.

Continuation of the Consideration of the Overture from the PNW

After the address by Dr. Duncan, there was discussion regarding parliamentary procedure and it was determined that the question on the floor was, “Shall we grant the overture from the PNW?”

A substitute motion was then made to request the assembly’s Committee on Ecumenicity and Interchurch Relations (CEIR) to recommend to the 40th (2014) meeting of the National Association of Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) that NAPARC call a conference on the confessional implications of republication, to which member churches are invited to send speakers, and authorize the CEIR to accept, on behalf of the OPC, the designation as the member church responsible to convene such conference.

After lengthy debate, a motion was made to postpone definitely the consideration of the substitute until the question of a visitation committee to the PNW was decided. This motion was passed by the assembly.

The advisory committee then brought a recommendation to the assembly that the assembly erect a committee of three presbyters, to be appointed by the moderator, to meet as soon as possible with the PNW and concerned parties within it to assist the presbytery in dealing with matters that divide it and to promote reconciliation.

Before the recommendation by the advisory committee was considered, the assembly came to the order of the day, our morning devotion and lunch break.

Continued Consideration of the Overture from the PNW

The assembly reconvened at 1:30 p.m. with the singing of “Holy, Holy, Holy” and prayer by elder John Terpstra of Providence Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas.

The assembly took up the recommendation of the advisory committee to form a visitation committee. A substitute motion was then made to better reflect the urgency of the request and also require that the visit from committee wait until the PNW has officially asked for help. This motion was amended to reflect a different composition of the committee (three ministers and/or ruling elders). It passed. The substitute motion was then passed by the assembly. It then became the main motion before the assembly. This motion was then amended to reflect that the visitation committee should be tasked to assist the already existing republication committee in the presbytery. This amendment was defeated.

Following these various substitutions and amendments, the assembly approved the formation of a visitation committee.

With this question decided the assembly took up the consideration of the referral of the substitute motion regarding a NAPARC committee to the Committee on Ecumenicity and Interchurch Relations. The motion to refer failed.

The assembly then took up the debate regarding the substitute motion, which was to request CEIR to recommend to the 40th (2014) meeting of NAPARC that NAPARC call a conference on the confessional implications of republication.

There was a motion to table this substitute. The motion to table the substitute passed.

Since the motion to table passed, the assembly took up the consideration of the overture of the PNW to form a study committee on republication.

A motion was then made that the overture be referred to the newly formed visitation committee and that this visitation committee report back to the 82nd General Assembly.

After considerable debate, the motion to refer the overture of the PNW to the visitation committee failed.

The overture was once again before the assembly. In review, the overture requests that the GA 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.

At 3:15 p.m. the time for the afternoon break arrived and the assembly recessed.

Continued Consideration of PNW Overture

The assembly reconvened with the singing of “Let All Things Now Living” and prayer by the Rev. David Graves, pastor of Trinity OPC, Franklin, Pennsylvania.

The question of the overture from the PNW was once again before the assembly. After much debate, and a call for division, the overture was granted by a vote of 83–53.

Election of the Study Committee for the Issue of Republication

Have given the assembly time to consider nominees for the committee to study the doctrine of republication, elections were held.

The study committee will consist of five men. Sixteen men were nominated. The following men were elected: the Revs. Craig Troxel, Chad Van Dixhoorn, Bryan Estelle, Benjamin Swinburnson and Lane Tipton.

John Calvin and the Mosaic Civil and Judicial Laws

Thank You Wes.

YINKAHDINAY

John Calvin

Today I’ll share one last excerpt from the Reformation Church History course.  This is a topic relating to John Calvin that I’ve been studying since my university years.  I was originally motivated to study it because of debates about theonomy in the CanRCs in northern Alberta.  Theonomy is a view in Christian ethics which states that the moral/civil law of the Old Testament is exhaustively and perpetually binding upon civil magistrates.  There is some overlap between that view and what John Calvin taught, but there are also some significant differences.  Some of those differences relate to the context, others to principles.  In what you’ll read below, I don’t deal with the question of the relationship of Calvin’s views to contemporary expressions of theonomy.  This is merely intended to be descriptive of the approach Calvin took.

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Calvin was not only a theologian, but also a Christian political philosopher.  He gave…

View original post 3,090 more words

Old Posts on the Mosaic Covenant / the New Reformed Paradigm

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Old Posts on the Mosaic Covenant vs. the New Reformed Paradigm

Why I was drawn into this.

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/why-i-was-drawn-into-the-nuanced-republication-and-mosaic-covenant-study/

Dr. Robert Strimple on Republication and the Mosaic Covenant

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/dr-robert-b-strimple-on-the-mosaic-covenant-and-republication-of-the-covenant-of-works/

It isn’t about disctinctions it is about dichotomy

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/the-charge-of-lutheranism-is-not-about-distinction-it-is-about-dichotomy/

A Very Good Discussion on R. Scott Clark’s 7 point Summary of Republication /  He mistakenly thinks

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/very-good-discussion-on-r-scott-clarks-7-point-summary-of-republication/

The Marrow of Modern Divinity and the Recent Republication Issue

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-marrow-of-modern-divinity-and-the-recent-republication-issue/

The Covenant of Grace, the Sinaitic and the New

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/the-covenant-of-grace-the-sinaitic-and-the-new/

OPC Special Committee Report

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/confusion-in-the-camp-merit-and-reformed-theology/

OPC Presbytery Northwest Debates Republication: Merit, Grace, and the Mosaic Covenant. Vote to send it to General Assembly

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/opc-presbytery-of-the-northwest-debates-republication-merit-grace-and-the-mosaic-covenant-votes-to-send-overture-to-the-81st-general-assembly/

OPC Video – Session Two – Presentation on Particular view of Republication

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/opc-pnw-republication-session-2/

WCF 19

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/westminster-confession-of-faith-chapter-19-the-law-and-the-covenant-of-works/

Republication Beeke / Jones
https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/what-is-republication-of-the-covenant-of-works/

Lutheran and Reformed Differences in the Divines.
https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/lutheran-reformed-differences-back-during-the-time-of-the-westminster-divines/

Mosaic Covenant and the modern justification / sanctification controversy

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-mosaic-covenant-and-the-modern-day-justification-and-sanctification-controversy/

The Mosaic Covenant same in Substance as the New Covenant

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/the-mosaic-covenant-same-in-substance-as-the-new/

THe Modern Day Controversy justification / Sanctification

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/the-mosaic-covenant-and-the-modern-day-justification-and-sanctification-controversy/

Depraved Christianity might be antinomian Christianity

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/depraved-christianity-might-be-antinomian-christianity-pt-3/

Samuel Rutherford the Covenant of Life opened.
https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/the-covenant-of/

James Durham the Covenant of Works and the Mosaic
https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/taken-frompract/

Vindication of the Law and Covenants Anthony Burgess
https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/vindication-of-the-law-and-the-covenants-1647-pp-231-237/

Skirting the Issue  / Clark
https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/skirting-the-issue/

Dr. R. Scott Clark is not teaching the Broad View of the Westminster Divines

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/clark-is-not-teaching-the-broad-view-of-the-westminster-divines/

I know Dr. Clark seems to get a lot of attention here.  It isn’t because I have some personal vendetta.  Dr. Clark is accessible and easy to reference since he writes and contributes often in the world of modern media.

Typology and Republication (Patrick Ramsey)

http://patrickspensees.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/typology-and-republication/

“Two Kingdoms” Propositions and some Responses

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/two-kingdoms-propositions-with-some-responses-or-counterpoints/

Modern Day Reformed Thought and Two Kingdoms

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/modern-day-reformed-thought-two-kingdoms-view-vs-the-biblical-one-kingdom-view/

Sundry Quotes from Solid Reformed Men on Law and Gospel

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/sundry-quotes-from-solid-reformed-men-on-law-and-gospel/

 

OPC REPORT ON REPUBLICATION

I am somewhat satisfied with the final report.  It should prove and settle the problem that some of our Modern Popular Professors and Authors are teaching contrary to the Scriptures and the Westminster Standards when it comes to the Mosaic Covenant.

http://www.opc.org/GA/republication.html

 

Confusion in the Camp / Merit and Reformed Theology

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Confusion in the Camp

Merit and Reformed Theology

In the Reformed Church, there has been much debate in the past decade over issues such as Natural Law, The Two Kingdoms, the Law-Gospel distinction, Justification and Sanctification, the Covenant of Works, the Covenant of Grace, and even the definition of the Gospel.

In the past few years, it has come to the attention of some ministers of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church that doctrinal confusion has arisen over the doctrine of republication. The heart of the issue lies in a particular formulation of the Mosaic covenant, including the notion that Israel as a “corporate Adam” is under a typological arrangement which entails meritorious works on the temporal level. This confusion is coming to the forefront in OPC Presbyteries when licensure and ordination exams are being conducted. As I understand it, these issues are having far reaching consequences as the church pursues its peace, purity, doctrinal integrity, and practice.

In April of 2012, an Overture was proposed to the Presbytery of the Northwest OPC. This overture called for the 79th General Assembly to establish a study committee to examine teachings propagated in a publication, The Law is Not of Faith, edited by Bryan D. Estelle, J. V. Fesko, and David VanDrunen. Overtures are proposed requests for consideration of doctrinal matters or how things should function in the church. At the April 2012 meeting of the Presbytery of the Northwest OPC, the motion to approve the overture was replaced with a motion to establish a Special Presbytery Committee to study the issues concerning the doctrine of Republication as presented in the teachings of Meredith Kline and the book The Law is Not of Faith. This teaching has far reaching implications concerning the doctrines mentioned in the first paragraph.

Three Ministers from the Presbytery of the Northwest OPC (Randy Bergquist, Andy Elam, and Rob Van Kooten), have submitted their own study regarding the presbytery committee’s new proposed overture for all to review. The study first sets out to give some historical background for the publication the The Law Is Not Of Faith. It discusses the motives and reasons that are stated in the book itself. Next, it analyzes the covenant theologies of John Murray, Norman Shepherd, and Meredith Kline. The authors of the study booklet believe that these three men are the main reasons that this issue of Republication has come to the forefront in recent theological discussion. Their teachings are examined in light of the Westminster Confession of Faith and historic Reformed thought. Part 2 of the booklet turns to a critical examination of the doctrine of republication. Its basic thesis can be summarized as follows: ….the Republication Paradigm (ie., the views of Kline and The Law is not of Faith) uses traditional language and concepts, but redefines them in the service of its own paradigm. Not only do these new definitions fail to harmonize with those contained in the Westminster Standards, they may lead to other systematic changes in our confessional theology.” I would also note that when there are systematic doctrinal changes, there will also be changes in how we apply the Scriptures and practice our faith.

All three ministers are graduates from Westminster Seminary California from which most of this controversial teaching is emanating. A pre-presbytery discussion will be held on September 26, 2013 at First OPC in Portland, Oregon.

https://sites.google.com/site/mosaiccovenant/home

https://sites.google.com/site/mosaiccovenant/paper

Is the PCA liberal or just going off the rails a bit?

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     I am one who wants to conserve Confessional Integrity because I believe the Westminster Standards are a wonderful summary of the Holy Scriptures. Anyone who doesn’t want to conserve Confessional Integrity wants freedom from them on some level. If that makes them liberal then so be it, I guess.
Conserve
1. to prevent injury, decay, waste, or loss of:
     The Confession is a whole document. It is historically tried and truthful in my estimation. I admit there are things that are unclear to me and my Church has a testimony that runs along with it. But it is my whole denomination’s testimony and we confess it. Maybe we are liberal in some ways compared to what others think.The term Liberalism is not monolitic in understanding. It definitely needs some attachment to a topic.
     There are topics that seem to be more pertinant than others maybe.  The first area that concerns most people has to do what they think about the nature of Scripture. The Confession speaks concerning that issue. Another area has to do with God and who he is. The Confession speaks to that issue. I guess we need to discern what issue we are discussing. When it comes to Soteriology the Confession is quite clear on that issue also. While a person may affirm the confessional standards concerning the nature of scripture and who God is they might not affirm the confessional standard concerning soteriology.
     In the Presbyterian Church the integrity of the Westminster Standards is what the measuring stick is. At what point do we start to label someone liberal? That is a hard question. J. G. Machen definitely set a standard and noted that Liberalism is not Christianity. I guess I need to reread him and find out where he drew the line maybe. Concerning his libertarianism I might consider him a Liberal. LOL. I do not believe the Westminster Standards are Libertarian.
     I have been catching up on some of the Greenbaggins blogs. I normally stay away from it because the commentators seem to speak past each other and it is so disheartening. The recent last few blogs have had to do with the past G.A.( General Assembly)  From appearance and reports even outside of the PCA the last G. A. looks more like American Politics where posturing and heathen tactics are being used.than the methods of assembled prayer and seeking God’s face. As I noted, it is starting to look more like heathen godless politics than a Church following Jesus Christ. How is it that this came to be? Whatever happened to the High Calling in Christ Jesus and the reverence we are to have for His Kingship?
     As sheep we are to consider the conduct of our Elders and follow them. Where does this leave the laymen now? According to Hebrews 13 we are to consider the conduct of our Elders and follow them. Liberal or not, this can’t be anything the writer of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote that we are to consider the conduct of our Elders and follow them. I pray that repentance springs from somewhere. This is too confusing to be from the Hand of The Lord. I don’t want to see a situation likened unto the past where Moses said, “Who is on the LORD’s side? Come to me.” Exodus 32:26 I am saddened in spirit and for our brothers.
 I have heard communication that other PCA Elders wouldn’t recognize the blog posts on Greenbaggins (concerning the General Assembly) as being accurately reported.
My reply to that is…

In all due respect, maybe that is part of the problem. I am not relying upon Greenbaggins. I have been hearing ripples even outside and they aren’t necessarily the bloggers who are of the mind to announce overly harsh criticism. Sure there are plenty of those. There are some solid facts being presented from others that are acknowledging the polity and the results as the things that should have happened per polity. But the discord and maneuvering appears more like political wrangling than looking like a Church that is to seek Christ and adhere to a Standard known as the Westminister Confession of Faith.

It is probably a sad thing that most PCA Elders don’t recognize it as being accurate. I remember when the Federal Vision started raising its head. I was in the PCA then. Most Pastors were clueless as to what it was or even if it was a problem and the Doug Wilson books were filling the pew sitter’s libraries as the teaching was. Most PCA Pastors are tending to real life issues and working out situations in their congregations. That is hard work. They didn’t have the time nor see the urgency of the situation. They were Pastoring (dealing with sinners) and preparing for worship. So they were clueless for a time being. It just seemed like a heresy hunt to some. And I understand that.

All I am trying to say is that I am praying and hope many others are for a recovery. We have a wonderful set of Standards and they are not silent on these issues. We have God’s word and I know it isn’t silent either. The situation represented by many resembled more of a picture of English Parliament and American Politics than it did the picture given to us in Acts 15.  Maybe I am wrong. Either way, where is our example?

I was encouraged to have an optimistic outlook (by a very sound Deacon with whom I have a lot of respect) and consider the fact that the PCA cannot allow false confessionalism to stand as in the recent cases brought up. Especially concerning baptism, justification, Union with Christ, the visible Church, invisible Church, covenant of works, etc. I was exhorted to see that some people do not believe that there is significant sentiment in the denomination for the contrary views that have been discussed recently.


There was also reason to have hope as we see a very committed man heading Covenant Seminary now. We should also recognize that in Revelation 1-3, most of the types of Churches then (and now) have attributes of both commendation and chastisement. Most have some struggle with maintaining right doctrine and even those that were apostatizing sometimes are commended for having a faithful remnant in there midst.


WE MUST BE CAREFUL TO PROTECT TRUTH AND THE GOOD NAME OF OUR NEIGHBOR, ESPECIALLY WHEN BROADLY ASSESSING THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH, AND WHOLE COMMUNIONS.

My reply…

I appreciate the optimism some people have. I also appreciate the advice about protecting the good name of our neighbor.  At the same time I cringe because of the many issues I have been noticing in the past few years concerning Law / Gospel, Creationism, Communion, Soteriology, etc, have not been dealt with as they should have been. There are many issues that have been discussed and cautioned about. The leading authors in the PCA today are not leading others down the paths that Dr. Sproul and others from the past 30 years were solidly contending for. For instance, I steer my kids and disciples away from some prominent PCA authors. Do I need to name them? Some are very popular right now.

Also when we consider Revelation 1-3 we should note that Candlesticks were removed as The Lord promised. That isn’t something we should neglect. There was a reason for their removal. We surely don’t want to see that happen. But realistically there are major problems that seem to be swept under the carpet for the time being. As I noted above the recent situation should bring a lot of concern. Whose example are we to follow? Why is the leadership appearing to perform on a level of ineptness that renders confusion and looks more like political wrangling than a Church seeking the Lord’s will?

I appreciate the optimism but it seems to neglect a lot of the reality. Things are not being dealt with properly on a level it seems it should be. We have a PCA Church here in town that has an art museum exhibit as one of its main attractions. It is obviously a model Church from one in New York where many strange issues are spewing forth from. The New York Church is touted by many as a model to immulate. This ought not be in my estimation as I see a lot of confusion and strangeness being spewed forth from that place. There is much to be concerned about. Whose example are we to follow?

I hope this past G. A. is not one that will be touted as a fine example. Ineptness is what it seems to be marked by. Sure the praise and worship may have seemed to be edifying but I am wondering what The Lord thought of it. I am not going to pretend to know the mind of The Lord concerning how edifying the worship was. If the worship was all that great and uplifting I would have thought that it would have transferred over into the other areas of the General Assembly and it appears it didn’t.

I appreciate the optimism but I am very cautious about it also. There does seem to be something very amiss somewhere.

“Two kingdoms” propositions with some responses or counterpoints

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Over on the Puritanboard, we are having a discussion on the recent developments of what Two Kingdom Theology is and how it is understood.  Mark Van Der Molen, an Indiana lawyer and former Elder in the URCNA (United Reformed Church of North America) who has studied the topic for some years, worked out a series of “two kingdoms” propositions drawn primarily from the teachings of Dr. David Van Drunen.  The development of the propositions arose in Van Der Molen’s discussion with Matthew Tuininga on his blog  Christian in America in May of 2012.  The 27 Propositions were developed, refined, and agreed upon by both Van Der Molen and Tuininga as a starting point to discuss the topic.

At the Puritanboard, in response to some questions, Mark provided an updated series of responses/ counter points to the propositions.  Just as my own blog is still a work in progress, and some two kingdom proponents may have some disagreements in their exact formulation, this list of propositions, responses, and counterpoints could be beneficial in bringing some clarity to this ongoing discussion.

Two kingdoms” propositions with some responses or counterpoints:

1. The moral law is binding on all men everywhere.

No disagreement on this.

2. Natural law is the basic moral standard in the common kingdom.

The Reformed confessions recognize that natural law exists and is a standard, but it is insufficient to order the common kingdom aright independently of special revelation.

3. Natural law is the standard for the civil government’s use of the sword.

The Reformed confessions testify that natural law is a standard, but is insufficient to order the government’s use of the sword aright.

4. The Decalogue was given for the covenant community only.

The Reformed confessions testify the Decalogue was given “to” the covenant community, but is given “for” all men.

5. The provisional and ceremonial aspects of the Decalogue were binding on the O.T. covenant community only.

Generally agreeable, except that the Reformed confessions also testify that the “truth and substance” of the law and prophets and ceremonial law remain today.

6. The moral law as expressed in the Decalogue is binding on all men everywhere.

Generally agreeable, except to the extent this formulation is sometimes used to sever the moral law from its written expression in the Decalogue

7. Scripture is not given as a common moral standard that provides ethical imperatives to all people regardless of their religious standing.

The Reformed confessions testify that the moral imperatives of Scripture are binding on all men everywhere.

8. As an expression of the natural law, the Noahic Covenant’s principle of lex talionis retributive justice governs use of the sword in the common kingdom.

Reformed theology has typically not limited the use of the sword to simply the lex talinios principle, but recognizes that the use of the sword includes justice tempered by mercy.

9. The lex talionis principle is not exact but is approximate, flexible, imprecise, and tempered by forbearance according the wise judgment of those in authority.

This proposition suggests agreement with the counterpoint to #8, but the term “forbearance” does not appear to equate with term “mercy” by two kingdoms proponents. 

10. Principles of mercy and forgiveness do not govern the common kingdom.

Principles of mercy and forgiveness do operate in the common kingdom, if one understands the common kingdom to include families, personal relationships, etc.

11. Principles of mercy and forgiveness govern Christ’s spiritual kingdom.

The Reformed would agree, but add that principles of justice also operate in the spiritual kingdom. 

12. The civil magistrate is to enforce the natural law duties of men toward one another as expressed in the Second Table of the Decalogue, but is not to enforce any natural law duties of men toward God as expressed in the First Table of the Decalogue.

The Reformed confessions testify that the written expression of the Second Table itself is enforced in some respects (not just the natural law represented by the Second table) and further, testify that there are aspects of the First Table that are within the proper sphere of the magistrate.

13. As the Noahic Covenant makes no distinction between believers and unbelievers, the state should not require nor promote any particular religious commitment to norm participation in the social order in the common kingdom.

Reformed theologians have also recognized that the Noahic Covenant did make distinctions between believers and unbelievers (commands and gracious promises to Noah and his family vs. mankind in general) and have denied that the Noahic is strictly a “common grace” covenant with no particular religious commitment to be promoted in the common kingdom.

14. The church is the present institutional manifestation of Christ’s redemptive kingdom.

The Reformed confessions testify that the church is the “chief” manifestation, but not the sole present manifestation of the kingdom.

15. Natural law alone is the sufficient standard for ordering the common kingdom aright.

The Canons of Dort and Belgic Confessions testify that natural law is insufficient to order things civil and natural “aright” due to the noetic effects of sin.

16. The Law delivered at Sinai under the Mosaic Covenant was a republication of the Covenant of Works in effect only during the time of the Israel theocracy.

The Mosaic covenant is in substance and essence an administration of the one covenant of grace. The idea of the Mosaic as a republished covenant of works with a “works principle” actually operating in some mixed or subservient fashion, was an historically minority opinion not codified in of our confessions.

17. The principles embedded in the judicial laws of the Mosaic Covenant are not normative for public policy today, except to the extent they reflect the general equity of natural law.

Generally agreed, except that it would be better to substitute or at least include the word “moral law” for “natural law” for clarity’s sake.

18. The state has no duty or goal to aid the advancement of the spiritual kingdom.

The Reformed confessions testify to the contrary, in that the magistrate is ordained to restrain evil, to promote good, to protect the church, and aid the advance of the gospel. 

19. It is illegitimate to change the institutions of the common kingdom (e.g., the state) to make them conform to distinctively Christian principles (e.g., turn the other cheek).

The Reformed confessions and scripture testify that all men, in whatever station, are to submit to the Lordship of Christ, tearing down strongholds and taking every thought captive to the Lordship of Christ.

20. It is inappropriate to seek the gospel’s transformation of culture into a Christian culture.

See response to #19.

21. Our resurrected body is the only element of creation that will be carried over into the eschatological kingdom.

Reformed theologians have also said that our sanctified/perfected works and the renewed heavens and earth will be part of the eschatological kingdom.

22. The family is part of the common kingdom.

The institution of the family is formed by God and is to be directed to the glory of God. It is agreed that it is an institution shared by unbelievers, but unbelievers misdirect or suppress the direction the institution should take.

23. The Christian is a dual citizen, as a citizen of both the spiritual kingdom and a citizen of the common kingdom.

It is agreeable that we share and interact with unbelievers but the term “kingdom” could confuse if such activities are thought in spatial terms as some “realm” governed by some different king or different ethic. 

24. The unbeliever is a citizen only of the common kingdom.

This is generally agreeable, but with same caveat as #23 on the definition of “kingdom”. 

25. The Christian lives under a dual ethic, namely, the natural law-justice ethic governing life in the common kingdom and the grace-mercy ethic governing life in the spiritual kingdom.

The Reformed confessions and scripture testify we we live under a unified Biblical Christian ethic, not a dual- antithetical ethic that depends on which “kingdom” we are operating in. Thus, for example, the Christian family is not guided solely by an ethic of lex talionis justice, but also an ethic of mercy and forgiveness. 

26. The common kingdom pertains to temporal, earthly, provisional matters, not matters of ultimate and spiritual importance. It includes matters of politics, law, and cultural life more generally.

The Reformed confessions do not exclude the kingdom of God as being manifest in these earthly matters of law, politics, and cultural life more generally.

27. The spiritual kingdom pertains to things that are of ultimate and spiritual importance. Insofar as this spiritual kingdom has earthly existence, it is found in the church and not in the state or other temporal institutions.

See comment on #26.

You can read the back and forth discussion from the comments section at the link below to see how they worked the propositions out.  http://matthewtuininga.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/addressing-confusion-about-the-two-kingdoms-doctrine-what-about-the-law/#comments

The comments, post, and link has been put away by Matthew Tuininga.  I saved them in a file at one time.

What is Republication of the Covenant of Works?

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Here is a portion of a book ‘A Puritan Theology Doctrine For Life’ that everyone should read to understand what is being discussed in Modern Circles today.   Dr. Joel Beeke’s and Mark Jone’s book “A Puritan Theology Doctrine for Life” should be read if you want to know if Modern Day Reformed Thought is being historically accurate with how they define their positions and understanding on issues concerning Covenant Theology.  Read Chapters 16-18 and you will notice a difference between them and the Westminster Divines on some things.

The Modern Reformed Thought does not hold to a position that the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant are of the same Substance as the Westminster Divines defined things. They also define Republication of the Covenant of Works a bit differently than how the Divines of the Westminster Assembly used this terminology.  Modern Day Reformed Thought holds to a position that the Mosaic Covenant administers both a Covenant of Grace and a Covenant of Works.  They hold to what is known as a Minority Position and it is defined in the book also.  It is not Westminsterian.

Enjoy…

Anthony Burgess likewise comments that the law may be understood largely, “as that whole doctrine delivered on Mount Sinai,” or strictly, “as it is an abstracted rule of righteousness, holding forth life upon no terms, but perfect obedience.”75 In the former sense, the law belongs to the covenant of grace; in the latter sense, the law was not of grace, but of works, which helps explains Paul’s polemic against the law in his New Testament writings (e.g., Galatians). These distinctions also help to explain the idea found in many Puritan authors who speak of the Mosaic covenant as republishing the moral law first given to Adam, written on his heart, engraved on tablets of stone as the Decalogue. For the most part, theologians who spoke in this way, whether dichotomists or trichotomists, made a number of careful qualifications in order to show that the moral law was republished not as a covenant but as a rule of righteousness for those in covenant with God. In other words, the moral law was not republished at Sinai to serve as a means of justification before God. For example, John Owen made clear in his work on justification by faith that the old covenant was not a revival of the covenant of works strictly (i.e., “formally”). Rather, the moral law was renewed declaratively (i.e.,“materially”) and not covenantally: “God did never formally and absolutely renew or give again this law as a covenant a second time. Nor was there any need that so he should do, unless it were declaratively only, for so it was renewed at Sinai.”76 The concept of republication of the moral law does not make Sinai co-extensive with Eden in terms of strict covenantal principles. If the moral law is abstracted “most strictly,” to use Roberts’s language, then Sinai certainly was a formal republication of the covenant of works. But, as Ball tried to argue, that certainly was not the intention of the old covenant. In the end, Ball’s position, which had been argued during the Reformation by Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr, and John Calvin, clearly influenced the Westminster divines.

Accordingly, chapter 19 of the Westminster Confession, “Of the Law of God,” begins by asserting that the moral law was first given to Adam, and goes on to say, “This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness, and as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables” (19.2). The Confession further asserts, “The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof” (19.5), and is of great use to believers “as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty…discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature…together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience” (19.6). Chapter 19 concludes that for a believer to do good because the law commands it or to refrain from evil because the law forbids it, “is no evidence of his being under the law, and not under grace. Nor are the aforementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it” (19.6–7).

Likewise, the Confession declares that the covenant of grace was administered “in the time of the law…by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances…all fore-signifying Christ to come.” Such outward forms were “for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation” (7.5). Hence it follows that “the justification of believers under the Old Testament was…one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament” (11.6).

p. 270-1

75. Burgess, Vindiciae Legis, 223.
76. Owen, Justification by Faith, in Works, 5:244.

Beeke, Joel R.; Jones, Mark (2012-10-14). A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Kindle Locations 10634-10647). . Kindle Edition.

For more on the subject of Modern Reformed Thought go to these links.
https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/lutheran-reformed-differences-back-during-the-time-of-the-westminster-divines/

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/old-posts-on-the-mosaic-covenant-vs-the-new-reformed-paradigm/

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/the-charge-of-lutheranism-is-not-about-distinction-it-is-about-dichotomy/

You can also read my comments on the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 19 here.

https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/westminster-confession-of-faith-chapter-19-the-law-and-the-covenant-of-works/