WCF vs NCT: Which is More "Spiritual"?

One of the most persistent caricatures of Reformed orthodoxy is that it was (and remains) a lifeless, dead orthodoxy. Apparently some enthusiastic supporters of the so-called (self-described) “New Covenant” theology have taken up this view as a way of contrasting the piety . . . Continue reading →

Household Baptisms In Acts And Teen-Aged Children Of Adult Converts

Adam writes to ask about the baptism of fifteen-year old children of an adult convert. Should they be baptized before or after catechesis? § Hi Adam, This is a great question and a difficult one. I think it is correct to say . . . Continue reading →

The Law Of Christ Is The Moral Law

In his provocative March (2020) essay, Matt Smethurst asked “Why Don’t Christians Keep the Jewish Law?” He reminds us that the “Bible is a thoroughly Jewish document,” a note that has been regularly (and properly) sounded in modern biblical studies. From this premise, he asks the provocative question before us. He notes that “God’s people kept it for centuries in the Old Testament. What happened?” He answers by observing that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God kept and completed “the law of God in his people’s place. Jesus embodied in himself everything the law demanded.” Smethurst recognizes two functions of the “Jewish law:”  “God designed the law both to instruct and guide his people and also to expose their sin and need for a Savior.” In the magisterial Protestant traditions we have spoken of these as the normative (third use) and the pedagogical use. Historically there was also a “civil use,” the function of which, according to Louis Berkhof, is to restrain sin and to serve “the purposes of God’s common grace in the world at large.” According to Smethurst, the “Jewish law” is a signpost that is no longer needed now that the “new covenant and new age ushered in by a new king” has arrived. As he puts it, “The signage of the law, therefore, can be taken down. It served its purpose.” Continue reading →