"...If one was to restrict grace, the word grace, to redemptive grace it is obvious there is no grace in the creation situation. I mean, that’s given as read. But grace wasn’t restricted in that way in the 17th century. If it means favor, God’s stooping to us to bless and favor us, then throughout reformed theology it has been accepted that God’s covenant with Adam before the fall was gracious. Bavinck, Volume 3 of his Reformed Dogmatics, "Sin and Salvation in Christ," for example, treats that. John Bowl who died... a year before the Assembly was convened, in his treatise on the covenant of grace, argues that it was impossible for man to merit anything from God. If he obeyed him it would be out of duty. The fact that God gave him a promise, the fact that He would have continued his existence, or indeed blessed him upon a successful completion of his of his work would have been extra favor in grace. Now the Assembly states very clearly that law and gospel are not opposed but, in Chapter 19, Section 7 of the Confession, they "sweetly comply together". They sweetly comply together. And it’s not hard do see why this would have been the case... If the covenant of works, or of life, was exclusively legal then the covenant of grace becomes exclusively gracious. And what was the number one enemy of the Westminster Assembly at the time?  It wasn’t Rome. Those battles had been fought. Yes, Charles I had married Henrietta Maria. Yes, there’d been an attempt to invade in the previous century. But it was antinomianism and a law-grace polarity of that nature, of the nature which consigns everything in the covenant of works, [or of] life, to law and justice; and by doing so transplants grace in a virtually exclusive sense to the covenant of grace.  [It] runs the danger of heading in an antinomian direction. Such a rigid tension is nowhere evident in the Assembly debates, nor in the mainstream of Reformed theology since. It is, however, characteristic of Lutheranism.  And that’s not a theological swear word.  Luther was a great man, a preeminent reformer, and Lutheranism is a respectable and honorable Protestant tradition. But Lutheranism is not Reformed. A Reformed theology was not Lutheranism.  And that kind of tension, of polarity throughout between law and gospel, was was peculiar to Lutheranism..."

Dr. Robert Letham, Westminster Assembly Expert, Defense Testimony, Transcript of Pacific Northwest Presbytery Trial of June 3-4, 2011, Pg 362-363
 


Comments

10/26/2011 12:17am

Lol, great stuff. Makes me think that Stellmen et. al. should be forced to take an exception to those parts of the WS.

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