Christian views on the Old Covenant

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Depicted is the famous Sermon on the Mount of Jesus in which he commented on the Old Covenant. Painting by Carl Heinrich Bloch, Danish painter, d. 1890.

Christian views of the Old Covenant are central to Christian theology, ethics, and practice. The term "Old Covenant", also referred to as the Mosaic covenant, the Law of Moses, divine law, Biblical law or God's Law, refers to the religious law codified in the first five books (Pentateuch) of the Old Testament. Rabbinic Judaism[1] asserts that the Jewish religious laws were presented to the Jewish people and do not apply to gentiles, including Christians, with the exception of the Seven Laws of Noah, which apply to all people.

Many Christians believe that only parts are applicable, others believe that none are applicable, dual-covenant theologians believe that only the Seven Laws of Noah apply to gentiles, and a minority have the view that all are still applicable to believers in Jesus and the New Covenant.

Distinct views[edit]

Catholic[edit]

The Ten Commandments on a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol which includes: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy".

Theologian Thomas Aquinas explained that there are three types of biblical precepts: moral, ceremonial, and judicial. He holds that moral precepts are permanent, having held even before the Law was given, since they are part of the law of nature.[2] Ceremonial precepts (the "ceremonial law", dealing with forms of worshipping God and with ritual cleanness) and judicial precepts (such as those in Exodus 21[3]) came into existence only with the Law of Moses[4] and were only temporary. The ceremonial commands were "ordained to the Divine worship for that particular time and to the foreshadowing of Christ".[5] Accordingly, upon the coming of Christ they ceased to bind,[6] and to observe them now would, Aquinas thought, be equivalent to declaring falsely that Christ has not yet come, for Christians a mortal sin.[7]

However, while the judicial laws ceased to bind with the advent of Christ, it was not a mortal sin to enforce them. Aquinas says, "if a sovereign were to order these judicial precepts to be observed in his kingdom, he would not sin."[8] Although Aquinas believed the specifics of the Old Testament judicial laws were no longer binding, he taught that the judicial precepts contained universal principles of justice that reflected natural law. Thus some scholars refer to his views on government as "General Equity Theonomy."[9]

Unlike the ceremonial and judicial precepts, moral commands continue to bind, and are summed up in the Ten Commandments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

"2068 The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: 'The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord ... the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.'"
2070. The Ten Commandments belong to God's revelation. At the same time they teach us the true humanity of man. They bring to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the fundamental rights inherent in the nature of the human person. The Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law: "From the beginning, God had implanted in the heart of man the precepts of the natural law. Then he was content to remind him of them. This was the Decalogue" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 15, 1: PG 7/1, 1012).
2072. Since they express man's fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbour, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart.[10]

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Apostles[11] instituted the religious celebration of Sunday without transferring to it the ceremonial obligations associated with the Jewish Sabbath,[12] although later some of these obligations became attached to Sunday, not without opposition within the Church.[13] The Roman Catholic Church thus applies to Sunday, the Lord's Day, the Third Commandment.[14]

Lutheran[edit]

Law and Grace, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a Lutheran. The left side of the tree illustrates law, while the right side illustrates grace.

Article V of the Formula of Concord (1577) of the Lutheran Church declares:[15]

The distinction between Law and Gospel is that Law demands obedience to God's will, while Gospel refers to the promise of forgiveness of sins in the light of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Between 1580 and 1713 (considered the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy) this principle was considered of fundamental importance by Lutheran theologians.

The foundation of evangelical Lutheran biblical exegesis and exposition is contained in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Article 4) (1531):

All Scripture ought to be distributed into these two principal topics, the Law and the promises. For in some places it presents the Law, and in others the promise concerning Christ, namely, either when [in the Old Testament] it promises that Christ will come, and offers, for His sake, the remission of sins justification, and life eternal, or when, in the Gospel [in the New Testament], Christ Himself, since He has appeared, promises the remission of sins, justification, and life eternal.[16]

Calvinist[edit]

The decalog of the reformed church of Ligerz, Switzerland

The view of the Reformed churches or Calvinism, referred to as Covenant Theology, is similar to the Roman Catholic view in holding that Mosaic Law continues under the New Covenant, while declaring that parts of it have "expired" and are no longer applicable.[17] The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) divides the Mosaic laws into three categories: moral, civil, and ceremonial.[18] In the view of the Westminster Divines, only the moral laws of the Mosaic Law, which include the Ten Commandments and the commands repeated in the New Testament, directly apply to Christians today.[19] Ceremonial laws, in this view, include the regulations pertaining to ceremonial cleanliness, festivals, diet, and the Levitical priesthood.

Advocates of this view hold that, while not always easy to do and overlap between categories does occur, the divisions they make are possible and supported based on information contained in the commands themselves; specifically to whom they are addressed, whom or what they speak about, and their content. For example, a ceremonial law might be addressed to the Levites, speak of purification or holiness and have content that could be considered as a foreshadowing of some aspect of Christ's life or ministry. In keeping with this, most advocates also hold that when the Law is spoken of as everlasting, it is in reference to certain divisions of the Law.

Anglican[edit]

Anglican theology is defined to the degree it is expressed by its historic defining statements known as the Thirty-Nine Articles.

Article 7 of the Church of England's 1563 version, and other versions, specify only that Christians are bound by the "commandments which are called moral," but not bound by the ceremonial, ritual, or civil laws from the "law of Moses."

Dispensationalism[edit]

As a theological system, Dispensationalism is rooted in the writings of John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) and the Brethren Movement, but it has never been formally defined and incorporates several variants. Dispensationists divide the Bible into varying numbers of separate dispensations or ages. Traditional dispensationalists believe only the New Testament applies to the church of today whereas hyperdispensationalists believe only the second half of the New Testament, starting either in the middle of Acts or at Acts 28, applies.

Wayne G. Strickland, professor of theology at the Multnomah School of the Bible, claims that his (not necessarily "the") Dispensationalist view is that "the age of the church has rendered the law inoperative".[20]

This view holds that Mosaic Laws and the penalties attached to them were limited to the particular historical and theological setting of the Old Testament. In that view, the Law was given to Israel and does not apply since the age of the New Covenant.

Replacing the Mosaic Law is the “Law of Christ”, which however holds definite similarities with the Mosaic Law in moral concerns, but is new and different, replacing the original Law. Despite this difference, Dispensationalists continue to seek to find moral and religious principles applicable for today in Mosaic Law.

Understanding the New Covenant to be a new dispensation, George R. Law has proposed that the Law of Christ is recorded in Matthew 5-7. He suggests that Matthew’s record of the Sermon on the Mount is structured similar to the literary form of an ancient Near Eastern covenant treaty. Law’s theory is built on the groundbreaking work of Viktor Korošec, Donald J. Wiseman, and George E. Mendenhall. This new covenant form, like other variations of the covenant form throughout ancient history, can be identified by its unique combination of ancient covenant elements. If this record in Matthew can be identified as the record of the promised New Covenant, then its contents can also be identified as the formal presentation of the Law of Christ (and includes Christ’s new Ten Commandments).[21]

One view of Dispensationalism divides the Bible into these seven periods:

  1. of innocence (Gen 1:1–3:7), prior to Adam's fall;
  2. of conscience (Gen 3:8–8:22), Adam to Noah;
  3. of government (Gen 9:1–11:32), Noah to Abraham;
  4. of patriarchal rule (Gen 12:1–Exod 19:25), Abraham to Moses;
  5. of the Mosaic Law (Exod 20:1–Acts 2:4), Moses to Jesus;
  6. of grace (Acts 2:4–Rev 20:3), the current church age; and
  7. of a literal, earthly 1,000-year Millennial Kingdom that has yet to come (Rev 20:4–20:6).[22]

A natural misunderstanding of Dispensationalism sees[citation needed] the covenant of Sinai (dispensation #5) to have been replaced by the gospel (dispensation #6). However, Dispensationalists believe that ethnic Israel, distinct from the church, and on the basis of the Sinai covenant, are featured in New Testament promises, which they interpret as referring to a future time associated with the Millennium of Revelation 20 (dispensation #7). In Dispensational thought, although the time from Jesus' resurrection until his return (or the advent of the Millennium) is dominated by the proclamation of the gospel, the Sinai covenant is neither terminated nor replaced, rather it is "quiescent" awaiting a fulfillment at the Millennium. This time of Jewish restoration has an especially prominent place within Dispensationalism, see also Christian Zionism.

Theonomy[edit]

Starting in the 1970s and 1980s, an obscure[23] branch of Calvinism known as Christian Reconstructionism argued that the civil laws as well as the moral laws should be applied in today's society (a position called Theonomy) as part of establishing a modern theonomic state.[17] This view is a break from the traditional Reformed position, including that of John Calvin and the Puritans, which holds that the civil laws have been abrogated though they remain useful as guidance and revelation of God's character.[24]

Some theonomists go further and embrace the idea that the whole Law continues to function, contending that the way in which Christians observe some commands has changed but not the content or meaning of the commands. For example, they would say that the ceremonial commands regarding Passover were looking forward to Christ's sacrificial death and the Communion mandate is looking back on it, the former is given to the Levitical priesthood and the latter is given to the priesthood of all believers, but both have the same content and meaning.[25][26][27][28]

New Covenant Theology[edit]

New Covenant Theology (or NCT), is a recently expressed Christian theological system on this issue that incorporates aspects of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology.[29]

NCT claims that all Old Covenant laws have been fulfilled by Christ and are thus cancelled or abrogated[30] in favor of the Law of Christ or New Covenant law. This can be summarized as the ethical expectation found in the New Testament. Thus NCT rejects antinomianism as they do not reject religious law, only the Old Covenant law. NCT is in contrast with other views on Biblical law in that most other Christian churches do not believe the Ten Commandments and other Divine laws of the Old Covenant have been "cancelled."[31]

New Covenant theologians see the Law of Christ or New Testament Law as actually including many of the Divine Laws, thus, even though all Old Covenant laws have been cancelled, many have still been renewed under the Law of Christ. This is a conclusion similar to older Christian theological systems on this issue, that some Old Covenant laws are still valid, but this understanding is reached in a different way. On the issue of the law, Dispensationalism is most similar to NCT, but New Covenant Theology may be still evolving a coherent system that will better distinguish itself from it. Richard Barcellos has criticized NCT for proposing that the Ten Commandments have been cancelled.[32]

Dual-covenant theology[edit]

Dual-covenant theology is a Liberal Christian view that holds that Jews may simply keep the Law of Moses, because of the "everlasting covenant" (Genesis 17:13) between Abraham and God expressed in the Hebrew Bible, whereas gentiles must convert to Christianity or alternatively accept the Seven Laws of Noah. This view is in direct contrast with views generally known together as Supersessionism.

Torah submission[edit]

Torah-submissive Christians view Mosaic Law as of continuing validity and applicability for Christians under the new covenant (see also Christian view of the Law). This view is based on the idea that Jesus, as the Son of God and Messiah, could not and did not change the standard of Godly obedience, but rather affirmed both the "weightier" and "lesser" matters of Torah for those who have put their faith in him.[33]

Adherents of this view pursue a lifestyle that is both fully dedicated to Jesus Christ and also submitted to obeying God’s commands found in the Torah (which includes the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai). There are both ethnically Jewish and gentile Torah-submissive Christians.

Law-related passages with disputed interpretation[edit]

The Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament describes a conflict among the first Christians as to the necessity of following all the laws of the Torah to the letter, see also Council of Jerusalem and Incident at Antioch.

Some have interpreted the NRSV's parenthetical statement: "(Thus he declared all foods clean.)"[34] to mean that Jesus taught that the pentateuchal food laws were no longer applicable to his followers, see also Antinomianism in the New Testament. The parenthetical statement is not found in the NRSV's Matthean parallel Matthew 15:15–20[35] and is a disputed translation, for example, the Scholars Version[36] has: "This is how everything we eat is purified"; Gaus' Unvarnished New Testament[37] has: "purging all that is eaten." See also Strong's G2511.[38]

Others note that Peter had never eaten anything that was not kosher many years after Acts 2 (Pentecost). To the heavenly vision he announced: "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean."[39] Therefore, Peter was unaware that Jesus had changed the Mosaic food laws, implying that Jesus did not change these rules. Later in Acts, it should be noted that Peter realizes the vision is in reference to the gentiles now cleaned through Christ. In Mark 7, Jesus may have been just referring to a tradition of the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands. The expression "purging all meats" may have meant the digestion and elimination of food from the body rather than the declaration that all foods were kosher. The confusion primarily centers around the participle used in the original Greek for "purging". Some scholars believe it agrees with the word for Jesus, which is nearly 40 words away from the participle. If this is the case, then it would mean that Jesus himself is the one doing the purifying. In New Testament Greek, however, the participle is rarely that far away from the noun it modifies, and many scholars agree that it is far more likely that the participle is modifying the digestive process (literally: the latrine), which is only two words away.

Still others believe a partial list of the commandments was merely an abbreviation that stood for all the commandments because Jesus prefaced his statement to the rich young ruler with the statement: "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments". Some people claim that since Jesus did not qualify his pronouncement, that he meant all the commandments. The rich young ruler asked "which" commandments. Jesus gave him a partial list. The first set of commandments deal with a relationship to God (Hebrew: בין האדם למקום bein ha'adam lamakom). The second set of commandments deal with a relationship to men (Hebrew: בין האדם לאדם bein ha'adam la'adam). No doubt Jesus considered the relationship to God important, but Jesus may have considered that the young man was perhaps lacking in this second set, which made him obligated to men. (This is implied by his statement that to be perfect he should sell his goods, give them to the poor and come and follow Jesus — thereby opening to him a place in the coming Kingdom.)

Several times Paul mentioned adhering to "the Law"[40] and preached about Ten Commandment topics such as "idolatry".[41] See also Law of Christ. Many Christians believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a form of commentary on the Ten Commandments. In the Expounding of the Law, Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it (e.g. Mathew 5:17-18 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled); while in Marcion's version of Luke 23:2 we find the extension: "We found this fellow perverting the nation and destroying the law and the prophets".[42] See also Adherence to the Law and Antithesis of the Law.

History and background[edit]

Hellenism[edit]

Map of Alexander's empire, c. 334-323 BC.

The conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BC spread Greek culture and colonization over non-Greek lands, including Judea and Galilee, and gave rise to the Hellenistic age, which sought to create a common or universal culture in the Alexandrian or Macedonian Empire based on that of 5th and 4th century BC Athens (see also Age of Pericles), along with a fusion of Near Eastern cultures.[43]

This synthesised Hellenistic culture had a profound impact on the customs and practices of Jews, both in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora. There was a cultural standoff between the Jewish and Greek cultures. The inroads into Judaism gave rise to Hellenistic Judaism in the Jewish diaspora which attempted to establish the Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. The major literary product of the movement was the Septuagint and major authors were Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. Some scholars[44] consider Paul of Tarsus a Hellenist as well, see also Paul of Tarsus and Judaism.

There was a general deterioration in relations between hellenized Jews and religious Jews, leading the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes to ban certain Jewish religious rites and traditions, his aim being to turn Jerusalem into a Greek polis, to be named Antiochia.[45] Specifically, he decreed the death penalty for anyone who observed the sabbath or practiced circumcision, rededicated the Jewish Temple to Zeus, and forced Jews to eat pork.[46] Consequently, the orthodox Jews revolted against the Greek ruler leading to the formation of an independent Jewish kingdom, known as the Hasmonaean Dynasty, which lasted from 165 BCE to 63 BCE. The Hasmonean Dynasty eventually disintegrated in a civil war. The people, who did not want to continue to be governed by a corrupt and hellenized dynasty, appealed to Rome for intervention, leading to a total Roman conquest and annexation of the country, see Iudaea province.

Nevertheless, the cultural issues remained unresolved. The main issue separating the Hellenistic and orthodox Jews was the application of biblical laws in a Hellenistic (melting pot) culture.[47] One issue was circumcision, which was repulsive to a Greek mind.[48] Some theorize that the early Christians came largely from the group of hellenized Jews who were less attached to Jewish rituals, philosophies and practices.[49] See also Anti-Judaism.

Paul the Apostle and Biblical law[edit]

Some scholars see Paul the Apostle (or Saul) as completely in line with 1st-century Judaism (a "Pharisee" and student of Gamaliel), others see him as opposed to 1st-century Judaism (see Pauline passages supporting antinomianism and Marcionism), while still others see him as somewhere in between these two extremes, opposed to "Ritual Laws" such as circumcision but in full agreement on "Divine Law". These views of Paul are paralleled by the views of Biblical law in Christianity. See also Expounding of the Law versus Antithesis of the Law and Christianity in the 1st century.

Council of Jerusalem[edit]

Icon of James the Just, whose judgment was adopted in the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15:19-29, c. 50 AD.
Main article: Council of Jerusalem

The Council of Jerusalem[50] of about 50 AD was the first meeting in early Christianity called upon to consider the application of Mosaic Law to the new community. Specifically, it had to consider whether new Gentile converts to Christianity were obligated to undergo circumcision for full membership in the Christian community, but it was conscious that the issue had wider implications, since circumcision is the "everlasting" sign of the Abrahamic Covenant.[51]

Modern differences over the interpretation of this come from the understanding of the use of the word "Law" in Paul's writings (example: Gal 3:10) as referring only to Mosaic Law (Torah) but in 1st century Hebrew understanding had multiple meanings which also included Jewish and Roman civil laws.

At the time, the Christian community would have considered itself a part of the wider Jewish community, with most of the leaders of the Church being Jewish or Jewish proselytes.

The decision of the Council came to be called the Apostolic Decree[52] and was that most Mosaic law,[53] including the requirement for circumcision of males, was not obligatory for Gentile converts, possibly in order to make it easier for them to join the movement.[54] However, the Council did retain the prohibitions against eating meat containing "blood", or meat of animals not properly slain, and against "fornication" and "idol worship".[55] Some scholars[who?] claim that "fornication" is an incorrect translation of the Biblical Greek. Beginning with Augustine of Hippo,[56] many have seen a connection to Noahide Law, while some modern scholars[57] reject the connection to Noahide Law[58] and instead see Lev 17-18[59] as the basis. See also Old Testament Law applicable to converts and Leviticus 18.

Noted in Acts 15:19-21, James tells the Jewish believers to understand his reasoning for writing letters to Gentile believers when he says, "For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath." Knowing the new converts would have to attend a synagogue in order to learn the history of Israel and the Church, James set the Gentile believers up with a beginning attitude of precaution towards those who would preach Moses' Law as a requirement for Gentile believers.

The Apostolic decree may be a major act of differentiation of the Church from its Jewish roots,[60] the first being the Rejection of Jesus.[61] Although the outcome is not inconsistent with the Jewish view on the applicability of Mosaic Law to non-Jews, the Decree created a category of persons who were members of the Christian community (which still considered itself to be part of the Jewish community) who were not considered to be full converts by the wider Jewish community. In the wider Jewish community these partial converts were welcomed (a common term for them being God fearers, similar to the modern movement of B'nei Noah, see dual covenant theology), but they as Gentiles were excluded from the Temple proper and certain rituals.[62] This created problems especially when the Christian community had become dominated by former Gentiles with less understanding of the reasons for the dispute.[citation needed][63]

Marcion[edit]

In the middle of the second century, bishop[64] Marcion proposed rejecting the entire Jewish Bible, indeed he considered the God portrayed there to be a lesser deity, a demiurge. His position however was strongly rejected by Proto-orthodox Christianity, notably Tertullian and Irenaeus.[65] The terms Old Testament and New Testament are traditionally ascribed to Tertullian, but some scholars[66] instead propose Marcion as the source while other scholars propose that Melito of Sardis coined the phrase Old Testament.[67]

Johannes Agricola[edit]

In 1525, Johannes Agricola advanced the doctrine that the Law was no longer needed by regenerate Christians.[68] This position however was strongly rejected by Luther and in the Formula of Concord as antinomianism.

Leo Tolstoy[edit]

In 1894, Leo Tolstoy published The Kingdom of God Is Within You, in which he advanced the doctrine that Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, including its Antithesis of the Law, was the true message of Jesus. Although Tolstoy never actually used the term "Christian anarchism" (Christian opposition to all laws), reviews of his book appear to have coined the term.[69][70]

Recent scholarship[edit]

Recent scholars influential in the debate regarding the law include F. F. Bruce, Rudolf Bultmann, Heikki Räisänen, Klyne Snodgrass, C. E. B. Cranfield,[citation needed] and others, as well as some of those involved with the New Perspectives movement.[71]

In 1993 Zondervan published The Law, the Gospel, and the Modern Christian: Five Views (and apparently republished it as Five Views on Law and Gospel) in which its authors presented and debated five modern Protestant views on the topic. Willem A. VanGemeren presented a non-theonomic Reformed view, Greg L. Bahnsen presented the theonomic Reformed view, Walter C. Kaiser Jr. presented his own view, Wayne G. Strickland presented his own Dispensational view, and Douglas J. Moo presented what he calls a modified Lutheran view but is in all but name a New Covenant Theology approach.[72]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Gentiles: Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah
  2. ^ Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 100
  3. ^ Exodus 21
  4. ^ Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 103, a. 1
  5. ^ Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 102, a. 2 (emphasis added)
  6. ^ Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 103, a. 3
  7. ^ Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 103, a. 4
  8. ^ Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 104, a. 3
  9. ^ See Clausen, Mark A. "Theonomy in the Middle Ages." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Marriott Wardman Park, Omni Shoreham, Washington Hilton, Washington, DC.
  10. ^ Part 3, Life in Christ: Section 2, The Ten Commandments: "Teacher, what must I do ...?"
  11. ^ Apostolic Letter Dies Domini, 1; The Catechism of the Council of Trent: The Jewish Sabbath Changed To Sunday By The Apostles
  12. ^ The choice of the last day of the week (Saturday) and the rules about the precise manner of keeping that day holy are seen as ceremonial precepts like those about abstention from eating pork or from having sex with a woman during her periods.
  13. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Sunday
  14. ^ The Roman Catholic and Lutheran numbering of the Ten Commandments, which are often abbreviated for catechetical purposes (see Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Ten Commandments), differs from that followed by other Protestants.
  15. ^ Triglot Concordia, FC Epitome V, (II).1, p. 503ff
  16. ^ F. Bente and W.H.T. Dau, ed. and trans. Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), Apology IV (II).5, p. 135
  17. ^ a b Bahnsen, et al., Five Views on Law and Gospel. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993).
  18. ^ Philip S. Ross, From the Finger of God: The Biblical and Theological Grounds for the Threefold Division of the Law. (Fearn: Mentor, 2009).
  19. ^ WCF: Chapter XIX
  20. ^ Five Views on Law and Gospel, Gundry editor, Chapter 4: The Inauguration of the Law of Christ with the Gospel of Christ: A Dispensational View by Wayne G. Strickland, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993, page 259
  21. ^ George R. Law, “The Form of the New Covenant in Matthew,” American Theological Inquiry 5:2 (2012). For more information on the content of the Law of Christ including His Ten Commandments see George R. Law, The Law of Christ: God’s Will for New Testament Believers (Pfafftown, NC: Ready Scribe Press, 2011).
  22. ^ Scofield Reference Bible
  23. ^ Ingersoll, Judie (2013). "Religiously Motivated Violence in the Abortion Debate". In Juergensmeyer, Mark; Kitts, Margo; Jerryson, Michael. Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 316–317. 
  24. ^ Duncan, J. Ligon, III (October 15, 1994). "Moses' Law for Modern Government". Annual national meeting of the Social Science History Association. Atlanta, GA. Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  25. ^ Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law. (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Pub. Co., 1973).
  26. ^ Greg L. Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics. (Nacogdoches, TX: Covenant Media Press, 1977).
  27. ^ Gary North, Gary DeMar, Christian Reconstruction: What It Is, What It Isn't. (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991).
  28. ^ Greg L. Bahnsen, No Other Standard: Theonomy and Its Critics. (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991).
  29. ^ TMSJ 18/1 (Fall 2007) 149-163: Introduction to New Covenant Theology
  30. ^ ALL Old Testament Laws Cancelled: 24 Reasons Why All Old Testament Laws Are Cancelled and All New Testament Laws Are for Our Obedience, Greg Gibson, 2008, page 7: "New Covenant Theology (the view in this book) is a rapidly-spreading view with a better priest, better sacrifice, and better covenant (containing a better law)."
  31. ^ Colossians 2:14 is the origin of the term "cancelled" in New Covenant Theology.
  32. ^ In Defense of the Decalogue : A Critique of New Covenant Theology, Richard Barcellos, Founder's Press, 2001. Barcellos is an associate professor of New Testament Studies at the Midwest Center for Theological Studies.
  33. ^ Matt 23:23
  34. ^ Mark 7:19
  35. ^ Matthew 15:15–20
  36. ^ Miller, Robert J. Editor The Complete Gospels Polebridge Press 1994 ISBN 0-06-065587-9
  37. ^ Gaus, Andy. The Unvarnished New Testament 1991 ISBN 0-933999-99-2
  38. ^ Strong's G2511
  39. ^ Acts 10:14
  40. ^ Romans 2:12–16, Romans 3:31, Romans 7:12, Romans 8:7–8,Gal 5:3, Acts 24:14, Acts 25:8
  41. ^ 1 Cor 5:11, 1 Cor 6:9–10, 1 Cor 10:7, 1 Cor 10:14, Gal 5:19–21, Eph 5:5, Col 3:5, Acts 17:16–21, Acts 19:23–41
  42. ^ Ante-Nicene Fathers: Tertullian: Against Marcion: Dr. Holmes' Note: "In [Luke 23:2], after the words "perverting the nation," Marcion added, "and destroying the law and the prophets; Gospel of Marcion: Jesus Before Pilate and Herod
  43. ^ Roy M. MacLeod, The Library Of Alexandria: Centre Of Learning In The Ancient World
  44. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Saul of Tarsus: Not a Hebrew Scholar; a Hellenist
  45. ^ H.H Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1969, page 203, ISBN 0-674-39731-2
  46. ^ Ben-Sasson, 1969, page 204
  47. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Hellenism: "Post-exilic Judaism was largely recruited from those returned exiles who regarded it as their chief task to preserve their religion uncontaminated, a task that required the strict separation of the congregation both from all foreign peoples (Ezra x. 11; Neh. ix. 2) and from the Jewish inhabitants of Palestine who did not strictly observe the Law (Ezra vi. 22; Neh. x. 29)."
  48. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Circumcision: In Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature: "Contact with Grecian life, especially at the games of the arena [which involved nudity], made this distinction obnoxious to the Hellenists, or antinationalists; and the consequence was their attempt to appear like the Greeks by epispasm ("making themselves foreskins"; I Macc. i. 15; Josephus, "Ant." xii. 5, § 1; Assumptio Mosis, viii.; I Cor. vii. 18; , Tosef., Shab. xv. 9; Yeb. 72a, b; Yer. Peah i. 16b; Yeb. viii. 9a). All the more did the law-observing Jews defy the edict of Antiochus Epiphanes prohibiting circumcision (I Macc. i. 48, 60; ii. 46); and the Jewish women showed their loyalty to the Law, even at the risk of their lives, by themselves circumcising their sons."; Hodges, Frederick, M. (2001). "The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme" (PDF). The Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75 (Fall 2001): 375–405. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0119. PMID 11568485. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  49. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Saul of Tarsus: Jewish Proselytism and Paul: "As a matter of fact, only the Jewish propaganda work along the Mediterranean Sea made it possible for Paul and his associates to establish Christianity among the Gentiles, as is expressly recorded in the Acts (10:2; 13:16, 13:26, 13:43, 13:50; 16:14; 17:4, 17:17; 18:7); and it is exactly from such synagogue manuals for proselytes as the Didache and the Didascalia that the ethical teachings in the Epistles of Paul and of Peter were derived (see Seeberg, "Der Katechismus der Urchristenheit," 1903, pp. 1-44)."
  50. ^ Acts 15
  51. ^ Genesis 17:9-14
  52. ^ Acts 15:19-21
  53. ^ Jewish law or Halakha was formalized later, see Jewish Encyclopedia: Jesus of Nazareth: Attitude Toward the Law: "Jesus, however, does not appear to have taken into account the fact that the Halakah was at this period just becoming crystallized, and that much variation existed as to its definite form; the disputes of the Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai were occurring about the time of his maturity."
  54. ^ Acts 15:19
  55. ^ Karl Josef von Hefele's Commentary on canon II of Gangra notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third 731 forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuser, like other laws."
  56. ^ Contra Faust, 32.13
  57. ^ For example: Joseph Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries), Yale University Press (December 2, 1998), ISBN 0-300-13982-9, chapter V
  58. ^ Genesis 9
  59. ^ Lev 17-18
  60. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia: Baptism: "According to rabbinical teachings, which dominated even during the existence of the Temple (Pes. viii. 8), Baptism, next to circumcision and sacrifice, was an absolutely necessary condition to be fulfilled by a proselyte to Judaism (Yeb. 46b, 47b; Ker. 9a; 'Ab. Zarah 57a; Shab. 135a; Yer. Kid. iii. 14, 64d). Circumcision, however, was much more important, and, like baptism, was called a "seal" (Schlatter, "Die Kirche Jerusalems," 1898, p. 70). But as circumcision was discarded by Christianity, and the sacrifices had ceased, Baptism remained the sole condition for initiation into religious life. The next ceremony, adopted shortly after the others, was the imposition of hands, which, it is known, was the usage of the Jews at the ordination of a rabbi. Anointing with oil, which at first also accompanied the act of Baptism, and was analogous to the anointment of priests among the Jews, was not a necessary condition."
  61. ^ McGrath, Alister E., Christianity: An Introduction, Blackwell Publishing,(2006), ISBN 1-4051-0899-1, Page 174: "In effect, they [Jewish Christians] seemed to regard Christianity as an affirmation of every aspect of contemporary Judaism, with the addition of one extra belief — that Jesus was the Messiah. Unless males were circumcised, they could not be saved (Acts 15:1)."
  62. ^ See, for example, Exodus 12:48.
  63. ^ [http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=142&letter=G&search=gentiles#525 Jewish Encyclopedia: Gentile: Judaism not hostile to Gentiles: "In judging the halakic enactments one must keep in mind not merely the situation of the Jews—engaged in a bitter struggle for self-preservation and exposed to all sorts of treachery and suffering from persecution—but also the distinction between law and equity. The law can not and does not recognize the right of demented persons, minors, or aliens to hold property. Even modern statutes are based on this principle; e.g., in the state of Illinois, U. S. A., an alien can not inherit real estate. But what the law denies, equity confers. The Talmudic phrase "mi-pene darke shalom" ("on account of the ways of peace"; see below) is the equivalent of the modern "in equity.""
  64. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Marcionites: "Moreover, it is obvious that Marcion was already a consecrated bishop."
  65. ^ Against Heresies 3.12.12: "For all those who are of a perverse mind, having been set against the Mosaic legislation, judging it to be dissimilar and contrary to the doctrine of the Gospel, have not applied themselves to investigate the causes of the difference of each covenant. Since, therefore, they have been deserted by the paternal love, and puffed up by Satan, being brought over to the doctrine of Simon Magus, they have apostatized in their opinions from Him who is God, and imagined that they have themselves discovered more than the apostles, by finding out another god; and [maintained] that the apostles preached the Gospel still somewhat under the influence of Jewish opinions, but that they themselves are purer [in doctrine], and more intelligent, than the apostles."
  66. ^ The Canon Debate, editors L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002), Everett Ferguson in chapter 18 quotes Tertullian's De praescriptione haereticorum 30: "Since Marcion separated the New Testament from the Old, he is necessarily subsequent to that which he separated, inasmuch as it was only in his power to separate what was previously united. Having been united previous to its separation, the fact of its subsequent separation proves the subsequence also of the man who effected the separation." Note 61 of page 308 adds: "[Wolfram] Kinzig suggests that it was Marcion who usually called his Bible testamentum [Latin for testament]."
  67. ^ A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations page 316
  68. ^ F. Bente, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, chapter XVII: The Antinomistic Controversy, (St. Louis, MO: CPH, 1921), 161-172, cf. p. 169.
  69. ^ William Thomas Stead, ed. (1894). The review of reviews 9. p. 306. 
  70. ^ Mather & Crowther, ed. (1894). The Speaker 9. p. 254. 
  71. ^ Krister Stendahl argued in ."The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West". Harvard Theological Review 56 (1963), pp. 199–215. Reprinted in Paul Among Jews and Gentiles (Philadelphia: Fortress), 1976, pp. 78–96., that since Augustine, Western commentators have misunderstood Paul, due to an overly active conscience.
  72. ^ The Law, the Gospel, and the Modern Christian: Five Views by Willem A. VanGemeren (Contributor), Greg L. Bahnsen (Contributor), Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (Contributor), Wayne G. Strickland (Contributor), Douglas J. Moo (Contributor); Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993. ISBN 978-0-310-53321-4 Page 343: "The entire Mosaic law comes to fulfillment in Christ, and this fulfillment means that this law is no longer a direct and immediate source of, or judge of, the conduct of God's people. Christian behavior, rather, is now guided directly by "the law of Christ". This "law" does not consist of legal prescriptions and ordinances, but of the teaching and example of Jesus and the apostles, the central demand of love, and the guiding influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit."
    Page 376: "The content of all but one of the Ten Commandments is taken up into "the law of Christ", for which we are responsible. (The exception is the Sabbath commandment, one that Heb. 3-4 suggests is fulfilled in the new age as a whole.)"

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