Law And Order Antithesis
However, this book has far more liabilities than strengths.
The scope of the book is too broad for two-hundred and seventeen short pages.
One can imagine at least three books that would be needed to address adequately the subjects Fuller wants to engage: a critique of dispensationalism, a historical comparison of dispensationalism and covenant theology with reference to the law-gospel question, and a biblical and theological analysis of the Law-Gospel problem.
Because Fuller addresses all of these issues in such short order, a certain superficiality is inevitable.
I then had to accept the very drastic conclusion that the antithesis between law and gospel established by Luther, Calvin, and the covenant theologians could no longer stand up under the scrutiny of biblical theology” (p.
The distinction between Law and Gospel in covenant theology is not absolute; the distinction only holds with reference to Justification.The Law cannot justify; only the Gospel offers righteousness.Yet with respect to sanctification, covenant theology has always insisted upon the “resulting works” that flow from faith.Thus The Westminster Confession (1646) states, “Faith. ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love” (Westminster Confession XI.2). One wonders if Fuller really understands the Reformed position on this issue.Also, Fuller often speaks of Calvin as if he is the representative of Covenant theology.Fuller’s book is riddled with unclear definitions of key terms.As Moo has criticized, “In a book devoted to Gospel and Law, one would expect some indication of the way in which these key terms are being used.” On a number of occasions, Fuller uses Gospel as an equivalent of grace (p. Yet the New Testament does not equate these two terms.However, this idea is a distorting oversimplification of the historical picture.As is widely known, “‘Covenant theology’ generally designates the distinctively covenantal theological structure developed by Cocceius, Witsius and others a century after Calvin, and this tradition differed from Calvin’s theology in some significant ways—not least on the relationship of law and gospel.” Does Fuller know that citing Calvin in this way can lead to mischaracterizations of Covenant theology?The law that Paul refers to “came four hundred and thirty years” after the promise to Abraham (Gal ).So how could law in Galatians 3 be understood as anything but the covenant God made with Israel at Sinai.