Antinomianism

“Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”

Rom. 3:31

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

Jn. 14:15

“Follow…  holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

Heb. 12:14

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Subsection

Eternal Justification

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Order of Contents

Intro & Where to Start
Articles  20
Books  30+

Reformation Origins of the 3rd Use of the Law  1
History of Antinomianism  22+


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Introduction

“I suspect that, after all, there is only one heresy, and that is Antinomianism.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan
Free Church of Scotland

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Antinomianism is rife today in Christian evangelicalism.

‘Anti’ means ‘against’ and ‘nomos’ means ‘the law’; hence antinomianism means ‘against the law’, as antinomians do not believe that God’s Moral Law is morally binding on, or of use to, believers.

While we are not in any way justified and made right by the Law before God, antinomianism is contrary to the Biblical and historic reformed doctrine of the 3rd use of the Law, that God’s Law is good (Prov. 4:2; Rom. 7:12), is a guide and light for the Christian to discern God’s will in sanctification (Prov. 6:23, Rom. 2:18), something the Christian is to delight in (Ps. 1:2; 40:8, 119:74; Rom. 7:22) and that God’s Law is morally binding upon us, it being something that we ought to keep out of thankfulness and love unto God by the power of his Holy Spirit (Heb. 8:10, Phil. 2:13).

All creatures everywhere, as long as they are creatures and God is the Lord, are ethically bound to observe all of God’s moral will for his creatures, which is summarized in the objective standard of the Ten Commandments.  Love, the great exampled injunction given to us by our Lord Jesus (Jn. 15:12; Mk. 12:29-31), does not work contrary to the 10 Commandments, but fulfills the Law to God and our neighbor (James 2:8;.Gal. 5:14; Rom. 13:8,10).

Many of the resources below are geared towards classic, hyper-Calvinist Antinomianism from the 1600’s.  While such views in their specifics are not necessarily common today, they are still around and present a trap to stay away from.  It is worth your time to become acquainted with the subtleties of these errors, as it will give you a much more full, careful and mature understanding and love for the truth as it is in Jesus.  Some classic antinomian errors, besides wholly throwing out the unchanging Moral Law of God, include:

– that the Mosaic Law cannot be distinguished into moral, judicial and ceremonial aspects, and is wholly abrogated
– that the Mosaic Covenant was not fundamentally the Covenant of Grace
– eternal justification (contrary to Rom. 5:1-11)
– Utter Depravity instead of Total Depravity, and that after conversion Christians remain in this condition
– that regeneration is not an actual change of heart in the believer
– that a Christian can never do anything that is good
– that good works are not necessary to go to heaven (see Heb. 12:14; Eph. 1:4WLC #154, etc.)
– that God is never wrathful towards the elect before conversion or angry with Christians after conversion due to sin, or that He ever disciplines them
– turning sanctification into justification, just as Romanists turn justification into sanctification
– that not only were sins legally imputed to Christ on the cross, but that Christ actually became sinful on the cross
– that God will not reward good works in heaven

In the statement at the beginning of this Introduction that antinomianism is the only heresy, Rabbi Duncan meant that almost every error can be traced back to a devaluing of God’s Law.  In casting out the full place of God’s Law:

– Legalists make up their own laws to replace the vacuum;
– Pelagians believe they can keep the Law of God enough to earn their salvation;
– Liberals don’t believe salvation has to be earned, and hence one can go to heaven without God’s justice being satisfied by an atonement;
– Romanists believe a Christian’s imperfect works in part merit their salvation;
– Neo-nomians believed that New Testament grace made the Law easier to keep for our salvation;
– Arminians believe that their faith in part contributes to the merit by which they are saved;
– Perfectionists define ‘sinless’, contrary to God’s Law, as a believer being without known sin (sin is a transgression of, or want of conformity unto, the Law of God, whether or not one is conscious of it);
– Charismatics divorce the Spirit, and sinning against Him, from the objective Law of God in the Word as the standard for ethics;
– The Federal Vision, Norman Shepherd and the New Perspective on Paul, in various ways, believe we are justified by our imperfect covenant faithfulness and works;

Those who are weak on God’s Law, will be soft on sin and our native depravity.  Those who are soft on sin will consequently be soft on Christ’s redemption from sin.  And to be soft on redemption and Christ’s perfect righteousness to save destitute sinners, is the evisceration of Christianity.

Yet, with a full view of the blinding perfection of God’s Law and our obligation to keep it in full, personally, spiritually, perfectly and perpetually, these errors vanish away.  We are left with a Law as holy as God Himself which no sinful creature can possibly fulfill to the full glory of God.  Hence salvation must be wholly of the Lord: He provides an atonement which fully meets the demands of his Law and fully merits its blessings, we adding nothing to it but the sin that we need to be delivered from.

In sanctification, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are freed from the tyranny of men and find God’s Law a sufficient rule for our conduct, revealing the Will of God to us, it being a ‘law of liberty’ (James 1:25; 2:12) turned to our blessing (Ps. 1:1-3; 1 Kings 2:3; Jn. 15:10; 14:21; Rev. 2:26; 22:7).  In order to make God’s Law a light to your path, see the many, good, Expositions of the Ten Commandments.

May the resources below be a faithful guard to you as you learn from the watchmen of God’s Church of older ages how not to deviate from Scriptural truth to the left or to the right.


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Where to Start?

Quotes

Ralph Erskine

“When once the fiery law of God
Has chas’d me to the gospel road;
Then back unto the holy law
Most kindly gospel-grace will draw.”

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J.C. Ryle

“Obedience is faith visible, faith acting and faith manifest.  Obedience is the test of real discipleship among the Lord’s people.”

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John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

“They say that ‘believers have nothing to do with the law.’  Is there not a kingdom, and is not God a great King? and how can there be a kingdom without a law?  They are God’s friends, and God and they are of the same mind, but are they not his subjects?”

“One kind of Antinomianism says nothing but ‘Come’; another kind refuses to say ‘Come’; the last is the worst of the two, because it lays no responsibility on the sinner.”

“It is our duty to fix the eyes on the Lamb of God, blind or not blind.”

“I fear I have been a practical Antinomian, thinking and not doing.”

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Articles

1500’s

Calvin, John – Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 2

Section 12 – ‘The Third Use of the Law’  1 p.
Section 13 – ‘The Profane Heresy of the Antinomians must be Exploded’  1 p.
Sections 14-17 – ‘Of the Abrogation of the Law, in what Respect’  5 pp.

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1900’s – 2000’s

Clark, Gordon – ‘The Christian & the Law’  1957  3 pp.

Kevan, Ernest – ‘The Law Not Abrogated by Christ to Believers’  24 paragraphs

Brooks, Richard – ‘Antinomianism, Part 2’  (2005)  23 paragraphs  Brooks discusses: Jer. 31; Mt. 5; Rom. 6; Jn. 1 & the 4th Commandment.

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Books

Beginner

Waldron, Sam – Easy Christianity

Jones, Mark – Antinomianism: Reformed Theology’s Unwelcome Guest?  Pre  Buy  (2013)  176 pp.

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Intermediate

Bolton, Samuel – The True Bounds of Christian Freedom: Or a Treatise wherein the Rights of the Law are Vindicated, the Liberties of Grace Maintained; & the Several Late Opinions Against the Law are Examined & Confuted  Buy  (London: 1656)  400 pp.  ToC

Kevan, Ernest – The Grace of the Law: a Study of Puritan Theology  Buy  294 pp.

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Advanced

1600’s

Rutherford, Samuel – A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, Opening the Secrets of Familism & Antinomianism  IA  (1648)  Part 1 gives the history of Antinomianism, part 2 refutes its distinctive tenets.

Witsius, Herman – Conciliatory or Irenical Animadversions on the Controversies Agitated in Britain under the Unhappy Names of Antinomians & Neonomians  (Utrecht, 1696; Glasgow, 1807)  345 pp.  ToC


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Articles

1500’s

Calvin, John – Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 2

Section 12 – ‘The Third Use of the Law’  1 p.
Section 13 – ‘The Profane Heresy of the Antinomians must be Exploded’  1 p.
Sections 14-17 – ‘Of the Abrogation of the Law, in what Respect’  5 pp.

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1600’s

Anonymous – The Second Part of the Undeceiver: tending to the Discovery of Some Prelatical & Antinomian Errors; & the Clearing of that Part of the Late Covenant of the Three Kingdoms which concerns Both  (1643)  24 pp.

Edwards, Thomas – ‘A Hymn which some of the Antinomians do sing at their meetings instead of David’s Psalms’  (1646)  in The First & Second Part of Gangræna, or, A Catalogue & Discovery of Many of the Errors, Heresies, Blasphemies & Pernicious Practices of the Sectaries of this Time, Vented & Acted in England in these Four Last Years

Gataker, Thomas – A Mistake, or Misconstruction, Removed. (Whereby little difference is pretended to have been acknowledged between the Antinomians & us). And, Free grace, as it is held forth in God’s Word, as well by the prophets in the Old Testament as by the Apostles & Christ Himself in the New, showed to be other than is by the Antinomian Party in these Times Maintained. In way of answer to some passages in a treatise of Mr. John Saltmarsh, concerning that subject  (1646; 1652)  43 pp.

Bolton, Samuel – ‘Against Antinomianism’  5 paragraphs  in The True Bounds of Christian Freedom

Clarke, Samuel – ch. 11, ‘Questions & Cases of Conscience about Some of the Antinomian Errors’  (1659)  9 pp.  in Medulla Theologiae, or the Marrow of Divinity contained in Sundry Questions & Cases of Conscience, pp. 89-98

This Samuel Clarke (1599-1682) was a reformed, puritan in the Church of England and a writer of ecclesiastical biographies.  He is to be distinguished from the Bible Annotator Samuel Clarke (1626–1701), who was a non-conformist and had Baxterian influences.

Flavel, John

‘III. Of the Conditionality of the New Covenant’  being pp. 348-56 of Vindiciae Legis et Foederis, or a Reply to Mr. Philip Carey’s Solemn Call in Works, vol. 6

pp. 526-39  of Vindiciarum Vindex: A Refutation of Mr. Philip Cary’s Rejoinder to my Defence of the Right of Believers’ Infants to Baptism (Vindiciae Legis et Foederis)  in Works, vol. 3

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1700’s

Trail, Robert – A Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine concerning Justification, & of its Preachers & Professors from the Unjust Charge of Antinomianism  (†1732)  32 pp.  See two relevant excerpted articles from this work here and here.

Trail was an orthodox Church of Scotland minister during the early 1700’s.  This may be the best, brief, elucidation and defense of the protestant doctrine of justification ever penned.

Hill, Rowland – Friendly Remarks Occasioned by the Spirit & Doctrines Contained in the Rev. Mr. Fletcher’s Vindication, & more Particularly in his Second Check to Antinomianism  (1772)  71 pp.  This is a letter to John William Fletcher

Fletcher was a Wesleyan [Arminian] Anglican who wrote multiple volumes against Antinomianism, as well as writing a volume asserting and defending Perfectionism, that Christians can reach a plateau of sinlessness in this life from known sin.

Rowland Hill was an influential Calvinistic Methodist in the Anglican Church who was orthodox.

Toplady, Augustus – ‘A Description of Antinomianism’  12 paragraphs

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1800’s

Fuller, Andrew – ‘Antinomianism Contrasted with the Religion of the Holy Scriptures’  24 pp.  in Works, 2.737-761

Hall, Robert – ‘A Preface to Antinomianism Unmasked by the Rev. Samuel Chase’  (1819)  7 pp.  in Works, 2.458-64  Chase’s work is here.

Thornwell, James H. – ‘Antinomianism’  (1840)  in Collected Writings, vol. 2

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1900’s

Kevan, Ernest – ‘The Law Not Abrogated by Christ to Believers’  24 paragraphs

Young, William – ’20 Statements Characteristic of Antinomianism’  in ‘Antinomianism’ in The Encyclopedia of Christianity  Buy  ed. Edwin Palmer.  This is only an excerpt, the whole article is excellent.

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2000’s

Gerstner, John – ‘The Antinomian Way of Justification’  (2010)  28 paragraphs

Ferguson, Sinclair – “What is the Opposite of Antinomianism?”  (2016)  2 paragraphs from The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism & Gospel Assurance—Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters  Buy

Phillips, Rick – ‘Thank God that Christians are Not Totally Depraved’  (2012)  11 pp.

Batzig, Nick – ‘Legalism & Antinomianism: the Two Gospel Thieves’  (2013)  29 paragraphs


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Books

1500’s

Calvin, John – Two & Twenty Sermons of Master John Calvin, in which Sermons is Most Religiously handled the Hundredth & Nineteenth Psalm of David…  Buy  (London, 1580)

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1600’s

Taylor, Thomas – Regula Vitæ [The Rule of Life]: the Rule of the Law under the Gospel. Containing a Discovery of the Pestiferous Sect of Libertines, Antinomians & Sons of Belial, lately sprung up both to destroy the law & disturb the faith of the Gospel: wherein is manifestly proved, that God sees sin in justified persons  (1631)  234 pp.

Burton, Henry – The Law and the Gospel Reconciled, or the Evangelical Faith, and the Moral Law, how they stand together in the state of grace, A treatise showing the perpetual use of the moral law under the Gospel to believers; in answer to a letter written by an antinomian to a faithful Christian… A brief catalogue of the Antinomian doctrines  Buy  (1643)  70 pp.

Burton was a reformed puritan.

Bakewell, Thomas – A Short View of the Antinomian Errors with a Brief & Plain Answer to them…  (London, 1643)  35 pp.

Bakewell was a reformed puritan.

Sedgwick, John – Antinomianism Anatomized. Or a Glass for the Lawless: who Deny the Ruling use of the Moral Law unto Christians under the Gospel  (1643)  46 pp.

Fisher, Edward – The Marrow of Modern Divinity…  wherein every one may clearly see how far forth he [that] brings the law into the case of justification, so deserves the name of Legalist, and how far forth he rejects the law, in the case of sanctification, and so deserves the name of Antinomist, with the middle path between them both, which by Jesus Christ leads to eternal life, in a dialogue, between Evangelista, a minister of the Gospel, Nomista, a legalist, Antinomista, an Antinomian, and Neophytus, a young Christian  (1645)  with notes by Thomas Boston

Gataker, Thomas  †1654

God’s Eye on His Israel, or, A passage of Balaam, out of Num. 23:21…  Expounded and cleared from Antinomian abuse, with application to the present estate of things with us  (1645)  150 pp.

“On the English Antinomianism, see further, Gataker, God’s Eye on Israel (Lond. 1645, 4to); Antidote against Error (London, 1670, 4to);” – McClintock & Strong

An Antidote Against Error concerning Justification, or, The True Notion of Justification & of Justifying Faith, Cleared by the Light of Scripture & Solid Reason, from Several Mistakes of the Words, which Misapprehensions Prove the Seeds of Dangerous Errors  (1670)  58 pp.

Bedford, Thomas – An Examination of the Chief Points of Antinomianism  (1647)  72 pp.

Bedford (†1653) was reformed.

Rutherford, Samuel

A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, Opening the Secrets of Familism & Antinomianism  IA  (1648)  Part 1 gives the history of Antinomianism, part 2 refutes its distinctive tenets.

The Trial & Triumph Of Faith: or An Exposition of the History of Christ’s Dispossessing of the Daughter of the Woman of Canaan.
Delivered in Sermons; In which are opened,The Victory of Faith; The condition of those that are tempted; The excellency of Jesus
Christ and Free-Grace; and Some specially Grounds and Principles of Libertinism and Antinomian Errors, discovered  (1645)  See the table of contents and search for ‘antinomian’.

Burgess, Anthony

Vindiciæ Legis: or, a Vindication of the Moral Law & the Covenants, from the Errors of Papists, Arminians, Socinians & more especially, Antinomians, in 30 Lectures

The True Doctrine of Justification Asserted & Vindicated, from the Errours of Papists, Arminians, Socinians & More Especially Antinomians  EEBO

Geree, Stephen – Antinomianism Discovered & Confuted: & Free-Grace as it is held forth in God’s Word: as well by the Prophets in the Old Testament, as by the Apostles & Christ Himself in the New, showed to be other than is by the Antinomian-Party in these times Maintained  (London, 1652)  43 pp.

Geree (1594-c.1656)

Bolton, Samuel – The True Bounds of Christian Freedom: Or a Treatise wherein the Rights of the Law are Vindicated, the Liberties of Grace Maintained; & the several late opinions against the Law are examined & confuted  Buy  (1656)  400 pp.  ToC

Flavel, John – A Blow at the Root of Antinomianism  Hathi  124 pp.  in Works, vol. 3, entitled A Brief Account of the Rise and Growth of Antinomianism…

Humfrey, John – The Middle-way in One Paper of the Covenants, Law & Gospel: with Indifferency between the Legalist & Antinomian  (1674)  33 pp.

Williams, Daniel – Gospel-Truth Stated & Vindicated: wherein Some of Dr. Crisp’s Opinions are Considered & the Opposite Truths are Plainly Stated & Confirmed  (1692)  250 pp.

Williams (c.1643–1716) was an English presbyterian and influential dissenter from the Church of England.

“Richard Baxter [who had previously opposed antinomianism, but was a neonomian] died in 1691.  His successor as unofficial leader of those who taught a moderated Calvinism was a Welshman, Daniel Williams…” – Peter Toon

Edwards, John – Crispianism Unmask’d, or, A Discovery of the Several Erroneous Assertions & Pernicious Doctrines Maintained in Dr. Crisp’s Sermons, Occasioned by the Reprinting of those Discourses  (London, 1693)  68 pp.

Edwards was an orthodox, reformed, Anglican divine.

Edwards, Thomas – A Short Review of Some Reflections made by a Nameless Author [i.e. John Edwards] upon Dr. Crisp’s Sermons, in a Piece, entitled Crispianism Unmask’d. With some remarks upon the union in the late agreement in doctrine among the Dissenting Ministers in London  (1693)  37 pp.

This Edwards was the son of the more well-known Thomas Edwards during the Westminster era in England.

Various – A Declaration of the Congregational Ministers in & about London, against Antinomian Errors & Ignorant & Scandalous Persons Intruding themselves into the Ministry  (1699)  63 pp.

This Declaration was responded to with Reflections on the same by A. Club.  Club’s pamphlet was responded to by the Censure of the anonymous person below.

Anonymous – A Censure of Three Scandalous Pamphlets: I. A Defense of Dr. Crisp against the Charge of Mr. [John] Edwards of Cambridge, by Esquire Edwards in Wales; II. Reflections on the Authors of the Late Congregational Declaration against Antinomianism, & Trepidantium malleus, by the A. Club; III. A Sermon preached Jan. 30, last, by Canon Gilbert in Plimouth with a tedious Preface of Mr. J.Y.  (1699)  56 pp.

This is a critique of three antinomian-leaning pamphlets that were written against orthodox writers.

Young, Samuel – A New-Years-Gift for the Antinomians, particularly Mr. Malebranch Crisp, or, as he Foolishly & yet Often, but Truly, Styles Himself the Unworthy Branch of Dr. Crisp, who has Wickedly Attempted to Underprop a Rotten Cause of his Father, by notorious forgeries concerning Mr. [Richard] Baxter, Mr. [John] Howe, and Dr. [William] Bates, as Justifiers of Dr. Crisp as an Orthodox man & no Antinomian, in a Rhapsody, entitled, Christ Exalted & Dr. Crisp Defended against the reverend Mr. Alsop…  (1699)  48 pp.

This work is against Samuel Crisp’s, Christ Exalted & Dr. Crisp Vindicated (1698).  Samuel Crisp had defended his father, Tobias Crisp, in writing against Vincent Alsop, while citing many various reformed divines in support of this.

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1700’s

Witsius, Herman – Conciliatory or Irenical Animadversions on the Controversies Agitated in Britain under the Unhappy Names of Antinomians and Neonomians  345 pp.

Bellamy, Joseph — True Religion Delineated; or, Experimental Religion, as Distinguished from Formality on the one hand & Enthusiasm on the other, set in a Scriptural & Rational light: in Two Discourses, in which some of the Principal Errors both of the Arminians & Antinomians are Confuted  (1750)  428 pp.

Bellamy was a New England congregationalist minister and leading theologian in the second half of the 1700’s.  He had studies under Jonathan Edwards.

Brine, John – An Antidote Against a Spreading Antinomian Principle  (1750)  51 pp.

Brine was a disciple of John Gill and a Calvinistic Baptist, who was not wholly free of antinomianism himself.  Brine’s critique in this piece is on target.

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1800’s

Fuller, Andrew

The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation or, the Duty of Sinners to Believe in Jesus Christ  Buy  226 pp.  See a summary of this work.

Defence of the “Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation” in Reply to Mr. Button & Philanthropos  in Works, 2.417-510

Cottle, Joseph – Strictures on the Plymouth Antinomians  (1823)  111 pp.

“The heresy showed itself at a later period, especially through the influence of Dr. Robert Hawker (q.v.), vicar of Charles the Martyr, Plymouth, who was a very popular preacher [and wrote a popular devotional commentary on the Bible], and “poisoned the surrounding region” with Antinomian tendencies. Against him, Joseph Cottle wrote Strictures on the Plymouth Antinomians, and Burt, Observations on Hawker’s System of Theology. See Robert Hall, Works (N. Y. 2:458); Bennett, History of the Dissenters, p. 344.” – McClintock & Strong

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1900’s

Waldron, Sam – Easy Christianity

Alderson, Richard – No Holiness, No Heaven!: Antinomianism Today  Buy  (Banner of Truth, 1986)  116 pp.  ToC

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2000’s

Jones, Mark – Antinomianism: Reformed Theology’s Unwelcome Guest?  Preview  Buy  (2013)  176 pp.

Gamble, Whitney – Christ & the Law: Antinomianism at the Westminster Assembly  Buy  (RHB, 2018)


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The Reformation Origins of the 3rd Use of the Law

The Three Biblical Uses of God’s Law (memorize them):

1.  To show us our sin and to drive sinners to Christ;  the Pedagogical Use.
2.  To restrain sin in unbelievers and believers alike; the Civil Use.
3.  To be a guide for the Christian in the will of God; the Moral Use.

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Quote

Wengert, Timothy – Law & Gospel: Philip Melanchthon’s Debate with John Agricola of Eisleben Over Poenitentia [Repentance]  (1997), Ch. 6, ‘Justifying Good Work: The Origins of the Concept of the Third Use of the Law (1534)’, pp. 177, 185, 191-3, 195-6, 200, 206

“In 1534 Philip Melancthon, perhaps in conjunction with lectures on Colossians delivered around the same time, produced a third edition of the Scholia.  In it for the first time, he increased the number of functions, or uses, of the law from two to three…

…It involved the persistent emphasis on the necessity of good works…

…The notion that the law has uses or functions is a peculiarly Protestant concept with origins deep within Martin Luther’s theology.  Gerhard Ebeling has demonstrated how the distinction between law and gospel and Luther’s insistence that God works on human beings through the Word resulted in Luther developing a twofold use of the Law…

…Definitions of two uses of the law first appeared in an exposition of the epistle lesson for New Year’s Day; this sermon was published in 1522 as part of Luther’s Weihnachtspostil and seen through the presses by Melancthon.

Luther never saw a need to increase the uses of the law above two and thus create a separate use for believers…  For Luther, the human being encountered the law in the two realms of human existence: coram Deo [before the presence of God] and coram hominibus [before the presence of men].  Thus, there was never any need for more than two uses of the law.  In his theology the law never had an independent existence that demanded definition, but it was always a part of the human encounter with God.

The 1527 and 1528 Scholia were the first publications in which Melancthon explicitly defined two functions of the law…

…in 1534 Melancthon altered this section [of his Scholia on Col. 2:17] to read: “…God gave the law for these three reasons: to coerce the flesh and to terrify or humble.  The third reason pertains to the righteous, that they may practice obedience.”…

…The conscience, made good by God’s gracious declaration, must by necessity use the law to please God.  No wonder Melancthon’s theology now needed a third use of the law!

For what reasons did this shift occur in Melancthon’s theology?  As Rolf Schafer and others have pointed out, Melancthon’s focus on the law and its third use actually had its roots in his earliest published theology…  But the very fact that Melancthon somehow felt constrained to change these earlier comments to reflect even more clearly his developing position suggests that something must have happened in the meantime.

A crucial factor is the memory of Melancthon’s encounter with John Agricola.  There is little doubt that Agricola’s denigration of the Decalogue–itself a reaction to Melancthon’s theology–caused Melancthon to strengthen his defense of the role of the law in the Christian’s life…

There was no question, too, that some of the changes in the Scholia–one thinks particularly of the third use of the law–were refined by Melancthon in his second edition of the Loci [Common Places] and in turn employed by a young French exile, John Calvin, in the first edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion [1536].”


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The History of Antinomianism

Short Overview

McClintock & Strong’s Cyclopedia

‘Antinomianism’

“The chief English writers of the 17th century who have been charged as favoring Antinomianism, besides Crisp, are Richardson, Saltmarsh, Hussey, Eaton, Town, etc.’  These were answered by Gataker, Witsius, Bull, Ridgely, and especially by Baxter and Williams.”

‘Tobias Crisp’

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation‘Antinomianism’  in vol. 1, pp. 51-53  This article covers the era from the beginning of the Reformation till 1580.

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On the 1500’s – Lutheranism

Articles

Bente, F. – ch. 17, ‘The Antinomistic Controversy’  47 paragraphs  in Historical Introductions to the Lutheran Confessions

An excellent scholarly survey of the debates in early Lutheranism.

Rutherford, Samuel – Part 1, chs. 10-14 of A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, Opening the Secrets of Familism and Antinomianism  IA  (1648)

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Book

Wengert, Timothy – Law & Gospel: Philip Melanchthon’s Debate with John Agricola of Eisleben Over Poenitentia [Repentance]  (1997)  232 pp.  ToC

John Agricola was one of the first prominent antinomians at the Reformation.  This work surveys the debates between him, Luther and Melancthon in early Lutheranism.  The last chapter is on the origins of the 3rd Use of the Law.  For some info on the Lutheran context see point 2 of McClintock’s article: ‘Antinomianism’.

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On the 1600’s – England

Articles

Nelson, Robert – ‘About the Antinomian Controversy’  (1816)  15 pp.  in The Life of Dr. George Bull, pp. 208-22

“A full account of the Antinomians of the Crispian type, and of the controversy about it, is given in Nelson, Life of Bishop Bull (vol. 7 of Bull’s Works, ed. of 1827).” – McClintock & Strong

Bull (1634-1710) was an influential Arminian, Latitudinarian, Anglican and controversialist who had tri-theistic views of God.

Aronld, Jonathan – ‘The British Antinomian Controversies’  (2012)  18 pp.  in Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society

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Books

Rutherford, Samuel – Part 1 of A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, Opening the Secrets of Familism & Antinomianism  IA  (1648)

Toon, Peter – The Emergence of Hyper-Calvinism in English Non-Conformity, 1689-1765  (1967)  170 pp.

Bozeman, Theodore – The Precisianist Strain: Disciplinary Religion & Antinomian Backlash in Puritanism to 1638  Buy  (2004)  366 pp.

Harville, Misty – Seventeenth Century Mudslinging: The Debate Over Free Grace & the Sermons of Dr. Tobias Crisp  Ref  (Spring, 2010)  28 pp.  being a senior thesis for the Bachelors in history at the University of North Carolina, Asheville

Ramsey, D. Patrick – Anti-Antinomianism: the Polemical Theology of Daniel Williams  Ref  (2011)  being a ThM thesis for Westminster Theological Seminary

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On the 1600’s – New England

Articles

Rutherford, Samuel – Part 1, chs. 15-17 of A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist, Opening the Secrets of Familism and Antinomianism  IA  (1648)

Schaefer, Paul – ‘The New England Antinomian Controversy’  n.d.  38 paragraphs

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Books

Winthrop, John – A Short Story of the Rise, Reign & Ruin of the Antinomians, Familists & Libertines that infected the Churches of New-England & how they were confuted by the Assembly of Ministers there as also of the Magistrates proceedings in Court Against Them…  (1649)  74 pp.

Winthrop was an English puritan who was one of the leading figures in founding the Massachussettes Bay Colony.

Battis, Emery – Saints & Sectaries: Anne Hutchinson & the Antinomian Controversy  (1962)  398 pp.  ToC

Adams, Charles Francis – The Antinomian Controversy  ed. Emery Battis  (NY: Da Capo Press, 1976)  285 pp.  ToC

Stoever, William – ‘A Faire and Easie Way to Heaven’: Covenant Theology & Antinomianism in Early Massachusetts  Buy  (1978)  263 pp.

Hall, David – The Antinomian Controversy, 1636-1638: A Documentary History  (1990)  477 pp.  ToC

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On the 1700’s

Article

Daniel, Curt – ‘John Gill & Calvinistic Antinomianism’  (1997)  20 pp.  being ch. 7 of The Life & Thought of John Gill (1697-1771): A Tercentennial Appreciation, ed. Michael Haykin, pp. 171-191

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Books

Toon, Peter – The Emergence of Hyper-Calvinism in English Non-Conformity, 1689-1765  (1967)  170 pp.

Ramsey, D. Patrick – Anti-Antinomianism: the Polemical Theology of Daniel Williams  Ref  (2011)  being a ThM thesis for Westminster Theological Seminary

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“For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification…”

1 Thess. 4:2-3

“…Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Titus 2:13-14

“…sin is the transgression of the law.”

1 John 3:4

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Related Pages

Hyper-Calvinism

Expositions of the Ten Commandments

The General Equity of the Old Testament Civil Laws

The Mosaic Covenant

Natural Law

Sanctification

Justification

The Doctrines of Grace

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Common Grace

Natural vs. Moral Inability