The Fork in the Road: A Different Gospel, Part 1A (Further on the “Law”)

In Part 1, I stated that although Paul is discussing the Law of Moses in Galatians, his logic tells us that the conclusions he reaches apply to all efforts to be saved by works rather than by faith. I’ll explain this further as we work through what Paul wrote.

But we can see that Paul is speaking of more than the Mosaic Law in other ways as well. Consider, for example —

(Gal 2:15-16 ESV) 5 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 

Paul is concerned that he might be falsely accused of encouraging sin by declaring that we are justified “by faith in Christ and not by works of the law.” If we don’t have to obey the law, does that mean we can sin freely?

Well, if by “law” Paul means “ceremonial law of Moses,” he could immediately respond by saying, “I’m not talking about the moral law — just the ceremonial law.” But that’s not his response. Rather, he speaks in terms of the meaning of our salvation into the crucifixion of Jesus!

(Gal 2:18-21 ESV) 8 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

That’s not an easy argument to make, and not one you’re likely to hear in a typical Church of Christ Sunday school class. Rather, what you’ll hear is that the ceremonial law is nailed to the cross but the moral law remains in effect. Paul doesn’t say that. (He gives a more complete response in chapter 5, regarding the Spirit — which is another reason we in the Churches of Christ have trouble hearing what Paul says.)

(Gal 4:3-9 ESV) 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. 8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

In v. 3, Paul speaks of the “elementary principles” that once enslaved his readers. In v. 9, he returns to the identical thought: “the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world.” This series of verses is all connected as part of a single argument (which I’m not going to cover in detail). In v. 5 he describes certain people “who were under the law.” Are these Jews or Gentiles? Well, it sure sounds like he’s speaking particularly of Jews, doesn’t it? Who else would have been “under the law”?

But v. 8 says that “you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.” What’s that? Well, it has to be false gods: idols. And v. 9 says “now that you have come to know God” — hardly something you’d say about a Jew. So he’s actually speaking of Gentiles! And, of course, he’s speaking of Gentiles — because it was the Gentiles who were having to decide whether to be circumcised. The Jews already were circumcised!

Therefore, Paul has said that the Gentiles “were under the law,” meaning “the law” is much more than a law binding just on the Jews.

(Rom 2:14-16 ESV)  14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Romans and Galatians greatly overlap in their themes and thoughts, with Romans being longer and more detailed on most questions. In Rom 2, Paul speaks of Gentiles who don’ t have the law nonetheless having “the law … written on their hearts” as shown by their consciences. Plainly, the “law” here is at least the moral law, not just the ceremonial law.

He then addresses the Jews —

(Rom 2:21-23 ESV) 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.

“The law” includes “Do not steal” and “Do not commit adultery” — moral laws. Plainly, Paul makes no distinction between the moral law and the ceremonial law when he speaks of “the law.” And therefore the Gentiles who don’t yet know God and who’ve never read the Torah nonetheless know a part of God’s law — and may be fairly charged by God without violating it.

(Rom 4:2-3 ESV) 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

Ponder this one. Let’s translate it in the 20th Century Church of Christ way —

(Rom 4:2-3 ESV) 2 For if Abraham was justified by works [of the ceremonial Law of Moses], he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

The Law of Moses came hundreds of years after Abraham died! Obviously, Abraham wasn’t and couldn’t have been justified by the ceremonial Law of Moses — or all the Law of Moses. But he might have been justified by works of the law. You see, “the law” is whatever God’s commands are — whether known from nature, from our consciences, from culture, from the Law of Moses, or even from the voice of God himself. It’s all “the law.”

Abraham had to be saved by faith, not works, even though the Law had not yet been written. He had to be saved by faith because even a great man such as Abraham sinned against what he knew of God’s will. And that’s enough to damn — but for salvation by faith.

In short, there are many reasons we have to conclude that “the law” is not just the ceremonial law of Moses or even the entirety of the Law of Moses. Yes, the manifestation of God’s law Paul has primarily in mind in Galatians is the Law of Moses. They were arguing over circumcision. But Paul arguments in Galatians and in Romans apply to “the law” in all its forms — any effort to seek salvation by works — indeed, to any effort to find salvation other than through faith in Jesus.

And that’s the biggest point. Both books plainly teach that salvation is only found through faith in Jesus. Whether you seek salvation through the Law of Moses or Hammurabi’s Code or the Napoleonic Code or the Five Acts of Worship — it’s still not salvation through faith in Jesus — making it law.

You see, when Paul wrote Galatians, circumcision was no longer God’s law. It used to be God’s law, but it was God’s law no more. Paul could have simply declared the law requiring circumcision repealed and written a tract instead of a book. But he wanted to deal with all forms of law — all gospels other than the gospel that saves through faith in Jesus. All other gospels are false gospels, regardless of what you call them.

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30 Responses

  1. Jay,

    This is a well reasoned post. There may be something else in (or not in) the text that you have not mentioned. That is where Paul uses or does not use the article when speaking of “law.”

    I think I can see a pattern of use (non use) where “the law” is the Law of Moses in all its forms while “law” is the principle of law – any law. Unfortunately, the English translations do not follow Paul’s usage – except that the NIV does follow it in Gal 3:21 in the first two appearances of “law.” The third instance of “law” does not have the article in Greek, but does in the translation.

    Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.

    My Greek is not good enough to be sure that this use of the article is always consistent, but it is to me, at least an indicator that many times when Paul says “law” he means any law or commandment – not just that given through Moses at Sinai.

    Keep up the good work!

    Jerry CommittedtoTruth.WordPress.com

  2. The irony is that while teachers within the Church of Christ claim that the moral law is still in effect, they can flip flop when needs be to say that the grace needed to cover their imperfections, or law breaking, in morality is in keeping the religous law perfect.
    Its a pathetic commentary for a church when church members will blast liberals for loose morals; but when pressed to explain their own pracitces, usually done in secret, their only answer is, “I’m a faithful member of the Lord’s church”.

  3. Just another note: It is the pretense of perfection, whether in morality or religion, and usually claimed by the same people depending on the situation, that kills mercy and understanding toward others. Mercy terrifies those who are giants in their own eyes.

  4. Is it possible that the moral law from Moses had ended as well, and the law of Jesus covers the same ground, just at times stricter?

  5. As far as not being saved “by works” I think it is imperative to understand the how Paul often used the term. Like in Rom. 4 where he repeatedly argued that the one who works, is justified by works, etc…. has something to boast about. And that his wages are not a gift but his due. Well, the only one who could be in such a position would be the one who never sinned. Anyone who needs forgivness cannot boast in being saved like that. Only the one who never sinned can boast and be owed asalvation. He is the one “who works” in v. 4.

    So, when paul in other places says that we are not saved “by works” he clearly means perfect obedience which would enable boasting – the only thing that would. But he did not mean that obedience to the commands of God were not essential to ones salvation. He simply meant that we are saved by forgiveness (grace through faith)…not by sinlessness err– “works”.

  6. Could it be that while we have been trained to see obedience as following the wording of a sentence in the Bible to the letter, to the apostle Paul obedience was a life of love?
    We cannot ignore that love in the multitude of Christians before us and with us cannot be gauged by a line drawn by any of us. Our strengths and failings are so diverse that only love can keep us from driving ourselves to insanity trying to measure the worth or ruin in each decision and move.

  7. Not really John, because then why did God inspire men to write so much about whether a word, or thought, or activity is sinful or not? No amount of “love” will make something sinful into something not sinful. The fact of the matters is that there are lines between truth and lies as well as between sin and not sin (even though sometimes it is hard to decipher and harder still to practice). The quest SHOULD BE to stay on and uphold the right side…. not put down the idea of following (trying, wanting,wishing) to follow God’s law to the letter.

  8. In somewhat of a defense of what John seems to be saying and a response to what Hank seems to be saying, perhaps we should qualify what ‘love’ is being promoted by John (or perhaps should be) .

    This is not just a generic loving attitude toward everyone (which a lot of people try to live by under the tenets of a lot of false teachings/false religions), but rather a specific love of God’s ways, whether we know them to be God’s ways or not.

    Might such a distinction help you, Hank?
    And might such a distinction also be acceptable to you, John?

    Just my thoughts…

    Glenn

  9. i’ve never personally heard any conservatives teach that the “moral law remains in effect” as though part of the OT is still in force–not in the conservatives CoC i grew up in, nor when i was at Brown Trail School of Preaching, nor any of the lectureships BT made us attend nor any of the conservatives congregations i worked at after i graduated BTSOP. The ubiquitous opinion i encountered from anyone that taught on the subject was that the entirety of the Old Law was nailed to the cross–abolished. And whatever imperative instructions and obligations are put upon us (Christians or mankind in general depending on who you talk to) come from the text of the NT.

    –Guy

  10. Jay,

    i don’t see at all how it follows in Galatians 4 that the who were “under the law” refers to Gentiles.

    i see how to derive from the text the claim that both Jews and Gentiles were commonly enslaved to “elementary prinicples of the world.” But i don’t see how it follows from this that those “who were under the law” refers to the Gentiles or to both parties.

    It could be that at some point both Jews and Gentiles were enslaved to elementary principles of the world. But being “under the law” is a condition exclusive to Jews. And having “gods that were by nature not gods” was a condition exclusive to Gentiles. i dont’ see how that reading is inconsistent with the text. And if it isn’t, then it doesn’t follow from the text that “the law” has to refer to something more than the Law of Moses.

    –Guy

  11. Glenn,

    By the way–i’ve gotten emails for years now of invitations from you for various things but under the notion that my email address belongs to one “Jere Allen.” Are you aware all these invites are getting sent to me instead of him?

    –Guy

  12. Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

  13. Glenn, your distinction is acceptable, indeed. The scriptures do show us a way to live, a path to walk, and the times we live uncaring of the way we owe God and our brothers and sisters honest confession and responsibilty.
    But as we approach our lives each day, whether in what we think, what we desire, what we say, what we do, and the conclusions we come to in our religious quests, our approach is made with less than perfect willpower and, most certainly, imperfect thinking that has to sort through a lot of baggage to know what to throw away and what to keep. It is love that lets us give this room to stagger through life TO others…the same room we all expect FROM others.
    When Paul said that love is greater than faith, he did not mean a faith that was simply mental assent. He meant a faith that does something. And the things that faith does, whether they be our best choices and conclusions, or the times our faith just gets lazy, need a cover and a solace that legal scrutiny cannot give.

  14. Jay,

    I’m with Guy on Galatians 4. I don’t think it follows from that text that the Gentiles were the ones under the law mentioned in verse 5. In fact, Paul draws a distinction between he and his fellow Jewish Christians who were freed from “the law” by his use of “we.” He then transitions to a discussion of Gentile Christians in verse 6 and following by using “you.”

    On the other hand, it does seem clear that Paul and the Jews who were under “the law” were, for that reason, enslaved to “elementary principles of the world.” Likewise, Paul indicates that the Gentiles were enslaved to elementary principles by their idolatry. But, it is obvious, as you pointed out, that the Gentiles’ return to elementary principles would be in their acceptance of circumcision (representing “the law”)…something they were never under previously, but that Paul calls a “return.” But, the “return” was not to the Law specifically, but to reliance on regulations or rituals that can only condemn and have no power to save.

    So, Paul seems to be saying that the problem is that all elementary principles of this world, whether the Law of Moses or regulations and restrictions of idol worship, cannot save. And you might call those principles “law” (as I believe Paul does in other places in Galatians…I think Jerry had a good point in this, although the use or non-use of the definite article doesn’t seem to be entirely reliable).

    But, the main point is still your point, which I appreciate very much: any law-based “gospel” is no gospel at all. Law only condemns. Only Grace through Faith saves.

  15. Paul reminds us we are under the law of Christ.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
    Galatians 6:2 (English Standard Version)

    We are under a different law than that of Moses or the Gentiles. If Paul says we have the law of Christ to follow then so be it.

  16. Jerry,

    I think you may be right. And one day when I’m really bored or the Spirit moves me, I may just work through the entire book to see if the definite article is only present when Paul has the Torah particularly in mind. Oh, for more time … !

  17. Mario,

    You are thinking the wrong way. It’s not about law. It’s about the Spirit. As Paul said at the end of Galatians, (Gal 6:15 ESV) “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
    “New creation” refers to God’s remaking of our hearts through the Spirit so we no longer obey commands but are changed to be people who find joy in living as God wishes us to live. We are no longer under a legal system.

    That doesn’t mean there are no boundaries or that God has no expectations. Rather, it’s when you’ve been transformed, the command becomes beside the point. It becomes about love — not love you do because you’re afraid of hell if you don’t. It’s a real love and so you help the poor because you actually care about them — not because Jesus told us we’d go to hell if we don’t. It’s about becoming like God, remade — re-created — in his image.

    So, yes, it’s stricter, but it’s easier — his yoke is easy and his burden is light because Jesus lives in us through his Spirit to help us live this way.

    Stick with me as we sort through Galatians over the next few days.

  18. Hank,

    Why is “love” in quotation marks? Why sneer at love? Whose love do you doubt?

    Should we “follow God’s law to the letter”? Hmmm … I just want to read Paul’s letter, figure out what he said, and try to live it. If he says I’m saved by faith and not works of the law, I think that’s pretty much the letter I should follow. I’m not willing to impose on Galatians my preconceptions of what the answer should be.

    But — obviously — Paul doesn’t expect his readers to take what he says and live licentiously. I’ll get to chapters 5 and 6 in a few days — and in those chapters, he’s clear that we should sow to the Spirit and not the flesh. There are boundaries. Chapter 6 is filled with examples of how to live as we should. But we have to let Paul speak for Paul.

    Ultimately, I suspect our biggest disagreement will come down to the meaning of the “law of Christ” in Gal 6:2. The 20th Century Church of Christ argument is that “law of Christ” means the whole 20th Century Church of Christ agenda — 5 Acts of Worship, proper church organization, use of church funds, etc. That interpretation, of course, utterly ignores and even contradicts the context of the phrase. But, yes, there is a law of Christ that Paul expects us to understand and obey.

    So, yes, we should follow, try, want, and wish to obey God’s law to the letter. We just need to understand that we aren’t damned just because we can’t agree over every single element of his will. You see, grace doesn’t mean we don’t try to get it right. Rather, it means we don’t damn penitent believers who make mistakes despite their genuine faith and submission to Jesus as Lord.

    It’s like being married. My wife extends nearly miraculous levels of grace to me — and yet I try not to take advantage of her kindness and instead respond to her generosity by being the best husband I can be. And I’m thankful I don’t live with a women who counts every mistake and serves me with divorce papers just because I misunderstood whether to bring tacos or chips home from the store.

  19. Glenn and Hank,

    “Love” means whatever Jesus and the apostles mean by “love” — neither more nor less. And they, of course, meant much more than warm fuzzy feelings. In the Judgment Day scene of Matt 25, the sheep who fed the hungry etc. were surprised that what they’d done they’d done for Jesus. They weren’t doing it to earn their way into heaven. They fed, clothed, gave drink, etc. out of a genuine love for those being helped. And how could you love the hungry and not feed them?

    Just so, sexual sin — adultery, for example — is sin because it violates “love your neighbor.” It’s not always obvious, but all the moral commands are necessary consequences of loving our neighbors. Some seem to think that love is too little, but it’s actually very hard. John says,

    (1Jo 3:16-18 ESV) 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

    Now, that’s hard.

    Of course, the challenge many of us have with love is that it doesn’t pick up any number of positive commands — such as the 5 Acts of Worship. But we can’t re-write the scriptures to achieve an end.

  20. Guy,

    http://www.wordfortheweek.org/response/1995/1995-09.pdf

    http://www.churchofchristjamaica.org/tracts/The%20Law%20Grace%20Sabbath.pdf (argues that the entire Law of Moses was abrogated but the moral law is not part of the Law).

  21. CT and Guy,

    You almost persuaded me. Paul does indeed transition from “we” to “you” between 5 and 6. But let try that passage translating “we” as “we Jews” and “you” as “you Gentiles.”

    (Gal 4:3-9 ESV) 3 In the same way we [Jews] also, when we [Jews] were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem us [the Jews], who under the law, so that we [the Jews] might receive adoption as sons.

    6 And because you Gentiles are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our Jewish hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you, a Gentile[“you” is singular in the Greek], are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. 8 Formerly, when you [Gentiles] did not know God, you [Gentiles] were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you [Gentiles] have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you [Gentiles] turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

    That doesn’t really make sense. And the transition from v. 5 (“receive adoption as sons”) and v. 6 (“you are sons”) means he’s not entirely changing the people he’s talking about. Rather, I think “we” means “all of us, Jews and Gentiles” whereas “you” means “you Gentiles” — being the people considering circumcision, as Paul and the other Jews had already been circumcised. So try this —

    (Gal 4:3-9 ESV) 3 In the same way we [Jews and Gentiles] also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those [Jews and Gentiles] who were under the law, so that we [Jews and Gentiles] might receive adoption as sons.

    6 And because you [Gentiles] are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our [Jews’ and Gentiles’] hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you [Gentile] are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. 8 Formerly, when you [Gentile] did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

    Now that’s not quite what I said above, but I think it’s right — and still shows that both Jews and Gentiles were under the law.

    NOTE: The use of “our” in v. 6 seems odd, given that he’d just said “you” earlier in the verse. But in fact it makes all the sense in the world. When I start posting on the Holy Spirit, you’ll see that the OT prophets declared that the Spirit would be poured out on “all people” — the Spirit will be poured out when the Gentiles are brought into the Kingdom. It all fits.

  22. Rich,

    I couldn’t agree more — it’s just a very different kind of law.

  23. Jay,

    Because true love:

    1. Does seek to adhere to the teachings of every sentence of the Bible.

    2. Does not mean refusing to draw lines anywhere.

    Why accuse me of sneering at love?

  24. Glenn, I do need to repond to the statement you made comparing love for everyone being generic. I have no problem seeing God’s love for everyone. I believe we are all children of God; salvation is recognizing that fact; our response, such as baptism, the Lord’s Supper, worship in all aspects, is our celebration of it.
    I am a Christian because as I look at the choices I see Jesus saying that God is a loving father, we are his children; trust it, live it. Then as I look out at this world, at nature, I see that love as that which works. “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you”, God says through the prophet. And as I meet each soul through out each day I try to let this be the reason, that they hear and see in me in various ways, for the hope that is within me.

  25. Jay,

    I think your new understanding of Gal 4 is reasonable…

    Here’s how I reconcile the use of “you” and “our” in verse 6. Paul has just finished talking about how all are equal in Christ, Jew or Gentile (end of chapter 3). Now he is explaining that further first by showing that Jews were enslaved to elementary principles, and later the same with the Gentiles. In between (vs 5-6), Paul shows the connection between the two groups by saying first that Jewish Christians have been adopted (we of vs 5), then that Gentile Christians have been adopted (you of vs 6), and finally that all have the Spirit (our of vs 6) since all have been adopted.

    Then Paul continues in vs 7 talking to the Gentiles.

    I would be amenable to the idea that Paul introduces the whole section in vs 3 by using we to apply to Jews and Gentiles, but it seems more reasonable to me that Paul is saying God sent a Jew (one born under the law) to redeem the Jews (those under the law).

    Let me also reiterate that what I am saying is that Jews and Gentiles were enslaved to elementary principles (to Jews this meant the Law, to Gentiles it meant idolatry)…..and this is pretty much the same as saying they were both enslaved to law (though not both to the Law). Essentially this is still your same point.

    Thanks for the discussion and your wonderful encouragements toward grace rather than law.

    Clint

  26. Hank,

    If not sneering, why put love in scare-quotes?

    Following your description of true love will make a person so obsessed with themselves that they cannot see anyone else. It allows no risk-taking – and loving one’s neighbor requires risk-taking, unless your neighbor is just as clean and righteous as you are.

    Your description of true love creates fear; John’s description casts out fear. I know which I prefer.

  27. Jay,

    The first reading made good sense to me. The our in verse 6 though refers to both groups—the group of all redeemed people. It fits Paul’s pattern in, say, Ephesians 1 & 2 or Romans 11. The only thing Paul didn’t say explicitly that he does mention in the other two books is that the Gentiles were *added* after the Jews (Eph 1:11-14; Rom 11:11ff). And in Ephesians 2 he mentions Christ making one new man out of the two (like the “our” in verse 6 here).

    So imagine the first reading with one addition made between vs 5 and 6–and this addition i take is warranted from other passages in Paul. “And you Gentiles were also added and are thus also receive the adoption as sons.” This makes the passage accord with Paul’s pattern of “to the Jew first and then the Greek.”

    With or without that addition, i don’t see what’s incoherent about the first reading. i don’t see what’s incoherent about your reading either. If the passage fits either reading and is ambiguous, then it certainly can’t serve as a proof text that the Gentiles were “under the law.”

    –Guy

  28. Jay,

    Concerning the two links you posted:

    The first one isn’t a CoC writer but a reformed one. i don’t doubt the reformed camp believes in some continuity of the Old Law into the NT era. They have to if they want to maintain their covenant theology.

    The second article made clear to me that i misunderstood you. The author begins by denying the very thing i thought you were affirming (or affirming that the CoC traditionally teaches)–that the portions of *the Law of Moses* which deal with ethical norms still have legislative force over us. That’s what i thought you were claiming we teach.

    What the author affirms is that there is some sort of “moral law” which exists independently of the Law of Moses. That sounds fine prima facie. i have heard that in classes/pulpits before, but not often. But this is still very different from what it sounded like you were affirming. It sounded like you were saying that the CoC traditionally affirms the same distinction made by Seventh Day Adventists who parse up the Law of Moses into a ceremonial part and a moral part.

    (Still i’m a little surprised you posted a non-CoC writer and some obscure CoC writer as examples if this is as wide-spread among traditional CoC’s as you say.)

    –Guy

  29. Hank,

    You wrote,

    No amount of “love” will make something sinful into something not sinful.

    Why use the quotation marks unless you doubt that the love is real? To quote the word comes across as questioning the love of those you are addressing. But maybe I misunderstood your intent. What did you intend the quotation marks to indicate?

  30. […] The Fork in the Road: A Different Gospel, Part 1A (Further on the “Law”) […]

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