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Sound of Grace, Issue 192, November 2012

Sound of Grace, Issue 192, November 2012

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Christ, Our New Covenant Prophet, Part 4 - John G. Reisinger
Sources of Moral Authority - A. Blake White
Determinism or Indeterminism - Steve West
"The Law of Christ", Chapter 11 - Charles Leiter
Book Review: "Kingdom through Covenant ..." - Steve West
The Mount of Transfiguration - J.C. Ryle
Christ, Our New Covenant Prophet, Part 4 - John G. Reisinger
Sources of Moral Authority - A. Blake White
Determinism or Indeterminism - Steve West
"The Law of Christ", Chapter 11 - Charles Leiter
Book Review: "Kingdom through Covenant ..." - Steve West
The Mount of Transfiguration - J.C. Ryle

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Published by: Sound Of Grace / New Covenant Media on Aug 29, 2013
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the image of God, we are morally responsible before him.
2
God’s eternal moral will, or what Luther called “thenatural law” is written on the heart of all people by nature.
3
 God has built morality into the world and into humannature.
4
In Romans 1, Paul writes, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessnessand wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain
2 David Cook,
The Moral Maze
(London: SPCK, 1983), 51.3 Luther, “How Christians Should Regard Moses,” in
 Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings
, ed. Lull, Timothy F.(Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989), 138.4 Cook,
The Moral Maze,
51.
In our last article we emphasized that one of our major differences withCovenant Theology is an understanding of the clear prediction that Christ wouldreplaces Moses as the new lawgiver. We insist that the Sermon on the Mount isnot, as claimed by Covenant Theology, Christ correcting the Pharisees’ distor-tion of Moses. It is Christ contrasting his teaching with the law of Moses. Thatis exactly what Moses prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 would happenwhen Christ the New Covenant Prophet came. Covenant Theology insists thatChrist never contrasts his teaching with that of Moses since the Law God gaveMoses, the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets, is the “eternal un-changing law of God.” Many theologians believe that changing the Decaloguein any way is tantamount to changing God. The Decalogue must be the rule of life for all people in all ages.It is vital that we used the word
contrast 
and not the word
contradict.
We to-tally agree that Christ never in any way says or implies that Moses was wrong in any of the laws he gave. If anyone saysChrist claims Moses was in any sense wrong, they are indeed destroying the unity of 
Issue 192 November 2012
… It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace … Hebrews 13:9
Christ, Our New Covenant Prophet— Part 4
John G. Reisinger
As we consider the topic of Christian Ethics, the ques-tion of authority is a very important one. What are thesources of moral authority for the Christian?
Reason
Under the rubric of reason, we include those aspects of creation that have a bearing on ethics (general revelation,natural law, being image-bearers, and conscience). Reasonis useful as a source of moral decision-making in that itaids us in understanding the reasonableness of God’s writ-ten revelation.
1
Having the ability to reason is
 part 
of whatit means to be made in the image of God. As those made in
1 Feinberg and Feinberg,
 Ethics for a Brave New World 
2
nd
ed.(Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 37.
Sources of Moral Authority
A. Blake White
Reisinger—Continued on page 2White—Continued on page 12
In This Issue
Christ, Our New Covenant Prophet 
Part 4
 John G. Reisinger
1
Sources of Moral Authority 
A. Blake White
1
Determinism or Indeterminism
Steve West
3
"The Law of Christ" -Chapter 11
Charles Leiter
5
Book Review: "Kingdomthrough Covenant ..." 
Steve West
7
The Mount of Trans
fi 
guration
 J.C. Ryle
13
 
Page 2 November 2012 Issue 192
Sound of Grace
is a publication of SovereignGrace New Covenant Ministries, a tax exempt501(c)3 corporation. Contributions to
Sound of Grace
are deductible under section 170 of theCode.
Sound of Grace
is published 10 times a year. Thesubscription price is shown below. This is a paper unashamedly committed to the truth of God’ssovereign grace and New Covenant Theology.We invite all who love these same truths to prayfor us and help us
nancially.We do not take any paid advertising.The use of an article by a particular person is notan endorsement of all that person believes, but itmerely means that we thought that a particular article was worthy of printing.Sound of Grace Board: John G. Reisinger, DavidLeon, John Thorhauer, Bob VanWingerden andJacob Moseley.Editor: John G. Reisinger; Phone: (585)396-3385;e-mail: reisingerjohn@gmail.com.General Manager: Jacob Moseley:info@newcovenantmedia.comSend all orders and all subscriptions to: Soundof Grace, 5317 Wye Creek Drive, Frederick,MD 21703-6938 – Phone 301-473-8781 Visit the bookstore: http://www.newcovenantmedia.comAddress all editorial material and questions to:John G. Reisinger, 3302 County Road 16, Canan-daigua, NY 14424-2441.Webpage: www.soundofgrace.org or SOGNCM.orgScripture quotations marked (NIV) are takenfrom the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATION-AL VERSION® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by Permis-sion. All rights reserved.Scripture quotations marked “NKJV” are takenfrom the New King James Version. Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by Permis-sion. All rights reserved.Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from TheHoly Bible, English Standard Version, copyright© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rightsreserved.ContributionsOrdersDiscover, MasterCard or VISAIf you wish to make a tax-deductible contributionto Sound of Grace, please mail a check to: Soundof Grace, 5317 Wye Creek Drive, Frederick, MD21703-6938.Please check the mailing label to
nd the expira-tion of your subscription. Please send payment if you want your subscription to continue—$20.00for ten issues. Or if you would prefer to have a pdf 
le emailed, that is available for $10.00 for ten issues. If you are unable to subscribe at thistime, please call or drop a note in the mail and wewill be glad to continue sending Sound of Gracefree of charge.
Reisinger 
 —Continued from page 1
Reisinger—Continued on page 4
the Scripture. However, it is clear thatthe holy, just and good law (Romans7:12) was never intended by God to bethe rule of life for his New Covenantchurch. The Law had a distinct pur- pose and when that purpose was ful-
lled, the holy, just and good law wasreplaced with a higher more spirituallaw, the law of Christ. That biblicalfact is clearly set forth prophetically inDeuteronomy 18:15-19. Look again atthat important prophecy.
 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren,and will put My words in His mouth,and He shall speak to them all that  I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words,which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.
(Deut. 18:18-19 NKJV)
The New Covenant Scripturesleave no room for doubt as to whatGod meant when he made this prom-ise to Moses. Look at how John un-derstood Moses’ prophecy in John 12.
Then Jesus cried out and said, “Hewho believes in Me, believes not in Mebut in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I havecome as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I donot judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not re-ceive My words, has that which judgeshim-- the word that I have spoken will  judge him in the last day. For I havenot spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me acommand, what I should say and what  I should speak. And I know that Hiscommand is everlasting life. Therefore,whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”
John 12:44-50 (NKJV)
It is exegetically irresponsible tomake either Deuteronomy 18 or John12 mean that Jesus does not give anynew laws, but merely interprets whatMoses has said. Let me paraphraseCovenant Theology’s understandingof Deuteronomy 18. Bold italics indi-cate where I have inserted CovenantTheology’s understanding into thetext:
 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren,and will put My words
 the true in- terpretation of the words I gave you at Sinai
in His mouth, and He shall  speak 
interpret the true meaning of all that I commanded you Him.
  And it shall be that whoever will not hear 
 His interpretation of 
My wordsto you, which He speaks in My name
will repeat and correctly interpret
will require it of him.
(Deut. 18:18-19,revised)
We can do the same thing withJohn 12: 49, 50:
 For I have not spoken on My ownauthority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should  say and what I should speak.
 And that commandment was to repeat and  give the true interpretation of the un- changing law that My Father gave to Moses.
And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever  I speak 
is always the same thing as Moses spoke. I am the true and 
  fi
 nal interpreter of Moses, the greatestlawgiver,
just as the Father has told  Me, so I speak 
 and interpret the true meaning of Moses’ law.
Some may accuse me of caricature, but I think any honest person will seethat I have articulated what Bahnsen,Pink, Chantry and Barcellos (Seearticle in the previous issue of 
Sound of Grace)
have clearly expressed, but perhaps not as bluntly, in their writing.
The Object Lesson – the NewCovenant Prophet
Mark 9:2-8 records the great ob- ject lesson that shows Christ is thenew Lawgiver or Prophet who re- places Moses. It is worth noting thatMoses did not make it into the land of Canaan during his lifetime because of his outburst of anger, but Mark 9:2-8 proves that he
nally made it into
 
Issue 192 November 2012 Page 3
West—Continued on page 8
 be one particular way, and that oneway only. Now some people whohave spent great amounts of energyand time thinking about these mat-ters do not think that the past actuallydoes determine the future with thisstringent precision, but neverthelessthe
xity of the future is what deter-minism entails. Determinism may beultimately rejected as false, but it isimportant to know what it means.Kane’s description also points outthat there are different species of de-terminism. Theological determinism(or predestination) is one of the rootconcepts featured in debates betweenCalvinists and Arminians. God’swill and decree can be interpretedas ordaining every thought, word,action, and event in the story of theuniverse. On this view, God’s decreedetermines exactly one future, whichwill not deviate one iota from his plan.Tomorrow will be precisely what Godordained it to be; what he predestinedme to do I will do; every moleculewill be in the place he decrees, ful
ll-ing his singular,
xed, and sovereignlydecreed purpose. To even ask whether the future will be different from whatGod decreed is incoherent in thismodel. Absolute determinism obtains because of God.Atheists are not likely to endorsetheological determinism, but they canstill be determinists. Some believethat given all known scienti
c laws,everything in the universe is unfold-ing as it must, and has been from the beginning of time. It has sometimes been said that if a super-mind knewexhaustively the location of every particle in the universe, and knewevery law of nature, that mind couldcalculate exactly what the universewould look like in the next second (or sub-second). After making that calcu-That determinism and freedomsustain some relationship to eachother is not up for debate. What is upfor debate (and actually debated) ishow they stand in relationship to eachother. For some, determinism andfreedom are mutually contradictorynotions. For others, determinism andfreedom are fully compatible. For stillothers, only
certain kinds
of determin-ism are compatible with
certain kinds
of freedom, while some de
nitions of freedom and determinism are impos-sibly irreconcilable. Philosophers,therefore, de
ne their terms and tryto make it clear what they mean bydeterminism and freedom. Christianswould do well to follow suit.1. DeterminismWhat is determinism? A very help-ful introductory description is provid-ed by Robert Kane: “All doctrines of determinism – whether they are fatal-istic, theological, physical, biological, psychological, or social – imply that,given the past and the laws of natureat any given time, there is only one possible future. Whatever happens istherefore inevitable or necessary (itcannot but occur), given the past andthe laws.”
1
This quotation highlights both the common core truth of deter-minism, and also the variety of kindsof determinism.At the fundamental root level,determinism maintains that what thefuture will be is already determined bythe past and present (and the present isitself determined by the past). In fact,determinism maintains that whatever happens in the future happens inevi-tably; given the past, the future
must 
1 Robert Kane, “Libertarianism,” in
 Four Views on Free Will 
, ed. John MartinFischer, Robert Kane, Derk Pereboom,and Manuel Vargas (Malden, MA:Blackwell, 2007), 5.
lation, the super-mind could then takethe resulting state of the universe withthe new position of every particle, and perform another calculation, whichwould again perfectly describe the ex-act state the universe would be in for the next moment of time. Moment bymoment, second by second, the super-mind could accurately predict everysubsequent state of the universe. Inother words, if we just knew the pres-ent exhaustively and had the requiredlevel of intelligence, we could see thatonly one future state of affairs is ever  possible at any given moment. Thefuture is completely determined by the physical laws and physical states of the past.On the nurture side of the ledger there is sociological determinism.This needs to be combined with psychological or biological determin-ism for full effect, but this family of considerations is also deterministic.If you take one human being, withtheir unique genetic code and uniquemental capacities, and place them in agiven social environment, it is theoret-ically possible to predict every thingthey will say and do in the future. Of course such predictive success goesfar beyond anything we can achievetoday, but that is a distinction betweencontemporary practice and theoreticalability. There is nothing necessarilyincoherent about saying: “This organ-ism will do
 x
if placed in situation
 y
.”In fact, even if one rejects determin-ism, and even if one takes a rather low view of the ‘scienti
c’ qualitiesof sociology or psychology, it doesseem true that social scientists have areasonable degree of success in mak-ing statistical predictions about human behavior given certain identi
able fac-tors. If predictive success is improvedon the basis of extraordinarily partial
 Determinism or Indeterminism
Steve West

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