Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Antinomian Joy?

Neil Richards thinks that Marcus Honeysett is an Antinomian.

For what it's worth (which isn't much) I don't think Richards has understood what Honeysett is saying entirely - I don't think anyone could say that a call to keep in step with the Spirit is antinomianism? If I saw that we should live by the Spirit not by the law then I'm not opposing myself to the law, just saying that Christian living isn't it's purpose.

See also my argument for grace not law...delighted to be a son - Spirit-filled living is about being a son of God - clothed in Christ, indwelt by the Spirit of the Son... not living by law because we live life in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself up for us.

(ht: the trainspotter)


  1. Hey Dave

    Quick question for you. If the law has no place in gospel proclamation what happens to the active obedience of Christ and the imputation of righteousness? Did Christ obey the Law for us? ("us" being us Gentiles who were never under the Law like Israel was).

    Okay that's two questions!

    And antinomian is anti-law not anti-obedience or anti-holiness

  2. Thanks for the definition clarification.

    Those are good question(s).
    One of the (many) outstanding questions I have is how the logic of Galatians 3:13-14 works, in terms of who is being talked about... I'm a work in progress on this whole issue..

    13Christ redeemed
    *us (Jews?)
    from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for
    *us, (Jews?)
    for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
    14He redeemed
    *us (Jews?)
    in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the
    *Gentiles (non-Jews)
    through Christ Jesus, so that by faith
    *we (Jews and non-Jews?)
    might receive the promise of the Spirit.

  3. Dave, I think the Banner man is right, and he does give Marcus a good hearing. Maybe thoughts on the Sermon on the Mount might not go amiss in the future?....(if you have already bloggged on it apologies and please give me the link so I can read and be edified!)Hope yout well

  4. :) Sean, I hope to get around to doing the Sermon on the Mount afresh at some point.

    I wrote some studies on it (on Matthew 3-7) about 2.5 years ago but I'm not sure they were that good (whatever your view of the law) - my instinct is that they show us Christ's righteousness more than what we're to do... but I'm open to hearing on this, as indeed I am on Galatians. If I'm in the wrong I need to be persuaded and corrected.

  5. Downsey,

    Antinomian is one of thsoe slippery words, and I think the naughty thing about the Richards article is that he uses it meaning the technical meaning but allowing us to think that Marcus is anti-holiness, which is what lots of other people think antinomian means: which if you read the book, he is not at all.

  6. Hi Mo,

    You are right about the slipperability of the the word antinomian.

    I thought that Neil Richards was clear that Marcus wasn't anti-holiness (in the bit that goes "Our fathers in the faith would unhesit­atingly have regarded such teaching as “doctrinal antinomianism”, as distinct from “practical antinomianism” which left the believer free to sin - a position which Honeysett vigorously rejects.")

  7. All else aside, word of the day:

  8. Here's my word of the day - theologypsy - one who never stops changes their theological position. I'm feeling rather like one on this whole issue...

  9. Oh yes, sorry Downsey I had missed that sentence. Whoopsy.

  10. No worries.

    Do you know who Neil Richards is?

  11. I'll give you a clue

    His son is a staffworker

  12. Hm, I know you aren't agreeing with the link, Dave, but cheers - he did help my brain pin down some of why I feel like I don't agree with some of where Marcus goes in that book, much as I love most of it. I'd not got much further than thinking that the NT outside of Galatians does show uses of the law other than he'd allow which mean it's not that simple. Richards points out a few.

    Richards isn't saying that a call to keep in step with the Spirit is intrinsically antinomian - he objects that Marcus makes a false dichotomy though:

    "...we are not controlled by the rules, but by the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (p.66) But is this not finding opposition where there is co-operation? Word and Spirit work in harmony together; the Word guides us by example, precept and command, whilst the Spirit works in us a heart of obedience and love." Surely we do need to consider that we're given moral commands in the NT, to obey - so we cannot say we're not to seek to obey God's law in some way?

    (When I saw that it was on the BOT website and with the title, I didn't expect it to be as fair as it was actually...)

    I'm intrigued by his final sentence, too. I wonder - other causes of loss of joy amongst Christians? I wonder whether we've lost preaching the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us and whether that's linked to Downsey's initial 2 questions!

    (Now when's Sean Clokey going to join the thread?!)

  13. Rosemary, sorry for not being to involved, am feeling that I am Law and gospeled out after the recent mammoth session on facebook with Daniel.

    The article is great and probably summarises my ill though out thoughts on the issue.

    What struck me was when doing an essay on the command by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount to a righteousness deeper than the Pharisees, we are called as believers to be holy and we do this by keeping the law in it fullest deepest sense.

    My thinking at the moment is that we are saved by grace to be law keepers as the law is written on our hearts. We do this by the power of the Holy Sporit making the word of God effective in our lives. I do think a key point is the separation of word and spirit that has occured here.

    So after all my thinking(not that deep) I still agree with the WCF on the Law. They were pretty sharp those divines, and as a lawyer I appreciate the nuance of their drafting skills(although you will no doubt not appreciate my poor spelling)

  14. Rosemary, I'll concede its fairer than my post expresses... still don't agree with them, but I'm open to being taught on this.

  15. Rosemary raises a good point about the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us. This was his active obedience to what? For whom?

  16. Marcus - anti-nomian? LOL Is the Pope able to sign the 39 Articles? LOL

    The danger with accusing people of 'dangerous' teaching (as Mr Richards does) is that it raises the ante so much that real discussion is stymied at the first pass.

    What ever happened to an 'I disagree'

    I think where Richards is unfair is in his confusing Word and Law in Marcus' thinking. The two are not synonymous within NT understanding and Paul's usage in particular.

    Where I think Marcus has made a mistake is in that he doesn't tighten up the distinction, in his writing, on Law and Word under the power and inspiration of the Spirit in the life of the believer here and now.

    Marcus is not anti-nomian in any sense (theologically or pragmatically). There are dangerous teachers around, Marcus Honeysett is not one of them.

  17. Lol, if I were cheeky, I could say that Marcus is by default a dangerous teacher for a Banner reviewer, merely because he isn't yet dead (or wasn't yesterday anyway) ;-) But that would be slightly unfair to BoT.

    I'm interested in how you think it should be tightened up Andy - surely in OT also word & law aren't synonymous? And torah itself wasn't used with the same connotation at all times for that matter, being multifaceted (revelatory, redemptive, prescriptive, condemnatory,...)! Do you mean we are under the authority of God's word (inc. NT commands) but not Law (Torah)? My memory of the book is waning; I should skim it again!