Saturday, September 10, 2016

An Open Letter to Dr. R.C. Sproul by John G. Reisinger

Let me clearly spell out my view of the Ten Commandments. I ask you to show me what I believe that deserves your condemnation of me as an ‘antinomian’ heretic. Please show me where I am anti-law in any sense whatever in my understanding of the Ten Commandments. Apart from viewing the Sabbath as a ceremonial law, I hold to the same set of ethical standards, raised to an even higher level, than Covenant Theology holds. At the end of the day, I think the most that can be consistently claimed is that New Covenant Theology, as I understand it, is antinomian only because it presents the Sabbath as a ceremonial and not a moral law. The nature of the Sabbath commandment is the crux of the entire case. To be consistent with the basic charge against me, you would also have to charge Luther, Calvin, James Montgomery Boice and John MacArthur with antinomianism since none of them were or are Sabbatarians.

Here is my view of the Ten Commandments, compared with that of Covenant Theology. Please show me where my view is antinomian.

One: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the first commandment - "No other gods" - see Exodus 20:3. I believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘be against the first commandment.’ (See also Acts 14:15 and 1 Cor. 8:6.)

Two: Do you believe that a Christian is duty bound to obey the second commandment - "No idols / images" - see Exodus 20:4-6. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘be against the second commandment.’ (See also 1 John 5:21 and 1Cor. 10:7).

Three: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the third commandment - "Don’t take God’s name in vain" - see Exodus 20:7. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘be against the third commandment.’ (See also James 5:12).

Four: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the fourth commandment - "Keep the Sabbath" - see Exodus 20:8-11. I believe and teach that Christ himself is our Sabbath and we "keep Sabbath with God" when we truly rest in Christ’s finished work of atonement. See our booklet, The Believer’s Sabbath (Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media, 2002). I believe the Sabbath was the ceremonial sign of the Mosaic covenant (Exod. 31:14-18).

Five: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the fifth commandment - "Honor your parents" - see Exodus 20:12. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘be against the fifth commandment.’ (See also Eph. 6:1-3).

Six: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the sixth commandment - "No murder" - see Exodus 20:13. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the sixth commandment.’ (See also 1 John 3:11-15 and Rom.13:9).

Seven: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the seventh commandment - "No adultery" - see Exodus 20:14. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the seventh commandment.’ (See also Eph. 5:3-7 and 1 Cor. 6:9, 10).

Eight: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the eighth commandment - "No stealing" - see Exodus 20:15. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the eighth commandment.’ (See also Eph. 4:28).

Nine: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the ninth commandment - "Don’t bear false witness" - see Exodus 20:16. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the ninth commandment.’ (See also Col.3:9 and Eph. 4:25).

Ten: Do you believe and teach that a Christian is duty bound to obey the tenth commandment - "No coveting" - see Exodus 20:17. I also believe and teach the same thing. Breaking that commandment was, is, and always will be a sin. I cannot possibly be an antinomian, or ‘against the tenth commandment.’ (See Eph. 5:3-7)1

Dr. Sproul, can my view, as expressed above, in any sense whatsoever, be considered against law in general or against the Ten Commandments in particular?

The catch question that is often posed is this: "Do you believe that the Ten Commandments written with the finger of God upon the Tables of Stone are the rule of life for a Christian today?" Our reply is this: "We believe that the Ten Commandments, as they are interpreted and applied by our Lord and his apostles in the New Testament Scriptures, are a real and essential part of our rule of life." According to Morton Smith’s stated definition (page 10), the very most that I can be called is a 1/10 antinomian. The heart of the issue with New Covenant Theology and myself concerning the Ten Commandments boils down to whether the Fourth commandment, the Sabbath, is an eternal, unchanging, moral law, or the ceremonial sign of the covenant God made with Israel at Sinai (Exod. 31:14-17). As I understand it, the Sabbath alone is your real point of difference with New Covenant Theology. That one commandment alone is our only point of disagreement.