Are the Republicationist & Coxe/Owen Views of the Mosaic Covenant Related?

A couple of weeks ago, Junior asked Sam Renihan the following on Facebook:

In your opinion, what is the relationship between the Republicationist view of the Mosaic Covenant and the Coxe/Owen view of the Mosaic Covenant? Same? Similar with some differences? or Different altogether? In other words, can I agree with one and not the other, or if I agree with one do I automatically agree with the other?
In your opinion, what is the relationship between the Republicationist view of the Mosaic Covenant and the Coxe/Owen view of the Mosaic Covenant? Same? Similar with some differences? or Different altogether?
In other words, can I agree with one and not the other, or if I agree with one do I automatically agree with the other?

Given the last podcast and the interest in this subject I thought Sam Renihan’s reply would be helpful to point out here [note that I wrote out their abbreviations.] Sam’s reply below:

Capture

While the majority of Particular Baptists agree that the Mosaic Covenant is a Covenant of Works, how it relates to the original Covenant of Works varies in their thought. Some state in the strongest terms that it IS the original Covenant of Works reapplied to Israel. That would make eternal life possible through the Mosaic Covenant itself, a point that Coxe and Owen would have disagreed with (and I disagree there too). Coxe makes a brief but helpful comment here:

Nehemiah Coxe on the Mosaical Oeconomy

coxe-republication

The Mosaic Covenant is a covenant of works, but is not THE Covenant of Works. It republishes Adam’s covenant, but for different ends. I REALLY like the way Isaac Watts puts it (albeit not a Particular Baptist [the Isaac Watts portion is quoted by Isaac Backus who was indeed a Particular Baptist]) here:

Isaac Watts on the Mosaic Covenant

Isaac Watts Orthodoxy and Charity 50

 

Keach is also more balanced in saying that while the Mosaic Covenant was a covenant of works, it was not intended to give eternal life (and quotes Owen in support):

Benjamin Keach on the covenant of works with Israel

 Keach Everlasting Covenant 8

Abraham Booth also calls the Mosaic Covenant a Covenant of Works but directs it to life in Canaan:

Tenure in Canaan is not the same as tenure in Christ 

Abraham Booth, Kingdom of Christ, 27

 

You will get stronger stances from men like John Bunyan, Philip Cary. Christopher Blackwood seems to adopt both (that it’s for “life in Canaan and heaven thereafter”).

Christopher Blackwood on the Old and New Covenants

Christopher Blackwood on the Old Covenant

 

If you agree with Coxe, you are agreeing that the Mosaic Covenant is a Covenant of Works in subserviency to the Covenant of Grace. It looks back to Adam and forward to Christ. Given that Republication has become such a broad term, you would be subscribing to some of its notions, but in a specific way, not as a whole.

Other sources could be brought into this question. But keep in mind the Particular Baptists common thread to argue that the Abrahamic covenant is a covenant constituting the Jews a national people. They then link the Abrahamic to the Mosaic through circumcision, etc. So most of them are going to see the Mosaic covenant as a further development of a national covenant consisting of national promises in Canaan.

I should also mention that the subserviency mentioned by the authors above is not promoting “The Subservient Covenant” view. Bolton argued for that view because the Mosaic Covenant was neither a covenant of grace or covenant of works. It was a tertius quid, a subservient covenant. That’s close to the views of Coxe/Owen/Keach but needs to be distinguished from them based on the fact that these authors will indeed call it a covenant of works.

 

[source: Facebook]

9 Replies to “Are the Republicationist & Coxe/Owen Views of the Mosaic Covenant Related?”

  1. Thanks for this very helpful post. The question of eternal life offered by the Mosaic is tricky. For instance, Petto says “yes” while Owen says “no”, even though Owen endorsed Petto’s book. I agree with Sam, Coxe, & Owen – “do this and live” under the Mosaic Covenant was limited to life in the land of Canaan.

    I think the question is a little hard to answer simply because “republication” hasn’t been given a clear definition. This is the critique from many of TLNF. The book says the Mosaic Covenant was “in some sense” a republication of the covenant of works, but it is not always clear what “sense” is meant. See Jones’ review on this point: http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=199

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