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Book Review: 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law

by Thomas R. Schreiner.

This is another book in the excellent 40 Question Series edited by Benjamin Merkle and published by Kregel Academic & Professional. (See my previous review of another book in this series, 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible.) This time round, the subject is biblical law, a tricky subject, if you ask me.

According to Tom Schreiner, it’s also an important one, because the way we put the whole Bible together depends on our understanding of the law. What’s more—and relatedly—those who study the law can better evaluate the theological systems. In addition, the law relates to justification. How we understand the law affects how we understand salvation. And last, those who want to please God need to understand how the law relates to them as believers.

To work through these issues Schreiner answers questions about

  • The Law in the Old Testament
  • The Law in Paul (This section makes up over half the book, because “Paul’s theology of the law is the most crucial in determining one’s view of the law canonically….”) 
  • The Law in the Gospels and Acts
  • The Law in the General Epistles
  • The Law and Contemporary Issues

When it comes to his view of the law, Schreiner is not a typical Covenant Theologian. He argues that while the categories of civil, ceremonial and moral law may be useful in some ways, the scripture doesn’t divide the law this way, and sometimes exact distinctions are difficult to make. He disagrees with the common view that the ceremonial and civil law have been done away with in Christ while the moral law remains binding, teaching instead that the whole Mosaic law is no longer in force since the coming of Christ.

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Theological Term of the Week

Belgic Confession
The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Reformed Churches, written mainly by Guido de Bras, a preacher of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, in 1561.

  • From the Belgic Confession

    Article XIX. The Union and Distinction of the Two Natures in the Person of Christ

    We believe that by this conception the person of the Son is inseparably united and connected with the human nature; so that there are not two Sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in one single person; yet each nature retains its own distinct properties. As, then, the divine nature has always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life, filling heaven and earth, so also has the human nature not lost its properties but remained a creature, having beginning of days, being a finite nature, and retaining all the properties of a real body. And though He has by His resurrection given immortality to the same, nevertheless He has not changed the reality of His human nature; forasmuch as our salvation and resurrection also depend on the reality of His body. But these two natures are so closely united in one person that they were not separated even by His death. Therefore that which He, when dying, commended into the hands of His Father, was a real human spirit, departing from His body. But in the meantime the divine nature always remained united with the human, even when He lay in the grave; and the Godhead did not cease to be in Him, any more than it did when He was an infant, though it did not so clearly manifest itself for a while. Wherefore we confess that He is very God and very man: very God by His power to conquer death; and very man that He might die for us according to the infirmity of His flesh.

  • From The Belgic Confession of Faith and the Canons of Dordt by Joel R. Beeke:
  • The year after it was written, a copy of the Confession was sent to King Philip II together with an address in which the petitioners declared that they were ready to obey the government in all things lawful, but that they would “offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to the fire, well knowing that those who follow Christ must take his cross and deny themselves,” rather than deny the truth expressed in this Confession. Neither the Confession nor the petition, however, bore the desired fruit of toleration for Protestants with the Spanish authorities. In 1567, de Bres became one martyr among thousands who sealed their faith with blood. Nevertheless, his work has endured as a convincing statement of Reformed doctrine. 

Learn more:

  1. Theopedia: Belgic Confession
  2. Joel R. Beeke: The Belgic Confession of Faith and the Canons of Dordt
  3. Kim Riddlebarger: A Commentary on the Belgic Confession
  4. Rev. C. Bouwman: Notes on the Belgic Confession
  5. Immanuel’s Reformed Church: Sermon series on the Belgic Confession
  6. Kevin DeYoung: The Belgic Confession and the Hero No One Remembers
Related terms:
  • Augsburg Confession
  • Heidelberg Catechism
  • Canons of Dordt 
  • Westminster Confession 
  • London Baptist Confession

Filed under Creeds and Confessions.

Do you have a term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.


Round the Sphere Again: Translation History

The Prince
Steve Lawson’s biographical sketch of William Tyndale.

The King
A recommended lecture on the history of the King James Bible (Carl Trueman).


A Catechism for Girls and Boys

Part II: Questions about The Ten Commandments

49. Q. What does the fourth commandment teach us?
       A. To keep the Sabbath holy.

(Click through to read scriptural proof.)

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Sunday's Hymn: Praise Ye the Triune God!

Praise ye the Father for His lovingkindness;
Tenderly cares He for His erring children;
Praise Him, ye angels, praise Him in the heavens,
Praise ye Jehovah!

Praise ye the Savior—great is His compassion;
Graciously cares He for His chosen people;
Young men and maidens, older folks and children,
Praise ye the Savior!

Praise ye the Spirit, Comforter of Israel,
Sent of the Father and the Son to bless us;
Praise ye the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Praise ye the Triune God!

Eliz­a­beth R. Charles

I thought this hymn was fairly common, but I can only find two videos of it on YouTube. This is the best I can do.


Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.