The Consequences of Theology

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. can really get my blood pumping! What I’m going to quote below is an excellent example of why. The context is this, Douglas Moo, a respected theologian who fervently believes in Jesus, has just finished articulating an understanding of discontinuity between the old and new testaments and the firm replacement of the Law of Moses by the Law of Christ. Kaiser concludes his response to Moo in the following paragraph, and provides an excellent example of the dire necessity of reforming the too often errant theology of the contemporary Church on this issue of the relationship between law and grace or law and gospel.

Moo concludes that the Mosaic law “is not a direct [or] immediate source of guidance to the new covenant believer.” However, he suggests that there is an “essential ‘moral’ content of the Mosaic law [that] is … applicable to believers.” But this confuses me still more, for now the moral aspect of the unified law can be ascertained and is applicable, but not in any direct or immediate way. Moo concludes, “I am no Marcionite.” For this I am glad; but please tell me how his disciples are going to be able to resist Marcionitism, given the force, direction, and logic of his position? Ultimately, Moo is bound only by what is clearly repeated within the New Testament teaching. What advice will he give on marriage to close relatives (cf. Lev. 18), involvement with forms of witchcraft and various forms of the occult (cf. Lev. 19), the case for capital punishment (cf. Gen. 9), or the proscription against abortion (cf. Ex. 21)? Did Americans not learn in 1973 that a New Testament exclusivistic ethic landed us squarely in one of the largest legalized murdering ventures in recent times—now exceeding Hitler’s six million Jews sent up a chimney by four times over with some twenty-four million babies going in a bucket? What will it take to wake us up to the narrowness of our views? If this is not a Marcionite view, it is at least semi-Marcionite—and the disciples of our teaching will soon prove what direction it was that we were heading in if we refuse to fully follow the implications of our own thought.[1] [emphasis mine]


[1]Greg L. Bahnsen, Walter C. Kaiser, Douglas J. Moo et al., Five Views on Law and Gospel, Zondervan Counterpoints Collection (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999), 393.

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