“In, with, and under” Types?

In this post, I want to focus on Dr. R. Scott Clark’s use of the phrase “in, with, and under” in his recent post about differences between the Reformed view of OT saints’ experience of the benefits of Christ through typology and the Particular Baptists’ views of the same. It appears in the title and throughout the post itself and is used to describe the Reformed position, positively, and the Particular Baptist position, negatively:

…in the Reformed view (see below) the Christ and his benefits, the substance of the covenant of grace, are inwith, and under the types and shadows. For the PBs [Particular Baptists] Christ and the covenant of grace cannot be in, with, and under the types…

Is this language helpful for discussing either the views involved, or the theology itself? I contend that it is not. Why?

“In, with, and under” is not Helpful

First, the phrase itself “in, with, and under” has quite a history, as of course Dr. Clark knows well. The phrase is unavoidably attached to the Lutheran view of the presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, teaching that by virtue of the union of Christ’s humanity to his deity, his glorified body is ubiquitous, and therefore is “in, with, and under” the elements of the Lord’s Supper (albeit illocally).

Rightly or wrongly, the Reformed regarded this view as “consubstantiation” because the substance of the glorified body of Christ is “in, with, and under” the substance of the bread and wine. This makes Christ’s body “consubstantial” with the elements.

Richard Muller argues that “consubstantiation” is not an accurate representation of the Lutheran view. Nevertheless, as demonstrated at the end of this post in quotations from William Ames, David Dickson, and Edward Polhill, the Reformed rejected the language of “in, with, and under” as used by the Lutherans, and often called such language “consubstantiation.” The Reformed denied any bodily presence in the Supper and instead taught that Christ is really present, spiritually, to the faith of believers.

Whether the Reformed were accurate in their depictions of the Lutheran view, it is not helpful to use a well-known formula with a history relating to a doctrine specifically rejected by the Reformed as the explanation for a Reformed doctrine.

Second, I am glad to be corrected here, but I am not aware of the phrase “in, with, and under” having a place in the Reformed tradition’s explanations of the relation of Christ to OT types. It is unsurprising to me that the phrase would not have a history in the Reformed tradition, given the previous point. So then, why use language to describe the Reformed that they themselves did not use?

It is not helpful to use a phrase without a history within the Reformed tradition as the descriptor for Reformed theology on that point.

Third, appealing to metaphysical categories to affirm things about signs is notoriously problematic. It was precisely this that made debates about transubstantiation and consubstantiation so bewildering to navigate.  As shown in the quotes at the end of this post, the Reformed response to consubstantiation was that it was essentially nonsensical. Polhill calls the Lutherans explanations of consubstantiation “strange Riddles [which they] must maintain to make good their opinion.”

I have high confidence that Dr. Clark does not read “The Rock was Christ” as a metaphysical statement just as he does not read “This is my body” as a metaphysical statement. So, why use metaphysical language here? What does it mean for Christ to be “in, with, and under” animal sacrifices or a bronze serpent or any of the other types of the OT? What does it affirm? It sounds to me more like “strange riddles” than clear teaching. It is not helpful. The language is more difficult to explain than the concepts.

To be abundantly clear, I am not suggesting in any sense that Dr. Clark is adopting or promoting the Lutheran position on the Lord’s Supper. I am questioning the wisdom of Dr. Clark’s use of the language of the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantation for a discussion of typology.

Signs and Things Signified (Again)

I would suggest that the more common Reformed terminology of signs and things signified is superior, and better equips us to speak about the issue. WCF 27.5 will suffice to demonstrate the point.

The Sacraments of the Old Testament, in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified, and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the New. (WCF 27.5)

Note the designation of “the spiritual things thereby signified” as the substantial continuity between the OT and NT signs. David Dickson, in his comments on the Westminster Confession explains that this substantial continuity is not located in the signs themselves, but the thing signified:

which is not done by reason of the sign, for the signs are diverse and different: therefore it must be done, by reason of the thing signified

A discussion of signs and things signified is far more fruitful and productive than a discussion of Christ being “in, with, and under” OT signs. Why is that?

It is far more helpful because it is a context in which I can clearly state my own position, namely, that Scripture teaches that OT signs signify two things. The first thing signified is something in the original context of the sign. The second thing signified is indeed “for substance, the same with that of the New.”  I have recently explained this here.

It would be very easy for Dr. Clark to affirm or deny arguments in such a discussion.

Missing the Mark

In light of this analysis, what are we to make of Dr. Clark’s words, provided above:

…in the Reformed view (see below) the Christ and his benefits, the substance of the covenant of grace, are inwith, and under the types and shadows. For the PBs [Particular Baptists] Christ and the covenant of grace cannot be in, with, and under the types…

Dr. Clark’s descriptions of Particular Baptists just don’t fit. (Richard Barcellos is publishing brief articles detailing more on this. The first is available here.) There is an agreement between the Reformed and the Particular Baptists that the “spiritual things thereby signified” are one and the same from OT to NT.

Built on this, Dr. Clark’s repeated insistence that the Particular Baptists and the Reformed are so very different, based on the language of Christ being “in, with, and under” types, misses the mark. Likewise, the recent flurry of posts quoting Reformed theologians asserting the substantial unity of OT and NT administrations misses the mark (assuming that Dr. Clark intends them to be aimed at Particular Baptists). Those criticisms or arguments simply don’t land on the Particular Baptists. (See more on the language of “administration” here.)

Thomas Bilson, The Survey, 552

The question is not whether “the spiritual things thereby signified” are one in substance between the OT and the NT. That is where we are agreed. The question is whether there is an original context for types that is, in fact, in itself, distinct from their antitypes. In other words, the question is whether types signify two things.

In light of the arguments presented in this post, I simply refuse to accept the language of “in, with, and under” as the terms of this debate or an accurate descriptor either of Reformed theology positively or Particular Baptist theology negatively. By doing so, I am by no means rejecting the use of historial categories and terms related to this subject. To the contrary, I am insisting that we stick to historical categories of signs and things signified.

And all I would like to know is, did the OT types signify one thing or two things?

Sources on the Reformed rejection of Consubstantiation and the language of “in, with, and under.”

William Ames, The Substance of Christian Religion (London: Thomas Mabb, 1659), 184-185.

For this spiritual nourishment in the Supper it is not required, that the bread and wine be substantially changed into the body and blood of Christ; nor that Christ be bodily present, in, with, and under the bread and wine; but onley that they be changed as to relation, and application or use; and that Christ be spiritually present onely to such as partake in faith.

This is hence gathered, in that bread and wine are said to remain here in the Supper; and our communion with Christ, is in a sort said to be such, as Idolaters have with their Idols; which stands in relation onely. Therefore, Transubstantiation of Papists and Consubstantiation of Lutherans fight:

Reas. 1 [fight] With the nature of Sacraments in general, whose nature consist in a relative union, or likeness, as hath been explained; not in a bodily succession of the one, in the others place, or a substantial change of the one into the other; nor yet in a bodily conjunction or presence of the one with, in, and under the other.

David Dickson, Truth’s Victory Over Error (Edingburgh: John Reed, 1684), 298-301.

Quest. V.

Is the Body and Blood of Christ in this Sacrament corporally, or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine?

No. 1 Cor. 10. 16.

Well then, do not the Lutherians err, who maintain, that the body and blood of Christ, are corporally in, with, and under the bread and wine: and that (as the Papists also teach) his body and blood, are taken corporally by the mouth, by all Communicants, believers, and unbelievers?


By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, Christ was sitting with his body at the Table. (2) Because, he himself did eat of the bread, and drink of the wine. (3) Because, he took bread from the Table: he took not his own body: he break bread, and did distribute it, he break not his own body: so he took the Cup, and not his own blood. (4) Because, Christ said, the Cup was the New Testament in his blood: but the Cup is not inwith, and under the Wine. (5) Because Christ said, the bread was his body, which was broken; the Wine was his blood, which was shed. But neither was his body broken under the bread, nor his blood shed under the Wine, seeing Christ as yet, was not betrayed, crucified, and dead.

In the next place, the end of the Lords Supper is, that we may remember Christ, and declare his death until be come; Luke 22. 19. 1 Cor. 11. 24, 25, 26. Therefore if Christ be now present with his body, inwith, and under the bread, the Sacramental remembrance of Christ, and the declaring of his death, ought to cease.

This Doctrine of Consubstantiation, is contrary to the Articles of our Faith. It is against the Truth and Verity of his Humane Nature, which is visible, palpable, and in a certain place circumscriptive. It is against the Article of his ascension: for it makes his body, which is now in Heaven, until the last day, to be in, with, and under a piece of bread. It is against the spiritual communion of the Saints with Christ the Head, which the Lutherans makes by this doctrine a corporal and carnal communion, contrary to 1 Cor. 10. 3, 4. Ephes. 1. 22. Ephes. 4. 4. Rom. 8. 9. 1 Cor. 6. 17. 1 Iohn 4. 13. Iohn 15. 5.

It brings with it many and great absurdities; as that the body of Christ, Non habeat partem extra partem; hath not one part of it without another; but as if all the parts of his Body, were in one part, which is contrary to the Nature of a true and real Quantum, which consists essentially in three dimensions, length, breadth, and thickness. It makes in effect his Body to be no body. It brings down the glorious Body of Christ from Heaven, and puts it under the base Elements of this Earth. It makes as many bodies of Christ, as there are pieces of Eucharistical bread. It makes his body to be broken inwith, and under the bread, and bruised with the teeth: It sends his Body down to the stomach, where it is turned into a mans substance, and afterwards throwen out.

Moreover, all true Eating brings life and Salvation; Iohn 6. 50, 51. but eating by the mouth profiteth nothing; Iohn 6. 63. Again, our union with Christ, (and therefore our eating of his Body, from whence ariseth this union) is not corporal but spiritual; Eph. 3. 17. And the Body and Blood of Christ, are meat and drink; not carnal but spiritual; even as the hunger, whereby we long for this meat is spiritual: and the life to which we are nourished, is spiritual, and the nutriment is spiritual. Lastly, according to this Doctrine of Consubstantiation, stiffly maintained by the Lutherians, it follows, that Christ did his own body, while he did eat the bread of the first supper. That his Disciples did eat their Lord and Masters Body. That Christ before he was crucified, was dead: That his Disciples were more cruel and inhumane to him than the Iews were that crucified him: That he is often buried within the intrals of wicked men.

Edward Polhill, Christus in Corde: Or, The Mystical Union Between Christ and Believers Considered (London: A.M., 1680), 219-220.

As touching the Will of Christ, expressed in those words, This is my body. The Lutherans seem to stand for the letter of the Text; but their Interpretation is not a litteral one, “This” is not properly “in, with, and under this” in propriety. “This is my body” is one thing, “in, with, and under, This is my body” is another; neither is their Interpretation true. Baptism is a Sacrament of the New Testament as well as the Lords Supper; as in the one, the blood of Christ is not in, with, and under the water; so in the other, the body is not in, with and under the bread; the reason is alike in both Sacraments. If in the Eucharist the body be in, with, and under the bread, then the blood is in, with, and under the wine; consequently the blood is separate from the body. There is put upon Christ now in Glory, not to say, a second passion, but as many passions as there are Eucharists. It is not easie to imagine how the bread should be broken, and the body under it, not be so; or how the body should be broken on Earth, and at the same time glorious in Heaven; or how the same body as the same instant can be present in as many distant places as there are Eucharists in the world; or, if such a Presence might be, how the body could be finite, or indeed a body. All which strange Riddles the Lutherans must maintain to make good their opinion.


Typology: Signs and the Things Signified

I am enjoying current discussions of the relationship of typology to OT and NT sacraments and the appropriation of the grace of Christ by OT saints. This is a fruitful field of discussion. In fact, I think that it is precisely the place where we can locate true areas of agreement and disagreement.

To accomplish that, we have to face the challenge of language. How do we speak so as to be understood? Patience and willingness to listen to explanations certainly helps. I want to try to add some clarity on my own position. I would encourage readers to consider my fuller arguments in The Mystery of Christ.

Two Signs, One Thing Signified

Let’s begin by looking at the question as some see it and speak of it.

It is common for the Reformed to speak of the OT and NT sacraments as differing in the outward sign, but not the thing signified. Two different signs signify one and the same thing. When they contrast the differing outward signs, they acknowledge a difference in clarity and even simplicity, as one can see in Dr. Clark’s recent post where he includes a helpful assortment of quotations from Reformed theologians. One of the quotes in that post (Ursinus, using Augustine) states the position plainly, affirming that “The sacraments of the Old and New Testaments differ in their signs, but agree in the thing signified.”

Would I disagree with this position? Would Particular Baptists disagree with it? Some have said so. Note how Dr. Ramsey highlights the same issue, pointing back to seventeenth-century Presbyterians interacting with Baptistic Congregationalists (i.e., early Particular Baptists):

Is this an all-or-nothing issue as some seem to make it? Is the position “The OT and NT sacraments differ in the outward sign, but not the thing signified” the only way to approach the question?

Signs, and Things Signified

I find that we can attain greater clarity by using typology to distinguish OT and NT sacraments as two different kinds of signs:

1. OT and NT sacraments are both signs.

2. Pre-incarnation sacraments, by virtue of being types, are signs that signify two things.

2a. Types signify something in their own context.

2b. The original significance of a type points above and beyond itself to a greater, and other, future reality (antitype), namely, Christ, his covenant, and his kingdom.

3. Post-incarnation Sacraments are signs that signify one thing, the very reality of 2b (antitype).

Consider an example, as a test:

  • OT sacrament: Animal Sacrifices
  • Its Antitype: Christ’s sacrifice on the cross
  • NT sacrament: The Lord’s Supper

What is the original context and significance of the sacrificial system?

20 Thus shall he do with the bull. As he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this. And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. (Lev. 4:20 ESV)

Note that Animal sacrifices “make atonement” and provide forgiveness. This is their original significance and function in their own context.

Above and beyond this, these sacrifices point to a greater, and other, future reality, namely Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The Scriptures tell us that these sacrifices were types. But it also tells us that these types did not, in themselves, accomplish or provide that which Christ’s sacrifice provided.

1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?
3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Heb. 10:1-4 ESV)

The animal sacrifices, in themselves, did not provide the same atonement or forgiveness of sins that Christ’s sacrifice did. If they did, the sacrifices would have ceased. And yet, for all their inherent weakness, reminding worshipers of sin, they were “a shadow of the good things to come.”

As types, these sacrifices signified two different, but analogous, things. They signified atonement and forgiveness in the context of ceremonial cleanliness for the offspring of Abraham according to the flesh (the circumcised). They also signified the atonement and forgiveness provided by Jesus Christ for the offspring of Abraham according to the Spirit (believers). The writer to the Hebrews (*cough* Paul *cough*) asserts that these are not the same.

The Lord’s Supper is a sign, just as the sacrifices were. But the Lord’s Supper signifies one thing, and one thing only: the atonement and forgiveness provided by Jesus Christ for the offspring of Abraham according to the Spirit (believers).

Comparison and Contrast

With this understanding, is the following statement, introduced above, sufficient for discussion and clarity? “The OT and NT sacraments differ in the outward sign, but not the thing signified.” I propose that it is not sufficient, because it skips over the original context and significance of OT types. It creates an all-or-nothing that confines and obstructs the debate.

I, and Particular Baptists, affirm the effective mediation of Jesus Christ in all ages, and the appropriation and enjoyment of the grace of the new covenant for all of Christ’s children at all times. And we affirm the role of types and shadows as being the means of this grace reaching OT saints, and being a source of their communion with Christ. OT sacrifices would have functioned equally for a believer or unbeliever in Israel, restoring ceremonial holiness. But they would have been a means of grace to the believing.

But, due to the substantial difference between types and their antitype (as evidenced by the sacrificial system), we must specify that OT sacraments are signs pointing to two things. And when the antitype to which they point arrives, the typical sign and its original significance and context are removed, having served their purpose. All that remains is the reality, bringing with it its own signs that clearly and directly portray one thing, the antitype, and nothing else.

This is why Christ’s children are all one, whether born from above before or after his incarnation. And this is why Christ’s children born from above before his incarnation communed with him through OT ordinances. But this is also why we affirm that those OT ordinances, in themselves, are not the same as the NT ordinances, while also affirming a direct continuity in the grace they conferred.

Understanding Differences and Tensions

In my experience, Reformed Christians either ignore or disdain this typology because it injects tensions and serious questions into the Reformed view of the relationship between the old and new covenants, arriving eventually at (among many other things) questions about the continuity of baptism and circumcision.

If you doubt my assessment, consider various internal debates in the Reformed world. Issues revolving around typology explain why Meredith Kline’s two-level typology is viewed by some as granting serious ground to Baptist theology. More broadly, some in the Reformed camp are highly critical of the systematic implications of versions of Republication that identify the Mosaic covenant as a covenant of works functioning on its own typological level, distinct from, but subservient to, the covenant of grace.

Some see (and I fully agree) that such a view holds extensive common ground with the view of typology that I am proposing.

Anon, A Censure of Three, 8

I differ from such persons (and Owen) because I extend the view to the Abrahamic covenant where even the Reformed who hold to Republication do not.

And, perhaps most informative are the roots of all this in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries themselves. However, I am saving for another time an instructive debate and discussion from the seventeenth century where these very issues arose within the Reformed camp itself.

Nathaniel Wyles, Comfort for Believers, 37


From Shadow to Substance

I am pleased to announce the release of my work on seventeenth-century Particular Baptist covenant theology, From Shadow to Substance: The Federal Theology of the English Particular Baptists (1642-1704), available through Amazon in the USA, UK, and EU markets.

From Shadow to Substance approaches Particular Baptist covenant theology chronologically, tracing the origins and development of the Particular Baptists’ covenant theology in dialogue with the Church of England, Presbyterian, and Independent paedobaptists of their day. A chronological approach reveals not only where the Particular Baptists and their paedobaptist counterparts agreed and disagreed, but it also reveals the ways in which later Particular Baptists built on the work of earlier Particular Baptists.

From Shadow to Substance is a lightly edited version of my Ph.D. dissertation, meaning it includes minor corrections and additions. It addresses issues such as the covenant of works in Particular Baptist literature, the importance of noting the polemical genre of their covenantal writings, the covenant of redemption in Particular Baptist literature, and reasons why the Particular Baptists appealed to John Owen’s covenant theology in relation to their own.

Based on my archival research, the book also offers new and relevant biographical and contextual information about the Particular Baptists. Chief among these is a narrative of the events leading up to the publication of the Second London Baptist Confession in 1677. Other interesting and previously unknown (or unconfirmed) details are provided, such as Nehemiah Coxe’s confirmed age, details of his Medical Degree, and a special new fact related to Coxe’s time at John Bunyan’s church. Additional new discoveries include William Collins’ age,  Hercules Collins’ probate inventory, and other records. [I have much more material on Coxe, Collins, and the Petty France church they pastored, but those are planned for separate volumes.]

To order in the USA, click the link above. To order in the UK, click here.

For those of you who ordered the book in its first printing, you now own a first-edition limited release of the book (if that matters to you). It has been reformatted for distribution through Amazon, resulting in slight modifications to appearance.

For more details, see the images below.




image (1)

John Clark, Phraseologia, 265-1

We All Have Our Types

We All Have Our Types

In a previous post, I offered three clarifications about historical Particular Baptist covenant theology as a response to Dr. R. Scott Clark’s post dealing with the same matters. Dr. Clark posted a second article continuing the dialogue, and I found it to be a helpful article in that it mined down deeper and thus portrayed more precisely, I think, the details and differences of the parties referenced here (Particular Baptists and the broad Reformed tradition).

Since I am the primary pen being referenced in Dr. Clark’s post, I thought it would be helpful to continue this discussion in an attempt to further the cause of mutual understanding.

Before I quote and respond to a few pieces of Dr. Clark’s recent post, I want to propose to the reader, whether a proponent or opponent of Particular Baptist covenant theology, two things for their consideration before and during discussing or debating these issues.

First, covenant theology, whether considered exegetically or historical-theologically, defies simplification and summary. It deals with, necessarily and unavoidably, the forest and the trees. It covers the entire Bible. Its scope is all of redemptive history. It seeks to explain the purpose of all God’s actions. It is a subject that requires micro and macroscopic perspectives. Not only is this true in the case of studying covenant theology exegetically, but when one adds to this the history of the church’s attempts to handle the subject, i.e., historical theology, the plot thickens considerably. It is therefore a subject whose grammar and vocabulary must be sufficient for the task of dealing with trees and forests. One must exercise great caution and patience in studying a subject of such a scope. And it is therefore a subject not well suited for Twitter, Facebook, and Blogs (like this one).

Second, the Disciples/Apostles got this wrong at first and for some time after the ascension and Pentecost. The Jews got this wrong. Many early Christians got this wrong, provoking church councils and many apostolic epistles in our New Testaments. The Reformed tradition has a great deal of diversity on how the pieces fit together (without denying considerable unity in parts of the subject as well). Tread lightly. Take your time. Don’t be in a rush. Don’t go to war in your first year of marriage.

Now, on to an attempt to offer brief responses of a clarifying nature.

Dr. Clark said,

the PBs do not envision the same sort of administration of spiritual benefits through the external administration of the types and shadows, the various Old Testament administrations of the covenant of grace as the Reformed understand things.


that reception [of the benefits of Christ] has little to do with the actual, external, historical administration of the covenant of grace through types and shadows. For them, the substance of the covenant grace is not the divine promise to be a God to us and to our children but only Christ

As a Particular Baptist, I find these words somewhat confusing. Let me offer the reply, then the explanation. The reply is that we believe that the benefits of Christ are made known and received specifically through the types and shadows. How else were they revealed, received, and enjoyed if not through the Israelite system? So to say “the PBs do not envision the same sort of administration of spiritual benefits through the external administration of the types and shadows” does not fit right, to me.

What’s the explanation? It has to do with one’s view of typology. Particular Baptists believe that types and antitypes are two different, but related, things. God tells us in Hebrews 10:1-4,

1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Animal sacrifices are not the blood of Christ and cannot take away sin. But they do teach God’s people about penal substitutionary atonement. And they do make the people long for a more perfect sacrifice by reminding the participants of their sin, i.e., not cleansing their consciences. So then, the animal sacrifice is not the substance of the covenant of grace. It is not the sacrifice of Christ. But it reveals the sacrifice of Christ. And the people of God, combining this with other revelation in other types and shadows trusted in a sacrifice not-yet-offered for them, and enjoyed its conscience-cleansing benefits through the animal sacrifices but not by the animal sacrifices. These verses were what convinced John Owen that the old covenant was not the new covenant, in substance. A covenant that does not take away sins is not the covenant of grace, however much it subserves the covenant of grace.

Furthermore, not only are types not antitypes, but types had their own particular meaning and function in their own original context. When ceremonially unclean, animal sacrifices really and truly restored you to holiness, an outward holiness granted by the old covenant. To skip this initial meaning of a type and jump straight to the revealed antitype is to flatten out typology and transform the old covenant into the new in an unbiblical way. When typology is flattened into outward differences alone, accidental difference, it paves the way for the importation of old covenant practices and details into the new, such as the use of circumcision to justify paedobaptistm. The new is merely the old renewed.

Particular Baptists treat all types the same way (well I do, anyway, and the 17th-century PBs did). Types are not their antitypes. They cannot be their antitypes. They are not the antitypes in a lesser form. They are not the antitypes in an older version. They are not the antitypes in a different outward arrangement. But types are never not types. They exist to reveal antitypes. Though the old covenant can never be the new covenant, it can never stop revealing the new covenant, either.

So then, when Dr. Clark speaks of the external administration of the covenant of grace, we look at typology as the Bible defines it and we say that what he and others call the old external administration of the covenant of grace was actually a distinct but subservient covenant, the old covenant. And yet, because of typological subservience, we agree that the same benefits of the one covenant of grace were revealed, received, and enjoyed by OT saints through the old covenant, but not by the old covenant.

And for this reason I do not recognize this statement, quoted before, “reception [of the benefits of Christ] has little to do with the actual, external, historical administration of the covenant of grace through types and shadows.” It has everything to do with that. But types are not antitypes. Goat and bull blood is not the blood of the Son of God.

Typology deserves and demands a much more detailed treatment. But alas, we are currently trapped in blogland. Moving on, Dr. Clark says,

There is not a single Reformed theologian of whom I am aware, certainly not in the classical (confessional) period, who affirm the doctrine that there is a substantial difference between the New Covenant and the covenant of grace as administered in Old Testament types and shadows.

This brush is too broad to be helpful in this case. Why? First, there were (and are) many Reformed theologians who affirmed that there is a substantial difference between the new covenant and the Mosaic covenant. So then, the “not a single Reformed theologian” language is a cloak covering an inconvenient diversity. Granted, I am likewise not aware of Reformed theologians who affirmed that the new covenant is distinct from the Abrahamic covenant in substance. But that is quite different from the language used above. Second, the language is unhelpful in that it seems to imply that Particular Baptists believed in a substantial difference between the new covenant and the covenant of grace in the old testament. That just wouldn’t make sense. So then, while the language sets out to portray two distinct parties, neither description really fits as far as I can see.

Dr. Clark says,

So here is a difference between the PB and the Reformed. For the PBs, the OT covenants are not the covenants of grace as much as they are witnesses to the covenant of grace. For the Reformed the OT covenants are earthly, historical, real, external, administrations of the one covenant of grace through types and shadows. Through those administrations God the Spirit gave more than “external and typical” (typological) blessings. God the Spirit was sovereignly operating within his people through the sacrifices, through the ceremonies, through the prophetic Word, to bring the elect to new life and to true faith in Jesus the Messiah. This is our understanding of Hebrews 11 when it says that Moses preferred Christ—not typical and external blessings—to the riches of Egypt (Heb 11:24–26). Abraham was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb 11:10). Had he wanted “earthly and typical” blessings, he could have had them.

My explanation of typology above applies to these comments. So all I want to say here is that it seems odd to me to state the Reformed view of the OT saints’ enjoyment of the benefits of Christ as though that is somehow different or distinct from the Particular Baptists’. There is no difference on that point, as mentioned in my previous post and above in this post. So, to raise it as an apparent difference sends strange signals that will likely be interpreted wrongly by those who see the post as a critique of Baptists and the operative differences between us.

Dr. Clark says,

For the Reformed the OT covenants were more than witnesses to and revelations of the covenant of grace, they were administrations of the substance of the covenant: “I will be a God to you and to your children,” the fulfillment of which was Christ, in whom all the promises of God are yes and amen (2 Cor 1:20).

Here is a difference between us is in regard to identifying and defining the substance of the covenant. Insofar as the substance of the covenant of grace is defined as “I will be a God to you and your children” we disagree strongly (and I would argue that this definition does not represent the fullness of Reformed covenant theology). The substance of the covenant of grace is “I will remember your sins no more.”

In conclusion, there is a need for more work on both sides, especially in being slow to speak and quick to listen. Particular Baptists need to publish more literature in exegetical theology and historical theology. Paedobaptists need to read that literature as we read theirs. And both sides need to pursue verity more than victory.

Henry Ainsworth, The Confession of Faith, Final Page

As a student of the debate in the seventeenth-century, I lament the divide. Whenever I hear of someone moving from one side to the other, I am sad the divide exists. There can be no victory parade when brethren are the “enemies.” Woe is me, woe is us. Thomas Manton remains quotably helpful.