I Will Be God to You

I know very little of T. David Gordon beyond his essays in “By Faith Alone: Answering the Challenges to the Doctrine of Justification” and “The Law is Not of Faith”. From these essays I gather that he is someone who speaks his mind, and perhaps bombastic (he carelessly compares John Murray to the drunk uncle no one wants to talk about). The main thrust of his essays is that Murray departed from the reformed tradition by not acknowledging great discontinuity between the Mosaic and New covenants. He makes several good points, but he tends not to realize that he is not arguing against Murray so much as the WCF tradition. I enjoyed his response to the oft-used argument that paedobaptists use: For God to say he will be God to someone necessarily implies a soteriological relationship.

Murray (and his followers) implicitly believe that the only relation God sustains to people is that of Redeemer (which, by my light, is not a relation but an office). I would argue, by contrast, that God was just as surely Israel’s God when He cursed the nation as when He blessed it. His pledge to be Israel’s God, via the terms of the Sinai administration, committed him to curse Israel for disobedience just as much as to bless her for obedience. In being Israel’s God, he sustained the relation of covenant suzerain to her; he did not bless or curse any other nation for its covenant fidelity or infidelity. In this sense, he was not the God of other nations as he was the God of Israel. (p 120 “By Faith Alone”)

Of course, such an admission undermines the paedobaptist claim that “I will be God to you and your offspring after you” (Gen 17:7) means “the promise of salvation is to your offspring.” Compare Gordon’s comments with Jonathan Edwards’.

4 thoughts on “I Will Be God to You

  1. markmcculley

    I am not sure that the prophets did not use the Mosaic legislation to make judgments on the nations. Bahnsen makes a good case for this in his theonomy books. But your point is weel taken—God was just as surely Israel’s God when He cursed the nation as when He blessed it.

    I Peter 4: 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?

    Amos 3 Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
    2 “You only have I known
    of all the families of the earth;
    THEREFORE I will punish you
    for all your iniquities.


  2. markmcculley

    Paedobaptist theologies of covenant are simple—don’t say Mosaic covenant but say Mosaic administration of the covenant of grace, don’t say Abrahamic covenant but say Abrahamic administration of the covenant of grace, and if you must emphasize the law in the Mosaic administration, be sure to say things are different in the Abrahamic administration, and that way you keep saying that water baptism is the fulfillment of Abraham’s circumcision.



  3. markmcculley

    Moses was in a covenant of grace that was premised upon the future obedience of Christ. Those who were elect who lived during the Mosaic economy had the benefit of that future obedience already by grace alone, through faith alone. Moses believed God and Christ’s condign merit (righteousness) was imputed to him and Moses received Christ, his merits, his righteousness, through faith alone.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s