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The exegetical weaknesses of Galatians 3 (and other texts not criticized here) undermine his thesis.His denial of sola fide renders his solution unacceptable.One might argue that Paul’s opponents misunderstood the law (Gal ), but this admission is a far cry from saying that law in Galatians three equals misunderstanding of the law. Finally, a word needs to be said about the confessional implications of Fuller’s doctrine of Justification.
The Hermeneutics of Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology stirred up a maelstrom of resistance from Protestant reviewers when it was first published in 1980. The response from Reformed reviewers was perhaps the most vehement. Covenant Theological Seminary’s (P. A.) journal Presbyterion published a duet of reviews criticizing Gospel & Law. These reviews were followed by a rejoinder from Fuller himself, which was in turn followed by more articles criticizing Fuller’s position. This exchange is emblematic of the backlash that ensued after the appearance of Gospel & Law.
He writes, “there [can] no longer be any antithesis in biblical theology between the law and the gospel.
He states that, “although today’s dispensationalism explains the relationship between law and grace in wording that is different from that of covenant theology, there is not substantial difference in meaning. .today’s Dispensationalism has reverted to a virtual covenant theology in the way it handles the law-gospel problem” (pp. Because both systems introduce this improper distinction between Law and Gospel, Fuller introduces an alternative way to approach this question.
Reprint, Pasadena, CA: Fuller Seminary Press, 1990. According to Fuller, both Dispensational and Reformed theology posit an unbiblical discontinuity between Gospel and Law.
Fuller presents a rather superficial historical analysis.
He gives inadequate definitions of the key terms law and gospel.Thus The Westminster Confession (1646) states, “Faith. ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love” (Westminster Confession XI.2). One wonders if Fuller really understands the Reformed position on this issue.Also, Fuller often speaks of Calvin as if he is the representative of Covenant theology.However, this idea is a distorting oversimplification of the historical picture.As is widely known, “‘Covenant theology’ generally designates the distinctively covenantal theological structure developed by Cocceius, Witsius and others a century after Calvin, and this tradition differed from Calvin’s theology in some significant ways—not least on the relationship of law and gospel.” Does Fuller know that citing Calvin in this way can lead to mischaracterizations of Covenant theology?If Fuller is not clear on this point in Gospel & Law, he is very clear in subsequent debates about the book that “good works” are the “instrumental cause” of Justification. How can these statements be regarded as anything less than a renunciation of sola gratia and sola fide?The bottom line is that the only difference between Fuller’s view and the Roman Catholic view is that Fuller does not conceive a roll for the sacramental administration in the “good works” required by the believer.I then had to accept the very drastic conclusion that the antithesis between law and gospel established by Luther, Calvin, and the covenant theologians could no longer stand up under the scrutiny of biblical theology” (p.xi). Evaluation & Critique Fuller’s stated purpose goes far beyond what can be accomplished in a single book of such a small size.To the extent that Fuller’s thesis builds upon a definition of these terms, to that extent Fuller’s argument will not stand.Fuller argues for a novel view of Galatians -12, “Galatians -12 affirms that the law and the gospel are one and the same, and the antithesis stated in Galatians represents the Jewish misinterpretation of the law” (p. Fuller’s exposition of Paul’s discussion of the law in Galatians three completely misunderstands the salvation-historical context of Paul’s remarks. Paul could not be clearer that the law that he is referring to is the Mosaic law.