Antinomianism: Reformed Theology's Unwelcome Guest?

Antinomianism: Reformed Theology's Unwelcome Guest?
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Jones, Mark


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Listen to an interview with Mark Jones entitled Antinomianism.
Source: Sermon Audio

Publisher’s Description

an•ti•no•mi•an noun [an-ti-'nō-mē-ǝn]
One who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.
— Merriam–Webster’s dictionary

Hotly debated since the sixteenth century in the Reformed theological tradition, and still a burning issue today, antinomianism has a long and complicated story. This book is the first to examine antinomianism form a historical, exegetical, and systematic perspective. More than that, in it Mark Jones offers a key—a robust Reformed Christology with strong emphasis on the Holy Spirit—and chapter by chapter uses it to unlock nine questions raised by debates.

About the Author

Rev. Dr. Mark Jones (PhD, Leiden Universiteit) is Minister at Faith Vancouver (PCA) in Vancouver, British Columbia; Research Associate in the Faculty of Theology at University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa; and Lecturer in Systematic Theology at John Wycliffe Theological College in cooperation with North–West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

Book Details

145 Pages
Publisher: P&R Publishing Company
Publication Date: November 2013
ISBN 10: 1596388153
ISBN 13: 9781596388154

“The problem of antinomianism is a hardy perennial for the church. A mischievous movement is afoot at the moment—its soaring rhetoric about grace is matched by an equally casual presumption on grace. Mark Jones’s book is thus to be welcomed: it is biblically grounded, historically sensitive, and above all timely. In addition, through his careful attention to the role of Christ in Scripture and to historical Reformed confessional treatments of sanctification, Jones provides a significant supplement to other recent books pleading for a biblical emphasis on personal piety.”
РCarl R. Trueman (M.A., St. Catharine’s College; Ph.D., University of Aberdeen), Paul Woolley Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary

“Mark Jones’s book is highly important. He makes it clear that being Reformed is much more than just being Contra–Remonstrant. Thanks to his vast knowledge of historical theology, he ably shows the well defined Reformed response against antinomianism, and the relevance of the theme for today.”
– Gert van den Brink, author, Herman Witsius en het Antinomianisme

“We are living in a deeply encouraging day when the sovereignty of God’s grace is being rediscovered far and wide. But as has happened in the past, when such times of biblical ressourcement have occurred, the error of antinomianism has made its appearance. This new work by Mark Jones is thus a timely tract for the times. It is rich in scriptural argument, illustrations from church history, and vigorous application. May it have a wide reading and even wider heeding!”
– Michael A. G. Haykin (M.Rel., Th.D., Wycliffe College, Univ. of Toronto), Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Church history records that the doctrinal pendulum often swings from one dangerous extreme to the other. This present day is no exception. The legalistic abuses of recent decades are now being replaced with a hyper–grace license to sin. Sad to say, portions of the Reformed community have given shelter to this new antinomianism, claiming that personal obedience to the law of Christ is merely optional. Often trendy with ‘the young, restless, and Reformed,’ this toxic message is poisonous to the soul. In this excellent work, Mark Jones exercises considerable skill in exposing the fatal flaws of this anti–law, cheap–grace easy–believism. Throughout these pages, you will find the theological clarity needed to reject the twisted errors of legalism and license and embrace a true, grace–inspired, Spirit–empowered obedience to the Scripture.”
– Steven J. Lawson (Th.M., Dallas Theological Seminary; D. Min., Reformed Theological Seminary), Senior Pastor, Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, Mobile, Alabama

“Law–and–gospel issues continue to claim center stage in our time, as they have in the past. The much–cited adage ‘he who can distinguish law and gospel is a theologian’ has never been more appropriate than now, and on this count Mark Jones is a very fine theologian indeed. A carefully nuanced analysis of the Scylla of antinomianism and the Charybdis of legalism from a masterly guide. Essential reading.”
– Derek Thomas (M.Div., Reformed Theological Seminary; Ph.D., University of Wales), Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta; Minister of Preaching and Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina

“Mark Jones’s book offers a balanced treatment of the errors of antinomianism, not only as it surfaced among some seventeenth–century British and New England theologians, but also as it has resurfaced among some contemporary theologians. The strength of Jones’s case lies in his nuanced definition of the error of antinomianism. Though in the popular imagination antinomianism is often simply identified with a denial of the positive role of God’s moral law in the Christian life, Jones demonstrates that it includes a number of additional elements— a belittling of Christ’s example of holiness as a pattern for the Christian life (imitatio Christi); a diminishment of the law of God as a true means of sanctification; an unbalanced conception of the relationship between law and gospel; a reluctance to acknowledge the biblical emphasis on rewards as a legitimate motive for Christian obedience; and a failure to recognize the role of good works as a secondary ground for the believer’s assurance of salvation. But the principal strength of Jones’s argument against antinomianism resides in his emphasis on the fullness of Christ’s person and saving work. Jones shows how a proper understanding of the work of Christ includes the gospel benefits of free justification and progressive sanctification. In doing so, Jones nicely exposes one of the ironies of antinomianism—in the name of preserving the gospel, antinomianism typically truncates it.”
– Cornelis P. Venema (B.D., Calvin Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary), President and Professor of Doctrinal Studies, Mid–America Reformed Seminary

“What does a seventeenth–century theological controversy have to do with Christian living in the twenty–first century? Everything. With the acumen of a historian and the heart of a pastor, Mark Jones deftly guides readers through one of the most tangled and important set of issues facing the Reformed church today. If you want to preach the gospel with greater biblical clarity, or learn how better to apply the gospel to your daily life, pick up this book and begin reading.”
– Guy Prentiss Waters (M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Duke University), Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson