"MODIFIED DISPENSATIONALISM" DENIED
A Response to Brian Schwertley
by Greg Loren Durand
Greg Durand's 26 October 2007 E-Mail to Brian Schwertley
To: Brian Schwertley
From: Crown Rights Book Company
Cc: Thomas Minsel, Corey Graff
Subject: Re: Reply
12:57 PM 1026/2007
In the email below, you have completely avoided the main complaint that I have against you regarding these three points: (1) My views on the Mosaic law and its abrogation; (2) my position on the natural law; and (3) my views on how the Old Testament is to be used in the New Covenant era.
In all three of these areas, you have completely misrepresented me and, on a few occasions, actually misquoted me. I have already given sufficient evidence to prove this, none of which you have responded to in your latest email.
I have no problem with critiques of my book as long as the critiques are of what I have actually written or intended, not an invention of things that I did not write or intend. It is the latter which I view as a "personal affront." It is a violation of the Ninth Commandment and is sin.
I am not surprised that you have read sections of my book to Reformed pastors and have gotten a negative response. You demonstrated in your series that you are both capable and willing to read such sections out of context in order to get your desired response. As I've already stated, none of the several Reformed pastors and elders that I have given the book to have come to your conclusions. In fact, the pastor of our former church said it was the "best critique of Theonomy" that he had ever read (not that I would agree with him on that point).
I am a member in good standing of a PCA church in Georgia and will provide that information at the appropriate time. However, we are in the process of relocating to Kingsport, Tennessee, so that information will change in the near future. The associate pastor of our current church has read my book and has never indicated that he thought it to be in error. Our new session in Tennessee will also be made aware of my book and your public misrepresentations thereof.
You have until next Wednesday to give some evidence that you are willing to reconsider your actions. After that, I will be moving on to step three of the Matthew 18 process.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Greg Loren Durand
Crown Rights Book Company
At 11:37 AM 10/26/2007, you wrote:
Regarding your letter in which you accuse me of bearing false witness against you I have the following comments to make.
First, you have not in the least convinced me that I have misrepresented your position. While it is indeed true that you do not use the word "punishment" in your book, you definitely imply it. In fact, I do not know how what you said could be construed in any other way. It is a matter of simple logic. The first covenant is "a continuation of the Abrahamic Covenant" and if I am interpreting you correctly is an administration of the covenant of grace. The Israelites broke this covenant when they worshiped the golden calf. They committed gross, scandalous sin. (Thus far we are in agreement.) Then you argue that as a result of this sin Israel was placed under a second different covenant. "The second was nothing more or less than the placing of the Israelites under the heavy yoke of a localized codification of the covenant of works..." Also you say, "However, when the Israelites rebelled and broke this covenant, God placed them under a second covenant containing far greater restrictions and obligations..." (p. 33).
Essentially what you are saying is: (1) the first covenant was Abrahamic and gracious; (2) this covenant was broken; (3) consequently, as a result of this sin the gracious covenant was replaced by a much harsher covenant ("the heavy yoke," "far greater restrictions," "a covenant of works"). If this is not a judgment, chastisement or punishment, then what is it? According to what you have said, Israel went from a more favorable to a less favorable covenant as a result of their sin. Once again, if this is not a punishment, then what is it?
Second, I carefully read all of your witnesses and can assuredly say that not one agrees with your position. Your position is that: (1) the second giving of the law is a completely new and different covenant. None of the people you quoted say this. A few of your authors view the ceremonial additions to the law as a punishment, which is absurd since many similar laws already existed before Ex. 34 and they typified Christ (e.g., go back and read Ex. 20-24). They were additions to the same covenant or more precisely were a renewal of the original covenant (Ex. 19, 20). By the way, the idea that the second covenant is a completely new, different or more harsh covenant is explicitly rejected by Matthew Poole, Matthew Henry, John Gill, Jamison/Fauset/Brown, W. H. Grispen, Brevard S. Childs, R. J. Rushdoony, R. Alan Cole, C. F. Keil and F. Delitzch, G. A. Chadwick. John Gill writes, "I will make a covenant" [Ex. 34:10] or renew the covenant before made the people had broke..." (p. 524) Read the immediate context. It is one of grace and forgiveness. (2) You teach that the whole law from at least Ex. 34 onward including the moral, civil and ceremonial laws are part of a completely new covenant that only applies to Israel. You say it is a localized covenant of works (whereas Boston and others assert that it contains a covenant of works [i.e. the moral law in the Mosaic law]). Therefore, none of it applies to the Gentiles or to us today. This is essentially no different than dispensationalism and is perhaps even worse. It is heretical nonsense. Don't give me page after page of passages that when carefully analyzed don't agree with you. Give me short quotes and then tell me exactly how they agree with you.
By the way, I have read sections of your book to knowledgeable Reformed pastors and every one thinks your doctrine on this issue is completely unbiblical. Your theory regarding the second giving of the law being a localized body of law that only applies to Israel also explicitly contradicts the Westminster Standards (e.g., If your view is correct then any proof texts from the five books of Moses starting with Ex. 34 onward or any applications of the law from Ex. 34 onward in the Proverbs, Psalms or Prophets in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms regarding Christian ethics and behavior are completely illegitimate, for they have nothing to do with 17th century Gentiles.).
Furthermore, you are taking this critique of your book as a personal affront, which it is not. You are putting yourself forth as a teacher of God's people and are subject to public correction for false teaching as well as any. It is my responsibility as a pastor to expose false teaching. "For a bishop...holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict." (Titus 1:9)
Third, if you want to continue with your charges against me that is your prerogative. However, your charges will not be considered by our session or our presbytery until you demonstrate that you are a member in good standing of a Reformed church. We need the name of the church and the names and phone numbers of the pastor and elders.
Rev. Brian Schwertley
Pastor, Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church
Waupaca County, WI
Westminster Presbyterian Church in the United States