The Enduring Appeal of Antinomianism: Why a 17th-Century Theological Debate (Still) Matters Today

"While I’m not an expert on American evangelicalism, I think aspects of 17th-century antinomianism have become mainstream in many of our churches. Many believers assume that some, if not all, of the moral law no longer applies, or that it only applies because the commands are re-affirmed in the New Testament" - TGC

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Aaron Blumer's picture


The author goes to great lengths to maintain all sorts of nuanced distinctions from a historical perspective, then lumps together those who believe there is nothing to do in sanctification with those who understand that the law of Moses has been replaced with the law of Christ.

From a historical standpoint, there may be similarities with the faction called "antinomians," but there is nothing genuinely anti-law about believing God has replaced one law with another, and that active obedience is still central to Christian living.

Today's antinomians are the do-nothing/passive-sanctification crowd, mostly claiming to be "Reformed."

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Donn R Arms's picture

Today's antinomians are the do-nothing/passive-sanctification crowd, mostly claiming to be "Reformed."

Exactly. The irony of finding this posted on the TGC site is rich.

Donn R Arms

Mike Harding's picture


You are absolutely right. Even Rolland McCune whose doctorate specialized in OT Theology and who also was an ardent, classical dispensationalist, insisted that the OT law when repeated in the NT,  being rooted in the unchanging character of God, and promoted no fundamental dispensational conflict, was an eternal witness to the eternal righteousness and holiness of God.  God's people were not and are not a lawless people.  No place for anti-nomianism.  In the NT there are 1300 plus commands and admonitions.


Pastor Mike Harding

G. N. Barkman's picture

In our neck of the woods, antinomian churches are more likely to be Arminian than Reformed.  I read about those claiming to be Reformed who are antinomian, but seldom encounter living examples in my sphere of relationships.  

It is also noteworthy that I am acquainted with a good number of "Reformed Baptists" who do not believe that the Mosaic Law is God's law for New Covenant people.  In this respect, they are much closer to Dispensationalists than to Covenant Theology.  Their position is that the New Testament Scriptures define God's law for New Covenant believers, pretty much as stated by Aaron above.   Reformed Baptists of a Covenant Theology position do not like to refer to these as Reformed Baptists, but in every other respect they are exactly that.  (And so the debates rage on.)

G. N. Barkman