Marrow of Modern Divinity: week 1 notes and study questions


Marrow week 1: to the reader and introduction

Fisher confesses to living as “a proud Pharisee” (a legalist – living by the law) but was shown “the way of faith and salvation by Christ alone and how to embrace it in his heart”.

Yet, alas! through the weakness of his faith, he was till apt to turn aside to the covenant of works; and so did not find true joy and peace in believing.

Some people content themselves with a gospel knowledge, in the head but not in the heart; and so are not possessed of Christ; they can talk like believers, and yet do not walk like believers,
they have language like saints, and yet have conversation like devils; these are they that are not obedient to the law of Christ, and therefore called Antinomians (against the law)

The Marrow of Modern Divinity is a Dialogue, where Fisher walk as a middleman between legalism and antinomianism, in showing to each of them his erroneous path, with the middle path, (which is Jesus Christ received truly, and walked in answerably,) as a means to bring them both unto him, and make them both one in him; and Oh! that the Lord would be pleased so to bless it to them, that it might be a means to produce that effect!

Nomista (the legalist): rule of law is the standard for Christian living.
Neophytus (the new Christian): confused, joy suppressed by guilt and lament for sin.
Antinom (the antinomian): difference on the law, we need help.
Evang (the mature Christian): Arguments are fruitless, study together in love. Come to one mind.

Threefold law.
Evang: viz.the law of works, the law of faith, and the law of Christ; 1 (Rom 3:27, Gal 6:2);
10 commandments, the moral law, law of works or law of Christ?
Nomista: 10 commandments are the rule of life for the believer by which God commands obedience, with blessings, but curses for disobedience.
Evang. The 10 commandments as the law of works is false gospel.
Antinom: Christ has freed us from the law, so the 10 commandments are NOT the rule of life for the believer.
Evang. But the truth is, the law of the ten commandments, as it is the matter of the law of Christ (not the law of works), ought to be a rule of life to a believer. I will now explain the difference between the law of works and the law of Christ.

1. From “to the reader”
What reasons does Fisher give for writing this book?
There are two understanding of the law which are wrong and he seeks to draw the two parties together, by correcting their wrong thinking and finding the true gospel.

Which reason gives you most encouragement to keep reading?
Christ seeks to unite legalists (Pharisees) and antinomians together. We have more antinomians in the church today than legalists. Antinomians hear the true gospel as legalism, so I am encouraged to keep reading so that I am not heard as a legalist and can help antinomians live on a true path.

Can you see any way that this book will help you to serve others around you?
Yes, I hope it will help me to serve antinomians, so that they know the true gospel.

2. From “the introduction” summarise the problem with the argument between the legalist and antinomian and how Evangelista proposes to bring them to one mind.

The legalist believes that the 10 commandments are the rule of life for believers.
The antinomian believes that the 10 commandments are NOT the rule of life for believers.

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