Antinomianism takes various forms. People do not always fit neatly into our categorizations, nor do they necessarily hold all the logical implications of their presuppositions. Here we are using “antinomianism” in the theological sense: rejecting the obligatory (“binding on the conscience”) nature of the Decalogue for those who are in Christ. Antinomianism, it was widely assumed in the eighteenth century, is essentially a failure to understand and appreciate the place of the law of God in the Christian life. But just as there is more to legalism than first meets the eye, the same is true of antinomianism.
Perhaps the greatest misstep in thinking about antinomianism is to think of it simpliciter as the opposite of legalism.
It would be an interesting experiment for a budding doctoral student in psychology to create a word-association test for Christians. It might include:
- Old Testament: Anticipated answer → New Testament
- Sin: Anticipated answer → Grace
- David: Anticipated answer → Goliath
- Jerusalem: Anticipated answer → Babylon
- Antinomianism: Anticipated answer → ?
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