Theonomy II

(If you haven’t read it yet, back up to the previous post)

In regards to Theonomy, I have learned that it is definitely not a single target. Everybody has their own specifically nuanced definition of the details. Apparently Rushdoony is a crackpot, and Bahnsen is more worth investing my research. But I still don’t buy into the fundamentals of what (I think I have learned) Theonomy is all about. I think it makes too much of the Old Testament Law, and there is too much New Testament it can’t account for. For instance:

* What does it mean that

* Do we need to not wear blended fabrics, not shave, not round the corners of our beards, or do we need to wear little scriptures on our heads and arms? Since I don’t see theonomists observing these, how did Christ’s sacrificial act fulfill/abrogate these laws for us? Or what is their general equity?

* Where in scripture are we directed (or even allowed) to extrapolate/reinterpret God’s laws? Wasn’t that the sin of the Pharisees? (It’s not just a question of extent (that they did it wrongly), it’s a question of intent (they (like us) should focus more on grace than law)). General equity (which is almost a throwaway term in the context of where it appears in the confession) is one thing if it is a matter of individual conscience, but encoding and enforcing a uniform interpretation of general equity for all believers or all society is quite another!

* Isn’t the extension of Theonomy in the civil sphere tantamount to reverting to a non-free church? Forcing non-Christians to obey biblical law? Wouldn’t that also logically require forced sabbath observance (church attendance) and forced confession of ‘faith’? If the church gets to excommunicate people, where would they excommunicate them to?

* Isn’t the extension of Theonomy in the civil sphere just taking an eschatology that includes a perfect society ruled by God’s perfect law, and rolling it back to the present, where it doesn’t belong (wouldn’t want eschatalogical ethics to intrude… :-) )

* Only in researching Theonomy have I heard “turn the other cheek”, “go the extra mile”, “give your coat also” interpreted as submission to opressive civil authority (e.g. Rome). Is that a novel Theonomic interpretation? It seems that Theonomy is obsessed with the civil, and desirous of preserving “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” (at least in the state, “which is not allowed mercy”). Where’s “love your enemies”?

* OT penalties, as far as I can see, include only material restitution (+ interest) or execution. Sometimes. Many commandments don’t provide any penalty, saying only “don’t do it”, with no “or else”. How is a civil magistrate supposed determine penalties that have general equity? Is there any Theonomic role for other penalties, like community service or incarceration? (Or is a city of refuge just a free-range prison, where the only thing that keeps a murderer in place is that his victim’s family may be laying in wait to legally kill him?)

So you see, I still have many questions. I have audio CDs of Bahnsen’s lecture “Has Westminster Found a Critique for Theonomy Yet?”, which I have yet to listen to. Maybe Bahnsen in the (virtual) flesh will address some of these…

(Keep going on to the next post)

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40 Responses

  1. I believe the Galatians 3:23-29 is key to understanding what law the Apostle Paul is referring to in the above mentioned passages. The ceremonial law is the only reasonable explanation for the tutor that was to lead us to Christ. The moral law does not seem to be implied in this statement. “Thou shalt not kill” does not lead me to Christ. However, the scapegoat, the sacrifices, and the tabernacle definetly lead me to Christ. This would seem to support the abrogation of the ceremonial law. And, if you allow should explain the other passages and clarify that the moral law is not abrogated. The moral law seems to be affirmed in the New Testament rather than abrogated.

    The civil law is a little different and has much less special revelation to support it’s abrogation. However, is it fair to suggest that it finds support in general revelation? In God’s Providence, the Theocracy was ended offically in the Babylonian captivity. After this period, God’s people had to seek permission from the civil magistrate to impose it (i.e. Christ’s being condemned by Pontius Pilate). From then until now, God has Providential not allowed the reinstution of this form of government for His people. Instead He reveals to us in Scripture to submit to His Providentially appointed magistrates (i.e. Romans 13, 1 Peter 2:13-14 and Matt 22:15-22). Does this imply abrogation? Is this enough to remain true to Theonomy’s thesis, which seems to be sound in my opinion?

  2. There is a whole chunk of law to do with being set apart, and it seems clear that it is properly classified under ceremonial. Maybe a subclass of ceremonial called purity or something. Some of these have clear abrogations or redirections: Kosher eating is explicitly abrogated. Circumcision clearly has covenental continuation in baptism. But what about all other aspects of ritual purity? Lepers, house mold, contact with the dead, menses, childbirth, restrictions of hair and clothing, etc. This is what I'm talking about when I ask, how is this fulfilled by Christ, or to what extent are we supposed to follow it? Why don't Theonomists all grow foot-long beards and sideburns?

    As for moral, WC XIX.III affirms:

    Besides this law [XIX.II=Ten Commandments], commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a Church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated under the New Testament.

    Note that Westminster claims that part of the moral law is abrogated!

    Now as for "General Equity" of case (civil) law, WC XIX.IV has:

    To them [OT Israel] also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other, now, further than the general equity thereof may require.

    If the Westminster divines were Theonomists (as Theonomists like to claim), that certainly would have been written backwards, more like "To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which as an expression of the perfect will of God for the running of any state, are fully binding on all men (whether in or out of covenant) as their general equity may require, although in specific form expired together with the state of that people". Notice how Westminster mentions general equity almost as an afterthought, while Theonomists build that molehill into a mountain on which to rest their vision of a civil state ruled according to OT law.

    There is of course, also chapter XXIII "Of the civil magistrate" of the 1646 version of WC, which is the principal excision from I think all American versions of the confession. I have heard some interesting explanation of how Puritans had to amend WC to justify revolution, but I am no expert of that historical or theological event. You can find the whole chapter here. I think it is interesting to note that it does mention the New Covenant specifically (but not the Old), and although it witholds authority to administer Sacraments or the Word, it does say of the civil magistrate:

    yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed.

    I guess Theonomists leverage "all the ordinances of God" against "general equity" to put unabrogated OT law into the domain of the state.  I can't think of any NT law that is state-executable like OT case law (except repeated stuff like sexual immorality).

  3. I have finished CD 1 of Bahnsen's 'response' to Westminster's 'response'. He has said nothing yet, choosing to (in what is apparently his typical style) devote much time up front to show why most of his opponents' response can be dismissed. Likewise, as he has not said anything substantive yet, I will dismiss the first CD as no defense of Theonomy, but rather Bahnsen's side of the story; that he is an intrepid, persecuted crusader, gloriously triumphant against the disingenuous (yet futile) ramblings of a pack of bumbling old fools.

    To be fair, at whatever event this was recorded from, he is apparently preaching to the choir, who apparently commissioned him to speak to them on that topic, in full expectation of a roasting in the style that he amply delivers. In the Raiders' locker room, one can hardly expect to hear much charitable treatment of the Chargers. But still… Love your enemies? Turn the other cheek, anyone? Bahnsen expends so much energy ridiculing Westminster for expending so much energy not addressing the point, that he undermines himself.

    Anyways, one golden nugget of interest came from CD 1 (much worse than the 75% irrelevancy rate he accuses Westminster of; hopefully CD2 will bring him close to 50%); Bahnsen mentioned that, in discovering what WC has to say about Theonomy, you have to look not only at the chapter on the Law but … (Civil Magistrate? Strangely he didn't mention it) Christian Liberty.

    So I looked it up, and there does appear to be an argument from silence. Chapter XX speaks of

    freedom from … the curse of the moral law; and … freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law

    So it seems clear (and I believe everybody is in agreement) that the Ten Commandments are still binding, and the ceremonial law is not.  But WC does not mention its previous categorization of 'judicial' laws. The rest of the chapter is Theonomically neutral. The final paragraph discusses how

    they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. … they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the Church, and by the power of the civil magistrate.

    But no establishment here of a relationship between 'lawful power', or 'lawful exercise of it', or 'power of the civil magistrate', and OT judicial law or penology.

  4. You have two Westminsters going here. Is one the WCF and the other Westminster Seminary?

  5. Yes, the CDs are titled 'Has Westminster Found a Critique for Theonomy Yet?', and are a lecture given by Bahnsen addressing this book.  Since it's out of print, I guess he won the sales war!

  6. RubeRad,

    Just want to point out that I gave those to you for the very purpose of seeing what he has to say regarding that book. That is exactly what he is talking about, their book. His title is asking whether they have found a critique or not, so even the first CD is specifically talking about that question. He is going on and on about “IF” they have found a critique. The reason he goes on and on is because there is so much in that book that doesn’t even address the point and he has to cover that so you get the idea.

    I didn’t give you a ‘defense of Theonomy’ by him, or a positive ‘this is Theonomy’ series, yet I suppose I can burn some of more what you are looking for. I wanted you to hear what he had to say about the book the entire faculty wrote in response to one of their students (himself of course).

    Wouldn’t you agree that he’s very apologetic and trying to be humble yet at the same time to expose the “dirty linen” as I believe he put it.

    Doesn’t it bother you a little that they allowed a “review” of his book to be published in their periodical with the agreement that nobody would be allowed to respond in the same periodical? Wouldn’t you agree that that is dishonest scholarship?

    Try to keep the title of the message in mind when you ask yourself if the message is ‘in context’ or not. I really think you’re being just a little unfair on this particular point.

    J

  7. Jeff,

    Other than “there is so much in that book that doesn’t even address the point”, what did you think of Westminster’s critique, after reading their book?

  8. I’m sure it was the same thing that you thought after reading Bahnsen’s. :)

  9. (Nice shot, Jeff! That's pretty funny!)

    But back to your earlier comment, I don't think I'm being unfair to Bahnsen. A 'critique' doesn't have to be negative. Literary criticism is not about denouncing literature. After all, the book is not titled "Reubuttal" or "Refutation".

    Might it not be that the book is an unspoken admission of guilt concerning the no-reply policy on the Kline article? Might it not be that the mix of positive, negative, and indifferent, and the inability of 16 theologians to come to perfect agreement concerning fine distinctions, reflects that the book contains a more honest critique than Kline put forth? But Bahnsen chooses to deride this as weakness. I think it would have been much more charitable of him to take the tone, "I appreciate that the mix of positive and negative assessments indicates a more honest and thoughtful approach to my work than WTS has previously presented. I will spend some time indicating which articles do not require a response, and then I will address those articles which do attempt to mount an attack against certain principles of Theonomy."

    Overall, I find him to be only perfunctorily humble, but generally snarky. But as I said, given the laughter egging him on, it is understandable that he give his audience what they want.

    And it absolutely does bother me that WTS Journal banned responses to Kline. I would very much like to read any public statement the editors may have made stating (and hopefully justifying) this decision, and shame on them if they were too cowardly to do so. But that has nothing to do with Bahnsen's responsibility to charitably turn the other cheek. (Unless there really is something to Theonomy = affirmation of eye for eye, tooth for tooth!)

    And don't burn anything just yet; I've got all four volumes of Calvin's Harmony of Law to (get my computer to) read!

  10. I’ve only read Bahnsen’s book on Van Til’s apologetics. Never his Ethics book. I apologize, Jeff, if I somewhere had given you the impression that I had read it by offering a critique of it. Does he have the list in his book?

  11. This is directed at Mike’s

    The ceremonial law is the only reasonable explanation for the tutor that was to lead us to Christ. The moral law does not seem to be implied in this statement. “Thou shalt not kill” does not lead me to Christ. However, the scapegoat, the sacrifices, and the tabernacle definetly lead me to Christ.

    Reformed teaching on this is based on covenant theology. The covenant stipulations (decalogue) are what the Israelites were unable to keep, with a clearly special failure in regards to the first three laws. The tutorial aspect is that, due to their repeated failures to keep covenant with the Lord, they should have looked to a representative [federal head] to take their place in fulfillment of the law.

  12. Bruce,

    On Saturday night, RubeRad and I were able to talk to a SD pastor here that was a room mate of Bahnsen’s during their schooling together. I asked some questions about history and how the Theonomy debate became such an inflamed one and such. He told us many things, but the one thing I’d like to share with you is the following.

    This pastor explained to us that Bahnsen was just a student interested in the subject of Law and Gospel and wanted to contribute to the Reformed community a ‘springboard’ if you will for the modern reformed community to take and use to come up with that list you are constantly asking for. He never expected such controversy over it. He felt that there was nothing new in his book as to ‘approach’ or ‘overall content.’ What he felt he was submitting was a clear cut definition and clarification of the typical historical puritan/reformed view on Christian Ethics. Hence, he never did an exhaustive exegesis of the 613.

    He never expected such controversy.

    His heart’s desire really was what he went on to get a doctorate in: Philosopy, Epistimology, for the sake of Apologetics.

    There are many specific laws he talks about in his writings and lectures, but not an exhaustive list of the 613. Rushdoony and Gary North are two authors that have contributed in that area.

    But, the list can’t really matter to you so much (unless you just want to ridicule) until you really wrestle with the Thesis.

    Who’s in Charge?
    Has God Changed His Mind?
    How is the Old Testament Old?
    No King But Caesar?
    When is Punishment Criminal?
    The Law: To Criticize or Obey?

    These are the titles to 6 lectures he gave explaining Theonomy to lay people. This is specifically what I think RubeRad would like to hear.

    Theonomy in Christian Ethics: This is his thesis so hotly debated that any American reformed seminary student really should be familiar with, regarless of agreement or not, since the early protestant reformation used this thesis to form our American constitutional government.

    J

  13. I thought the Civil Magistrate chapter of the WC was excised from the WC to justify revolution? Isn’t this excision a distancing from Theonomy? I may be quite wrong on this point; I am not informed about the history of the confession v. the constitution.

  14. I was saddened a bit to read the change the American Presby’s made when I first saw it. I don’t know all the history behind it. I do know part of it was to reduce the strength of erastianism (I think that’s right).

    We didn’t have a “revolution.” We had a “War for Independance” completely based on the law of God. Lex Rex and Vindicii Tyriannus (spelled wrong) were the backing for the Theonomic reasons behind the move for independance.

    That’s about all I know on that subject.

  15. RubeRad,

    I know that critique ‘could’ sometimes mean ‘review.’ But in this case this book was written to defend why they don’t officially accept it themselves. They mean critique in the ‘criticize’ way. When you finish the lecture, let me know if anything in way of your opinion has changed.

    Knowing the villification that Bahnsen received as a result of his scholarship and the attitude that was against him as we heard the pastor from the other night testify to as an eye witness, I can’t say that I at all blame any ‘snarkiness’ you are picking up on in the tape. I wanted you to get a feeling for this conflict that he was a part of. As far as scholarship, exegesis, and the typical great Bahsenian teaching goes, I definitely did not give you a sample of that at all. Sorry. Maybe I should have thought that through a little more being your first introduction to him verbally.

    :(

  16. Beginning comments about the original post above:

    Regarding the perceived emphasis on the continuity opposed to the discontinuity: Theonomy agrees and acknowledges very strongly that there are many differences and discontinuities between the two covenants. Bahnsen, his Thesis, and the general movement.

    Bahnsen says himself that even though there are more than 50 pages in his thesis you could go to in order to reference his support for the discontinuity, his book was obviously about the ‘continuity’ that had been forgotten or not stressed enough. So, when you talk about this topic, of course it is going to look like an over emphasis in the continuity. I would agree that there would be something terribly wrong with Theonomy if it ignored the discontinuity. That’s one reason I have a problem with the specific outworkings of Rushdoony with kosher food or North with actual stoning.

    Bahnsen has a lecture called “How is the Old Testament Old?” I think this would be very helpful to you in answering your questions about many of the specifics above regarding beards, fabrics, etc. You’re definitely on the right track though. You see, those are the very questions that a Theonomist HAS to answer as he accepts the thesis. Okay, what specifically does that mean to me now?

    For me, the civil sphere questions are more of what I’ve been able to grasp, but not all of them yet. The more specific personal ones I’m still working on. So many things to study. How I wish I had time to study full time as a seminary student!

    I’ll talk more tonight on some of your other original questions above.

    J

  17. Hey Bruce,

    Point taken. So, are we to interpret that the moral law has been abrogated? I guess I need to stop listening to Viggiano.

  18. Mike S.

    I agree with you on point number one. Sorry Bruce.

    Jeff

  19. I’m confused; Jeff, what “point number one” are you agreeing with; this:?

    From then until now, God has Providential not allowed the reinstution of this form of government for His people. Instead He reveals to us in Scripture to submit to His Providentially appointed magistrates (i.e. Romans 13, 1 Peter 2:13-14 and Matt 22:15-22). Does this imply abrogation? Is this enough to remain true to Theonomy’s thesis, which seems to be sound in my opinion?

  20. Sorry, Mike’s “comment” number one…

  21. To Mike’s “are we to interpret that the moral law has been abrogated?” No. If anything it has been intensified.

  22. Define “moral law” please.

  23. I think by “moral law” Mike S. was referring to the decalogue, but I could be wrong.

  24. I’m interested in how Bruce defines “moral law.”

  25. As soon as I come up with a definition of moral law, I will let you know.

    As for your question about King David and Pres. Bush executing a condemned killer, I can’t offer an answer unless you first define “moral/just”. (That request of yours is probably on a different thread). Also, a specific example from David would be helpful. Did you pick David for some reason or would any Israelite do for your rhetorical question?

    If you are angling for a justification of the state’s use of captital punishment, it is firstly Gen 4:15 and and reiterated in Gen 9:6.

  26. Yes, I am talking the decalogue when I say moral law. But, now I am confused is the tutor that led us to Christ the ceremonial only or cereminial and moral law?

    Also, I believe that Jeff was only affirming my first paragraph in comment 1, right?

    I have a question for Jeff regarding the civil law. What is your take on preemptive war? Is this too big of a question for this thread, RubeRad?

  27. Any Israelite King, or civil magistrate will do.

    Common understanding of moral/just will do, in other words, right or wrong, equitable, etc.

    That’s not exactly what I’m angling for. I’m trying to narrow down into some common ground between us to see where that can take us.

    Jeff

  28. Hi all,

    I’m a first time visitor, so go easy on me.

    I realize that you’re all in the middle of a conversation that has been going on for a while, but I’d like to chime in occasionally if I feel like I have anything worthwhile to add (if you don’t mind).

    I’ve never spoken with any real-life theonomists before (or cyber ones, for that matter), so I look forward to some lively and informative discussions.

    Blessings,

    JJS

  29. I don’t think I’m stepping out of place by saying “welcome to the discussion” even though this is RubeRad’s blog.

    You might want to start with his first post on Theonomy and all the comments thereafter and then come to this one. We’ve covered a lot of ground.

    This all started as Reuben met me at church and started asking me questions about “Theonomy.” I’ve been trying as best I can to answer so as to keep it a discussion and not an argument, though some have contributed in that fashion as well (as you will see).

    Once you’ve read through it all, Ask Away!! :)

    Jeff

  30. If I may. It would appear that the majority of arguments against theonomy are based upon the difficulty of determining how it would be applied and what is actually abrogated.

    I believe the ‘how’ argument must acquiesce to the ‘what’ argument.

    The ‘what’ of the matter is that God’s law is an extension of His character and nature which is immutable. Justice is also an extension of His nature, also immutable.

    Unless one has a voluntarist view of law (i.e. God could have declared lying, murder and adultery good), we must recognize that the ‘general equity’ or fairness/justice meted out for certain sin/crimes in the Old Testament are immutable given similar circumstances.

    Certainly the application of this is a task, but in its most profound analysis, we have to ask ourselves if God’s law and justice flow from His character or is there a transitory and arbitrary nature to them.

  31. Paul,

    Good to finally have someone beside me pointing these things out. I believe I said the same thing but in a different way. It may be in the Theonomy I thread.

    The biggest problem I’ve had and not had enough time to keep answering and writing about, is that RubeRad just can’t get past the possibility that indeed, the civil magistrate may be called upon to execute blasphemers or heretics. (Find my comments on the “Application” thread.) That especially, but even the death penalty for the 2nd table of the big ten, such as for adultery, he’s having trouble with.

    Your comments are welcome. I look forward to meeting you again some time (we met at Hoagies and Stogies).

  32. Paul, I didn’t get to meet you at H&S, but I’m glad you’ve dropped by anyways! Jeff is right, my big sticking points with Theonomy are with the first table and penology. But where does that leave me? I argue smack dab in the heart of the 1789 WC, which is what I signed up for by joining a PCA (then OPC) church. (Not that I was aware of the fine points of Theonomy at the time).

    Also, I think the implications of Theonomy ripple forward into eschatology (conversely, Theonomy is just the logical conclusion of incorrect (post-mil) eschatology rippling backwards). One particular statement of Bahnsen’s seemed very interesting to me. He said you don’t have to be Post-mil to be a Theonomist, but to be an A-mil Theonomist, you basically have to conclude “Theonomy is what ought to happen, but in God’s providence, it just won’t”. Which gets back to your what vs. how.

    Since I am currently mortifying my fleshly blog, I am not able to jump back into this discussion fully right now. You could check back every 5 minutes for the next month, or if you don’t mind, I’ll shoot you an email when I finally post again on Theonomy. But in the meantime, you might be interested in comparing your WHAT/HOW dichotomy to a WHY/HOW dichotomy, which also has HOW on the losing end.

  33. Thank you for your welcoming words. Certainly the penology attached to the offenses which relate to the first half of the decalogue seem most troublesome. Of course this is still operating in the ‘how’ venue of the discussion.

    Two reasons why I balk at answering the ‘how’ questions:

    One, I have some difficulty answering the ‘how’ questions in terms of pure, Ten Commandment moral judgments. For example, I am confident that a married man flirting with another woman is adulterous and violates God’s law. Yet it is difficult for me to determine just what might constitute flirting for someone else.

    Two, I don’t find myself taking rank with some of the conclusions drawn by theonomists (e.g. Rushdoony’s dietary conclusions). If I were a senator I would painstakingly examine the ‘hows’ with greater determination. I don’t like shooting from the hip.

    Having said that, allow me to at least give some preliminary answers for you to ponder.

    The ‘why’ in your why/how is easiest.

    1. Thus sayeth the Lord.
    2. The law of God is good and holy
    3. The law of God protects the innocent
    4. The law of God brings God glory

    If the theonomist is wrong, none of the above apply.

    The first half of the decalogue:

    This is difficult only when we consider the benign nature of most modern heretics and blasphemers. For the most part, the modern western atheist/blasphemer is a functional Christian. However that is changing.

    If Peter Singer has his way (and is not legally stopped) his blasphemy will result in the deaths of tens of thousands of unborn, young born, elderly and infirmed.

    Singer wants to eliminate two thousand years of cancerous Christian ethics and replace it with his own self-proclaimed righteousness.

    The types of blasphemers contextually (in Scripture) lived our their blasphemy in such a way that it cost people their lives and souls. Today the closest thing we have to this are heretics wearing masks and cutting people’s heads off on the internet. The penalty starts making sense in that paradigm.

    We tend to think of the first half of the decalogue as some form of Christian piety (certainly it includes that) but it is also a world view and prior to Christ virtually every opposing world view had human sacrifice. As Christians we should not be surprised at that since false religions ultimately serve the enemy.

    The penology is not aimed at the quiet, unbeliever who minds his own business and lives peacefully with others. It is aimed at those who aggressively seek to subvert the truth and replace it with lies which eventually lead to the ruin of civilizations.

    Interestingly enough we do have laws against this type of incindiary speech and activities. We also have labor laws to keep employers from abusing employees (in case the sabbath question comes up).

    In our current culture the violations are so benign that we can’t imagine such severe penalties. But once these violations of God’s law reach their conclusions, it becomes hellish.

    I’m sure there are questions but I must go now

  34. The crux of the whole theonomy debate for me points back to the original quote by Van Til “There is no alternative but that of theonomy and autonomy”. Theonomy as I see it is more of a direction than a list of doctrines. When we look for help in examining how we should live, or what civil law should be, where do we look?
    I have seen Christians arguing, for example, that executing someone for rape is ‘disproportionate’, and certainly the Supreme court took that view. But certainly we canNOT find that view in Scripture. I am elsewhere engaged in a debate over war and capital punishment etc., and what disturbs me is not the people who say (based on, say, a faulty reading of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery) that Christ repudiated CP; but when they go on to give a whole list of reasons against CP (or war, etc) ALL OF WHICH would apply equally against the use of CP specifically commanded by God in law. And when this is pointed out to them they reply, incredulously, ‘but that is the Old Testament!’… as if you were speaking Greek.
    Even those laws which have been fulfilled (whatever their number or nature) still reflect what God Himself commanded. Thus any arguement we may have against a similar law today cannot include reasons which would have equally applied against Gods specific command.

  35. True, it’s almost as if they don’t believe people during the OT were actually humans but flannel-board cut-outs used to make a point. Was God unfair to them?

  36. As simply as I have time for on my way out the door, God had a theocratic purpose for OT Israel (partly as a crucible from which the messiah would spring) which is now fulfilled. In the new covenant, his chosen people is now a spiritual, extra-national body, not an earthly kingdom.

    BTW Paul, it appears Jeff was confusing you with a different Paul he met once, thus I was in turn confused that maybe we had met possibly. So I guess we don’t know you, but welcome anyways!

  37. Thank you for the welcome. True God had a unique purpose for Israel. But it does not follow that His laws are therefore no longer binding. One seminary I attended suggested that Genesis was not to be taken literally because it is Hebrew poetry. But it does not follow that merely because poetry is used it is not literal. I may write a poem about my wife’s brown hair. It doesn’t mean her hair isn’t brown.

    It is the same logical fallacy to assume that because God had a tutorial/redemptive purpose for Israel that the equity or fairness of the laws and penalties of God ended with that nation. I assume you’re not a voluntarist and recognize that God’s laws are not a mere choice by God but an extension of His character and nature, thus making them immutable.

    A spiritual kingdom still must function in a material/political world. And the only place where we are instructed regarding God’s justice for civil sin/crimes is in the Scriptures. After all, Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth. If they are to faithfully serve as His ministers, they must have a standard.

  38. […] (If you haven’t read it yet, back up to the previous post) […]

  39. […] (Keep going onto the next post) […]

  40. […] I encourage you to wander through the Unchained Radio podcast and listen to other free programs that tickle your fancy. I also encourage you to register (free) at Unchained Radio, and wander through the Radio Archives, and maybe buy a few 98-cent shows, or shell out $10 or $20 for a year’s membership (which I assume allows you unlimited downloads). I already mentioned appearances by John Frame, Paul Manata, and Derek Sansone, but also my pastor (Brian Tallman) is a guest of three shows, Pastor Paul Viggiano is a guest in a program discussing the Law of God (podcast here, but they get cut off before they can start talking about Theonomy!), Roger Wagner is on three programs — the list just keeps going! […]

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