Paul was not a Theonomist

I stumbled upon this while starting to write a comment in this previous thread. It seemed important enough that it deserved its own new post (and thanks to Albino Hayford for the title suggestion!).

Consider, from I Cor 5, the case of incest that Paul had to deal with:

1It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.

Now in the Mosaic law, not only is adultery a capital crime, but this specific case is included in a long list of prohibited sexual combinations (Lev 18:8). Paul is rightfully outraged, not just at the offense itself, but also at the fact that the Corinthians consider this an admirable exercise of ‘Christian Liberty’. Let’s read on to see what is the judgment that Paul passes:

4When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Is there any hint here that Paul thinks that, after excommunication, this case will be (should be) taken up by civil authorities, to result in execution (as the Theonomist would argue)? No, he says “deliver this man to Satan.” That’s it. Here “destruction of the flesh” cannot mean physical execution, because in his unrepentant, Satan-possessed, excommunicated state, his spirit would definitely not be “saved in the day of the Lord”.  This is exactly Pauls attitude also in 1 Tim 1:19-20: “some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

Paul’s judgment that such offenders should be “delivered unto Satan” hearkens back to Romans 1; even though the godless “deserve to die”, “God gives them up” to to their lusts, to their dishonorable passions, to their debased minds. Immediately after this, Romans 2 proceeds to instruct man not to judge. Man cannot judge because every man is equally guilty. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven” “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who do such things.” “He will render to each one according to his works” “there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress”; not from men on this earth, but from God in the final judgement.

OK, back to the Corinthians. After treating the specific case of the incestuous man (and curiously omitting the woman), Paul treats sexual immorality more generally, as well as other sins (including idolatry):

9I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people– 10not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one.

Here we see that Paul acknowledges a different standard for those in the covenant, and those out of the covenant. Paul is not saying that those outside the church are not sinning — by calling it immorality, he is labeling it as sin. Paul is not saying that the realm of authority for those outside the church (aka the civil magistrate) does or should or may condone these sins — back up in v1 he notes that not even pagans tolerate that kind of incest. The point that Paul does make is that Christians should have a different response to the sin of believers vs. the sin of unbelievers.

So now we reach Paul’s final conclusion on this topic, before he moves on to discuss lawsuits between Christians:

12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

There ya go, it can’t be much clearer. The business of judging those outside the church is God’s business, not the church’s business. Which denies the Theonomic concept that a state can execute laws against false worship, idolatry, blasphemy, sabbath-breaking, heresy, as long as they can obtain proper judgments from the church, since the state is by nature not competent to make such judgments by itself.

But wait, it gets clearer! Look carefully at v13; why the quotation marks? When Paul says “Purge the evil person from among you,” he is quoting from the Old Testament. He happens to be quoting a catchphrase of the Mosaic Law, which shows up in a number of places:

The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. And the rest shall hear and fear, and shall never again commit any such evil among you. Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

“If a man is found stealing one of his brothers, of the people of Israel, and if he treats him as a slave or sells him, then that thief shall die. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

(Note: I’m pretty certain that Paul’s quote “Purge the evil person from among you” differs slightly from the exact words of the Mosaic catchphrase, because while our Old Testament is translated directly from the Hebrew, the New Testament authors (writing in Greek) usually quoted from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament), and our New Testament is then translated directly from the apostles’ Greek.)

So other than the common catchphrase in all those Old Testament references, is there any other common feature that stands out in all of them? C’mon, I know you can find it: the death penalty! When God gave the Law to Moses, he justified (not that he ever needs to justify his divine decrees, but in this case he providentially did) death penalties by the need to keep his covenant people pure, and free of evil. Paul uses exactly the same justification, demonstrating that Old Covenant death penalties are the type and shadow of New Covenant excommunication; and in the same breath Paul prohibits the church from judging those outside the church, because that is strictly God’s domain.

So I have been challenged:

Your biggest problem is the penal sanctions. Either give exegetical proof for their being shadows that have somehow realized a reality, such as Christ’s sacrifice, or just accept them. What other choice is there besides arbitrariness or antinomianism?

This is my exegetical proof, thus I don’t accept them. As for “what other choice,” that’s a separate question, but I’ll give a hint that the answer is closely related to this question:

So, before Christ, was God’s law Christian? Before Moses? Before Abraham? Noah?

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32 Responses

  1. Strong argument!

  2. The letter to the Corinthians was written to the church, not the civil magistrate. This is why Paul commands them to practice church discipline and not penal sanctions.

    The power of the church is in the keys to the kingdom. They do not include putting one to death, but excommunication is ecclesiastical parallel to it.

    The Old Testament sends law breakers to the judges to receive punishment, not to the priests. Sure, the priests can serve as fact finders, but the judgement was not for them. There was a separation of power/authority in Israel. The church today maintains the same power that it has always had.

  3. There was not a separation of power/authority in Israel, but I’ll let that go. The state certainly has God-given authority to apply penal sanctions, but not to enforce laws regarding man’s duty to God. There is no way the state can competently judge what is false worship, what is idolatry, what is blasphemy, what is sabbath-breaking, what is heresy. Only the church can make those judgments (and is required to make those judgments as you note wrt church discipline). If the state were to (in all good intention) attempt to legislate and enforce against, say, blasphemy, if it tried to do it without the aid of the church, it would do it wrongly and unjustly. If it appealed to the church for assistance, Paul gives us the church’s response:

    what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom [we] are to judge? God judges those outside.

    (And oh by the way Mr. Civil Magistrate, I applaud your zeal for man to obey the perfect law of God. Have you yourself been transformed by the renewing power of the gospel? Oh great, then let’s talk about how we can spread the gospel to more unbelievers, so that the Spirit will enable them to obey God’s law — which is the only way, you know…)

  4. Regarding the post, I have been formulating a reply. It is written well and makes some good points, oh yeah, points that even theonomy agrees with. I want to do it justice, so I won’t be posting about it tonight with anything other than this question:

    To whom was the 1st letter to the Corinthians written? To the Church? To the civil magistrate? Another choice? (I don’t want to be like a sith here and only give you an either or choice ;) )

    Jeff

  5. Like every jot and tittle of the Bible, I Corinthians was written to God’s covenant people. What part of the Bible do you think was written to the civil magistrate?

    That’s the same question lawstudent asked, and I give the same answer. The state cannot do Godly laws on their own, and if they come asking the church for help, Paul gives us our answer.

  6. Regarding comment #3 above:

    In Israel, was it okay for priests to act as judges or kings?

    How about kings or judges acting like priests?

    I would think that there wouldn’t be any distinction between these two offices if “there was not a separation of power/authority in Israel.” Maybe the FACT that there were different offices in Israel (judge/priest) is just too destructive to your position that you just HAVE to ignore that fact in order to hold on to your position.

    So, you now admit that the state actually does have “God-given authority to apply penal sanctions,” huh? Really? It does? What penal sanctions would those be in your view then? And, what scriptural support do you give for those?

    And, where is it that theonomy is (or I am) saying that the state must enforce laws regarding man’s duty to God? I thought that theonomy was saying the state should still punish the social crimes that God originally prescribed in the law. Refer carefully back to my comment #10 on this post and note how Bahnsen is quoted as saying “not all sin is crime, but all crime is sin.”

    Theonomy on the point of penal sanctions is saying that:

    1. God prescribed the crime for the magistrate to punish
    2. God prescribed the punishment for the crime
    3. Not every violation of God’s law is a prescribed crime or has a prescribed civil punishment.

    So, is that clear now? Do you see how comment #3 is still showing a misunderstanding of theonomy?

    Then you go on to say that the state has no way to “competently judge…” and yet the very next sentence describes the way the state CAN competently judge. (unless you are assuming that the state has no possible way of communicating with the church). So, that point is refuted, and I think pretty clearly. The state CAN judge competently what are crimes by communicating with the church.

    And please, let’s not take small snippets of scripture and build a whole foundation on it to show that the church would have no inclination to inform the state. We don’t want to resort to reading your preconceived commitments into a half scripture (without reference even, you slacker!) to prove something that is so shaky. C’mon. :)

    BTW, I spoke to the zealous magistrate, and he says: “I do know that the Spirit is the only way to enable men to obey God’s law, thanks for the reminder. I think that it would be much easier for the Gospel to be preached if the state that I run prevented people from subverting the Gospel by preaching blasphemies, heresies, etc. Also, by not allowing my subjects to work on Sunday or, more importantly, not allowing my subjects to force their employees to work on Sunday, I think there is an even greater chance of more of my subjects to hear the Gospel preached. I just want to do my part as a MINISTER OF GOD, to keep my realm as conducive to Gospel preaching as possible, and unconducive to anti-Gospel preaching. (Really, those messages are those that can send my subjects to hell, so I can’t have them spreading and hurting my subjects). And, by being conducive for the church to evangelize, I think we’ll all be safer because more and more people will be enabled by the Spirit to obey the law, including my laws, and there will be less crime.”

    Love you all!

    Jeff

  7. Comment #5:

    So you’re saying that all of the Bible was written TO God’s covenant people. Okay, so it’s supposed to be a secret that God’s covenant people keep from those outside of the covenant? There aren’t universal truths in it that apply to people outside of the covenant?

    I’m sorry, did I SAY that it was written TO the civil magistrate?

    (I know I’m still on the attack with a strong tone here. I AM just trying to make my points loud and clear so that hopefully less and less they will be misunderstood and misrepresented.)

    Jeff

  8. I am not how 1st corinthians can be construed to be to anyone but the church. Paul announces his audience in verse 2.

    Judging sins is not the same as judging crimes. The church judges the sins of insiders (of the chuch) and the civil magistrate judges crimes (of both insiders and outsiders). The question is what defines a crime. Who gets to define the sanctions that will bring civic justice?

    A crime is not only against God; it is against the society. It is for this second aspect that God has empowered the state to punish crimes. God deals with the offense against Himself.

  9. I would think that there wouldn’t be any distinction between these two offices if “there was not a separation of power/authority in Israel.” Maybe the FACT that there were different offices in Israel (judge/priest) is just too destructive to your position that you just HAVE to ignore that fact in order to hold on to your position.

    The question of whether there was a separation of power/authority in Israel is only relevant if covenant Israel is a valid model for a civil government.

    You still haven’t addressed my argument at all. Maybe the FACT that the church’s authority to judge does not extend to the civil realm (and thus 1st table laws are impossible) is just so destructive to your position that you just HAVE to ignore that fact in order to hold on to your position. ;-)

    1. God prescribed the crime for the magistrate to punish
    2. God prescribed the punishment for the crime
    3. Not every violation of God’s law is a prescribed crime or has a prescribed civil punishment.

    So, is that clear now?

    This seems totally clear to me. 1st table offenses are not prescribed crimes, and they do not have prescribed civil punishments.

    Then you go on to say that the state has no way to “competently judge…” and yet the very next sentence describes the way the state CAN competently judge. (unless you are assuming that the state has no possible way of communicating with the church). So, that point is refuted, and I think pretty clearly. The state CAN judge competently what are crimes by communicating with the church.

    First of all, I said the state could not competently judge “if it tried to do it without the aid of the church”. Second, subtle clarification, when I said “wrongly and unjustly”, I was not meaning to say that they would be wrong in purpose and thus unjust (although I do believe that is true), but rather that, due to inherent incompetence, any such law would be spiritually inaccurate, and therefore consistent application of the bad law would be unjust. Finally, you force me to quote yourself back to yourself:

    The original WCF agreed with you about the state not being able to determine heresy or blasphemy. That’s why they said the state had the right to call synods of the church so that the church could inform it. So, you make a statement as if to further an argument against theonomy, but you are making a statement that theonomy agrees with, so you again are wasting efforts here.

    I relied on your witness that Theonomy agreed with the true statement that the state is impotent to administer heresy or blasphemy laws, thus a Theonomic law structure would require the state to not just “communicate” with the church as you put it, but submit itself to the judgment of the church. This is one-sided church-state separation; the state cannot mess with the church, and the church has ultimate authority over the state. That’s not separation, that’s hierarchy.

    And this is exactly what this whole post directly addresses (and which you have not at all addressed) — that Paul prohibits the church from judging those outside the church. So my argument is not refuted, but still waiting for attack.

  10. PS Mr. C. Magistrate, what makes you think that Mosaic laws will suppress heresy, idolatry, false worship, etc. in your society, given that they didn’t do that for covenant Israel, the body for whom God actually intended the laws?

  11. PPS Mr. C Magistrate:

    …I think there is an even greater chance of more of my subjects to hear the Gospel preached.

    You know what would have the best chance of more of your subjects hearing the Gospel preached? Mandatory revival rallies. Or how about camps, camps are fun. If you could concentrate enough people into one camp, … oh wait, that would be a PR nightmare!

  12. And, where is it that theonomy is (or I am) saying that the state must enforce laws regarding man’s duty to God? I thought that theonomy was saying the state should still punish the social crimes that God originally prescribed in the law.

    Are you actually saying that Mosaic stoning for idolatry was not enforcing man’s duty to God?

  13. Regarding the fact that you point out I haven’t addressed your argument, please see comment #4 above.

    Maybe tonight. We’ll see. :)

  14. OK; I thought long post #6 was your reply. I knew I could expect better of you. Don’t rush anything for tonight on my account; we’re watching Battlestar Galactica, and that’s too dense for me to blog at the same time — gotta go!

  15. I agree, Paul was not a theonomist. I nominate RubeRad as the non-theonomist in the Hoagies & Stogies theonomy debate.

  16. For those of you following this post waiting for my reply, you’ll find it now in the next post: “Moses’ Law is Not God’s Law.” (Just typing that makes me feel unclean!)

    Jeff

  17. I just saw that First Things (available on-line) Aug-Sept. issue features an article on Theocracy. Maybe that will add fuel to the fire. (Seeing is not reading, for me–yet.)

  18. Thx Barb! Here’s a link.

    The article is pretty good at ridiculing paranoid authors’ misunderstanding of Christian Reconstructionism, and their overestimation of Rushdoony’s influence, but Douthat doesn’t say much about what Reconstructionists (including Theonomists) actually are about.

  19. Rube,

    You say “the civil authorities cannot legislate 1st table offenses, because the church is prohibited from helping” and you base it on 1 Corinthians 5:13 where Paul says: “12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.””

    This is very simply rebutted since you have not proven your thesis. I can’t even find a commentary that agrees with you. Paul did not here say or even teach by inference “you church, are prohibited to .” Paul IS talking to the church and giving the church positive instruction on how the church is to act within their jurisdiction. Look at Paul’s positive statements here.

    Verse 13 says “those who are outside God judges.” So, let me see, that must mean, NOBODY judges them but God, right? Wrong. That is not an inference that can be logically deduced by that affirmative. That also means that you can’t just use a smaller subset of “NOBODY” such as “THE CHURCH.” See? Same statement with one alteration: “So, let me see, that must mean, THE CHURCH DOESN’T judge them but God, right?” Still a fallacious conclusion, and yet, you take it a step farther: “So, let me see, that must mean, THE CHURCH DOESN’T judge them AND THE CHURCH IS EVEN PROHIBITED, only God, right?”

    All we can conclude from this section of scripture is what the church CAN do, is SUPPOSED to do. It doesn’t tell us what the church IS PROHIBITED from doing.

    We can also learn that God judges the outsiders from this text. But this section of scripture doesn’t tell us HOW God does that. I’ve given you a very detailed exegesis of Romans 12:19 – 13:6 above and I submit that this is the section that answers the “HOW” question.

    Now, I’m going to go even a little bit further, though I think it is enough just to show that you are asserting that this one little scripture is teaching something when in fact it really isn’t. But, keep in mind the hermeneutical precept of the “analogy of the faith.” There are plenty of other scriptures that indicate the church is to teach God’s word. Communicate His word. Preach His word. Etc. So, even if I gave you the point that Paul AND the Church are not to “JUDGE” the outsiders, it still doesn’t show that they aren’t to teach, preach, etc. to these outsiders.

    Why was Jesus telling His disciples that they are the “light” of the “world?” They are the “city” on a “hill.” They are to be the “salt” of the “earth?” “Let your light so shine?” Make “disciples” of the “nations?”

    Do we make disciples of all kinds of people ‘except’ rulers and magistrates?

    There are plenty of areas just in the NT alone that indicate the church is not prohibited from teaching ALL of God’s word to ALL types of people, including rulers and magistrates.

    This argument of yours is just so weak, and that really is the reason I glossed over it in the first place, instead responding to all of your other points in the same post.

    Let the flame wars begin!

  20. You seem to think I have made an obvious misinterpretation of the text, but if it’s so obviously wrong, why do Forester, Bruce, ME, Chilli — everybody but you (and I guess Lord_Ron) — all seem to agree that the straightforward intent of I Cor 5 is to tell the church “don’t judge outsiders”. And what are you talking about, “one little scripture”? I exegeted a whole chapter, not to mention two half-chapters from Romans. And just yesterday (in our offline email-go-round (yes folks, there is even more than what you see here!)) Chilli came up with another supporting verse, which I will add to the post in just a minute!

    So, even if I gave you the point that Paul AND the Church are not to “JUDGE” the outsiders, it still doesn’t show that they aren’t to teach, preach, etc. to these outsiders.

    Amen! There’s a big difference between teaching and judging. It’s a difference I’m trying to teach #1 at the moment, so maybe you should hang out at my house for a few weeks. Being a member of the human race, #1’s natural tendency to any wrongdoing on the part of #2 is to attempt to compel him to act correctly. “Don’t do that!”, maybe some pushing or punching or kicking. All of which is childish behavior compensating for the fact that #1 does not have the authority to compel #2’s obedience to me, only I do. Just imagine how much more inappropriate it would be for #1 to apply such tactics to children not in our family!

    So what should he do instead? Although #1 doesn’t have authority to judge his brother (or a non-brother), he does have a moral responsibility to teach. Instead of “Don’t do that, or I’ll…”, the right response is “Hey, that’s wrong. You shouldn’t be doing that because…” Yes, I know this analogy is flawed because I don’t have authority over other people’s children like God does over non-Christians. But the overwhelming testimony that I see from scripture is that God generally (Sodom&Gomorrah, Ninevah, Herod, etc. are notable exceptions) witholds his authority over men; he punishes in his time, but meanwhile, he gives men up to their own perverseness. David was painfully aware of the fact that the wicked prosper, but he had faith in God’s final judgment and vindication. And here God tells the church “Yes, I know the outsiders are all misbehaving; let me worry about them, and you purify yourselves so that you may best serve as the light on the hill, and reach all of those lost sheep that I long to recover, by non-hypocritically teaching (not judging) them about my holy standard of righteousness.”

    As for your exegesis of Rom 13, nobody’s arguing that the civil magistrate is not authorized by God to bear the sword against evil. The question is which evil is within the scope of that authority? Obviously not all evil, because all sin is evil.

    And I know your immediate answer is “God answered that question perfectly through Moses”, and then my answer is “but that begs the original question of whether God intended Moses’ law to be applied outside of covenant Israel”, and then you say, “argument from silence”, and I say “Aside from the fact that the entire covenant (Moses’ Law plus other stuff) has been set aside, I Cor 5: the scope of the civil government must be restricted at least to what it is competently able to administer without the judgment of the Church”, and we’re back where we started.

    I’m not sure it would be productive to keep going through these motions. I think the flame wars are over.

    It’s too bad that our exchange yesterday was on email instead of blog. I found it quite refreshing to talk about concrete issues of practical application for a change.

  21. Thx to Chilli for the reference to 1 Tim 1:19-20, which I have inserted into the main post!

  22. Rube writes here:

    What I actually said was that Paul forbids the church from judging outside the church. That, coupled with the fact (agreed with by Jeff and Theonomy and WCF) about “the state not being able to determine cases of heresy or blasphemy”, means that the state cannot make laws (death penalty or otherwise) restricting heresy or blasphemy. To do so would be to overreach their God-given authority.
    I’m still waiting for an answer to this, which is my whole argument from I Cor 5. I don’t think I can make it any shorter, but maybe I can turn the question around: Jeff, please draft a death-penalty blasphemy law that the state can justly administer without the aid of the church.

    and here:
    since the assistance of the church is prohibited, the state has no business trying apply Moses’ law in the civil domain.

    and here:
    that the civil authorities cannot legislate 1st table offenses, because the church is prohibited from helping

    Original Post Says:
    There ya go, it can’t be much clearer. The business of judging those outside the church is God’s business, not the church’s business. Which denies the Theonomic concept that a state can execute laws against false worship, idolatry, blasphemy, sabbath-breaking, heresy, as long as they can obtain proper judgments from the church, since the state is by nature not competent to make such judgments by itself.

    So to restate Rubes “whole argument:”

    Assertion 1: The church is prohibited from judging outsiders.
    Assertion 2: The church is prohibited from assisting the state.
    Assertion 3: The church is prohibited from helping the state.

    Let’s look at the Original Post. Rube is talking about the idea that the state “obtain proper judgments from the church…”

    Does anybody know what an equivocation is? This is REALLY important because Rube’s argument is founded on this idea of “judging” being prohibited to the church. Rube correctly points out that the church (this is talking about jurisdiction by the way, the CHURCH as an entity) does NOT have JURISDICTION over outsiders to JUDGE. Pass judgement, condemnation, a sentence, etc. This is the meaning of Paul in context when he is talking about the ACTION the church should take, it is a sentence of excommunication that is being judged by the church.

    This is NOT what is meant by saying that the state needs to learn from the church what is false worship or idolatry or blasphemy, etc. From 1 Corinthians 5, we learn that the church is not to “pass sentence,” “condemn,” “JUDGE,” those that are “outside” of its jurisdiction. That in no way is a prohibition of the church from “assisting” or “helping” the state in creating laws that accurately reflect God’s righteousness.

    Summary
    1. You have based your “whole argument” on an equivocation of the word “judge.”
    2. You HAVE NOT PROVEN YOUR POINT.
    3. The church IS NOT prohibited from “helping,” “assisting,” teaching, preaching to the state.
    4. THEREFORE, the state does still have an avenue by which they can create righteous laws regarding the 1st table offenses.

  23. In an impishly humorous response to #20 above:

    You seem to think I have made an obvious misinterpretation of the text, but if it’s so obviously wrong, why do Forester, Bruce, ME, Chilli — everybody but you (and I guess Lord_Ron) — all seem to agree that the straightforward intent of I Cor 5 is to tell the church “don’t judge outsiders”.

    Maybe because I’m smarter than all of them, too! :)

    Or, because they didn’t pay attention in logic class either. :)

    Or, they haven’t learned how to exegete scripture yet. :)

    I don’t know really, the above quips are really just big fat silly elbows. Please don’t take offense. I mean it all in a kidding tone.

    On a more serious note, I didn’t learn the modern reformed understanding of the law before I learned theonomy. I came from other circles. I think the same is true of Lord Ron as well. My previous pastor, etc. I don’t have that way of thinking or teaching influencing the way I look at the scripture. This is just a thought or hunch. I don’t think it is fair to put Chilli in that bunch yet, he’s new to this conversation and not fully in context yet. The rest of those names though are all reformed. What I don’t know is if Theonomy came before or after that truth. Just an observation. Maybe it has something to do with why we look at it differently.

    Love you all,

    Jeff

  24. This is NOT what is meant by saying that the state needs to learn from the church what is false worship or idolatry or blasphemy, etc. From 1 Corinthians 5, we learn that the church is not to “pass sentence,” “condemn,” “JUDGE,” those that are “outside” of its jurisdiction. That in no way is a prohibition of the church from “assisting” or “helping” the state in creating laws that accurately reflect God’s righteousness.

    You assume that the church can assist and help the state to create laws that accurately reflect God’s righteousness — and then it ends? That is just the beginning. There is no way the state can accurately administer the laws without continually submitting to the JUDGMENT of the church. WCF and Jeff agree with me about “the state not being able to determine cases of heresy or blasphemy”. So you are stuck with the two bad options of the state JUDGING these cases that they have no competence to JUDGE, or the Church JUDGING these cases that they have no jurisdiction to JUDGE.

    JUDGE.

    JUDGY.

    JUDGE-O-RAMA.

    JUDGULATION.

    JUDGIVITY.

  25. I disagree with your logic here. See new comment #65 on a different post.

    Jeff

  26. Since that comment belongs here, I will respond to it here.

    I am not saying, nor was the confession saying, that in each and every case against a blasphemer or idolater, etc. that the state needs to defer to the church with a church court or church judges or the like.

    Now I see what you’re saying. When you say “the state cannot determine cases of heresy or blasphemy,” you mean they can’t determine them right off, but they can learn. What you’re really trying to say (or trying not to say) is that the Church should make the laws, and the State shuld enforce them.

    I don’t understand how you can keep calling a concept like that (or Israel) Church/State separation. I think 2 Kings 11 pretty well describes the kind of Church/State separation you have in mind.

  27. I think I’ve made some progress on this point with you at long last. But no, not that far as the church making the laws. God has done that. The state AND the church need to determine how to apply them today. We might also consider the possibility of a ‘middle man.’ In Israel, only a certain family of the Levite tribe were allowed to be priests. The other levites had various jobs, but we find some of them as interpreters of the law that were consulted by the judges, rulers and kings from time to time. I want to discuss this in more depth. I’ve just done some reading on it that I want to share with you.

    And no, that example isn’t what I have in mind with church/state separation. It was actually a special instance, noteworthy because of the very unusual-ness of the situation. Again, I’d like to discuss later.

    Cheers for now.

    Jeff

  28. That’s not what I have in mind with church/state separation either. It is just typical of the theocratic, non church/state-separated nation of Israel, which was actually a special instance, noteworthy because of the very unusual-ness of the situation.

  29. […] I just want to briefly note that Frame’s conclusion that I boldfaced right there echos exactly what I argued here, concerning Paul’s reinterpretation of the rationale language of O.T. death penalty laws. I could quote from this article all day, but if I quote any more, then I might as well just paste the whole article! If you are intrigued by these quotes, then you should go read the whole article, to see how Frame conceives of a Christian state that tolerates false religion. I’m not sure I agree with all of it, but it is more fully thought-out than anything I have heard from the Theonomist camp. […]

  30. […] equity of the moral law of God? Paul was not a Theonomist, so why should I be? 2K all the way, […]

  31. […] it is to be spiritually discerned. Some of his sentiments of that nature are found on his post: "Paul Was Not a Theonomist." I bring this up because is speaks of the world as if it were a sterile experiment in some glass […]

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