Theonomy vs. Religious Freedom

From the forerunner (and as quoted by Gene Cook on the 11/14/06 Narrow Mind webcast)

How would Christian Reconstructionism [AKA Theonomy] define “freedom of religion”? Is it an “inalienable right” to be protected by the government?

Any person — Jew, Moslem, Catholic, Protestant — would be free in a Biblically Reconstructed society under the civil law to worship. The civil government has no power to restrict religion. The civil government has an obligation to see that all people obey the moral law as it falls into civil jurisdiction. Thus religious expressions which contradict the Ten Commandments would not be publicly tolerated. The domain of the church is to preach truth. Because Reconstructionists are postmillennialists, we believe that eventually, organized false religions will become rare, if not extinct. This will be accomplished mainly through the efforts of the church, not the state.

So I guess at least partly the extinction of organized false religions will come about through the efforts of the state?

But don’t worry — you see, you shouldn’t be afraid that Theonomy hopes to spread the gospel by the sword. All they’re talking about is that the state will use the sword to clearcut non-Christians from the public arena, so that all other voices would be “forced into hiding“, and the gospel could be preached freely (but not by the sword).

I wonder if any state has ever before refused to tolerate public religious expressions which contradict the state religion? I wonder if any state has ever before forced non-Christians into hiding?

Don’t be squeamish, though, about the task before us. The state of Israel was required to suppress enemies of their religion; therefore, a Christian nation is required to suppress enemies of the gospel, right?

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87 Responses

  1. how about quid pro quo?

    Does theonomy teach that only the standing civil case laws of the OT are to be applied today, yes or no?

  2. ‘I can’t really argue against the logic of Theonomy, therefore I’m just going to keep talking about the situations I personally find reprehensible and that most Americans will also dislike because of their non-Christian secular upbringing.’

    Be Ye renewed in your mind. (That’s an imperative from Paul, the apostle, not M.)

    Jeff

  3. Rube,

    You’ve totally nailed it here. Christian society advocates need look no further than the so-called “holy Roman Empire” for an example of what their theology leads to.

    Shall I use the “I” word? Ok, you made me do it. “Inquisition.”

    In another thread, I appealed to you to begin a new thread about the gospel. All of these issues will only be solved in such a thread. Or at the very least, what we believe about the gospel is at the root of all of these disagreements. Rather than debate tongues or theonomy or whatever else, debating the gospel will be much more productive, if indeed, any debate in such a forum as this CAN be productive.

    I hereby throw down the gauntlet.

    Here’s a question: can you understand the gospel thoroughly and also embrace errors like tongues, Arminianism and theonomy consistently?

    Nope.

    The banner is hereby raised.

    All of these errors are inconsistent with salvation purely by grace alone through faith alone. Let us bring inconsistency into the brightest light we have available to us, that it might be exposed.

    E

  4. 1Co 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

    This is not to the exclusion of a robust theology. Think about it, all of you.

  5. Hmmm, let’s see, echo commits:

    1. The fallacy of guilt by association.

    2. Poisoning the well.

    3. Factual errors: The Holy Roman Empire was an ecclessiocracy.

    Actually, theonomy is minimilist in it’s theory of government. The realms of society our current government unlawfuly sticks its hands into are unlawful.

    I’ve furthermore explained the issue has nothing to do with salvation, but, rather, simply: but what standard should rulers rule?

    Actuyally, all echo’s post has done is to write an autobiography. That is, his posts tell us about what he doesn’t know about theonomy.

    I’d suggest reading some of the literature.

    Anyway, my point to Ruben, and I’ll have to make it and then leave since my time has got the best of me and I can’t spend any more time here, is that theonomy says that the OT standing civil case laws are where we learn about the standard by which governments are to make laws and punishments. Therefore, all his pointing to Bible verses that are not standing OT case laws, are actually irrelevant to the discussion of theonomy.

    How about we use this principle before we continue: Thou shalt seek to understand thy opponants position so as not to slander him, and thus violate God’s requirments.

    I’ll leave with what I’ve said here and in the other thread. If one peruses it, one will see that probably 72.34% of my points were not addressed. I argued for the civil aspects of the 1st commandments. I showed how those violations where against both God and man. I showed how God had the same civil standard for both Israel and non-Israelite nations. I showed further that if those were the standards, then penology must go with it. I successfuly rebutted all the attempts to undermine theonomy, showing how they were: (a) logically fallacious, (b) philosophically absurd, (c) factually wrong, (d) and theologically confused.

    At this point I must conclude that it’s simply a subjective dislike for theonomy that is forcing the debate to continue.

  6. Paul’s my hero. ;)

    Jeff

  7. Show me why I’m wrong.

    Show me how using the sword to silence non-Christian voices in the public arena is not spreading the gospel by the sword.

    Show me why Saudi Arabia is not a perfect example of theonomy in action (if you change “Saudi Arabia” to Nation X, and “church” to “mosque or synagogue or Kingdom hall or Christian Science reading room or…”)

    Show me why Hitler was more wrong than ignoring due process and restricting his attentions to just one false religion.

  8. I’ll spell it out more. Theonomy says that public false worship deserves state-administered death. Therefore in Hitler’s Germany (as in any other nation), it would be just to tear down synagogues and execute Jews who tried to build them back up, or who continued to worship publicly. Where Hitler went wrong was that
    * He didn’t exercise due process,
    * He overreached justice by hunting down Jews who made good faith efforts to keep their Judaism private, and
    * He unjustly excluded other false religions from similar sanctions.
    Maybe he was also wrong wrt the Gypsies — I’m not sure what’s up with them religion-wise.
    What else am I missing here?

  9. I really need to not post anymore. You guys are like a drug! Seriously, I hope this is my last post.

    In response to #7, Ruben,

    i) All laws and lawmakers have religious presuppositions which undergird them.

    ii) All worldviews teach some for of “gospel.”

    iii) So, we already have the gosp[el being preached by the sword right now, i.e., in the very vague and generalized way you’re putting it.

    iv) To not allow open rebellion and traitors in America must mean that America is trying to uphold it’s position as the “ultimate authority” and force “all opposition into hiding.”

    v) The difference between Islam and hitler should be obvious! they don’t have righteous laws given by the righteous law-giver! Hiter and Islam can judge the heart! Mere unbelief (or, being a Jew) is sufficient to get you killed. I frankly am shocked at the lack of logical prowess being displayed here. Islam is not “just.” No other nation will say to it, “what great nation is this which has such great laws.” C’mon.

    vi) Our government does not give the death penalty to abortionists. It doesn’t require restitution for theft. It allows what is detestable before God to be openly practiced, and approved. So, they’re already spreading the gosepl and law of humanism. make ’em stop, Ruben. ;-) I mean, how can you support one form of “gosepl spreading,” but not another.

    vii) I disagree it’s “gospel spreading.” So, “disprove” what “point?” I deny the premise, therefore you need to prove it.

    viii) Polytheism is false. Even impersonal polytheism. The ancient greeks taught that there was a god for the sea, land, air, travel, health, war, etc. Likewise, theonomic detractors advocate a form of polytheism. That is, they’d have a *different* ultimate authority reign supreme on the political arena, than the one they allow to reign in all ther areas of life.

    ix) In the OT unbelievers were allowed to live in the land. they were not ounished for their unbelief. But, they were punished for the civil aspects and implications of publicly trying to draw people away from God, and seeking to teach another god/state/idea/philosphy should be allowed equal footing.

    To my knowledge, no one has ever said that OT Israel tried to spread the gosepl by the sword.

    x) Murder is only wrong in a Christian theistic worldview. Denying those assumptions leads on to not be able to formulate an adequate philosophical justification for why murder is wrong.

    Even if you say this was some form of natural law, general revelation, etc., it’s still GOD’S law. It requires HIM to give it intelligibility. Therefore, I argue that when the civil magistrate punishes the *civil aspects* of violations of the 6th commandment, they are “spreading the gospel.” (Remember, I denied that the gosepl was being sprwad).

    Let’s assume that a religion or philosophical system thought murder was okay. Should the government restrict and punish civil violations of this (civil because they might commit heart murder and not be guilty before the civil magistrate)? If so, then they can supress other religions!

    “All they’re talking about is that the state will use the sword to clearcut non-Christians from the public arena, so that all other voices would be “forced into hiding“, and the gospel could be preached freely.”

    So says Ruben. So, would *this religion* be forced into hiding?

    If not, then your position is refuted, I’d say, via a reductio ad absurdum.

    If so, then it appears that you’d have the civil magistrate enforce GOD’S LAW against not Christian religions.

    You may say, “yes, but they’re not allowed to murder, it’s a sin against man.”

    My reply would be: (a) well how does this not egregiously beg the question against the theonomic position, (b) I’ve shown how violating the civil aspect of the 1st commandment is a sin against man (as well as God), (c) it’s still God’s law being enforced, murder isn’t “neutraly wrong,” and (d) if “silencing” other religions from practicing an aspect of their religion which has civil repercussions is “spreding the gosepl” then your own position “spreads the gosepl.”

    xi) To bring up Hitler and Saudi Arabia beggs the question since it assumes that what they’re doing is wrong, and therefore so theonomy, but this assumes that theonomy is doing something wrong in the first place!

    xii) Despite the emotional appeal of your argument (i.e., lumping theonomists with Hitler and Muslims!), I think it’s pretty weak. But, bravo on the sophistic tactic!

    xiii) The state will be judged by God. I’m sure God’s gonna be real happy when all the political leaders get there and and try to squirm out of why they allowed idiols and the undermining of his law in their lands. I can just hear it, “Uh, Ruben said you weren’t going to hold us responsible for this!”

    xiv) In 1 Timothy 1:8 we read that the civil magistrate should have laws against ungodliness, prophanities, unholiness, etc. I argued for this previously… it wasn’t responded to.

    xv) The political ruler in Revelation – the beast- is reported to be “lawless” and to deny “God’s laws.” He seeks to “write his laws” on the heads and hands of believers. Political rulers are not neutral, therefore. Either they will adhere to God’s laws, or their own. If they adhere to their own they will enforce them. Enforcing them is “spreading the gospel.” You cannot avoid these implications, therefore:

    Psalm 2
    1 Why do the nations rage, And the peoples meditate a vain thing?

    2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying,

    3 Let us break their bonds asunder, And cast away their cords from us.

    4 He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision.

    5 Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, And vex them in his sore displeasure:

    6 Yet I have set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion.

    7 I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee.

    8 Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

    9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

    10 Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

    11 Serve Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling.

    12 Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.

    Okay, now I really must end my time posting here. I thank you all for the discussion. In Christ, Wacky.

  10. Wacky,

    Let’s go back to Constantine. Ecclesiocracy? Looks like rule by a king. And there was never an Ecclesiocracy on earth. That would be rule by the church. Since when is the pope the church? Just because the same one man ruled the church and also had the emperor on a leash does not warrant the term ecclesiocracy. Technically, the only type of government that would warrant such a term would be a Presbyterian rule by elders in a given community that governed both church and state, but that still wouldn’t be an ecclesiocracy, so much as an oligarchy.

    What I’m talking about is the ridiculous notion of legislating religion. It’s stupid.

    Faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ. (Rom 10:17)

    This is why I say that a proper understanding of the gospel is what is needed. You apparently don’t believe that faith comes by hearing the word of Christ, but by the pen of the legislature or the king, whichever you advocate.

    Freedom for ALL religions is the only way to allow the gospel to flourish.

    Isn’t it funny that when a guy had committed adultery, Paul advocated excommunication from the church, and not some civil penalty?

    I did not commit your so-called fallacy of guilt by association. That would be like saying that since tongues speakers clearly fail to understand the gospel, which proves their error, therefore, since you are in error, it MUST be that you don’t understand the gospel either. That would be guilt by association.

    No, but rather, I think you do a fine job demonstrating that you don’t understand the gospel all on your own.

    The end of your arguments is the inquisition and a works based salvation, which is why so many of your theonomy adherents are New Perspective guys and Federal Vision guys. That’s not, by the way, guilt by association. It’s rather a demonstration that the proper logical end of your argument is a works based salvation, and thus many of your fellows embrace it. And that’s also why the Romans went in that direction.

    But you’re right, I’m not making an argument, but merely an assertion.

    I’m doing so deliberately. I want to see a thread on the gospel, and you people can PROVE by explication that you do understand the gospel, because I guarantee that you don’t. You have shown you don’t, and coincidentally, the same goes for the tongues talkers. None of them have talked at ALL about the gospel, they have only said that they believe it, and any charge to the contrary is outrageous.

    Keep proving it. You’re doing great.

    Rube, I’ll see that thread please, and then everyone will see these people for what they are. Confused.

  11. Well, if wacky really does leave, then any theonomist can reply to my previous.

  12. Wacky said:
    xiii) The state will be judged by God. I’m sure God’s gonna be real happy when all the political leaders get there and and try to squirm out of why they allowed idiols and the undermining of his law in their lands. I can just hear it, “Uh, Ruben said you weren’t going to hold us responsible for this!”

    Echo says:
    This is crap. Political leaders will be judged as to whether or not they upheld justice. They will be charged for their own idolatry, not mine. It is not their job to legislate the heart. See the covenant with Noah.

  13. *sighs* This is getting more and more stupid. The autonomists have nothing logical to say against the theonimic arguments presented here so all you do is cast the conclusion of those arguments in a negative light, not unlike a Hollywierd director.
    Yup, we theonomists want to see God’s Law become the law of the land. How dare we? We want to see blasphemers executed. All who practice Satan worship should be forced into hiding via the sword just like the state uses the sword to force murder into hiding. Murder, like all reprehensible activities belongs in the secret back alleys, not in a main street parade. [Removed by RubeRad]

  14. Echo, Make your own dang Blog to prove how nobody understands the gospel but you.

    BTW did I catch you earlier saying that there are not any more true believers now then there were 1000 years ago? It was just something I caught a glimpse of and I am not sure if you would actually say something that ridiculous so i wanted to confirm that.

  15. “This is why I say that a proper understanding of the gospel is what is needed. You apparently don’t believe that faith comes by hearing the word of Christ, but by the pen of the legislature or the king, whichever you advocate.”

    LOL.

    Keep beating up straw men, you big, bad theological mad man, you.

    Stand up on the mountain waving your sword and screaming in victory.

    Btw, the real soldiers are fighting in the valley below and the sword you wave is paper.

    Here’s some stuff to read (and then I REALLY need to go. Don’t make any more outlandish comments, please!):

    http://freebooks.commentary.net/freebooks/docs/html/gbbs/gbbs.html

    Read chapters 17-21, and then respond. Remember, show yourself a workman approved by God and stop the slandering, please.

  16. This is crap. Political leaders will be judged as to whether or not they upheld justice. They will be charged for their own idolatry, not mine. It is not their job to legislate the heart. See the covenant with Noah.

    Your statement is a contradiction:

    – Political leaders will be judged as to whether or not they upheld justice.
    – Permitting citizens to take the belongings of one person and give them to another is unjust.
    – Idolatry takes that which belongs to God and gives it to another.
    – Political leaders will be judged as to whether or not they permitted idolatry (even yours, Echo).

    How do political leaders define justice, Echo? Does popular vote determine what is just or God’s Word? All of God’s Word, or just the pretty parts?

  17. To not allow open rebellion and traitors in America must mean that America is trying to uphold it’s position as the “ultimate authority” and force “all opposition into hiding.”

    That’s because the goal wrt open rebellion and traitors in America is that they be gone. There is no goal to change their minds so that they stop being in rebellion. How are you supposed to spread the gospel to people in hiding?

    The difference between Islam and hitler should be obvious! they don’t have righteous laws given by the righteous law-giver!

    But if their laws are identical to righteous laws by simply substituting Christianity for Islam (“No [mosques or synagogues or …] may exist in our nation; resident foreigners are allowed to worship privately in their homes”), can we not study their form and learn from them? If their laws can be made identical to righteous laws by correcting them (Synagogues destroyed, check. Jews hunted down and destroyed without due process — UNJUST. Jews tried and executed only for public worship, check. No other false religions are sanctioned — UNJUST. All other false religions receive equal treatment, check), can we not study their mistakes and learn from them?

    To bring up Hitler and Saudi Arabia begs the question since it assumes that what they’re doing is wrong, and therefore so theonomy, but this assumes that theonomy is doing something wrong in the first place!

    Tsk tsk, bad logic Paul. Yes, I assume that Hitler and Saudi Arabia are wrong. If that assumption is wrong, I’m waiting for you to show me. To the extent that Theonomy logically implies the practices of Hitler or Saudi Arabia, Theonomy would logically be wrong. There is no prior assumption that theonomy is doing wrong “in the first place”. You need to show either that Hitler and Saudi Arabia are not wrong in their theonomic aspects, or you need to disabuse me of my misconceptions about theonomic aspects.

    In the OT unbelievers were allowed to live in the land. they were not punished for their unbelief. But, they were punished for the civil aspects and implications of publicly trying to draw people away from God, and seeking to teach another god/state/idea/philosphy should be allowed equal footing.

    You theonomists need to get your stories straight. On the testimony of two witnesses (Jeff, Ron), theonomy would require Mormon churches to be shut down, and not only would door-to-door Mormon evangelism be illegal, so would any public Mormon worship. Just the fact of open doors is tantamount to “seeking to teach another”.
    Here’s the bottom line (I’ve probably said that about a dozen different things): theonomy in practice requires a Christian Nation. But God has only one nation, and it has no borders, and no swords, and is not of this world.

  18. BTW, Echo, ch. 17 starts on pg 196. Go read and then come back.

    Like I tell all the atheist neophytes I talk to: Go lock yourself up in your room for about a month or two, do some reading, and then you can come back out.

  19. Removed by RubeRad

  20. Removed by RubeRad

  21. Hey Wacky,

    I’m thoroughly convinced now that blogging is not for the purpose of a real, intellectually honest, rational discussion. Instead, we see here that it’s just a “bully pulpit” to spread one’s point of view about something, rational or not.

    You’re going through the same thing I went through months ago here with half a dozen posts or so. Your main points, the strong points, the irrefutable points, are pretty much ignored, and the others are just mis-represented, and then the misrepresentations are argued against.

    Now that I see I’m not the only one frustrated that most of my arguments aren’t addressed, I think you’ve got the right idea. Thanks for joining in. Many blessings to you. I’ll be following you out.

    Jeff

  22. Removed by RubeRad

  23. If you really loved God, you would hate those who hate Him rather than advocate for their freedom.

    Intrusion ethics.

  24. It’s so ironic that you guys want to demand that you believe the gospel, but you don’t want to actually talk about the gospel. You only want to talk about your theonomy. Isn’t the gospel more important to you? This is what some call a pet doctrine.

    Ron:
    I agree that stealing should be against the law, and this is the job of the state to legislate this. I would also agree that murder and perjury should be illegal.

    But how would the state uphold the law not to covet? Will you execute anyone who covets his neighbor’s wife in his heart? Or his neighbor’s car? How will you legislate that? Jesus said that if anyone looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. How will you enforce this? Will you make women wear those berkas that muslim women wear? (I don’t know if I spelled that right: berka. The stupid black cloaks they wear that completely cover them.)

    Just one more theonomy question for you theonomists. Do you think that if the state totally upholds the law that there will be even ONE MORE PERSON who believes the gospel?

    Do you honestly think that if you force satanists and other pagans to go into hiding that this will purify the people who give God lip service to avoid being executed?

    Only God can look on the heart. You cannot look on the heart.

    This is why I say that your proposal stems from misunderstanding the gospel. I don’t care about anything but whether or not people believe in the gospel. I believe that just because someone violates the law of God, it doesn’t mean that they don’t believe the gospel. We continue to sin! Don’t you occasionally struggle with lust? Maybe you are not as weak as the rest of us, but if you really want to uphold the law of God by the sword, you’ll have to execute every man for lusting after women, and every woman for gossiping. Oh, maybe you don’t want to execute people for every crime.

    But if you ONLY enforce what is outward, you are NOT enforcing the law of God. The law of God makes demands of our HEART. Thus, when Jesus says that lust = adultery, he is saying that the true law of God can only be obeyed inwardly.

    You act as if enforcing outward obedience will affect the heart. Is this in line with the gospel or not?

    Rom 2:28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
    Rom 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    I say it again. Your position stems from an improper understanding of the gospel.

    I do not claim to be the only one to understand the gospel, in fact, I readily admit that understanding it is a lifetime of study and contemplation, and even then, we will only begin to understand. But your position clearly stems from a particular misunderstanding of the gospel that teaches us that faith and obedience are BOTH matters of the heart, and no one but God himself by his Holy Spirit can have ANY effect on that whatsoever, and his prescribed means are the means of grace: the preaching of the Word and the sacraments.

    You are seeking to save sinners by forcing them to be obedient. But what you don’t understand are these words of Jesus:

    Mat 15:8 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
    Mat 15:9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”
    Mat 15:10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand:
    Mat 15:11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
    Mat 15:12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
    Mat 15:13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.
    Mat 15:14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

    Wacky,

    I’m not reading your nonsense until and unless you can prove that it is in keeping with the gospel, which you can’t do and won’t attempt to do, I predict.

    Daniel,

    You read right. By the way, any argument about theology should seek to show how it is in line with the gospel. The gospel is the focus of the Scriptures, and also of theology. If you can’t relate your argument to the gospel, there’s a problem.

    I have argued that tongues undermines the gospel. You have responded by getting angry, Jeff has ceased responding, and so has Albino. If the gospel is so important to you, why don’t you seek to uphold it first and foremost? Why? Why is it that if you are debating your view, and someone says that it undermines the gospel, why don’t you seek to show how it is in keeping with the gospel? Why, if the gospel is so important to you?

    Rube,

    I again appeal to the formation of a gospel thread. I bet these guys won’t even be interested in discussing it.

    Everyone,

    You can all get mad if you want, but the truth hurts. If the gospel is so important to you, show how your view helps to UPHOLD the gospel. If it doesn’t help to uphold the gospel, it hinders. You better figure it out. You better figure out on what basis you will be judged, rather than worrying about the basis for God’s judgment of political leaders.

    Joh 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
    Joh 5:40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

    Luk 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
    Rom 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    Col 1:28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

    1Co 1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
    1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
    1Co 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    1Co 1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

    The gospel has just a bit of prominence in the NT. Maybe you ought to give it some prominence too.

    PS It’s not just the NT:

    Gal 3:8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

    Is the gospel important?

  25. Hey Forrester,

    Romans 9:13 says:

    13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”

    So maybe it’s a good idea to take each premise in context instead of universally applying the same definition or idea to a person’s argument. I can’t speak for Ron exactly on this, but I know that he is not a ‘hating’ person at all and regularly preaches the gospel at places like his work. What you’ve done here is called equivocation.

    Love you anyway!

    Jeff

  26. Echo,

    Really, stop embarrassing yourself. Really. No, REALLY.

    You are putting in writing just how ignorant you are about the subject.

    I’m not kidding, you should listen! :)

    Just to prove it, ask Rube. Don’t take my word for it. It’s obvious you haven’t even read the Theonomy posts here on this very blog, much less Theonomy literature.

    Here’s your first sentence in comment #24:

    It’s so ironic that you guys want to demand that you believe the gospel, but you don’t want to actually talk about the gospel.

    Theonomy does NOT teach that we “want to demand that you believe the gospel…”

    So, like I said, STOP EMBARRASSING YOURSELF. Get informed and then comment.

    Oh yeah, how about a little repenting for your false witness? :)

    Jeff

  27. Now that I see I’m not the only one frustrated that most of my arguments aren’t addressed, I think you’ve got the right idea. Thanks for joining in. Many blessings to you. I’ll be following you out.

    Oh Jeff, you’re such a tease!

  28. Echo,
    The civil magistrate today would punish covetiousness the same way he did in Moses’ day: He wouldn’t. I never said a theonomic government would attempt to prosecute sins of the heart.

  29. Echo said,

    Wacky,

    I’m not reading your nonsense until and unless you can prove that it is in keeping with the gospel, which you can’t do and won’t attempt to do, I predict.

    Guess what, good idea. I’m not reading any math books until you shouw that it’s in keeping with the gosepl. I’m not reading science until you shouw that it’s in keeping with the gospel.

    In fact, neither you nor I should read your posts until you show that they’re in keeping with the gosepl.

    They say that self-refutation is the worst form of refutation, Echo, tell me… is that true?

    Further, you’re not implying that if “we don’t talk about the gospel” what we talk about is *against* the gospel, do you? No, of course not, for that would be fallacious. And, everyone here can tell what a great gift for non-fallacious reasoning you have.

    I mean, does this guy think that murderers should be punished? Theives? The gosepl tells them to repent and believe. Then God won’t punish them. But, society STILL NEEDS TO. I mean, if they didn’t, then how would we have an orderly society?

    Lastly, when Paul spoke in Romans about civil government, he didn’t mention “the gospel.” Therefore, I guess you won’t be reading Romans 13: 1-7 anytime soon! Ouch.

    Ruben,

    Romans 13: 8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and ANY OTHER COMMANDMENT, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    See calvin adn Murray for why “any other commandments” means “the whole law” and, at least “the entire decalogue.”

    Therefore, it looks as if I’ve just proven that there’s a sense in which even a violation of the 1st commandment can be said to be against man, and that’s the *civil* sense.

    As I argued before, non-Israelites were allowed to be unbelievers and they were not killed for *that* violation of the 1st commandment, but they were killed for *other* violations of the first commandment. Therefore, there was a civil and private aspect to the law. One was way before God, and he will judge you with eternal hellfire, the other is befroe man and he will (or, should) judge you with the appropriate punishment!

    In the words of the Discomfiter: Boo-yah.

  30. I’m hurt that this has become so heated and I’m not even getting a piece!

  31. Jeff,

    Re: 26

    You said, “Theonomy does NOT teach that we “want to demand that you believe the gospel…””

    So what you’re saying then, is that you want to do something that’s supposedly based on Scripture that doesn’t do anything to promote the gospel?

    Your honor, the prosecution rests.

    E

  32. Ron,

    Re: 28

    If you don’t want to prosecute sins of the heart, how are you upholding the law of God, which God says has everything to do with the heart?

    Remember, I am FOR the state maintaining justice, which often looks a lot like the law of God with regard to the second table of the 10 Commandments. But the first table is all a matter of the heart.

    You would argue that idols – made by hands – should be outlawed, but in our country, you don’t have many people who have household gods anymore. What you have are idols of the heart. Now in India or China, maybe. But here?

    E

  33. Wacky,

    Re: 29

    No, I’m not saying that because you don’t want to TALK about the gospel you’re against the gospel. I’m saying that theonomy undermines the gospel. However, I’m also saying that given that fact, it’s distressing that you aren’t interested in addressing that concern.

    No one is saying that the state shouldn’t uphold justice, such as do not murder, do not steal. What we’re saying is that this is wrong:

    “As I argued before, non-Israelites were allowed to be unbelievers and they were not killed for *that* violation of the 1st commandment, but they were killed for *other* violations of the first commandment. Therefore, there was a civil and private aspect to the law.”

    That’s wrong, because the only possible reason you could have for your inquisitorial aims is to try to force people to believe. You claim to want to uphold the law of God, but you can’t uphold it perfectly, so you’re not upholding it at all. The only way to uphold the law is by faith in Jesus Christ.

    Rom 3:31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

    But again, no one is saying that the state doesn’t have a mandate from God. We’re saying that you can’t legislate religion. It would seem that it would serve as an aide to faith, but it only undermines it. It certainly undermined it in Israel, which is the whole point of Israel.

    The history of the nation of Israel is a republication of the covenant of works with Adam. Adam is God’s son, Israel is God’s son. But Jesus Christ is the only true Son. Adam failed, Israel failed, Christ succeeded.

    The reason why your theonomist position undermines the gospel is because it seeks holiness through the law. That is precisely the opposite of the gospel.

    I’m sure you do think the gospel is important, but that’s exactly why you should take this objection more seriously. Even if you think I’m being fallacious and silly, you should still take a charge of undermining the gospel seriously and give it some attention and thought. This doesn’t mean you take ME seriously or my argument, it means you take the gospel seriously, and therefore, out of love for your neighbor, you will seek to counsel me as to why your view doesn’t undermine the gospel. Unless of course you don’t care if I agree with you, but then that only proves that you can’t legislate matters of the heart.

    My point is that your view doesn’t do anything, and makes no progress to uphold the law. Man is sinful. We can’t obey the law perfectly. Only believers even begin to obey the law. When unbelievers do something that appears lawful, even that is an expression of thier sinful heart and rebellion towards God. You can make them go to church, you can make them keep the Sabbath, but they won’t be any better off on judgment day, and neither will the political leaders, because it only paid God lip service.

    But by rejecting this, you undermine the gospel.

    Blow me off, count me a fool, whatever. But for the sake of the gospel, ask yourself if theonomy could ever make any progress at bringing about any holiness. If it can, then you are saying that righteousness can be by the law, and that’s contra the gospel. If it can’t, then why do it at all? There’s no point to your position if it doesn’t make anyone more holy.

    Our country is not under a national covenant as was Israel. God didn’t make a covenant with America, he made it with Israel. Now, as Rube said, God’s people are scattered in every nation, and his kingdom is a kingdom of heaven, of the heart.

  34. Echo,

    Yeah, you’re right. I deny theonomy. Boy are your arguments and accurate descriptuions of the theonomic view sure spot on. Frankly, I’m amazed! You admitted that you hadn’t read any of the theonomic literature, and that you wouldn’t read what I asked you to even though it commented directly to your point, and you know theonomy better than any theonomist.

    I mean, shoot, as long as you can just assert, without doccumentation, what theonomists believe, why not tell everyone that you saw theonomists under a freeway overpass offering incantations to Satan since theonomy seeks to uphold Satanic principles. While you’re at it, make sure to let everyone know that theonomists are docetists. Make sure to let people know that theonomists deny the resurrection of the dead, the incarnation, the trinity, and heck, let everyone know those information you found out about how theonomistys think that Jesus was the arch angel Michael.

    Where would the world be without your astute observations? Thank you so much for rescuing me from the evils of theonomy. I also thank you for showing me that I don’t need to do the work of a scholar and study my opponant. I can just let unargued assumptions and naked assertions fly without any regard for my sanctification. Lie about ’em? Who cares, they’re in league with Lucifer. What, and I actually spent my hard earned money building my library so I could make sure I really learned a position and had the sources to cite in case I ever made assertions about someone or some system. I bet the next thing you’ll tell me is that buying books denies the gosepl and the principle of good stewardship. Why invest in books when we can make up any ole thing we want to about our opponant.

    It’s okay, I forgive you. I bet you’re a teenager who’s too busy studying for his social studies test that he can’t bother to actually read and interact with the position he cites. if that’s slander, who cares, I learned this debate tactic from you.

    Have a good one,

    Wacky Judaizer

  35. I’m sure Echo is aware that Theonomists claim not to be interested in regulating affairs of the heart. (Or maybe he is not, but the rerst of his arguments stand anyways). Theonomists want to make nations righteous? The slightest understanding of the gospel should scream that there is no righteousness but righteousness of the heart. God is not pleased with outward righteousness. True righteousness has nothing to do with civil laws.

    You need to take Theonomists’ incredible zeal for God’s law to be upheld in a nation, and direct it all into the one and only way for it to happen: conquer the nation with the gospel.

    Therefore, it looks as if I’ve just proven that there’s a sense in which even a violation of the 1st commandment can be said to be against man, and that’s the *civil* sense.

    You have proven nothing. Everything in the passage refers to loving your neighbor. The list of commandments is once again notable for omitting idolatry, which is so often intermingled with lists of 2nd table sins in the NT. Because of this, I’ll have to go ahead and disagree with Calvin and Murray that “any other commandment” expands beyond “love your neighbor as yourself” to the greatest commandment.

    As a matter of fact, noting that this passage that you quoted comes right after the number one most famous NT passage about the duties of the civil magistrate, this just reinforces the fact that the civil magistrate’s duties are concerned entirely with regulating man’s duty to man. Tying everything neatly together, “loving your neighbor fulfills the law” which law? The law Paul was just talking about that the civil magistrate has been ordained by God to enforce — love your neighbor. Thanks for that!

    Will you be mine?

    Won’t you be mine?

    Won’t you be my neighbor?

  36. BTW, speaking of “Your main points, the strong points, the irrefutable points, are pretty much ignored”, let’s hear what the theonomists have to say about the fact that Theonomy requires a Christian Nation, which is anti-biblical? Let’s hear what theonomists have to say about the fact that civil suppression of other religions shuts down open discourse, thus preventing people from hearing the gospel — thus hindering the gospel?
    You, Muslim, come here! I am Christian, and I would like a chance to publicly debate you so that your religion may be shown as foolishness, and Christianity will be shown to be unassailable.
    Are you kidding me? Stand up in public and use persuasive arguments about Islam? Are you trying to get me killed? Go away, keep your Christianity, and let me be a Muslim in peace.

    “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD:
    “though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
    though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.”

    Go away. Leave me alone. I don’t want to talk to you. I’m not a Christian, and I keep it to myself, so just leave me alone. Are you trying to get me killed?

  37. After sleeping on it, I have a lot of new things to say, but for today I take a vow of silence. Have fun, boys!

  38. Since Ruben though Echo’s points were good….

    Blow me off, count me a fool, whatever. But for the sake of the gospel, ask yourself if theonomy could ever make any progress at bringing about any holiness. If it can, then you are saying that righteousness can be by the law, and that’s contra the gospel. If it can’t, then why do it at all? There’s no point to your position if it doesn’t make anyone more holy.

    Why do it at all …. hmmmm, because we needs laws in the land?

    Seriously Ruben, you think this guy’s points “stand?”

    Look, part of “the law” is that one shouldn’t steal and murder.

    So, why impose those laws? Does it make people holy? “If it can, then you are saying that righteousness can be by the law, and that’s contra the gospel. If it can’t, then why do it at all? There’s no point to your position if it doesn’t make anyone more holy.”

    Look, Ruben, I just used the guys own words to refute him.

    Oh, it must be that when he wants the civil magistrate to impose biblical laws then he’s just fine, but when I want certain biblical civil laws imposed, “I’m trying to seek holiness through the law.”

    Now, you can say that the laws I want to impose are not civil laws, fine, but don’t say that because I think we should have certain civil laws that I’m trying to teach salvation by law keeping.

    Can you see through this charade? Are you saying that only way to beat a theonomist is to misrepresent him? Sad.

    Ruben, let me ask you this. Let’s say someone at your church sought to try to get you to believe heresy. If you did, you’d be out of the covenant community, and on your way to hell. Now, how is that not a sin against you?

    The heidleberg chatechism says this:

    Question 94. What does God enjoin in the first commandment?

    Answer: That I, as sincerely as I desire the salvation of my own soul, avoid and flee from all idolatry, (a) sorcery, soothsaying, superstition, (b) invocation of saints, or any other creatures; (c) and learn rightly to know the only true God; (d) trust in him alone, (e) with humility (f) and patience submit to him; (g) expect all good things from him only; (h) love, (i) fear, (j) and glorify him with my whole heart; (k) so that I renounce and forsake all creatures, rather than commit even the least thing contrary to his will. (l)

    Now, if I should avoid and flee all idolatry, and learn to trust the true God, and I’m *commanded* to do this in keeping with the first commandment, then when someone seeks to convert me to their false religion, how are they not trying to affect my ability to keep the first commandment? If we *truly* loved our neighbor, would we do things which might help them get to hell?

    You see, I’d take a Frame approach and say that there’s a circularity between the two. Not loving your neighbor isn’t loving God and not loving God is not hate your neighbor.

    As John Frame (who’s not a theonomist) says in his soon-to-be-published work on ethics, the third in the Lordship series,

    “We come now to our exposition of the Ten Commandments.# Following WLC, we can divide them into one group of four, pertaining to “our duty toward God” and a group of six, describing “our duty toward man.”# So the structure of the Decalogue parallels Jesus’ “two great commandments,” to love God and the neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40). This is something of a rough and ready distinction, however, since the last six commandments certainly describe duties toward God as well as man, and since the first four have implications for our conduct toward other people, as well as toward God. As I indicated in Chapter 22, the law is a unity.”

    In his footnote he notes that he agrees with Merideth Kline, the anti-theonomist! Frame says,

    #3 Traditionally, it has been held that the division of four and six distinguished the “two tablets” of the original edition (Ex. 31:18, 32:15, 34:1, 4, 29, Deut. 4:13, 5:22, etc.) But I agree with Meredith G. Kline’s argument that the two tablets each included all ten. In the near eastern treaties, two copies were made, one for the sanctuary of the Great King, one for the sanctuary of the vassal king. In Israel, however, there was only one sanctuary, and both copies were placed there. See Kline, The Structure of Biblical Authority (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), 113-130.

    John Frame (the non-theonomist) agrees with my argument that seeking to take people away from God through other gods is a sin against other people:

    “The very notion of exclusive covenant loyalty requires us to refuse rival loyalties. And there are rivals, others who tempt us to abandon our covenant with God. God has made covenant with us in a fallen world. So the negative focus reflects the reality of sin and temptation. Obedience to God in a fallen world always involves saying no—to Satan, the world, and our own lusts (1 John 2:15-16).”

    And he argues from the greater to lesser:

    “Nevertheless, the death penalties indicate even to us today that idolatry is serious business, and that we should be concerned not only with false religion, but also with people who practice it, less they influence us to be unfaithful to the Lord (Ex. 23:31-33, Deut. 13:6-8, Josh. 23:7-8, Ezra 4:1-3).”

  39. If you don’t want to prosecute sins of the heart, how are you upholding the law of God, which God says has everything to do with the heart?

    Certainly sin starts in the heart (and the 10th Commandment is and exhortation to kill sin where it starts), but sin is not limited to the heart. People also sin with their hands, mouths, keyboards, etc.

  40. Wacky,

    Grow up and get over yourself. I didn’t say I’ve never read anything on theonomy, nor did I claim to understand it fully, and certainly not as thoroughly as someone who is as obviously obsessed with it as you are.

    What I did say, however, is that I reject that you telling me to go read something is an argument. The point of debating a topic in a forum such as this is to not just sit there and make fun of each other, but to interact with each other. You are, again, totally uninterested in interacting with anyone else on THEIR terms, you insist that everyone interact with you on YOUR terms.

    My objection is actually really, really simple. I really don’t need to understand all the subtle nuances and intricacies of theonomy in order for my objection to be valid.

    I need only know this much: you wish to legislate religion. You want to, as has been said, make satanists go into hiding by making their beliefs illegal.

    And I am objecting, saying that this undermines the gospel.

    Now you, because you are so obsessed with your pet doctrine, and because you think that I’m just making wild and unfounded accusations, insist that by raising this objection, I MUST BE saying that you don’t BELIEVE in the gospel.

    That’s just an ignorant distortion, resulting undoubtedly from your having an emotional reaction to my argument, which you have continually ridiculed and haven’t answered. You want to legislate love, and yet you prove that you would end up in jail just as much as the rest of us.

    Ridicule is not a valid debate technique. It just makes you look ignorant. You aren’t ignorant, that much is clear. Your ridicule of me on this point is exceedingly ignorant.

    Let me ask you this. Are you trying to convince people that theonomy should be accepted, or that you are smarter than the rest of us? Which one are you interested in proving?

    When you act like this, the people reading it who DO care about the gospel first and foremost are disturbed. By ridiculing me, you are hurting your credibility among these people who care about the gospel.

    Oh, you do have Daniel on your side. He finds it annoying too that I think I’m the only person on earth who understands the gospel. He thinks I’m terribly arrogant. He also thinks that I have accused him of being contra gospel. But he has distorted what I said in exactly the same way that you have.

    Saying that an unintended consequence of what you are saying is that it undermines the gospel is NOT THE SAME THING as saying that you don’t believe the gospel or that you teach a false gospel or whatever.

    Being inconsistent is different from being a heretic.

    Now look. There can be only one reason for insisting that the law of God be enforced by the civil magistrate. It MUST be the case that you think this will make the people underneath those laws more holy, otherwise there’s no point.

    It doesn’t make anyone more holy. It doesn’t increase obedience to God. It doesn’t increase the number of true believers. It undermines righteousness by faith, it is unbiblical, it undermines the gospel, it is wrong, and most people can understand and recognize that. These are the reasons why MOST people don’t accept theonomy.

    The only people you have on your side are the anti-intellectual fundamentalists who think that the people in Israel are God’s chosen people, and that America is God’s chosen people and instruments of his will on earth. They think our prosperity is blessing from God as a reward for obedience to the law. They think this because they think that since 90% of people in our country claim to believe in God that that must mean that most people are truly believers. They think that since 80% claim to be Christians, that means 80% of the people in our country are on their way to heaven. That’s utterly preposterous and ridiculous, and most Christians with just a little bit of common sense would agree. But these are the people who are on your side. You don’t have the reformed consensus on your side. You are a small sect.

    Why are you a small sect? Because theonomy is pointless and it undermines the gospel. It’s seriously pointless. You can think whatever you want about the civil government, but until you can convince the rest of the country to go along with you, you’re just wasting breath. Your plans cannot be implemented. No one would stand for it.

    No one wants another inquisition.

    Your beliefs are a complete waste of energy. All except for one thing: they serve to undermine the gospel, so we know where they come from.

    It’s a fact. Whether you like it or not, the view does imply that righteousness can come by the law. It DOES imply that. You can say that it doesn’t, but it does.

    If you want to believe that righteousness comes from the law, go ahead. If you want to ridicule me for saying that this undermines the gospel, go ahead.

    Everyone who cares, really cares about the gospel first and foremost who is reading this KNOWS that this objection is valid.

    If your view doesn’t imply that righteousness can come through the law, fine. Say a few words about how that can be. Don’t give me a condescending pat on the head and tell me to go read a stack of books and then come back. That’s not necessary. It’s very, VERY simple. Perhaps you are too far down into the particulars to recognize it, or too busy hating people that disagree with you.

    The simple, kindergarten truth is: your view implies that righteousness CAN be by the law.

    The gospel says that righteousness CANNOT be by the law.

    Therefore, your view’s implication undermines the gospel by contradicting it.

    This is a mickey mouse argument. I’m not claiming that it’s sophisticated. I’m claiming that it’s simple. I’m deliberately not overcomplicating the issue.

    The problem is either that I’m right, or that you’ve never thought about it, or you are offended at the simplicity of the argument. Which is it?

    If you are offended at the simplicity of the argument, then this is not wise. The best arguments are simple.

    If you’ve never thought about it, why ridicule me? Why not stop a minute and think about it? Does your view imply that righteousness CAN be by the law? If it doesn’t, then what on earth is the GOAL of all this law-keeping?

    If it doesn’t make anyone more righteous before God, if it doesn’t increase the number of believers, true believers, then what’s the POINT?

    The fact is, there IS no point, because there’s nothing at all to be gained from implementing your proposal, and I don’t care at all about the particulars, and even if there were something to gain from implementing your proposal, it’s totally unrealistic to think that it could ever, ever, ever be implemented.

    It will never be implemented, and even if it were, it wouldn’t do any good towards advancing the kingdom of God.

    Then can it be from God?

    Is it possible?

    Does God teach things that are pointless and useless?

    Does God teach that righteousness is by law keeping?

    Does God teach that enforcing (external) law keeping will help there to be more true believers?

    No, no, no, no, no, and no. No. NO!

    So make fun of me if you want, discredit me if you want, but the people who care about the gospel are convinced by what I’m saying, so go ahead and turn inward if you like.

    You are not advancing your cause AT ALL, and I for one am glad to see it.

  41. Wacky,

    You said: “John Frame (the non-theonomist) agrees with my argument that seeking to take people away from God through other gods is a sin against other people:”

    By implication, enforcing laws helps people cling to God. You would try to keep people from leading other people away from God. This necessarily implies that if we would only obey this law, MORE PEOPLE WOULD BE SAVED, because fewer people would have been led away from God.

    Again, righteousness by law keeping, salvation by law keeping, etc.

    Undermining the gospel.

  42. Ron,

    Re: 39

    You are correct. But a decrease in outward disobedience does not equal an increase in obedience. Just because people sin with their hands does not mean that if you keep them from sinning with their hands that they become less sinful. In fact, it doesn’t mean that at all.

  43. mphh mmmphh mm mm mmmmppph MMMMMPPPPH!

    (If you couldn’t tell, I’m attempting to make an argument through my vow of silence (which is not quite the same as (everybody together now…) Argument From Silence)

  44. Obviously, I’m no good at vow-keeping. Let me just say that this from Paul:

    Let’s say someone at your church sought to try to get you to believe heresy. If you did, you’d be out of the covenant community, and on your way to hell. Now, how is that not a sin against you?

    Has turned on a lightbulb for me. So in keeping with my (tattered) vow of silence, I will keep meditating on this lightbulb, and I plan to make a new post tomorrow with some pretty major concessions (at least I think pretty major).

    Just when I had abandoned hope of any further progress in this arena!

    So you guys can keep battling it out here today if you want, but I suggest, for all of our sakes, a 24-hour cease-fire.

  45. But a decrease in outward disobedience does not equal an increase in obedience.

    Yes and no. A decrease in outward disobedience equals an increase in outward obedience.

    But before you tell me how eternally inconsequential mere outward obedience is, let me tell you that you are wrong. As a theonomist, I am not so concerned with the effect mere outward obedience has on those outside the Covenant. I realize that it is the job of the Spirit to change the heart. But I am concerned with the corruptive effect of sin upon those within the Covenant. But you know what? So was God.

    Ever since the first sin in the garden, God has attacked sin on two fronts: guilt and corruption. (At times, He emphasized one end over the other. The flood, for instance majored on His attack against sin’s corruption.) The Law is no different. God handled the guilt of sin by graciously forgiving it via the shedding of blood. God handled the corruption of sin by graciously giving us instructions on how to live and how to punish those in our care who do not live according to His Law. This includes God’s demand to purge evil from among us.

    Let me offer the following statement as an illustration:
    As a theonomist and a father, I am less concerned with the eternal destination of child molesters than I am that they stay the hell away from my kids.

  46. Echo,

    I warned you that you should really know what you’re arguing against before you embarrass yourself more. You very long thread #40 just shows that you really are the fool you appear to be and you DON’T know what you’re arguing against. (I really don’t use the word ‘fool’ here to be inflammatory, but there just isn’t another word that works here).

    Anway, your whole post is basically arguing on this FALSE premise:

    I need only know this much: you wish to legislate religion

    WRONG!!!!! So, you’re arguing against a straw man.

    Here’s another early false statement by you in that post:

    You want to legislate love…

    WRONG AGAIN KIDDO!

    THAT is the reason both Wacky and I pointed out that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Those are only a couple of the many straw men that you argue against. Stop and think. I urge you.

    Trying to save you some embarrassment.

    Jeff

  47. Echo, RE: 31
    You’ve made a leap in logic. Just because theonomy doesn’t demand the unbeliever to believe the Gospel (how could it?), one cannot therefore conclude that theonomy does not promote the Gospel.

    Theonomy says, “Christ is King and His rule is law.” Autonomy says, “Man is King and his rule (democracy) is law.” Now which of these ideals promotes the Gospel of the Kingdom?

  48. Removed by RubeRad

  49. Pitting theonomy vs. this thing you’re calling “autonomy” is question begging. You need to prove this assertion. You’ve merely recasted the debate into other language. It also is freighted with the idea that to be non-theonomist is to be unregenerate, since we all know what an autonomist is. You need to connect the dots on this “non-theonomy = autonomy”.

    As for Jeff, why don’t you answer Echo’s questions, if you see him as such an ignoramous? It is not like he isn’t asking you for your insights here. He wants to know what’s the goal, what’s the point of your position.

    A guy asks two very clear questions: What’s the goal and what’s the point. Your response is to tell him how stupid he is.

    The more I watch this thing, the more confused I get. (Getting scolded on these free so-called lessons on logic isn’t getting any of Echo’s basic questions answered.

    All I see coming out of you, Jeff, is this demeaning berating of a guy who loves the gospel and can’t see how your agenda is anything but destructive of what he loves. Why don’t you, instead of pouring contempt on him, explain it to him, answer his questions?

    I confess, I don’t have a clue anymore what you’re after. Are you prophesying that one day, this side of the eschaton, the world will work this way? Or are you saying that your agenda is exactly in line with God’s will and not to lose heart because it is our glorious hope? I ask you what exactly are you doing about making this happen, because one thing I can’t stand is theoretical twaddle? I can tell you this much, the more you advertise your agenda the worse your chances of it ever happening become. The worst thing you can do for a bad product is advertise it well.

    I also don’t know why you aren’t trying to legislate the law of Christ as is so clearly delineated in the New Testament. Please answer that question.

    One thing I emphatically reject is your attempt to get me to read “the literature”. Why would I want to waste valuable time on it if you can’t even convince me out of your own words that it is not garbage.

    I have resigned myself that all the response I will get out of this is another logic lecture and possibly being called a fool. So be it.

  50. Bruce,

    I will respond to you more fully later when I’m not on a short break. I want to say now though, that I am NOT going to give YOU a logic course, or answer you in the same way that I responded to Echo.

    It is obvious to me that your questinos are not disingenuous, Echo’s are obviously disingenuous. It’s not that I see him as an ignoramous, but that his entire comment is based on straw men and therefore if there actually is a question, it’s not in the effort of truly understanding anything about the view he disagrees with. He’s shown no effort to really understand what his straw men are, instead he’s just tried to justify his obvious ignorance.

    I will remind you about the first post here on Theonomy. Take a look at my answers, and tone. This is my first introduction to blogging, and I naively thought that it was a place for good honest discussion of ideas where differing views were trying to understand each other. I gave very honest, detailed, sincere answers to questions to try and represent Theonomy accurately, and humbly.

    But alas, I don’t frame the debate here. I don’t control the subjects. And, when I try to turn the conversation to a discussion of the actual issues, such as my very simple comments at the end of the blog earlier (Theonomy Debate), they get ignored, half-answered, and forgotten. This is NOT a place where people really want to understand this issue (with the possible exception of you now), but it is really just a place to make Theonomy look bad.

    I’ll have some genuine answers for your questions above for you later, and I probably won’t grace this site with them. I’ll send them to you personally.

    Jeff

  51. Something just occurred to me.

    I thought that it was the theonomists job to convince me of their view, and I was telling them about the obstacle that stood in their way.

    Now I understand that the theonomists are saying that they have done their job, now it’s our job to convince them.

    Now that I understand what’s going on here a little better, I will only say this: I don’t care to understand your view as thoroughly as you do. I am of the opinion that I understand it well enough for my purposes. You’re right, I haven’t read bahnsen’s books. I’m not interested. I think it’s wrong, and I think it undermines the gospel, and I don’t find it to be interesting.

    That’s why you won’t convince me to read your literature. I’m not interested in checking out your view. I’m not interested in your view. It’s boring, and it undermines the gospel. I haven’t reached this conclusion on my own, but people I trust have explained it to me enough for me to understand that it undermines the gospel. I am convinced I know as much about it as I need to.

    Now, if at some point in my life someone close to me begins getting into theonomy, I’ll give it a more careful hearing, so that I can raise more precise objections. But for now, I don’t care.

    That’s me. I thought this thread was about theonomists defending theonomy, so I raised my objection. You don’t want to defend theonomy, you want me to defend my objection. But in your critique of me, with the exception of Ron, you have not taken my objection seriously.

    Very well. Since you don’t seem to care that someone is concerned that your view might undermine the gospel, and since you chose to merely ridicule someone who raised that particular objection, rather than engage me openly and honestly, since you decided to pat me on the head and tell me to go read, therefore:

    I feel completely confident that your view DOES undermine the gospel, because you clearly haven’t been taught how important it is.

    If you thought the gospel were indeed of utmost importance, and someone objected to your view on the grounds that it undermines the gospel you would CERTAINLY bear the fruit of taking that objection seriously, and going to great lengths to affirm that yes, the gospel is the most important thing in all of theology, indeed the most important thing on earth, and every bit of theology that comes after that is but a far distant second. You would have affirmed that, and you could have affirmed that, but you didn’t. You would have certainly taken the time to encourage a “weaker brother” who is obviously far less sophisticated than yourself.

    In fact, I daresay that if you really CARED about the gospel, you would have been pleased, even excited that someone gave you the opportunity to show how your view enhances and serves to uphold the gospel.

    But you didn’t.

    I hope you’re proud of yourselves. You’ve proven me right, if only in my eyes.

    Let the record show that you didn’t care to relate your view to the gospel or demonstrate how your view upholds it.

    Let the record further show that you were so personally offended at the accusation that you chose to ridicule me instead of defend the gospel.

    I for one think this is to be mourned.

    I will continue to pray that the collective eyes of the church will be opened to the importance of the gospel.

  52. Ron,

    Re: 45

    Now it seems like all you’re saying is that the mandate of the state is to uphold justice. I’m not sure you have a position that anyone on earth would disagree with if that’s your position.

    Re: 47

    I do not believe that theonomy and the autonomy of the individual in a democracy are the only two options. There is, for example, monarchy, and democratic republics, and other republics, parliamentary governments, etc. The autonomy of the individual and theonomy are not the only two options.

    Jesus said to give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. He also said to Pilate that what authority he had had been given him by God. But the Caesar was a pagan, and Pilate was a pagan. Yet God is the one who put them in power. Even though they were pagans, God still confirmed the legitimacy of their rule.

    Now, I’m not sure if you’re saying that ruling according to God’s law (including all 10 Commandments) is the only form of legitimate rule. But since someone said that political leaders will be called to account for allowing idolatry in their subjects, I think this is a safe assumption. But God says that the Caesar’s rule is legitimate, and he clearly didn’t govern according to God’s laws. It clearly wasn’t a theocracy.

  53. Bruce,

    Atta boy! Get ’em.

    E

  54. This is NOT a place where people really want to understand this issue (with the possible exception of you now), but it is really just a place to make Theonomy look bad.

    Sorry. I don’t REALLY want to understand this issue at all. I want you to answer Echo’s honest question as to what your goal is or what the point is. And I want to know why you aren’t advocating legislating the Law of Christ. So, I really have only one question of my own. That’s different from “really wanting to understand this issue”.

    What has me really worried now is Ron’s charge that as an autonomist, it is exactly me who he wants to legislate and inflict penal sanctions against for my idolatrous position. And that the proof of one’s covenantal relationship is whether or not one is theonomous or autonomous. So we are back to the violence your position does to the gospel.

    FWIW, I don’t see you railing against Ron’s position. Why is that?

  55. Echo,

    I’m not interested in checking out your view. I’m not interested in your view. It’s boring, and it undermines the gospel.

    Again, that is why I am not answering your baseless questions. You basically say here that you’re not interested in checking it out, yet you’re certainly willing to make assertions regarding it. I’ve answered much more than you’ve asked over the months, and frankly I’m tired and frustrated. I know the tone of your posts, and the motivation behind them. You’ve admitted your motives in your post. You have no “interest” in an open, intellectually honest discussion about this matter, so I won’t waste my time.
    If you really want to know the answers to your ‘questions,’ look at the hundreds if not thousands of words I’ve written on THIS blog here.
    As for your concerns about my dedication toward the gospel, look here: http://www.kazules.com. You’ll see there that I am a family man who loves God and in regards to his Christianity, I publicly profess it on my own family website with NO mention of Theonomy at all. Next I guess you’ll be writing me to tell me how I got the gospel wrong on my family website.
    To sum up:
    1. You make straw-men assertions at the beginning of your comments.
    2. You take the adversarial approach afterwards
    3. You ask questions in a rhetorical manner obviously setup to try and ridicule your opponent
    4. You admit you’re not interested in the actual subject matter
    5. You make it obvious that all you want to do is bash and NOT understand (again by your own admission)
    How can anyone who writes in the manner that you do expect anyone to take you seriously? I have no interest in playing games on who can argue best and make the other look the more foolish. I started out months ago here with the sincere intention to answer questions and explain myself. In return I haven’t received the same treatment.
    Jeff

  56. Bruce,

    I just finished teachine shorter catechism #’s 16 & 17 to my eldest son. After this comment, I’ll be teaching him his logic course. I still owe you that response. But I wanted to make another statement, because of you, but to all:

    I will admit that I am frustrated. That is what is showing on my comments here in this blog. It’s frustration. I don’t believe that this has been an honest and fair discussion. I don’t believe that this is a sincere discussion. I don’t believe that there has been intellectual honesty on the part of the anti-theonomists. So be it. Why else would we have advocate after advocate of Theonomy accusing the anti-camp of the same thing? (Straw men, refusal to understand what they argue against). That is my true belief after all this time and effort. I see real attempts on the part of the Theonomists to sincerely answer questions and do justice to scripture, only to have their words misconstrued or ignored.

    There are no new questions here. I’ve answered them all already on this blog. Others have too. Yet, there are MANY unanswered questions on our part.

    My intentions in this thread have been to just continue to point out how the anti-camp continually does NOT make this a real, honest, sincere discussion.

    Regarding my comments to Echo: I’m sorry you think that I was berating him. I think maybe others have done so, but I think that charge against me is a bit excessive. I really do think it is an embarrassing thing to continue to argue against a straw-man, especially when it’s been pointed out to you. I hope I never embarrass myself with that mistake and if I made that mistake, I really would be embarrasses, or actually, ashamed. I don’t want to argue for the sake of winning, but for the sake of getting at the truth. That’s really true of me. Maybe Rube can vouce for that, maybe not. I hope he can.

    Reread my comments #26 & #46. I even put in parenthesis that I was NOT trying to be inflammatory so as to hopefully get my tone accross. I will witness to you now, I meant those comments “sincerely.” I truly believe they were good advice. I was NOT trying to berate him.

    I don’t know what else to say. But I do know that Theonomy needs no more assertions on this blog for a long time. There are plenty that are still unanswered in an honest way.

    Frustratedly,

    Jeff
    http://www.kazules.com

  57. Bruce,

    What comment number and where in that comment do you assert Echo has posed an ‘honest’ question?

    Ron won’t be able to answer until tomorrow, but I do know that he’s quoting Van Til when he says there are only two choices, Theonomy and Autonomy.

    I know he’s not accusing you of being an autonomist. He is saying that if a magistrate doesn’t appeal to God’s idea of a law, that the only choice left is man’s idea of a law. Don’t read too much into it WRT your personal Christianity.

    Jeff

  58. #40

    If you’ve never thought about it, why ridicule me? Why not stop a minute and think about it? Does your view imply that righteousness CAN be by the law? If it doesn’t, then what on earth is the GOAL of all this law-keeping?

    If it doesn’t make anyone more righteous before God, if it doesn’t increase the number of believers, true believers, then what’s the POINT?

    All I really want is an upright piano of my own and an answer to the question “why aren’t you hot to legislate the law of Christ”?

  59. Bruce,

    Re-reading his post still convinces me that he is NOT being sincere. That question is taunting. It’s near the end and founded on a host of problematic statements. I see no indication that the comment #40 has any sincerety to actually have an open and honest discussion.

    Here are some quotes that I ‘feel’ support my conclusions:

    My objection is actually really, really simple. I really don’t need to understand all the subtle nuances and intricacies of theonomy in order for my objection to be valid.

    I need only know this much: you wish to legislate religion. You want to, as has been said, make satanists go into hiding by making their beliefs illegal.

    And I am objecting, saying that this undermines the gospel.

    It has been stated more than once that we do not want to legislate religion. Our explanation of this statement can be found more than once in these posts.

    Since we do not want to legislate religion, his conclusion that it undermines the gospel is invalidated. Legislating religion ‘may’ undermine the gospel. But, since we don’t want to legislate ‘religion,’ then he’s arguing against a straw man. (I am REALLY trying to write this in a matter of fact, unemotional way right now)

    I believe the notion that any state government can be founded on non-religious beliefs has been addressed in this blog as well. It has also been stated that being founded on religious beliefs doesn’t mean that a ‘religion’ is being ‘legislated.’ For example, our presbytery actually ‘legislates’ our presbyterian ‘religion.’

    Echo says:

    You want to legislate love, and yet you prove that you would end up in jail just as much as the rest of us.

    Another straw man.

    Echo says:

    Now look. There can be only one reason for insisting that the law of God be enforced by the civil magistrate. It MUST be the case that you think this will make the people underneath those laws more holy, otherwise there’s no point

    Is he serious? Have we really NOT stated reasons why we feel the Bible teaches us that the civil magistrate should enforce the law of God? Is he really building yet another straw man here? Is he really starting another foundation to his argument on falsities? Do we really state anywhere that we think the reason to enforce God’s law in a civil arena is to make those underneath those laws more holy?

    I guess he does, because then he actually argues on this foundation which is another straw man:

    It doesn’t make anyone more holy. It doesn’t increase obedience to God. It doesn’t increase the number of true believers. It undermines righteousness by faith, it is unbiblical, it undermines the gospel, it is wrong, and most people can understand and recognize that. These are the reasons why MOST people don’t accept theonomy.

    By now, this far into his post, it is so screamingly obvious to me that he really has no sincere desire to argue in an intellectually honest fashion. Therefore, I reject his comment as anything worthy of response. I’ve tried responding to arguments like this for too long and it gets us nowhere. Again, frustration.

    The above is sincere, heartfelt reasons that I feel my comments and actions on this post toward Echo are justified.

    Now, if Echo wants to try and convince me that he really is concerned about an intellectually honest conversation and wants to discuss things on this blog with me as a brother, in a brotherly way, then I suspect he is capable of doing that and I don’t think any response of his will look anything like he’s posted already. Again, my comments were sincerely trying to bring him to the realization that the way he’s arguing is far from ‘loving.’

    Sincerely, Humbly, Honestly,

    Jeff

  60. Bruce,

    All I really want is an upright piano of my own and an answer to the question “why aren’t you hot to legislate the law of Christ”?

    I hope you get that piano you want! We have one and it’s a wonderful thing to hear my sons playing on it. My oldest, Stephen, is actually starting to play for people in a serving way. Our church has a ministry to retirement home that the kids of our church play the worship for once a month. Stephen just started to serve with them. :)

    Regarding your question: “Why aren’t you hot to legislate the law of Christ?” I have a few comments and responses.

    First of all, what makes you so sure that I’m not? You’ve cornered me into your assumption. Do you agree? Also, you’ve cornered me into your presuppositions about the law of Christ. So…

    Secondly, please tell me what YOU mean by “legislate the law of Christ.”

    Thirdly, please notice that all of these posts on this blog are questions and subjects all relating to “Theonomy,” and more specifically what Rube here disagrees with. You have to admit that Rube is framing the debate and it is unfair to characterize me based solely on this blog. Right?

    Fourthly, I try to run my life, and my family by the law of Christ. That includes discipling my children in the reformed faith. My two oldest children have completely memorized questions and answers to the Children’s Catechism. I am learning Greek at church on Sunday’s. These are just examples of how I am trying to disciple and be discipled for Christ, which I believe results in a more sanctified life that follows after the law of Christ. Maybe you mean something different than this.

    Does this answer your question? Does it begin to? I hope so.

    Again, very sincerely, not beratingly,

    Jeff

  61. BTW, Am I the only one who suspects that “Echo” is actually a more insulting, free-wheeling alias of Bruce himself?

  62. Albi,

    I REALLY hope you’re not right. Man! That thought gives me shivers. If I find out that that is the truth, I think I’m just going to curl up somewhere and cry.

    I look forward to meeting you someday, my fellow tongue-talking brother!

    Jeff

  63. Bruce wants an honest answer to echo’s post #40 (I which I could have my posts answered, but oh-well).

    I’ll try, but I ask that if I get another ridiculous response from echo that Bruce, Ruben, and any other non-theonomist here would be consistent and tell him to stop slandering people.

    His post was extremely repetitive.

    I don’t really know what, exactly, Bruce wanted a response to. I respond to it all, then.

    Grow up and get over yourself. I didn’t say I’ve never read anything on theonomy, nor did I claim to understand it fully, and certainly not as thoroughly as someone who is as obviously obsessed with it as you are.

    i. Grow up and get over myself?

    ii. You admitted you hadn’t read Bahnsen et al. Well, who have you read? Is it wise to make decisions on something when you’ve never read the works of those you’re arguing against? I don’t think so, maybe you do. But, for me I want to make sure I’m understand a position before I reject it. I think this honors God in my reasoning. Now, I’d love to be able to go on my “gut feeling” like you, it would save me hours and hours of study.

    iii. I’m not obsessed with theonomy. Actually, this is the first time I’ve debated it online (rather than talking to a friend about it *occasionally*) in 2 1/2 years.

    iv. Ask Bruce. Ask Ruben. Ask seminary profs if they think it’s wise to rip into a position that you “don’t understand?”

    What I did say, however, is that I reject that you telling me to go read something is an argument. The point of debating a topic in a forum such as this is to not just sit there and make fun of each other, but to interact with each other. You are, again, totally uninterested in interacting with anyone else on THEIR terms, you insist that everyone interact with you on YOUR terms.

    i. It wasn’t an argument. I pointed you to some online material to read which covered the ground of the precise question you were asking in more detail that I could or want to give in a combox.

    ii. Read a logic book. There are such things as valid arguments from authority.

    iii. Probably 95% of my posts have been rational arguments, with no name calling. I play up to the level of my competition. When you act like a child, I respond in kind. Sometimes you need to speak to children like children.

    iv. I’ve actually taken my time to interact with virtually EVERY SINGLE QUESTION asked of me. Virtually EVERY SINGLE ARGUMENT against theonomy, I’ve responded to. So, what are you smoking?

    v. It’s you who’s not interacting. Indeed, go read this thread and the other one and see if AT LEAST 60% of everything I’ve said has not been responded to.

    My objection is actually really, really simple. I really don’t need to understand all the subtle nuances and intricacies of theonomy in order for my objection to be valid.

    I need only know this much: you wish to legislate religion. You want to, as has been said, make Satanists go into hiding by making their beliefs illegal.

    i. Who’s not interacting. I’ve answered this time and time again. No.

    ii. There’s many qualifications that need to be made. I made them in the other thread, see post #9.

    iii. I don’t want to make Satanists go into hiding and I don’t want to make beliefs illegal.

    iv. Factually, you’re mistaken. The SAME THING that I’m advocating *civilly* here, happened in OT Israel. How come the unbelievers who lived in OT Israel DID NOT have to go in to hiding?

    Now you, because you are so obsessed with your pet doctrine, and because you think that I’m just making wild and unfounded accusations, insist that by raising this objection, I MUST BE saying that you don’t BELIEVE in the gospel.

    i. Hmmm, didn’t you just mention “name calling” and say that these comboxes are “not the place for that?”

    ii. You ARE making unfounded and wild accusations.

    iii. Quote me where I said you said I don’t believe the gospel.

    iv. Try to pay attention to what’s going on. Re-read the thread if your memory is so bad.

    v. Check out all the arguments I’ve leveled at you. Where’s your response? Check out the reductio ad absurdums I gave your view. Where’s your response? Nowhere!

    That’s just an ignorant distortion, resulting undoubtedly from your having an emotional reaction to my argument, which you have continually ridiculed and haven’t answered. You want to legislate love, and yet you prove that you would end up in jail just as much as the rest of us.

    i. But I never said that, and so the distortion is yours.

    ii. Legislate love? Who knows what that means. I did point out that, say, not murdering someone was to “love your neighbor” *as Paul says in Romans 13), so do you think governments should make laws against murder? If so, do you “want to legislate?”

    iii. I’ve actually responded to your arguments. It’s you who haven’t responded to mine. if you or anyone doubts me, go back and re-read the thread.

    iv. How would I end up in jail? Oh, you must mean by “legislate love” I want to “legislate heart sins.” No. I don’t. The only way you could get what you got is by not reading my responses. So it turns out that *you’re* the one who doesn’t want to “interact.” I mean, sheesh, you’re not even reading what I write.

    Ridicule is not a valid debate technique. It just makes you look ignorant. You aren’t ignorant, that much is clear. Your ridicule of me on this point is exceedingly ignorant.

    i. Then why are you ridiculing us?

    ii. I’ve gave PLENTY of arguments. In fact, I gave a valid syllogism in the other thread, and defended the only complaint against it (that P1 was false). I don’t get responses. So, what should i do?

    Let me ask you this. Are you trying to convince people that theonomy should be accepted, or that you are smarter than the rest of us? Which one are you interested in proving?

    i. That you’re a wild gunslinger, who shoots from the hip and hopes he hits something while his eyes are closed.

    ii. Seriously, I’m doing two things: (a) defending theonomy against your (and the others) attacks, and (b) presenting a positive case. For you to not get that I’m doing this just shows that you’re not even reading the responses. You have your mind made up, and I’m just confusing you with the facts.

    iii. Are you trying to show (a) how much you don’t know about a subject while simultaneously critiquing it, or (b) how frustrated you can get theonomists by slandering them?

    iv. Bruce, where was this guys questions you wanted a response to?

    Oh, you do have Daniel on your side. He finds it annoying too that I think I’m the only person on earth who understands the gospel. He thinks I’m terribly arrogant. He also thinks that I have accused him of being contra gospel. But he has distorted what I said in exactly the same way that you have.

    i. Yeah, now I think I know what you’re doing: (c) seeing how many ways you can repeat yourself.

    ii. Have you quoted me ONCE, showing where I “distorted” what you said.

    iii. When someone says someone says something, when they really haven’t, and it hasn’t been documented, what’s that called? Oh yeah, “distortion.”

    iv. Try to not be a hypocrite, mkay?

    Saying that an unintended consequence of what you are saying is that it undermines the gospel is NOT THE SAME THING as saying that you don’t believe the gospel or that you teach a false gospel or whatever.

    i. Again, I never said you said I don’t believe the gospel.

    ii. But, let’s read what YOU HAVE SAID:

    You apparently don’t believe that faith comes by hearing the word of Christ, but by the pen of the legislature or the king, whichever you advocate.

    So, it looks like YOU SAID I don’t believe the gospel, but that I “believe” that “faith comes by the law.”

    iii. Really, you shouldn’t play with adults, you might get hurt.

    iv. Every single point, even your misrepresentations and your blaming of me for something YOU SAID has been refuted. Echo, sometimes people need to be talked to sternly, this is such a time.

    Now look. There can be only one reason for insisting that the law of God be enforced by the civil magistrate. It MUST be the case that you think this will make the people underneath those laws more holy, otherwise there’s no point.

    i. I don’t insist that “the laws of God” be enforced by the civil magistrate.

    ii. You need to be precise, your thinking is all muddled.

    iii. I insist that *some* of the laws of God be enforced by the civil magistrate – the civil offenses.

    iv. Do you not think *any* of God’s laws should be enforced? If not, then you don’t think the civil magistrate should enforce laws against murder and theft? If so, then you have the *same* position as I do, we just differ on the *details.* We just differ on *which* of God’s civil laws should be enforced.

    v. I already addressed your “there’s no point” argument. Do you think the magistrate should enforce God’s law that says thou shall not murder? If so, are you trying to “make people holy?” If not, then neither am I. I’m doing the *exact* same thing you are, we just differ on what laws should be enforced on society. But, every one of the laws I say the magistrate should enforce where civil crimes in the Bible.

    vi. So, either you think the civil law against murder “makes people holy,” or I don’t think that the civil laws I want enforced will “make people holy.” You don’t think the civil law against murder “makes people holy.” Therefore, my position must not hold that I want to enforce the laws to “make people holy.”

    vii. In case you didn’t get that, I’ll express it formally:

    P v Q

    ~P

    :.Q

    The only people you have on your side are the anti-intellectual fundamentalists who think that the people in Israel are God’s chosen people, and that America is God’s chosen people and instruments of his will on earth.

    i. Yawn.

    ii. Bruce, you thought this guy’s post needed answering?

    iii. Surely the non-theonomists here can agree that this echo fellow is making the non-theonomists look bad.

    iv. See how he implies that I’m “anti-intellectual.”

    v. See how he implies that Greg Bahnsen is an “anti-intellectual. Ken Gentry. Many of the puritans. C’mon, guy.

    vi. Really, I should make it known to Ruben and Bruce. Echo IS NOT some theonomist I paid to come here and make non-theonomists look bad. I couldn’t conjur up someone to make non-theonomists look so unstudied, illogical, and flat-out foolish as Echo is making non-theonomists look. Seriously, ban him from your combox, if you want to retain any intellectual respectability.

    vii. LOL. I think Israel is the whore bride. Jesus divorced her in 70 AD. I give two hoots about Israel, spiritually. I only care about them in regards to my geo-political views. I don’t want the Muslims trying to reinstate the Caliph, but I digress….

    viii. LOL x 2. I don’t think America is God’s chosen people.

    ix. Look, you don’t even know my position but you pretend to. You did to me what you do to theonomy. You never bothered to ask me, or study me, you just ran out into the dark, flailing your arms, trying to hit the bad guy. Look, I say this with all honesty, you’re really making yourself look stupid.

    Why are you a small sect?

    i. Yet more fallacies.

    ii. yeah, I can hear the Jews telling the Christians 2,000 years ago: “If your theory is true, why are you such a small sect?” lol.

    You can think whatever you want about the civil government, but until you can convince the rest of the country to go along with you, you’re just wasting breath.

    i. You can think whatever you want about abortion, but until you convince the rest of the county that it’s wrong and they should go along with you, you’re just wasting your breath. It’s pointless. i don’t care what you say. Pointless.

    ii. Echo, you’re seriously a very bad debater. Your arguments are fallacious, easy to refute, and you keep kicking yourself in the face just to beat me.

    iii. For want of the nail the kingdom was lost?

    It’s a fact. Whether you like it or not, the view does imply that righteousness can come by the law. It DOES imply that. You can say that it doesn’t, but it does.

    i. Your view is polytheistic. You can say it’s not. But I don’t care. it is. It DOES imply that.

    ii. Your view is stupid. You can say its not. But I don’t care. It is. It DOES imply stupidity.

    iii. Your view is antinomian. You can say it’s not. blah blah blah.

    iv. Get the point? Arbitrariness is a fickle friend. It’s ALWAYS reversible.

    v. Notice that above all you did, indeed all you’ve been doing, is to make a MERE ASSERTION.

    If your view doesn’t imply that righteousness can come through the law, fine. Say a few words about how that can be.

    i. I already have in both this thread and the previous one. You’re not reading.

    ii. It can be THE SAME WAY that your view that the magistrate should enforce GOD’S LAWS against stealing, murder, perjury, etc., does not imply righteousness by faith.

    iii. Remember, (ii) was proven by my disjunctive syllogism I gave above.

    And so with the above, I conclude that echo is a hack. I’ve refuted EVERY one of his “arguments.”

    QED.

    Bye now, echo.

  64. I can’t believe it’s me saying this, but, for Echo’s (or whoever is pretending to be Echo) sake, can we just posit that all of us believe in salvation by grace through faith? Can we posit that all of us believe and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Can we posit that all of us believe that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God? Let’s be done with all the petty accusations of heresy, and just argue the proposition, PLEASE! This is like the 3rd or 4th thread that you have accused other Christians of harming the Gospel and being wicked teachers, Echo. Just stay on point, and stop attempting to offend your brother.

  65. Alby,

    Just for the record:

    1. I believe in salvation by grace through faith (in Jesus Christ)

    2. I believe in and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    3. I believe that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God.

    I’ll even go a little further for my reformed brethren’s sake:

    4. I believe the Westminster Standards are correct except for one very small technicality. (I don’t want to muddy the water as to what that technicality is, and Rube and Ron better not reveal that here)

    One more:

    5. I believe that Albino Hayford is my brother, as well as Rube, Ron, Bruce, & Wacky. There are others of course.

    :)

    Jeff

  66. […] I promised a “major concession“, so here it is. The (Westminster Confession’s) distinction between ‘duty to God’ and ‘duty to man’ does not justify the exclusion of first-table laws from enforcement by the civil magistrate. […]

  67. Removed by RubeRad

  68. Removed by RubeRad

  69. Jeff,

    Re: 59

    The reason why you think that my posts are insincere and laughable boils down to the fact that you don’t believe that your view undermines the gospel. That’s the sum of the matter.

    You also don’t believe that you want to legislate religion, yet you want to make idolatry illegal. I see this as hypocritical. I’m not making this up. I’m not saying this to make fun of you. I’m saying this because I believe it’s true.

    I see it as completely legitimate and rational to say that having the civil magistrate enforce the first and second commandments is legislating religion.

    I don’t know why you can’t seem to characterize my comments correctly. You seem to think that I’m claiming that you don’t believe in the gospel. That’s not what I’m saying. In fact, I have taken great pains to demonstrate that that’s not what I’m saying.

    I’m saying that an UNINTENDED IMPLICATION of your view is that it undermines the gospel. Can you at least admit that there’s a distinction between refusing to believe the gospel, and being inconsistent with it?

    The two are not the same thing. I really don’t care to look at your personal website and your profession of the gospel. You could make the most solid profession of faith in the gospel that you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that Theonomy is inconsistent with it.

    I asked one of my professors here, who is a relatively famous theologian, if he thought theonomy undermined the gospel. Without hesitating for a moment he said yes. Now, you can claim all you want that I’m an idiot for making this charge, but surely if I mentioned his name, you wouldn’t dismiss it so lightly.

    You’re right, I haven’t read a library full of books on theonomy. But I understand it ENOUGH to say that it undermines the gospel. I’m totally confident in making that claim. And I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t know all the intracacies of the Theonomy literature that’s out there. But I understand a few simple things about it, and those things undermine the gospel, and I frankly don’t care how much you dress it up in voluminous articulation and subtlety.

    I don’t need to read the Council of Trent to know that when it declares justification by faith alone to be anathema, it is pure heresy. I don’t have to examine all the intracacies. My pastor read me about a three sentence quote. I have heard all I need to hear to declare the church in Rome to be against the gospel and therefore evil. They have declared the very gospel I love to be anathema. that’s all I need to know. I don’t need to read all the volumes of Roman canon law. I don’t need to study their catechism. They still stand by the Council of Trent which declares the gospel to be of the devil.

    So from now on, I will be totally unimpressed with anything that Rome says until they admit that Trent was a lie and that they recant of this position. Until they affirm that justification is by faith alone at the very least, they remain heretics, and I’m not interested in what they say about praying to saints and Mary and all of that. I don’t care. I’ve got better things to do. They are heretics, false teachers, liars and blasphemers. I can say all of that because of one or two sentences that I know they claim as their own. That’s all it takes. Their view is out of accord with the Scriptures and the gospel, and therefore, I write them off until they recant.

    In the same way, I see a few things about Theonomy, such as saying that the state ought to enforce the first two commandments, and I conclude, RIGHTLY, that this, precisely this, no matter what else you say, undermines the gospel.

    I don’t need to read libraries full of books, because YOU have affirmed that you want to enforce the first two commandments. Wacky has affirmed it, and Ron has affirmed it.

    Again, that’s great if you believe and teach the gospel, but this view, precisely at THIS POINT, undermines the gospel. You don’t need to be a Theonomy scholar in training to understand that.

    Any further reading of Theonomy literature is thus a waste of my time. Until you can answer this objection, I will continue to say, RIGHTLY, that your view on THIS undermines the gospel. That’s great if the rest of your theology does not undermine the gospel. That’s great if your soteriology is perfectly in accord with the gospel. I’ll be happy to have a beer with you in heaven and laugh about it. But for now, this view of yours is inconsistent with the gospel. Period. I will never, ever, ever, ever accept anything that even smells like it MIGHT undermine the gospel.

    So, you may assume that my objections are insincere and that I am only determined to ridicule you if you like. I cannot help how I am perceived. But I contend that it is only because you are “presupposing” my objection to be ridiculous. After all, you believe the gospel, so how could it even be possible that something else you believe would undermine the gospel that you treasure?

    Well, guess what, we’re sinful, and many things that we do are inconsistent with the gospel. Every single time we sin we are being inconsistent with the gospel. Every time. It doesn’t mean you don’t believe the gospel. It means you are not acting in keeping with it.

    In the same way, your view is inconsistent with the gospel. I have demonstrated that fact.

    What really, really, really bothers me and is beginning to frustrate me as well, is this: Your actions, whether you like it or not, whether you intend it or not, are sending a very clear message that your PRIDE is more important to you than the gospel.

    Someone says your view undermines the gospel, and you’re so worried about being personally offended that you defend YOURSELF rather than your view. And in response, rather than attacking my objection, you attack me.

    I’m sure it’s the case that the gospel is more important to you than your pride. I’m sure of it. But your actions are not in keeping with it. You have sought to defend yourself rather than the gospel.

    I continue to be convinced that my objection is right on the money. You keep sending me messages that confirm it. My professor confirmed it. And oh, by the way, he’s read a book or two about theonomy. But I’m not simply claiming his “authority” or anything. I’m deliberately not mentioning his name. I’m not standing up for him, and I’m not standing up for myself.

    I am standing, at the VERY LEAST in my own perception, for the GOSPEL.

    And in standing for the gospel, I really don’t care if you get frustrated. That you are offended only confirms that I’m on the side of the gospel, because the gospel is intrinsically offensive. People hate the gospel by nature, and we are all sinful.

    I have experienced the same thing. When I am shown that something I believe is out of accord with the gospel, I get very bent out of shape. But that’s when we have to stop and submit to the gospel of Jesus Christ, because in so doing, we are submitting to God.

    So go ahead and insist that I’m setting up strawmen. Go right ahead. I don’t care.

    Whether you like it or not, whether you see it or not, your view does in fact undermine the gospel. Period.

    And I will continue to defend the gospel.

  70. Jeff,

    PS Your statement of the gospel is excellent on your website. All the more reason why you should stop and think about Theonomy.

  71. Albino,

    Re: 61

    Let me assure you that I am not Bruce. But I’m not going to use my real name to prove it. Anonymity is my privilege.

  72. No name = no accountability

  73. Echo, I think this is a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black,

    “What really, really, really bothers me and is beginning to frustrate me as well, is this: Your actions, whether you like it or not, whether you intend it or not, are sending a very clear message that your PRIDE is more important to you than the gospel.”

  74. I see it as completely legitimate and rational to say that having the civil magistrate enforce the first and second commandments is legislating religion.

    So does the rest of Christianity, despite how hard Theonomists work to rationalize away this fact. This exactly what I am trying to draw out in the next post…

    surely if I mentioned his name, you wouldn’t dismiss it so lightly.

    I wouldn’t count on it. Jeff & Ron already think of WSCAL as a pile of law-haters.

    I’ll be happy to have a beer with you in heaven and laugh about it.

    I’m sorry to inform you that in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, there is likely no fermentation. Enjoy it while you can!

  75. Finally,

    A post from Echo that I can’t complain much about (69). I mean, no, I obviously still don’t agree with his conclusions, but at least it is written more like brethren should write (mostly). Thanks Echo. I appreciate it.

    So, great. Let’s have a real discussion.

    The reason why you think that my posts are insincere and laughable boils down to the fact that you don’t believe that your view undermines the gospel. That’s the sum of the matter.

    No, that’s not the reason. But yes, I don’t believe it undermines the gospel. Neither do a great many seminary professors, neither does the official OPC or PCA position, and a great many other well qualified, credentialed men. This really is an in-house debate.

    So, taking it backwards: why don’t I think it undermines the gospel? That would be a good question to ask me (not saying it hasn’t been asked or answered)

    Why do you think it undermines the gospel? Again, a good question to ask, and I’m not saying it hasn’t been asked or answered.

    Is that the reason I think Echo’s posts are insincere? Nope. I think that purposely setting up straw men to knock them down, especially when it’s been pointed out that they ARE straw men, is what arguing insincerely is. I think arguing about something you know so very very little about, refusing to make sure you properly understand it so you don’t misrepresent the view you’re arguing against, is arguing insincerely. Comment #59 above explains the real reasons I think the posts before #69 were insincere.

    Here is a possible way that Echo could have contributed instead:

    Now, Jeff has said that legislating religion is not what he’s advocating. But, I, Echo, believe that any legislation regarding the 1st table of the law has to be legislating religion. So, from the very starting point, it’s obvious to me that we disagree. So, Jeff, why do you feel that the 1st table CAN be legislated without legislating religion? Isn’t that just contradicting yourself?

    Obviously, I have put exaggeration in the blockquote above, but it is to make the point, that’s all. Again, I’m still out of emotional frustrated mood right now and am not trying to be sarcastic. Just trying to write matter of factly.

    Now, by stating it as a matter of fact and then going on to argue against it is just a plain complete waste of time. I may even agree with every single argument against ‘legislating religion.’ But, if I disagree that my beliefs logicaly infer that religion is being legislated, then THAT is the point of contention and many words and paragraphs have been wasted. So, HERE’S A REAL QUESTION FOR ECHO: WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU USE THE WORD: “RELIGION?” Maybe, just maybe, we each define that word differently, and so we’re the victims of equivocation.

    Anyway, I sincerely thank you, Echo, for changing your tone, for considering my input, for responding to it in the way that you did, and for looking at my website and gospel outline. I am very glad that you didn’t disagree with it (the gospel).

    My intentions were not so much to be prideful and defend myself (this, btw, is where I think you start to stray into your old self), but to help you see that there really is a human side to me. A Christian loving side to me. Too many times in this cyberworld the personal side is truncated and the impersonal takes over. I wasn’t trying to attack YOU personally, but the way in which you have posted up until this point. If it can’t be a real down to earth sincere discussion of God’s Word, then I just have no interest, time or patience. If you ‘truly’ feel that you were being sincere, then say that, and we’ll chalk up both of our set of comments as ‘badly written and easily misunderstood,’ and we can start over again, hopefully with charity towards each other and thoughtfulness in any comments we make that are assertions.

    Jeff

  76. Jeff,

    Here’s proof of my sincerity.

    I have been accused of both being painfully ignorant of theonomy, on the one hand, and PURPOSELY setting up straw men on the other.

    Both cannot be right, logically.

    Your block quote of what I should say is probably what I should have said.

    Here’s what dumbfounds me.

    Exo 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

    You want the state to enforce this as a rule, right?

    I really don’t care if you want to call this legislating religion or not. It doesn’t matter. If you want the state to enforce this rule, this is precisely what I’m saying undermines the gospel.

    Please don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that this MUST be referred to as “legislating religion”, and further that anything that seeks to legislate religion undermines the gospel.

    Rather, I’m saying that having the state enforce the first commandment undermines the gospel. I have chosen to label that as “legislating religion”, but I’m by no means committed to that terminology.

    What I am committed to is the belief that having the state (or anyone else) enforce the first commandment outside of the church undermines the gospel. Bearing in mind, I find it to be an important distinction that people in the church take VOWS to submit to God, having professed their faith, and voluntarily submit to the rule of the elders, saying, “All this we will do.” Thus they enter into a covenant with the church, and the church has jurisdiction over them. I find this to be the only appropriate context in which the church should enforce this particular law. I find that having the state force people to obey the first commandment undermines the gospel. I find that if the church somehow became the state, so that the church took over the government, that it would still undermine the gospel.

    If I need to say more, I’ll say more.

    But because I do not wish to hold my name up higher than the gospel, I hereby admit that Wacky did in fact catch me in a bit of double talk, with respect to whether or not I actually accused anyone of not believing in the gospel, and I hereby apologize.

    I nonetheless remain absolutely committed to my position, even though I myself am not infallible.

    E

    PS Albino, I don’t think it’s wise for me to use my real name in these settings. What people say is too easily misrepresented. Some of my profs don’t let you record their lectures for that reason. If that means I have no accountability, so be it. Let it take away from my credibility. No one here has any oversight over you. I don’t think that you use your name gains you any extra credibility. But, about all of this, I shrug, saying, whatever.

  77. Echo,

    I LOVE your post #76. This is a discussion now that might actually bear some fruit. And by fruit, I don’t necessarily mean that either one of us will change our mind. I just mean that understanding of each other can increase.

    So, let’s talk about this statement:

    Here’s what dumbfounds me.

    Exo 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

    You want the state to enforce this as a rule, right?

    Wrong, and right. You now say, WHAT!!!!???

    Okay, here’s what I believe about the first four. This is a summary of what I believe. How I arrived at these ‘conclusions’ is a very long line of systematic theological study.

    1. I believe that the 10 Commandments are a summary of the moral law.

    2. I believe that the case law is an exposition of this summary (the 10).

    3. I believe that this case law reveals ‘some’ responsibilities for the magistrate.

    4. I believe that these responsibilities are still responsibilities, but only the ‘general equity.’

    5. If these are correct then Theonomy is correct

    6. If these are correct, then Theonomy is correct

    7. If you disagree with these, then THIS is where we should focus our argument, not on the logical conclusion (which is what follows)

    So, as far as I know, the magistrate’s responsibility toward the first commandment is exegeted by Deuteronomy chapter 13. Many commentator’s, including many non-theonomists, regard this as ‘revolution’ or ‘anarchy.’ Whacky has tried to explain this in his comment #57 in the post just previous to this. I’ll quote him a little:

    In my view it would function just like laws against anarchism and rebellion in the U.S.

    The non-Israelits were not forced to bring sacrifices to God, but they were forced to not publicly draw Israelites away from Jehovah. And, if they did, that would be a sin against *man!* (And God, of course.)

    Some of the violations of the first commandment were *civil* violations, others were not. Unbelief is a violation, but in the OT land, foreigners who did not believe were not punished for their unbelief, yet they did commit sin by doing so. But, unbelievers *were* punished for other 1st commandment violations.

    It is the undermining of the laws foundation that is being legislated against here. That is why I say this is not legislating ‘religion.’ But, admittedly, it depends upon what we want to agree ‘religion’ means. The problem is if I just accept a wide open definition of ‘religion’ and then say, okay, with that definition, I guess I do want to legislate religion, what I really believe is open to a bunch of equivocation.

    Example: Did he just say he wants to legislate religion? No Way! I can’t believe he wants the state to force people to go to church on Sunday. But you see, I don’t think the state should force people to go to church today.

    Let me try and explain what I am NOT saying either. I am NOT saying that it would be illegal for someone to ‘believe’ in a false God. I’m NOT saying that laws should exist that would setup anything like the Spanish inquisition.

    I AM saying it would be against the law to go knocking on doors trying to convince people to worship satan. THAT is an outward act. Just like murder. It would be against the law to murder. But, regarding satan in your heart or harboring hatred in your heart, neither one of those can be legislated against. Keep an eye on the next thread from Rube. Depending on how Rube answers and if we can actually establish our terms, I plan to actually answer his question. I’m just trying to be ‘really’ careful so that when I do, EVERYONE will have no doubt at all what I mean by each and every term that is used.

    But keep in mind, of course you disagree with these conclusions if you disagree with belief #4 above.

    One last thing to mention. We have many presuppositions we all bring to the table that aren’t necessarily thought out. I don’t want to answer these right now, but consider:

    1. Can any state actually be ‘religiously neutral?’
    2. Can any state actually be ‘morally neutral?’ (in case that means a different thing than #1)
    3. Is the sky really blue?

    Now, I’m going to leave off here. What I hope to see in response is some sort of affirmation that, even though you disagree with my logic, you can at least see where I am coming from. That maybe you can understand why I wouldn’t categorize it as “legislating religion.” And, why I don’t believe it is undermining the gospel.

    Jeff

  78. No name = no accountability

    No denomination = no doctrinal accountability?

    No formal church membership = no individual accountability?

    (No, don’t even respond to that here — threadjacking on my blog is punishable by stoning)

    In any case, Mr. “Albino Hayford” — I know that’s not your real name, and I hereby unmask you! Let all the world know that you are really…

    Albino Shaq!

  79. in post # 77 one of the correct = correct numbers should have been incorrect = incorrect

    Jeff

  80. I can go back and edit it for you, but before I do, I want to take this opportunity to point out an application of the law of the contrapositive. If you change the last statement to “If Theonomy is incorrect, then this is incorrect”, then that modified last statement would be logically equivalent to the previous, and would thus be redundant (which is not necessarily bad, if you deliberately want to say the same thing again a different way to make a point). But the converse “if this is incorrect, then Theonomy is incorrect” is a different statement than the previous, and does not logically derive from the previous, and thus it requires separate justification.

  81. I suggest leave it. I agree with you on the logic you point out. also the redundancy is to stress the point. I am also fully aware that you can’t swap. that is because of the ‘distribution’ of each term (as Stephen’s logic course puts it)

    (i wrote this from my phone)

    Jeff

  82. Jeff,

    Thanks, that makes sense. I do, of course, remain convinced that this view undermines the gospel.

    Let me ask you a question. How sharp can you make the distinction between believing something and bearing witness to it?

    Here’s what I mean. You would essentially want it to be legal to simply be a satanist, but illegal to prosyletize.

    But what if someone asks him what he believes? Then can he talk about what he believes?

    Let’s pretend that in order to be a “good” satanist, you have to wear a certain black cloak everywhere you go. Could you make this illegal? I’m not sure you could, but yet everywhere the satanist goes, he is bearing witness to the fact that he is a satanist. Whether we like it or not, this is going to be a subtle influence on people. Sure, most people will be unaffected. But won’t there be that occasional guy who gets curious about the mysterious man in the black cloak? And when he gathers with the others in black cloaks outside of town in that cave, what are they doing? Won’t the satanists be arousing curiosity in others, and won’t this curiosity draw them?

    This method of proselytizing is super old. It stretches at least back into Ancient Greece and Rome with the mystery religions. Today I suppose you could compare it to the Masons. Masons are secretive about what they do. Their members generally only wear a little ring that often goes unnoticed. But have you ever been curious as to what Masons are about or what they do or what they believe, just because you have never heard of it before?

    What I’m trying to say is that simply in virtue of the fact that someone believes it, this will draw people to it. Even if you outlaw proselytizing, the bare (brute) fact of their belief will have a proselytizing effect.

    And what do you do about the satanist that has children? Assuming that he does not sacrifice them or some other horrible thing, is he guilty of drawing his children away from the worship of the one true God simply by raising them to be satanists? In your view, is that parent acting wrongly toward his children?

    I agree that satanists are evil. If I really could have my way, I would kill them all. I’d probably enjoy it too. But God has not chosen to do that. You have surely, like me, wondered why.

    Are we really concerned that a true believer – a TRUE believer – is going to be drawn away from faith in Christ by even the most vehement proselytizers?

    I am not.

    Their faith was never of their own doing. It always came from God, and God is not an indian giver. He has promised his children, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” If that’s true, then he will surely sustain us. That’s why John can say:

    1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

    We don’t have to use the state to protect true believers, because God has vowed to protect them and keep them by his Spirit. Yes, it’s the “P” in TULIP, perseverance of the saints. He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. Sanctification is by grace through faith every bit as much as justification is.

    So we do not worry about true believers, because they are in God’s hands.

    So, even with your freshly nuanced method of enforcing the 1st commandment, I say that this method of enforcement will do little, if anything, to curb proselytizing, and will do nothing to protect the true people of God, because God does that by his Spirit.

    Meanwhile, the only good that it will accomplish, if it accomplishes anything, will be to keep UNbelievers from leaving the church.

    Is it a good thing to keep unbelievers in church, meaning those who were never of us in the first place? Remember, God promises that he will bring his elect into covenant with himself, he will take care of his own. This is what John is saying. If they don’t stay with us in the church, it is because they are not truly believers, never have been, never will be. They are not “of us”.

    If they are not “of us”, why do you want to keep them in the church?

    I mean, here’s what I see your law trying to do. I see it trying to protect the church from the influence of various heresies. You outlaw Pelagianism, for example, to keep them from gaining converts. You outlaw Satanism, to keep them from getting converts.

    But the only people they will draw away from the church are people who are not “of us” to begin with.

    Is it good for these people to be drawn away, or is it good for them to remain in the church?

    If we read what John says again, it will be instructive to us:

    1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

    The very last clause is of utmost significance: “that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

    That is a purpose clause. This just means that something happened in order to achieve a purpose.

    Whose purposes were acheived by their going out then?

    Did they acheive their own purposes? Do the heretics and apostates wish to testify to the world that they don’t have God’s approval? Or do they leave thinking it right?

    I submit to you that it is not man’s purposes that are served, but God’s. It is God who ordains and appoints men to salvation, and when those who are not appointed leave the church, it is because God himself is demonstrating that they didn’t belong there in the first place. That’s what John is saying.

    So I ask you, if someone is not a true believer, should we try to keep them in the church?

    2Th 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
    2Th 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
    2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
    2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    Ok, so, God sends delusions to the unbelievers, in order that they might bear witness to their unbelief, and thus be condemned. This proves that our salvation is not by works but by grace through faith alone. God is constantly vindicating his people and condemning the rest.

    But you ask HOW does God protect his own? Through his appointed watchmen. Who are God’s appointed watchmen to guard the flock? Is it the state? Then what is the job of your pastor and your elders?

    Eph 4 does not say that God sends us kings and magistrates to protect us from error, it says that God sends us pastors, teachers, elders, prophets, evangelists, etc. These are church offices, not state offices.

    Why? Because all of these offices that protect and guard the flock are offices of preaching and teaching and proclamation, that the guarding of the flock might be by the preaching of the Word. Why?

    Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    It pleased God to appoint this method of guarding the flock: the preaching of the Word of Christ, which gives rise to faith, which protects the believer. That’s why Paul calls it the shield of faith in Eph 6.

    1Jo 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.

    Why? Because our faith obtains the righteousness of Christ in the gospel.

    This is precisely why I say that theonomy undermines the gospel. It seeks to guard the flock by the civil sword rather than by the preaching of the Word giving rise to faith in their hearts.

    But I have argued that not only is this contra gospel, but I have also argued that it won’t do any good to make anyone more holy, it won’t increase the numbers of true believers, and it won’t prevent any decrease in the number of true believers, because there can be no such decrease, because if they go out from us, they were never of us in the first place. And on top of all of that, I am not convinced at all that it will do anything to curb proselytizing.

    In fact, if anything, you might actually do false religions a favor by making everyone curious about what they are doing, because they do it in secret (private) and they aren’t allowed to talk about it.

    But you can’t stop everyone from knowing that they believe something different. You can’t stop them from being curious.

    Does that help to crystallize my objection?

    E

  83. Echo,

    Though I’m not commenting anymore, for many reasons, I did want you to know that I just now saw this comment of yours,

    But because I do not wish to hold my name up higher than the gospel, I hereby admit that Wacky did in fact catch me in a bit of double talk, with respect to whether or not I actually accused anyone of not believing in the gospel, and I hereby apologize.

    I just wanted to come back in and let you know that I saw it and do forgive you/accept your apology.

    ~Wacky

  84. thanks Wacky

  85. Echo,

    It does. We are still in disagreement. HOwever, I really do appreciate your tone in your comment and I wanted to be sure to say that.

    I have been busy since last I posted and plan to busy doing ‘other than blogging’ things from now on. I will leave this as my last post. I don’t plan to blog any longer. It has been a huge hog of my time.

    The only thing I want to respond to is this:

    This is precisely why I say that theonomy undermines the gospel. It seeks to guard the flock by the civil sword rather than by the preaching of the Word giving rise to faith in their hearts.

    My understanding of the ‘reason’ to enforce the ‘civil application’ of the first table is not “to guard the flock by the civil sword.” What you point out about the officers of the church guarding the flock is all very valid and I agree. But it’s not an argument ‘against’ Theonomy if the reason for enforcing 1st table application is different. See?

    So, what is the reasoning? I’m sure there is more than I understand, but my reasoning is that I believe through systematic theology, Theonomy’s understanding of the Civil Magistrate is logically necessary. So, in short, I’m saying that the reason is becuase the Bible says so.

    Anyway, it’s been nice. I’m not even going to check for a reply. This blog is coming off of all my RSS feeds.

    Bless you all.

    Jeff

  86. Jeff said:

    “My understanding of the ‘reason’ to enforce the ‘civil application’ of the first table is not “to guard the flock by the civil sword.” What you point out about the officers of the church guarding the flock is all very valid and I agree. But it’s not an argument ‘against’ Theonomy if the reason for enforcing 1st table application is different. See?

    “So, what is the reasoning? I’m sure there is more than I understand, but my reasoning is that I believe through systematic theology, Theonomy’s understanding of the Civil Magistrate is logically necessary. So, in short, I’m saying that the reason is becuase the Bible says so.”

    Echo says:

    When I asked this question earlier, I was ridiculed and insulted and told to “go read”. But now even Jeff is asking the same question I asked: WHY should the civil magistrate enforce the first commandment?

    The best answer Jeff can come up with is that systematic theology demands it. Fair enough.

    Perhaps one of the other theonomists can answer.

    It seems to me that common grace makes a lot of sense with regard to the civil enforcement of the 6th commandment, as in the covenant with Noah.

    But one thing we need to bear in mind is that when the civil magistrate, who is an unbeliever, executes a murderer, he doesn’t do so out of obedience to God. He does so out of hatred towards God.

    Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

    God restrains evil by his Spirit, and we call this common grace. Thus no one is as evil as they could be. But this doesn’t make them obedient.

    The unbelieving doctor who donates a month or two to go to Africa to help sick people does not do so as a manifestation of love for God – he has no love for God to express! He hates God! Jesus tells us that what is in a man comes out of the man. If someone is an unbeliever, they are rebels and hate God. But according to common grace, God can direct this for the common good of humanity.

    But it is easy to see how people can be friendly to their fellow man out of hatred towards God and denial of God. After all, people are not God. But how can they be obedient, even outwardly, to the first table of the law?

    Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

    Indeed, it CANNOT.

  87. […] 7th, 2007 It’s been a while since I’ve dealt with Theonomy; largely because the main contenders have resumed their lives outside of Blogorrhea (as crazy as that may seem)! But we do […]

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