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 it may seem that there is a possibility of life outside of Blogorrhea)! But we do still chat in other venues, and Jeff said “you should blog this, and see what other people think,” so here goes…
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).
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?
The Theonomy debate finally happened. About 60 men gathered in the very chilly SoCal mountain night air to eat Hoagies, smoke Stogies, drink homebrew, and hear a debate. The specific debate question was
Does the Civil Magistrate today have the responsibility to enforce the first table of the Decalogue?
Our good friend Jeff “Not-a-Sith” Kazules argued in the affirmative, and our new friend Gene “Unchained” Cook in the negative. Both speakers represented their positions well, and everybody enjoyed the debate. You will enjoy it too, if you download it right now! Here’s the debate proper (65 minutes) and here’s the Q&A (90 minutes).
Here I have some post-debate reflections, including a number of verses that I was saving up, because I didn’t want to post them earlier and distract Jeff from his preparation.
On a related note, it appears that James Jordan went all the way through Theonomy and came out on the other (dark) side! From wikipedia, I don’t understand this paragraph:
A third type of Reconstructionist theonomy was followed by some writers associated with the Institute for Christian Economics in Tyler, Texas (which also published some of Bahnsen’s works). These writers, especially James Jordan, followed the mono-covenantalism of Rushdoony, but put an emphasis on the idea that, as there was only one covenant, and that covenant was given to the Church, and law was given within that covenant, law was given to the Church, and not to the world. The implication of this was soon understood to be that the writings of Moses were not a law code as such, and that theonomy was not a legitimate idea, nor was Christian Reconstruction which took theonomy as its moral foundation. Biblical law was still seen as important, but secondary to ecclesiastical concerns. Eventually a new theological movement, known as Federal Vision theology, emerged.
More news wrt “The man Christ Jesus” Dr Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda: Pastor Gene Cook of Unchained Radio/The Narrow Mind Webcast hosted “Bishop of Bishops” Carlos Cestero (apparently Miranda’s chief apologist/spokesman), to discuss his movement in the light of scripture. The audio (60 min/15meg mp3) is available from the Unchained Radio podcast site. Eventually (next year?) I think the mp3 will roll off the free podcast page, but it should still be available from Unchained Radio for 98 cents.
A while back, I quoted John M. Frame’s review of Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law. Buried in another comment thread, I recently provided a link to Frame’s article “Machen’s Warrior Children”. I highly recommend that all (Reformed Christian) readers of this blog go and read that article. Here is the abstract, to give you a flavor of what it is about:
I am a Reformed Christian, and I want to read more…