A Question for Theonomists

I know that I have at least two theonomists who regularly read my blog, and so this is a question addressed to them. The sin of idolatry, in the Old Testament, was punishable by death. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Hindus, and many other religions practice idolatry. One can even make the case that Muslims and Jews are idolaters, since they do not worship Jesus Christ as God.

America was founded on a principle of liberty of religion. The issues get complicated in a hurry, of course, but my question is this: if Christian Reconstruction were to win out in America, does that mean that the members of these other religions should be executed? Or is the principle of death for idolatry changed in the NT, according to theonomists?

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98 Comments

  1. tim prussic said,

    October 27, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    I fancy myself a Theonomist, Pastor, and I’ll be happy to work with you a little bit on this one.

    First off, it’s hard and it’s distant. This question is like asking a fiscal conservative what should be done with the excess tax funds after the budget is balanced in Washington and our national debt’s paid off. It’d be a great problem to have! I think there are much more practical issues that need attention first. That said, it’s a legitimate question and deserves an answer, although I’d warn folks not to be turned off to Theonomy, as such, because of the speculations of how, a thousand years from now, application may or may not be made. Finally, I’m quite willing to be taught in these things.

    Changes: The Constitution of the United States would have to be rewritten, if a Reconstructionistic paradigm were to hold sway. For starters (and every Christian should hoist their pint to this), the preamble should include that the Absolute Monarch who rules this Republic is Jesus Christ, the everliving Lord of the whole universe.

    The church/state distinction: This important distinction must be studies and understood. The ecclesiastical authorities weren’t to execute anyone. Capital punishment was the job of the civil authority (or the body of citizens under the authority of the state under God). Thus, in a modern application, the church would exercise the power of spiritual sanctions and the state economic, physical, etc. With that distinction in mind, I can see this functioning similarly to how, in large degree, the Western world (and even the Byzantium – all flowing from Justinian’s Corpus juris civilis) throughout the Middle Ages functioned. To be a citizen, you were a baptized member of the church, and to be a baptized member of the church meant you were a citizen. Room can be made for sojouners and business with outsiders, of course. We see this in ancient Israel, too (as long as commerce wasn’t conducted on the Sabbath). Freedom can be granted to sojourners and non-citizens to assemble and (maybe) even worship, but they as non-Christians, they would neither be citizens nor enjoy the benefits of being citizens. If a citizen apostatized, he would be forced to renounce his citizenship. The church would excommunicate him and the state would either prosecute him to the point of capital punishment or deportation (I suppose). I think outsiders would be treated differently from apostates, which is how the church currently functions (or should), so that aspect shouldn’t be much of a stretch.

    Anyway, what are your thoughts?

  2. G.C. Berkley said,

    October 27, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Well now, that’s simple. I say kill ‘em all and let God sort them out….just like the Muslims.

    (kinda being facetious, but not quite)

  3. TurretinFan said,

    October 27, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    I’m not a reconstructionist, but I consider myself a theonomist (not sure if I’d qualify under the definition you had in mind). I’ve provided a provisional answer via my own blog (link). Perhaps the most important part of my comment is to respectfully request that you identify the part of the Old Testament that commands that all idolaters be put to death. It may be there, but it wasn’t identified in your post itself (perhaps simply because you hoped to be concise).

    -TurretinFan

  4. October 28, 2008 at 3:36 am

    Lane

    Yes, they should be executed when caught engaged, in or enticing to,idolatry. When my ACK book finally arrives, check out the section on this (and the quotes from the Reformers, Puritans and Covenanters).

    I believe in religious liberty, but I do not believe in religious toleration – there is a fundamental difference between these.

    Religious liberty is an inalienable right to worship the true God – thus orthodox Protestants should not be persecuted.

    Religious toleration is where people are allowed to worship whoever/whatever they want as long as the state permits them; in such a system your “right” to worship exists by the grace of the state, and can be revoked if Caesar no longer deems it appropriate. Toleration thus works on the idea that the State/ruler is the supreme god, who permits the worship of lesser gods. That is why the early Christians rejected the religious toleration of the Roman Empire, and why the Cameronian Covenanters rejected James II’s “deceitful toleration”.

  5. TurretinFan said,

    October 28, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Daniel,

    Where did Moses command death for idolatry, as such? I see death for apostasy, and death for enticement to apostasy, but not death for idolatry. Perhaps I merely overlooked it. If you would provide Scripture in suspport of your postion, it would be of great assistance to me.

    -TurretinFan

  6. Andrew Duggan said,

    October 28, 2008 at 8:17 am

    But that would only be after a fair trial – right?

    Should all the worshippers (members as Lane phrased it) in an idolatrous service be charged, tried, and if convicted, executed or just those who were officiating? How would 1 Kings 18 apply, since only the prophets of Baal were executed, not the people.

    If it’s all the people as well, then isn’t it sort of hard to evangelize people afterwards?

  7. shotgun said,

    October 28, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Maybe a good reading of Psalm 37 will shed light on this question? (I’m thinking specifically of verse 10, but the whole psalm is great.)

  8. Shotgun said,

    October 28, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Maybe a good reading of Psalm 37 will shed light on this question? (I’m thinking specifically of verse 10, but the whole psalm is, as usual, great.)

  9. ReformedSinner said,

    October 28, 2008 at 8:23 am

    #5,

    Just a thought. When God commanded Joshua to wipe out the Canaanites because of their (Canaanites’) sin, what sin was that? They were a bunch of bad humans doing bad things or because it’s the ultimate sin, idolatry (replacing YHWH with creation)?

    Just a thought.

  10. ReformedSinner said,

    October 28, 2008 at 8:24 am

    #6,

    I believe the Medieval Church solved the problem: here is a sword, you can die, or here is a priest with some water, you can baptize and be a “Christian” now and live on.

  11. October 28, 2008 at 9:06 am

    #5 Deut. 13 deals with the death sentence for idolatry; the reason close relatives are mentioned is to show the need for impartiality of judgment with respect to this sanction. However, this also applied to Gentile strangers (as is evident in the law which mandates capital punishment for worshiping Molech in Lev. 20), and the laws against blasphemy were also applied to sojourners (Lev. 24).

    #6 Andrew, it would seem to me – as I think you have proved – that the ringleaders are the one’s to be executed, not the people. For instance, I believe a priest officiating at a mass should be slain, but not all in attendance [Not all Theonomists would agree with me hear, as they think RCs are only heretics, not idolaters; but I, along with earlier Reformed writers, believe them to be blasphemers, idolaters and damnable heretics...and I believe damnable heretics, such as Servetus, are to be executed].

    #7 Reformed Sinner, it would appear from Lev. 18:24-30 that the abominations of the Canaanites (particularly in the area of sex) was what provoked the Lord to judge them so severely, though of course this flows out of their idolatry – Rom. 1.

  12. October 28, 2008 at 9:12 am

    The second point should read “agree with me here”.

  13. October 28, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Lane says “I have at least two theonomists who regularly read my blog,” yet you would think with more than 1 million hits he would have the bigger readership; the same ten people must have visited his blog 100,000 times each ;)

  14. TurretinFan said,

    October 28, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Daniel,

    I’d respectfully disagree with your basis for finding idolatry, as such, to be a capital offense under the O.T. law. Child sacrifice, yes. Blasphemy, yes. Apostasy, False Prophecy, and enticement to apostasy, yes. But not idolatry.

    Again, however, just because I don’t think Deuteronomy 13 teaches that, doesn’t foreclose there being some place else I have overlooked.

    -TurretinFan

  15. Todd said,

    October 28, 2008 at 9:57 am

    I never understood how theonomists can look at history and say to themselves; I know what we should do – ensure that Christianity is state sponsored and enforced! Let’s see – we have the Holy Roman Empire, Cromwell’s England, the Spanish Inquisition, the American Puritans torturing, imprisoning, and at times executing Baptists, Quakers and Catholics. Please show me where this idea has worked and/or lasted more than one or two generations? So no, I would not raise my glass to a toast for changing the preamble to be explicitly Christian, I’d more likely pack my bags and look for a new place to live. If the toast was comprised of something to the effect of- “here’s to freedom of conscience,” then, “here here!”

    By the way, I have a friend in the FBI – and the kind of thing publicly written in # 11 gets the attention of the FBI. Lane, it might be time for one of those disclaimers “I do not endorse…”

    Some quotes:

    James Madison, writing against the need to state sponsor and enforce Christianity, wrote that critics will assume that Christinaity “is too conscious of its fallacies to trust in its own merits.”

    More Madison: “Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us…If this freedom is abused, it is an offense against God, not against man.”

    On another petition deciding if the States should enfore Christianity:
    “The Blessed author of the Christian Religion not only maintained and supported his gospel in the world for several Hundred Years without the aid of Civil Power but against all Powers of the Earth, the Excellent Purity of its Precepts and the unblamable behavior of its Ministers made its way thro all opposition…Nor was it better for the Church when Constantine the great first established Christianity by Human Laws. True there was rest from Persecution, bot how soon was the Church Over run with Error and Immorality.”

    “Every man must give an account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile with his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it (government) in religious matters. Otherwise, let men be free.” (Rev. Jim Leland – against the Staes regulating Christianity)

    Todd

  16. jeffhutchinson said,

    October 28, 2008 at 10:58 am

    “…the kind of thing publicly written in #11 gets the attention of the FBI.”

    As well it should.

  17. JPC said,

    October 28, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Jeff,

    What a revolting comment. Get the lawless, FBI thought-police after a guy who articulates an application of an O.T. penal sanction. An application within the realm of free speech, one with Reformed precedent and tradition, and one arrived at through biblical deduction.

    If you were as concerned with applying God’s Law as Daniel, you might be aware that this role you apparently grant the FBI is also unlawful.

    Disagree with Daniel, fine. But give a brother a judgment of charity, rather than siding with the FBI who will one day flag us all for believing in a book that is sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and intolerant of other faiths.

  18. October 28, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Todd and Jeff

    Nice to know that professing Calvinists are fighting on the side of humanism. You want the FBI to investigate Christians seeking to be faithful to the Bible – now who is the persecutor.

    Frankly it disgusts me the way you attack the views of out Reformed forebears. Remember the Westminster Confession (not that enlightenment inspired document which falsely calls itself the WCF) supports non-toleration.

    “I never understood how theonomists can look at history and say to themselves; I know what we should do – ensure that Christianity is state sponsored and enforced! Let’s see – we have the Holy Roman Empire, Cromwell’s England, the Spanish Inquisition, the American Puritans torturing, imprisoning, and at times executing Baptists, Quakers and Catholics. Please show me where this idea has worked and/or lasted more than one or two generations? So no, I would not raise my glass to a toast for changing the preamble to be explicitly Christian, I’d more likely pack my bags and look for a new place to live.”

    Probably because we go be Scripture and not by a select reading of history. Moreover, it often makes me laugh when I hear social antinomian Calvinists bewail “the crimes of Christendom” – do you not realise that the crimes of Christendom (real or imagined) are miniscule compared to those of the kingdom of man? Would Theonomy have brought about the French Revolution, Stalinist Russian, the Nazis, the modern abortion holocaust, the 100 million people killed by Communism, etc, etc?

  19. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    October 28, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Well for one Daniel Ritchie lives in Northern Ireland so the FBI would not have jurisdiction.

  20. October 28, 2008 at 11:22 am

    #12, Turretinfan, the Deut. 13 passage clearly refers to the worship of false gods (i.e. idolatry). Moreover, it is obvious from the reformations under Josiah etc, that idolatry was to be suppressed. If you read some of the stuff by earlier writers on this theme, they will give you a much broader basis of support for this than I can here (otherwise you can e-mail me and I will forward a number of quotes to you).

  21. October 28, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Well said Ben, I guess the Christian GOP fans are getting what they voted for when they find the FBI at their doors.

  22. jeffhutchinson said,

    October 28, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Mr. Ritchie,

    Lane asked you a question, and you answered it. Fair enough. Your answer, though, is disturbing beyond words (“I believe a priest officiating at a mass should be slain”). And yes, I want my civil authorities investigating people and movements that believe such things.

    Your beliefs are different than mine, and certainly different than my church, the Presbyterian Church in America. It is obvious enough that my beliefs (and the non-theonomic beliefs of the PCA) are deeply disturbing to you. So, that’s that, and I’ll be deleting any further comments that try to beat this dead horse.

    Further answers to Lane’s question are welcome (it’s his question), but attacks or argumentation that don’t bring anything new to the table or that are inflammatory will be deleted.

  23. October 28, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Wow, some of this really scares me. From a sociological point of view, how exactly is what you advocate (Daniel and, perhaps, Tim P.) different than the most radical caricatures of Islamic fundamentalist regimes? What, are your ideas and goals different because you are “right”? Funny how every extremist person and group so legitimates their practices and ideal practices…

  24. jeffhutchinson said,

    October 28, 2008 at 11:50 am

    FTH,

    Right about now you ought to ought to join me in thanking the Lord for our enculturated confession of faith (what Mr. Ritchie calls the “enlightenment inspired document which falsely calls itself the WCF”), which makes plain that the judicial laws of Israel are “EXPIRED” (19.4).

    : )

  25. steve hays said,

    October 28, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Foolish Tar Heel,

    At what level does your objection operate? Are you equating the divinely inspired Torah with Sharia law? Or do you simply object to how some theonomists would apply the Torah to modern penology?

  26. October 28, 2008 at 11:51 am

    “Would Theonomy have brought about the French Revolution, Stalinist Russian, the Nazis, the modern abortion holocaust, the 100 million people killed by Communism, etc, etc?”

    No, apparently Theonomy would just “execute” (exterminate) millions more than were ever killed by all the above listed combined. But, it would be in Jesus’ name so the Kingdom would…

  27. steve hays said,

    October 28, 2008 at 11:53 am

    tim prussic said,

    “Changes: The Constitution of the United States would have to be rewritten, if a Reconstructionistic paradigm were to hold sway. For starters (and every Christian should hoist their pint to this), the preamble should include that the Absolute Monarch who rules this Republic is Jesus Christ, the everliving Lord of the whole universe.”

    I disagree. The Establishment Clause prohibits a national church. But the states were free to have established churches—and some of them did.

  28. October 28, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Good one Jeff

    : )

    On a totally different note, did I hear your church has a meal together every Sunday after church? That sounds like an amazing way to continue and to conclude worship and fellowship together on Sunday. Just thought I would throw that out there. My wife and I wanted to be a part of our church in Philly starting something like that.

  29. steve hays said,

    October 28, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Todd said,
    October 28, 2008 at 9:57 am

    “I never understood how theonomists can look at history and say to themselves; I know what we should do – ensure that Christianity is state sponsored and enforced! Let’s see – we have the Holy Roman Empire, Cromwell’s England, the Spanish Inquisition, the American Puritans torturing, imprisoning, and at times executing Baptists, Quakers and Catholics.”

    Cromwell was pretty tolerant by the standards of the day, and the American Puritans generally represented the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition. We’re free to evaluate and reject various aspects of that tradition, but this is a Reformed and Presbyterian blog.

  30. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    October 28, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    By the way jeffhutchinson the WCF in 19.4 it mentions that the “general equity” of those judicial laws has not expired, for an example look at Paul in 1 Cor 9:10-12.

  31. jeffhutchinson said,

    October 28, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Of course.

  32. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    FTH, if you can’t tell how what I posted above differs from “the most radical caricatures of Islamic fundamentalist regimes,” the the problem is not mine.

    Mr. Hutchinson, I’d disagree with your take on the WCF. To say that the divines’ position was simply that the judicial laws of Israel have expired and to say nothing else seems quite misleading. Rather, the divines stated that since the State of Israel is gone, the civil laws applying to it have to be applied not directly, but by way of general equity. These laws apply no “further than the general equity thereof may require.” Thus, there is a “requirement” in the civil law of that that “binds” the Christian which is based upon the general equity of the civil law and not upon the State of Israel. Doesn’t sound quite as antinomian as some PCAers (and others) might like.

    Further, Mr. Hutchinson, the great Kline (not exactly friendly to Theonomy) had to admit that Bahnsen’s “error” was not just new, but old-new. What, you might ask, was the old part? Nothing other than the Westminster divines (not to mention a good deal of Reformed thinking in addition). So, while Theonomy may seem strange to American Christians – it’s not so strange to Reformed Christianity.

  33. October 28, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Jeff

    You just show how far removed your own views are from those of are Reformed forebears. The fact that you want to get the soldiers of humanism to persecute those who hold the historic Reformed position on toleration seems pretty “inflammatory” to me.

    “Right about now you ought to ought to join me in thanking the Lord for our enculturated confession of faith (what Mr. Ritchie calls the “enlightenment inspired document which falsely calls itself the WCF”), which makes plain that the judicial laws of Israel are “EXPIRED” (19.4).”

    Those who think the original WCF forbids modern application of the penal sanctions should read the primary documents of the Reformers, Puritans, Covenanters (even RPCNA ministers in the 19th century); I have nearly 300,000 words of Theonomic quotations from our Reformed forebears supporting my views (which I hope to publish as a 2 volume work). However, I will grant this: the American Revised Confession of 1788 (which is a different document to the original WCF) does rule out a Theonomic interpretation of WCF 19:4 and 5 as it forbids the civil magistrate from upholding the first table of the Law. On this I actually agree with Lee Irons.

  34. October 28, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Foolish Tar Heel

    You say:

    “No, apparently Theonomy would just “execute” (exterminate) millions more than were ever killed by all the above listed combined. But, it would be in Jesus’ name so the Kingdom would…”

    Cleary (as with most who comment on this issue) you do not understand the position you are seeking to refute, as a Theonomic application of the Law could only come about (long term) in a society where the majority of people are Christians.

    However, I will say this, in modern America, in order for God’s standards of justice to be upheld, over 40 million people would need to be executed for their part in the murder of the unborn. Frightening statistic? Maybe, but if the murderers are not cut off then God will execute his vengeance upon the nation.

  35. jeffhutchinson said,

    October 28, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    This is very helpful, Mr. Ritchie: “However, I will grant this: the American Revised Confession of 1788 (which is a different document to the original WCF) does rule out a Theonomic interpretation of WCF 19:4 and 5 as it forbids the civil magistrate from upholding the first table of the Law.”

    There isn’t much overlap between us with regard to your other comments, however (not to mention the fact that they continue to be frightening). Nor is there much overlap between myself and the other theonomists who have responded on this thread. Perhaps y’all will find more overlap with Lane, I don’t know. As for me, I’ll be away from a computer for a long spell, so have at it, for now anyway.

    FTH,

    We do have a weekly meal together, as it so happens, the Lord’s Supper! We also have fellowship meals regularly, but our facilities somewhat hinder a weekly fellowship meal, plus the fact that we loan out our facility to a Slavic Church each Lord’s Day afternoon. But, you are right, what a great idea!

  36. JPC said,

    October 28, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Can’t seem to find my comment directed toward Jeff. Reed, have you been deleting comments again?

  37. October 28, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    “And yes, I want my civil authorities investigating people and movements that believe such things.”

    Better call on the FBI to investigate John Calvin, John Knox, Martin Bucer, Henry Bullinger, Ulrich Zwingli, William Perkins, William Ames, George Gillespie, Samuel Rutherford, James Fergusson, John Cotton, Donald Cargill, and so on and so forth.

    Isn’t it strange that people who claim to be in favour of fully-blown religious toleration want the State to persecute those who disagree with them? Seems to me like its wrong to persecute someone if you believe that the Bible teaches it, but its fine to persecute them if they say something which offends their reason.

  38. Zrim said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    DR @ 38 said, “Isn’t it strange that people who claim to be in favour of fully-blown religious toleration want the State to persecute those who disagree with them? Seems to me like its [sic] wrong to persecute someone if you believe that the Bible teaches it, but its [sic] fine to persecute them if they say something which offends their reason.”

    I believe the word you are searching for is “prosecute.”

    Just as it separates the Reformed from the biblicists, what a difference a vowel makes in separating the Reformed from theonomists.

  39. Andrew Duggan said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Daniel,

    The question you raised in answering me is one you raised by how you said what you said. The way you put it, really comes off as though you endorse the idea that anyone encountering a priest performing a mass, is justified in immediately slaying him. If you want to advocate the idea of execution for a particular crime, you need to first make sure that you do so only after a fair trial in the court of law. This is a very touchy subject, and so extra care is necessary to make sure that your readers don’t read more into your statement than you intend.

    I don’t think you want to return to the kind of society when every man does what is right in his own eyes do you, especially as that relates to the execution of a death penalty? FWIW, I don’t think you really meant in the way you put it, but my unsolicited advice to you would be to make sure that you always frame the idea of execution only at the conclusion of a bona fide judicial procedure performed by a legitimate state. I think it would be been more helpful if you had said that the only priest performing the mass could be legitimately convicted the capital crime of idolatry in a Christian state where idolatry was outlawed.

    I do NOT endorse the slaying of anyone.

    I do agree with the WCF that the sundry judicial laws of the people of Israel have expired. However, I think there is a whole lot more general equity to be pulled from them than most Reformed Christians are willing to admit.

    Daniel, I don’t mean to pick on you by the following, but since some one has brought up Ireland, what I find to be most lamentable is the fact that the way Reformed Christianity had as its majority presentation to Ireland the English imperialistic forcible expatriation of so many of Covenanters to Ulster, with the dual aim of getting rid of the troublemakers off the island of Great Britain and the containment the Irish by means of giving them someone to fight with. It has made the Gospel to stink before the indigenous people. To this very day, I see far more politics than evangelism coming from Northern Ireland.

    Of course that is not Daniel’s fault, but I think that is an evil that could and should be redressed and redressing that is more achievable than convincing American Presbyterians of the idea that the state should make idolatry a capital offence.

    Perhaps the blessings of a Christian state is the result of evangelism applied in the hearts of individuals by the Holy Spirit, and not the other way around. I would be hard pressed to be convinced that a Christian state brought about by means of politics would be any better in the end than a Muslim Caliphate.

  40. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    #6 – Mr. Duggan – great comments and questions. The Bible does say something about due process. Theonomy doesn’t advocate (FTH, pay attention) taking an AK-47 into a Muslim pizzeria and blasting them all to hell for being idolaters. It does advocate careful application of the law of God to all areas of life, including public and civil life. [Aside: Some notion, some god, and some law will *ALWAYS* govern public and civil life - neutrality is a lie of Satan.] The theonomist distinguishes between apostasy and idolatry inside the covenant from idolatry outside the covenant. Please go reread my first post.

    I don’t think the government should “hunt down” Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc. This is clear from the OT. Sojourners were not expected to convert at the border when entering the land. The civil authorities didn’t run around killing anyone who wasn’t a Jew. Rather, there was freedom given (I’m not exactly sure to what extent). Certainly business was done with them. Internal perversions of Christianity, however, are a different story. Mormons, JWs, Unitarians et al would have to face up to the Bible. Your distinction between leaders and followers is very important. The leaders would be tired in court (both ecclesiastical and civil) and, if convicted, they’d be executed. As to the followers, the church and individual Christians would preach and teach to their repentance and life. If they grow hard-hearted and persist in their perversions, then I suppose (on the testimony of two or three witnesses – with due process), sanctions would be instituted against them.

    See, we all rightly detest treason. We think that traitors should be executed. My guess is that even Todd (#15) would agree to this. But Todd shows his hand in that his thinking is *clearly* more influenced by Madison and our American fathers than the Bible on this issue. Todd might grant that a traitor to the American Republic should, after he been convicted, be put to death, but somehow cosmic treason against the King of Kings and the Ruler of the Kings of Earth doesn’t appear to earn any sanction here on earth. He goes so far as to see a problem with the Biblical idea that Christ IS the ruler of this nation. Todd’s not talking about the application of more obscure laws of the OT. He’s talking about a simple national recognition that Jesus is who the Bible says he is. Once again, Todd’s thinking maybe in line with, say, Jefferson, but *at this point* is sub-biblical, certainly not Reformed nor even broadly Christian.

  41. Luke Evans said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    My goodness, what a reminder of how disturbing and troubling consistent Theonomy is.

  42. Joe Brancaleone said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    “However, I will say this, in modern America, in order for God’s standards of justice to be upheld, over 40 million people would need to be executed for their part in the murder of the unborn. Frightening statistic? Maybe, but if the murderers are not cut off then God will execute his vengeance upon the nation.”

    In order for God’s standards of justice to be upheld, there needs to be conquest before anything else, and then when all defiling wickedness is cleared from the land, then the Lord can tabernacle among the people there without striking out in wrath. That was the whole point of the Mosaic Law, to hedge away all wickedness that would threaten to defile the glory presence of the Lord upon that piece of earth.

    So, if or when God is determined to visit a nation in judgment, he will not stop at exacting vengeance upon the particular instances of wickedness that irks me or you or any particular individual. He exacts vengeance upon ALL wickedness. He will not leave his judgment to the tainted myopic decisions of fallible men, but to his very Son who will not judge with his eyes or ears but in righteousness will judge every heart.

    Heb 2:2,3 “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”

    Just like the invading conquest under Joshua itself, the entirety of the executive and judicial operations of the Mosaic Law in Israel was a *memorial* or *monument*, not a *template*. Every transgression and disobedience received just retribution in order to commemorate the coming judgment upon all wickedness of those who do not seek refuge in the kingdom of Christ.

    j

  43. October 28, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    #40 Andrew, I am referring to the duty of the civil magistrate to slay them after being convicted in the mouth of two witnesses; to have private individuals slaying people would be revolutionary anarchy.

    #39 Zrim your definition of “Reformed” excludes the 16th and 17th century Reformed. What you don’t seem to realise is that prosecuting me for my religious views is, from a tolerationist perspective, persecution.

    Of course the Westminster Confession has something to say about this issue:

    “And because the powers which God has ordained, and the liberty which Christ has purchased are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity (whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation), or to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ has established in the Church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against, by the censures of the Church, and by the power of the civil magistrate.” (20:4)

    How strange that latent antinomian Calvinists change the Confession’s demand that the civil magistrate prosecute those who openly attack “the know principles of Christianity” to a demand that the State persecute those who deny “the known principles of humanism.”

  44. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    How did # 39 move this conversation along? If we keep the fire down, we *might* actually be able to learn something from each other!

    I’m afraid, Zrim, that it’s quite ignorant to divide Theonomic thought from Reformed thought and practice. I’m well aware that there are other views of ethics to be found in history of Reformed thought. It does not, however, take much research to see that Reformed history offers many varieties of Theonomic thought.

  45. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    #42 – Luke Evans – I’d say the opposite is true. It’s amazing how many inroads secular humanism’s made into modern Christianity. It’s that very capitulation of Christianity in America that allows the murder of unborn children tallying just about 50 million since 1973. Christians won’t stand for the crown rights of King Jesus, thus God-haters have the freedom to plot the murder of millions of innocents – and you think Theonomy is disturbing!

  46. October 28, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    “what a reminder of how disturbing and troubling consistent Theonomy is.”

    To those influenced by the dictates of this world, yes it is disturbing. But perhaps you should study the French Revolution, Soveit Russia, Nazi Germany, the abortion holocaust, etc,etc, to find just how disturbing and consistent rationalistic humanism is.

    If you find something in the word of God “disturbing” then the problem is with you; you need to repent and stop answering back to God.

  47. greenbaggins said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    As to what passage I had in mind, one could go to Deut 13:5, whereby a dreamer who encourages rebellion against God is to be put to death. The reason given there is not that he is a dreamer or prophet, but that he led astray Israel’s people. One could also argue for a less to greater: if it is a capital crime to break the Sabbath Day (Ex 31:14), and if blasphemy is a capital crime (Lev 24:16), then surely the worship of the wrong god is a capital crime. It is certainly a capital crime in the OT to worship God in an inappropriate way. That would also lead one to suspect that God intended for the worship of false gods to be a capital crime. One can also point to the worship of Baal in Elijah’s time. The prophets and priests of Baal were put to death, while the people repented, and were therefore spared.

  48. greenbaggins said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    By the way, I have now received ACK, Daniel, and am about 120 pages into it.

  49. October 28, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    May the Lord bless your reading Lane; I hope you survive the typos (ACK ain’t too bad, but TRPWEA is awful in this respect – ahh, inexperience, inexperience).

  50. Roger Mann said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    This [judicial] law, as far as the Jewish polity was peculiar, has also been entirely abolished; but as far as it contains any statute founded in the law of nature common to all nations, it is still obligatory. (Robert Shaw, An Exposition of the WCF, 19.4)

    If this is correct, then how would the death penalty not be “obligatory” for rank idolatry and homosexuality, since Paul clearly lists these sins as violations of “the law of nature common to all nations” (see Romans 1:18-32; cf. 2:14)? Indeed, he plainly states that those who practice these abominations “are without excuse” (v. 20) and “deserving of death” (v. 32), the same penalty prescribed under the judicial laws of Israel.

  51. Zrim said,

    October 28, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Tim,

    Re 45, just because there can be located any variety of theonomy in the history of the Reformed tradition doesn’t mean it’s Reformed. The CRC may be trying to become broad evangelicals by stripping down subscription, but that doesn’t mean such biblicism is Reformed. Some have rightly called this way of thinking Reformed narcissisim: “I am Reformed; I think X; therefore X is Reformed.” And are you sure you aren’t conflating theocracy with theonomy?

    But biblicism is not Reformed and neither is theonomy. You can call that “unhelpful fire,” but I call it honesty. It’s not a comment on anyone’s devotion to the Reformed tradition, etc., it’s just a way of saying that theonomy, in any form, like biblicism in any form, is simply not at all consistent with the Reformed tradition. Surely, if I can endure the charges of antinomianism and sub-Christian without squawking you can endure charges of mere inconsistency.

  52. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Zrim (#52), I would be happy to shoulder the burden of inconsistency, if I could see it to be true. Once again, the “Old-New Error” has that old component that you seem to want to forget. Maybe you do want to forget it and get rid of it – fair enough. However, that theonomic principles and practice is deeply rooted in the Reformed tradition is, how shall we say, indubitable. Now, if centuries of Reformed practice and thought aren’t “Reformed” in your book… I don’t think I’d be reading that book!

    See, I’m not trying to ban non-theonomic views of ethics from the title “Reformed,” but for some strange reason you’re trying to do the impossible by banning theonomic thought from the title. But, alas, if you’re going to deny me the title, I suppose I can live without it. I guess I’ll just have to get a raise at work, so I can be Assistant to the Regional Manager. Now there’s a title!

  53. Todd said,

    October 28, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    per # 41

    Tim,

    “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:23)

    “…when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…” (II Thess 1:7-9)

    Tim, is this not enough for you?

    Your basic problem, at least theologically, is that you fail to distinguish between Old Covenant and New, between typology and fulfillment. Get these wrong and you get almost everything else wrong.

    And to believe in freedom of religion is not even Christian? Incredible.

    Todd

  54. Zrim said,

    October 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Tim,

    Re #53, finally, a theonomist with a sense of humor. You are helping the cause of easing theonomy’s reputation for a scary psychology (but with friends like Daniel, not by much).

    Part of the genius of the Protestantism, Tim, is that we may and even should look back on whatever might be found in the ranks and re-examine it. If American Presbyterians could revise the Westminster Standards in 1787 to reflect the new pattern of government, and if American churches decided in the 20th century that the original BC Art 36 was wrong because it was too theocratic, we can certainly render theonomy as a general phenomenon problematic to say the least. I don’t for one moment doubt that theonomy in one form or another is in our shared history. What I do doubt is the notion that because it is there our hands are tied or that we are at all beholden to it. That’s positively medieval, not Genevanist. For heaven’s sake, the Remonstrants came out of Reformed churches and we now find Reformed unity (as in one whole amongst the three forms of) in their demise.

    I have another question to lay after Lane’s: What do any of you theonomists make of the fact that your theological system has found very little of an embracing audience in the Reformed and Presbyterian environs, indeed, rather the kind of fright seen in this thread; that CVT himself deliberately rejected Rushdoony’s and Bahnsen’s conclusions with great regret, even as they tried to force on him the title of patron saint?

  55. October 28, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Abstract of the Laws of New England

    CHAPTER VII.

    Of Crimes. And first, of such as deserve capital punishment, or cutting off from a man’s people, whether by death or banishment.

    1. FIRST, blasphemy, which is a cursing of God by atheism, or the like, to be punished with death.

    2. Idolatry to be punished with death.

    3. Witchcraft, which is fellowship by covenant with a familiar spirit, to be punished with death.

    4. Consulters with witches not to be tolerated, but either to be cut off by death or banishment.

    5. Heresy, which is the maintenance of some wicked errors, overthrowing the foundation of the christian religion; which obstinacy, if it be joined with endeavour to seduce others thereunto, to be punished with death; because such an heretick, no less than an idolater, seeketh to thrust the souls of men from the Lord their God.

    6. To worship God in a molten or graven image, to be punished with death.

    7. Such members of the church, as do wilfully reject to walk, after due admonition and conviction, in the churches’ establishment, and their christian admonition and censures, shall be cut off by banishment.

    8. Whosoever shall revile the religion and worship of God, and the government of the church, as it is now established, to be cut off by banishment. [i] Cor. 5:5.

    11. Profaning of the Lord’s day, in a careless and scornful neglect or contempt thereof, to be punished with death.

    Apparently, people here don’t think the Puritans were Reformed.

  56. October 28, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    What do any of you theonomists make of the fact that your theological system has found very little of an embracing audience in the Reformed and Presbyterian environs, indeed, rather the kind of fright seen in this thread; that CVT himself deliberately rejected Rushdoony’s and Bahnsen’s conclusions with great regret, even as they tried to force on him the title of patron saint?

    1.) Humanistic Antinomianism

    2.) Amillenialism (this was particularly Van Til’s case)

    3.) Enlightenment notions of the dualism between Church and State

    4.) Thomistic notions of two ways to truth

    5.) Cowardice

  57. E.C. Hock said,

    October 28, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    This exchange reflects the kind of debate that must have been a struggle more or less within the heart of apostle Paul. Theonomists here seem to be more like Christian versions of the Saul of Tarsus, not the converted Paul of the NT, who persevered and suffered in his mission to reach pagan Gentiles.
    Perhaps this is because we are more enamored with notion of America as a Christian culture than God’s kingdom active in His mission to all nations.

    Why do such devotees of Theonomy, in the New Covenant era, at least as it hseems in this exchange, keep promoting a ‘back to Moses movement’ rregarding controlling religious liberty? Was Israel so successful at it? I would think the ambiance of religious liberty, we so enjoy, would instead fuel a sense opportunity to reach such people to plead the gospel (word and deed). After all such walls would be higher to breach in defensive, stricter environments.

    Yet, there is more talk of the sword than of the dove (like Peter’s impulsive action in the garden). It may be easier to legislate law than patiently show the love of Christ, but we also know that so often the opposite of doing what’s right is doing what’s easy. More so, given a deeper understanding of human sin that comes through the NT, why be less enthusiastic to share and serve the gospel of grace (the greater power), and its redemptive imperatives (patience?), compared to the enthusiasm to implement penalties of law?

    Would Christians of different stripes be able to to do this justly? My word, just look at all the friction and division within our own Reformed, conservative churches!! Look at how active, but regretful, the judicial committees are in many of our own presbyteries. Does this track record give us confidence on how we would act jointly on the larger, more complex, national scale? I dare say most would conclude that a Reformed Inquisition is about to break upon the world. This ideal notion that Christian saints will instinctlively know how to work together, unify themselves so as to discern and use law equitably, including its ruthless applications, to bring the world to rights is born out of naivete mixed with moralistic anxiety, not grace-directed wisdom in men who know they are but weak and vulnerable jars of clay on their best day.

  58. Shotgun said,

    October 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Hey Bret, it seems to me like your argument is a version of the ad populum fallacy. Perhaps the majority is wrong? Maybe Van Til was as well on this point?

    Mr. E.C., I’m not sure your statements apply strictly to Christians. Everything you say could just as well be said about any system of government.

    Isn’t the law of God so reliable that Paul could tell the Corinthians that the least esteemed guy in the congregation was better able to give a proper judgement than the secular courts? We’re to judge angels, but not men E.C.?

    Please note my comments about Psalm 37. (My screen shows my comment as number 7.)

    A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. Kind of hard to execute the idolater if you can’t find him.

  59. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    October 28, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Shotgun,

    Just to be clear Bret McAtee was quoting Zrim.

  60. Shotgun said,

    October 28, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks bro. I’m a little embarassed.

  61. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    #54 – Todd – I think you prove too much. Does God’s final judgment elevate the responsibility of individual Christians to expose deeds of darkness (Eph 5:11)? Now, wait! Shouldn’t God’s judgment of these deeds of darkness enough? No, it shouldn’t because God tells us to expose them – here and now. Part of his judgment is the church’s judgment now. The civil authority, Saul of Tarsus (*ahem*) tells us, is to bear the sword (capital punishment) against the evil doer (evil’s defined by what, again?). He does so, Todd, as a MINISTER of God. So, again, no, that’s not good enough because God includes more.

    As to my needing a new prescription to distinguish ‘twixt old and new:

    Jesus: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 5

    In the context of all the glory of the New Covenant, Paul: “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Rom 3

    Remember, Todd, my “error” is the old-new one. Problem is that it’s far older than Westminster!

    As to religious freedom, if you’re thinking that theonomy wants to convert with the sword, think again. If you think I’d afford no one but Christians any freedom, please reread my posts. Saying that a nation is under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ is basic to Christianity – it’s what got first-century brethren killed – Christos Kyrious estin! Lord? Lord of Rome? Don’t you know that the Emperor is Lord of Rome? It’s okay if Jesus is one of many, so long that the State is almighty! No, Jesus is the ruler of the kings of earth, dontcha know? A godly constitution recognizes this very simple fact.

  62. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Shotgun – I, too, am embarrassed… that I added an extra u to kyrios. For shame!

    #55 – Zrim – thanks for noticing the humor. I try to tell everyone I’m funny, but they don’t believe me. That is, until I start talking about ethics, then they think I’m hysterical!

    So, if I’m reading you correctly, theonomic principles used to be Reformed, but some American Presbyterians got together and decided they weren’t anymore. Okay… you got me! I’m inconsistent!

    As to the genius of Protestantism, I quite agree. Our standard is the unchanging world of God. We get to go back and fix errors. I’m diggin’ that like a mole on speed. We just disagree that this is an error! We also disagree that American Presbyterian bodies define what’s historically “Reformed.”

  63. TurretinFan said,

    October 28, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    LK wrote: “As to what passage I had in mind, one could go to Deut 13:5, whereby a dreamer who encourages rebellion against God is to be put to death.”

    That refers to false prophets, more particularly those who supposedly are wonder-working. That would justify the execution of Todd Bentley. It would not justify the execution of his followers, as such – though if they were apostates from the true religion, that would make the covenant breakers.

    LK wrote: “The reason given there is not that he is a dreamer or prophet, but that he led astray Israel’s people.”

    There are several elements to the crime set forth in Deuteronomy 13:1-5. The primary element is – as you seem to note – the enticement away from the true religion.

    That the enticement away is the critical point can be seen from the second law, at Deuteronomy 13:6-10, wherein even if one’s close relatives try to entice one away from the Lord God, they are to be stoned.

    This is not generic idolatry either properly (it has nothing to do with the making or using of idols) or improperly (it is enticement to the non-Christian religion, not the practice of that religion itself).

    LK: “One could also argue for a less to greater: if it is a capital crime to break the Sabbath Day (Ex 31:14), and if blasphemy is a capital crime (Lev 24:16), then surely the worship of the wrong god is a capital crime.”

    It is forbidden to add to the crimes set forth in the law.

    Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

    Deuteronomy 12:32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

    Furthermore, the lesser to greater argument requires one to establish that open blasphemy is less heinous in God’s sight than secret idolatry. That argument would not seem to have a very strong exegetical basis, and the counter-argument that the former is a capital offense, and the latter is not, woudl be a strong counter-argument, in my personal opinion.

    LK: “It is certainly a capital crime in the OT to worship God in an inappropriate way.”

    Again, I’d respectfully ask you to justify this sort of statement. The OT law, as far as I can see, is nowhere near that generic.

    LK: “That would also lead one to suspect that God intended for the worship of false gods to be a capital crime.”

    The counter argument that he did not appoint the penalty of death for worshiping false gods seems more compelling to me.

    LK: “One can also point to the worship of Baal in Elijah’s time. The prophets and priests of Baal were put to death, while the people repented, and were therefore spared.”

    a) Elijah killed 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the groves. Their capital crime may be identified as being false prophets.

    Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

    b) It may be that the people were spared God’s judgment by repenting, but that has nothing at all to do with the civil law. It is quite possible that the people were guilty as apostates. But – these would be Israelite apostates, not strangers.

    -TurretinFan

  64. TurretinFan said,

    October 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Daniel wrote: “#12, Turretinfan, the Deut. 13 passage clearly refers to the worship of false gods (i.e. idolatry). Moreover, it is obvious from the reformations under Josiah etc, that idolatry was to be suppressed. If you read some of the stuff by earlier writers on this theme, they will give you a much broader basis of support for this than I can here (otherwise you can e-mail me and I will forward a number of quotes to you).”

    The passage does refer to the worship of false gods. The passage, however, does not say that everyone who worships false gods should be killed. I am loathe to infer a general capital crime of following a false god in the absence of any explicit (or implicit) basis. So far, I have not seen one.

    The Mosaic law, in fact, appears to recognize the possibility of uncircumcized strangers moving peacefully through Israel. For example:

    Deuteronomy 14:21 Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

    It would be odd if the intent of this passage was that one could feed these strangers a “last meal” from things that died of themselves. No, given the lack of anyone identifying any Scriptural warrant for the death penalty for the simple act of being an unbeliever (not an apostate, but an unbeliever), I would continue to respectfully maintain my position that in a land with just laws, the simple fact that someone was an unbeliever (and/or an idolater) would not be a capital offense.

    -TurretinFan

  65. October 28, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    As was mentioned in an earlier post, it is those who entice others to public idolatry (the ringleaders) who are to be executed.

  66. its.reed said,

    October 28, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Ref. 37:

    JPC (name?), no, if I deleted any comments I would have told you so. I never have anonymously deleted comments, nor do I intend to start. I am willing to stand up for my moderating actions. I do take some offense at the inference in your comment.

    Or am I misreading your inference?

  67. its.reed said,

    October 28, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    A question for all of you who were offended at Jeff Hutchison’s “amen” to the FBI:

    Assuming you affirm that the Bible teaches that Christians are to be subject to the civil magistrates?

    On what basis does your anathematizinng of the FBI follow?

    Further, are you suggesting that U.S. Christians should not submit to the FBI’s exercise of its authority?

    I ask these questions because your horror at Jeff’s comment about the FBI seems extreme to say the least. This is not to suggest that I think the FBI is a perfect organization that has perfectly exercised its authority. I don’t suspect there ever has been a civil magistrate that will not be guilty in some manner of misusing their God given authority.

    As a pastor, I am mindful that the same standard applies to me in my exercise of the spiritual authority delegated to my office. My only hope is that the grace and mercy of Christ are sufficient for such failures (I suspect they are).

    Still, why such animus toward the FBI? Daniel, do you have such animus toward the civil authorities in your nation? How would you counsel a Believer who believes his family has been abused by the civil authorities in NI?

    Disclosure: no, I know no one who works for the FBI :)

  68. October 28, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    its.reed

    With all due respect, the problem was not with the FBI as such (though I believe such an organisation is unbiblical, nevertheless we should submit to them unti the state dismantles it), but with the idea that the FBI should investigate the opinions of orthodox Christians who are merely setting forth the views of our Reformed forebears.

    I am appalled that such a wicked, humanistic suggestion was even tolerated on a “Reformed” blog. Not to mention the hypocrisy of the suggestion, as it came from one who complained that Theonomists were in favour of persecution; yet he wants the state to persecute me for declaring merely what is in the Bible!!! So much for liberty of conscience.

    Who needs secular humanists when you have got Cloister Calvinists to deal with?

  69. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    E.C. Hock – #58 – I just reread your post and I think it deserves to be addressed. NO ONE is suggesting that we replace the gospel preached and lived with Mosaic legislation. We’re to live our Christian lives individually, in our families, our churches, and in our states. We’re to love our enemies and turn the other cheek, personally. The discussion broadens when we pull back from the individual and the church to the state. The background to our discussion is this: when a state makes laws, it *always* does so from a basis of what the legislators think is right and wrong. The Christian maintains that God declares such things to us in his inerrant Word. Thus, the Christian argues that the Bible ought to be the basis of righteous legislation. Some Christians, however, think that OT case law (especially the judicial/civil laws) has no bearing on how current civil law should look. These folks argue that those civil law are completely abolished. Other folks (like myself), loosely termed “Theonomists,” argue that, while the specific application to Israel cannot be (as the State of Israel is abolished), there are fundamental principles embedded in those civil laws that are not only applicable now, but that we’re required to follow. I think the WCF says this. I hope that helps you understand what guys like me are after and what we’re arguing about here.

    Also, the prospect of the current American Reformed church having full civil authority is mindbogglingly horrifying! The application of these principles will come by degrees over the course of thousands of years. Please see my first post – this is a distant and difficult question.

  70. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Goodnight! #68 – Pastor Lane ASKED us to answer a question and you guys start hollerin’ for the FBI! What a joke! No one (not even Daniel, so far as I can tell) is saying these measures need to be enacted yesterday. We’re speaking theoretically about A LONG WAY down the road in the midst of a thoroughly Christian society.

    Is it okay to discuss some ideas before the Reformed thought police is summoned and the FBI is called?

  71. its.reed said,

    October 28, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Ref. 69:

    Thanks Daniel for your response. If I might follow up –

    So given what you say (the FBI unbiblical, a secular humanist organization):

    What degree of sin do you believe Christians who work for the FBI are committing? Should they be brought under church discipline? If they refuse to quit their jobs, should they be excommunicated for giving their allegiance to a secular humanist organization?

    Please, I’m not trying to be facetious, just follow what appears to be your logic here.

    Further questions, would if be Biblical (ignoring your claim that it is an unbiblical organization simply for the sake of the point here) for the FBI to investigate any actions of Christians in which they urge the breaking of the laws of the U.S.? Would it be right for them to investigate a church advocating the slaying of immans, rabbis, swamis, or other religious leaders of other pagan creeds? I am assuming you are not arguing for either the Church’s or the individual’s exercise of the sword, but the civil magistrate?

    Thanks for your follow up.

    P.S. how would you counsel the convert (say from an IRA sympathizing family) who believes the British civil authorities abused their power against his loved ones?
    >

  72. Todd said,

    October 28, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Tim,

    Because you read the Bible through theonomic glasses, you see things that just aren’t there.

    “Does God’s final judgment elevate the responsibility of individual Christians to expose deeds of darkness (Eph 5:11)?”

    So Paul is teaching there that to expose deeds of darkness means to apply Old Covenant civil sanctions against those deeds should the Christians ever have positions of civil authority? Really? That’s what the Ephesians would have thought hearing that?

    “The civil authority, Saul of Tarsus (*ahem*) tells us, is to bear the sword (capital punishment) against the evil doer (evil’s defined by what, again?). He does so, Todd, as a MINISTER of God.”

    Romans 13 is descriptive of all governments as they are, regardless of how just they are in our eyes. They are not told *to be* the sword. We, the church, are being told they *already* do bear the sword against evil, evil obviously not defined by the Mosaic code. Rom. 13 was written to rebuke the zealots in the church stirring up trouble against the civil authorities, much like theonomists do today. The Roman (pagan) authorities *were* ministers of God, they were bearing the sword against evil doers. That is why they were to be spoken of with respect and obeyed. Read the passage again.

    “As to my needing a new prescription to distinguish ‘twixt old and new:
    Jesus: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 5

    And the whole passage begins with Jesus coming to bring the kingdom of heaven, first fulfilling all righteousness. Bahnsen’s poor exegesis aside, Matt 5 does not say Jesus came to confirm that all the civil laws and penalties of the Old Covenant continue. Just look how “fulfilled” is being used throughout the book. If your interpretation is correct, what justification do you have for changing any of the Old Covenant commandments? “These commandments” are the Sermon on the Mount and all Jesus taught and Apostles confirmed about the kingdom of heaven.

    In the context of all the glory of the New Covenant, Paul: “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Rom 3

    And why, according to Paul in Rom 7, is the Law good? As a guide to organizing government policy? No, because it reveals our sin and draws us to Christ.

    “As to religious freedom, if you’re thinking that theonomy wants to convert with the sword, think again. If you think I’d afford no one but Christians any freedom, please reread my posts.”

    Well, that’s what they all say at first. You know what they say about power, and history proves that when the church obtains power to enforce Christianity, it always goes too far. Can you offer an example where that is not true?

    “Saying that a nation is under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ is basic to Christianity”

    Verse please?

    “it’s what got first-century brethren killed – Christos Kyrious estin! Lord?”

    No, that is incorrect. There is a reason Pilate did not consider Jesus a threat to his throne, for Jesus assured him his kingdom was not of this world. The early Christians were killed because they refused to offer incense to Caesar. That is not the same as saying they believed the Christian faith included a rival way to govern the realms that they were threatening to introduce into the world. The early Christians pleaded with the authorities that they were no threat politically to the empire, but good citizens willing to submit, unless they were required to treat Caesar as a god deserving of worship.

    “It’s okay if Jesus is one of many, so long that the State is almighty! No, Jesus is the ruler of the kings of earth, dontcha know?”

    Jesus already rules the states through his providence. He rules his Church through his Word and Spirit. We dare not confuse the two.

    Todd

  73. October 28, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    its reed

    These are complex questions. The Babylonian system was sinful, yet Daniel still continued to work within it without committing sin, if Christians can do so in the FBI, then fair play to them. I could not comment on church discipline issues in the abstract (for obvious reasons).

    It would not be Biblical for the FBI to investigate Christians for allegedly breaking the laws of the USA in upholding the laws of God. If, however, a church was adovacating revolution, then that would be a different matter. Private individuals or churches have no right to take up the sword against the wicked.

    As for someone from an IRA sympathising family, while one can sympathise with those who have unjustly suffered at the hands of the British authorities (and many people did), nevertheless, they must be counselled not to take the law into their own hands and submit to the powers that be in the time being. Moreover, since the IRA are a murdering, anti-Christian, neo-Marxist Revolutionary group, the converts would have to be instructed to forsake their sympathies with this terrorist organisation.

  74. its.reed said,

    October 28, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Ref. 71, Tim:

    Whoa dude, serious over-reaction to my questions. Someone early on objected to what they thought was an egregious comment from Daniel. Jeff “amened” it. This is where the FBI was introduced. It was other’s (Daniel’s in particular) reaction to those comments that prompted my sincere questions.

    I am simply asking some questions relevant to what I believe was an over-reaction to those FBI comments, a reaction that appears to me to be out of balance with what I believe the Bible teaches about civil magistrate. (Daniel has responded, explaining why he does not think his is an over-reaction.) I am asking questions, rather than over-reacting, in hopes of clarifying my understanding.

    You are seriously misreading (over-reacting) to my questions. I resent (mildly as I’m not seeking to argue but seeking understanding) the suggestion that I am in some way trying to squelch your discussion of your positions. “Thought-police”, in my understanding of Scripture, is a pretty serious charge. Please, consider backing off that.

    I actually do suspect we are much closer on (at least some) these issues than it appears. I for one am convinced that theonomy is a heterodox theological approach – it misreads Scripture due to some base errors (no need to go into them now, not trying to make this case). Nevertheless, I do end up with significant agreement on many practical applications in terms of the civil realm. As well, I count among my closest friends a number of confirmed theonomists.

  75. its.reed said,

    October 28, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Ref. 74:

    Again, thanks Daniel. As I suspected, our applications are not that much different, although I think they flow from different understandings of the underlying principals.

    Also, as to your observation about the IRA and the need for renunciation, I would agree.

  76. Jeff Cagle said,

    October 28, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    I’ll throw out some questions here. After typing them, I’ve decided that they are pointed. Please take the tone as conversational rather than combative.

    For theonomists:

    1. The Puritan system in Massachusetts started from a far greater advantage than we. The median knowledge of Scriptures was great; the cultural assumptions were more amenable to Christian thought; the church was generally trusted. And yet, the Puritan experiment failed miserably, if we measure by the relative density of Gospel-preaching churches in New England today. On a societal level, the fruit of Puritanism was apostasy (I’m not speaking of their writings, which are of great value; I’m speaking only of the cultural trending: Harvard, Yale, the Old Lights who became Unitarian, the New Divinity of Dwight, etc.).

    So the question: suppose you could start afresh in the New New World. What would you do differently from the Puritans?

    2. In 1 Cor 5, Paul says that we in the church are not to judge those on the outside, but to allow God to do so. Would not theonomy be an end-run around Paul’s teaching in which the church would use the state as a proxy for judging outsiders?

    3. Jesus hangs the law on two commands: loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength; and loving neighbor as self. Could you as a theonomist say that you would want a Muslim to treat you in the manner that you propose treating a Muslim, or an RC priest? It’s a mostly rhetorical question, I guess, but what I’m interested in is how you go about fulfilling God’s command to love your neighbors who are unbelievers.

    And for non-theonomists, especially those who are more hard-core 2K-ers:

    4. If you are a minister of the government, how and to what extent does Scripture inform your execution of the law?

    5. In a democracy or republic, each of us *is* a small piece of the the government; that is, the responsibility for the laws of the land rests ultimately with us. On what basis should we, as individual citizens, decide whether laws are good or bad? Should our basis be the Scriptures or some other principle?

    Thanks,
    Jeff Cagle

  77. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Todd, clearly we’re not communicating. I think either I’ve been unclear or you’re simply misreading what I’ve written. In either event, I don’t think I’ll put much effort toward it tonight. Here’s an example of our communication breakdown (think Zeppelin):

    In 54 you quote two texts including II Thess 1:7-9 and ask me “Tim, is this not enough for you?” I interpret this as saying that the State doesn’t need to prosecute heresy, because in the end Jesus will.

    In 62 I respond that individual Christians have the duty to expose deeds of darkness (Eph 5:11) to show that just because Jesus will judge, our responsibilities are not negated.

    You read that and comment thus, “So Paul is teaching there that to expose deeds of darkness means to apply Old Covenant civil sanctions against those deeds should the Christians ever have positions of civil authority? Really? That’s what the Ephesians would have thought hearing that?”

    Todd, NO. That’s not at all what I was arguing. I was actually responding to what I thought was your argument in 54. See, I read your words and tried to respond to them. I find that dialog is more profitable that way. Maybe you can reread #62 and try to understand my intention.

    As to your lack of knowledge that Christ IS King of King and Ruler of the Kings of Earth, I don’t know how to respond. The Mediatorial Kingdom is not one and the same as the divine rule. The Christ is set on God’s holy hill and nations are his inheritance. This is distinct from God’s general rule.

    As to Christians not burning incense to the Emperor, why wouldn’t they? Did it have anything to do with the lordship of Christ, his lordship over even Rome?

  78. tim prussic said,

    October 28, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Mr. Reed – #75 – sorry. I foolishly misread you. Please forgive me. I’ll read more carefully in the future.

  79. October 29, 2008 at 3:53 am

    its reed

    Thanks for the interaction. With respect to the IRA, Joe Morecraft has a sermon on terrorism in which he points out the IRA as a group which Christians should have no sympathy for. Here is the link if you are interested:

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1205151145

    Blessings

  80. Stephen Welch said,

    October 29, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Thanks, Daniel. My uncle was a member of the IRA in the 1920’s and he would not condone the group today if he were alive. No Christian would condone this group of terrorists.

  81. steve hays said,

    October 29, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Jeff Cagle said,

    “The Puritan system in Massachusetts started from a far greater advantage than we. The median knowledge of Scriptures was great; the cultural assumptions were more amenable to Christian thought; the church was generally trusted. And yet, the Puritan experiment failed miserably, if we measure by the relative density of Gospel-preaching churches in New England today. On a societal level, the fruit of Puritanism was apostasy (I’m not speaking of their writings, which are of great value; I’m speaking only of the cultural trending: Harvard, Yale, the Old Lights who became Unitarian, the New Divinity of Dwight, etc.).”

    i) Do you think it’s reasonable to judge Colonial Puritanism by contemporary New England? Most Christian institutions liberalize over time, including Reformed institutions. Reformed colleges, seminaries, and denominations tend to liberalize over time.

    ii) How do you judge the current status quo? Is that a success or failure? Is modern-day New York or Boston or Berkeley CA a resounding success or a miserable failure in your book?

  82. steve hays said,

    October 29, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Todd said,

    “I never understood how theonomists can look at history and say to themselves; I know what we should do – ensure that Christianity is state sponsored and enforced! Let’s see – we have the Holy Roman Empire, Cromwell’s England, the Spanish Inquisition, the American Puritans torturing, imprisoning, and at times executing Baptists, Quakers and Catholics. Please show me where this idea has worked and/or lasted more than one or two generations?”

    AND:

    Foolish Tar Heel said,

    “Wow, some of this really scares me. From a sociological point of view, how exactly is what you advocate (Daniel and, perhaps, Tim P.) different than the most radical caricatures of Islamic fundamentalist regimes? What, are your ideas and goals different because you are ‘right’? Funny how every extremist person and group so legitimates their practices and ideal practices…”

    AND:

    Luke Evans said,

    “My goodness, what a reminder of how disturbing and troubling consistent Theonomy is.”

    One of the problems I have with these moralistic objections to theonomy is that critics could (and do) raise the same objections to OT ethics generally. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens love to attack the Christian faith through whatever they find objectionable in the OT.

    Now, even if we take a pure Anabaptist position of total discontinuity between the Testaments, there was a time when OT ethics did apply. This was a divinely inspired and divinely mandated code of conduct. Christians need to come to terms with that.

    If we subscribe to the inerrancy of Scripture, then we need to uphold the morality of the OT system—even if we think it doesn’t apply to us.

    I wonder how some critics of theonomy view OT ethics on its own terms. Do they affirm its essential justice?

  83. Todd said,

    October 29, 2008 at 9:06 am

    “Now, even if we take a pure Anabaptist position of total discontinuity between the Testaments, there was a time when OT ethics did apply. This was a divinely inspired and divinely mandated code of conduct. Christians need to come to terms with that. If we subscribe to the inerrancy of Scripture, then we need to uphold the morality of the OT system—even if we think it doesn’t apply to us. I wonder how some critics of theonomy view OT ethics on its own terms. Do they affirm its essential justice?”

    Steve,

    Of course, as long as you understand typology. God instructed the Israelites to wipe out all the Canaanites: men, women and children. Leave no one alive. If you see this as picturing the final judgment, which it does, then you see God’s perfect justice that will occur at His return. If you see this as a mandate to be followed by New Covenant Christians in this age, it is horrifying. Our Lord could have prayed any of the imprecatory Psalms on the cross against his enemies, yet he chose to ask for their forgiveness. That is the spirit of this age, not justice against them before the Time. Again, if you (generic you) cannot get typology, you mess up almost everything.

    Todd

  84. Elder Hoss said,

    October 29, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Lane – FWIW, it seems that there are hardly enough reconstructionists these days to count on one’s proverbial right hand to make that hypothetical anything more than a hypothetical for at least 200 yrs, should our nation survive that long.

    Just read the late Rushdoony’s Chalcedon Report for a sign of Recon’s ever-dwindling ranks.

    It seems to me that the larger question is how one understands special revelation (let alone case laws) applying to the political order. This question was of paramount concern to the Magisterial Reformers (and also an aberrant RC communion before and after them), as well as 3-4 generations of their progeny, because they saw all realms under heaven as accountable to God, in some sense (whether one contrues that in a “T”heonomic fashion, Kuyperian fashion, etc.).

    Nowdays however, we have well-known “Reformed” pastors/apologists speaking at college universities (one of them was at Cal-Berkeley earlier this year, speaking to a huge gathering) saying that good Christians disagree on gay marriage. We have Evangelicals (including Pastors, even some “Reformed” ones I am aware of) portending support for Barack Hussein Obama, a man who believes in unlimited access to abortion at all stages of the pregnancy, including post-birth, when babies have survived botched abortions (www.bornalivetruth.org).

    It seems to me that some minimalist understanding of how (if at all!) special revelation applies to realms outside the 4 walls of the institutional local church or denomination should be pursued by Reformed and Presbyterian churches in the United States. The challenge there of course, is many argue that it ought not so apply, in any meaningful sense, the state being somehow extracted or exempt from, God’s rule, save for nebulous qualifiers here and there. This is why for example, some hyper 2Kers (note the qualifier, not all 2kers are “hyper”) like Lee and Misty Irons could argue for civil sodomite unions (and Lee could almost escape defrocking by a 17-16 or so vote in the OPC).

    What does this tell us about how utterly far afield Reformed and Presbyterian thought and praxis is in our country from its first flowering under Calvin let alone the Westminsterian tradition itself, which large segments of the American church felt free to expunge of its more unsavory “theonomic” elements in 1784?

    One fears that the naked public square, or even the “principled pluralism” view erroneously articulated by otherwise superb men such as Os Guiness (he was at Redeemer-sponsored NYC event a few years ago lamenting things like Christian emperors when in part we can thank some of them for facilitating a few things like creeds and confessions, sparing the life of Martin Luther, and other small things like that) won’t hold a candle to the worldwide spread of Islamo-fascism with its enforcement of shari’a law, or even our country’s own pending internecine and domestic spread of a different kind of judicial terrorism if Barack Hussein Obama is elected.

  85. steve hays said,

    October 29, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Todd,

    You’re using your version of typology to erase the totality of OT ethics. Your all-or-nothing argument fails to draw traditional and elementary distinctions between the moral law, civil law, and ceremonial law.

    For example, Reformed theology according to the Westminster Standards still regards the Decalogue as applicable to men and women living in the church age.

    Likewise, standard Reformed and Presbyterian arguments against abortion typically appeal to OT prooftexts as well as NT prooftexts to make their point. And they go beyond the Decalogue to do so.

    As Liefeld points out in his commentary on the Pastorals, 1 Tim 1:9-10 is a summary of the Ten Commandments (in Deut 5:6-21). It is therefore illicit for you to invoke “typology” as an exegetical shortcut to disqualify OT ethics in toto.

    The purpose of the law is not to dispense eschatological justice. That’s a straw man argument. Try again.

    Finally, the textual authenticity of Lk 23:34 is quite debatable. You need to find a more secure prooftext to establish your contention.

  86. greenbaggins said,

    October 29, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Turretin Fan, if anyone were to worship a false god that would constitute a temptation for others, and a deliberate attempt to get others to do the same. Therefore, the condemnation of prophets extends also to people who worship false gods.

  87. Richard said,

    October 29, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Daniel,

    You have stated in the past “A picture of a cross is no more an idol than a picture of a guillotine, hangman’s noose etc. as it is only a picture of something that was used to execute people. However, when it is employed in worship ceremonies, or some “holy” meaning is given to a picture of a cross, then I believe it is superstitious and a violation of the RPW.”

    We also know that R. C. Sproul has no problem with artistic representations of Christ.

    This means that, using your logic, all churches that use a cross as well as those that have artistic representations of Christ are committing idolatry and all those who attend such places, including R. C. Sproul, should be executed.

    You will have to forgive me if I disagree completely with your stance.

  88. October 29, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Help me out a bit here Daniel et. all, I am trying to follow your logic about various things, especially who should be killed…

    Should people who vote, or would vote, in favor of (or act to bring about) government legitimizing of same-sex marriages (or civil unions) be killed as well?

  89. October 29, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Steve Hays,
    You have dismissed but not answered my sociological question. It is not, as it were, a charge, but a question. It only becomes a “charge” if you assume several things, both about the question and the implications of certain answers. The fact that I do assume such thing is immaterial, however, to my desire to hear your answer. How, from a sociological standpoint, are some of the versions of ideal-Theonomy articulated here different from the most over-the-top caricatures of radical Islamic regimes and society? Is your answer simply that Theonomy is “right.” Then I give you another sociological-anthropological-and ethnological question, do you realize that all (what I will call) “extremist” cultural-producers and “groups” so legitimate themselves? How might such realizations impact this discussion

  90. October 29, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Richard, its a good question, but I don’t think every violation of the RPW constitutes LITERAL idolatry, which is what capital punishment was prescribed for (it is a lesser form of idolatry or a species of idolatry, but it is not literally worshiping a false god).

    FTH, as far as I am aware, it is only those who are caught in Sodomite acts who are to be executed.

  91. Bret McAtee said,

    October 29, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Foolish TH,

    Islamic fundamentalism and Biblical Christianity (what some pejoratively call “Theonomy”) differ if only because Islam collapses the Church into the State and the State into the Church, whereas Biblical Christianity maintains that Church and State are distinct but not divorced. They both are answerable to the same God but they both are different roles. (Think keys, and sword / grace and justice.)

    Actually, Biblical Christianity is very libertarian when compared to Islamic fundamentalism or the current Secular Humanism we are awash in because Biblical Christianity teaches that the State has clearly proscribed, delegated and enumerated powers. Biblical Christianity empahsizes self-governance, unlike Islamic fundamentalism or secular humanism. This Biblical Christianity Church and State understanding embraces a self-governance that eschews both the current libertinism of Secular Humanism, and the totalitarian control that comes with Islamic fundamentalism.

    The problem that many here are making is that y’all seem to be assuming that Theonomy is a top town proposition. This is a gross caricature that has been thoroughly dismissed over and over, but because men hate God’s law it keeps being hurled at theonomists. Biblical Christianity is not revolutionary. Biblical Christianity teaches that the Kingdom comes in incrementally because of evangelism, teaching, and discipling (cmp. Mt. 28.). When the time comes that societies and cultures, as a whole, embrace Biblical Christianity they will embrace God’s Law-Word not because they are being forced but rather God has brought them the joy of salvation.

    I hope that answers your question on your ill perceived linkage between Biblical Christianity and Fundamentalist Islam.

  92. steve hays said,

    October 29, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Foolish Tar Heel said,

    “Steve Hays,_You have dismissed but not answered my sociological question. It is not, as it were, a charge, but a question. It only becomes a ‘charge’ if you assume several things, both about the question and the implications of certain answers. The fact that I do assume such thing is immaterial, however, to my desire to hear your answer. How, from a sociological standpoint, are some of the versions of ideal-Theonomy articulated here different from the most over-the-top caricatures of radical Islamic regimes and society? Is your answer simply that Theonomy is ‘right.’ Then I give you another sociological-anthropological-and ethnological question, do you realize that all (what I will call) ‘extremist’ cultural-producers and ‘groups’ so legitimate themselves? How might such realizations impact this discussion.”

    i) If you think that people are merely “caricaturing” Islam, rather than accurately representing it’s teaching, then it’s unclear why you also think your comparison between Islam and theonomy is even problematic.

    Any comparison would be fatally equivocal if it’s based on a caricature.

    ii) That aside, why should I submit to your sociological framework? Unless you think that OT ethics is morally equivalent to Sharia law, how is that a comparison? And how is it the least bit relevant to someone who respects the moral authority of Scripture? You’re shifting the issue from normative questions to popular opinion. How is that germane to Christian ethics?

  93. Richard said,

    October 29, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Daniel, my biggest concern in simply that whilst you may not believe that to violate the RPW is literal idolatry in every sense, that does not mean that everyone would agree with you. What is also worrying is that not all Reformed Christians can agree how the RPW is to be applied.

    Ultimately, who gets to decide what formally consitutes idolatry and what happens when Reformed Christians disagree on it?

    Question 1: Are artistic representations of Christ idolotrous?
    Question 2: Should this be punished by death?

  94. October 29, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Richard, as far as I am aware in the OT when images were used in the worship of Jehovah, the images were to be smashed, but there was no further punishment meted out on the worshiper. This was probably because, while a species of idolatry, it was not literal idolatry.

    So,

    1. Yes in the lesser sense, no in the literal sense.
    2. No, but they should be destroyed by the magistrate.

  95. October 29, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    This is ridiculous! There are people here who actually advocate killing others who diverge from them in the arena of religious and moral opinions and practices. Let’s see, we should execute the 40-60 million people (or more) who have had abortions and/or participated in them?! We should kill the possibly 10% of the population that engages in same-sex sexual behaviors?! We should kill the thousands of Catholic priests?! We should, I imagine, kill all religious leaders outside of our definition of legitimate orthodoxy?! Does this include the equivalent of small-group leaders among other religious formations?

    It probably will not take long until we declare the need to kill other professing Christian leaders and cultural-producers who are really Liberals. After all, even if they say they are Christians, we know them better than they know themselves and thus know they are basically non-Christian idol-worshippers leading everyone astray. Do Arminian leaders fall into this basically non-Christian category? What about those Emergent post-Conservative evangelicals in our circles…those wolves in sheep’s clothing…?

    This is not me extending your logic, but rather me spelling out what you advocate.

    It appears some here consider the debate over whether or not we should kill non-Christians (or those diverging beyond a certain point) to be a legitimate point of discussion. This, by the way, has surpassed simply wrestling with our Bible and difficult theological issues. People here have concrete positions on who should be killed and push said positions here as legitimate positions vying for social capital among others here.

    If all you can do is now poke holes in my assumptions and logic and not see just how twisted this is, I seriously fear for you and others you influence. Perhaps it would be a good idea for the FBI to track this discussion…

  96. October 29, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    May the Lord swiftly judge you for your hatred of his word.

  97. jeffhutchinson said,

    October 29, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    And so Foolish Tar Heel’s point is made. If Mr. Ritchie feels persecuted by the evil of Foolish Tar Heel (a point I do not grant, except for argument’s sake), the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul command thusly, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them….Overcome evil with good.” Instead we see Mr. Ritchie calling down a curse.

    The heart that feels the infinite mercy of God towards oneself extends mercy towards others. The heart that doesn’t, doesn’t (Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 7:36-50).

    Lane, unless you need further answers to your question, I am closing down comments on this thread.


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