New “Warrior Children” Thread

This thread now open to accommodate the overflow from “The Resurrection of Machen’s Warrior Children,” which has reached flood stage and is getting hard to navigate (not to say hazardous!). The conversation is mainly about Two Kingdoms issues now. Have at it (but please leave all firearms at the door).

Thank you.

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716 Comments

  1. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Doug Sowers: “Machen believed that all of life was to be transformed by Christianity. He believed that the Church was to make all nations Christ’s slaves. He believed our government should punish criminals by, “you guessed it” THE LAW OF GOD. He did not believe in neutrality, he railed against secularism. He said “whoever is not with us, is our enemy. Once you read this book, there is simply no doubt, he would side with Bahnsen. I’d say “hard Theonomist”!”

    The inveterate propagandist Machen said:

    “Instead of obliterating the distinction between the Kingdom and the world, or on the other hand withdrawing from the world into a sort of modernized intellectual monasticism, let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

    “let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

    Seig Heil Machen!

  2. dgh said,

    January 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Here’s another reason for not identifying 2k with WSC. Carl Trueman, Academic VP at WTS, says the following in an interview at SAET:

    http://www.saet-online.org/category/blog/carl-trueman/

    “I do not think that Deuteronomy speaks directly to how the state should be organized today. Its role in redemptive history is specifically connected to ancient Israel. Of course, the law reflects the character of God, and, to the extent that these parallel codes in other ancient cultures, I believe they reflect a certain common ground among human beings (whether one roots that in common grace or in natural law). Thus, the basic moral principles articulated there should shape Christian ethical thinking which, in turn, will impact the political convictions of Christians as they operate in the civil sphere.”

    “In this passage [Rom. 13], Paul clearly teaches that civil government is established by God and that Christians are required to honour it as such. In a modern democratic state, this does not mean that we have to simply sit back and take anything that the government throws at us; but it does mean that any protests we make must be done in a manner that respects law, civil order, and the status of the magistrate as appointed by God. That means we should not be parading around with pictures of the President mocked up as Adolf Hitler, or inciting violence against the state.”

    Sounds 2kish. Plus, he recommends VanDrunen.

  3. Zrim said,

    January 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Michael “TUAD” Jones, you understand that to obliterate the distinction between the two kingdoms is another way of saying 1k? So Machen is opposed to 1k, whether it’s of the Constantinian-take-over variety (yours) or the Anabaptist-world-flight sort. Check your gun before you shoot, otherwise things can blow up in your face. But with all the Seig Heiling, shouldn’t you be out on a ledge somewhere?

  4. greenbaggins said,

    January 26, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Trueman is definitely 2K.

  5. Zrim said,

    January 26, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Speaking of submission to the state and not inciting violence, here is part of what David Bayly preached to the President.

    A notorious murderer met what is certain to become a notorious end. By the goodness of God the witness of the Church was not entirely silenced in Dr. Tiller’s life. He had been excommunicated by his previous congregation, a church of the Missouri Synod Lutheran denomination. And so the judgment of God had been declared; not every watchman was silent, not every shepherd proved a hireling.

    But the point was reached where a man despaired of change through government and took matters into his own hand. I do not view the actions of Dr. Tiller’s killer as defensible, but not for many of the easy and often self-serving reasons advanced with alarm and indignation even by many Christians in recent days.

    Violence is not always wrong. Killing is not always forbidden. Opposition to abortion does not obligate us to oppose all forms of killing. In saying this I make a biblically defensible statement. God has given the power of the sword to the state so that it may judge and execute judgment. This is true internationally and locally. Condemnation of the vile sin of abortion, the murder of an infant, an innocent, in its mother’s womb is not the same as the death penalty, properly applied.

    Nor do I believe that Dr. Tiller’s killer necessarily acted inappropriately as self-appointed judge, jury and executioner. Like the couple who boldly went into the tent before the congregation at Peor and were immediately killed by Phinehas, Dr. Tiller’s bold practice of the indefensible, his brazen boasting of his practice rendered judge and jury superfluous. He was self-accused and self-convicted.

    It seems to me that a sermon designed to publically rebuke a magistrate is at the very least not much at nurturing the spirit of the biblical law to submit to magistrates and seek to live in peace amongst the nations.

    And whatever condemnation of open murder might be explicitly given with one hand before or after this statement, it is taken away with the implicit suggestion in this statement that some open murder is defensible. How this isn’t a thinly veiled affirmation of violence toward certain medical practitioners (no matter how morally repugnant) takes a combination of supreme act of denial and D-grade reading skills.

    http://www.baylyblog.com/2009/06/a-sermon-for-the-presidentand-for-the-people-of-god.html

  6. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Pastor David Bayly is only doing what inveterate propagandist Machen urged:

    “let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

  7. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    There always be two kingdoms until the consumation of our Lord Jesus Christ. The question is, which one will establish dominion? Which kingdom will hold sway over the nations? All one need do, is read the OT prophets; the Kingdom of God will establish dominion from sea to sea, and God’s enemies will lick the dust. We will overcome by the blood of the lamb, and conquer the nations through our faith in the promises of God. After all, we were promised that our faith will “overcome the world”. What’s that mean, to a PC 2K?

  8. Bobby Avant said,

    January 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    The identification of 2K w/WSC was only a suggestion to help avoid the use of a disparaging term like R2K. I’ve never seen the term R2K used by DGH or others but as a term used to discount their arguments.

  9. curate said,

    January 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    dgh: So you have a problem with how to live with unbelievers. Paul and the apostles were surrounded by unbelievers in their ministry to gentiles. Were they like you calling for an end to false worship?

    Absolutely! What do you think the gospel is about? Freedom of religion? “In times times past God overlooked the foolishness of idolatry, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent”.

    All men everywhere is very inclusive.

    I have no problem living with unbelievers at all. They can believe what they like, but in a godly country they would be forbidden to practice anything contrary to scripture. That includes Romans, Mormons, Muslims, and Jews. At the minute the ungodly are in charge, and look at what they are doing to sound morals …

  10. dgh said,

    January 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Bobby, I appreciate the qualification, but the American revisions to the WCF, the arguments of Old Schoolers, and even the perspective of British evangelicals like Trueman suggests that what some consider radical is much more widely held than supposed.

    What may be in order is further clarification of all the 2k options — Erastian, Puritan (Massachusetts at least), Covenanter, American, and theonomic. What is interesting in that delineation is that 20th c. Dutch Calvinism is among the least appreciative of duality of any kind, and usually the biggest opponents of 2k are inspired more by modern Dutch Reformed thought than by older Reformed versions.

  11. dgh said,

    January 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Curate, nowhere did the apostles call for the Temple of Isis to be shut down. They called Christians not to worship at the Temple of Isis.

    BTW, lots of unbelievers would not consider your desire to have their religious options closed an indication that you are comfortable living with them. I mean, if I forbid my son living at home from going to church with the Mormons, I could well understand if he was uncomfortable with my presence.

  12. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    But Bobby;

    That’s because DGH and Zrim don’t want to admit they’re out of the main stream when it comes to Reformed thought on the matter of God’s law. I suspect a pipe load of Klineian balderdash could be responsible for the muddle. That is why this bogus attempt to make Machin out as a PC 2K’er needs to be put to rest. Machin firmly beleived when it came to punishing crime, the civil magestrate needed to look no further, that the Law of God! He even went as far to say regarding our public school’s, the only partriotic thing to do, “is to teach our students, the Law of God”! That there is one majestic standard by which all men are bound, and that is the Law of God.

  13. greenbaggins said,

    January 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    BOQ I suspect a pipe load of Klineian balderdash could be responsible for the muddle.EOQ

    That’s a little extreme, Doug, wouldn’t you say?

  14. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Hey Truth:

    I don’t quite understand what your implying with your quotes of Machin. Do you agree with him, or no? Or, are you merely pointing out the folly of characterizing Machin as PC 2K? Or are you mocking Machin?

  15. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I apologize Pastor, your right that was over the line.

  16. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    @Curate #9

    Amen, and amen! Let the leaven of God’s kingdom overcome the nations, so that every king would give defference to the King of kings!

  17. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Hi Doug,

    Let’s take another look at what inveterate propagandist J. Gresham Machen wrote:

    “Instead of obliterating the distinction between the Kingdom and the world, or on the other hand withdrawing from the world into a sort of modernized intellectual monasticism, let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

    Does anyone think Machen is saying something that dishonors God here?

  18. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I sure don’t! It sounds Theonomic Postmill, so of course I love it. I see this as Machin, exhorting christians to fulfill the Great Commission.

  19. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Machen: “Instead of obliterating the distinction between the Kingdom and the world, or on the other hand withdrawing from the world into a sort of modernized intellectual monasticism, let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

    Does anyone object to Machen here? Speak up if you do!

    If not, let’s all gather together in unifying harmony and sing with full gusto after Machen’s heart:

    “let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

  20. Kurt said,

    January 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I am sympathetic with calvinian 2k but all the “seig heil’s” are a bit over the top and carry quite a bad history.

  21. Kurt said,

    January 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I know you mean it humorously.

  22. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    BTW Truth, everytime we pray the Lord’s prayer, “in faith”, that is what we are saying. Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is heaven. Fulfill Psalm 2!

  23. Zrim said,

    January 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Pastor David Bayly is only doing what inveterate propagandist Machen urged: “let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

    TUAD, if Bayly is only channeling Machen does that mean we could expect the gentleman from the South to be found publically comporting himself like a member if yet another special interest activist? I don’t see it. But maybe you can find a fire-breathing sermon of his where he publically rebukes a civil magistrate like Bayly does to make a sliver of a case. In the meantime, there is still this from C&L:

    There must be somewhere groups of redeemed men and women who can gather together humbly in the name of Christ, to give thanks to Him for His unspeakable gift and to worship the Father through Him. Such groups alone can satisfy the needs of the soul. At the present time, there is one longing of the human heart which is often forgotten – it is the deep, pathetic longing of the Christian for fellowship with his brethren. . . . There are congregations, eve in the present age of conflict, that are really gathered around the table of the crucified Lord; there are pastors that are pastors indeed. But such congregations, in many cities, are difficult to find. Weary with the conflicts of the world, one goes to Church to seek refreshment for the soul. And what does one find? Alas, too often, one find only the turmoil of the world. The preacher comes forward, not out of a secret place of mediation and power, not with the authority of God’s Word permeating his message, not with human wisdom pushed far into the background by the glory of the Cross, but with human opinions about the social problems of the hour or easy solutions of the vast problems of sin. Such is the sermon. And then perhaps the service is closed by one of those hymns breathing out the angry passions of 1861 . . . Thus the warfare of the world has entered even into the house of God. And sad indeed is the heart of the man who has come seeking peace. Is there no refuge from strife? . . . . Is there no place where two or three can gather in Jesus’ name, . . . to forget human pride, to forget the passions of war, to forget the puzzling problems of industrial strife, and to unite in overflowing gratitude at the foot of the Cross? If there be such a place, then that is the house of God and that the gate of heaven. And from under the threshold of that house will go forth a river that will revive the weary world.

    And this from “The Responsibility of the Church in the New Age”:

    There are certain things which you cannot expect from such a true Christian church. In the first place, you cannot expect from it any cooperation with non-Christian religion or with a non-Christian program of ethical culture. There are those who tell us that the Bible ought to be put into the public schools, and that the public schools should seek to build character by showing the children that honesty is the best policy and that good Americans do not lie nor steal. With such programs a true Christian church will have nothing to do. . . .

    In the second place, you cannot expect from a true Christian church any official pronouncements upon the political or social questions of the day, and you cannot expect cooperation with the state in anything involving the use of force. Important are the functions of the police, and members of the church, either individually or in such special associations as they may choose to form, should aid the police in every lawful way in the exercise of those functions. But the function of the church in its corporate capacity is of an entirely different kind. Its weapons against evil are spiritual, not carnal; and by becoming a political lobby, through the advocacy of political measures whether good or bad, the church is turning aside from its proper mission.

  24. Todd said,

    January 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Tfan

    You wrote:

    I’m not sure I understand. In what way did the American Puritan experiment prove detrimental to the true religion? How did it harm true religion?

    Just look at the next generation – how trying to use force to keep them in church, etc… backfired. Again, the fanaticism of tthe times is also evidence.

    “I guess I could see why you might say that freedom of religion is better for true religion than persecution of true religion is. But how is freedom of religion better for true religion than promotion of true religion?”

    Because promotion eventually turns to enforcement, which eventually turns to persecution.

    “Isn’t odd that it was displeasing to God that the OT Kings tolerated idolatry, yet it is not pleasing to God that the kings of the nations tolerate the same idolatry? Surely God’s attitude toward idolatry has not changed.”

    We are not OT Israel. You assume correspondence on this point when the Bible give us discontinuity. Canaan typified heaven. The nations today do not.
    Israel is fulfilled in the church – which is why the NT is concerned with ex-communicating idolators, but we are told God will judge outsiders, not us (I Cor 5:12) These glasses of assumed correspondence with Israel and the nations today are the wrong glasses you are wearing that are coloring your view of Scripture.

    “Although Israel no longer exists, the blessings given to Israel have been poured forth upon the nations. If the laws for the promotion of the true religion were (at least in their general equity) a blessing to Israel, why should they not be enjoyed by all the nations?”

    The laws did not work for one, see Israel’s history. They were a burden Israel could not bare, see Acts 15:10. And the laws served a specific purpose, which is not the purpose for non-theocratic states today.

    We are saying the same thing, so no need to continue. BTW, that rumbling you just heard was Machen’s body rolling over after having been co-opted to support modern theonomy.

  25. Zrim said,

    January 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I have no problem living with unbelievers at all. They can believe what they like, but in a godly country they would be forbidden to practice anything contrary to scripture. That includes Romans, Mormons, Muslims, and Jews. At the minute the ungodly are in charge, and look at what they are doing to sound morals …

    Curate, you deserve props for being forthright and intellectually honest.

    But I wonder how you propose a “godly country” would come to pass? If you are willing to be intellectually consistent and forthright, are you willing to go a little further an actually act consistently? The Reformed who opposed your scheme were willing to do this when they put their money where their mouths were and revised Belgic 36 and WCF 23, revisions that made sure false religionists were free from civil persecution and had equal opportunity to civilly rule. So, what are you doing to get this reversed and run the pagans out on a rail?

  26. dgh said,

    January 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    To all who have been following this threat. Ron and I have exchanged emails, I offered an apology to Ron and he graciously accepted.

  27. David Gray said,

    January 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Safe to say that Zrim is no fan of Donald Cargill…

  28. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 26, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    “let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

    Herr Machen, Ja!

    All Warrior Children of Machen: Forward, March!

  29. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    TUAD, you certainly make me smile. Now, if I could only figure out what you’re driving at …

  30. David Gadbois said,

    January 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Guys, I know there are quite a few readers here who are honestly trying to mull over 2k issues, and I doubt that this line of conversation is all that profitable for them. I, for one, don’t particularly care what Calvin or Machen believed on the issue, if I can be so blunt. And our confessions have precious little to say on the issue (they can be read to be compatible with a range of views, at least the revised versions). Good Christians are going to want to focus on what the Bible says on the issue, since that is what is normative. Church history can be informative, but in the final analysis it is descriptive, not normative (i.e. we can give Calvin and Machen a respectful hearing). If you can’t convince people from the Bible of your position, you are only going to encourage folks to switch confessions or switch churches or switch theological heroes or switch any other secondary loyalty. I don’t think anyone here is genuinely suffering from enough hero-worship of Calvin or Machen for these kinds of appeals (quote-mining dead men) to be finally convincing to anybody.

    The good news is that there is plenty of food for thought available with respect to the Bible and these issues. On the exegetical, biblical theological, and systematic levels there is much that can be discussed. Many of you, for instance, have VanDrunen’s new book on the subject, there are lots of excellent lines of argument that could be used as a starting point for discussion. For example, it is worth considering that the 2k position is more consistent with our (biblical) doctrine of justification by faith.

  31. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Amen Jeff, I still don’t know either….

  32. Reed Here said,

    January 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    854 + 31; o.k. Lane, what’s the record for a thread here at Green Baggins?

  33. Todd said,

    January 26, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    “They were a burden Israel could not bare”

    Sorry, meant bear, and Tfan, you may have the last word. Too busy at this time for more.

    Thanks

  34. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    “They were a burden Israel could not bare”

    Why couldnt Israel bear it? Because they lacked faith! In the past age, only the remnant were saved. In the Kingdom of God, Christ will reap the fullness of mankind; making him the Savior of the World!

  35. Ron said,

    January 26, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    For example, it is worth considering that the 2k position is more consistent with our (biblical) doctrine of justification by faith.

    David, would you mine, or anybody for that matter, fleshing that out a bit more. Darryl wrote me something that sounds very similar to that today if I may say.

  36. GAS said,

    January 26, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Zrim said on that other thread, somewhere:

    “But at the same time, the Bible also seems to be saying that the only time we are to disobey our magistrates is when they compel us to directly and personally disobey God. ”

    You realize this opens up all sorts of avenues for resistance to the magistrate, right? Using tax funds to pay for murder. Using tax funds to steal from one neighbor to give to another neighbor. Enticing covetousness, etc., ect.

    Since the Magistrates authority is only an indirect authority from God, since we don’t believe in the divine rights of kings, the obedience owed him is based on his exercise of power, that is, whether or not he is upholding the 2nd table.

    So if the ruler is a “terror to the good work”, i.e. he does not uphold the 2nd table, then we rightfully can resist his exercise of power.

  37. Phil Derksen said,

    January 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    This is the thread that never ends;
    yes it goes on and on my friends!
    Some people started commenting,
    and don’t how how to bend,
    so they’ll go on forever –
    Or ’til a mod suspends…

    …This is the thread that never ends

  38. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Zrim says; But I wonder how you propose a “godly country” would come to pass?

    2 Chron. 7:14

    If my people who are called by my name, will humble yourself and pray, and seek my faith, and turn from you wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive your sin and heal your land.

    Was that only true in the OT? Or would I be correct seeing application today?

  39. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 26, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    “TUAD, you certainly make me smile. Now, if I could only figure out what you’re driving at …”

    The title of the post for goodness sakes!

    We’re Warrior Children of Machen!

  40. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    @TUAD, Yes we are warrior children of Machen. I am committed to an OPC. So do you agree with Machen? I know I do:-)

  41. Stuart said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Doug,

    I’m not sure what Zrim would say about the application of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to America today, but here’s my shot at it.

    In context, the folks called “my people” were the people of Israel and “your land” that was to be healed was the Promised Land where Israel dwelt. And the promises given by God about the land come under the Mosaic Covenant (promises of blessing for obedience, but promised curses for disobedience).

    Today, the folks called “my people” would be the church . . . but at this time the church doesn’t dwell in the Promised Land. In a certain sense, we’re more like those who have left Egypt and are heading for the Promised Land (see Hebrews). So it’s safe to say that America is not a new Israel.

    In addition, we’re not under the Mosaic Covenant (at least not in relation to land, ceremonial laws, and such), but we’re under the new covenant. So promises about “the land” don’t really work in the same way. If anything, we need to make epochal adjustments in our interpretation of these “land promises” because a one to one correspondence of 2 Corinthians 7 from Solomon’s day to ours simply doesn’t work.

    That said, will God bring renewal to his church if we repent of our sins and seek his face? Yes. And might that renewal in the church lead to other people outside the church but in our nation coming to a knowledge of the truth found in Christ? It just might. And might the Spirit bringing many people into the kingdom cause some things to change in our nation? It’s certainly possible. But that’s not the same thing as a direct application of 2 Chronicles 7 to America as a nation.

  42. Kurt said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    This seems to resemble 2 Chronicles 7

    Jonah 3:6-10

    6 The word reached [3] the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

    10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

  43. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    David (#30) and gents:

    I’ve been mulling over a 2k proposal that steers clear of which revelation governs which sphere and with what exceptions.

    It is a purely jurisdictional proposal, as follows:

    (1) The magistrate and the church are both given authority from God: the magistrate to restrain evil (Rom 13) and the church to proclaim the Gospel and shepherd the flock of God (Matt 28; passim esp. 2 Cor 13.10).

    (2) The difficulty, both logical and historical, between the magistrate and the church is the Two Authority Problem: how does each maintain independence of authority?

    This was the big problem of the Middle Ages, which saw the church using various tools to command the magistrate, while magistrates pushed back with intrigue and direct muscle.

    (3) The solution is that the magistrate is given jurisdiction over completely different issues from the church. Essentially, the church has jurisdiction over the 1st table of the law: worship and faith. The magistrate has jurisdiction over the 2nd table of the law: man’s actions towards man.

    (4) What distinguishes this proposal from pc-2k is that we avoid the curious notion that natural law alone(ish) rules the common sphere, while special revelation alone(ish) rules the sacred, an idea that seems fraught with problems.

    Why this division between first and second tables? Is it not the case (per Calvin) that the magistrate is bound to respect the rights of God as a person?

    Yes. BUT

    What Calvin does not see is that the magistrate’s jurisdiction is limited.

    For if the magistrate passes a law preventing idolatry, he must first define idolatry or else have it defined for him. If he defines idolatry, he assumes to himself the authority of the church. If on the other hand he receives the definition of idolatry from the church, he subordinates his authority to that of the church.

    (We churchmen might get the warm fuzzies about that, but they only last a hundred years or so, until we get bishop-princes who have to rule both jurisdictions at once).

    So while we agree with Calvin that the magistrate is accountable to God, we disagree that the magistrate has the proper authority to uphold the practice of right religion. He could do it — but in so doing, he muscles in on the church’s turf.

    So what of the second table of the law? Why is that different from the first? The magistrate is accountable to *God* for his interpretation of that law. The Christian subject is accountable to obey his commands, yet not out of conscience as if he were proclaiming a matter of faith.

    And this *is* the difference. The first table, being matters of faith and worship, cannot be regulated without good and necessary inference from Scripture. The second table, being matters of behavior, can be regulated with the understanding that the commands given are “the best we can come up with.”

    But is not the law a unified whole? Yes, actually, it is. But two parts are clearly distinguishable, and those two parts appear to have different administrations. What unifies the law is that God is its author; and both magistrate and church are accountable to Him for their conformity to it.

    Thoughts? Does this advance anything useful, or is it merely old stuff?

  44. dgh said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Doug, how is that 2kers are out of the mainstream when it comes to God’s law? I believe God’s law is everywhere and along with the Confession of Faith, I believe God’s law is revealed by the light of nature AND by special revelation. God’s law is EVERYWHERE.

    I believe it is you that may be out of the mainstream if you are having trouble with the idea that the light of nature is sufficient for all of those affairs where God’s law is silent — like, say, a federal or a unified republic, or say, whether the drinking age should be 18, or say, whether to enter a treaty with only those governments friendly to democracy.

    I really would encourage you to read Dave VanDrunen’s book on Natural Law and 2k. You might be surprised how much NL is in the Reformed tradition (and how NL did not really become objectionable until the influence of Barth and certain strains of Dutch Calvinism).

  45. dgh said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    David Gadbois’ point notwithstanding about MachEn and Calvin, since there seems to be a broken record of two quotes by MachEn, here is one that those who think Machen is anti-2k should consider. It concerns the place of religion in public schools — there you go, what is the place of revealed religion in one of the institutions of the U.S. political order:

    “. . . taking the public school as an established institution, and as being, under present conditions, necessary, there are certain ways in which the danger of that institution may be diminished.
    “1. The function of the public school should be limited rather than increased. The present tendency to usurp parental authority should be checked.
    “2. The public school should pay attention to the limited, but highly important, function which it is now neglecting — namely, the impartation of knowledge.
    “3. The moral influence of the public-school teacher should be exerted in practical rather than in theoretical ways. Certainly the (thoroughly destructive and immoral) grounding of morality in experience should be avoided. Unfortunately, the true grounding of morality in the will of God may, in our public schools, also have to be avoided. But if the teacher himself knows the absolute distinction between right and wrong, his personal influence, without theoretical grounding and without “morality codes,” will appeal to the distinction between right and wrong which is implanted in the soul of the child, and the moral tone of the school will be maintained. . . .
    “4. The public-school system should be kept healthy by the absolutely free possibility of the competition of private schools and Church schools, and the State should refrain from such regulation as to make their freedom illusory. . . .
    “6. The reading of selected passages from the Bible, in which Jews and Catholics and Protestants and others can presumably agree, should not be encouraged, and still less should be required by law. The real center of the Bible is redemption; and to create the impression that other things in the Bible contain any hope for humanity apart from that is to contradict the Bible at its root. . . .
    “7. Public-school children should be released at certain convenient hours during the week, so that the parents, if they choose, may provide for their religious instruction; but the State should entirely refrain both from granting school credit for work done in these hours and from exercising any control whatever either upon attendance or upon the character of the instruction.”

    So Machen believed, if this quotation is any example, that religion’s influence should not be expanded. It should be restrained and religious education should be conducted outside the public forum.

    He also believed that in the setting of a public school with a diversity of faiths, morality would likely not come from special revelation or a theoretical account of morality but from the influence and convictions of the teacher.

  46. Zrim said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    You realize this [But at the same time, the Bible also seems to be saying that the only time we are to disobey our magistrates is when they compel us to directly and personally disobey God] opens up all sorts of avenues for resistance to the magistrate, right? Using tax funds to pay for murder. Using tax funds to steal from one neighbor to give to another neighbor. Enticing covetousness, etc., ect…So if the ruler is a “terror to the good work”, i.e. he does not uphold the 2nd table, then we rightfully can resist his exercise of power.

    GAS, no you can’t. The key is “directly and personally.” There is a distinction to be made between acting personally and acting politically. When I pay my taxes and those taxes fund things I politically oppose that doesn’t mean I personally commit them. (What do you think taxes funded when Jesus told them to render to Caesar? Probably things the average American-Christian would faint at. At yet, the command is to cough it up.) So, it is only when the magistrate tells me worship him or otherwise break God’s moral law in my own person that I may disobey.

    I am not free to withhold my taxes from the magistrate, even if he uses them to fund abortion. I am free, however, to let the plate go by when it is passed for Christian day schools since there is no mandate from Scripture for it (and my own covenant children I hand over to Molech). Despite what American ethics tell you about making yourself judge over the magistrate such that you have the right to disobey him if you see fit, biblical ethics tell another story, one that seems to make certain believers gag on the jagged little pill called obedience.

    Doug Sowers (#38), I’ve no idea what 2 Chron. 7:14 has to do with a strategy beyond serving some sentimental rallying cry for Christian nationism one hears on Christian radio. But to the extent that you think it is a biblical strategy about how the wicked should be deposed from civil power, what are you doing to do make that happen? I presume you think good Christian piety is to “go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.” I do, too, but I think it has to do with spiritual discipleship instead of cultural dominion. I tithe to missions toward that end. What do you do to further the cause of cultural dominion? Ranting on blogs doesn’t count.

  47. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Machen: “Instead of obliterating the distinction between the Kingdom and the world, or on the other hand withdrawing from the world into a sort of modernized intellectual monasticism, let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

    Versus (or Compare and Contrast)

    Darryl Hart: “So Machen believed, if this quotation is any example, that religion’s influence should not be expanded. It should be restrained and religious education should be conducted outside the public forum.”

    “Religion’s influence should not be expanded” vs. “let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

    Hmmmmmm….

    Hmmmmmm….

    The Great Commission is more in line with the latter, eh?

  48. Phil said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Couple of points.

    1. Regarding #48, Machen was saying almost exactly the same thing near the end of his life to a NUCS audience. He didn’t have to go to the convention, but he did.

    2. On baking, we have in our pantry a box of “Ezekiel 4:9″ breakfast cereal from Food for Life. Yup, the name is a Scripture reference. (I’m not saying they should have done this, but they did.)

    3. I love Matthew Henry at Matt. 28:16: “Thirdly, That Christianity should be twisted in with national constitutions, that the kingdoms of the world should become Christ’s kingdoms, and their kings the church’s nursing-fathers.”

  49. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    >Doug, how is that 2kers are out of the mainstream when it comes to God’s law? I believe God’s law is everywhere and along with the Confession of Faith, I believe God’s law is revealed by the light of nature AND by special revelation. God’s law is EVERYWHERE.<

    Okay dgh, let me ask you; if it was moral to execute a homosexual in the Older covenant, why wouldnt it be moral today? Can morality change? Has God changed his mind As you may have seen, Zrim believes that Jesus bloody death did away with the DP for sexual sins; what say you?

  50. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Nice conrast TUAD’s! It’s the difference between night and day!

  51. Phil said,

    January 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Check out how Chinese Christians may be transforming China’s government even now:

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/01/20/christianity-china/

  52. Phil said,

    January 26, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Take a look at where “natural law” leads:

    Data can be cited (they tell me) that animals engage in single-sex sexuality; therefore, since it naturally occurs, it’s OK.

  53. Ron said,

    January 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Zrim commented on the other thread:

    Ron, Doug’s last couple of entries I think help make a point. On the one hand, you re-produced (#813) what was evidently a response to me in September which rightly lamented the Christian Nation stuff that eminated from Coral Ridge. On the other, you’re getting plaudits from Doug who seems to sound pretty Christian Nation-y in a Coral Ridge-ish sort of way. So it becomes hard to see how the outlook you basically champion doesn’t give rise to that which you also lament. I trust you see the conundrum from a pc-2k point of view.

    Zrim,

    I’m glad I went back and saw that post of yours on the other thread. I trust I’m to try to address it here rather than there.

    I’ll begin with an analogy. If it doesn’t work for you, please let it go. It’s only meant to help clarify a point; I’m not trying to build a case upon it. There are 5-point Calvinists out there that believe witnessing is a waste of time and that when a believer receives Christ he is merely bringing his eternal justification to his consciousness, but I wouldn’t want to impugn TULIP with such silliness and neither would you. People run head strong into error though they begin with true doctrine. In the like manner, the Coral Ridge Christian-nationalism does not represent my position on the civil law as it relates with the rest of Scripture. Frankly, it infuriates me to put it mildly. I don’t see that as a conundrum though, at least not for me. It might be something that must be explained a bit more, but how many times have we Calvinists had to explain why we pray and witness in light of God’s eternal, unchangeable decree? Enough with the analogy.

    I believe these are compatible theologies, (a) our Kingdom is not of this world and (b) rapists ought to be put to death. Mind you, I’m not defending theonomy here. I’m merely pointing out that upholding the equity of the case law is not at odds with the primacy of the gospel, the mission of the church.

    More about me.. In brief, I take great comfort that our kingdom is not of this world. I live in the re-creation, the church, and by God’s grace enjoy with you the inaugurated kingdom that awaits consummation. In that context, in the church that is (and hopefully in our respective homes too!), we see and enjoy God’s display of unity and plurality (i.e. harmony) progressively maturing and reflecting the Trinity and our ultimate Sabbath rest. This realty is fact, not fancy. It needs to be reckoned as fact and seen through the eye of faith, but it is there to behold for all whom God is pleased to illuminate. Naturally then, I am deeply saddened (you have no idea how much so) when Christians think and even try to usher in the kingdom through a concerted effort to restrain evil and reconstruct Washington. I’m saddened along with you that the pure message of the church is at sundry times and in various places at best hidden and at worst exchanged for another, which is not another but no message at all. What is equally sad to me (and I hope for you too) is that these Christians are not enjoying the wonders of the kingdom. As a Christian and elder, that breaks my heart.

    Moving on… yes evil is to be restrained and although some evils can be curbed, I suppose, through the Falwell, Robertson and Kennedy types, these sorts of ministries clearly jettison the Christian message in their efforts. Consequently, ministries such as these do more harm than good. Let me repeat that. They do more harm than good! By the nature of the case they mislead, because in a very real sense they are promoting another gospel. My defense of that assertion is that if the church is to preach the gospel, then their message is to be perceived as the gospel; so when it’s not the gospel that is being preached – then naturally they mislead those who would look to them for the gospel message. Make sense?

    Wrapping this up… in an effort to make disciples of all nations, we aren’t to lead with the civil law but with the moral law (as a backdrop) and the gospel (as the solution). That doesn’t mean we ought not to vote for candidates that will govern according to biblical principles so that we can live peaceable lives in the Kingdom. Indeed we should, but that’s very secondary and it is certainly not the church’s place to stand behind any candidate or party, as if any candidate or party could represent the Christian church. With all that as absolute bedrock for me, when it comes to the question of what types of laws I think ought to be legislated, my views are clear and need not be rehearsed here. Yet notwithstanding, my convictions on what ought to be the case has little bearing on my day-to-day life as a husband, father, elder, friend, or business man. (It doesn’t even dictate my eschatology, for “ought” does not imply “will”.) The only reason I speak up on these matters (and on matters having to do with apologetics) is not because these are high on my fun / priority list (they’re far from it in fact), but rather it is because I believe that the church is in need of spokespeople who love and embrace the general equity of the civil case laws while also realizing that those doctrinal distinctives pale insignificant to the already-not-yet reality that pertains to the Kingdom from which the gospel of reconciliation and forgiveness is to go forth. The two views are compatible, but unfortunately they are not always regarded as such.

    Finally, I don’t believe that Coral Ridge shares my view of the civil case laws. Not in the least. I think they’re arbitrary nationalists that would never dare justify civil code with OT precepts. I do believe that there are many Christians out there that do agree with me on the place for the case laws, but should they choose to lead with reconstruction over gospel transformation I will run for cover just like you. Again, our Kingdom is not of this world and that’s where I live my life (my family, ministry and fellowship). That being said, if someone asks me should a rapist get ten years (or 180 years!) and a chance for parole, I’ll say no. I’ll plead with such a criminal to be saved and labor with him in his cell, but at the end of the day I’ll be the first to call for his execution. Strange – maybe, conundrum – I don’t think so. I believe God’s precepts require death for such a transgression and that settles it for me. I, also, believe such sanctions will deter other would-be rapists. Finally, I believe such a penality is a means to protect other would-be victims. But again, my sole reason is not the good I believe might come from it, though that can be a comfort, rather it is because with all my heart I believe that God’s precepts require that a rapist be put to death, just like his precepts require that we try to win such a one to the Savior before throwing the switch. My brother, I’m tired and not inclined to discuss this too much further, but I wanted to give a more exhaustive answer to what I think is a confusing point for so many Christian brothers (and sisters).

    I’ll end with this… http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-68365.html I witnessed to this man in prison; with my wife visited and prayed with his wife and children; and I attended his funeral. My love for Mr. Miller was, I believe, consistent with what I believe he deserved. I’m quite certain that serving a 180 year prison sentence was not God’ revealed will.

    Grace and peace,

    Ron

  54. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Great question Stewart! Let me take a stab at it.

    I see the land promise made to Abraham as a type of the world. Notice when God originally made the promise to Abraham:

    Genesis 17:8

    And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of our sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.

    Yet in Romans 4:13 Paul states;

    For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

    See how Paul understands the promise God made to Abraham? It was to inherrit the whole world! And Abraham apprehended the promise by faith. So yes, the promise has been greatly expanded. The Church is the New Israel, and Christ is the last Adam, and the King of Kings! In Christ we are co-heirs with Him, by faith. And King Jesus will extend his rule and reign through the faithful proclamation of the Gospel in the unity of the faith.

    Moreover, in Galatians Paul says that all those in Christ are the seed of Abraham and heirs according to the promsie. What promise? All the promieses in there full typological fulfillment. Now instead of conquering 7 nations, we are to make all the nations Christ’s slaves! This was God’s plan from the very beginning!

    And there is much to be said for “corporate faithfulness”. When Israel was “corporately” faithfull there enemies were pushed back. When they had idols in there midst there enemies were emboldened. AS “we” come together in the unity of the true knowledge of God, praying for, and contending for the promises of God, King Jesus moves mountains.

    So in that sense, I see 2 Chron 7:14 as a promise for all of God’s people’s in all ages. Now instead of conquering Canaan, we are to conquer every nation in the Triune name of God, instructing them in ALL of God’s commandments. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God until every last enemy is made his footstool.

  55. Doug Sowers said,

    January 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Good word Ron!

  56. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 26, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    “Nice contrast TUAD’s! It’s the difference between night and day!”

    Thanks Doug Sowers.

    The light of day is better than a dark fart.

  57. Ron said,

    January 26, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I hope it will be helpful, Doug.

    Blessings,

    Ron

  58. curate said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:51 am

    dgh: Curate, nowhere did the apostles call for the Temple of Isis to be shut down. They called Christians not to worship at the Temple of Isis.

    In times past God winked at idolatry, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent. Paul, Apostle, quoting God.

    So, no, not just Christians, but all men everywhere.

    In summary so far, the ninth word is binding, but not the first two. The reason is the civil law of the USA, which trumps God. Yes?

    Idolaters have a right to their consciences, but not perverts. On that point the civil law off the USA no longer agrees, so the sexual commands must go as well. Yes?

    Christians must tolerate idolatry because otherwise the heathen will not feel comfortable around us. As long as they are comfortable, all is well then. Yes?

  59. stuart said,

    January 27, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Doug,

    I actually agree with much of what you said in your last comment to me (#54). In fact, I ws thinking about some of those very things while I was typing out my first comment. I would still argue, however, that the Land promises being extended to the world at large does not make a neat or strict one to one correspondance between 2 Chronicles 7 and our situation today. If there was, then we’d have to say that if God’s people pray, repent, and seek his face then God will heal the world at large. In one sense, he will do this . . . when Jesus returns and brings about a new heaven and new earth where righteousness dwells. But I’m not sure we can make any promises to ourselves of how God is going to clean-up this world before the return of Jesus.

  60. TurretinFan said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:00 am

    BA:

    You wrote: “I’ve never seen the term R2K used by DGH or others but as a term used to discount their arguments.”

    The arguments are pretty weak on their own without labels. The use of the label is to distinguish what DGH is teaching from what the Westminster Assembly, Calvin, and “the Reformed theologians” (such as Turretin) taught.

    Recall that Calvin wrote:

    Having shown above that there is a twofold government in man, and having fully considered the one which, placed in the soul or inward man, relates to eternal life, we are here called to say something of the other, which pertains only to civil institutions and the external regulation of manners.

    (Institutes 4:20:1)

    That’s a statement of the very broad genus of “two kingdoms” theology. In that sense, Calvin, Turretin, DGH, and I are all “two kingdoms” folks. But within that genus there are multiple species. One species might be said to be that of Calvin, another to be that of “Kuyper” and perhaps the species that has been labeled r2k might be associated with Kline or perhaps Vos, although I cannot point to any particular argument from either of them that would aim to justify the position held by DGH and others.

    I would even happily name the strain after Darryl Hart, but his book that seems to be most closely connected to this subject, A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State, states at pages 16-17:

    To say that using Christianity for political purposes is a distortion of the faith is of course to dissent not only from Jerry Falwell or Jim Wallis but also from much more significant church luminaries, from parts of John Calvin to the encyclicals of John Paul II. For that reason the approach in the chapters that follow is more suggestive than assertive.

    Even leaving aside the issue of identifying antichrist John Paul II as a “church luminary,” Hart’s book isn’t assertive by its own admission. It doesn’t make the arguments, just suggestions. Maybe the suggestions are dangerous and out of line with the Bible and the Reformed confessions, but since little is said explicitly, it becomes hard to nail the jello to the wall.

    I’m not sure that David van Drunen’s recent book, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture is any less suggestive and more assertive.

    DvD-2k has a nice ring to it, though. Perhaps that would be an alternative that would be merely descriptive and not misconstruable as pejorative. Or maybe there is some prominent theologian within the movement whom DvD, DGH, and so on would recognize as the preeminent spokesman for their position.

    -TurretinFan

    P.S. The “Post-Constantinian” alternative doesn’t seem particularly descriptive …

  61. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

    The “Post-Constantinian” alternative doesn’t seem particularly descriptive.

    When I see PC-2K, I see Politically Correct 2K.

    And Politically Correct 2K aids and abets secular liberalism by muzzling Christian participation in the Public Square, particularly faithful Christians protecting unborn life.

    Politically Correct 2K is morally culpable for aiding and abetting secular liberalism.

    Just Say No to R2K or its alias PC 2K.

    Just do what Herr Machen says:

    ““let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

  62. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Ron (#53), thanks for the response. This is helpful.

    What I get is that you seem to have a concern for justice. To my 2k mind, this is noble and there is no reason to begrudge it. I don’t think it can be emphasized enough that there is every reason to affirm a concern for the earthly endeavor to promote justice and seek order.

    However, the next question that I think 2k is very concerned for is, How? How do we properly go about this business as resident aliens of promoting justice? It seems to me that when you reach back into the OT case laws you are using a theonomic method to effect what is a 2k principle to promote justice and seek the peace of the city. I understand the point about general equity, but I think it is limited. The fact is that we have to do this work of promoting justice with those who do not recognize special revelation. That is more of a logistical problem, granted. And, again, as I’ve argued in the other thread, this isn’t at all to say that special revelation mayn’t be referenced. But it does seem to me that God has provided sufficient material in general revelation to do this work without having to pull out special revelation. This is where I see a great divide, between those like me who think GR is quite sufficient govern civil life and those who, at best think it’s pretty good but not sufficient, and at worst think GR is the devil’s workshop. Don’t you think you can get the sort of justice you think is in keeping with godliness by appealing to natural law? Or are you afraid that you might lose the natural argument, thus the special text is needed from the start? If so, I don’t see how you’ll persuade anybody who isn’t implicitly convinced that rapists should be executed by simply writing it explicitly on the board. That’s like a Muslim trying to tell me that he thinks thieves should have their right hands sliced off, and when I am unconvinced he pulls out the Koran. Yeah, so?

    Another problem is more principled and of greater concern to me. Spiritually, the Bible is concerned for exact justice, and that is what all the OT laws and prophets were about, and Jesus was the fulfillment of all of it. The project you’re concerned for is both civil and proximate. Why use a text that is concerned for spiritual exactness for a task that is about civil approximation? Doesn’t pressing the Bible so defined into a civil cause so defined actually do harm to the plight of the Bible? That is, doesn’t it obscure what the Bible is all about?

    But in John 5:39-40 Jesus says, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” Jesus’ own hermeneutic here is to say that the Bible is all about him, all about the fulfillment of the law and prophets. To reach back into the law and prophets to do anything but point us to Jesus is to point us away from Jesus. Again, I affirm what I think is your concern for justice, but I oppose your method since it is a way that obscures the very heart of the gospel. I know you affirm that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the law and prophets, but it seems to me that your left hand doesn’t realize what the right is doing. There are times when that’s a good thing, but in this instance it’s actually a way to say that you’re getting in the way of your own good confession.

  63. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Jeff, your point number 3 is curious. Pc-2k says the church has jurisdiction over both tables. Why would you say the church has jurisdiction over only the first?

    As to point number 4, I still don’t see why it is so curious that natural law alone rules civil life and the Word of God alone rules ecclesial life. That’s what Turretin (the real one) says. And with regard specifically to how civil life is regulated, it’s what the traditional first use of the law says: the law serves the commonwealth or body politic as a force to restrain sin. (I previously asked you about this in the original thread, but unless I missed it you never responded: if you don’t like the idea that general revelation is sufficient for civil life is an implication of sola scriptura, how about it being another way of stating the first use of the law?)

    As to the balance of #44, it’s not just that the magistrate muscles in on the church’s turf, but keeping the magistrate out of religious enforcement seems to me to be a way to treat others as we would be treated. For if we say that the civil magistrate should enforce true religion we necessarily invite persecution, something I don’t want for me, so I am looking out for the other who could get it.

    But I also want to keep pressing that I don’t see Scripture saying so much that the magistrate in his office is to submit to God so much as the Christian in his person is to submit to the magistrate. When we say that these are equal concerns I think we get ideas like GAS’s above that when the magistrate “does not uphold the 2nd table, then we rightfully can resist his exercise of power.” I mean, yeow. How in thee heck does one get that from:

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

    I don’t see any caveat for rebellion here, as in “You are in subjection to the civil authorities that God has ordained, unless of course you think he’s not doing a very good job on the second table of the law. In those instances, you are free to more or less rebel.” That sounds like American jurisprudence to me, not biblical ethics.

  64. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

    And Politically Correct 2K aids and abets secular liberalism by muzzling Christian participation in the Public Square, particularly faithful Christians protecting unborn life.

    PC-2k does no such thing. It says there is liberty to participate in the public square according to the convictions of conscience. For those persuaded that one lawful way to a certain end is right, go forth. To those persuaded otherwise, so be it. To those not particularly persuaded one or another about either means or ends, be free. How is that a form of muzzling, to trumpet liberty? My idea of muzzling is banning people from a blog with whom one disagrees, with love of course, right after calling them “unfaithful” for not being internally persuaded the way another is.

  65. GAS said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Zrim (46),

    So the money you give to the gov’t to pay for abortions is not a direct and personal contribution to that murder? Your position REALLY is a progressive position. Contrary to the concepts of Classical Liberalism that the benefits you receive for your work are really yours, you seem to believe that Caesar owns all of that.

    When Jesus said to give unto Caesar that which is Caesars you interpret that to mean that everything on earth belongs to Caesar. A long line of Reformed theologians and political philosophers would vehemently disagree with your progressive position.

    At least dgh is a little more nuanced in his position such that I doubt he would go as far as you have gone. Yours is truly a post-modern position.

  66. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Zrim: “It says there is liberty to participate in the public square according to the convictions of conscience. For those persuaded that one lawful way to a certain end is right, go forth.”

    So PC 2k does not condemn pastors preaching for unborn life in the pulpit whilst also preaching the eternal life of the Gospel. PC 2K does not condemn pastors and leaders and laity for taking a public stand for unborn life in the public square. And in these public positions they take, it may very well include exhortations to not vote and support pro-abortion policies, platforms, and politicians. PC 2K does not condemn these exhortations and the Christians uttering these exhortations.

    Is this right?

  67. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:00 am

    @Zrim, why do you compare the Bible to the Koran? The Word and Christ are one! The Bible carries the authority of God! You seem most concerned that “we” won’t be able to convince the world that the Bible is the Word of God. That the world will not confess the truth. That the heart of man is too stubborn.

    Let’s go back to our marching orders. “Make disciples OF every nation, baptizing them in the Triune name of God; (and here is the biggie) instructing them in ALL my commandments!

    Zrim, are you telling us if you were one of the eleven kneeling in front of the Lord Jesus, that you would have told our King, “hold it” that will never work, there are too many religions out there! You see Jesus, there are too many competing ideas, will never get every nation to accept all your laws!

    It seems as if your deprecating the Great Commission. Your poo pooing it as pie in the sky, or wishful thinking. Interestingly the bible does tell us, that some who were kneeling in front of him were doubting. Would it be fair from this point on to refer to you as “Doubting Zrim”?

  68. GAS said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Hey dgh,

    Do you agree with Zrim that there is no such thing as personal property rights?

  69. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:34 am

    GAS, if I’m personally responsible for committing abortion by paying my taxes, does that mean I also personally own the police cruiser my taxes fund? But the last time I tried to tell a cop his new Charger K-9 vehicle was my personal property he told me to step back. So, were they personally guilty of whatever Caesar funded through those taxes Jesus told them to unreservedly cough up in Mark 12? What do you think “they were amazed” means? Are you suggesting that we don’t have to pay certain taxes? But if we do, are we personally guilty of whatever they fund? How do we get out of the conundrum in which you’ve placed us?

    TUAD, 2k makes a distinction between the church qua church and her individual members, between institution and individual. When it comes to the institution, 2k says that the church should only speak in line with what she has been commissioned. She hasn’t been commissioned to protest abortion clinics. When it comes to individuals, 2k also distinguishes between extra- and ordinary members. The extraordinary have a burden on them that the ordinary simply don’t, namely to speak in accordance with the church as institution. They may certainly have their socio-political convictions, but they must be much more cautious about how they speak than ordinary individuals. It works both ways, by the way, ordinary members aren’t called to evangelize (witness, yes), as in every member ministry.

    Doug, you’re still confusing the cultural mandate (law) and the Great Commission (gospel). Jesus commanded his people to make disciples, not take over the world.

  70. dgh said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Doug, it is not clear as night and day. It is simply reading what you want in Machen and ignoring what you don’t want to read. You know, Truth quotes and doesn’t tell the truth about her identity.

    As for the question on execution of adulterers: here’s a simple clarification. Adultery is wrong. The OT specified that adulterers were to be put to death. Death was the punishment. But the sin could find a number of penalties.

    In the NT, the Corinthians were engaged in adultery (and more). Paul doesn’t call for the execution. Why? Because execution was part of the legal administration of Israel whose time had passed with Christ’s fulfilling the Mosaic Covenant (and more).

  71. dgh said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:38 am

    How about theonomic 2k and non-theonomic 2k? That seems to cover most of the division here.

  72. dgh said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Curate:

    No.

    No.

    No.

  73. TurretinFan said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

    DGH wrote: “How about theonomic 2k and non-theonomic 2k? That seems to cover most of the division here.”

    I suppose that Calvin and the Westminster divines would be in the “theonomic 2k” category. But would Kuyper and the group that DvD refers to as the “Neo-Calvinists”? Are they really “theonomic”?

    My main concern about “theonomic” as a label is that people have associated that term with things like re-instituting the dietary laws, which someone like Calvin would never have assented to.

    -Turretin

  74. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

    @DGH

    If the OT civil laws are no longer to be followed in there general equity, then why did Paul affirm them in 1 Tim. 1:8-11?

    “We know the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexualy immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, peruers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted”.

    How can this be, in a PC 2K world? Why would Paul affirm punishments and call them GOOD, (in the present tense) If Christ had made them obsolete? If you will notice, most of these offenses were death penalty crimes, and yet Paul calles these punishments “justice”. Moreover, he calls these punishments, “in accordance with the gospel with which he had been entrusted”!

  75. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Darryl Hart: “So Machen believed, if this quotation is any example, that religion’s influence should not be expanded.

    Versus (or Compare and Contrast With)

    Zrim: “It [PC 2K] says there is liberty to participate in the public square according to the convictions of conscience. For those persuaded that one lawful way to a certain end is right, go forth.”

    Hmmmmmm….

    “Liberty to participate in the public square according to the convictions of conscience” could lead to the the rejection of “religion’s influence should not be expanded.”

    Hmmmmmm….

    PC 2k an incoherent mess…

  76. dgh said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Curate, btw, since you are a law and magisterial enforcement guy, I suppose you are someone who does not business on the Lord’s Day. Would you also think that any contracts made on Sundays should be null and void, since business should not be done on the Lord’s Day?

  77. dgh said,

    January 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Tfan, are you sure your concern with theonomy is not its association with the execution of adulterers?

  78. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    DGH said In the NT, the Corinthians were engaged in adultery (and more). Paul doesn’t call for the execution. Why? Because execution was part of the legal administration of Israel whose time had passed with Christ’s fulfilling the Mosaic Covenant (and more).

    Wrong! If I remember correctly, during the time of the Corinthians letter, Paul was living under Roman law! The government had the power of the sword, NOT the Church. So just because Paul didn’t want to usurp his sphere of authority in no way means that if Rome repented and became “Christian” it would have the DP for adultery. And what happened a couple hundred years later? Yep! You guessed it, they made adultry a DP offense, in accordance to the law of God. As well as homosexuality and kidnapping. You see DGH? We even had the DP in America for homosexuality in all thirteen states! So the question is; was America wrong then, or now?!

  79. GAS said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Zrim,

    You’ve already admitted that anything the gov’t requires of you that breaks the 2nd table is to be resisted. Does a police cruiser break any of the commands of the 2nd table?

    Did the taxes that Jesus required them to cough up include all their money? They were probably amazed because most of them thought that the Jews should be independent of Rome and thought that any taxes to Rome were wrong. Jesus is telling them that Rome was a lawful gov’t and their laws were justified to the extent in which they were written. Keep in mind that our system of law is derived from the Roman system which includes certain rights for the people. Jews could become Roman citizens like Paul was. Under Roman law there were personal property rights. But you seem to want to suggest that Caesar owns everything.

    We live in a representative democracy bound by a constitution and you do have responsibilities under that system to ensure that the gov’t is abiding by the constitution. Since you seem to be all about obedience then you should be obedient to your responsibilities. If the gov’t is failing to follow the constitution and you fail to resist the gov’t you are being disobedient. So yes, I am suggesting that we withhold some tax payments as a proper form of resistance and obedience to our constitutional requirements, not to mention our responsibilities for resisting when the gov’t when it is breaking the 2nd table.

    I’m beginning to think that pm-2k’s dictum is: Six days you shall worship and make sacrifices to the god-state and on the seventh day you can rest from that.

  80. TurretinFan said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    “Tfan, are you sure your concern with theonomy is not its association with the execution of adulterers?”

    Yes, I’m sure. As I said:

    My main concern about “theonomic” as a label is that people have associated that term with things like re-instituting the dietary laws, which someone like Calvin would never have assented to.

    Please take me at my word.

    -TurretinFan

  81. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    GAS: “I’m beginning to think that pm-2k’s dictum is: Six days you shall worship and make sacrifices to the god-state and on the seventh day you can rest from that.”

    I think you meant to write PC 2K, not pm-2k. Anyways, you’re dictum certainly looks like Politically Correct 2K and it would immensely please secular liberals (and many theological liberals):

    “Six days you shall worship and make sacrifices to the god-state and on the seventh day you can rest from that.”

    Politically Correct 2K is an incoherent mess. For example, Zrim’s “Liberty to participate in the public square according to the convictions of conscience” could or would lead to the rejection of Hart’s “religion’s influence should not be expanded.”

  82. GAS said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    TUAD,

    politically correct=post-modern (pm).

    If we are to use pc then politically correct is a better definer than post constantinian.

  83. TurretinFan said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    “Would you also think that any contracts made on Sundays should be null and void, since business should not be done on the Lord’s Day?”

    I realize this was directed to curate, but let me respond.

    1) No. Just as we wouldn’t invalidate a contract written on stolen paper, with a stolen pen, loaded with stolen ink, so we wouldn’t invalidate a contract written during stolen time.

    2) When did Presbyterians begin to oppose laws prohibiting business on Sunday? It certainly wasn’t in 1789, as far as I know (of course, if someone has contrary evidence, I’m all ears). Are those men also “theonomic”? If so, we’re getting a clearer picture at least of what “non-theonomic” entails.

    -TurretinFan

  84. TurretinFan said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I still like DvD-2k even over politically correct (pc-2k) or post-modern (pm-2k).

  85. GAS said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    T-Fan,

    Are you sure DvD would want to be associated with what we are seeing?

  86. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I like Radical 2K (R2K) or Politically Correct 2K (PC 2K) as accurate identifier of what Darryl Hart and others espouse.

  87. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Zrim said: Doug, you’re still confusing the cultural mandate (law) and the Great Commission (gospel). Jesus commanded his people to make disciples, not take over the world.

    Must I continue to re-type what Jesus really said?

    I have all authority in heaven and earth, therefore go and make disciples of every Nation…..

    Notice Zrim, Jesus didn’t say “make disciples IN” he said OF. Now of course it goes without saying that we are to make disciples in every nation, but to what end, to what aim? To make every nation a servant of the One and True living God! This is why we call Jesus the King of kings! As Ron has pointed out; this is what Psalm 2 is alluding too.

    God so loved the world! That Jesus, the last Adam invaded planet earth to win back the nations for the glory of God. Our mandate is to instruct every nation in ALL of God’s commandments. Where God has found it good to give us specific instruction in morality, we should treasure it. Eye for and eye, and tooth for tooth is poetry, for perfect justice. God’s moral laws were never to harsh nor to lenient. They displayed the wisdom of God on how societies should deal with crime, therefore let’s echo what King David said; Oh how I love your law, it’s my meditation both day and night”!

  88. TurretinFan said,

    January 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    “Are you sure DvD would want to be associated with what we are seeing?”

    No, I am not sure. Do you have some reason to think he would not want to be associated with the positions that are espoused by DGH, Zrim, and the like?

    -TurretinFan

  89. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Hey guys! I just got a great idea! Why don’t we all call ourselves “Theonomic”? I mean, it’s either theonomy or autonomy. Being a theonomist just means were not antinomian. We like David say, “Oh how I love your law”! Sure the ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Christ, and are no longer to be observed in there outward form. Nevertheless, they still give us the theological meaning for many aspects of Christ’s work, amen? (I’m thinking scape goat, feast of booths, and such) Without the book of Leviticus we wouldn’t understand the full depth and richness of Christ’s completed work.

    With all the learned brain power on Greenbaggins, coupled with brotherly love, and the fruit of the Spirit, we could make a lot of good and useful strides, navigating through some of the more thorny problems we face in fully understanding God’s law. And I would hope we can agree on one thing; morality can not change. Therefore, as ambassadors of Christ

  90. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Whether it’s R2K or PC 2K or whatever, we all surely agree that what Darryl Hart, Zrim, et al are espousing is a deviation from 2K.

    And it must be noted and identified as such.

    And for that matter, an aberrant deviation from 2K.

  91. GAS said,

    January 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    T-Fan,

    I don’t know. I just think before we associate him with the views espoused here we should confirm that those line up with his actual views.

  92. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    How about Liberal 2K?

    After all, I’ve been informed that some folks are starting to think that R2K is just liberalism under another name. And we also have GAS’s dictum: “Six days you shall worship and make sacrifices to the god-state and on the seventh day you can rest from that.”

    So why not just call it L2K?

  93. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    You’ve already admitted that anything the gov’t requires of you that breaks the 2nd table is to be resisted. Does a police cruiser break any of the commands of the 2nd table?

    Actually, GAS, it’s if he requires me to personally break anything in both tables that I am to disobey. But you’re still missing the point about personal and political distinctions. If I am personally guilty of abortion because my taxes fund it then by the same token my taxes also fund the cruiser, which means it’s my personal vehicle. Why do get dinged for being guilty of abortion but I don’t get the car when my taxes are funding both?

    Did the taxes that Jesus required them to cough up include all their money? They were probably amazed because most of them thought that the Jews should be independent of Rome and thought that any taxes to Rome were wrong. Jesus is telling them that Rome was a lawful gov’t and their laws were justified to the extent in which they were written. Keep in mind that our system of law is derived from the Roman system which includes certain rights for the people. Jews could become Roman citizens like Paul was. Under Roman law there were personal property rights. But you seem to want to suggest that Caesar owns everything.

    We live in a representative democracy bound by a constitution and you do have responsibilities under that system to ensure that the gov’t is abiding by the constitution. Since you seem to be all about obedience then you should be obedient to your responsibilities. If the gov’t is failing to follow the constitution and you fail to resist the gov’t you are being disobedient. So yes, I am suggesting that we withhold some tax payments as a proper form of resistance and obedience to our constitutional requirements, not to mention our responsibilities for resisting when the gov’t when it is breaking the 2nd table.

    So Jesus says univocally to pay taxes, and you are suggesting he wasn’t being so adamant? But they were amazed because Jesus was telling them that Caesar was God’s appointed one and to submit to him. They wanted just what you want: reason to disobey, wiggler room to withhold taxes, suggestion that Jesus’ regime was about take over. After all, isn’t that what the Jewish theocrats expected of the long awaited Messiah, regime change?

    But the ground of Caesar’s authority wasn’t their own laws, but God himself. The ground for our American magistrate’s authority isn’t the Constitution, it’s God himself. I may only disobey Caesar when he demands I trespass God’s law in my own person, not when Caesar doesn’t follow his own articles of civil polity. You’re still thinking like an American.

    I’m beginning to think that pm-2k’s dictum is: Six days you shall worship and make sacrifices to the god-state and on the seventh day you can rest from that.

    Cute, but you still have yet to offer any biblical argument for disobedience on grounds other than being compelled to PERSONALLY break anything from BOTH tables of God’s law. I still have Mark 12 and Romans 13 which says nothing about civil disobedience and everything about civil obedience.

  94. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Zrim: “I still have Mark 12 and Romans 13 which says nothing about civil disobedience and everything about civil obedience.”

    Question: Do you condemn the American Revolution which was civil disobedience?

  95. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Doug (#87), this isn’t hard. You are reading the GC with a geo-political grid. I’m reading it with a personal one. You want to say it’s both in the inter-advental age. I am saying it’s only personal. The time is coming when it will become geo-political, as in the Last Day. Until then, it’s Word and sacrament ministry, not Word and deed.

    But you keep invoking Ron. Have you missed his disparagement of the Christian Nationism to which you’re so sympathetic? His theonomic strategy may be getting quite in the way of his 2k sensibilities, but he’s not as on board with you as you seem to think.

  96. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    @Stuart #59 How will God clean up this mess? Through the precious blood of the Lamb, that’s how! If Christ’s precious blood can clean up my mess, he can surely clean up the world. Remember! Christ is King of the World! His final return (the Resurrection) will not be to establish his kingdom, it will be to consummate! (we are in the New heavens and earth process as we speak) It’s the mission of Christ’s disciples to boldly proclaim the gospel, and conquer in the name of Jesus. In his stength of course.

    Consider the letter to the Church at Thyatira chapter two verse 26:

    The one who conquers (which means walk by faith) and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.

    Notice, this is the same authority that King Jesus has right now, in Psalm 2:8

    Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

    Does anyone think Jesus hasnt asked the Father yet?

    Isn’t that what Christ our King is doing at present? Well, not if we walk by sight. We need eyes of faith, if we are to conquer. And notice when the Church walks by faith, (faith equals conquer) we are given the same authority as King Jesus! After all, we have been promised that our faith will overcome the world! Let’s start believing it!,

  97. TurretinFan said,

    January 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I’m sure that the folks who object to r2k would be unhappy about L2k, whether or not the position is influenced by or related to liberalism.

  98. GAS said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Zrim,

    “Why do get dinged for being guilty of abortion but I don’t get the car when my taxes are funding both?”

    Because the car is a proper exercise of the magistrates authority but murder is not.

    “So Jesus says univocally to pay taxes…”

    Zrim, take off you fundamentalist reading spectacles. Have we abandoned Scripture interpreting Scripture? I’ve addressed Mark 12 and Romans 13 but it doesn’t meet your fundamentalist hermeneutic so you just disregard it and just remake your assertions.

  99. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Zrim, now I really think you are a baptist. Just personal? That flies in the face of the whole bible! Why did God give us the prophets, apostles, pastors, and teachers? For your own personal edification? So you can personally duke it out with God’s enemies?

    No! So that “we” would come together in the unity of the true knowledge of Christ unto maturity! This is what the Bible is all about! God is calling a people, not merely persons! God is calling nations! God is calling rulers! God is calling the world! Where do you get that the gospel it’s only personal? We are a Body!!! One faith, one baptism, one Body, one Christ. Who is King of all Kings!

    Notice when Israel only had two faithful men, they were not allowed in the promised land. Is it any different today? Are we all lone rangers for Jesus? Zrim, you really need to take a step back, because that’s just untenable. Or as I said on top, baptist.

  100. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Do you condemn the American Revolution which was civil disobedience?

    It’s funny, TUAD, how pc-2k gets ripped up one side and down the other for being “radical” or otherwise not nuanced. Then you ask a simplistic and two-dimensional question. But pc-2k isn’t as interested as its critics seem to be about running hither and yon casting condemnations on the masses. It recognizes the incredible complexities of not only the way the world works and what it means to be human but also what it means to live as a dual citizen. So, at the risk of being accused of ducking I’ll only say here that it seems to me that the Bible has some very challenging things to say about the virtue of civil obedience to those nurtured on the virtue of civil disobedience.

  101. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    So, GAS, when I pay my taxes that fund abortion I should be disciplined by my church the same way someone who either personally has one or performs one? Huh? Well, what about pre-emptive war? I know you guys love the doctrine of just war, but no definition I am familiar with abides pre-emptive war. So when I paid my taxes and they funded Shock and Awe does that mean I was personally guilty of murdering civilians? Were all those magistrates who voted in favor of pre-emptive war also guilty of that? If you’re right then shouldn’t we see more churches discipling people for paying their taxes? Maybe you could provide the specific break down of which taxes we all pay are tantamount to personal sin, because there are a lot of things that could be spun that way.

    If my hermeneutic is fundamentalist then yours is American. Yes, you’ve answered Mark 12 and Romans 13, but it seems to me you have western civilization interpreting Scripture. But if I were so fundy then why would I make the provision for civil disobedience on the grounds of being compelled to personally break anything in the two tables? Wouldn’t I be saying obedience no matter what? Look, I get that you have political oppositions. So do I. But you still have yet to make a compelling biblical case for disobedience in light biblical evidence that clearly teaches more obedience than disobedience.

    Consider that the familial version of your political outlook is a child who thinks he may disobey his parents’ orders to eat because they promised the chicken he likes for dinner but give him fish he hates instead. Yes, they broke their promise, but nothing they are demanding breaks any law, though he may try to make a lame case that it does. What he may and should disobey, however, is when they tell him to steal the chicken if he wants to eat. Or worship it.

  102. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I’m sure that the folks who object to r2k would be unhappy about L2k, whether or not the position is influenced by or related to liberalism

    Amen T fan

  103. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Question for Zrim: “Do you condemn the American Revolution which was civil disobedience?”

    Zrim’s Answer: “So, at the risk of being accused of ducking I’ll only say here that it seems to me that the Bible has some very challenging things to say about the virtue of civil obedience to those nurtured on the virtue of civil disobedience.”

    Yeah, you ducked. The incoherent mess of Politically Correct 2k has left you with the inability to answer “a simplistic and two-dimensional question” as you called it.

  104. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Doug, to be a Baptist one has to be a Methodist without shoes. More seriously, one has reject paedobaptism, which I affirm to the relative chagrin of sacramental latitudinarians known as Bapterians. One also has to be somewhat anti-institutional, but pc-2kers are of the ecclesiastical bent, which means that we don’t pit institutions against people; we see them as complimentary. We have a high view of the institutional church and her polity and sacraments. The only nation God is building at the moment is this very church.

    But you also lost me with “God is calling a people, not merely persons!” Huh?

  105. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Zrim, was God calling Israel just personal?

  106. stuart said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Doug,

    How will God clean up this mess? Through the precious blood of the Lamb, that’s how! If Christ’s precious blood can clean up my mess, he can surely clean up the world. Remember! Christ is King of the World! His final return (the Resurrection) will not be to establish his kingdom, it will be to consummate! (we are in the New heavens and earth process as we speak) It’s the mission of Christ’s disciples to boldly proclaim the gospel, and conquer in the name of Jesus. In his stength of course.

    Your response sounds very post-millish. And I guess that’s ok if you’re talking with other post-mil guys, but I’m not in the post-mil camp primarily because of passages like 2 Peter 3:7, 10-14 . . . But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly . . . But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

    I realize there are various ways to interpret that passage, and I don’t want to be naive about those various possibilities, but none of the major interpretations I know of sound exactly like what it seems you are saying.

    Should the church to go and make disciples of all nations? Yes! But does making disicples mean conquering the world in such a way that we “clean it up”? On that, I’m not so sure.

  107. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Let’s see if Darryl Hart ducks or doesn’t duck:

    Questions for Darryl Hart: “Do you condemn the American Revolution which was civil disobedience?”

    Furthermore, suppose there were Christian pastors and churches in the colonies who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England. Does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?

  108. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Zrim (#63):

    By saying that the state has jurisdiction over the second table, I mean with respect to its own people — that is, all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.

    The church has jurisdiction over both tables with respect to its own people — the sons of God in Christ.

  109. TurretinFan said,

    January 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Jeff C.:

    And to pile on to what you said:

    Masters over their servants;

    Husbands over their wives; and

    Parents over their children.

    -TurretinFan

  110. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Zrim, I meant you sound Baptist in the sense of your individual understanding of Salvation, not your understanding on Baptism. While I will agree, we all go to heaven by ones, you seem to be missing the corporate nature of God’s purpose. God has called a “people”, not a bunch of individuals! This is why God called Israel, as a foreshadow of what God was up to.

    One can drive away a thousand, two, ten thousand! God is re-creating this world, right in front of our noses! And it’s a marvelous work; the only problem is we can’t always connect the dots. But one thing we can know, is that God will not be done, until the knowledge of God has covered this world, like the seas cover the ocean. And that’s a lot!

    Also, until every nation and every King shows deference to Christ, the King of Kings! (Psalm 72) Will that be a “golden age”? I’m not sure, but I would suspect not. There will aways be a struggle with the flesh, and even when Christ’s enemies are licking the dust, there will always be a tension, when it comes to trusting God.

    But let’s just say I’m wrong, and it’s all pie in the sky. Shouldn’t we be praying for more of God’s standards, rather than less? I always go back to how our Lord Jesus instructed us to pray. That the True Name of God would be respected, (Christ Jesus) and his kingdom would come on this earth, as it is in heaven. Whatever that finally works out to look like, is in God’s hands. Until then brothers, let’s press on!

  111. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    @Stewart; As for 2nd Peter I do see that “Day of the Lord” as referring to the end of the age, in 70AD. Let’s all remember, there have been many “Days of the Lord” in scripture. Sadly because of dispensational madness on when his “second” coming will be; we have missed the context of that verse.

    John the baptist, the greatest OT prophet said Jesus would baptize with the Spirit and Fire. So I see Peter alluding to the end of the Old age. The age of shadows, founded on promise. As prophesied, the Messiah came to his own, but his own received him not.

    Moreover, the burning question during writing of 2nd Peter, wasn’t when Jesus would “return”, it was did he come in the first place? So the ridiculing question, “what is the sign of his coming, things are just as they always were” was in reference to his first coming, not the last!

    In Christ was are new creations, everything is new. Christ will not be finished until he has recreated the world! That is the ministry of Spirit and fire. IMHO :-)

  112. GAS said,

    January 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Zrim (102),

    “So, GAS, when I pay my taxes that fund abortion I should be disciplined by my church the same way someone who either personally has one or performs one? Huh?”

    No, you should appeal to a magistrate. See how 2k I am?

    All that pre-emptive war stuff is just exposing your liberal bloomers. If you might recall the United States was attacked by Arab terrorists. Since these terrorists were not part of a nation-state what choice had the US except find the Arab nation-state that possessed the most weapons that could cause harm to the citizens of the US. You see, that is what a gov’t is supposed to do, protect it’s citizens from harm. See Romans 13.

    I don’t think a combox is a place to make a “compelling biblical case” but we do have 500 years of Reformed resistance theory we can refer to.

    “Consider that the familial version of your political outlook is a child who thinks he may disobey his parents’ orders to eat because they promised the chicken he likes for dinner but give him fish he hates instead. Yes, they broke their promise, but nothing they are demanding breaks any law, though he may try to make a lame case that it does. What he may and should disobey, however, is when they tell him to steal the chicken if he wants to eat. Or worship it.”

    Huh?!

  113. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    “All that pre-emptive war stuff is just exposing your liberal bloomers.”

    Heh. Good job of getting him to reveal and expose his “liberal bloomers.”

    Beware of L2K!!

  114. Reed Here said,

    January 27, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    TUAD: your semantic comparisons in no. 99 was over the top. I’ve removed that comment.

    A little more graciousness in your disagreements. Such comparisons on such a topic on a blog are not appropriate.

    No arguing now. Take your moderating medicine with a smile.

    Thanks.

  115. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    @GAS, and TUAD’s,

    My brothers, I love you, and I “think” were on the same side. But let’s not rub our brothers nose in it, so hard. Zrim and DGH or still both our brothers in Christ. I know, I know, I get carried away as well, “in the heat of battle”. Let’s not throw the “L” word on them, okay? Let’s show our Christian charity ;-)

  116. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Zrim, let me put it this way. God is one, and yet triune, He created mankind to image him as the one and the many. He commanded mankind to fill the earth and establish dominion. Once man fell, God’s purposes didn’t miss a beat.

    God waited, “get this” for over four thousand years before he invaded this earth, as the “new Adam”, or more aptly, the Last Adam. God is recreating this world through the Spirit and fire, “everyday”! What it will look like in the end, is anybodies guess. But it will be awesome! While we are most certainly saved, as individuals, we are also part of Christ’s body, which is ONE. Because he is Triune! Please scrap your individualistic notions. We (His Body) are called a Nation! (Think Triune) A Royal priesthood, (Think praying for the nations) to make disciples of “every nation”. (Think the “new world) Sure it’s an awesomely large work, but Jesus said he would be with us to the end. And he is able.

  117. dgh said,

    January 27, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Doug, you wrote: “Wrong! If I remember correctly, during the time of the Corinthians letter, Paul was living under Roman law! The government had the power of the sword, NOT the Church. So just because Paul didn’t want to usurp his sphere of authority in no way means that if Rome repented and became “Christian” it would have the DP for adultery.”

    Wrong? This is exactly the point that 2k is making. We live under rulers established by God. The state has the power of the sword, not the church. And like Paul, 2kers don’t want to usurp the state’s authority.

  118. dgh said,

    January 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Tfan, well, back in the day when judges in the U.S. wrote opinions declaring the United States to be a Christian nation, and when many justices thought Christianity was woven into the common law tradition, various states had laws declaring null and void contracts entered on a Sunday.

    Apparently, they were doing what you’ve called for — enforcing both tables, in this case the 4th commandment.

    Now you tell me we don’t need to enforce Sunday laws?

    I’m flummoxed.

    BTW, it’s a little hard taking you at your word when your word about your own name is unreliable.

  119. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Can anyone name me a Theonomist or anti-R2Ker who has said the church should have the sword?

  120. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    dgh!!!

    There was always a separation of Church and State, even in Israel! The priests couldn’t bear the sword, and the magistrate couldnt enter the temple. They had two different functions. The same is true today!

    The Government does not control the sacraments, nor does the Church have the power of the sword. There is a beautiful division of authority; much like in Israel. So, the church disciplines church matters, and the government wields the sword for crimianl matters. Both, are subject to the Law of God! And Machen for one, said that no Nation could last for long, unless it was founded on the Rock of God’s word! And he wasn’t done; he said that government should punish evil doers, by the standards, found in the Law of God. Nuff said.

  121. David Gray said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    >>I know you guys love the doctrine of just war, but no definition I am familiar with abides pre-emptive war. So when I paid my taxes and they funded Shock and Awe does that mean I was personally guilty of murdering civilians?

    Of course we were in a state of war with Iraq prior to “shock and awe”.

  122. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    No I can’t Ben. But R2K’ers tend to blur the difference between Old Covenant Israel, having both functions of sword and temple; priest and King, and the Church still having the sacraments, and the government both being accountable to God. (See Great Commission) The Government, as with “all Governments must still accountable to God; as every Government has been. After all, Jesus is Lord!

  123. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious, David.

  124. Ron said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    The fact is that we have to do this work of promoting justice with those who do not recognize special revelation.

    Zrim,

    My point is that all men are to desire such laws because they reflect the thinking, precepts and wisdom of God. You find a logistical problem at work, but that problem pertains to the implementation of such laws, which is not germane to the question of whether such laws ought to be desired by the Christian and legislated by congress. You’re saying with that particular rejoinder that the laws are no good because they aren’t feasible, whereas I’m arguing that they should be our desire whether they’re feasible or not. It’s not a question of whether we think such ideas can make it into law but whether individuals should desire to be governed by such a standard.

    And, again, as I’ve argued in the other thread, this isn’t at all to say that special revelation mayn’t be referenced. But it does seem to me that God has provided sufficient material in general revelation to do this work without having to pull out special revelation.

    Your point, to quote you from the other thread, is that general revelation offers enough revelation in order for us to live in a “non-chaotic” world, which I’m afraid misses the point of the theonimst. For one thing, your standard of what is non-chaotic and mine are different, so degree of chaos can never answer the dispute over whether general revelation relieves chaos. In passing I’ll note that there will be chaotic government in hell but won’t there be a general revelation of God? Consequently, general revelation doesn’t relieve chaos so let’s not attribute non-chaos to general revelation. For what it’s worth, what deters chaos is not general revelation but providence. In any case, even if everyone agreed on what defines chaos, it is irrelevant to the question of how things ought to be. It’s not a question of what one thinks can be pulled off, or whether the degree or lack of chaos suits our subjective sense of balance. Rather, it’s a question of what men are to aspire to with respect to God’s precepts. You keep speaking of what is sufficient to meet your subjective view of “good enough”, but the question we’re to be asking is not what our opinion is but rather what is God’s opinion on the matter.

    Don’t you think you can get the sort of justice you think is in keeping with godliness by appealing to natural law?

    I find the justice in this world quite ungodly, but that’s irrelevant too. Even if all the laws on the books mysteriously reflected the code I have in mind, without an appeal to special revelation they’d be unjustifiable in an ultimate sense and arguably tyrannical by the nature of the case. It would just be one man (or group of men) inflicting subjective opinions upon others without divine permission or justification. Moreover, the Author of the code would not be receiving the homage He deserves in the matter and that should be no small concern for the Christian. Even human authors get footnoted from time to time.

    If so, I don’t see how you’ll persuade anybody who isn’t implicitly convinced that rapists should be executed by simply writing it explicitly on the board.

    There are many laws on the books that I don’t agree with but I must live under them. That’s because persuasion of every person is not a necessary condition for laws to be implemented. In any case, persuasion is God’s business not mine. My business is to desire laws that are pleasing in God’s sight and to affect my sphere of influence regarding the implementation of such laws. If and when we get such laws on the books – it will be on God’s time table, not ours.

    That’s like a Muslim trying to tell me that he thinks thieves should have their right hands sliced off, and when I am unconvinced he pulls out the Koran. Yeah, so?

    Correct, you should not be persuaded by such a defense, but that’s because the Koran is not God’s word. But a Muslim is responsible to be persuaded by the word of God. God’s word and not the Koran is a true justification for laws whether people are persuaded or not. If righteous laws are rejected in the face of God’s testimony, then so be it. If the code of which I speak is received into law and only the Christians see the beauty of it, that’s even better. Our task is to desire and influence change. We are not to use as our justification only those things the other person will accept as valid. Because some people suppress the self-attesting God-breathed Word is not a reason to forgo an appeal to it in the civil realm. Are we to forgo absolute logic when dealing with a relativistic skeptic? (I’m a presuppositionalist, not an evidentialist as you can well guess.)

    If you were not discussing the civil code but rather the final judgment with a Muslim, would you appeal to the Sermon on the Mount to show the Muslim he has violated the meaning of God’s holy law? If yes, then why not use the Word to refute the idea that thieves ought not to lose their hand for steeling a loaf of bread? However, if you would limit yourself to general revelation, you would be constrained to say that steeling a loaf of bread deserves eternal damnation. In which case, the Muslim can turn to you and say, “Well, since we can’t cast men into hell, we might as well cut their hands off now!” You see Zrim, general revelation is impotent with respect to governing ourselves in a fallen world because general revelation communicates judgment for all transgressions. Ironically to some, theonomy enables us to justify lesser penalties for lesser crimes.

    Spiritually, the Bible is concerned for exact justice, and that is what all the OT laws and prophets were about, and Jesus was the fulfillment of all of it.

    Jesus said he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill the law. Whatever you want to interpret “fulfill” as meaning, please don’t let the statement contradict itself. It would seem that your interpretation is that Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to abolish the law, which is a contradiction. Fulfill can mean many things, such as give us the fuller meaning of the law; or it could have to do with obeying the law perfectly. It could, also, mean that the law points to Christ. I have my view on the matter but in any case, fulfilling cannot mean abolish for the simple reason that Jesus said he did not come to abolish the law. Moreover, if you wish to take fulfill as abolish, then that would mean he abolished the moral law as well, in which case you prove too much.

    Why use a text that is concerned for spiritual exactness for a task that is about civil approximation? Doesn’t pressing the Bible so defined into a civil cause so defined actually do harm to the plight of the Bible? That is, doesn’t it obscure what the Bible is all about?… Again, I affirm what I think is your concern for justice, but I oppose your method since it is a way that obscures the very heart of the gospel.

    These laws were on the books for 1500 years before Christ. Did the law during that time “obscure what the Bible [was] all about?” If the equity of the civil code obscures the gospel, then it obscured the gospel under Moses. Accordingly, if you’re right that a theonomic civil code obscures the gospel, then you have a greater desire not to obscure the gospel than God did when he gave the law. That should give you reason to pause I would think. It should tell you that the desire for implementation of such laws cannot be argued away by the primacy of the gospel.

    Since your point is a pragmatic one I’ll continue with some pragmatism of my own. What I think is that the gospel as a solution works best against the problem men have, which is accentuated by the moral law, out of which the civil law comes. Moreover, to justify a civil code with God’s word is to remind all men everywhere that there is an ultimate law giver who is the Judge over all. From there we may best show how God is just and the justifier – the one who judges and acquits in Christ.

    You think that the law obscures the main message of the Bible, but certainly the main message of the Bible under Moses wasn’t civil law but rather it was God’s works of creation, providence and grace, was it not? Accordingly, this particular reason you raise for not wanting such laws today should by your standard be a sound reason to have not wanted the same laws under Moses. I also hear anti-theonomists argue against the laws in this manner: “So you would have such and such a person put to death…” All that tells me is that the person saying such a thing finds the law too harsh if not obscene, but I don’t see a reason why such a one would not also find the same laws equally obscene under Moses. How do satisfaction, propitiation, expiation and reconciliation turn wisdom into foolishness? In other words, how does the cross make the civil laws given to Israel (over night no less) repulsive to some, or are these laws intrinsically repulsive to some? I pray not. Accordingly, it is never under good regulation to argue against such laws because they appear harsh to our ears.

    Jesus’ own hermeneutic here is to say that the Bible is all about him, all about the fulfillment of the law and prophets. To reach back into the law and prophets to do anything but point us to Jesus is to point us away from Jesus.

    Ah, but to desire to have ourselves governed by the standards put forth by the King of Kings who is the Word become flesh is to think Christ’s thoughts after him and to yield to his epistemic Lordship. I do well not to desire anything in the realm of civil rule than the standard God desired for those who would follow him.

    I know you affirm that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the law and prophets, but it seems to me that your left hand doesn’t realize what the right is doing. There are times when that’s a good thing, but in this instance it’s actually a way to say that you’re getting in the way of your own good confession.

    I grasp your opinion on the matter now please receive mine. It would seem to me that you are placing your wisdom with respect to what is good for the gospel above God’s. Your arguments seem to be that the implementation of such laws don’t seem feasible to you, and that they eclipse the main message of Scripture. I hope I dealt with those objections at least in some measure.

    I don’t know what more there is to say other than,

    Best wishes,

    Ron

  125. Ron said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    My main concern about “theonomic” as a label is that people have associated that term with things like re-instituting the dietary laws, which someone like Calvin would never have assented to.

    TF,

    Real quick – I don’t want to take you away from what you’re doing on this thread. Just one point though… These people that associate dietary laws with theonomy are simply uninformed. Given the magnitude of their misunderstanding, I wouldn’t be too concerned with accepting the label in fear of being thought of as adhering to dietary laws. Theonmists appreciate that the separation from clean and unclean meats (for instance) was symbolic and pointed to the principle to separate from the gentiles, which is a principle that has been abrogated and with it the dietary symbolism. (Lev. 20; Acts 10; Romans 14:17) The NT application is separation from unbelief and compromise (2 Cor. 6) in the realm of spiritual yoking, whether in worship or marriage.

    Best,

    Ron

  126. TurretinFan said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    DGH wrote:

    Tfan, well, back in the day when judges in the U.S. wrote opinions declaring the United States to be a Christian nation, and when many justices thought Christianity was woven into the common law tradition, various states had laws declaring null and void contracts entered on a Sunday.

    a) I’m not content to go with your vague recollection about what states had which laws. Let’s see some evidence for this, shall we?

    b) Based on your vague recollections, that sounds post 1789. So are these the same sorts of folks, like Witherspoon, who crafted the American Revisions?

    b) If so, then aren’t you proving my point?

    c) If not, who are these folks and what do they have to do with me exactly? Are these advocates of the WCF 1646? Really?

    d) Supposing that they were like me, and yet disagreed with my rationale for why such a contract should be valid. What of it? Is the point just that likeminded people could disagree over some detail or other?

    e) If (d) is the point, let’s see if the PCA and OPC disagree over anything, and then draw out the implications.

    You wrote: “Apparently, they were doing what you’ve called for — enforcing both tables, in this case the 4th commandment.”

    Apparently? Is there another explanation? Here’s where documentation of your vague claims would come in handy. We could track down what they were doing.

    You wrote: “Now you tell me we don’t need to enforce Sunday laws?”

    I didn’t say that, and it’s not a reasonable inference from what I wrote. This sort of reading error on your part is why I want to see documentation for your claims.

    You wrote: “I’m flummoxed.”

    See above.

    You wrote: “BTW, it’s a little hard taking you at your word when your word about your own name is unreliable.”

    My word about my name is perfectly reliable. The pseudonym I’m using is mine, and I make it perfectly clear to everyone that it is a pseudonym. Please apologize for this violation of the 9th commandment. May I request that the moderators do something about this? This is not the first thread where this kind of behavior on DGH’s part has distracted from the discussion. I’d be happy to email you with more examples, if you need me to.

    -TurretinFan

  127. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    @Ron; That was awesome! I have been reading Greenbaggins for over two years, and that was the best post I have every read, describing a Theonomic perspective. I couldnt have said it better if I tried. God bless you bro, and keep pressing on! YEA!!!

  128. Zrim said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    GAS, the point wasn’t to debate the war. The point was to say how silly it is to suggest that the political behaviors of paying taxes or voting are the same as behaving personally. You equate my paying taxes which fund abortion services with personally sinning and then suggest that I appeal to the magistrate instead of my church dealing with my “personal” sin? Now you’ve gotten yourself pretty turned around. I think what you mean to say is that you object to the magistrate using tax dollars in a certain way. That’s sane. What’s insane is to grossly overstate matters and say that as long as he keeps doing it he’s making you guilty of personal sin.

    (BTW, it’s the neo-conservatives who put up defenses of pre-emptive war; it’s the paleo-conservatives who object to its imperialism. Sometimes liberals and paleo-cons are mistaken for each other, but they can have more in common with each other than either have with neo-cons.)

    And the point of the familial analogy was to say that your reasoning is childish and annoying, like the petulant child who makes all sorts of wild accusations to justify his disobedience. Magistrates may draw up Constitutions like parents make promises, but when both violate their human covenants there is still no biblical justification to disobey them. A magistrate not adhering to his own Constitution or a father breaking his promise is not the same thing as a magistrate compelling us to personally violate God’s laws. We may disobey in the latter scenario, but not in the former.

  129. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    TurretinFan: “The pseudonym I’m using is mine, and I make it perfectly clear to everyone that it is a pseudonym. Please apologize for this violation of the 9th commandment. May I request that the moderators do something about this? This is not the first thread where this kind of behavior on DGH’s part has distracted from the discussion.”

    Dear TFan, you have grounds for hope for an apology from Darryl Hart.

    Earlier in this thread he wrote:

    “To all who have been following this threat. Ron and I have exchanged emails, I offered an apology to Ron and he graciously accepted.”

  130. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Darryl Hart, if you are going to answer the following straightforward questions, when do you think you’ll be able to do it?

    Questions for Darryl Hart: “Do you condemn the American Revolution which was civil disobedience?”

    Furthermore, suppose there were Christian pastors and churches in the colonies who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England. Does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?

  131. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    @Zrim, I don’t think you really know where I stand, on the application of God’s law. (verses Ron) Because I’m not sure myself; what I desire, and would love, is for brothers like you, and me, and Ron, to seek God’s face and pray that he would give us a spirit of wisdom on how we could apply God’s intrinsic moral standards for today. Of course it goes without saying, that until and unless the body of Christ get’s a handle on it, it’s not going to happen.

  132. Doug Sowers said,

    January 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Hey TUAD’s LOL! Now you’ve put him between a rock, and a hard place! Do I hear checkmate?

  133. Todd said,

    January 28, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Theonomists, as demonstrated by their argumentation here, have as their core problem – not allowing the New Testament to interpret the Old Testament. When it is pointed out to them that Jesus and the Apostles did not speak out against Roman policies, did not give the church a mandate to bring the OT law to bear on governments, etc… it is called an argument from silence.

    But Jesus and the Apostles are demonstrating for us how the OT prophecies *are* fulfilled. In the book of Acts, the OT prophecies are being fulfilled, and the Roman government is as corrupt and powerful as ever, from a worldly perspective. Jesus himself, God in the flesh, did nothing to change the political structures of Israel, yet he established a kingdom right under their noses.

    In Acts, as the gospel is preached and churches formed in cities throughout the Roman Empire, the knowledge of the Lord *is* expanding from sea to sea, per the OT promise, His dominion *is* being established, regardless of who holds political power. When Paul quotes Deut 22 (Purge the evil from among you) and applies it to church discipline in I Cor 5, he is demonstrating how the OT penalty for covenant breaking *is* fulfilled in the life of God’s New Israel. There is no other fulfillment in society.

    It is not enough to quote Psalm 2. How do Jesus and the Apostles interpret Psalm 2? To kiss the Son is to repent and believe the gospel. And that is exactly what is happening in the gospels and Acts. As kings represented their people in the OT, the gospel call is for all people, not uniquely for political leaders. The Son ruling with a rod of iron, according to John, is a picture of final judgment per Revelation 19:15, not a post-mil political rule of believers and their laws.

    Dr. Strimple from WSC used to say that the pre-mil and post-mil make the same mistake. They both read the kingdom promises of the OT, and then look outside at the world and say, these cannot be fulfilled yet. The pre-mil looks to the return of Christ, and the Post-mil looks to the Christianization of the nations for the full fulfillment, but both fail to see the promises through eyes of faith. All the OT promises are being fulfilled now, as the missionary effort expands, as people are redeemed, as churches are established, as Christians persevere in their faith. If Christ returned tomorrow all those promises of the knowledge of the Lord from sea to sea would be fulfilled as promised.

    There is a reason not one verse in the NT teaches a Golden Age, and all NT prophecies of the age between the first and second coming omit it entirely, (Matt 24, Rev 3-19, Rom 8, etc…) is because it is not promised as the NT explains how the OT prophecies will be fulfilled. But with eyes of faith see how Christ is now winning the victory; his kingdom is being established through his rather weak church. The irony of the kingdom is; it doesn’t matter who is in power, what politics rule the day, etc… Both the persecution of the East and the prosperity of the West is powerless against God’s kingdom and true church.

    And they call us a-mils pessimists!

  134. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 28, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Hey TUAD’s LOL!

    It pleases me to please you so.

    Now you’ve put him between a rock, and a hard place!

    Let’s see how he responds.

    Do I hear checkmate?

    Some players will walk away from the table, letting their clock run out, rather than hearing checkmate or resigning their game and then congratulating the winning player.

    Seriously, those questions are rather simple and straightforward, and if PC 2K can’t even answer them, then that tells you what a weak and incoherent mess PC 2K really is.

  135. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Dr. Strimple from WSC used to say that the pre-mil and post-mil make the same mistake. They both read the kingdom promises of the OT, and then look outside at the world and say, these cannot be fulfilled yet.>

    Excuse me Tod but……

    As I have pointed out on earlier posts, I don’t know what the fulfillment of the Great Commission will look like. But one thing I do know, is that the knowledge of Jehovah has not yet covered the earth like the seas cover the oceans. Moreover, not all kings of every nation have bent there knee in deference to God. (hyperbole aside) Therefore, while no saint can be sure what the fulfillment will look like, we can rest assurred we havent arrived there as of yet. We’ve got a looooooong way to go! ;-)

  136. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Remember one thing TUAD’s;

    These (Zrim and dgh) are good men of God, and are our brothers in Christ. They have been highly trained by good Christian men,that they look up to, and have been greatly influenced to there way of thinking. Sadly they have been exposed to a (Klienian hobby horse) distinction in that the Covenant of works, was recapitulated in the Mosaic Covenant. (I know, I don’t buy it for a second!) But many good men of God do! It’s hard enough to grasp Covenant Theology without Kline messing things up with his peculiar slant on typology. But we are, where we are, amen? So let’s be humble, perhaps they can show us compelling Scripture evidence that could change our minds?

    But if they can’t? Off with there heads!! lol! Just kidding guys!

  137. Ron said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:06 am

    When it is pointed out to them that Jesus and the Apostles did not speak out against Roman policies, did not give the church a mandate to bring the OT law to bear on governments, etc… it is called an argument from silence.

    Todd,

    Both sides argue from silence. Theonomists say that the NT in no way abrogates the principles that are to govern civil life for a godly nation and non-theonomists argue that the NT in no away affirms the precepts for nations that we find in the OT. Neither side has from the NT an explict instruction or good and necessary inference for their position. If you have such evidence for your position, then please produce it.

    A word or two about arguments from silence is in order. A Reformed hermeneutic advises that God’s word is binding in precept until he determines otherwise either by explicit instruction or good and necessary inference. Accordingly, I don’t need to look in the NT for an affirmation of the justification that beastiality is sin. It’s never been abrogated so my justification for this assertion is to be found in the OT.

    Finally, it’s a bit vague to say that the church was not mandated to bring the OT civil laws to bear upon civil magistrates. I’m not sure what you mean by bringing such instruction to bear, but I do know that he church is to preach the whole counsel of God with a proper balance. If there is a continued validity for the OT civil case laws, then the church is to preach that message in its proper place, yet without majoring on minors.

  138. Ron said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:22 am

    Todd, so you don’t put up another post like the one I just referenced, I hope you will respond with some contraints. When I ask you to produce evidence for good and necessary inference or explicit instruction for abrogation of the relevanc of the case laws, I’m expecting something quite different from you than simply your opinion that if Jesus and the apostles wanted such laws to be observed today they would have said so.

    For you to get from the observations that you already voiced to the grand conclusion that the civil case laws are not to be observed today in their general equity you will have to assume, just as you have, that Jesus and the apostles have to repeat principles and precepts for them to remain binding, which makes beastiality acceptable and infant baptism unacceptable. Yet such an hermeneutic is unworkable, and not one that you live under with any consistency. At the very least, 2 Timothy 3:16 is pretty broad in its application. It teaches us that all Scripture does not need to be repeated for it to remain profitable. It teaches us that all Scripture…. is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. That would include the OT case laws.

  139. dgh said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:25 am

    Tfan, you’ll find plenty examples of 19th century state legislation to enforce a Christian society in Stephen Green, The Second Disestablishment (OUP, 2010).

    It’s bearing upon you is that you want the magistrate to enforce both tables of the law. I am giving examples of when that happened.

    Critics of 2k don’t seem to want to look at the history of magisterial enforcement and acknowledge the problems — from war to anti-Semitism. History alone does not show that the anti-2k position is wrong. But it is foolish to assert that the magistrate should enforce both tables and not offer a few suggestions for how we are going to avoid the mistakes of the past.

    BTW, pseudonym means literally “false name.” That doesn’t seem to catch the spirit of the 9th commandment. Ironic that someone would make their pseudonym “truth.”

  140. dgh said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:33 am

    Doug, I understand the separation of powers in the OT. But what you don’t seem to acknowledge is the problem of the magistrate enforcing both tables. Will the magistrate allow for re-baptism, or must all people baptize their children? Will even those who make no profession of faith be required to baptize their infants? If OT Israel is the norm, then will there be any place for non-Christians?

  141. dgh said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Ron, the NT does talk about the magistrate and it says nothing like what the OT says. Rom 13 is obviously a place to go. If Paul were expecting the magistrate to enforce laws like Israel was called to do, don’t you think he would have said it? And since Paul spends so much time trying to explain the relationship between Jews and Gentiles, and between Israel and the church in his epistles, his silence on the state is well nigh remarkable. Since the relationship between the covenant community and the state had changed so drastically from before Christ to after, certainly a little instruction would have been useful, especially to Gentiles who were unfamiliar with Israel’s norms.

    In which case, what Paul said in Rom. 13 is sufficient for the church. The old order is gone. The state does not enforce the laws of the covenant community because the state is no longer an institution of the covenant community.

  142. Ron said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Doug re: 127, I’m glad we’re resonating. :) My post 124 is intended for the theonomist as it is for non-T’s. In the like manner, when we debate atheists aright, it should be an edifying experience for believers too.

    Let’s see what comes of all of this.

    Cheers,

    Ron

  143. Ron said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Ron, the NT does talk about the magistrate and it says nothing like what the OT says. Rom 13 is obviously a place to go. If Paul were expecting the magistrate to enforce laws like Israel was called to do, don’t you think he would have said it?

    No, I don’t think he needed to address it in Romans 13. That he didn’t doesn’t afford you good and necessary inference, as I’ve argued with Todd. There was already a lot said in the OT and as I also noted to Todd, Paul stated that all Scripture is profitable…Gotta board the plane…

  144. Phil said,

    January 28, 2011 at 6:37 am

    DGH in #140 says “If OT Israel is the norm, then will there be any place for non-Christians?”

    Look at the OT data on “stranger”: the OT Church was commanded to love the stranger and to give part of the third-year tithe to the stranger. (Cf. Exod. 22:21; 23:9; Lev. 19:34; Deut. 10:18–19; 24:19–21; 26:12.)

    You might be thinking of the seven condemned nations: there was no place for them, but we have no such divine list of condemned nations today.

  145. Phil said,

    January 28, 2011 at 6:56 am

    (Sorry so tardy for this.) DGH on the last posting, #216, said, “Do you think the Bible speaks to baking? Does the Bible have instructions on how to bake? Does it include recipes?”

    For breakfast today I enjoyed Ezekiel 4:9 cereal from Food for Life Baking Company in Corona, Calif. You can easily find their website. At the end of their page for this cereal, they write, “Ezekiel 4:9® Bread, made from freshly sprouted organically grown grains, is naturally flavorful and bursting with nutrients. Rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and natural fiber with no added fat. Try it served warm to release its exceptionally rich nutty flavor.”

    Then,

    “This Biblical Bread is Truly the Staff of Life”

    This doesn’t go to the heart of the issue, but it’s a fine counterexample to an oft-posed claim.

  146. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 7:00 am

    DGH (#139): BTW, pseudonym means literally “false name.” That doesn’t seem to catch the spirit of the 9th commandment. Ironic that someone would make their pseudonym “truth.”

    This horse is dead and well-tenderized.

    As it turns out, IIRC, Greenbaggins has a policy of not accepting pseudonyms except under particular circumstances known to the mods.

    So if the mods are cool with TFan, we have to believe that there’s a reason.

  147. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Ron (#138): In my view, there are two factors that point to abrogation of the civil laws.

    (1) Paul’s declaration in 1 Cor 5.12-13 that the church is not to judge outsiders, but to get rid of the sinners within their midst (citing, no less, Deut. 13.5, which is part of the civil law against 1st table violations).

    Paul’s reasoning is, as usual, somewhat complex. But I see two necessary inferences. First, that the church does not have jurisdiction over those outside it. Second, that the weight of the civil law, such as in Deut 13.5, has been transferred to the church.

    There is great weight here on the phrase “within your midst”: those outside the church are seen as “not within your midst” — and therefore outside the scope of the civil law.

    (2) The civil law is inseparable from the Old Covenant. It provided the penalties of the Old Covenant: it made believers be “under the law.” For as you know, OT believers were not “under law” in the sense of having to personally fulfill the covenant of works for their salvation. No, they were under the law in the sense that the law “flagged” transgressions and provided penalties for disobedience. This was the “curse of the law” per Gal. 3.

    If you have time, take a moment to contemplate Heb 10 and the relationship of the ceremonial and civil law there. Yes, the ceremonial is obvious; but the civil law is playing a strong role also (this is most obvious in 10.28).

    If we resurrect the Israelite civil law as the basis for our law, we will be placing believers under the law once again.

  148. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Phil: checked out the website.

    My conviction is that anyone who uses the Word of God as their marketing plan is asking for the whips of Jesus. It saddens me that so many Christians do not see the inherent blasphemy (notice little “b”) in such behavior.

    If this is an example of the Bible’s informing baking, then all the nut jobs who use the Bible to teach their favorite heresy are correct too – the Bible teaches their’s as well. After all, it is the same kind of hermeneutic: pick a verse that sound cool and build a product/heresy out of it.

    Seriously, I hope you meant that comment in sarcasm and it just got lost of me. Not funny at all, just more evidence of the horrifying declension of Christianity in our land.

    Aside from all the debates about the nuances and markers of 2K, it is this underlying “whoring” of the Bible that irks so many of us and encourages us to listen to the 2K message. It offers a biblically compelling means of rendering unto Caesar AND rendering unto God. The Church has got to get back to teaching the latter, and quick, before Jesus removes all our lampstands!

  149. steve hays said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:06 am

    dgh said,

    “BTW, it’s a little hard taking you at your word when your word about your own name is unreliable.”

    The reason TFan doesn’t use his real name is that doing so would compromise the identity of his high-placed informants in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Anyone with a basic understanding of MICE would appreciate the sensitive nature of the dilemma.

  150. steve hays said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:12 am

    BTW, here’s a simple question to consider: if Israel had not been a theocracy, what types of laws would it have? Would it suddenly cease to have laws on sex crimes, property crimes, and crimes of violence? Or is that necessary for any nation-state?

  151. Stuart said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Doug,

    You said . . . As for 2nd Peter I do see that “Day of the Lord” as referring to the end of the age, in 70AD. Let’s all remember, there have been many “Days of the Lord” in scripture. Sadly because of dispensational madness on when his “second” coming will be; we have missed the context of that verse.

    John the baptist, the greatest OT prophet said Jesus would baptize with the Spirit and Fire. So I see Peter alluding to the end of the Old age. The age of shadows, founded on promise. As prophesied, the Messiah came to his own, but his own received him not.

    Moreover, the burning question during writing of 2nd Peter, wasn’t when Jesus would “return”, it was did he come in the first place? So the ridiculing question, “what is the sign of his coming, things are just as they always were” was in reference to his first coming, not the last!

    In Christ was are new creations, everything is new. Christ will not be finished until he has recreated the world! That is the ministry of Spirit and fire. IMHO :-)

    We obviously have a different hermeneutic. In fact, all of these debates on this thread thus far (transformationalists vs. 2k vs. “r2k” vs. theonomy, etc.) are really matters of hermeneutical issues that play out in our theological expressions. The problem I see often is that most of us don’t want to debate our hermeneutics because it’s much easier to stay on the level of what we express rather than how we got there.

    I’m not sure how you get to what you’re saying 2 Peter says on the level of hermeneutics. A straightforward reading of the text doesn’t seem to imply the thrust you’ve laid out. I certainly appreciate your expression of humility (IMHO) so I’ll humble myself as well by saying I admit my interpretation of 2 Peter 3 may be wrong. Yet until I can understand how one gets to your interpretation on the level of hermeneutics, I’m afraid I’m not going to be convinced that your interpretation is the right one. Sorry.

  152. dgh said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Steve, why you sound a little judgmental yourself if you can’t comprehend that Tfan and others have been insisting that the magistrate should enforce both tables of law — including the 9th, and that 2k is antinomian. You don’t think it’s a tad ironic to make those accusations under a pseudonym?

    Tfan does have an option – be silent. No compromise of his identity there. But if he must obey God rather than men, then he could follow the example of the apostles who preached openly and suffered the consequences.

  153. dgh said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Phil, let’s see, the Philistines were aliens. Did God encourage the Israelites to include the Philistines? No. So the aliens who were in Israel had to observe Israelite worship. We’re talking Geneva, right, where no heresy is permitted.

  154. dgh said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Ron, I’ll say it again, since Paul spent so much time addressing the differences between Jews and Gentiles, and also said that Gentile were not bound by Israelite norms, then his instruction in Rom 13 is hardly a reaffirmation of OT civil laws. The destruction of Israel and Jerusalem which Christ foretold and which the apostles witnessed certainly did not lead to revelations of how to re-institute Israel and Jerusalem, as if Constantinople is the capital city in exile.

    So I don’t see in your view how you recognize what the confession says that the gospel under the church is administered with more simplicity and less outward glory than in Israel (WCF 7.6).

  155. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Phil (#145) and Reed (#148):

    It’s OK. It isn’t actual Ezekiel 4.9 cereal *unless* it’s been baked over human dung by a naked man lying on his side. We’re safe from blasphemy. ;)

  156. TurretinFan said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:56 am

    DGH: I’m quite serious in demanding an apology. Please apologize.

    -TurretinFan

  157. steve hays said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:04 am

    dgh said,

    “Steve, why you sound a little judgmental yourself if you can’t comprehend that Tfan and others have been insisting that the magistrate should enforce both tables of law — including the 9th, and that 2k is antinomian. You don’t think it’s a tad ironic to make those accusations under a pseudonym?”

    I notice that you’re evading the issue of the semantic fallacy you used to indict TFan. Does it not matter to you if your accusations are true or false?

    You have yet to present an actual argument for why pseudonymity violates the 9th commandment. Since you fail to draw even rudimentary ethical distinctions, I’ll do it for you:

    i) Pseudonymity would only be wrong if two conditions are met:

    a) Pseudonymity is deceptive

    b) Deception is wrong.

    TFan’s pseudonym is a transparent pseudonym. It is not intended to deceive. No one thinks TurretinFan is his real name. Therefore, (a) does not apply.

    In addition, it’s also arguable that there are circumstances in which deception is morally licit. I can go into that if you need me to.

    So even if a pseudonym were deceptive, you would need to furnish a further argument to show that deception was illicit under those circumstances.

    Mind you, (b) irrelevant to the case of TFan. I simply mention it to draw attention to your failure to draw elementary ethical distinctions.

    ii) The 9th commandment is arguably concerned with slander and perjury. Therefore, you need to demonstrate how that commandment is applicable to transparent pseudonyms.

    iii) If, on the other hand, your objection is to the lack of accountability, then you should publicly provide the contact information for your session. Are you serious about accountability? Or is this just a polemical ploy you use to discredit TFan personally when you can’t refute his argument?

    iv) I’m sure that TFan would be willing to identify himself to Lane Keister. Indeed, I expect the mods already know who he is. Or do you question their judgment?

    “Tfan does have an option – be silent. No compromise of his identity there. But if he must obey God rather than men, then he could follow the example of the apostles who preached openly and suffered the consequences.”

    i) Well, that sounds very brave behind the safety of your keyboard. Let’s test the sincerity of your claims. I’m sure you won’t object. Book a flight to Saudi Arabia, then preach the Gospel at the Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām in Mecca.

    ii) In addition, your example is obviously false. The apostles didn’t simply wait around to be persecuted. Some of them were refugees who fled persecution. Remember Acts 12? If you do remember Acts 12, why do you ignore it?

  158. steve hays said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:14 am

    dgh said,

    “Critics of 2k don’t seem to want to look at the history of magisterial enforcement and acknowledge the problems — from war to anti-Semitism. History alone does not show that the anti-2k position is wrong. But it is foolish to assert that the magistrate should enforce both tables and not offer a few suggestions for how we are going to avoid the mistakes of the past.”

    That’s not an intellectually serious objection.

    i) To begin with, both sides can cite horror stories involving the other side. Therefore, you objection is canceled out by obvious counterexamples.

    ii) Likewise, there were unjust judges in the OT. Judicial corruption resulted in miscarriages of justice. That, however, wouldn’t be sufficient reason for an OT Jew to flout the Mosaic law.

  159. TurretinFan said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Todd:

    You wrote:

    Theonomists, as demonstrated by their argumentation here, have as their core problem – not allowing the New Testament to interpret the Old Testament. When it is pointed out to them that Jesus and the Apostles did not speak out against Roman policies, did not give the church a mandate to bring the OT law to bear on governments, etc… it is called an argument from silence.

    Well, it is an argument from silence. We’re (I assume you’re applying the label “theonomist” to me) fine with interpreting the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. However, New Testament silence is silence – it’s not new revelation that interprets old revelation.

    I mean think about it. Silence adds nothing to what is already revealed.

    You wrote:

    But Jesus and the Apostles are demonstrating for us how the OT prophecies *are* fulfilled. In the book of Acts, the OT prophecies are being fulfilled, and the Roman government is as corrupt and powerful as ever, from a worldly perspective. Jesus himself, God in the flesh, did nothing to change the political structures of Israel, yet he established a kingdom right under their noses.

    a) When you read Romans 9-11 and Hebrew 11, I hope you see that the kingdom of God is not something that began at Pentecost, or after 70 A.D., or after the completion of the New Testament. Don’t fall into the dispensational error (condemned in Acts 15) of supposing that the Jews were saved in a different way than the Gentiles.

    b) We agree with you that Christ and the apostles fulfilled (or began to fulfill) many of the Old Testament prophecies. Nevertheless, there is more than one genre in the Old Testament. Not all of the Old Testament is prophecy (notwithstanding what some of the more extreme Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutic advocates might seem to suggest). Some of the Old Testament is history, and song, and law. There are multiple genres.

    You continued:

    In Acts, as the gospel is preached and churches formed in cities throughout the Roman Empire, the knowledge of the Lord *is* expanding from sea to sea, per the OT promise, His dominion *is* being established, regardless of who holds political power. When Paul quotes Deut 22 (Purge the evil from among you) and applies it to church discipline in I Cor 5, he is demonstrating how the OT penalty for covenant breaking *is* fulfilled in the life of God’s New Israel. There is no other fulfillment in society.

    a) Yes, the gospel is going forth – but of course the knowledge of God entails quite a lot, including matters of justice.

    b) I don’t actually see a quotation of Deuteronomy 22 in 1 Corinthians 5. There is some similarity between “purge out the old leaven” and “put evil away from among you,” but the more obvious reference is to the Passover preparations.

    c) Moreover, 1 Corinthians 5 also includes this:

    1Co 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

    Notice how Paul’s instructions to the church relate to a variety of different kinds of sins, including extortion. Surely one would not say that because of 1 Corinthians 5, the Christian civil magistrate should not pass laws against extortion.

    Likewise, it seems strained to say that Paul is saying that the civil law is “fulfilled.” That’s a category error – applying the concept of fulfillment beyond the ceremonial and prophetic.

    You wrote:

    It is not enough to quote Psalm 2. How do Jesus and the Apostles interpret Psalm 2? To kiss the Son is to repent and believe the gospel. And that is exactly what is happening in the gospels and Acts. As kings represented their people in the OT, the gospel call is for all people, not uniquely for political leaders. The Son ruling with a rod of iron, according to John, is a picture of final judgment per Revelation 19:15, not a post-mil political rule of believers and their laws.

    And if the kings and judges (specifically identified in Psalm 2) repent and believe the gospel, what are they to do? They are to serve the Lord. We all are – it is not unique to kings. But Psalm 2 addresses kings and judges quite specifically. That’s not silence.

    You wrote:

    Dr. Strimple from WSC used to say that the pre-mil and post-mil make the same mistake. They both read the kingdom promises of the OT, and then look outside at the world and say, these cannot be fulfilled yet. The pre-mil looks to the return of Christ, and the Post-mil looks to the Christianization of the nations for the full fulfillment, but both fail to see the promises through eyes of faith.

    Yikes! They fail to see the promises through eyes of faith?

    You wrote:

    All the OT promises are being fulfilled now, as the missionary effort expands, as people are redeemed, as churches are established, as Christians persevere in their faith. If Christ returned tomorrow all those promises of the knowledge of the Lord from sea to sea would be fulfilled as promised.

    No one knows the day or hour when Christ will return. And, Christ will not return until it is time. Moreover, all the promises will be fulfilled. So, it won’t happen that Christ will return tomorrow without the promises being fulfilled. However, it sounds like the professor is making the mistake of assuming that our ignorance of when Christ will return means that Christ can return at any time, and consequently that all the promises must already be fulfilled. That’s fallacious reasoning.

    You continued:

    There is a reason not one verse in the NT teaches a Golden Age, and all NT prophecies of the age between the first and second coming omit it entirely, (Matt 24, Rev 3-19, Rom 8, etc…) is because it is not promised as the NT explains how the OT prophecies will be fulfilled. But with eyes of faith see how Christ is now winning the victory; his kingdom is being established through his rather weak church. The irony of the kingdom is; it doesn’t matter who is in power, what politics rule the day, etc… Both the persecution of the East and the prosperity of the West is powerless against God’s kingdom and true church.

    I don’t necessarily want to turn this into a debate over post-mil vs. a-mil, but surely you’re aware that post-mil folks do claim that there are prophecies of the millennium – and prophecies like those in Romans 11 that speak of a large-scale conversion of physical Israel before the end? Perhaps you disagree with their analysis, but that’s a little different claim, I think.

    You wrote: “And they call us a-mils pessimists!”

    I think that’s because the post-mils think that the gospel harvest will be great, and you seem to think it will be relatively small.

    -TurretinFan

  160. Zrim said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:23 am

    No, I don’t think he needed to address it in Romans 13. That he didn’t doesn’t afford you good and necessary inference, as I’ve argued with Todd.

    Ron (#143), then what is the point of Romans 13:1-7? This is the question you never really seem to address. Your point seems to be, “Whatever it means, it doesn’t mean the magistrate shouldn’t utilize the OT case laws to do his job.” Just for clarity, here it is:

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

    Maybe you’re right. But it seems to me the plain reading is that the magistrate God appoints is our source for political and legislative arrangements—not the OT case laws. After all, Paul describes the magistrate as not only the one whom God has himself appointed but one who knows how to punish evil and reward good. Paul is saying that the job description calls for this ability and whatever governing authority exists has it. If he has that sort of knowledge then he doesn’t need the OT case laws. In other words, he is sufficient to sort out our political and legislative lives.

    It seems to me that your view might leave us with a rather weak interpretation of Romans 13:1-7, one that might buttress a merely polite notion that we are to be submissive citizens, but only up to the point at which the magistrate zigs from OT case law zagging. Yet Paul makes no such caveat. At best, yours might be a case for civil politeness, but 2k, following Paul, is making the rather impolite case for civil submission. TUAD wants to say pc-2k is “politically correct.” But 2k is actually challenging the political correctness of civil disobedience, the kind that shudders at the notion that “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed.”

  161. TurretinFan said,

    January 28, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I’ve leafed through Steven Green’s book. All of the references he provides (that I could find) are to court decisions alleging that at common law Sunday is a dies non juridicus. Thus, your statement that “various states had laws declaring null and void contracts entered on a Sunday,” does not appear to be an accurate statement (especially since the courts, in the parts that Green quotes, acknowledge that there is no state law to that effect, see p. 189 and the Mississippi case mentioned there).

    There were evidently some judicial decisions in various states applying such a principle to cases during the 19th century. However, whether or not such a principle was really part of the common law is open to serious doubt. See the explanation here:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=j7dLAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA151#v=onepage&f=false

    And, of course, I’m sure the judges who made the decisions would disagree. But again, the relevance of this disagreement isn’t particularly clear.

    You write: “It’s bearing upon you is that you want the magistrate to enforce both tables of the law. I am giving examples of when that happened.”

    Let’s assume that they are examples. What then? How do the examples relate to an argument against my position?

    You continued: “Critics of 2k don’t seem to want to look at the history of magisterial enforcement and acknowledge the problems — from war to anti-Semitism.”

    a) I suppose you mean “critics of pm2k.”

    b) It’s fallacious to say “Regime X was Calvin-2k, Regime X had problem Y, therefore problem Y is a problem of Calvin-2k.” The conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises.

    c) Even supposing that “problems” result from having Calvin-2k, that’s not a reason to reject Calvin-2k, unless your paradigm is pragmatism. If it is, you and we have little in common.

    d) The charge that Calvin-2k has the problem of “anti-Semitism” is not only irresponsible and inflammatory, it isn’t true. Defend your libel, if you can.

    You wrote: “History alone does not show that the anti-2k position is wrong. But it is foolish to assert that the magistrate should enforce both tables and not offer a few suggestions for how we are going to avoid the mistakes of the past.”

    Is it foolish to assert that parents should enforce both tables and not to offer a few suggestions for how they are going to avoid the mistakes of past parents who have tried that?

    Surely it’s a completely separate question. One question is whether in principle parents (or governments) should enforce both tables. Another question is how, in practice, parents (or governments) should enforce both tables.

    You seem to be attempting to divert the question from the first to the second. It’s not that the second question never needs to be answered, but we can’t really get to the second question until we have some agreement about the first question.

    -TurretinFan

  162. Zrim said,

    January 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Even supposing that “problems” result from having Calvin-2k, that’s not a reason to reject Calvin-2k, unless your paradigm is pragmatism. If it is, you and we have little in common.

    Tfan, you have pointed out before that pc-2k is a function of having modern sensibilities (as if that were some sort of problem; but as DVD shows, plenty of Reformers believed application of the law has to take into consideration the times). The counter-point has been that you seem to have pre-modern sensibilities, which is to say that we all have sensibilities—so what?

    Once again, you seem to think that your views are immune to pragmatism, as if pragmatism is always bad. But you guys constantly bring up modern social and political evils for why the Bible must more or less norm civil society (“Look, abortion is legal, we need the Bible to fix that”), which is a pragmatic argument. Pragmatism isn’t always bad, but sometimes it is. Sometimes it is the case that the world is setting the church’s agenda. It seems to me that one sign it’s the bad kind is pointing to certain social and political issues and saying the church must address them. A sign that it’s the good kind is when she doesn’t.

  163. Todd said,

    January 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Tfan

    “Well, it is an argument from silence.”

    The silence is deafening.

    “(I assume you’re applying the label “theonomist” to me)”

    I wasn’t thinking of anyone particularly.

    “Silence adds nothing to what is already revealed.”

    The NT is explains our mandate as the church. The silence on the theonomic mandate is deafening.

    “When you read Romans 9-11 and Hebrew 11, I hope you see that the kingdom of God is not something that began at Pentecost, or after 70 A.D., or after the completion of the New Testament. Don’t fall into the dispensational error (condemned in Acts 15) of supposing that the Jews were saved in a different way than the Gentiles.”

    Please tell me you’re kidding. A little credit would help the dialogue.

    “Not all of the Old Testament is prophecy (notwithstanding what some of the more extreme Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutic advocates might seem to suggest). Some of the Old Testament is history, and song, and law. There are multiple genres.”

    I was addressing the kingdom prophecies and how they are fulfilled. Other genres was not the subject.

    “I don’t actually see a quotation of Deuteronomy 22 in 1 Corinthians 5. There is some similarity between “purge out the old leaven” and “put evil away from among you,”

    I was considering I Cor 5:13, not 5:7

    “Notice how Paul’s instructions to the church relate to a variety of different kinds of sins, including extortion. Surely one would not say that because of 1 Corinthians 5, the Christian civil magistrate should not pass laws against extortion.”

    That has nothing to do with the text.

    “Likewise, it seems strained to say that Paul is saying that the civil law is “fulfilled.” That’s a category error – applying the concept of fulfillment beyond the ceremonial and prophetic.”

    Again see I Cor 5:13, also Hebrews 2:2&3. The just retribution of the Mosaic laws is fulfilled when covenant breakers; i.e. false professors, are punished, whether in ex-communication now or final judgment in the future.

    “And if the kings and judges (specifically identified in Psalm 2) repent and believe the gospel, what are they to do? They are to serve the Lord. We all are – it is not unique to kings. But Psalm 2 addresses kings and judges quite specifically. That’s not silence.”

    I didn’t claim silence, I explained how the NT interprets kings as all people. Even if political rulers embrace Christ today that does not mean they enforce the OT laws today – you are reading your own agenda into Psalm 2.

    “Yikes! They fail to see the promises through eyes of faith?”

    Well, that doesn’t mean saving faith (as your “yikes” suggest) as if pre and post are not believers, but they are both using sight (looking at the condition of the world) to interpret the prophecies, which is a mistake.

    “So, it won’t happen that Christ will return tomorrow without the promises being fulfilled.”

    That was my point.

    “However, it sounds like the professor is making the mistake of assuming that our ignorance of when Christ will return means that Christ can return at any time, and consequently that all the promises must already be fulfilled.”

    This is unclear. They would be fulfilled if Christ returned tomorrow, but according to the post-mil scenario of the nations following God’s laws, that would not be the case if he returned tomorrow.

    “I don’t necessarily want to turn this into a debate over post-mil vs. a-mil, but surely you’re aware that post-mil folks do claim that there are prophecies of the millennium – and prophecies like those in Romans 11 that speak of a large-scale conversion of physical Israel before the end? Perhaps you disagree with their analysis, but that’s a little different claim, I think.”

    Yes, but is that their only NT verse? If that verse refers to the elect; Jew and Gentile, per Calvin, where else does the post-mil go for NT evidence?

    “I think that’s because the post-mils think that the gospel harvest will be great, and you seem to think it will be relatively small.”

    Relatively small? According to sources, there are approximately 650 million Evangelicals or Bible believing Christians in the world today. Evangelicals have grown from around 3 million during the Reformation to 650 million worldwide. China alone records 20-50 million, 5 million in Uganda, 20 million in Brazil, etc…Even if only 1/3 of those are true believers, and those numbers do not even include the first 1500 years of church history or the OT saints… I’d say that qualifies as more stars than the eye can count (Gen 15:5).

  164. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 11:45 am

    All” drop the side debate on pseudonyms.

    Daryl: Jeff Cagle’s given a fair summary of Lane’s position on the use of pseudonyms on this blog. TFan’s is acceptable to Lane, so t is not a topic of discussion.

    TFan: I think you’re over reaching in demanding an apology from Daryl in this regard. He is following his ordinary pattern of grabbing something he thinks is ironic and using it to diss his opponent’s position. I personally don’t agree with the technique, but I don’t think any offense he’s given rises to the level you’re arguing for. Unless Lane sees otherwise, there will be no moderator action to publicly demand Daryl apologize. I encourage you to make the case with him privately. Feel free to summarize the results (if appropriate) for the rest of us later.

    Steve: this isn’t your fight, and your rhetoric is way over board. I’ve removed one comment in which you offered criticisms of Daryl that are not called for in the context of this blog. If you wish to make such charges against his character, this is not the appropriate place (maybe his presbytery).

    Now, a gently but firm reminder – no arguing with this moderator smack down. If you don’t like something I’ve said, feel free to take it up with me privately. We can always ask Lane to give a review as well.

    All further comments on this thread referencing pseudonyms will be removed. And, no, I won’t go through the extra work of editing your comment. I’ll simply remove the whole comment.

  165. GAS said,

    January 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Zrim (128),

    “What’s insane is to grossly overstate matters and say that as long as he keeps doing it he’s making you guilty of personal sin.”

    I can understand from your point of view, since you don’t believe in personal property rights, why you would believe it to be insane. But I believe in personal property rights so the money I give to the magistrate that is used to murder people violates my conscience. Paul seems to indicate that anything that violates our conscience should be avoided.

    So Paul was reasoning like a child when spoke about the conscience?

    “A magistrate not adhering to his own Constitution or a father breaking his promise is not the same thing as a magistrate compelling us to personally violate God’s laws. We may disobey in the latter scenario, but not in the former.”

    That’s a nice little assertion but you affective reasoning really does not apply.

    But maybe I’m missing the point of pm-2k so let me present a couple of examples to see if I understand your position. Take for example the US constitutional principle of enumerated powers, that is, that only those powers specifically outlined in the Constitution are binding on the citizens of the US. Arguably it could be said that this was derived from the Protestant hermeneutical principle of Sola Scriptura; as only that which is enumerated in the Bible is binding on the conscience of a Christian so also only those things enumerated in the Constitution are binding on it’s citizens. Does pm-2k reject the enumerated powers doctrine because:
    a) It’s a misapplication of natural law so an illegitimate constitutional form
    b) Employing the Protestant hermeneutical principle of sola scriptura is a confusion of the two kingdoms.
    c) The magistrates powers are ordained from God and are not to be constrained except by a higher magistrate with the highest magistrate having virtually unrestrained power.
    d) All of the above.

    Or take the example of natural rights, that is, that people have certain rights that are natural to a person without the need of gov’t to enumerate those rights and that it is gov’ts responsibility to protect those natural rights. Arguably it could be said that this was derived from the Christian doctrine of the conscience; as the conscience is free from a human mediator to follow God’s commands so are natural rights free from a gov’t mediator to act in society. Does pm-2k reject natural rights because:
    a) Natural rights are not a legitimate derivation of natural law.
    b) Employing the Christian doctrine of the conscience is a confusion of the two kingdoms.
    c) Only the magistrate has rights because God ordained to them all powers.
    d) All of the above.

    There is one other irony I’m trying to figure out. Here we have the so-called “confessional wing” of the Reformed Church willing to remove a substantial portion of the foundation on which the Confessions were derived by rejecting much of her history. If the very foundation of the Confessions are destroyed how is one to interpret those Confessions, the reader-response mechanism?

  166. Ron said,

    January 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Ron, I’ll say it again, since Paul spent so much time addressing the differences between Jews and Gentiles, and also said that Gentile were not bound by Israelite norms, then his instruction in Rom 13 is hardly a reaffirmation of OT civil laws.

    Hi Darryl,

    You continue to presuppose that Romans 13 must affirm theonomy in order for theonomy to be a biblical paradigm, but that’s an arbitrary assertion you have yet to defend. We need to be careful in requiring, if not demanding, that God reveal his precepts in a way that satisfies us. I would urge you to consider just a few passages of Scripture that speak to this very point.

    Mark 10:17-18: When a rich young ruler called Jesus good, he neither affirmed nor denied that he possessed that quality of person but instead said nobody is good but God. Depending upon one’s pre-commitment it might be inferred that Jesus was not good and, therefore, not God; yet the text neither affirms nor denies either conclusion.

    Acts 1:6, 7: When the apostles asked Jesus whether he was at that time going to restore the kingdom to Israel, he neither affirmed nor denied such an intention but instead said that it was not for them to know the times or epochs that the Father has fixed by his own authority. Dispensationalists, given their pre-commitment to a restored national Israel, infer from the answer a confirmation of their theology, that the kingdom will be restored. Notwithstanding, no logical conclusion can be deduced from the text with respect to the restoration Israel’s kingdom.

    John 21:20-22: When Peter asked Jesus whether John would be alive at the time of Jesus’ return Jesus told him that if he wanted John to remain until such time it was no business of Peter’s. Jesus then put to Peter his task, which was to follow Jesus. Jesus’ answer did not logically imply that John would remain or not, let alone whether Jesus would even return one day! The answer even caused a rumor among the brethren that John would not die (John 21:23). John in this very epistle (same verse: 23) remarked on the unjustified inference that caused the rumor: “Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?’”

    There are many more examples but the point should be obvious. We cannot logically deduce that which is not deducible. But more importantly, we may not require that God give us answers in the places we want to find them. That is to put God to the test.

    In the final analyses, if we could deduce that Romans 13 demands the repudiation of theonomy, then I would think that a syllogism to that end, comprised of premises that don’t beg crucial questions, could be constructed rather readily from the text. At the end of the day, using Romans 13 to refute theonomy is on par with concluding that (a) Jesus was not a teacher sent from God; (b) Jesus was not good and, therefore, not God; (c) Jesus intended to establish Israel as a political power but failed with the passing of John. It’s not only irrational to make such leaps in reason, it’s reckless.

    The destruction of Israel and Jerusalem which Christ foretold and which the apostles witnessed certainly did not lead to revelations of how to re-institute Israel and Jerusalem, as if Constantinople is the capital city in exile.

    God is done with Israel as the only nation under God. Now all nations are to receive King Jesus as their sovereign, which is consistent with the Abrahamic covenant and the great commission. The Lord Jesus is not merely head of the church but Lord over the nations; so just as elders are to rule on his behalf according to his word, so are kings. There need not be additional revelation on this matter of the law for all Scripture (and that would include the civil case laws) are profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

    So I don’t see in your view how you recognize what the confession says that the gospel under the church is administered with more simplicity and less outward glory than in Israel (WCF 7.6).

    It’s remarkable to me that you don’t see how I can reconcile the simplicity of the outward administration of the covenant under the gospel dispensation with an objective standard by which rulers should govern. Maybe you might show a logical contradiction between less outward glory in the administration of the covenant of grace and civil laws that reflect the thinking of God.

    Best regards,

    Ron

  167. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    @Ron; Once again, excellent work! Keep pressing on Bro!

  168. Ron said,

    January 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Ron (#143), then what is the point of Romans 13:1-7? This is the question you never really seem to address. Your point seems to be, “Whatever it means, it doesn’t mean the magistrate shouldn’t utilize the OT case laws to do his job.”

    Zrim,

    The passage you cite instructs believers how they are to live in a fallen world and consequently in subjection to fallible leaders.

    Maybe you’re right. But it seems to me the plain reading is that the magistrate God appoints is our source for political and legislative arrangements—not the OT case laws.

    I don’t know. This seems terribly simplistic to me. Indeed, the magistrate is in place “for political and legislative arrangements” but that only defines whose job it is to make laws, policy etc. The ordination of rulers, however, does not inform us (or them) of the standard by which they should govern, but some standard must be presupposed if they are accountable to God to rule well. If the standard is general revelation, then they could not distinguish which transgressions are worthy of punishment. Are we to believe that God gives the awesome power to execute creatures made in his image without also making available a revelation of which type crimes warrant the death penalty? It’s hard for me to imagine that if you were King of your own nation you would you presume to look outside God’s civil law to determine who should be put to death, but maybe you would. At the very least, if kings were not required to rule according to the case laws, why wouldn’t it be a good desire, pleasing to God, to turn to that alleged obsolete word of wisdom anyway?

    The question of by what standard magistrates are to govern is not in view in Romans 13. So neither you nor I may build a case for or against theonomy from Romans 13. Note well, however, that there is nothing in the text that suggests that magistrates are free before God to govern any which way they please. Certainly God has some opinion on which transgressions are to be punished by civil magistrates and what those sanctions should be. The burden of proof would seem to be on you to show that such a detailed provision should be found in the NT, let alone in Romans 13 since the NT tells us that all Scripture including the case laws are profitable for instruction etc.

    Thanks,

    Ron

  169. Ron said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    My dear Brothers,

    I’m going to stop posting on this matter for various reasons. 1) I don’t think I can add anything more to the discussion. 2) Although this matter is somewhat important, it always seems to generate more heat than light. 3) When we focus on any matter with such intensity, we begin to lose perspective on what is most important, God’s glory in the gospel.

    Yours in Him,

    Ron

  170. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Todd (#163):

    “Well, it is an argument from silence.”

    The silence is deafening.

    Todd, I trust you know (#43, 147) that I believe that the OT civil law is abrogated. Nevertheless, I do not find the argument from silence a convincing one, for the simple reason that the silence has too many possible explanations.

    It is absolutely true that the NT does not command theonomy. Nevertheless, this proves nothing, for the NT does not address Christian magistrates one way or the other, either to tell them to reason theonomically, or to use only NT ethics, or to use natural law.

    You’ve assumed a default position (“no theonomy unless the NT commands it”) and taken silence as proof.

    But the silence actually simply means we don’t know what Paul might have said to Christian rulers. He might very well have given advice to Christian rulers, as he does to Christian fathers and children and wives and slaves and masters.

    Or not.

    That said, I endorse your argument from 1 Cor 5. There’s more to that than simple silence; Paul positively says that the church is not to judge outsiders, and transfers Deut 22 from Israel to the church.

  171. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Ron, see you around. If you get a chance, now or in the future, I would value your thoughts on #147.

    JRC

  172. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Goodbye Ron, please don’t be a stranger.

  173. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Questions for Darryl Hart: “Do you condemn the American Revolution which was civil disobedience?”

    Furthermore, suppose there were Christian pastors and churches in the colonies who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England. Does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?

    —————

    Given that Darryl Hart has had ample time and opportunity to respond to these questions it’s not unreasonable to conclude that he’s ducking.

    Hmmmmmm….

    PC 2K… demolished because a very simple question wafted in and blew apart its foundations, well then, that tells you what a weak and incoherent mess PC 2K really is.

    Laughable really. Darryl Hart has invested so much time, energy, and effort to advocating his R2K or PC 2K views, and then to have it demolished so easily by such a simple question has got to be humiliating.

    Let’s change the last part to “Darryl Hart has invested so much time, energy, and effort to advocating his R2K or PC 2K views, and then to have it demolished so easily by such a simple question has got to be humbling.

    If PC 2K can’t even coherently answer:

    Does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?

    Why waste any more time on PC 2K?

  174. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    TUAD: your last comment is not advancing the discussion. It merely belittles your opponent, and than on that basis assumes victory over your opponent’s position.

    I’m used to you arguing better than this in the past. Please, make a better argument next time.

  175. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    @Jeff; How does it follow; from Paul’s instruction to the Church at Corinth,(1 Cor 5), in anyway preclude the king or Civil magistrate from taking instruction from God’s word, regarding punishing criminals? Why is that a no no?

    Can morality and justice change? Wasnt God’s Law the perfect standard of morality and justice?

  176. Zrim said,

    January 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I can understand from your point of view, since you don’t believe in personal property rights, why you would believe it to be insane. But I believe in personal property rights so the money I give to the magistrate that is used to murder people violates my conscience. Paul seems to indicate that anything that violates our conscience should be avoided.

    GAS, first, you’ve continued to misinterpret my point by suggesting I don’t believe in personal property rights. Second, per WCF 20.4, you mayn’t use liberty to duck authority. I get that you have problems with your tax dollars going to something your conscience opposes, but that is no ground whatsoever to rebel. And 2k gets dinged for slouching towards antinomianism.

    Does pm-2k reject the enumerated powers doctrine because:
    a) It’s a misapplication of natural law so an illegitimate constitutional form
    b) Employing the Protestant hermeneutical principle of sola scriptura is a confusion of the two kingdoms.
    c) The magistrates powers are ordained from God and are not to be constrained except by a higher magistrate with the highest magistrate having virtually unrestrained power.
    d) All of the above.

    How about none of the above? I wouldn’t say pc-2k rejects the enumerated powers doctrine so much as the idea that it comes from the Bible. It seems to me that western polity derives much more from Greco-Roman ideas of polity. Further, this idea that our polity derives from holy writ instead of or at least as much from human statutes is likely where ideas of Christian America come from, so to oppose or affirm something like the enumerated powers doctrine is to oppose or affirm Christian doctrine.

    As to natural rights, same answer as above, plus I don’t know how the idea that “a conscience is free from a human mediator” gets past something like Romans 13, which clearly teaches that a Christian conscience is bound to obey and submit a human mediator.

    There is one other irony I’m trying to figure out. Here we have the so-called “confessional wing” of the Reformed Church willing to remove a substantial portion of the foundation on which the Confessions were derived by rejecting much of her history. If the very foundation of the Confessions are destroyed how is one to interpret those Confessions, the reader-response mechanism?

    I understand. Protestants from Josiah Strong to Charles Hodge to Abraham Kuyper who suggest that resident within Calvinism are the seeds to all that westerners hold ideologically dear. Strong’s best-seller, Our Country: Its Possible Future and Its Present Crisis (1885) insisted that:

    “Wherever Protestantism went civil liberty followed. The two greatest characteristics of Anglo-Saxons were civil liberty and spiritual Christianity.”

    Presbyterian New Schooler Albert Barnes, in Presbyterianism: Its Affinities (1863) wrote:

    “…all just notions of liberty in modern times [were connected with the fundamental principles taught by Presbyterianism].”

    Charles Hodge in an 1855 lecture on the nature of Presbyterianism:

    “It is the combination of the principles of liberty and order in the Presbyterian system, the union of the rights of the people with subjection to legitimate authority, that has made it the parent and guardian of civil liberty in every part of the world.”

    And, of course, Abraham Kuyper in Lectures on Calvinism (1898):

    “The logical development of what was enshrined in the liberty of conscience, as well as liberty itself, first blessed the world from the side of Calvinism.”

    So there is a long history of equating what one can find in Reformed Protestantism with what is in the esteemed ideology. But the fact is that if we don’t need the Bible to know stealing is wrong then we don’t need it to build a society. And speaking of irony, one is how all this sort of thing has been used in the past to suggest that Roman Catholics may not make very good American citizens or magistrates, which seems to be a form of religious bigotry. You know, as we discussed here not too long ago about a better form of anti-Catholicism:

    http://confessionalouthouse.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/religious-bigotry-like-sin-is-an-equal-opportunity-affliction-or-toward-a-better-anti-catholicism/

  177. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    @ Stewart,

    No need to be sorry, I just wanted to let you know, there are a few schools of thought on that passage. Even though we may disagree, you have been a pleasure to interact with. God bless you!

  178. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Hi Reed,

    I have merely requested that Darryl Hart answer the simple and straightforward questions posed to him. His answer or his non-answer does advance the discussion.

    Thanks.

  179. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Doug S (#176): How does it follow; from Paul’s instruction to the Church at Corinth,(1 Cor 5), in anyway preclude the king or Civil magistrate from taking instruction from God’s word, regarding punishing criminals?

    Excellent. That really is the 64k$ question.

    In my view, the magistrate *should* take instruction from God’s word regarding justice, BUT he has two controls to keep in mind.

    First, that the OT civil law served two functions and not just one. It upheld the general equity of justice. It also served to provide severe penalties in order to place Israel under the law.

    The Christian magistrate today may and should uphold the general equity of justice. He should not place Christians back under the law per se.

    Second, that if the magistrate enforces the first table, he will tread on the church’s turf. To the church, and the church alone, is it given to determine what is the true Gospel and what is true worship. If the magistrate takes those matters into his hands, he will be overstepping the bounds God has given him.

    This is my understanding of the spirit of the 1789 revision to the Confession.

  180. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    GAS:

    Does pm-2k reject the enumerated powers doctrine because:

    Zrim gives you his own specific responses to your question. I wanted to observe what appears to be a misunderstanding that if fixed will help your querying its proponents.

    2K positions do not reject the formulation of civil laws. 2K positions do not even reject using the Bible as a source for insight and wisdom in the formulation of civil laws.

    The 2K position Zrim (and Darryl) espouses rejects the idea that the Bible must be used for such formulations. If I read Zrim (and Darryl) correctly, he would would also reject the position that the Bible alone must be used in such formulations.

    The issue is not may or may not, but must. Make sense?

    Accordingly, asking questions like, “does 2k reject such and such civil example,” runs the risk of being a non sequitur when this wrong assumption is made.

    At least I think I see you making that wrong assumption in this question (and a few others). Feel free to correct me if you find it worth it towards advancing the conversation. Thanks!

  181. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Zrim (#177): But the fact is that if we don’t need the Bible to know stealing is wrong then we don’t need it to build a society.

    Of course, since we all *do in fact* know that stealing is wrong from the Bible, it’s kind of moot, right?

  182. Zrim said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Ron (#169), I know you’ve picked up your stakes (yet again). But it does seem to me that this all turns on just how one understands the sufficiency of general revelation for civil life. You seem to be on the side that says it’s useful but not sufficient. And I think that the premise is that implicit somehow means deficient. I categorically reject that premise. Implicit doesn’t mean unclear or deficient. It just means not plainly expressed. To have implicit faith doesn’t mean to have deficient faith. We actually live every day with much more implicit faith than explicit, when you think about. I mean, aren’t there more things you don’t think you need to spell out for your kids than those that you do? Aren’t there more things you just expect to follow implicit rules than from explicit ones each day?

    Also, just to up the ante, it seems to me that what is implicit can actually be more powerful than what is explicit. Unspoken rules, expectations and implications can be much more compelling than explicit directions. No, this isn’t to suggest we dispense with explicitness, just to say that we should give the implicit way more credit than it gets. At least around these parts.

  183. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Reed (#181): I haven’t been able to get clear on the Zrimec/Hart position on this. It really does appear (at times) that they reject the use of Scripture for societal matters. The common sphere, it is said, is ruled by General Revelation alone. And it is said, Scripture is for the church alone, for the indicative precedes the imperative.

    But then at other times, this gets qualified in various ways.

    So: Zrim, DGH: Is it (1) “the Bible must not be used as the basis for civil law” OR (2) “the Bible need not be used as the basis for civil law”?

  184. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Zrim: To have implicit faith doesn’t mean to have deficient faith.

    Erm, AFAIK, that phrase “implicit faith” is what a Catholic uses when he means to say, “I don’t know everything that the Catholic church teaches, but I believe it anyways.” Are you sure that’s not deficient?

  185. Zrim said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Reed (#183), thanks. You help make what I think is an important distinction that distinguishes legal secularists from Christian secularists. The former completely bar holy writ from the public square; the latter simply want more careful use of holy writ made in the public square.

    Of course, since we all *do in fact* know that stealing is wrong from the Bible, it’s kind of moot, right?

    Jeff, it is a fact that the SR explicitly condemns stealing. But how is it a fact that we don’t know this from GR as well? So, I don’t see how the point is moot.

  186. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    TUAD: Yes, but Darryl’s non-answer could be for other reasons than you’ve “demolished” his argument. That’s a tad hyping. That, coupled with “humiliating” and “humbling” is my reason for saying you were just belittling him.

    I’m all for witty comment, even sarcasm used appropriately. I just thought your comment didn’t maintain the balance you normally do.

    FWIW

  187. Zrim said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Jeff, re 184, I think sometimes you simply don’t interpret statements made over here in light of the qualifications made over there. But I think the must v. need point Reed makes is a good one.

    Re 185, I understand the phrase “implicit faith” is loaded and may not help understanding, but I think if you try harder you’ll see the larger point being made about implicit and explicit. Maybe it’s just a deficient analogy? If it makes you stumble then toss it.

  188. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Zrim (#188): I think sometimes you simply don’t interpret statements made over here in light of the qualifications made over there.

    That must be it.

  189. TurretinFan said,

    January 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Jeff C.:

    You wrote:

    That said, I endorse your argument from 1 Cor 5. There’s more to that than simple silence; Paul positively says that the church is not to judge outsiders, and transfers Deut 22 from Israel to the church.

    I’d like to explore this a little further.

    I assume you are referring to this:

    1 Corinthians 5:12-13
    For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

    1) The primary emphasis of the passage is on the need to exercise church discipline to remove from the fellowship those who are engaged in serious sins.

    2) There’s a secondary point made in passing about the fact that the church doesn’t exercise discipline over those outside the church.

    3) There’s similarity between “put away from among yourselves that wicked person” and the commands to the Israelites to “put the evil away from the midst of thee” (Deut. 13:5) or “thou shalt put the evil away from among you” (Deut. 17:7) or “thou shalt put away the evil from Israel” (Deut 17:12) or “so shalt thou put the evil away from among you” (Deut. 19:19) or “so shalt thou put evil away from among you” (Deut. 21:21) or “so shalt thou put evil away from among you” (Deut. 22:21) or “so shalt thou put away evil from Israel” (Deut. 22:22) or “so thou shalt put away evil from among you” (Deut. 22:24) or “thou shalt put evil away from among you” (Deut. 24:7).

    However, while there is a similarity in the wording, the concept of putting evil away in Deuteronomy may have a different sense. For example, it may relate to propitiation: by removing the wicked, the nation averts God’s judgment against the nation. (Compare Isaiah 1:16)

    4) On the flip side, it’s not as though Paul says, “as it is written,” and Paul’s allusion to removing leaven is a reference to this:

    Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

    So, there’s an available alternative connection to be made.

    5) “But them that are without God judgeth,” does not, of course, deny that God uses means. So, it’s hardly a prohibition on the civil magistrate (or parents, or employers), that would prevent someone in another context than church punishing the wrong-doer.

    I wonder where (if it all) you would disagree with that analysis.

    -TurretinFan

  190. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    “Yes, but Darryl’s non-answer could be for other reasons than you’ve “demolished” his argument.”

    No Reed, that’s not it.

    I’m clearly saying that *IF* PC 2K can’t or won’t coherently answer a simple question like:

    “Does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?”

    Then it shows what a weak and incoherent mess PC 2K really is.

    You see the difference, Reed?

  191. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    TUAD: Yes, I understand the difference.

    Your comment assumes that can’t or won’t is proof that the 2K position is therefore weak. It may be, but it may not. Such absence of answer is not proof of absence of correctness. Yourthen does not follow from your if.

    Even more silly is your belittling assertion that can’t or won’t devastates Darryl’s argument and humiliates him. It does nothing of the sort, simply because there are other reasonable explanations for the can’t or won’t that do not address the merits of your question.

    A poor argument, and one that I think use belittling to make its case. Do you see the difference TUAD?

  192. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Of course, since we all *do in fact* know that stealing is wrong from the Bible, it’s kind of moot, right?

    Not so fast! Sure most societies know that stealing is wrong, the 64K dollar question is how should we punish the thief? How does GR help in that regard? Shall we chop off his hand? Put him in adult time out? Make him a slave for life, give him the DP, or, make him pay back double?

    You see? There are many competing ideas about justice, but God has already answered that question for us, amen? If our Civil Magistrates goal is to seek a just retribution, then we need go no further, than God’s law. The very epitome of justice!

  193. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    @ Jeff, This is you: First, that the OT civil law served two functions and not just one. It upheld the general equity of justice. It also served to provide severe penalties in order to place Israel under the law.

    You last sentence threw me. Severe penalties “in order to place Israel under the law???? Huh? Please explian what that means. And what do you mean by “under the law”?

    BTW, my post above is directed at you as well. Although I would be interested in Zrim’s and dhg opinion as well.

  194. GAS said,

    January 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Reed:

    I appreciate the helping hand and the nuance you supply but my correspondent doesn’t generally use qualifications unless it’s pried from him so I can only take him at his word.

    Recently he has been making arguments from the Bible that the magistrate is given unlimited powers by God. By implication then I can only assume that the US Constitution as it is framed and the arguments by which it was framed are in conflict with his interpretation of the power given to the magistrate. Thus, I believe that the way the questions were posed followed the position of my correspondent.

  195. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Zrim (#177): But the fact is that if we don’t need the Bible to know stealing is wrong then we don’t need it to build a society.

    How does GR tell you how to punish a thief? As a Theonomist, I see in God’s law, that he is to pay back double. What say you?

  196. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    BTW, Zrim, your argument that everyone knows that stealing is wrong, is Christopher Hitchens argument that we don’t need the Bible. I know this is guilt by assosiation, but still………

  197. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    @ Jeff;

    Welcome to Theonomy, friend! :-) That’s all I mean by Theonomy. That justice and morality are coterminus. They can not change! And God’s law was perfect justice. So, if God’s law says that a kidnapper must surely be put to death, then they *should* be put to death now! Justice and morality can not change.

  198. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Ooops! Sorry Jeff, somehow I didnt post your sentence:

    In my view, the magistrate *should* take instruction from God’s word regarding justice,

    That is what my idea of Theonomy is!

  199. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    “Your comment assumes that can’t or won’t is proof that the 2K position is therefore weak. It may be, but it may not. Such absence of answer is not proof of absence of correctness. Yourthen does not follow from your if.

    Even more silly is your belittling assertion that can’t or won’t devastates Darryl’s argument and humiliates him. It does nothing of the sort, simply because there are other reasonable explanations for the can’t or won’t that do not address the merits of your question.”

    Hi Reed,

    I need some help clarifying what you’re saying here. This is what I understand you to be saying:

    If a position or stance or argument can’t or won’t address a counter-argument’s question, then you’re saying that the position or stance or argument under scrutiny from the counter-argument’s question cannot be said to be faulty or flawed “because there are other reasonable explanations for the can’t or won’t that do not address the merits” of the question.

    Reed, let’s explore this reasoning further.

    If you are right, then anytime someone poses a question that you don’t want to answer or can’t answer, then you can still claim that your position is still sound and valid and true and good. Is that right?

    Or on the flip side, suppose you or Lane poses a question to a Catholic apologist or an atheist or a theological liberal or a Federal Visionist or whoever with regards to the argument that they are advancing. They don’t answer your question. You then claim that this shows a severe weakness in their argument. They say “No, it doesn’t.” They then say that they have or may have other undisclosed reasonable explanations for the can’t or won’t that do not address the merits of your question. And therefore, their position still holds in the face of your unanswered question.

    Is this what you’re advocating Reed?

  200. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Doug: appreciate your reason for assuming things in the silences you perceive in Zrim’s comments. I’m not denying the reality of that.

    Instead I’m giving you some background that is already known by some of us who have been discussing this subject here for a bit longer than your commenting here. As well, while I can’t cite specific references off the top of my head, in my study of 2K writings this nuance is specifically mentioned often enough that it is actually better to assume its presence unless your opponent says otherwise.

    In other words, I’m offering a nuance that is accurate. Any line of questioning that does not assume it will only be a waste of time, at most resulting in talking past each other.

    At the very least you can live with Zrim’s affirmation of my nuance.

    I’m only trying to be helpful here, seeking to help you not waste time traveling down lines of argument that are not accurate to the subject.

    Am I making any sense?

  201. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    For goodness sake’s TUAD, it is rather more simple than that. I often do not have time to respond to everything on this blog simply because this blog is at the bottom of the list of my priorities.

    E.g., does the fact that I can’t get to responding to a compelling question from you because I’m too busy with a dying church member mean your position is right?

    E.g., does the fact that I won’t respond to your argument because I think it is more important to give time to shepherding my family in daily worship mean that you’ve devastated my argument?

    I’m simply observing that Darryl has not responded. I never said or inferred that the reason he hasn’t is because he is using non-responsiveness as a debate tactic. (Your RCC example is moot.)

    Even if Darryl were refusing to respond, this would not prove you’ve devastated his argument. All it shows it that your question has not been answered. It may be because he can’t or won’t because his position can’t handle your argument. But the mere fact of non-response does not necessitate the affirmation of what is merely a possibility.

    You wrote in such a way as to construct the following syllogism:

    > Answer if you can
    >If you can’t or worn’t,
    > Then this is proof you’re devastatingly wrong and I’m right
    > Further then, such failure or refusal to answer is proof my argument is personally humiliating (humbling) to you

    Your thens do not logically follow from your if.

    You’ve limited the reasons to why Darryl has not given an answer to two:

    > He can’t because his position isn’t able to do so, or
    > He won’t because he knows he can’t.

    That is just silly. Maybe he’s out earning bread for his family. Maybe he finds your hype so presumptuous as to not want to waste his time answering you,

    Seriously TUAD, is it possible you’re so deep into the debate that your emotions are getting the better or you? I admit Darryl has an occasional effect that prompts huffing and puffing from his opponents. I was offering some friendly advice to help you avoid that kind of response.

  202. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    @Zrim for a follow up:

    Nations throughout history have punished stealing in a zillion different ways. But one thing we know, God’s law was “eye for and eye, tooth and a tooth”. It was perfect justice! Why not strive for the ideal? The perfect standard of justice?

    GR doesnt come close to answering the million dollar question; “what is a just penalty for any given crime”. Just look at all the different methods and attempts at punishing! If all nations are seeing GR, (And I believe they are) then they are incoherant! Why rely on fallen mans “sin obsured guess”, at what he thinks would be a good way to punish, over against God’s Law? By what Standard can we condeme China’s manditory abortion policy, if GR is suffecient? It’s either Autonomy or Theonomy, take your pick.

  203. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    “Maybe he’s out earning bread for his family. Maybe he finds your hype so presumptuous as to not want to waste his time answering you.”

    Could be.

    But Reed, please do note that should someone whom you’re debating with doesn’t answer an incisive question that you are posing to his or her argument, that person can ignore your question and still claim that his or her argument or positin still holds.

    In fact Reed, by your own standards that you’re setting forth here, no one need answer any question posed to them and to the argument they’re advancing.

  204. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Reed, you were probably making sense, but it must have flown right over my head! Are you confusing me with someone else? What should I know about Zrim, that I’m missing?

  205. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    “Seriously TUAD, is it possible you’re so deep into the debate that your emotions are getting the better or you?”

    Nope.

    Reed, I think it would be helpful for you and everyone else to read what was posted before in a Green Baggins post:

    “Questioning of motives is not allowed (who can read the heart?). When in doubt, phrase the statement in terms of the logical issue, not in terms of the person’s actions in stating something this way.”

    Thanks Reed.

    Do note that I phrased this question to Darryl Hart in terms of a logical issue:

    “Does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?”

  206. Todd said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    “Does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?”

    I’m scratching my head as to why this question is so important in refuting our position. Would I preach such a sermon? No, I think it is beyond our calling as pastors to support a war effort from the pulpit; then or now. Would I “condemn” those who do? I hear political sermons all the time but I am not in the habit of “condemning” those pastors. I just don’t do it – it is against my conscience as a preacher of Christ’s kingdom.

  207. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    TUAD: as one who helped writes those rules, I’m quite familiar with them. I was not questioning your motives.

    Instead I was asking you to question your own motives, to look inside and consider whether or not something else was going on. Your response did not seem like your commenting on other thread, I was asking as a blog friend trying to be helpful. Forgive any manner in which my words were not clear enough to that end.

    As to your immediately prior response, yes I see the significance of the debate tactic of not responding to a comment. I am not ignorant that one’s opponent can simply ignore a challenge and then act as if his position is secure. I’m also aware that an Emperor can think he is wearing clothes when he is not. The fact that one wants to use a weak debate tactic does not mean I need to respond with my on erroneous argument.

    This is neither here nor there in this case. Note that Darryl stopped responding on this thread before you posted your comment. He’s not responded to others’ comments as well. This does not prove he can’t or won’t.

    Assume he was still responding to other comments here. Assume he acknowledged your comment and simply responded with a “I’m not answering that.” Such a non-response response does not prove you’re position is correct. It only proves that he does not want to respond. If he is using this as a debate tactic it certainly won’t help prove his argument.

    It is how you go on to then prove your argument that will show whether or not your opponent’s failure to respond is material. Simply asserting that non-responsiveness proves your case is silly. Do you disagree with the logic I laid out?

    The merits of your question were never in view in my critique. The assertion that a non-response was devastating proof that your position is correct is in view.

  208. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Doug, no. 204: oops. You are correct.

    GAS, no. 200 was a response to you. Respond as you wish. Thanks.

  209. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    “Note that Darryl stopped responding on this thread before you posted your comment. He’s not responded to others’ comments as well. This does not prove he can’t or won’t.”

    Actually Reed, you’re innocently mistaken.

    I asked my question in comment #107. Darryl Hart has posted comments subsequent to that.

    I also re-asked the question in comment #130. Darryl Hart has posted comments subsequent to that one as well.

    Thanks.

  210. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 28, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    “The assertion that a non-response was devastating proof that your position is correct is in view.

    The view needs to be adjusted.

    Better: “The assertion that a non-response is a devastating point in showing that the non-responsive position is in shambles is in view.”

    Also, I have read Darryl Hart accuse TurretinFan of being “dodgy.” By Darryl Hart’s own measure he himself would be considered “dodgy” for not answering the simple and straightforward questions posed to him. Furthermore, since Darryl Hart accuses TurretinFan of being “dodgy” when he himself is “dodgy”, that would make Darryl Hart a hypocrite, yes?

    Unless you want to eliminate the accusation of “dodgy” whenever there’s no response or answer to a question.

    I.e., Green Baggins Commenting Policy: For all non-answers to questions, the questioners shall not accuse the non-answerers of being dodgy or evasive.

  211. Reed Here said,

    January 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    TUAD: seriously, at this point, whatever. I thought about responding one more time, but just forget it.

  212. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    TFan (#189): It’s a very meaty analysis you’ve got there, and I hope to capture it accurately.

    I agree with (1) and (2): The church is to exercise discipline over those in her midst, and not over those outside. While (2) is indeed secondary, it is very *strong* considering the way that Paul argues for it (in 5.10). Nevertheless, it is secondary: Don’t focus on outsiders, do focus on yourselves. In a phrase, Paul is saying “Sweep your own porch.”

    (3) and (4) lose me a little bit. I argued that 1 Cor 5.13 transfers the objects of the command: rather than the members of the nation of Israel who are to be policed and removed, it is now the members of the new Israel who are to be policed and removed.

    You say, yes, there is similarity, but a different reading is possible. Perhaps Paul is not transferring but … arguing by analogy? Something else?

    (5) makes sense. You are saying (I think) that the command for the church to police itself still leaves open all of these other lines of authority: fathers should still police their children, magistrates should still police the streets, etc.

    And I agree. By limiting the jurisdiction of the church, Paul is not saying anything about the jurisdiction of other authorities.

    BUT

    There is a question of jurisdictions. If the church is properly given the right to interpret scripture, then it must be careful in how it speaks to the magistrate. For if the church is too specific and directive, it ends up judging those on the outside.

    So the problem that can arise — and did arise in the Middle Ages — is that if the magistrate must always run to the church in order to get the proper interpretation of the civil law, then his authority has been entirely undermined, and the church has placed herself in the seat of passing judgment on those outside her jurisdiction. The Spanish Inquisition is a case in point: technically, the church simply tried heretics; but the state slavishly took their recommendations on who was to be punished.

    So my argument (or solution?) is that the magistrate should be informed by Scripture, but his rules and laws should carry the force of “commands of men” rather than the force of “good and necessary inferences from Scripture.” In this way, he can make judgments independently of the church, without binding the consciences of others.

    Does that make sense?

  213. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    dgh said: Doug, I understand the separation of powers in the OT. But what you don’t seem to acknowledge is the problem of the magistrate enforcing both tables. Will the magistrate allow for re-baptism, or must all people baptize their children? Will even those who make no profession of faith be required to baptize their infants? If OT Israel is the norm, then will there be any place for non-Christians?

    Your question is misguided, IMHO. In OT Israel, unbelievers could dwell in the land and live quite well. They were to be treated well. They were not allowed to usurp the One True religion. But they didn’t have to believe in God. What does baptism have to do with the Civil Magistrate? That would be a matter for the Church, not the Government. The Government would punish moral crimes, (just like in Israel) not interfere with Church polity. (Remember, in Israel the King couldn’t enter the Temple, and the Priest couldn’t bear the sword, so there was a separation of Church and State in Israel)

    So any offense or crime, that requires the “sword” would be left up to the Civil Magistrate. Issues regarding baptism and the sacraments fall under the Church purview.Both sides “Church and State” derive there authority from the word of God. Both the Church and the State are warned, “fear God”, Kiss the Son” so that His anger is not kindled against you.

  214. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    JRC: First, that the OT civil law served two functions and not just one. It upheld the general equity of justice. It also served to provide severe penalties in order to place Israel under the law.

    Doug Sowers (#193): You last sentence threw me. Severe penalties “in order to place Israel under the law???? Huh? Please explian what that means. And what do you mean by “under the law”?

    The phrase “under the law” is from Gal 3 and 4. Most notably:

    Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. — Gal 3.23-25

    As I understand it, being “under the law” meant (1) being under the system of ceremonies and sacrifices, and (2) being under the penalties of the civil law.

    The “curse of the law” (Gal 3.13-14) refers ultimately to God’s wrath on our sin; but it was outwardly typified by the various penalties provided for in the civil law.

    I like Calvin on this point: But Paul’s meaning is more extensive than the words may seem to convey. He means that the law was published in order to make known transgressions, and in this way to compel men to acknowledge their guilt. As men naturally are too ready to excuse themselves, so, until they are roused by the law, their consciences are asleep. — Calv Comm Gal 3.19.

    So the key point here is that the penalties of the Law, which the NT takes to be given to make sin be known as sin (Rom 3.20, 5.20, 7.13) are part of the civil Law.

    And since Christ has freed us from that yoke of slavery, we ought not expect that the civil law in its same form should rest on us now.

    Thus Calvin: The allegation, that insult is offered to the law of God enacted by Moses, where it is abrogated and other new laws are preferred to it, is most absurd. Others are not preferred when they are more approved, not absolutely, but from regard to time and place, and the condition of the people, or when those things are abrogated which were never enacted for us. The Lord did not deliver it by the hand of Moses to be promulgated in all countries, and to be everywhere enforced; but having taken the Jewish nation under his special care, patronage, and guardianship, he was pleased to be specially its legislator, and as became a wise legislator, he had special regard to it in enacting laws. Calv Inst 4.20.16

    If you aren’t already familiar with it, I commend his discussions of the law in Inst. 2.7 and 4.20. The discussion of the civil law and the laws of other countries receives specific treatment in 4.30.15-16.

    And of course, this becomes the basis for the Confessional statement:

    To them [Israel]also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require. — WCoF 19.4

    Notice that I’m not arguing that Christians are free from all civil law. We know from Rom 13 that this is not so.

    But I am arguing that the civil law of Israel served more than one function, and we should not expect that it should serve as the law of all nations.

  215. dgh said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Ron, I know you’ve pulled out, but I don’t think you caught part of my point. The Jewish Christians knew the OT code for the magistrate. But Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. And since he had to do a lot of explaining about whether or not circumcision still applied, you’d think he’d supply a little political theology to those new to the covenant. But he did not.

    And the Reformed hermeneutic is let the clear passages interpret the less clear. Rom. 13 is fairly clear about what believers may or may not expect from a ruler — a pretty nefarious ruler at that. And since much of what Paul writes to Christians about observing the OT is that it has passed away, I don’t see how the civil polity of Israel is exempt.

    But if your point is simply that the magistrate should enforce both tables, then that would fit more with the difference I am arguing for here. At the same time, since you are arguing for theonomy, that seems to bite off a lot more of the OT than the decalogue can chew — so to speak.

  216. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Doug, to follow up, let’s take your statement (#192):

    Sure most societies know that stealing is wrong, the 64K dollar question is how should we punish the thief? How does GR help in that regard? Shall we chop off his hand? Put him in adult time out? Make him a slave for life, give him the DP, or, make him pay back double?

    You see? There are many competing ideas about justice, but God has already answered that question for us, amen?

    Calvin would say, No. God has answered the question, Is stealing wrong? (Yes!) And God gave to *Israel* a specific set of penalties for sin; but those penalties may not fit all nations.

    You represented the Biblical penalty as “paying back double”, but actually it was more detailed than that. Extortion or lost property entitled one to a 20% penalty (Lev 6); cows were repaid at a rate of 5:1 and sheep at 4:1 (Ex 22); if the thief could not pay, he was sold into slavery (Ex 22); some cases of criminal negligence had a 2:1 penalty (Ex 22) and so on.

    So if I steal a dog — does that go at the rate for sheep, cows, or what?

    You see the problem: The situations of nations change, so that the application of the moral principle also changes.

    Now, Chuck Colson argues that one major reform of our judicial system would be to apply the Biblical principle of restitution instead of jail time for theft. And I think there might be wisdom in that. But it isn’t a good and necessary inference from Scripture — that is, I’m willing to accept his opinion as a “good idea” but not a “Biblical requirement.”

    And that’s the key here. In your statement, you make it sound like the Bible has already settled the issue of how to handle theft. But it doesn’t, really. It lays down a principle (theft is *wrong*) and perhaps two (theft requires restitution), but it does not give a detailed prescription for the myriad number of ways that people can steal things in our age.

    Bible or not, the magistrate still has a lot of work to do.

    And the situation gets even more complicated in a country (such as ours) that has certain legal precedents. Slavery is simply not an option, so enforcement of Ex 22.3 is out of the question unless one were willing and able to pass a Constitutional amendment OR to go around the law of the land, which is perilous to the soul if not for very good cause.

  217. TurretinFan said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    DGH wrote: “And since he had to do a lot of explaining about whether or not circumcision still applied, you’d think he’d supply a little political theology to those new to the covenant. But he did not.”

    That’s interesting. Where there was discontinuity, Paul argued strenuously. Here Paul did not argue strenuously. Therefore … (logically) … what is the conclusion?

  218. dgh said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Tfan, my recollection of Green may be rusty, but my point was that legislators and jurists in 19th c. America applied God’s law in ways that many people don’t realize — like contracts entered on Sundays or whether non-Christians could testify in court (because of oaths taken in God’s name). So I was trying to get a sense from you about enforcing all of God’s law.

    As for my point about history and whether examples from the past change our perceptions of past outlooks, I still don’t think you have admitted that all Reformed churches have abandoned the 16th and 17th c. Reformed confessional language of the civil magistrate’s responsibilities. All. Not even the Covenanters, who affirm the Solemn League and Covenant, agree with the 1646 WCF. Why is that? A lot of the reason has to do with the experience of at least 150 years of warfare and persecution by confessional states which in turn led Reformed Protestants to reconsider biblical teaching on the magistrate.

    Another reason is the rise of biblical theology, as in the case of Cocceus, and the possibility of interpreting the OT not as a literal embodiment of the good society but as a type of what was coming in the history of redemption.

    So history happens and churches revise their teaching. You want to claim to be in the mainstream of Reformed thought. But none of the Reformed churches agree with Turretin or Calvin on the magistrate, and their confessions and actions show it.

    Those churches could be wrong. But simply asserting that they have departed from Calvin or Turretin does not make them wrong. And your allegation that turning away from Turretin or Calvin on this matter is a form of infidelity to the Reformed tradition is as much wedded to history (as opposed to Scripture) as mine may or may not be.

    But please do remember this, that before the CRC revised Belgic 36 or the Covenanters altered their understanding of WCF 23, neither of those communions made the magistrate a test for fellowship. Both churches were in fraternal relations with the OPC which adopted the American revisions.

  219. dgh said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Reed, thanks for trying to supply interpretive breadth to what my silence may or may not mean.

  220. Zrim said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Zrim, your argument that everyone knows that stealing is wrong, is Christopher Hitchens argument that we don’t need the Bible. I know this is guilt by assosiation, but still…

    Doug, I understand the association you make here, but like I suggested in 185, pc-2k makes a distinction between legal secularists and Christian secularists. The former completely bar holy writ from the public square; the latter simply want more careful use of holy writ made in the public square. LSs want a rigid and impermeable wall made between church and state. CSs want a rigid but permeable wall. Theonomists want the wall completely torn down. What’s interesting is that LSs mistake CSs for latent theonomists and theonomists mistake CSs for latent LSs. Sort of like how Anabaptists mistake Protestants for latent Catholics and Catholics lump Protestants and Radicals together.

  221. Zrim said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Recently he has been making arguments from the Bible that the magistrate is given unlimited powers by God.

    GAS, no. My point has actually been that the civil magistrate has a lot more vested power, authority and ability than many seem to assume. That’s different from “unlimited power.” But I can see how my point gets over-realized when one under-realizes the sort of power, authority and ability Paul teaches the civil magistrate has in something like Romans 13:1-7.

  222. TurretinFan said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Jeff C.:

    You wrote:

    So my argument (or solution?) is that the magistrate should be informed by Scripture, but his rules and laws should carry the force of “commands of men” rather than the force of “good and necessary inferences from Scripture.” In this way, he can make judgments independently of the church, without binding the consciences of others.

    Does that make sense?

    That does, I think.

    What confuses me may simply be a minor detail or a matter of semantics. What confuses me is this comment:

    You say, yes, there is similarity, but a different reading is possible. Perhaps Paul is not transferring but … arguing by analogy? Something else?

    The leaven purging that Paul alludes to (without quotation) would seem to be a typological application/revelation. In other words, Paul by divine inspiration is applying the leaven purging of Israel’s ceremonial law to the situation of the church itself. The church being the bread, and the leaven being the evil people that should not be present in the bread.

    There’s also an apparently analogous situation with respect to Israel as a shadow of the church, and Israel purging itself of evil by putting wicked people to death. Paul, however, does not make an explicit reference to that (at least, not that I see).

    I guess what is unclear to me is the “transferring” concept. Perhaps simply because it isn’t Scriptural terminology, it’s not clear what you are proposing. It’s not that Paul’s suggesting that responsibilities that were once Israel’s are now to be the church’s.

    I realize that my last sentence may rub some people the wrong way, but consider some of the sins Paul lists:

    1) Fornication
    2) Extortion
    3) Covetousness

    Maybe we could say that Israel formerly punished fornication with death, and perhaps even we could say that about extortion, but covetousness is not something that the civil law punished, as far as I can see (correct me if I’m wrong).

    Contrariwise, while I don’t know of anyone who thinks that the civil magistrate should punish covetousness, and while some seem to think that fornication should not be punished, almost everyone would agree that the civil magistrate should punish extortion (I think).

    – TurretinFan

    P.S. It’s sort of an aside, but despite various pm-2k rumblings, at least one species of fornication remains a capital offense (at least on the books – I think the Supreme Court might not allow): rape.

  223. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    January 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Calvin at least was open about saying the death penalty for adultery should be kept on the books.

  224. Zrim said,

    January 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Nations throughout history have punished stealing in a zillion different ways. But one thing we know, God’s law was “eye for and eye, tooth and a tooth”. It was perfect justice! Why not strive for the ideal? The perfect standard of justice?

    GR doesnt come close to answering the million dollar question; “what is a just penalty for any given crime”. Just look at all the different methods and attempts at punishing! If all nations are seeing GR, (And I believe they are) then they are incoherant! Why rely on fallen mans “sin obsured guess”, at what he thinks would be a good way to punish, over against God’s Law? By what Standard can we condeme China’s manditory abortion policy, if GR is suffecient? It’s either Autonomy or Theonomy, take your pick.

    Doug, sorry, but it really seems to me that you’re not engaging my points about the sufficiency of GR. I can see you saying you don’t agree, but I don’t see how you can ask these sorts of questions over and over if you have really been making an honest effort to understand.

    But, again, deficiency lies in the sinner, not the law (implicit or explicit). See Paul’s argument in Romans 7:7-25. He’s basically saying that the law is good and beyond reproach, but to the extent that it depends on a sinful agent it is useless. I take the law to be what we find in both GR and SR.

    The choice between autonomy and theonomy is false. There is an alternative, natural law. The fact that nations differ on how to sort out law and order, crime and punishment only suggests something about sinners, not general revelation. Churches significantly differ doctrinally. Does that mean the Bible is insufficient to rule the church? No, it means sinners are really screwed up. Sinners sin because they are sinners, not because they are using the wrong book.

  225. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    @ Jeff, Thanks, and your correct that a “thief” can not always pay back double. How could a white collar criminal pay back millions he embezzled from a bank computer?! Yes, I’ve thought of that too, I over generalized on the formula of restitution, always meaning “paying back double”. But some sort of restitution make far more sense, than our penal system.

    So nice catch! But this doesn’t slow down my Theonomic leanings; I’ve always believed that *we* have much study ahead of us, to apply justice. And even though I’m not sure how we should apply God’s righteous standards found in the Law of God, in our modern society. I firmly believe God has given us enough detail in the Bible, that with prayer, humility, and study, we can make great strides.

  226. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    @Zrim, I dare say, that if every nation establishes Theonomic laws, every nation would apply them differently. The devil is in the application. This is why no two Theonomists agree on everything down the line. So yes, were still all sinners with darkened minds, in desperate need of all the revelation we can get. That’s why I’m for greater specificity rather than less. If as you stated GR and SR do not contradict each other, then let’s go for more detail, not less! We need all the help we can get!

  227. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    >The choice between autonomy and theonomy is false. There is an alternative, natural law.<

    Does natual law contradict special revelation? If no, then why not go for more specificity rather than less? After all, as you just admitted, us humans are the twisted ones. Why not give us more of God's revelation, rather than less.

    BTW, could you please define natural law?

  228. Doug Sowers said,

    January 28, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Zrim said: Theonomists want the wall completely torn down.

    Huh?! I’m a Thonomic and I believe in the separation of Church and State, and so did Greg Bhansen! Have you read “Theonomy in Christian ethics”? or “By this Standard”? or, “No other Standard”?

    If not, then I highly recommend them! I not kidding, Bahnsen goes over many of the arguments you’ve made, over the last few days, and decisively routs them! At least from my perspective :) Even if you don’t go all the way with him, it would be very useful for you to really know what Theonimists *really* believe.

    Moreover, when you write things like: “what theonomists don’t understand”, I cringe! In fact, Bahnsen took on the best arguments of his opponents in “No other Standard”, after you read that, you will never make that statement again! Bahnsen was a trained logician, he was blue brilliant! There is a reason Kline wouldn’t debate Bahnsen in public or print, because he would have been ruined! I have heard people try to make the case that Jesus bloody death on the cross, changed the DP for sexual crimes. Bahnsen knocks that one out of the park and demolishes it. It’s just not a good argument. As Ron pointed out, it’s just an assertion that can not be defended in scripture.

    I’ll make you a deal Zrim, you read “By this Standard”, and I’ll read whatever you think best supports your perspective. I really want to better understand where your coming from, so we can have a more fruitful dialog. So think about it, and let’s press on and God bless you.

    Rest in his completed work,

    Doug Sowers

  229. curate said,

    January 29, 2011 at 1:43 am

    dgh, I have read your posts with interest, and conclude that you probably represent the overwhelming majority of Christians today. I also think that you are muddled, and have not thought through the issues properly – from a biblical perspective.

    For example, you have not told me the principle behind the distinction that you make between the first two words and the ninth, with the first two having no force contra the ninth. You appealed simply to the civil law of the USA, as if that were an answer to a question of Christian teaching.

    You said that Paul wanted Christian to stop worshipping in the temple of Isis, implying that the apostle thought it right that the heathen should continue to do so, despite the fact that God in times past overlooked such abomination, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.

    No answer to that one, although it may have been lost in the maelstrom of comments.

    You are opposing people who wish to implement the Law of Moses as is. So do I. But I do not think that there are any of that species alive today.

  230. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    January 29, 2011 at 2:12 am

    (Comment #336 from Previous Thread)

    Darryl Hart: “Tfan, so what exactly is the point of this exchange? You tell me how 2k is at variance with Calvin. I point out some of the virtues of being at variance with Calvin and ask if you agree with Calvin? You won’t say whether or not you agree with Calvin and add that that is not the point. The point is my disagreement with Calvin. I try to explain my difference. You tell me my argument is bankrupt.

    It must be nice to be the judge and never have to submit to scrutiny or justify your view — not to mention hide behind a pseudonym. You may not be bankrupt, but you sure are dodgy — which is not how someone would characterize Turretin.

    Dude, Turretin up!”

    Dear TurretinFan who’s accused of being “dodgy”,

    Please feel free not to answer this [snip] whenever it suits you.

  231. Reed Here said,

    January 29, 2011 at 6:45 am

    TUAD: such name calling is over the line. Stop. Now.

  232. TurretinFan said,

    January 29, 2011 at 7:23 am

    >The choice between autonomy and theonomy is false. There is an alternative, natural law.<

    a) Natural Law is from God, is it not?
    b) If it is, how is it an alternative?

    -TurretinFan

  233. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 11:21 am

    @DGH You say the Civil Magistrates should not enforce the first four tables of the Decalogue today.

    Why then, was the King of Babylon indicted for daring to rule in such a way that he was guilty of idolatry and despising his duty toward Jehovah? (Isaiah 14) Why did Darius decree that throughout his empire all men “must fear and reverence the God of Daniel, for He is the living God an endures forever”? Dan. 6:25-26

    Why would non-theocratic kings today be under any less responsibility than the Old Testament kings of Babylon and Persia?

  234. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    @DGH, It seems that by exempting the civil maistrate from the civil demands of the first table of the law and obliging him to follow natural revelation instead; you’ve contradicted yourself.

    The fact is that ALL of the Mosaic laws (in their moral demands) are reflected in general revelation; or to put it another way, the moral obligations communicted through both means of divine communication are identical (Rom. 1:18-21, 25, 32; 2:14-15; 3:9, 19-20, 23)

    Scripture never suggests that God has two sets of ethical standards, or two moral codes, the one (for Gentiles) being an abridgement of the other (for Jews). Rather, He has one set of commandments which are communicated to men in two ways: through Scripture and through nature (Ps. 19, cf. vv. 2-3 with 8-9)

    Accordingly, the Gentile nations (and rulers) are repeateldly condemned in Scripture for transgressing the moral standards which we find revealed in the law of Moses–not simply the summary commands of the decalogue, but their case-law applications and details as well (e.g., Mk 6:18).

    Therefore, your preference for natural revelation over special revelations in civil matters involves a faulty conception of natural revelation. You overlook the need for special revelation to interpret and correct our perception and understanding of natural law. The last thing we need in politics is the possibility of a Hitlerian perception of nature or natures’s laws whch cannot be checked by Scripture!

  235. dgh said,

    January 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Curate, I’ve not exactly seen you engage my arguments either but I do give you points for landing some healthy sucker punches. Kudos.

    Curate and Doug, So let’s grant the magistrate is to enforce the moral law as revealed in Scripture, especially without neglecting the first table. Now, Christ summarized the first table as loving God with all of one’s heart, soul, mind, etc.

    How would the magistrate enforce this summary of the first table?

    Curate has said that Mormons could live in his Christian society, but not be able to worship. But since everyone is supposed to love God both outwardly and inwardly as our Lord himself commanded, I wonder if you still think the magistrate is to enforce all of the Bible’s law. Or does the magistrate stop enforcing the law when it comes to Christ’s teaching?

  236. curate said,

    January 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    dgh: You have shown good manners and good grace. I salute you.

    The magistrate cannot read the heart, and IMO is forbidden from attempting to do so. He may only judge observable transgressions. The heart is for Christ to deal with, as the letters to the seven churches in the Revelation bear witness.

    A Mormon may believe what he likes, but he may not proselytise or worship according to his sect. If he does so he must be punished.

    The Magistrate must punish idolatry where it is discovered, and misusing the name of God. It is up to the King or Parliament to decide the punishment. The Law of Moses provides them with principles of justice to be followed, but we are not pre-Christ Israel, so have freedom in these matters.

    The Sabbath is controversial, but an Israelite Sabbath no-one contends for. Sunday is for public worship, and the law of the land must prohibit any activity that prevents, or seduces people away from, the duty of public worship. Church hours must be protected by law.

    Unbelievers in a Christian State must attend public worship, since they are commanded by God to worship. What they do in their hearts is for God and Christ to judge.

    These things were uncontroversial in Christendom. The disenlightenment has much to answer for.

  237. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    @DGH; This is why SR (case law) is so important! Not all sins, are punishable crimes! Did God expect Israel to punish people for disobeying the Greatest Commandment? Nope that is a matter of the heart. This is why, “case law” is necessary. It give us important principles on how to apply justice to God’s moral commandments. We need to look to all of God’s word, for instruction, reproof, and correction, so that we can implement wise and sound laws, to the glory of God.

  238. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Doug (#237): I don’t actually agree that the case law was given to lay down principles of the application of justice.

    This is a hermeneutical issue, so bear with me for a second.

    (1) Was the case law specific to Israel?

    OR

    (2) Was the case law given as an example for all nations?

    (The Confession, BTW, is not neutral on this question. It comes down firmly on the side of (1)).

    It is certainly clear that *some* commands were particular to Israel. I’ve mentioned already the laws about theft of cattle and sheep, which are utterly inapplicable to most of America today.

    These were not general principles, but specific commands: 4x repayment for sheep, 5x repayment for cattle. It’s really impossible to discern a general principle there. (6x for diamonds? 3.5x for laptops?).

    Does a pit-bull fall under the bull law of Ex 21.28?

    Likewise, the case law about slavery is moot. Ditto the preservation of family estates (which was tied to Abrahamic promises about land).

    And what about evidentiary requirements? Under the Mosaic Law, eyewitnesses were the gold standard for conviction. Now that we have access to forensics and its general superiority to eyewitnesses, should this continue to be the case?

    Well, if *some* civil case law was particular to Israel, the next question to ask is, are *any* civil case laws universal?

    And that question has historically been left squishy. The Confession speaks of the “general equity” of the law, the gap through which Bahnsen drives his truck.

    So there is some room, I think, to speak of “general principles.” For example, when America *did* have slavery, it would have done well to consider the equity of the case law.

    But in seeking to find the general equity of the case law, we need to be careful that we aren’t just resurrecting the entire OT case law as if it were written for America or Uzbekistan instead of pre-AD 70 Israel.

  239. David R. said,

    January 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    @Doug (#228)

    “I’ll make you a deal Zrim, you read ‘By this Standard,’ and I’ll read whatever you think best supports your perspective. I really want to better understand where your coming from, so we can have a more fruitful dialog. So think about it, and let’s press on and God bless you.”

    Doug, please forgive me for butting in. You’ve made it clear you don’t like the author, but I’m wondering if you’ve read Kingdom Prologue. I ask because that’s the book that a few years ago led to my own paradigm shift from theonomy to 2K (or PC-2K or R2K or whatever).

  240. Zrim said,

    January 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Doug re 226/7, you seem to suggest that the more revelation we get the better. But my point is that not only are SR and GR one and the same (which is to say I don’t think SR adds anything to GR but simply that GR is implicit and SR is explicit), but our sin is such that no amount of revelation will help us overcome its effects. That’s like a patient saying he gets that he’s sick but if the doc could just give him more medical knowledge then maybe he could overcome it. Again, what is at play here is a low view of sin.

    As far as a recommendation on what to read on natural law, start with David VanDrunen’s monograph “A Biblical Case for Natural Law” and then move on to his “Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms.” Add to that Stephen Grabill’s “Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics,” Scott Clark’s “Recovering the Reformed Confession” and DGH’s “A Secular Faith.” These are seminal for understanding the point of view being represented here.

  241. GAS said,

    January 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Zrim (176),

    GAS, first, you’ve continued to misinterpret my point by suggesting I don’t believe in personal property rights

    I only take you at your word.

    Second, per WCF 20.4, you mayn’t use liberty to duck authority.

    Well, that brings up an interesting question. Should I read 20.4 in it’s original theonomic sense or just apply a different anachronistic sense to it?

    I get that you have problems with your tax dollars going to something your conscience opposes, but that is no ground whatsoever to rebel.

    I’ve given grounds from both a secular and christian perspective. It violates the secular because it directly violates the constitution by which it’s citizens agree to live under and it violates the christian by violating the law. How much more grounds do I need?

    Further, this idea that our polity derives from holy writ instead of or at least as much from human statutes is likely where ideas of Christian America come from,

    That’s a fine strawman you’re beating but I don’t ever recall implying such. I merely asked a question so I can safely assume at least b?

    so to oppose or affirm something like the enumerated powers doctrine is to oppose or affirm Christian doctrine.

    Another fine strawman and you’re doing a whale of a job. If you want to go and live somewhere like China, be my guest. I personally prefer liberty because I believe it’s a gift from God. But if your conscience is telling you to forgo that gift then by all means follow your conscience.

    I don’t know how the idea that “a conscience is free from a human mediator” gets past something like Romans 13, which clearly teaches that a Christian conscience is bound to obey and submit a human mediator.

    Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. Here I was giving a good 2k analysis and you conflate it to a 1k analysis. First, from a Christian perspective, I already explained that the denial of the liberty of conscience meant a refutation of the Reformation. So if we’re going to deny liberty of conscience we might as well return to Rome. And second, I’ve explained how our Constitution is formed on the basis of natural rights, and those rights being outside the purvey of the gov’t. Because our gov’t is formed based on the compact theory we acknowledge that gov’t in this form is a device of the people and with it comes certain responsibilities of the people to uphold the basis of that compact, not unlike how by joining a confessional church we bind our conscience by that confession.

    But the fact is that if we don’t need the Bible to know stealing is wrong then we don’t need it to build a society.

    Wow! Are you saying that means that the societies amongst Pygmies in the Amazon is more sanctified than our culture?

    And speaking of irony, one is how all this sort of thing has been used in the past to suggest that Roman Catholics may not make very good American citizens or magistrates, which seems to be a form of religious bigotry.

    It may be bigotry or it may be good historical analysis. But don’t feel bad. I don’t discriminate with my bigotry, be it Romanists, liberal Chrisitans, Progressive Secularists, or any other, against those who resist against the magistrate as defined by the US Constitution.

  242. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    @ Jeff; Consider Deuteronomy 4:5

    See, I have taught you statutes and rules, everything to take possessioon of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the *nations*, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding peopel. For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD of God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

    So much for GR, God says something quite different. No other nation had laws that were nealy as just! That verse, confirms that God’s Law was to be an example of perfect justice for all the nations! I don’t know how to jump on this any more than I have, but what say you?

  243. GAS said,

    January 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Reed (200),

    Part of the misperception may be that I don’t perceive myself as either a theonomist or pm-2k. I don’t agree with Theonomy in it’s popular sense. I agree with Calvin in his commentary on Seneca that the application of justice will vary from place to place and time to time.

    I also agree with you in agreeing with Dr. Hart that contemporary Christianity in America is encumbered with some really bad presuppositions regarding the relationship between church and state.

    So while I agree with the diagnosis, as is often the case, I believe the prescription is overdone. After all the sophist arguments are presented what I hear is that Chrisitians need to SHUT-UP in the public square, accept the collectivists philosophy as ordained by God, reject the imago dei and the implications from it, and accept the on-coming Post-Modern Progressive Secular onslaught as providence from God. I find that to be abhorrent to both God and Justice.

    That’s why I think this is a Post-Modern phenomenon. We live in the Post-Modern times and this is a reaction to Post-Modern philosophy. It is in a sense an accommodation to Post-Modern philosophy in that it wishes to hide in the corner of society to secure a spot within a pluralistic society. It is trying to secure a spiritual ends through pragmatists means.

    I know that sounds harsh. I’m willing to be corrected.

  244. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    @Jeff, I’ve got a question for you, if the case laws only pertained for Israel, then why did John the Baptist tell a Gentile pagan King, that taking his brothers wife, was “lawless”? Didn’t John the Baptist know that Herod was living under Roman law? What *law* do you suppose Herod was breaking?

  245. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    GAS, me thinks you hit the nail right on head!

  246. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Zrim says: But my point is that not only are SR and GR one and the same (which is to say I don’t think SR adds anything to GR but simply that GR is implicit and SR is explicit), but our sin is such that no amount of revelation will help us overcome its effects.>

    Come on Zrim! Please read what I just posted on 242, and feel free to respond. Notice as God was giving the Law, he said *Israel* was to be an example for the nations, to show the character of God, and exemplify justice. Have you ever wondered, if GR or NL is adequate, or *sufficient* as you love to say, then why the day God gives Israel his Law, THEY suddenly the epitome of justice for all the nations?

  247. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    @GAS, you’ve said a lot of things, I really liked the last two paragraphs of @243, that’s what I meant be hitting the nail of the head :)

  248. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    @Zrim and DGH, What would you say to the President of China regarding his abortion policy, if he said he was following GR? How could you challenge him?

  249. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Jeff says: But in seeking to find the general equity of the case law, we need to be careful that we aren’t just resurrecting the entire OT case law as if it were written for America or Uzbekistan instead of pre-AD 70 Israel.

    I wholeheartedly agree. We do need to be sensitive, and aware that some of the case laws were particular to Israel. Modern societies have changed, and amen for that. But when it comes to things like the moral Law, and “what should we do with rapists”? God has answered that question.

  250. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    DGH, Thomas Cartwright ranked as the most highly esteemed puritan in English Presbyterianism. Listen to his perspective on the Law, and I quote:

    “And as for the judicial Law, for as much as there are some of them made, in regard of the region where there were given, and of the people to whom they were given, keeping the substance and the equity of them as it were the marrow may change the circumstance of them as the times of places and manners of the people shall require. But to say that any Magistrate can save the life of any blasphemers, contemptuous and stubborn idolaters, murderers, adulterers, and incestuous persons and such like, which God by his judicial law hath commanded to be put to death, I do utterly deny and I am ready to prove if that pertains to this question.

    This was the opinion of the most respected Puritin! I fully concur with that statement; what say you?

  251. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    @David R. #239 What was the thing, that changed your mind? Could you briefly give me an overview?

  252. Reed Here said,

    January 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    GAS, no. 243: fair enough. Yet maybe I can clear another common misconception of the 2K positions being espoused today. Your comment beginning: “After all the sophist arguments are presented what I hear is that Chrisitians need to SHUT-UP in the public square,” expresses this misconception well.

    I know of no modern 2K proponent who would agree with this statement. Point of fact, someone like Darryl Hart has gone to great lengths on a regular basis (often at his blog, Oldlife.org) to give examples (often from Machen’s life) that specifically deny this conclusion you’ve reached.

    I admit that after some 1,000+ comments, it is easy to miss this and assume that what is being argued for is the silence of the individual Christian on civil matters. Quite the contrary, 2K understands that the Christian has a foot in both kingdoms, and therefore has an obligation to God to exercise his responsibilities in both the secular and sacred realms.

    Now, differing 2K positions will differ on how the interchange between these realms works in the Christian’s life. E.g., the debate between Darryl and TFan, if I’ve understood TFan, is actually a difference between two different 2K positions.

    It is also possible that from time to time you’re hearing a comment about what the Church as an institution should not do, a manner in which the Church is not supposed to speak to the secular realm. I admit that such a distinction is not clearly and routinely maintained by the 2K proponents making the argument. Nevertheless when you hear a “Thous shall not” it may just as likely be addressed to the institution as it is to the individual.

    In the end the 2K position is not a position that says the individual (Christian) or the institution (Church) is supposed to be silent with regard to the secular realm. Instead the 2K position seeks to offer an alternative way for both the individual and the institution to speak to the secular realm.

    The 2K position believes that the Christian and the Church in America have blurred the distinctions between the secular and sacred realm so much that in many practical ways the biblical distinctions cease to exist. This has robbed the Church of the power of her prophetic voice. Speaking “law” only to the secular realm (e.g., giving mere opinions of the biblical way to carry on secular affairs), she has increasingly abandoned the preeminent and more powerful prophetic voice which God has given her and no other institution, that of proclaiming the gospel.

    This failure on the part of the Church has also robbed the secular realm of the benefits of the Church. She has short-changed the preeminence of Christ crucified in her speech to the secular realms. She has in effect shuttered her true light so that it only cast shadows. Worse, championing these secondary and less important secular matters at the expense of the gospel proclamation, she has robbed her very own people of the necessary gospel spicing that ensures they maintain, even increase their saltiness.

    I for one am interested in the 2K position because it offers a biblical re-balancing of the relationship between the sacred and secular realms. Using its paradigm I am actually able to equip our church members with a better grip on the gospel, and a better informed expression of how God is exercising his rule over every square inch of this earth right now. Rather than shutting up the Christian or the Church, I am finding our voice, at least here in Montgomery, is increasing in both volume and clarity. Salt and light is a promise that the 2K position is helping to be be restored in our church, to the blessing of our community.

    Hope this helps.

  253. TurretinFan said,

    January 29, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    DGH (Please don’t forget about #156):

    You wrote:

    Tfan, my recollection of Green may be rusty, but my point was that legislators and jurists in 19th c. America applied God’s law in ways that many people don’t realize — like contracts entered on Sundays or whether non-Christians could testify in court (because of oaths taken in God’s name). So I was trying to get a sense from you about enforcing all of God’s law.

    a) On the one hand, I think it was really just judges, not legislators.

    b) On the other hand, that doesn’t seem to answer the questions I posed you at #161. Recall that I asked:

    Let’s assume that they are examples. What then? How do the examples relate to an argument against my position?

    Indeed, I think those questions still apply to your current comments. And, I would add, I think my comments from #126 also still apply.

    You continued:

    As for my point about history and whether examples from the past change our perceptions of past outlooks, I still don’t think you have admitted that all Reformed churches have abandoned the 16th and 17th c. Reformed confessional language of the civil magistrate’s responsibilities. All.

    At #655 in the last thread, I answered that. As I said there:

    a) That’s not true.
    b) Even if it were true, it’s not a Biblical argument.

    To that I might add, it’s not a logical argument, either. It looks something like an appeal to numbers.

    You continue:

    Not even the Covenanters, who affirm the Solemn League and Covenant, agree with the 1646 WCF. Why is that? A lot of the reason has to do with the experience of at least 150 years of warfare and persecution by confessional states which in turn led Reformed Protestants to reconsider biblical teaching on the magistrate.

    a) An argument from experience will never a Biblical argument, however. Will you acknowledge that?

    b) Now, if what you mean is that the circumstances prompted them to go back to the Bible and look again – where are their Biblical arguments? One doesn’t necessarily need a Biblical argument to leave something out of the confession, but one does need a Biblical argument to teach (as you appear to teach) that the Calvin, Turretin, and the Westminster divines were wrong.

    You again:

    Another reason is the rise of biblical theology, as in the case of Cocceus, and the possibility of interpreting the OT not as a literal embodiment of the good society but as a type of what was coming in the history of redemption.

    I do think there is a link between what I consider to be a rather extreme implementation of the Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutic and dismissing the general equity of the OT civil/judicial laws. The problem, of course, is not viewing Israel as a type of the church. The problem is in viewing Israel only as a type of the church.

    On a tangent, there is a related error in failing to see moral examples in the Old Testament because one is too busy trying to interpret every verse of the Old Testament typologically. But I digress.

    You wrote:

    So history happens and churches revise their teaching.

    Not always for the better.

    You wrote:

    You want to claim to be in the mainstream of Reformed thought.

    a) It appears that you wish to be thought to be in the mainstream of Reformed thought.
    b) I’m quite content to be Biblically sound, regardless of which direction the mainstream of Reformed thought happens to be today. If being “mainstream” were important to me, I’d be PCUSA or Anglican.
    c) After all, if one uses the “mainstream of Reformed thought” as one’s ultimate standard, one will be right one century and wrong the next.

    You continued:

    But none of the Reformed churches agree with Turretin or Calvin on the magistrate, and their confessions and actions show it.

    I’ve been over this before, but to repeat myself – it’s one thing to modify your confession not to require men to believe what Calvin did, and another thing to modify your confession to require men to reject what Calvin believed. The American Revisions fall into the former category, as I’ve explained.

    You wrote:

    Those churches could be wrong. But simply asserting that they have departed from Calvin or Turretin does not make them wrong. And your allegation that turning away from Turretin or Calvin on this matter is a form of infidelity to the Reformed tradition is as much wedded to history (as opposed to Scripture) as mine may or may not be.

    a) To the extent I make the historical theology argument, yes, that’s an historical argument, not a Biblical argument.

    b) And, of course, it’s not simply an allegation. I think you have admitted it.

    c) Likewise, Calvin’s opinion is supported by a Biblical argument (one I’ve quoted to you). So, the matter goes from being just an historical question of whether you have departed from the Reformed confessions to whether your doctrine is Biblically sound. It becomes a Biblical question.

    d) While I think you claimed to have answered Calvin’s Biblical argument, I don’t see your answer. I’m open to the possibility it got caught in a spam filter somewhere, though, so I would welcome your directions to that answer.

    You wrote:

    But please do remember this, that before the CRC revised Belgic 36 or the Covenanters altered their understanding of WCF 23, neither of those communions made the magistrate a test for fellowship. Both churches were in fraternal relations with the OPC which adopted the American revisions.

    Let me be clear about something – while I think that the WCF 1646 is right, and while I don’t think that the position you are presenting even conforms to the Westminster Standards as revised, I don’t think your doctrinal errors on this point are damnable heresy. I hope I haven’t conveyed a contrary impression by the vehemence of my criticism.

    -TurretinFan

  254. Doug Sowers said,

    January 29, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Jeff says: It is certainly clear that *some* commands were particular to Israel. I’ve mentioned already the laws about theft of cattle and sheep, which are utterly inapplicable to most of America today.

    Wow, that’s not clear to me. I believe that God gave us enough, that with the fruit of the Spirit, we can make “God honoring” application.

  255. David R. said,

    January 30, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Doug (#251)

    “@David R. #239 What was the thing, that changed your mind? Could you briefly give me an overview?”

    I’m not really prepared to give an overview, but I’ll just say that the book (Kingdom Prologue) persuaded me that the Mosaic Covenant judicial laws serve a typological function and that therefore, it is a mistake to read them as though they’re there to provide a universal standard of civil justice. This is a book that you’ve really got to read for yourself though. (Just so you know, you can even read it online if you want.)

  256. TurretinFan said,

    January 30, 2011 at 6:59 am

    David R.:

    You wrote:

    I’m not really prepared to give an overview, but I’ll just say that the book (Kingdom Prologue) persuaded me that the Mosaic Covenant judicial laws serve a typological function and that therefore, it is a mistake to read them as though they’re there to provide a universal standard of civil justice. This is a book that you’ve really got to read for yourself though. (Just so you know, you can even read it online if you want.)

    This is the issue I identified above at #253 regarding a use of the Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutic that is extreme or excessive. The error is in making (X) typological of something and then dismissing all other value of (X). Ultimately, the trajectory of this error includes such errors as the denial of the historicity of the Old Testament, although I am thankful that RHH hasn’t been taken that far yet.

    -TurretinFan

  257. TurretinFan said,

    January 30, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Above, I wrote: “If being “mainstream” were important to me, I’d be PCUSA or Anglican.”

    I should clarify this, since obviously amongst the millions of Anglicans there are still some remnant who hold to the original 39 articles and associated homilies – they are hardly “mainstream,” though. I think they would agree with me that “mainstream” is not necessarily good.

    -TurretinFan

  258. Doug Sowers said,

    January 30, 2011 at 11:00 am

    @David R. The thing I find the most galling, is I provide verses like Deuteronomy 4:5 and not a peep from you, DGH, or Zrim, to explain how I could be miss-reading the obvious meaning of passage. So let me provide another witness:

    Isaiah 51:4

    Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me my nation, for a law will go out from me. and I will set my justice for a light to the nations.

    Okay Daivd R; not universal standards, huh?! God explicitly says His law will go forth as the standard of justice for all the Nations! The Word of God nullifies Kline’s thesis, and cuts it off at the knees! I challenge you or anyone else to come up with any scripture in the New Testament, that suggests God’s moral law was ONLY for Israel, and ended at the cross. In fact, all I keep hearing from the likes of DGH and Zrim are brazen assertions with nary a verse to support this dubious perspective. So I guess I understand why David R. isn’t prepared to give an overview, it’s because it cannot be supported with scripture.

    I am familiar with Kline’s “intrusion ethic” and find it sadly lacking. Bahnsen took it apart in his book “No other Standard”, but if you want, for a couple of bucks, call up “Covenant media foundation” and ask about the 13th lecture on Theonomy, where Bahnsen destroys Kline thesis. After Bahnsen got done with him, there wasn’t much left. It’s no wonder Kline, avoided debating Bahnsen in public. Sure, Kline took pot shots at Bahnsen questioning if he was even a “Covenant child” calling Theonomy a “gross perversion”, harsh words, but was never man enough to debate him in print, or in person. And for good reason; he would have been demolished! It’s sad to see Christian men of God, still holding on to this dubious theory, with zero evidence from God’s word.

  259. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Doug (#249): I wholeheartedly agree. We do need to be sensitive, and aware that some of the case laws were particular to Israel.

    JRC: It is certainly clear that *some* commands were particular to Israel. I’ve mentioned already the laws about theft of cattle and sheep, which are utterly inapplicable to most of America today.

    Doug (#253): Wow, that’s not clear to me. I believe that God gave us enough, that with the fruit of the Spirit, we can make “God honoring” application.

    I’m lost. Do you or do you not believe that some of the case law was particular to Israel?

  260. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Doug S (#258): I challenge you or anyone else to come up with any scripture in the New Testament, that suggests God’s moral law was ONLY for Israel, and ended at the cross.

    No one believes that. The claim is that God’s civil law was for Israel, and ended in AD 70 with the expiration of that nation.

    This is the Confessional position, BTW, so I think that ought to carry a lot of weight here.

  261. Paul said,

    January 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Darryl Hart quoted Trueman thus,

    “Thus, the basic moral principles articulated [the book of Deuteronomy] should shape Christian ethical thinking which, in turn, will impact the political convictions of Christians as they operate in the civil sphere.”

    This was to support the claim that people shouldn’t associate 2K with WSCAL. First, “2K” is sufficiently vague as to be fairly helpless in demarcating views. On some interpretations, Greg Bahnsen is 2K. The question is whether the version of 2K that comes out of Westminster is (primarily) just a Cali thang or not. So, even if Trueman is “2K” that does nothing to support the idea that he’s in agreement with *WSC*2K.

    Second, given the quote from Trueman, can any WSC2ker here source cite a Westminster West 2Ker saying what Trueman says here? Unless qualified, what Trueman says in that quote is most definitely *not* what WSC 2Kers are saying.

  262. Doug Sowers said,

    January 30, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Jeff said:

    No it’s not Jeff!! That was not the position of the WCF! They said that the general equity, or the marrow of the principle still applied! Please read Thomas Cartwright to see what the WCF devines were getting at! Thomas Cartwright ranked as the most highly esteemed Puritan in English Presbyterianism. Listen to his perspective on the Law, and I quote:

    “And as for the judicial Law, for as much as there are some of them made, in regard of the region where there were given, and of the people to whom they were given, keeping the substance and the equity of them as it were the marrow may change the circumstance of them as the times of places and manners of the people shall require. But to say that any Magistrate can save the life of any blasphemers, contemptuous and stubborn idolaters, murderers, adulterers, and incestuous persons and such like, which God by his judicial law hath commanded to be put to death, I do utterly deny and I am ready to prove if that pertain to this question”.

    This was the opinion of the most respected Puritan! You see Jeff? Cartwright, as well as the majority of influential men who wrote the WCF thought the civil penalties, for murder, adultery, rape, homosexuality, kidnapping, blaspheming, and theft, were still binding! No one thought otherwise! Not withstanding some very important changes, having to do with the land and region they were given.

    So the laws that are no longer binding, were not what we call “the moral law”. Those laws we call moral, can not be separated from God’s justice. They are one and the same; therefore, when I said “moral law” I was including God’s sanctions, just like Paul did, in 1 Tim 1: 8-15, notice how Paul lumps murder and rape, and homosexuality together? Notice how Paul says it’s good, present tense! Paul doesn’t even hint that God’s civil punishments for the moral law had been abrogated.

  263. Doug Sowers said,

    January 30, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    @ Jeff, Sorry about my last post. I don’t know what happened, but I tried quoting *you* saying that, “the civil laws were abrogated when Israel ceased being a nation, in 70AD, and that’s what the WCF teaches. That’s when I exploded with, No it’s not Jeff! LOL! I got a little carried away, so forgive my hurried response. When I was on spell check, I somehow didn’t get it all back on.

    But Jeff, this is crucial! The large majority of the Westminster divines believed that Israel’s civil penalty’s for what we call *moral* crimes were still binding. All one need do, is look at their laws to see that! Look at Geneva! We had the DP for Sodomy in America in all thirteen States! Our Reformed forefathers were men who would proudly where the label of Theonomy today. It’s alright to disagree with them, but we need to be honest, on how they viewed what they called the judicial Law. If you would like, I can quote some more of the most esteemed men, like Perkins and Gillespie that will leave no doubt.

  264. dgh said,

    January 30, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Tfan, so are my “errors” heretical even if not damnable.

    Here’s the thing: Calvin is not the standard; nor is his interpretation of the Bible the standard. The church’s confessions are the Reformed churches’ standards. All the churches have revised their confessions on the civil magistrate from what the churches confessed in the 16th and 17th centuries. You say that is wrong. You have yet to produce one confession or creed that affirms the old view of the civil magistrate.

    No one who subscribed the original WCF was obligated to agree with Calvin. In fact, the majority of commissioners to Westminster, according to Benedict, were Erastian, which Calvin was not (even if that is a historical anachronistic assertion). Those who subscribe the American revision are not obligated to disagree with Calvin. They take a different view of the magistrate — and a nursing father who protects the religious freedoms of all people, including non-Christians, is a long way from the magistrate prohibiting idolatry and upholding the true faith.

    And it gets more complicated for you, oh fan of Turretin. You yourself do not seem to agree with the application of Calvin’s biblical argument. You do agree with his argument. But you have been less than forthright about whether or not heretics should be executed. And the reason for bringing up Servetus is not to score points but to see if you agree with Calvin all the way down. I mean, you could agree with his view of the magistrate’s responsibilities but disagree with executing heretics. But then you disagree with Calvin too.

    But let’s say you agree with Calvin all the way, then you do not agree with the confessions of any of the Reformed churches today. That may make you right and all the other churches wrong. But it would be nice if you could acknowledge how radical your view is compared to those of most officers and church members in Reformed churches today.

    The implication of which is that it is not very becoming to keep insisting that 2k is radical, when in fact it pretty average. I grant that is not average by 1650 standards. And if 1650 is the standard, then how far are you prepared to go in desiring those standards to be implemented? Or is this simply a debate match?

  265. dgh said,

    January 30, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Curate, I don’t get it. When I try to make a distinction between sexual orientation and worship, you claim I have not made a biblical argument. But then when I point out what God’s law says — from Christ no less — about loving God with our whole being — you withdraw and say the state can’t enforce that. So in some cases the state can’t enforce God’s law. But the state should enforce God’s law. Or actually, the state should enforce only parts of God’s law, the parts are uncontroversial in Christendom.

    Look, I get it, enforcing the heart is difficult if not impossible. Actually, the church does enforce the heart when a minister stands in the pulpit, having invoked God’s presence and prayed for the blessing of the Spirit, and preaches God’s word to ears and hearts. The church does actually convince and convict hearts. In which case, in some sense the church does enforce God’s law in ways that the state never can.

    BTW, when you say these things were uncontroversial in Christendom, which Christendom do you have in mind — the one at the time of the Investiture Controversy, the one at the time of the Avignon papacy, the one at the time when Henry VIII needed a divorce and the Tudor monarchy regularly sent Christians (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) packing? Do you really mean to say that Christendom had no controversy? Sounds to me like Homer Simpson’s Land of Chocolate.

  266. dgh said,

    January 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Reed, I for one am glad to hear that 2k is helping some churches remain the church. That is really what 2k is about — not about making America secular — but about restoring the importance of the church. BTW, David VanDrunen’s essay in the volume from which my essay comes, the one that kicked off this record setting banter, is very good on Christ and culture in relation to the church and what Christ instituted (or did not institute).

  267. dgh said,

    January 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Paul, since the 2kers I know believe in the Ten Commandments, and in general equity (WCF 19), they would agree with what Trueman wrote (but thanks for leaving out the part of the quotation that is more germane to the 2k position, thanks, very much).

  268. Doug Sowers said,

    January 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    @DGH says: But let’s say you agree with Calvin all the way, then you do not agree with the confessions of any of the Reformed churches today. That may make you right and all the other churches wrong.>

    As per usual, DGH your wrong! Christ Chruch Moscow subscribes to the orginal WCF, as do many other Churches in the CREC. So your not just in error, your sloppy. BTW, it’s growing!

  269. David R. said,

    January 30, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    TurretinFan (#256)

    You wrote:

    “This is the issue I identified above at #253 regarding a use of the Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutic that is extreme or excessive. The error is in making (X) typological of something and then dismissing all other value of (X).”

    I agree of course with your logic that the mere fact that something is typological (e.g., the Mosaic civil law) doesn’t *necessarily* mean it serves no additional purpose (e.g., to provide a universal standard for civil governments to follow). But I’m wondering what your argument is that it does in fact serve this purpose. I scanned the original thread to see if you’d stated it but I gave up around #500. (Forgive me if I missed it.) Do you mind stating your basic argument (or pointing me to where you’ve already done so)?

    “Ultimately, the trajectory of this error includes such errors as the denial of the historicity of the Old Testament, although I am thankful that RHH hasn’t been taken that far yet.”

    You’ve lost me here.

  270. Doug Sowers said,

    January 30, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    This is DGH: Curate, I don’t get it. When I try to make a distinction between sexual orientation and worship, you claim I have not made a biblical argument. But then when I point out what God’s law says — from Christ no less — about loving God with our whole being — you withdraw and say the state can’t enforce that.>

    DGH, it’s the God’s “case law” that instructs us how to apply the ten commandments. Not all sins are crimes. We wouldn’t even know how to define the parameters of adultery, and murder, were it not for the case law. You can’t say you believe in the Ten Commandments without believing in the case law. Because they are interdependent. The Ten Commandments are general precepts, “for the most part” that require God’s case law to give us the marrow, or essence. Because if you tell me, that you don’t believe in the validity of the case law, (here’s the stinger) then you have redefined the Ten Commandments.

    Really DGH, listening to you reason, is like talking with someone who’s never ready the Bible. You mock attempting to enforce the Greatest Commandment, as if God ever expected the Magistrate to enforce it in Israel. He didn’t! How could you ask such a lame question? Why would that even pop into your head? Don’t you have a handle on how God expected his law to be inforced? And to make matters worse, you asked it in a very disrespectful way! Your questions had a flippant sarcastic tone, that show you ridicule the notion of applying God’s law on society for crime. You forget, that God’s law is a very solemn thing. You act as it’s a big joke. Look, no one has all the answers of the *how* of application, BUT you shouldn’t scoff at wanting justice, we all should yearn for righteous laws that glorify God. And God’s civil punishment for moral crimes epitomized justice. Even if you don’t think we should apply God’s law today, you shouldnt ever mock his law, as if it was just terrible

  271. David R. said,

    January 30, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Doug (#258),

    Sorry but I don’t see how either Deuteronomy 4:5 or Isaiah 52:4 help you at all. The first passage simply has Moses exhorting Israel to keep the Law. The second one comes in the context of a prophecy of restoration. I don’t see how either of these have anything at all to do with the Mosaic civil laws serving as a universal standard for civil governments. I really didn’t mean to enter into a back-and-forth. I just thought a reading suggestion from someone who used to think a bit like you might be helpful.

  272. Doug Sowers said,

    January 30, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    DGH I would like to apologize for calling your question lame. Please forgive me, I think that was disrespectful.

  273. Doug Sowers said,

    January 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Okay David, I’ll take you off my crosshairs, LOL! Let me leave you with this; that was Isaiah 51:4

    “Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation, for a law will go out from me, and I wil set my justice for a light to the peoples”.

    You don’t see this prophecy alluding that God’s law is expounding justice for all nations? I see this as obvious. With Deuteronomy 4:5 you need to go all the way down to verse 8. The gist of the passage is saying that Israel is to be a model of justice to all nations. *Because of the Law of God*!

    Anyway, I know you don’t want to interact, but that’s how I see these verses.

    God bless you David, I will consider reading Kline’s book

  274. Roger du Barry said,

    January 31, 2011 at 1:15 am

    dgh: So we agree that the state cannot enforce obedience from the heart, and that the only real way that it comes about it through the ministry of the gospel and the law through the church, empowered by God.

    You agree that there is no distinction in principle between the ongoing commands forbidding idolatry on the one hand, and slander on the other.

    You agree that in times past God overlooked idolatry by the nations, but that he now commands all men everywhere to repent, and that this command requires obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes obedience to the Ten Commandments.

    You asked which Christendom I had in mind, I reply that I was thinking primarily of Reformation England and Scotland. Both idolatry and lying were criminalized. No distinction was made n the criminal code between them in principle, and why would they?

    My question to you is this: What are you saying that is different?

  275. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 31, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Doug S (#273):

    I *do* recommend reading Kline, even if you utterly disagree with him. Who knows? Perhaps Bahnsen’s “destruction of Kline” is not quite as thorough as it seems. Prov. 18.17.

  276. Paul said,

    January 31, 2011 at 8:00 am

    DGH,

    “Paul, since the 2kers I know believe in the Ten Commandments, and in general equity (WCF 19), they would agree with what Trueman wrote (but thanks for leaving out the part of the quotation that is more germane to the 2k position, thanks, very much).

    If the purpose was to show the disparity between the Trueman quote and WSC’s 2K, why would I quote the parts that are (ad arguendo) in common? Second, the debate is whether “2K” can be identified with “WSC2K”? The part Third, I did not cite from Trueman is not owned by “WSC,” I know several people who would say that. For example, Greg Boyd would, and he’s not 2K. D.A. Carson was, and he’s not 2K either . . . well, he’s not *WSC*2K. Most Christians are in fact “2K” is some broad, and undefined sense.

    But more to the point: 2Kers believe in the 10 commandments and in general equity, that’s just *natural law* for them. So, they don’t think a Christian should be taking his *Bible* and finding the “moral principles” that are inherent in *the book of Deuteronomy* and root policy decisions in what they find there. It seems to me that not only did he not limit the moral principles to “the ten commandments”, he said something no WSC 2Ker would say . If you think otherwise, I pointed to a way to resolve it for me. Can you quote me a WSC 2Ker who says something like Trueman? All I need is the quote, not a snarky comeback which dodges the way forward. I’m more than happy to be shown wrong. I have never read a 2Ker saying anything like what Trueman said. I thought that talk was blasphemy among WSC2Kers. So, can you find me one WSC2Ker who speaks like that, or will you recognize that no one, and I mean no one, is “2K” like WSC is 2K.

  277. Doug Sowers said,

    January 31, 2011 at 8:03 am

    @Jeff, Thanks, I think I’ll take your advice :-)

  278. Zrim said,

    January 31, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Paul, if it’s a quoting-and-interpreting game you demand there may be another way to resolve your larger point. Jesus did say that all the law and prophets hang on the first and second greatest commandments. One really can’t do much better than Jesus interpreting OT law. So, no 2ker is opposed to the first and second greatest commandments “impacting the political convictions of Christians as they operate in the civil sphere.” Why, I do it all the time when interacting with that political issue upon which hangs all the law and prophets of 2k critique: abortion.

  279. TurretinFan said,

    January 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

    DGH wrote: “Tfan, so are my “errors” heretical even if not damnable.”

    I prefer to say that they are serious. Hopefully that’s good enough for you.

    DGH wrote:

    Here’s the thing: Calvin is not the standard; nor is his interpretation of the Bible the standard. The church’s confessions are the Reformed churches’ standards. All the churches have revised their confessions on the civil magistrate from what the churches confessed in the 16th and 17th centuries. You say that is wrong. You have yet to produce one confession or creed that affirms the old view of the civil magistrate.

    a) Actually, no. The Bible is the standard. The confessions are subordinate standards.
    b) What has been gratuitously asserted on your part (about “all churches” not holding to that article) may be gratuitously denied on my part. And I know I’m right.
    c) And I’ve given you a Biblical argument from Calvin. So, I’d suggest that you respond to that, if you can.

    You wrote:

    No one who subscribed the original WCF was obligated to agree with Calvin. In fact, the majority of commissioners to Westminster, according to Benedict, were Erastian, which Calvin was not (even if that is a historical anachronistic assertion). Those who subscribe the American revision are not obligated to disagree with Calvin. They take a different view of the magistrate — and a nursing father who protects the religious freedoms of all people, including non-Christians, is a long way from the magistrate prohibiting idolatry and upholding the true faith.

    The issue of Erastianism is related to the issue of the two kingdoms. However, if you’re suggesting that the Westminster Confession reflects Erastianism rather than Calvin’s view, I think you’ll find yourself without much scholarly support. I’m also puzzled by your claim that “the majority of commissioners to Westminster, according to Benedict, were Erastian.” Which Benedict do you have in mind?

    After all, as Crowley states: “As one might expect, very few of the divines in the Assembly were of an Erastian’s persuasion.” (Erastianism in the Westminster Assembly, Weldon S. Crowley)(see also the EB’s entry on Thomas Erastus)

    As for “a nursing father who protects the religious freedoms of all people, including non-Christians, is a long way from the magistrate prohibiting idolatry and upholding the true faith,” I’m not sure I’d disagree. I would argue that such a view, however, is a perversion of the Biblical teaching on the subject. Compare this explanation:

    This is not all; and since in this controversy I am obliged to bring the charge of infidelity, I may yet farther notice, that this odious principle appears in another respect,–which is, in confining the magistratic office to the second table of the law [i.e., the last six commands which comprise man’s duty to man], or the civil interests of men. But this is the necessary consequence of rejecting the light of divine revelation, and groping in the mist of heathen darkness. Whereas, in looking into the divine word, we find no such limitation, but the reverse; viz. that the first, as well as the second, table of the law was, and ought ever to be, the object of magistratic regard. According to this piece of heathen morality,–idolatry, superstition, blasphemy, and Sabbath-profanation, pass with impunity. And as the church is to them no object of regard, she is hereby deprived of that hedge of defence, which God has planted around her. But if it is not a part of the magistratic office to defend the church, why are kings promised to her as nursing fathers [Isa. 49:23]? Why is she said to suck the breast of kings [Isa. 60:16]? Why are they said to bring their glory and honour unto her [Rev. 21:24,26]? To say they have nothing to do with the church, is very like a common erroneous expression;–If people are honest in their dealings, and sincere in their profession, they may believe and profess what they will.

    (James Douglas (1779-1857), “Detecting Some of the Errors Concerning God’s Ordinance of Civil Magistracy“)

    And also, and almost as if he were among us, this:

    Objection IV. The civil magistrate has nothing to do with the church; and to give him any power, in matters of religion, is downright Erastianism. I answer, Not so fast, till we enquire what kind of power. And,

    1. Negatively, he is not to have the power of the keys of doctrine and discipline in the church, as Erastus would have had it; nor is he to be acknowledged the supreme head of all causes and persons, civil and ecclesiastic, (which is must the same) with the Erastian constitution of England, But,

    2. And positively, we must allow the lawful and rightly constitute magistrate a cumulative, imperative power, to command and strengthen church officers in their duty, but not an elective or privative power to detract any thing from the church’s authority. He ought to be a keeper of both tables of the law; Custos et vindex utriusque tabulæ; intrusted with the concerns of God’s glory, as well as the interest of men; and so must have a special and particular care and regard to this precious deposita, in all his public management. That is, he should profess, support, and defend the true religion, in the church of Christ, and its professors in the exercise thereof: and to suppress the propagation or propagators of idolatry, blasphemy, error, or damnable heresy, and not establish or tolerate them. I do not say, that he is absolutely to judge of these, as a magistrate, but I say, with Mr. Rutherford, “That he is to try doctrine, discipline, and the decrees of the church, as a Christian; and, at their determination, punish the contraveners, as a magistrate, (by virtue of his power and authority;) for he is the minister of God, and beareth not the sword in vain,” &c.11

    The whole suffrage of scripture bear testimony to this. In the patriarchal age, says the Lord concerning Abraham, I know that he will command his children, and his household after him, &c. And says Job, This (viz. idolatry) were an iniquity to be punished by the judge; which (according to the best of annotators) they were obliged to punish as well as other heinous crimes.12 Again, under the law, it is often commanded by the Lord, that the idolater or false worshipper should be punished or put to death; “which penal statutes, (says the learned Shields) under the Old Testament, are not abrogated; for they are moral.”13 And as one of the bad effects, by want of a stated magistracy, it is twice, in the book of Judges, said, At that time there was no king in Israel, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

    And, for the whole race of the kings of Judah and Israel, we find, they were either commended or condemned by the Spirit of God, as they established or not established the true religion and worship of God, and punished or permitted idolaters or an idolatrous worship, and not for their administrations of justice on other malefactors. For the New Testament times, it is promised, that kings and queens should be nursing fathers and mothers to the church; which parental power plainly imports, a maintaining, defending and chastising. It is also said, in the last book of holy writ, of the kings of the earth, These shall hate the whore, and make her desolate, and burn her with fire.

    But, say some, you must give us a positive text from the New Testament, else your arguing cannot be sustained. I answer, so said the heretics in the last century; and in answer to these, I might just notice what is advanced by that author (Mr. Gillespie) I have so much used in answer to them. By the same principles we may not hold it contrary to God’s will that a man may have his father’s brother’s wife, or that the magistrate ought not to put to death a blasphemer, incestuous person, a witch, and adulterer, (and I may add, a robber, murderer, &c.) because the scripture warrant, that makes these crimes capital, are in the Old and not the New Testament. And it is evident, both from the following Collection, and the most part of the writings of our reforming and suffering ancestors, who wrote upon that subject, that they looked upon the precepts of the Old Testament to be morally binding, both in respect of the magistrate’s power in the church, and in suppressing of error, profanity, and heresy; in proof of which, I might produce their testimony at large, but, for brevity’s sake, I must confine myself unto a short specimen thereof, which the reader will find in the foot-note below.

    (John Howie of Lochgoin (1783), “A Preface Concerning Association, Toleration, and what is now called Liberty of Conscience“)

    You continued:

    And it gets more complicated for you, oh fan of Turretin. You yourself do not seem to agree with the application of Calvin’s biblical argument. You do agree with his argument. But you have been less than forthright about whether or not heretics should be executed. And the reason for bringing up Servetus is not to score points but to see if you agree with Calvin all the way down. I mean, you could agree with his view of the magistrate’s responsibilities but disagree with executing heretics. But then you disagree with Calvin too.

    Disagreement over implementation is a lower order of disagreement than disagreement about principle. So, whether or not you are right about points I haven’t advocated, such a disagreement is less significant.

    You continued:

    But let’s say you agree with Calvin all the way, then you do not agree with the confessions of any of the Reformed churches today. That may make you right and all the other churches wrong. But it would be nice if you could acknowledge how radical your view is compared to those of most officers and church members in Reformed churches today.

    a) See above.
    b) Is Calvin’s view really “radical”? Interesting that you seem to think so.

    You wrote:

    The implication of which is that it is not very becoming to keep insisting that 2k is radical, when in fact it pretty average. I grant that is not average by 1650 standards. And if 1650 is the standard, then how far are you prepared to go in desiring those standards to be implemented? Or is this simply a debate match?

    I’m not sure this is really a debate match at all. As for the label of “radical,” the label relates to the position, not the people who hold it. The position is a radicalized version of the two kingdoms views of Calvin, Turretin, and the Westminster divines. Whether there are lots of people who hold to it, or few people who hold to it isn’t really the issue.

    If, above, you meant that the standard of radicality should be whatever the latest winds of doctrine are, as opposed to being what was historically taught, I’d have to disagree. When it comes to deciding what is “radical,” one does need to compare what is now to what goes before, not vice versa.

    -TurretinFan

  280. TurretinFan said,

    January 31, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I think my latest comment got snagged by the spam filter (too many links). May I beg a moderator to release it?

  281. David Gray said,

    January 31, 2011 at 9:28 am

    >Why, I do it all the time when interacting with that political issue upon which hangs all the law and prophets of 2k critique: abortion.

    Yet when some describes child murder as child murder you find it “hysterical”. When a child is dismembered in the womb how is “child murder” a hysterical term for the murder of a child? Even Dr. Hart will admit that is what it is. Is he “hysterical” too? Or just more honest?

  282. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 31, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Doug (#262): So the laws that are no longer binding, were not what we call “the moral law”. Those laws we call moral, can not be separated from God’s justice. They are one and the same; therefore, when I said “moral law” I was including God’s sanctions, just like Paul did, in 1 Tim 1: 8-15, notice how Paul lumps murder and rape, and homosexuality together?

    I am not certain that you’ve correctly classified the moral and civil laws. As I read Ch. 19 of the confession, the moral law refers to the decalogue. You seem to add the sanctions of the civil law to the moral law, which would vacate 19.4.

    As a separate issue, we agree that the general equity of the civil law continues. But the meat of the question is, “What is the general equity of the civil law?” The Confession leaves that undefined. Calvin associates it with “the principle of charity.” It seems clear that Cartwright associates general equity with specific commands.

    We can debate the content of the general equity; but I am pretty sure that you cannot move the civil sanctions of the OT law into the “moral law” category — WCoF 19.2,3, and 4 seem to specifically prevent this.

    BTW, have you read the Institutes on this? Calvin’s thought and language form the background for the Confession, as you know, so his view of the OT law counts a lot for the proper reading of the Confession, along with (of course) the views of the various writers of it such as Cartwright.

    To be very clear: the argument here is *not* that the magistrate may not refer to Scripture. It is a narrow argument: the OT civil law was not given as the model for the law of nations.

  283. Zrim said,

    January 31, 2011 at 10:05 am

    David Gray (#280), I’d like to put this one to bed, if you don’t mind. So let me try and be as clear as I can. I make a distinction between strong and hysterical language and rhetoric. I’ve no problem with the former; I use it myself, but I find the latter of no value. And what I find to be hysterical is to equate certain latter 20th century American jurisprudence (with which I strongly disagree for various reasons) with mid 20th century German polity.

    I understand you don’t like my take here. But maybe you just have a higher tolerance for hysterics than I do. Fine. Maybe I’m oversensitive to it. But personally, I think the cause you’d champion and with which I have more sympathy than you might imagine would benefit from a lot more temperate, restrained and sober but no less strong language.

  284. Paul said,

    January 31, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Zrim @ 278 thinks it’s a game and then shows off his skills at dodgeball by refusing to answer the question. Given that he’s now claiming that 2Kers say that “the moral principles” from “the book of Deuteronomy” may guide and inform public policy and our political opinions, I have a hard time telling them from theonomists. However, this new turn sure sounds strange when compared to D.G. Hart’s claims that this violates the establishment clause. But I’ll bookmark this page to cite everytime Zrim and Darryl claim that the Bible doesn’t tell us any information for the common realm, it just tells us how to get saved and think right about God. I’ll cite it everytime they claim that there’s liberty among Christians regarding political views because the Bible says nothing either way. See, this admission by Zrim and Darryl means that they don’t object to theonomy *in principle*, they just disagree with it on whether the particulars are correct, i.e., it’s simply an exegetical debate. However, what they’ve admitted to is that if I can find in Deuteronomy some “principle” that is against, say, proposition 8, they’ll be bound to argue against the Irons’ and the Stellmans’ and the Zrim’s &c.

  285. Doug Sowers said,

    January 31, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    #240 Zrim said: Doug re 226/7, you seem to suggest that the more revelation we get the better. (Your right, I do!) But my point is that not only are SR and GR one and the same (which is to say I don’t think SR adds anything to GR but simply that GR is implicit and SR is explicit), but our sin is such that no amount of revelation will help us overcome its effects. That’s like a patient saying he gets that he’s sick but if the doc could just give him more medical knowledge then maybe he could overcome it.>

    Zrim, I don’t get your analogy. When the Civil Magistrate is trying to implement, good and wise laws, and just penalties, why wouldn’t you want more explicit information? Why did God bother writing it down for Israel? Why didn’t God say, “it’s as plain as the nose on your face, just follow Common Grace or Natural Law”? Precisely because of sinful man’s propensity for not reading Natural Law, aright. Or worse yet, not caring what Natural law has to say, like Saddam Hussein!

    So of course having more information, is a precious, blessing from God. Even regenerate believers, such as you and I, don’t see eye to eye on matters, and must go to God’s Word, as the final court of appeal, amen? If *we* can’t agree on matters, why would you prefer unregenerate, rulers to rule without SR? How could *we* challenge a ruler who says, “I’m ruling through *Natural Law*, and I feel abortion on demand is justice? How could you appeal to such a person? With NL?!

  286. GAS said,

    January 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Reed,

    May God bless your ministry and congregation. I pray your congregation is salt and light to your community.

    As i said before, and you reiterate, I agree that too many American Christians confuse the two kingdoms. Undoubtly the gospel message is the primary responsibility of the Church.

    If you have time and are willing could you expound on what “a better informed expression of how God is exercising his rule over every square inch of this earth right now” entails?

  287. David Gadbois said,

    January 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Doug said Why did God bother writing it down for Israel? Why didn’t God say, “it’s as plain as the nose on your face, just follow Common Grace or Natural Law”?

    Many generations of saints lived and died without the Mosaic law. Abraham and all the patriarchs. The Mosaic law was only introduced mid-way through redemptive history, well after the covenant of grace and the “church” was established in Abraham. The Mosaic law was not necessary to the existence and life of God’s covenant people.

    Precisely because of sinful man’s propensity for not reading Natural Law, aright.

    That is your conjecture, but more information does not fix the ethical problem. Sinful man will read special revelation in a skewed manner as well.

    How could *we* challenge a ruler who says, “I’m ruling through *Natural Law*, and I feel abortion on demand is justice? How could you appeal to such a person? With NL?!

    Yes, as a matter of fact. You want to think that being able to quote chapter and verse solves all sorts of problems and is necessary for reasoning with others. But these a priori demands are your own, not Scripture’s. The fact is that unbelievers know God’s (natural) law, and we can rightly appeal to this knowledge even if they deny or suppress it.

  288. Doug Sowers said,

    January 31, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    @Jeff from @274, Let me say before I pontificate. I have read your postings for well over two years, and find you a level headed, considerate, thoughtful, well spoken man, and a good brother in Christ! And I like you:-) Now, let’s look at your last sentence: Jeff says:> To be very clear: the argument here is *not* that the magistrate may not refer to Scripture. It is a narrow argument: the OT civil law was not given as the model for the law of nations.<

    I agree, and disagree. Not all of Israel's "civil laws", fell into the "moral category". The civil laws and punishments for growing your beard to long, the cleansings, the mixing of wool in your garment, were part of Israel's civil law; and yet they were ceremonial in nature, in that God did not expect everyone in Israel to obey them; just the circumcised! That's precisely the reason we don't read in the WCF that *all* the civil laws are still binding, because some of them were not! We can't just lump all the Mosaic civil laws on the books, and plop them down for modern Country today; because some of civil laws were only for Israel. For instance, there was separation between Jew and Gentile and civil sanctions for violating them! That distinction was abrogated "in Christ's own flesh, as he made on new man in place of the two. (No more distinction of Jewish dietrary laws) Amen, and amen! So when I use the term *moral law* I'm using it for crimes, that were crimes for both *Jew and Gentile* alike. These laws and punishments were in fact a standard of justice for all nations. IMHO. And I am convinced that the WCF concurs.

    Moreover, the Apostle Paul confirms this understanding in 1 Tim 1:8-13 by saying; "We know the law is good, if we use it lawfully". Notice, Paul didn't say, the law *was* good before Christ changed the moral law. Paul then goes on to use examples of punishing murder, rape, liars, kidnappers, men who practice homosexuality, and whatever else in contrary to sound doctrine, "in accordance with the Gospel of God in which he had been entrusted! Every crime Paul mentions is moral, not cerimonial!

    Just as an aside, Zrim attempted to say that Jesus bloody death on the cross changed the sexual crimes into church discipline issues, *only*. But that isn't what Paul says, is it? (BTW,I'm not lumping you in with Zrim, just illustrating the problem with his understanding) And that certainly isn't what the writers of the WCF thought either. So in the spirit of the WCF, I will not go so far, as to say the civil Law, in it's older form is still binding, But I will say, that God's judicial law, with respect to it's civil punishments for moral crimes must still binding. As did the Apostle Paul.

  289. Doug Sowers said,

    January 31, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Ooops that was Jeff from @282

  290. Zrim said,

    January 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Paul (#284), bookmark away.

    But the point has repeatedly been made in other places that 2k wants to make a distinction between saying the Bible must be used in the public square and saying that it may be used in the public square (if I may borrow from the mod’s own helpful interpretation in #180). It’s the difference between the legal secularist and the Christian secularist, where the former wants holy writ absolutely cordoned off from the public square and the latter wants more principled caution used when employing it in the public square. It’s the theonomist who’s the mirror error of the legal secularist, saying holy writ MUST inform the secular realm. If you’d pay closer and more careful attention you should be finding more similarity between these two sides of a skewed coin than between Christian secularists and theonomists.

    But you also don’t seem to pick up on the point that Jesus is interpreting all the law and prophets in the first and second greatest commandments. I am saying that if one wants to employ holy writ for common cause to go there instead of to the trees of Deuteronomy. And I don’t see how any of this works for you to oppose political liberty (the way Baptists oppose personal liberty). Per Jesus, doing unto others as one would have them do unto you is the principle you should always come up with when you’re in the sticks of OT case laws. Some think that means more government, others less. Some think it means federally outlawing abortion in every nook and cranny of the Union, others think it means states’ rights, still others that government, local or federal, should stay out of the whole thing—none of which the Bible addresses, thus silence is the order of the day.

  291. Zrim said,

    January 31, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Doug (#285), so because God didn’t write an explicit treatise on natural law then all we need is the Bible to sort out common life? He also didn’t say, “Here’s the Bible. It’s all you need to sort out common life.”

    But even when believers go to the Bible to sort out ecclesial matters it doesn’t settle things perfectly, only approximately and that’s because of human sin. That’s why Rome still anathematizes Protestants over sola fide and we condemn the popish Mass. It’s why Baptists continue to refuse to give their children the sign and seal of the covenant. The Bible doesn’t overcome human sin. Or do you imagine the Pope hasn’t read the Protestant case for sola fide, and if he did that everything would be cleared up? If the Bible can’t affect perfect peace in the church what makes you think it will in the common realm? But if a civil ruler is interpreting general revelation wrongly I point him to our shared, natural template for right and wrong, ,just like I point to an ecclesial ruler who is interpreting special revelation wrongly back to that same special revelation. It’s all I can do. You’re still only either winking at human sin or thinking it goes all the way down. That is to say, you vacillate between saying that all sinners need is things to be made explicit (sin as mere sickness), or that they are so evil that they have no natural sense of right and wrong. But total depravity strikes that balance for simultaneously accounting realistically for human sin in every endeavor and saying that sinners are not so evil that they still don’t have great capacity for proximate good (even if absolutely no capacity for eternal righteousness).

  292. Paul said,

    January 31, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Zrim, my post never assumed that you understood the implications of saying that there exist “moral principles” in “the book of Deuteronomy.” To say, “Yeah, if the moral principle of Deuteronomy is X, but a Christian has other druthers, that Christian may say that Y is the moral principle he would rather see operate in the state” is simply to not understand the implications of what one is saying. If there are indeed “moral principles” embeded in “the book of Deuteronomy,” that tell us then all Christians morally *must* use them if he is to be intellectually virtuous in his or her moral reasoning.

    So, in your attempt to show comonality between your idiosyncratic view of 2K and that of Trueman’s, you showed that you were at odds with him. As Trueman said, “Thus, the basic moral principles articulated there should shape Christian ethical thinking which, in turn, will impact the political convictions of Christians as they operate in the civil sphere.” Which is to say it’s not a matter of preferences, as you suggest. The should here is at least a moral should, but I take it to be both a rational should and a moral should, which seems the best interpretation.

    So, yeah, I pay attention to 2Kers, which is why I called Darryl out on this and which is why I was shown to be right in that when I set out the crumbs for you, you followed them right into the trap (welcome to my parlor said the spider to the fly), and this is why you can’t find my any WSC2Kers who would put things the way Trueman did. He may be 2K, but he’s not WSC2K.

    Other than that, your post is simply unresponsive sophistic rhetoric marshalled in an attempt to save the phenomena. Again, Trueman’s quote simply removes much of the alleged “liberty” you claim Christians have on political matters. If it doesn’t, you could try making an argument for your position (like premises and a conclusion and a form that is truth preserving). So, if I can’t get some WSC2K quotes, can I at least get an argument?

  293. Paul said,

    January 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Zrim, given what you’ve had to admit and now can’t go back on, what’s the difference between you and Bahnsen? The latter writes,

    “According to Chismar, epistemically the case laws “provide paradigm instantiations of the principles or summary laws. Only the principles, however, are morally binding for all times . . .. Thus we are not bound to put fences around our roofs today, but we may be bound to put them around our swimming pools” (p. 320). I said the same thing with the same illustration in the lecture that Chismar is supposedly criticizing. One will find the same observation made by me with the same illustration in Theonomy in Christian Ethics.”

    “Do the underlying principles illustrated by the case laws of the OT explicate, qualify, and show us how to obey the more general commands of Scripture? In his article Chismar admits that they do.[16] Theonomic ethics says likewise. We are morally forbidden to engage in willful negligence that can harm other people, even when our situation is not the case of a “flying axhead” literally mentioned in the case law. Chismar’s way of stating this: “It is the principles, not the case laws” that retain moral authority today. Theonomic ethics states it this way: “It is the underlying principles illustrated by the case laws, not their cultural expression” that retain moral authority today.”

    Zrim Bahnsen has a nice ring to it.

  294. David Gray said,

    January 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Zrim,

    How is describing the murder of children as “child murder” hysterical? Seems rather soberly accurate to me. Please no more empty assertions. Why is an accurate description which even Dr. Hart can agree with hysterical? Simple question. Don’t bring extraneous matters into it. How is describing the murder of children as “child murder” hysterical?

  295. Doug Sowers said,

    January 31, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    @Paul; nice work on 292 and 293!

  296. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 31, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Doug, thanks for the kind words.

    It seems that you would view the civil laws as abrogated if, and only if, they pertain to ceremonial boundaries; otherwise, they remain in force as part of the moral law?

    Whereas I would say that the specific civil penalties are no longer binding on nations, but the general principles behind those penalties are.

    Let me share a bit from Calvin to explain why I think this, and then I’ll leave off and chew on Bahnsen for a while — I downloaded “No Other Standard” as a .pdf. For reasons of space, I’m going to ask you to follow the citations given rather than put all of them in full here.

    First, Calvin speaks of the uses of the moral law in Inst 2.7.6-7. His second use is “to check depravity for the benefit of society.” So one might imagine that he’s speaking of the civil law. But no: This second use of the law works by engendering fear of God’s wrath. It is the law of God working on the conscience, through fear and guilt, that is particularly in view here. By the way, Calvin rolls up 1 Tim 1 into this heading. As Calvin sees it, 1 Tim 1 refers to the second use of the moral law.

    But now when he considers civil society (Inst 4.20, he makes clear that there is a three-fold division of law into moral, civil, and ceremonial.

    He’s very definite that the civil is distinct from the moral: Meanwhile, let no one be moved by the thought that the judicial and ceremonial laws relate to morals. For the ancients who adopted this division, though they were not unaware that the two latter classes had to do with morals, did not give them the name of moral, because they might be changed and abrogated without affecting morals. — Inst. 4.20.14, emph add.

    Notice the hint that civil laws can be changed without changing morals. Well, in what way can they be changed? According to Calvin (4.20.15,16), the outward forms of justice can be altered so long as the general equity, the principle of charity, remains

    In particular, he delivers a rebuke to “proto-Bahnsen”:

    The allegation, that insult is offered to the law of God enacted by Moses, where it [JRC: the Mosaic civil law] is abrogated and other new laws are preferred to it, is most absurd. Others are not preferred when they are more approved, not absolutely, but from regard to time and place, and the condition of the people, or when those things are abrogated which were never enacted for us. The Lord did not deliver it by the hand of Moses to be promulgated in all countries, and to be everywhere enforced; but having taken the Jewish nation under his special care, patronage, and guardianship, he was pleased to be specially its legislator, and as became a wise legislator, he had special regard to it in enacting laws. — Inst 4.20.16.

    Calvin is very, very definite that the various penalties under the civil law may be altered to suit the times and circumstances of a particular society, so long as the underlying equity (“stealing is wrong and should be punished”) is retained.

    Calvin once more: Yet we see that amid this diversity they all tend to the same end. For they all with one mouth declare against those crimes which are condemned by the eternal law at God, viz., murder, theft, adultery, and false witness; though they agree not as to the mode of punishment. This is not necessary, nor even expedient. — Inst 4.20.16.

    I hope this helps explain why I do not place civil penalties under the heading of moral law, and why I do not believe that WCoF 19.4 is limited to penalties for ceremonies alone. For I interpret the Confession as adhering fairly closely to Calvin, unless evidence shows otherwise.

  297. Doug Sowers said,

    January 31, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    @ David Gray; I agree that calling abortion, *child murder* is not hysterical, but I wonder if it’s wise. And as you can tell, I’m Theonomic, “to the bone”. And as much as it pains me to do this, I think I know where Zrim is coming from. (Just teasing, Zrim) I don’t use the term “child murder” when I am talking to ardent pro-choice person. Because the word “murder” is so universally understood as repugnant and wicked, were I to use *child murderer*, to a pro-choicer, *they* would become hysterical, and our communication would cease instantly. So as a point of *wisdom* I prefer to say; *the slaughter of the unborn* the point is the same, without causing them to go crazy. After all, we want to win the person, as well as the argument.

  298. Zrim said,

    January 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Paul, I may be the gnat in your web, but you sure are straining at me. Or is it Trueman you’re straining at?

    But the difference, perhaps, between the two which affords the sort of political liberty you call “alleged” is between personal conduct and political outlook. I can agree with Bahnsen that we are “morally forbidden to engage in willful negligence that can harm other people,” but I read that with a personal grid, not a political one. Yes, kings are to kiss the Son, but they are to do so in their persons, not their offices (btw, Psalm 2 is to contrast worldly power with heavenly, not get kings to use the Bible). This distinction between the personal and the geo-political is one of the key distinctions that makes all the difference between 2k and the theonomic impulse of whatever degree, it seems to me.

  299. Zrim said,

    January 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    David Gray, I’m good with saying that no segment of the human population should have the legal right to take the life of another segment of the human population, at will or whim, simply because the former houses the latter. Call me uptight and sue me if I find “child murder” on the hysterical side. Use whatever language you want, but turn the page already.

  300. TurretinFan said,

    January 31, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    David G.:

    You wrote:

    Many generations of saints lived and died without the Mosaic law. Abraham and all the patriarchs. The Mosaic law was only introduced mid-way through redemptive history, well after the covenant of grace and the “church” was established in Abraham. The Mosaic law was not necessary to the existence and life of God’s covenant people.

    Many lived from Adam to Moses. And, indeed, as it is written:

    Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    During those many years, God gave his word directly (such as to Adam and Cain) and in the mouths of prophets (such as Noah). We don’t know what the content of that word was, beyond what it is recorded in Scripture. So we cannot say whether the earliest societies were simply governed by “Natural Law,” or whether they were informed by special revelation. We simply do not know, for Scripture does not tell us.

    We have reason to think that God’s revelation to the ante-deluvian ancients was more extensive than we have records of, because you will recall that God’s instructions to Noah included instructions regarding clean and unclean animals, even though we are not told when God revealed those categories before Moses.

    Circumcision as a sign was not implemented until Abraham, but recall that animal sacrifices were instituted from the time of Adam. The covenant of grace was there, even before it was made more manifest to Abraham.

    But all those animal sacrifices are gone, having been fulfilled in Christ. So also are the related division of animals into clean and unclean.

    You wrote, “mid-way through redemptive history,” but I would simply say “mid-way through history.” I’m not sure if you meant anything extra by “redemptive.”

    As for whether the law was “necessary,” I think I could agree with you that it was not strictly speaking “necessary.” It was, nevertheless, a blessing. After all, the laws given to Israel were good laws.

    It seems (sad to say) that many people view the civil laws of Israel as though they were a curse and a burden, rather than a blessing. It seems that many are eager to forget them, and loathe to meditate upon them. They are eager to dismiss them as irrelevant to us today, rather than attempting to receive the full benefit of God’s self-revelation provided in those laws.

    I don’t think of you in that paragraph I’ve just written, but I do think of others who have been eager virtually to suggest that the civil laws of Moses are bad laws.

    – TurretinFan

  301. TurretinFan said,

    January 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Zrim wrote: “(btw, Psalm 2 is to contrast worldly power with heavenly, not get kings to use the Bible)”

    But Psalm 2:

    8 Now, therefore, kings, be wise; be taught,
    Ye judges of the earth;
    In holy fear Jehovah serve,
    and tremble in your mirth.

    -TurretinFan

  302. Paul said,

    January 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Zrim, right, so you disagree with Trueman. That’s what I was getting at in my first post. It’s always nice to reach common ground with you.

  303. Kurt said,

    January 31, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Mr. Cagle,

    I think William Perkins might be someone you need to look at to explicate the meaning of the “general equity” clause.

    “Now judicial laws, that are in foundation and substance moral, are not abrogated, but are perpetual. For the better discerning of them, I give two notes. The first is this: if a judicial law serve directly and immediately to guard and fence any one of the Ten Commandments, in the main scope and end thereof, it is moral in equity, and perpetual: because the end and use thereof is perpetual.” W. Perkins, A Commentary Upon the Epistle to the Galatians, pp 202-203

    See also here:

    The Law in general, is that part of God‘s Word, which commands things just, honest, and godly: and being thus conceived, it is threefold; Ceremonial, Judicial, and Moral. The Ceremonial Law, is that part of God‘s Word, which prescribed to the Jews, ceremonies, rites, and orders, to be performed in the worship of God: this law is laid down in the books of Moses, especially in Leviticus. The Judicial Law, is that part of God‘s Word, which prescribed ordinances for the government of the Jews‘ Commonwealth, and the civil punishment of offenders. The Ceremonial Law concerned the Jews only: the Judicial Law did in-deed principally concern them; but yet, so far forth as it tended to the establishing of the Moral Law, having in it common equity, it concerns all people in all times and places. W. Perkins, An Exposition Upon Christ’s Sermon in the Mount, in The Works of William Perkins, (London, 1631), vol. 1, p. 33

    Note Ames:

    This Judicial Law is not accurately distinguished from the Moral Law and Natural Law, in this, that the Moral Law was published by God with his own voice, and twice written in Tables of stone and expressed in the Decalogue, but the Judicial Law without all this solemnity, was afterwards delivered to Moses, and by him to the people. For the Laws of restoring things lent or trusted, of just weights and measures, of paying the labourer his hire, and many such as these, not expressly set down in the Decalogue, are not more Judicial or less Moral, and natural than the Commandment, Thou shalt not steal. W. Ames, Conscience, in The Works of the Reverend and Faithful Minister of Christ William Ames, (London, 1643), Book 5, p. 108

    Therefore it would seem that the puritans believed that there was an overlap of the judicial and moral laws. Many older theologians make a division in the law. They divide it into Moral/Natural and Positive law. Moral/Natural lasts forever and Positive is for special times and cases. This is a MATERIAL DISTINCTION. It concerns the binding nature of something. These older theologians also believed in the threefold division of the law. The point is this. The judicial law to the puritans could go into either compartment of Moral/Natural or Positive.

    Blessings,

    Kurt

  304. Kurt said,

    January 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I have gotten these quotes from REFORMED THEONOMY by Daniel Ritchie. Just Google it. It is free.

  305. Jeff Cagle said,

    January 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Kurt,

    Thanks for those. Do you discern in Perkins or Ames the belief that any of the civil penalties are perpetual?

  306. Kurt said,

    January 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Turretin Fan wrote:

    >It seems (sad to say) that many people view the civil laws of Israel as though they were a curse and a burden, rather than a blessing. It seems that many are eager to forget them, and loathe to meditate upon them. They are eager to dismiss them as irrelevant to us today, rather than attempting to receive the full benefit of God’s self-revelation provided in those laws.

    Get a load of this:

    “The Sinai covenant-administration was no bargain for sinners, and I pity the poor Israelites who suffered under its administration, just as I understand perfectly well why seventy-three (nearly half) of their psalms were laments. I would have resisted this covenant also, had I been there, because such a legal covenant, whose conditions require strict obedience (and threaten severe curse-sanctions), is bound to fail if one of the parties to it is a sinful people.” T. David Gordon

    Quoted from this critique of Meredith Kline’s view of the Mosaic Covenant.

    http://katekomen.gpts.edu/2011/01/klhortonian-theology-and-mosaic.html

    I think that there is a connection between the teaching of Kline and his children and WSC2k. This is not a matter of Machen’s Warrior Children. This about KLINE’S Warrior Children.

  307. Kurt said,

    January 31, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Mr. Cagle,

    Here is Thomas Shepherd:

    The judicial laws, some of them being hedges and fences safeguard both moral and ceremonial precepts, their bind-ing power was therefore mixed and various, for those which did safeguard any moral law, (which is perpetual,) whether by just punishments or otherwise, do still morally bind all nations; for, as Piscator argues, a moral law is good and as precious now in these times as then, and there is as much need of the preservation of these fences to pre-serve these laws in these times, and at all times, as well as then, there being as much danger of the treading down of those laws by the wild beasts of the world and brutish men (sometimes even in churches) now as then; and hence God would have all nations preserve their fences forever, as he would have that law preserved forever which these safeguard; but, on the other side, these judicials which did safeguard ceremonial laws which we know the ceremonials being plucked up by their roots, to what purpose then should their fences and hedges stand? As, on the contrary, the morals abiding, why should not their judicials and fences remain? The learned generally doubt not to affirm that Moses‟ judicials bind all nations, so far as they contain any moral equity in them, which moral equity does appear not only in respect of the end of the law, when it is ordered for common and universal good, but chiefly in respect of the law which they safe-guard and fence, which if it be moral, it is most just and equal that either then some judicial fence (according to some fit proportion) should preserve it still, because it is but just and equal that a moral and universal law should be universally preserved; from whence, by the way, the weakness of their reasonings may be observed, were not perpetual, but proper to that nation, hence those judicials which compass these about are not perpetual nor universal; who, that they may take away the power of the civil mag-istrate in matters of the first table, (which once he has in the Jewish commonwealth,) affirm that such civil power then did arise from the judicial, and not from the moral law; whenas it is manifest that his power in preserving God‘s worship pure from idolatrous and profane mixtures, according to the judicial laws, was no more but a fence and safeguard set about moral commandments; which fences and preservatives are therefore (for substance) to continue in as much power and authority now as they did in those days, as long as such laws continue in their moral-ity, which these preserve; the duties of the first table being also as much moral as those of the second, to the preserv-ing of which latter from hurt and spoil in respect of their morality, no wise man questions the extent of his power. T. Shepard, Theses Sabbaticae, pp 53-54

    Daniel Ritchie states:

    Also note that in their exposition of the Ten Commandments in the Larger Catechism, the Westminster Divines cite various Old Testament civil laws (including capital punishments) as part of the moral law. Hence we find Samuel Rutherford, an influential Scottish Commissioner at the Westminster Assembly, arguing that the Christian Magistrate is tied and obliged to these punishments to be inflicted for moral offences, that the Law of God has ordained‘ and when contending that the Older Testament penalties are moral, he says “if moral, what the Magistrate should do to him [the criminal] can no more be determined by the will and wit of man.” Reformed Theonomy 143-142

    I have not found quotes that specifically say that the penalty itself is binding. But the quotes I have supplied do not seem to indicate that the penalty is to be distinguished from the law.

  308. Kurt said,

    January 31, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Mr. Cagel,

    I remember having a discussion with Dr. Joseph Pipa about theonomy. We did that alot. He was doing his best to DISSUADE me from it. (NOTE: Dr. P would be upset with me if you got the idea that I said he was a theonomist). Since he did doctoral work on Perkins, I would think that he knows a bit about his writings. I believe he said that Perkins specifically mentioned that the burning of witches was to be perpetual and binding. I know that this is second hand. And my memory may be inaccurate. Take it as you will.

    Blessings,

    Kurt

  309. David Gray said,

    January 31, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    >>Call me uptight and sue me if I find “child murder” on the hysterical side.

    Yet after all this time you have still been able to give any sort of explanation, be it hysterical or otherwise, as to why you think that an objective description is “on the hysterical side.” It says a lot.

  310. GAS said,

    January 31, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Kurt,

    Thanks for the link!

    That ties it all together.

  311. Doug Sowers said,

    January 31, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks Kurt! Great quotes!!

  312. Doug Sowers said,

    January 31, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    This is Thomas Pickering summarizing William Perkins view of witchcraft, and I quote:

    “That the witch truly convicted, is to be punished with death the highest degree of punishment, and that by the law of Moses, the equity where of is perpetual”

    So much for freedom of religion, hey? Notice the way both William Perkins and Thomas Cartwright # 250 use the word *equity*? They see the moral precepts of the judicial law as being perpetual, sounds they would clearly be on Bahnsens side, not DGH or Zrim.

  313. dgh said,

    January 31, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Curate, I don’t agree with you. I especially don’t agree with your view of Reformation England and Scotland. It was not a friendly place. Why even Puritans attacked and sometimes killed Presbyterians. Ever heard of Oliver Cromwell?

  314. dgh said,

    January 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Tfan, Actually the confessions are the churches’ standards since the confessions summarize biblical teaching and are a consensus of what the church professes. If you want to play the Bible against the Standards, go ahead. But I don’t think you’re much of a fan of Turretin at that point.

    Thanks for the quotes. They don’t persuade me a lick. Nor do they support your contention that I was “wrong” in asserting that no Reformed church holds to 1646 views of the magistrate anymore. The consensus of the churches is against you. I know you don’t find that persuasive. But you may want to consider why no church agrees with you. And you may want to think about why no church would support the execution of blasphemers.

    And I’m still not sensing whether you agree with Calvin’s application of his biblical argument.

  315. dgh said,

    January 31, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Paul, I’m surprised I need to supply this quote for you since you are so glad to use it against me. It is that little matter of what David VanDrunen says about the relevance of biblical ethics for common cultural affairs (why I even found it handily at your blog)?

    “Though these disciplines [ e.g., chemistry, political science, mathematics, law, epistemology, etc.] focus upon interpreting natural revelation, however, Scripture says significant things relevant for them all. Each field of learning explores some aspect of the created order, and thus the very first thing taught in Scripture, that God has created all things, pertains generally to all academic inquiry. God’s upholding the natural order underlies mathematics and the natural sciences, his upholding the social order underlies the social sciences, and the twin facts of human sinfulness and image-bearing underlie the humanities.”

    See, a 2ker saying that the Bible says significant things about politics.

  316. Zrim said,

    January 31, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Tfan, what does simply quoting Psalm 2 have to do with my point that it puts worldly power into the perspective of eternal power?

    Paul, how do you get from Trueman’s words that he reads Deuteronomy with a geo-political grid, especially when he begins the quote with “I do not think that Deuteronomy speaks directly to how the state should be organized today”? Your logic is getting in the way of your common sense again, this time in spades. But if you can manage to twist his words into something geo-political instead of personal, sure, I disagree.

    David Gray, and after all this time I am mystified as to why you are so utterly fixated on my perspective here. But are you seriously trying to tell me that your choice of words are free from any subjective intent and aren’t in the least bit loaded? I can back of “hysterical” if you admit that “child murder” isn’t quite as objective and antiseptic as you claim.

  317. Zrim said,

    January 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    P.S. Paul, have you noticed that you have accumulated plenty of plaudits by the local self-described theonomist? But as a self-described 2ker, when are you going to turn your nunchucks in that direction? I know you think some 2kers are idiosyncratic and misguided. But shouldn’t that be more cause for tolerance and deference in the ranks than karate chops and sucker punches on your part? Or maybe, judging by your constant attacking, you think theonomy is on to something better than “WSC2K”?

  318. Paul said,

    January 31, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Darryl,

    That quote doesn’t say what Trueman says (upholding the social order as significant for political science isn’t equivalent to the moral principles in Deuteronomy are what Christians should use to decide what public policy should be); however, I am aware that you are at odds with DVD, which is why I want to know whose 2K I should imbibe, and whose 2k is Westminster’s?

    See, a 2ker saying that the Bible says significant things about politics.

    Which of course contradicts what you say in A Secular Faith. So stop announcing that you and DVD are two peas in a pod.

    Now, do you have a WSC2Ker who says something like what Trueman says, or not?

    Zrim,

    Theonomists don’t even say that “Deuteronomy speaks directly to how the state should be organized today”, and I certainly never said to read Trueman the way you say I’m reading him. You’re doing that thing again where you don’t read what your interlocutor writes but instead just insert your own strawman to burn.

    P.S. Zrim, do you realize that your P.S. is a fallacious argument from fear, as if pointing out that crazy and wild-eyed theonomists plaudit my most somehow reflects negatively on the merrits of my argument. Regarding your question, I think the truth is somewhere in-between and that both sides have good things and both sides have bad things to offer. I know that doesn’t sit well with your all-or-nothing, black or white approach to the world.

  319. Doug Sowers said,

    January 31, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Okay Zrim and DGH, I quoted Thomas Cartwright, I quoted William Perkins, now get ready for…….

    Witness # 3 Enter George Gillespie:

    Unless there be any doubt left in our minds as to how the writers of the WCF felt about the *perpetuity* of the Judicial Law let’s examine George Gillespie; who was the leading Puritan at the Westminster assembly, while many had a part in the Westminster Confession of faith, Gillespie’s hand is seen throughout, being the most esteemed Theologian of his day. And in his book 1646 he said, and I quote:

    “I know that some divines hold that the judicial law of Moses so far as concerns the punishments of sins against the moral law, idolatry blasphemy, adultery, Sabbath breaking, theft, exc, ought to be the rule to the Christian Magistrate and for my part I wish more respect were had to it and that it were more consulted with.”

    That would make any Theonomist say Amen! Can I hear an amen from Zrim?! No? How about DGH? Huh, I can’t hear you?

    This is the opinion of the man whose hand was *most* seen writing the WCF! I’m sorry DGH and Zrim, your waaaaaay out of the main stream. It would seem as if you don’t understand our Confession. In fact, you guys have turned it’s true meaning on it’s head! If you have an explanation, I’d love to hear it.

  320. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 12:25 am

    The irony of irony’s is that this marathon thread started, with Dr. Hart attempting to paint J Gresham Machin, as sympathetic to PC 2K, lol! He couldn’t have been more mistaken! Machin, as it has been pointed out, had a strong Theonomic Postmill outlook. He firmly believed that all nations should be made Christ’s slaves. Moreover Machin believed that the Civil Magistrate should punish evildoers by principles taken straight from the Law of God. What puzzles me, is why didn’t Dr Hart know this stuff already?

  321. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 1, 2011 at 1:16 am

    A word of caution: TFan (#300) and Kurt (#306) have properly noted that the law is a source of joy (cf. Ps 1). At the same time, Kurt, you cite David Gordon to the effect that the law was a terrible burden.

    In point of fact, it is both. Gordon’s essay, IIRC, focuses on Gal 3-4, in which the law is most definitely presented as a slave-master with respect to our justification, a bringer of curses designed to lead us to Christ.

    At the same time, for those who are justified by grace alone and are led by the Spirit, the law is a rule to guide us.

    This dual perspective on the law, relating to its first two uses and third use, respectively, is inherent in Calvin’s thought:

    Herein, then, the weakness of the Law is manifested; for, in none of us is that righteousness of the Law manifested, and, therefore, being excluded from the promises of life, we again fall under the curse. I state not only what happens, but what must necessarily happen. The doctrine of the Law transcending our capacity, a man may indeed look from a distance at the promises held forth, but he cannot derive any benefit from them. — Calv Inst 2.7.3.

    Calvin also uses the language of “intolerable yoke and burden” to describe the Law (Inst 2.7.2).

    So we need to be careful when reading others — Gordon, say — that we perceive clearly which use of the law is in view. From the 1st use perspective, the law is exactly as Gordon describes.

    Likewise, when reading those speaking of the third use, we need to be careful not to quickly ascribe legalism to them (cf. WCoF 19.6).

  322. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 1, 2011 at 1:19 am

    So Kurt (#307, 308): Given the quotes you present from the Puritans, and given also the material from Inst. 4.20, how do you read the Puritans in relation to Calvin?

    (a) Rejecting Calvin’s teaching that civil laws may change from nation to nation?

    (b) Qualifying it in some way?

    (c) Other?

  323. Kurt said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Hello Jeff,

    >Kurt, you cite David Gordon to the effect that the law was a terrible burden.

    Yup. The ceremonial law was indeed a great burden. But I would not resist this covenant as T. David Gordon would. He wrote, “I would have resisted this covenant also, had I been there, because such a legal covenant, whose conditions require strict obedience (and threaten severe curse-sanctions), is bound to fail if one of the parties to it is a sinful people.” If he means that he would have internal sinful resistance, then I agree. But as for STRICT obedience and BOUND for failure, then I disagree. If they repented and called out to the LORD, then he would forgive them. It seems to me that he would resist the ENTIRE Mosaic administration.

  324. David Gray said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:55 am

    >>I can back of “hysterical” if you admit that “child murder” isn’t quite as objective and antiseptic as you claim.

    If children are being murdered how is “child murder” not an objective description?

  325. Kurt said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Jeff(#302),

    First, I am not sure Calvin is consistent or that he didn’t change his mind about the Judicial law. Ironink liked to put up a large quote from Calvin’s SERMONS ON DEUTERONOMY that seemed to indicate that the judicial law, for the most part, was binding. I remember reading Douglas Kelly’s IMERGENCE OF LIBERTY IN THE MODERN WORLD where he expressed similar confusion.

    His view of the penalties in the Institutes seems to diverge from that of the puritans. (Note: I do not know whether the puritans were univocal on the equity of the judicial law. I have not done enough research to come to that conclusion. I remember one of the Goodwins saying something quite negative about the mosaic judicials.) Understand that they would not be for those judicial laws which were attached to the ceremonial laws. James Fisher in his EXPOSITION OF THE SHORTER CATECHISM stated the question, “What were those laws which respected them as a people distinct from all others? A. They were such as concerned the redemption of their mortgaged estates, Lev. 25:13; the resting of their land every seventh year, Ex 23:11; the appointment of cities of refuge for the man-slayer, Num. 35:15; the appearing of their males before the Lord at Jerusalem, three times in the year, Deut. 16:16; and the like.” I think John Calvin would not have a problem with those having expired. They would be connected to the ceremonial law and thus positive.

    Whenever I read Calvin on the flexibility of the punishments of the judicial law I think of my British history class. I read a book about the death penalty which had a story about a young boy hanged for pick-pocketing. YIKES! But to Calvin such a change is okay. I do not say that he would agree with that particular punishment in that particular case. IN PRINCIPLE, however, I think he would agree.

    Here is the point. I think that the puritans that I have read would disagree with Calvin that the penalties are optional. With the probable exception of that Goodwin fellow.

    Blessings,

    Kurt

  326. Kurt said,

    February 1, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Jeff,

    Here is a small article that mirrors my confusion with Calvin.

    http://www.berith.org/essays/cal/cal07.html

    I believe that this fellow is FV. I am not. :-)

  327. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Zrim you wrote: “Tfan, what does simply quoting Psalm 2 have to do with my point that it puts worldly power into the perspective of eternal power?”

    That half of your point wasn’t objectionable. What was objectionable was the other half, the half you are no longer defending: “(btw, Psalm 2 is to contrast worldly power with heavenly, not get kings to use the Bible)”

    – TurretinFan

  328. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 9:12 am

    DGH:
    You wrote:

    Tfan, Actually the confessions are the churches’ standards since the confessions summarize biblical teaching and are a consensus of what the church professes. If you want to play the Bible against the Standards, go ahead. But I don’t think you’re much of a fan of Turretin at that point.

    I’m not sure what this string of assertions from you is supposed to address in what I said. You don’t actually deny anything I wrote. So, I’ll just let your comments lie there, flopping about in search of something to disagree with.

    You wrote:

    Thanks for the quotes. They don’t persuade me a lick.

    I’ve kind of given up on trying to persuade you. It’s more a matter of demonstrating to those observing this interaction that you’re wrong.

    You wrote: Nor do they support your contention that I was “wrong” in asserting that no Reformed church holds to 1646 views of the magistrate anymore.They weren’t aimed to support that contention. As I said, what you have gratuitously asserted, I may gratuitously deny. There’s no good reason for me to cure your ignorance in this regard.

    You wrote:

    The consensus of the churches is against you.

    a) Not really. There’s nothing in the American Revisions that contradicts the WCF 1646, as I’ve pointed out to you before. It’s one thing for the churches not to require adherence to the original article of the WCF 1646, and it’s quite another to condemn that as error.

    b) Moreover, as I’ve also pointed out, even the American revisions favor my position over yours, since (a) even the American revisions teach that the general equity of the judicial laws remains and (b) the American revisions teach that the Bible norms the civil magistrate in his vocation as magistrate.

    c) And, of course, whether or not there is a consensus of churches isn’t a Biblical or logical argument.

    You wrote:

    I know you don’t find that persuasive. But you may want to consider why no church agrees with you. And you may want to think about why no church would support the execution of blasphemers.

    Here’s an idea: why don’t you think about that? After all, I’m putting you on the spot to argue for the position you’re advocating. If there is really a consensus of church opinion on this, it should be easy for you to muster sound Biblical and logical arguments for your position from the ranks of those who agree with you.

    I’m able to do that easily, since the Westminster divines actually adopted positions that were Biblical and they (and others after them) argued for those positions using techniques other than “It’s in our current standards” (which it actually was, in the case of the WCF 1646, though it isn’t in your case).

    Or alternatively, recognize that the inspiration for the position that you’re holding may be found enlightenment philosophy and Quaker/Anabaptist teaching, rather than in Scripture and the Reformed tradition.

    Calvin’s view of the two kingdoms: demonstrably Biblical. Your view … not so much.

    You wrote: “And I’m still not sensing whether you agree with Calvin’s application of his biblical argument.”

    I have no problem with you remaining in that state.

    -TurretinFan

  329. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Paul, your claim is that I disagree with Trueman. I’m still stymied as to how you get that since I don’t disagree with Trueman.

    The moral principles of Deuteronomy, as interpreted by Jesus himself, are to love God and others in all our doings and “should shape Christian ethical thinking which, in turn, will impact the political convictions of Christians as they operate in the civil sphere.”

  330. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Doug, here is Abraham Kuyper, who had a hand in revising Belgic 36:

    Concerning Reformation and the Magistrate.

    The question is also brought up and is of importance: does not a part of the work of reformation belong to the magistrate? The question is especially whether the magistrate is not called, authorized and obligated “to prevent and exterminate all idolatry and false religion.”

    Our conviction in this respect does not agree with that of our fathers. We do not make a secret of this difference. Only God’s Word, not the word of the fathers, is finally authoritative for us. And it is on the ground of God’s Word that we are convinced in conscience not to follow our fathers in this subordinate part of their Confessions.

    The reason for this is that these words from the Confessions designate and imply that the obligation rests on the magistrate not only to, admonish heretics if they refuse to perform their public duty, but also to arrest, imprison, and pass sentence upon them, andexecute them on the scaffold.

    This actually is implied in these words.

    The proof of this is Calvin’s writings: “that heretics must be executed with the sword”; Beza’s Essay, “that heretics must be corporally punished by the civil magistrate”; and further the sentiments of Maresius in his explanation of the Confession. Compare also the sentiments of our theologians: Voetius in his “Dispute. Theol.” III, 802-809, and II, 122; H. Alping in his “Script. Heidelb.” Tom. 2, p. 2, probl. 20, p. 335, f. 9; Spanheim, “Vind. Euang, ‘ ‘ 1, II, lot. 20; C. Van Velzen, “Pheol. Pratt.” II, 1, I, p. 632; Gerdesius, “Bibel, menstr. Belg.” m. Jan. 1742, p. 30; J. a. Marck, “Med Pheol.” C. XXIII, para. 32; De Moor, “Comm. a Marck” VI, p. 490f.; and Turretin, “Theol. Hand.” T. 1, XVIII, p. 84, para. 30.

    All these theologians are unanimously of the opinion that Article 36 of our Confessions actually lays on the magistrate the obligation to execute a heretic on the scaffold in the final analysis.

    They differ from Rome in this that they leave to the magistrate its own judgment. Rome teaches that the magistrate must pass sentence on the ground of the ecclesiastical judgment. Our fathers say, on the other hand, Let the magistrate decide for himself.

    They also grant that as a general rule the magistrate should not resort to this extreme punishment except in the worst instances and with the worst heretics, etc.

    Also, it was usually added since the time of a Marck that the magistrate ought not to do this to a heretic as long as he was not a threat to the Republic. But however mildly and however carefully their sentiments were expressed it finally comes down to this, that when other means have failed, the extermination of idolatry must be carried out by fire and sword.

    We oppose this Confession out of complete conviction, prepared to bear the consequences of our convictions, even when we will be denounced and mocked on that account as unReformed.

    We would rather be considered not Reformed and insist that men ought not to kill heretics, than that we are left with the Reformed name as the prize for assisting in the shedding of the blood of heretics.

    It is our conviction: 1) that the examples which are found in the Old Testament are of no force for us because the infallible indication of what was or was not heretical which was present at that time is now lacking.

    2) That the Lord and the Apostles never called upon the help of the magistrate to kill with the sword the one who deviated from the truth. Even in connection with such horrible heretics as defiled the congregation in Corinth, Paul mentions nothing of this idea. And it cannot be concluded from any particular word in the New Testament, that in the days when particular revelation should cease, that the rooting out of heretics with the sword is the obligation of magistrates.

    3) That our fathers have not developed this monstrous proposition out of principle, but have taken it over from Romish practice.

    4) That the acceptance and carrying out of this principle almost always has returned upon the heads of non-heretics and not the truth but heresy has been honored by the magistrate.

    5) That this proposition opposes the Spirit and the Christian faith.

    6) That this proposition supposed that the magistrate is in a position to judge the difference between truth and heresy, an office of grace which, as appears from the history of eighteen centuries, is not granted by the Holy Spirit, but is withheld.

    We do not at all hide the fact that we disagree with Calvin, our Confessions, and our Reformed theologians.

    We readily testify that we therefore are not compelled by necessity through invincible testimony to let this difference come out.

    We completely agree that those who accede to this paragraph in Article 36 have an easier position in this respect.

    We admit that he who in this respect represents us in the church as deviating from the Confessions is true in his testimony.

    Notwithstanding this serious objection which we do not consider lightly, we would nevertheless continue frankly to insist: In the name of the Lord we do not ash a scaffold for the heretic.

    Because of this the church of our Lord Jesus Christ should understand and it should be sharply bound on the soul of the children of God who know love: Those teachers who claim to maintain this paragraph in Article 36, lay upon the people of God the demand that they shall approve of the execution of heretics. No, even more, if God wills it, they must confess and take upon themselves the responsibility for the blood of heretics once again.

    If the children of God are of a mind to do this in their land, then naturally they must condemn us in this matter.

    But a better testimony speaks in them: “I may not erect a scaffold for the heretic!” Let them then also have the courage openly to add their vote to ours so that the proponents and opponents of the burning and beheading of heretics may stand in clear and total opposition to each other.

    As is known, we deny least of all that which is implied for the magistrate in Christ’s kingship and in both tables of the law. This, however, is treated in earlier paragraphs and need not be repeated here.

    Permit us to add only this.

    As much as our opponents must maintain that also Nero was obligated to burn the heretics according to his own judgment (i.e., the people whom he held to be heretics), they actually concede that this obligation can only be carried out properly by the magistrates who make profession of the Reformed religion.

    And because there is no such magistrate who as yet has appeared in our land, we want the question asked if it is good to condemn brethren concerning such a painful question as the question of the scaffold for the obstinate heretics.

    At any rate, we indulge in the hope that even those teachers who are zealous with respect to the preference for the maintenance of this “scaffold-sense” in Article 36, will be themselves the first to shrink back from the consequences of their position when the mayor of their town actually permits a heretic to be brought to the scaffold or the stake.

    We think that in that hour they would, rather than to call for the blood of heretics, themselves carry water to extinguish the stack of wood, or in loving zeal cut the ropes which already are tied on the neck of their fellow citizens.

    And you may quote as many 1646 authors as you want. But the 1787-88 American revisions of WCF 23 and 20th century revisions of Belgic 36 reflect a significant ecclesiastical departure from civil religion. They simply disagree, and I agree with that disagreement.

  331. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 9:24 am

    So, Tfan, I’m still unclear: how does quoting Psalm 2 mean that kings should use the Bible? But remember, my point isn’t that kings mayn’t use the Bible but that they don’t have to. You seem to think they are commanded to, as in should.

  332. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 10:11 am

    “So, Tfan, I’m still unclear: how does quoting Psalm 2 mean that kings should use the Bible? But remember, my point isn’t that kings mayn’t use the Bible but that they don’t have to. You seem to think they are commanded to, as in should.”

    Recall that the text of Psalm 2 states, “Be wise, be taught” or in the prose of the authorized version:

    Psalm 2:10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

    My understanding is that this two-fold imperative refers to the instructions of the Psalm itself (not just a general commendation of wisdom/instruction). I trust that you grant that the Psalm is Scripture. So, unless the text has been mistranslated, it appears to be a command for them to use Scripture.

    -TurretinFan

  333. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

    @Zrim, Douglas Wilson, (a huge Kuper fan) would agree. Douglas Wilson has said in his “Perfect Theonomic Nation” Michael Servetus would live a long life. I side with Wilson, and would agree. Regardless, Kuper *was* for the continuing validity of God’s writtin Word over the Magistrate, found in the Bible. So he wouldnt be on your side in this debate, he would be on Theonomy’s. Kuper believed in the DP for kidnapping, homosexulity, and rape, no? There goes your argument, poof!

  334. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Tfan, which just brings us back to the likes of Turretin and Kuyper who say that civil powers should be regulated by natural reason and human statutes. And around and around we go.

    But it does seem to me that if we take Psalm 2 to be making the case merely for civil powers to be regulated by Scripture we actually lose the larger force of it being about temporal power in light of heavenly power. It’s the difference, I think, of being near- and far-sighted. I don’t think that when Paul opposed the Greeks with the cross instead of wisdom his point was that the Academy should toss Aristotle. The Academy should continue with Aristotle, just like City Hall should continue with the Founding Fathers. The 2k hermeneutic is not only about a personal/geo-political distinction and exilic-theocratic era distinctions, but also about the temporal-eternal dichotomy, where the temporal retains its dignity but loses eternal stakes. The upshot is that Psalm 2 is less about this age than it is about the one to come.

  335. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Does it follow, therefore, that the sooner we stop our observation of life the better, so that we can seek the rules of state polity outside life in Holy Scripture? This is how some mistakenly think that we reason…However, the opposite is true. Calvinism has never supported this untenable position but has always opposed it with might and main. A state polity that dismisses and scorns the observation of life and simply wishes to duplicate the situation of Israel, taking Holy Scripture as a complete code of Christian law for the state, would, according to the spiritual fathers of Calvinism, be the epitome of absurdity. Accordingly, in their opposition to Anabaptism as well as the Quakers, they expressed unreservedly their repugnance for this extremely dangerous and impractical theory.

    If we considered the political life of the nations as something unholy, unclean and wrong in itself, it would lie outside of human nature. Then the state would have to be seen as a purely external means of compulsion, and every attempt to discover even a trace of God’s ordinances in our own nature would be absurd. Only special revelation would then be capable of imparting to us the standards for that external means of discipline. Wherever, thus, this special revelation is absent, as in the heathen worlds, nothing but sin and distortion would prevail, which would therefore not even be worth the trouble of our observation…However, if we open the works of Calvin, Bullinger, Beza and Marnix van St. Aldegonde, it becomes obvious that Calvinism consciously chooses sides against this viewpoint. The experience of the states of antiquity, the practical wisdom of their laws, and the deep insight of their statesmen and philosophers is held in esteem by these men, and these are cited in support of their own affirmations and consciously related to the ordinances of God. The earnest intent of the political life of many nations can be explained in terms of the principles of justice and morality that spoke in their consciences. They cannot be explained simply as blindness brought on by the Evil One; on the contrary, in the excellence of their political efforts we encounter a divine ray of light…

    …with proper rights we contradict the argument that Holy Scripture should be seen as the source from which a knowledge of the best civil laws flow. The supporters of this potion talk as though after the Fall nature, human life, and history have ceased being a revelation of God and As though, with the closing of this book, another book, called Holy Scriptures, as opened for us. Calvinism has never defended this untenable position and will never acknowledge it as its own…We have refuted the notion that we entertain the foolish effort to patch together civil laws from Bible texts, and we have declared unconditionally that psychology, ethnology, history and statistics are also for us given which, by the light of God’s Word, must determine the standards for the state polity.

    Abraham Kuyper, The Ordinances of God

    Yeah, Doug, that sounds really theonomic-friendly.

  336. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

    “But it does seem to me that if we take Psalm 2 to be making the case merely for civil powers to be regulated by Scripture we actually lose the larger force of it being about temporal power in light of heavenly power.”

    Zrim, my buddy, my pal. You seem to have already forgotten about this exchange between us:

    Zrim you wrote: “Tfan, what does simply quoting Psalm 2 have to do with my point that it puts worldly power into the perspective of eternal power?”

    That half of your point wasn’t objectionable. What was objectionable was the other half, the half you are no longer defending: “(btw, Psalm 2 is to contrast worldly power with heavenly, not get kings to use the Bible)”

    Affirming that kings must use the Bible does not require us to contrast worldly power and heavenly power.

    Your position is an over-reaction to an opposite error.

    -TurretinFan

  337. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Ack. I wrote: “Affirming that kings must use the Bible does not require us to contrast worldly power and heavenly power.” when I meant: “Affirming that kings must use the Bible does not require us not to contrast worldly power and heavenly power.”

  338. Paul said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Zrim @329. I explained it. And, yes, the law is summed up in love God and your neighbor. However, that’s totally useless unless we know how to love God and our neighbor. You have authority, you’re missing the relevance part. But, as I said, I’m fine to leave it that you agree with Greg Bahnsen’s theonomy.

  339. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Tfan, I understand you agree that there is a broad constrast between the powers included in something like Psalm 2. What I am saying is that it is not obvious that this implies the more narrow prescription that civil powers should be regulated by Scripture. Evidently, it wasn’t obvious to your namesake either.

    Unless one is wearing the The-Bible-Is-A-Handbook-For-Temporal-Life spectacles…oh, yeah, now I see what you mean. Here, try my The-Bible-Is-A-Revelation-For-Eternal-Life goggles…see?

  340. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:25 am

    “Evidently, it wasn’t obvious to your namesake either.”

    I’ve held off on posting what my namesake thinks, for a variety of reasons. But suffice to say that the portion that DvD was quoting from is not a treatment of the civil magistrate, but rather of the church. Turretin’s point there is just that the church is sola Scriptura, not that the state is nulla Scriptura.

  341. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Tfan, your a patient man, and I love the way you walk the extra mile spoon feeding Zrim like he was a two year old. Zrim and DGH! I’m mystified that you guys can’t see the obvious! I thought Psalm 2 was basic stuff. (I guess not if your PC 2K) If Psalm 2 is tripping you guys up, then maybe you should both take a vacation. I say your both antinomian, there’s just no other word for it. And stubborn antinomians at that!

    DGH, out of one side of your mouth you say, “I see law everywhere” and then out of the other side you say, we may not go to the judicial law of God, to gain our wisdom in determining how to punish evil doers. (Yes I agree with Kuper that we are to use reason, as a tool, not a standard) You prefer an abstract esoteric invisible law that can not held accountable to God’s written Standards. That in my humble opinion is both foolish and incoherent, and just begging for disaster. I pray that you would both reconsider.

  342. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

    @Zrim, Let me try one more time; Kuper believed in the DP for rape, kidnapping, and homosexuality, right? By what Standard would Kuper say we are to execute a rapist? He would agree with Bahnsen, not you. So your quotes are very missleading :-(

  343. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Zrim, please forgive the “two year old” comment, that was rude on my part, and didnt show any Christian charity.

  344. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Zrim, you miss understand Theonomy. It’s obvious to me, you’ve never really studied Greg Bahnsen works. Greg loved Kuper! Bahnsen would agree that we aren’t trying to re create Israel by woodenly applying Levitical law, on nations today. There have been some important marvelous changes. And through common grace all men have a measure of wisdom. But it’s the Christian duty is make every nation disciples of Christ, in both spheres! The Magistrate is to kiss the Son! He is responsible to rule wisely! He is commanded to repent and confess that Jesus is Lord of all! Moreover, we are to instruct every nation in all of God’s commandments. Kuper would agree with that! The application of God’s civil Laws will very from nation to nation, due to changes in culture, but the basic moral commands remain perpetual. The general equity remains the same, and both Kuper and Bahnsen would agree with that.

  345. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    It should be obvious from my fondness for Turretin that I have a thing for the 16th and 17th century Reformed teachers and teachings. Nevertheless, the slide from there to what pm-2k is teaching is not a sudden cliff at the time of the writing of the American revisions. Consider this:

    3. Christian magistrates should also seek in their influential positions to promote piety as well as order. 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2. This they are to do, not by assuming the functions of the Church, nor by attempting by endowments officially to patronize or control the Church, but personally by their example, and officially by giving impartial protection and all due facility for the Church in its work; by the explicit recognition of God and of Jesus Christ “as Ruler among the nations;” and by the enactment and enforcement of all laws conceived in the true spirit of the Gospel, touching all questions upon which the Scriptures indicate the will of God specifically or in general principle, and especially as touching questions of the Sabbath-day, the oath, marriage and divorce, capital punishments, etc., etc.

    That is A.A. Hodge (July 18, 1823 – November 12, 1886), who was son of Charles Hodge and principle of Princeton Seminary from 1878-86 (found here as directed by a friend).

    Does A.A. Hodge have exactly the same views as Calvin or I do? No. He does not [fn1]. Yet surely A.A. Hodge, writing about a century after the American revisions still reflects an understanding that the Bible norms the civil magistrate. Moreover, notice especially his reference to the Sabbath-day, which is a first-table item.

    He’s not pm-2k, even though his views in certain areas may have some very large differences from those of Calvin.

    -TurretinFan

    Footnote 1: Note that A.A. Hodge writes: “In opposition to this, our Confession teaches that religious liberty is an inalienable prerogative of mankind (chapter xx.), and that it involves the unlimited right upon the part of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.”

  346. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Great quote Tfan! I read that quote and said amen! I wonder if Zrim and DGH can do the same?

  347. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Turretin’s point there is just that the church is sola Scriptura, not that the state is nulla Scriptura.

    I’m not sure how often this has to be clarified, but pc-2k is also not saying that the state is nulla Scriptura. That the church is sola Scriptura doesn’t mean that it is nulla revelatio generalis. Likewise, that the state is sola revelatio generalis.does not mean it is nulla Scriptura. The church is commanded to do things in a good and decent order and may use Robert’s Rules to get there. Likewise, the state is to punish evil and reward good and may use the sixth and second greatest commandments to get there.

    But if Turretin’s point is that the state is not nulla Scriptura then saying it is regulated by “natural reason, civil law and human statutes” is a funny way of making that point. One would think that if his point was that the state is not nulla Scriptura that he would say something like, “Civil powers may be regulated by natural reason, civil law and human statutes, but Scripture may certainly be referenced.” Even so, Tfan, I’ve the distinct sense that you find it very difficult to bring yourself to say something as brazenly 2k as “civil powers are regulated by natural reason, civil law and human statutes.”

  348. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Kurt (#325): Thanks. I think we’ve waded into a waist-deep pool here. On the one hand, we have Calvin; on the other, various Puritans cited in a secondary source; and on the third hand, we have the Confession, which as we know was a consensus document declaring what Christians should be bound to.

    The problems then are three:

    (1) Were Calvin and the Calvinists univocal on the civil law?
    (2) What exactly is the Confessional division of moral, civil, and ceremonial?
    (3) What exactly is the general equity of the civil law that continues to this day?

    I can see now that the question is not as simple as I was making it, but I’m not at all persuaded that the civil law that has expired is merely the penalties for the ceremonial law — for those penalties expired with the ceremonial law (if there is no longer any regulation, there is no longer any penalty), and if WCoF 19.4 were referring only to those, then it would be vacuous.

    Nor am I comfortable lumping some civil penalties into the moral law and others into the ceremonial — what’s left for the judicial?

    No, my tentative hypothesis is that the moral declared what is right and wrong; the judicial regulated what to do about it (the penalties), and the ceremonial regulated the typological symbolism that pointed to Christ.

    I think I’m content to leave those questions out there, but I fear that they need serious scholarly treatment and not a quick blog-shot.

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Jeff Cagle

  349. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Zrim (#347): But if Turretin’s point is that the state is not nulla Scriptura then saying it is regulated by “natural reason, civil law and human statutes” is a funny way of making that point.

    Well now, certain someones I know have said “the common sphere is regulated by general revelation, and the sacred by special revelation”, but what this someone means by this is not that the common is nulla Scriptura, but that

    Likewise, the state is to punish evil and reward good and may use the sixth and second greatest commandments to get there.

    So if this certain someone can be oblique and implicit and such, why not Turretin?

  350. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    TFan (#340): I’ve held off on posting what my namesake thinks, for a variety of reasons.

    Actually, I would very much appreciate having a clearer snapshot of Turretin on the state, especially with reference to Zrim’s quote. If you’re willing.

  351. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Jeff (#349), if you’re saying that Turretin and I are on the same page and that Tfan is on his own, then ok.

    But while I have you, I’m still interested in what you think of this: general revelation is sufficient for civil life is another way of stating the first use of the law.

  352. Kurt said,

    February 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Jeff,

    >Nor am I comfortable lumping some civil penalties into the moral law and others into the ceremonial — what’s left for the judicial?

    The older theologians talked about moral/natural law and positive law distinction as well as the moral, judicial, and ceremonial distinctions. I do not think that the Westminster Divines were eliminating the use of the two categories when they were speaking of the three categories. The general equity which continues would be part of the moral/natural law. Here is what I am saying. Moral and positive concern what is binding and universal and what is temporary and local. In the threefold distinction NO judicial laws are ceremonial. They only enforce penalties for the violation of the ceremonial laws. They are, however, positive. The judicial laws which enforce penalties for the violation of moral law are moral/natural. The threefold distinction is literary and the twofold is material.

    I agree that more scholarly work has to be done on the Westminster Divines view of the equity of those laws.

  353. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Excellent post Kurt! Very useful! Keep up the good work!

  354. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Jeff says: I think I’m content to leave those questions out there, but I fear that they need serious scholarly treatment and not a quick blog-shot.

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Jeff Cagle

    Amen Jeff! Theonomy has never pretended to have all the answers. We do need scholarly treatment, coupled with much study, prayer, and the fruit of the Spirit. And a heart for unity in coming together in the truth. Some of the distinctions between cerimonial and moral are hard to discerne. But where I thought we could all find common ground, is in the obvious moral axioms, like DP for murder, kidnapping, homosexuality, children that strike their parents, child molestors, and rapists. Kuper would give a hearty amen, to these being the law, of every nation! The problem is, Zrim doesnt think our Civil Magistrates may use the sword against a rapist anymore. If Zrim would be kind enough as to give us one example, where any of our great Reformed thinkers thought that Christ’s death abrogated the DP for rape, then I’m all ears.

  355. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Zrim:
    I had written: “Turretin’s point there is just that the church is sola Scriptura, not that the state is nulla Scriptura.”

    You responded (at #347): “I’m not sure how often this has to be clarified, but pc-2k is also not saying that the state is nulla Scriptura.”

    But you may recall that you previously wrote:

    I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say, then, that the fan departs from the master on how civil power is regulated. He says from natural reason, civil laws and human statutes, you say the Bible.

    (#550 in the old thread)

    And:

    I’m still wondering what you make of your namesake’s idea that civil power is regulated by “natural reason, civil laws and human statutes,” while ecclesiastical power by “the word of God alone.” I think you said before that you have disagreed with Turretin, so would this be an example? He thinks civil power is not regulated by the Bible but you seem to.

    (#477 in the old thread)

    And even later in that same comment you write (#347 above):

    But if Turretin’s point is that the state is not nulla Scriptura then saying it is regulated by “natural reason, civil law and human statutes” is a funny way of making that point. One would think that if his point was that the state is not nulla Scriptura that he would say something like, “Civil powers may be regulated by natural reason, civil law and human statutes, but Scripture may certainly be referenced.” Even so, Tfan, I’ve the distinct sense that you find it very difficult to bring yourself to say something as brazenly 2k as “civil powers are regulated by natural reason, civil law and human statutes.”

    And yet again, as I said, the point Turretin was making was that the church is sola Scriptura. The point Turretin was making was not about the civil magistrate. If you want to know about Turretin’s view of the civil magistrate and the Mosaic law, you have to go to a different volume of his institutes, under a different topic and question. He does discuss it, but not at the place that DvD was citing.

    This is something that you would discover if you would buy yourself a copy of Turretin’s Institutes and read through them (a practice I highly recommend to all adults). But, alas, people are prioritizing the latest books from the latest scholars over the wisdom of our Reformed forefathers.

    -TurretinFan

  356. Kurt said,

    February 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Jeff,

    I am out. You can have the last word. It was a pleasure talking with you. I cannot always say that when interacting on a blog. Thank you very much for your patience and civility. The way you interact on greenbaggins is an example to us all.

    Blessings,

    Kurt

  357. Reed Here said,

    February 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    TFan: just for the record, didn’t I read a comment where you said you’re not anti-2K, but rather anti- the position espoused by DG Hart and Zrim?

    Just asking for clarification. Thanks.

  358. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Reed:

    You asked: “just for the record, didn’t I read a comment where you said you’re not anti-2K, but rather anti- the position espoused by DG Hart and Zrim?”

    Right. Specifically, I subscribe to the WCF 1646, which is not ultra-montanist or even Erastian, but instead is – for lack of a better term – Calvin-istic. I also don’t have any objections to the American revisions, as I understand them, although my understanding of them is significantly different from DGH’s, and is – much less so – different from A.A. Hodge’s understanding (see my footnote in my comment above).

    So, from my perspective, there is a panorama of positions:

    Ultramonantanism – a view that the church has power over the state.
    Erastianism – a view that the state has power over the church.
    WCF1646 – a view that the church and state have their own respective duties, with there being some interplay between them, such as civil magistrates calling councils and the church petitioning the civil magistrate. From my reading, this is also the position of Calvin, Turretin, and nearly all the Westminster divines (as I explained above).
    WCF-AR – a bigger tent view similar to WCF1646, but without specifically saying whether a civil magistrate can call councils, and clarifying that the civil magistrate should not limit a nation to a single denomination of Christianity.
    A.A. Hodge – (see above)
    Kuyper/Machen – similar to A.A. Hodge, but perhaps with more emphasis on transforming society
    pm-2k – what DGH seems to be advocating, which condemns all the other positions identified above (as far as I can see).

    Does that help clarify?

    -TurretinFan

  359. Reed Here said,

    February 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Greatly! Thanks!

  360. GAS said,

    February 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    T-Fan,

    At least your line of questioning brought out the softer/gentler form of pm-2k.

    Now they are allowing us cwazy fundamentalwists to carry our bible.

  361. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Tfan, none of those things I said and you have re-produced imply that the state is nulla Scriptura. All I’m saying throughout is what Turretin seems to be saying: civil power is regulated by natural reason, civil laws and human statutes. I’m still stumped by you’re saying that Turretin isn’t making a point about the civil magistrate when that’s clearly what he’s doing.

    But you sound like those who claim that sola fide implies antinomianism. To make the point about how justification is obtained apart from works isn’t to delete works from the Christian life. I know you understand that. So why is it to say that the state is nulla Scriptura when making the point about how the state is regulated by general revelation? I’m not ruling out special revelation for the life of the state anymore than I’m eliminating works for the life of the Christian. I’m trying to make the point that we should be as cautious about how the respective books rule the spheres (I know, you hate the two-book premise, but work with me a bit) as we are about what role works play in justification.

    So, to my ears, all your protestations that center around what I think is the clear implication of the formal principle of the Reformation (SR for ecclesial life, GR for civil life) sound like someone who thinks Reformed (and Lutheran) orthodoxy make way too much out of the law-gospel distinction which gives us the material principle of the Reformation.

  362. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Zrim (#351): Jeff (#349), if you’re saying that Turretin and I are on the same page and that Tfan is on his own, then ok.

    Well, no, I was suggesting that Turretin may not be excluding Scripture in the quote that you provide. Despite what he says, he might well be implicitly allowing Scripture to play a role in civil government.

    But while I have you, I’m still interested in what you think of this: general revelation is sufficient for civil life is another way of stating the first use of the law.

    It’s interesting. What you’re suggesting is that since the moral law in Scripture is given for the three purposes (lead us to Christ; restrain sin; as a rule of life for those saved), therefore general revelation is good enough for the rest (“for everything else, there’s MasterCard … erm … GR”).

    I know, I think, where you’re coming from: a kind of taxonomic approach in which, if X doesn’t go here, then it goes there.

    But taxonomies are human categories that try to describe, post-facto, the relationships between things. They aren’t normative categories that force us to put things here and not there.

    What TFan is suggesting, and I agree with him, is that there’s no logical necessity to the taxonomic argument. Just because SR definitely has its first use, does not mean that it is thereby excluded from the other uses. Here and there, so to speak. And actually, you implicitly agree to this when you concede that nulla Scriptura is no way to do business.

    So the question is then, In what way is SR properly used in the civil realm? Since not nulla Scriptura, then what?

    And that brings us full circle to the question: What *is* the general equity of the civil law? I think this is the central question, out of which flow the other questions like “How do we avoid placing believers under the Law?” and “How do we preserve the normative nature of General Revelation, without debasing it to matters of personal opinion?” and “Should a Christian magistrate use the Scripture to inform his sense of justice?” and “Should a Christian magistrate submit, agitate for change, or resign in the face of laws contrary to Scripture?”

  363. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Zrim:

    You wrote:

    Tfan, none of those things I said and you have re-produced imply that the state is nulla Scriptura. All I’m saying throughout is what Turretin seems to be saying: civil power is regulated by natural reason, civil laws and human statutes. I’m still stumped by you’re saying that Turretin isn’t making a point about the civil magistrate when that’s clearly what he’s doing.

    a) With all due respect, look at the context of DvD’s quotation. Open up volume 3 and see that quoted phrase is in a section on the church. Turretin’s points in that section are directed at the church. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can read for yourself.

    b) Let’s pick one of the things you said about Turretin: “He thinks civil power is not regulated by the Bible”. That’s not true, and it implies that Turretin thinks the civil magistrate is nulla Scriptura. That’s why I felt it necessary to clarify that actually Turretin was just explaining that unlike civil government, church government is sola Scriptura. It’s essentially Turretin expressing what we would call the Regulative Principle for Worship. It’s not Turretin making a point about the civil magistrate, announcing that the Bible does not regulate the civil magistrate, or setting up an inverse Regulative Principle of Civil Government whereby Scripture must not be consulted. Certainly, no reasonable person who read Turretin’s comments in their context would believe that Turretin’s point is to say that “civil power is not regulated by the Bible.”

    You wrote:

    But you sound like those who claim that sola fide implies antinomianism. To make the point about how justification is obtained apart from works isn’t to delete works from the Christian life. I know you understand that. So why is it to say that the state is nulla Scriptura when making the point about how the state is regulated by general revelation? I’m not ruling out special revelation for the life of the state anymore than I’m eliminating works for the life of the Christian. I’m trying to make the point that we should be as cautious about how the respective books rule the spheres (I know, you hate the two-book premise, but work with me a bit) as we are about what role works play in justification.

    I don’t think comments like “He thinks civil power is not regulated by the Bible” reflect caution. Perhaps you’ll respond that you just meant to strike a mediating position between two extremes, but the problem is that again and again you seem to be using extreme language instead of moderating language. Instead of saying “He thinks civil power is not regulated only by the Bible,” you write, “He thinks civil power is not regulated by the Bible,” which is wrong. It’s as wrong as writing “The law is of no use to Christians,” when you mean “The law is of no use to justify Christians.”

    You wrote:

    So, to my ears, all your protestations that center around what I think is the clear implication of the formal principle of the Reformation (SR for ecclesial life, GR for civil life) sound like someone who thinks Reformed (and Lutheran) orthodoxy make way too much out of the law-gospel distinction which gives us the material principle of the Reformation.

    I think your ears are mistaken, dear Zrim!

    -TurretinFan

  364. Todd said,

    February 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    “pm-2k – what DGH seems to be advocating, which condemns all the other positions identified above (as far as I can see).”

    TFan,

    Journalists know that he who controls the verbs controls the story. The stronger the verb the worse you make your opponent look. When you compare your position to others you tend to “disagree” with other positions. But somehow we end up “condemning.” I’ll assume this is not purposeful.

  365. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Tfan, so Turretin, in making a point about how ecclesial life is ruled, contrasts it to how civil life is ruled. I still don’t see how that diminishes the point that civil life is ruled by natural reason, civil laws and human statutes.

    But I take care to explain repeatedly that “general revelation is sufficient for civil life” doesn’t mean that “the civil magistrate is nulla Scriptura and you ding me for “civil power is not regulated by the Bible” instead of “civil power is not regulated only by the Bible.” But that just seems like dinging one who says over and over that “we are justified through faith alone apart from works” and calling it extreme language even after he also takes care to say that “while we are justified through faith alone it is not a faith that is alone.” Sometimes it’s being precise, but sometimes it’s being torturously pedantic, Tfan. Have you ever heard of short hand, or of reading general statements over here in light of qualifications over there?

  366. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    “Ultramonantanism – a view that the church has power over the state.
    Erastianism – a view that the state has power over the church.
    WCF1646 – a view that the church and state have their own respective duties, with there being some interplay between them, such as civil magistrates calling councils and the church petitioning the civil magistrate. From my reading, this is also the position of Calvin, Turretin, and nearly all the Westminster divines (as I explained above).
    WCF-AR – a bigger tent view similar to WCF1646, but without specifically saying whether a civil magistrate can call councils, and clarifying that the civil magistrate should not limit a nation to a single denomination of Christianity.
    A.A. Hodge – (see above)
    Kuyper/Machen – similar to A.A. Hodge, but perhaps with more emphasis on transforming society
    pm-2k – what DGH seems to be advocating, which condemns all the other positions identified above (as far as I can see).

    Does that help clarify?”

    Thanks TFan, that does help clarify. It goes along with my earlier comment:

    Questions for Darryl Hart: “Do you condemn the American Revolution which was civil disobedience?”

    Furthermore, suppose there were Christian pastors and churches in the colonies who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England.

    Does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?

    —-

    P.S. Here’s a list to consider:

    Resources on 2K Statecraft

  367. David Gadbois said,

    February 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Doug said You prefer an abstract esoteric invisible law that can not held accountable to God’s written Standards. That in my humble opinion is both foolish and incoherent, and just begging for disaster. I pray that you would both reconsider.

    I would hope you reconsider your rejection of the perspicuity of general revelation. It is a Reformed and biblical doctrine.

    You still seem obsessed with believing we *have* to have detailed, written instructions in order to guide the state to punish wrongdoing. But this is your concern, not a concern of the New Testament. And apparently not a concern for Abraham or the patriarchs.

    I do agree with TFan that God may have provided some instruction to the patriarchs that was not recorded in Scripture. We do know, for instance, that Noah was given the instruction to institute capital punishment for the crime of murder. But surely nothing near the scope and detail of the Mosaic law. The general principle of “eye for eye” retribution (a feature found in, for instance, Babylonian law) was sufficient to order society as an artifact of general revelation.

  368. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Zrim:

    You wrote:

    Tfan, so Turretin, in making a point about how ecclesial life is ruled, contrasts it to how civil life is ruled. I still don’t see how that diminishes the point that civil life is ruled by natural reason, civil laws and human statutes.

    I don’t see a need to diminish that point, nor did I aim to diminish that point.

    You wrote:

    Sometimes it’s being precise, but sometimes it’s being torturously pedantic, Tfan. Have you ever heard of short hand, or of reading general statements over here in light of qualifications over there?

    Yes. And surely you have no objection to my pointing out in accurate statements. After all, this gives you a chance to clarify, qualify, or disavow them.

    But, of course, now that you seem to be on the same page with us regarding the fact that the Scriptures do norm the civil magistrate in his role as civil magistrate (and it is not general revelation or unaided reason alone that norms that calling), it seems that it is now DGH alone who objects to our position on that level. Or perhaps he’ll chime in with agreement too (which would be great – I have no problem with us all agreeing that the Bible norms the civil magistrate in his role as civil magistrate).

    -TurretinFan

  369. David Gadbois said,

    February 1, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I do want to renew my call for those involved in the discussions here to argue more directly from Scripture. Please consider that some folks here are not Presbyterians, and we don’t particularly care about what the Westminster divines said on this issue. Zrim and I, for instance, are in churches from the continental Reformed tradition. We hold to the 3 Forms of Unity, not the Westminster Standards. The 3 Forms have precious little to say on the civil government and judicial law, far less than the Westminster Standards. Even the Belgic Confession’s section on the civil magistrate has been universally revised, omitting the duty of the magistrate to endorse/promote the church and oppose false worship.

    The pivotal question is this: are we, as the New Testament church, in Israel’s shoes, or in Abraham’s shoes? If we are in Abraham’s shoes, then it seems that the 2K orientation follows. That is hardly to disparage the goodness and utility of the Mosaic law as it was instituted for the theocratic nation-state of Israel.

    And, please, enough of the “theonomy or autonomy” rhetoric. This is born out of the rationalistic demands I find common in theonomic circles.

  370. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Todd wrote:

    Journalists know that he who controls the verbs controls the story. The stronger the verb the worse you make your opponent look. When you compare your position to others you tend to “disagree” with other positions. But somehow we end up “condemning.” I’ll assume this is not purposeful.

    Way to drop a nuclear bomb on me! :big grin: No, I was not consciously trying to control the story with verbs – I was just trying to pick verbs with an intensity suitable to the situation. The disagreement coming from the pm-2k camp seem to be sharp enough to justify a word like “condemn.” I will, however, try to be more aware of my word choices going forward. Thank you for this note.

    -TurretinFan

  371. David Gadbois said,

    February 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Tfan, I do agree that the Mosaic law was a blessing to Israel, but I do not think that is incompatible with saying that the Mosaic law was also burdensome…a “harsh taskmaster”. The obligations of covenant members of Israel were far more demanding and intrusive than the obligations we have as church members. I *think* that is the point T. David Gordon was trying to make.

  372. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Mr. Gadbois:

    Much like having strict parents can be both demanding and intrusive, and yet a blessing, right?

    -TurretinFan

  373. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    David G (#369): Duly noted. Sorry, and I agree – more Scripture!

  374. GAS said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    “The chief priests answered, ‘we have no king but Caesar'”.

    And who could blame them? Using the temporal/eternal dichotomy were they wrong?

  375. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    David Gadbois says: And, please, enough of the “theonomy or autonomy” rhetoric. This is born out of the rationalistic demands I find common in theonomic circles.>

    Would you rather be irrational? Because that’s what I keep hearing, is an incoherrant, irrational message. GR is all we need for civil law. It’s the same as SR, and then when we want to look to SR, you say, “we couldnt do that, all we need is GR. Me thinks, your trapped in a conceptual contradiction.

  376. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    @David Gadbois, Moreover, I think T. David Gordon has it backwards. Consider Hebrews10:28-31

    “Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence to two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God,and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay”. And again, “The Lord will judge his people”. It is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”.

    It was worse, for an Old Covenant Israelite than someone from Sodom and Gomorrah, just as it’s far worse for the New Covenant church members to a baptisted reprobate, and never walk by faith. (Bear zero fruit) There is an escalation of punishment and tension, not less. Gordan has inverted the paradigm by not realizing that with each added blessing there were far more severe punishments in the Covenant of Grace He has not taken into account the a priori fashion the author of framed Hebrews 3, 4, 6 and 10, not to mention John 15, and Romans 11. IMHO.

  377. David Gadbois said,

    February 1, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Doug said Would you rather be irrational? Because that’s what I keep hearing, is an incoherrant, irrational message.

    I would rather be content with what God has given us than make a priori philosophical demands of how revelation must work. For you, there has to be chapter and verse in order for something to be clear, sufficient, and binding. For you, something is not objectively true or cannot be demonstrated as true unless one can exegete a divine text. But isn’t this Clarkian rationalism/biblicism? All of this does violence to our doctrine of general revelation.

    GR is all we need for civil law. It’s the same as SR, and then when we want to look to SR, you say, “we couldnt do that, all we need is GR. Me thinks, your trapped in a conceptual contradiction.

    This doesn’t really speak to my point, but I would just say that no one says that general revelation is “the same as” special revelation. There is overlap between the two, and that is a big difference. Both contain the moral law in various ways, but this does not necessarily clarify matters of civil law.

  378. David Gadbois said,

    February 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Doug said It was worse, for an Old Covenant Israelite than someone from Sodom and Gomorrah, just as it’s far worse for the New Covenant church members to a baptisted reprobate, and never walk by faith. (Bear zero fruit) There is an escalation of punishment and tension, not less.

    You are confusing moral culpability to varying levels of revelation with the burdensome nature of the respective obligations of covenant members in differing dispensations.

  379. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    David, I see the Bible teaching, that with each *new* measure of revelation, (or dispensation) “which was indeed a great blessing”, there came a greater measure of responsibility, “to whom much is given, much is required”. This is why, it would be better to live in the Old Covenant and be a reprobate, (with all that picky case law) than it would in the New Covenant, (as in) “how much greater punishment” do you suppose. This,in my view, is exactly what Hebrews 10 28-31 is saying, As in more severe punishments, not less. IMHO.

  380. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Doug (#376): So in what sense were Israelites slaves under the Law, as Paul teaches in Gal 3-4?

    And in what sense was the Law *opposed* to us, as in Col 2?

    And correspondingly, in what sense are Christians free from the curse of the Law?

  381. David R. said,

    February 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Following is an excerpt from Turretin on the question of whether the Mosaic civil law is abrogated. (This is the entire “sources of explanation” section on this particular question):

    “IV. In the laws founded upon common right or the law of nature, the substance of the precept must be distinguished from its circumstances. Some, both as to substance and as to circumstances, are of common right; others, however, are as to substance of common right, but as to circumstances of particular right. The former are perpetual in all parts; the latter, on the hand, only relatively. Thus in the laws concerning the punishment of crimes, the substance of the punishment is of natural right, but the manner and degree of punishment is of particular right and on that account mutable.

    “V. Whatever forensic laws are mixed with types are in their own nature changeable and so have been abrogated of right because their causes and foundation are temporary, not perpetual. Such are the laws concerning the right of primogeniture (Dt. 21:17), asylums (Dt. 19:2), the Jubilee, the not sowing of fields with different kinds of seed, the not wearing garments of wool and linen and the like. Although they might have had a political end also, they still (because they were typical) cease to bind on that very account.

    “VI. The forensic laws accommodated to the genius and reason of the Jewish polity were not only made useless to Christians living under a different polity, but neither can, nor ought to be observed any longer (such as the Levirate law, the law of jealousy, the law of the selling of a son [Ex. 21], the law concerning the rest of the fields, dividing the land of Canaan between the tribes and the like). These had a peculiar relation (schesin) to the Israelite people and its government. This having been taken away, they can have no further use.

    “VII. The polity having been abolished, the laws must necessarily be abolished upon which that polity was founded. They are of positive right and referred simply to the Jewish state; but not forthwith the others founded in natural right and appendages to the decalogue. Therefore, the forensic law as to general determinations, founded upon the moral law, is not abrogated; but as to special determination, which concerned the state of the Jews, is abrogated.

    “VIII. The forensic law may be viewed either formally, as it was enacted for the Jews (and so is abrogated); or materially, inasmuch as it agrees with the natural law and is founded upon it (and thus it still remains).

    “IX. Although the best and wisest laws (as far as the state of that people was concerned) were sanctioned by God, it does not follow that on this account they ought to be perpetual. God, from positive and free right, could give them for a certain time and for certain reasons, to some one nation, which would not have force with respect to others. What is good for one is not immediately so for another.

    “X. What is better than others in every way (in both the abstract and the concrete and both negatively and affirmatively) is to be preferred to the others. But the forensic law is better than other laws, not affirmatively, but negatively because it was determined to certain circumstances which do not now exist. Then again it is better than human laws (simply as human), but not inasmuch as they are founded upon the natural law, whose source is God. Therefore, when the Roman laws are preferred to the Mosaic, they are not preferred simply as enacted by men, but as derived from natural and common right they can be more suitable to places, times and persons.”

    (Institutes, 11th topic, 26th question)

  382. David R. said,

    February 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Sorry, in the first paragraph of the quote, the third sentence should read “The former are perpetual in all parts; the latter, on the other hand, only relatively.” not “The former are perpetual in all parts; the latter, on the hand, only relatively.”

  383. Kurt said,

    February 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Hello David(#377),

    >”I would rather be content with what God has given us than make a priori philosophical demands of how revelation must work.”

    Is not what you have written an a priori demand of how revelation must work?

    Do you think that you are not using a priori truths when you come to scripture?

    Surely you do not think that you are a tabula rasa when you come to God’s word.

    What if Doug is getting his a priori from God’s word? That would be justified of course.

  384. David R. said,

    February 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I don’t see anything in this quote from Turretin that’s hostile to 2K (even in it’s most “radical” form). It appears that he’s essentially saying that the Mosaic civil law is still in force only insofar as it overlaps the natural law.

  385. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Yes, Tfan (#368), that would be great. But I still don’t agree with you that the Bible norms the civil magistrate. I am not at all sure how you get that. I have said in contrast to the legal secularist that special revelation may have some play in civil polity, but against the theonomist it doesn’t have to. I affirm the first use of the law, which is to say its civil use, which is to say along with the scholastics that the law serves the commonwealth or body politic as a force to restrain sin and reward good.

    But none of that is the same as saying that the Bible norms the magistrate. The Bible norms the church.

  386. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    GAS (#374), yes, they were wrong, because the temporal-eternal dichotomy says that the eternal is superior to the temporal, that the otherworldly outpaces the this-worldly, which is why Jesus is Lord. It’s the this-worldly emphasis of the theonomic impulse that ends up saying we have no king except Caesar. 2k-SOTC is constantly told its emphasis on the eternal over the temporal is so heavenly minded that it’s no earthly good. It even takes friendly fire for saying that the gospel has no direct implication for or obvious bearing on the cares of this world.

  387. Zrim said,

    February 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    David Gadbois said, “I would rather be content with what God has given us than make a priori philosophical demands of how revelation must work. For you, there has to be chapter and verse in order for something to be clear, sufficient, and binding. For you, something is not objectively true or cannot be demonstrated as true unless one can exegete a divine text. But isn’t this Clarkian rationalism/biblicism? All of this does violence to our doctrine of general revelation.”

    Paul Manata, are you listening?

  388. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    David Gadbois says: For you, there has to be chapter and verse in order for something to be clear, sufficient, and binding. For you, something is not objectively true or cannot be demonstrated as true unless one can exegete a divine text.>

    David, can you give me an example of something that’s binding that you’ve found from GR, that is not found in God’s Word?

  389. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Zrim, perhaps you can share all the *binding* principles that you’ve uncovered through GR, please?

  390. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    @ Dr Hart: Let me ask you, what I asked Zrim and David Gadbois: Could you share some *objective binding laws* you’ve uncovered through General Revelation alone? After all, you say it’s sufficient, please give us a few examples of these pearls of wisdom, these *binding objective truths* you have seen through natural law, or general revelation.

  391. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Judges 21:25

    In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

    I have a question, was God happy with Israel? Did General Revelation let Israel down? Wasn’t it sufficient?

  392. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Oh! Follow up question for David Gadbois and friends;

    If you did come across some “binding objective truths” through the sufficiency of General Revelation, how would you know they were binding?

  393. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    @Jeff, please give me a day or so to write out how I feel on Gal. 3 and 4.

  394. TurretinFan said,

    February 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    D.S.

    You’ve hit one of the tough points. Let’s hope that the pm-2k will come out guns blazing on this one.

    -TurretinFan

  395. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks Tfan :-)

  396. Doug Sowers said,

    February 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Doug (#376): So in what sense were Israelites slaves under the Law, as Paul teaches in Gal 3-4?

    Thanks Jeff, you would ask me one of the hardest questions to explain. But since you asked, I’ll give it my best shot.

    First of all, I see Paul using the word *law* in different senses throughout the NT. Sometimes Paul says *law*, and he’s referring to the whole OT! Other times he’s referring to the Mosaic Law, but in Galatians 3 and 4 I believe Paul is referring to the ceremonial law. I believe in the OT (the Jews) were slaves or imprisoned to the rudimentary form of the Mosaic economy, ie the ceremonial laws with there ordinances, festivals, moons and sacrifices which had to be repeated, since animals could never deal with sin in a permanent way. Maybe instead of referring to them as ceremonial laws, we could refer to them, as the redemptive part of God’s law in shadow form.

    So God’s people were slaves, “but in a good way”, they were *imprisoned*, or *protected* or *shielded*, by these rituals, ordinances, and festivals, and Sabbaths when apprehended and approached through faith. They needed to be repeated to teach God’s people that the Christ hadn’t yet come and atoned for his peoples sins. But there sins were covered! So it was very gracious and good law that imprisoned or covered them. I believe the tutor or schoolmaster were the redemptive sacrificial laws teaching God’s people about vicarious sacrifice, propitiation, expiation, redemption, and the Lamb of God. The moral commands on the other hand, like; “Thou shall not steal”, do not point us to Jesus. They merely show me my need for Christ.

    The ceremonial laws, were not against the promise, they anticipated Christ. Christ fulfilled or confirmed the reality of what they could only weakly point too. So God’s people were free from the outward form of the sacrificial rituals, because Jesus once for all paid the price, Christ broke the power of sin in his own body. Mission accomplished!! Once Christ made atonement, the shadows were obsolete and ready to vanish, which they did in 70AD.

  397. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 12:32 am

    David Gadbois said: You still seem obsessed with believing we *have* to have detailed, written instructions in order to guide the state to punish wrongdoing. But this is your concern, not a concern of the New Testament. And apparently not a concern for Abraham or the patriarchs.>

    Christ, the first seed of a new race of man. He was the smallest seed, was the last Adam, the start of a new kind of man. Just before Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father, there were just eleven disciples kneeling in front of Jesus (and some of them didn’t believe). So practically speaking the Apostles except for Paul stayed in Jerusalem to preach the Gospel to the Jews. Christianity was in it’s infancy stage, the Civil Magistrate was Pagan. So of course there wasn’t a lot of instruction on how the Civil Magistrate was to govern at that moment in time, because the Magistrate wasn’t even Christian yet! Moreover, since God had all ready given *sufficient* instruction on how sin and crime should be dealt with, in his Law, there was no need for God to repeat himself. What happened when Christianity took over Rome? The Civil Magistrate ruled by the law of God, just a natural as a hand fitting in a glove.

  398. dgh said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:36 am

    David R., great quote from the original Turretin. I’ll be interested to see how his fan reacts.

  399. dgh said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Doug and Tfan, Is this the Doug Sowers show?

    As for laws from general revelation, perhaps you’ve heard of Hammurabi, or Aristotle, or Cicero? I could go on, but the history of civilization is rife with moral laws and wisdom derived well before the closing of the canon of Scripture.

  400. dgh said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:45 am

    Reed, Tfan, and Truth Ducks and Hides, once Tfan allows that Hodge differs from Calvin and that Hodge’s view is allowable, then I do not see what his point is in constantly pointing out that I disagree with Calvin and WCF 1646. If there is room for Hodge, why not for me? It’s hard not to take this as personal even though it does not keep me up at night.

    And it gets more personal when Tfan describes the various 2k positions and then says of mine that I “condemn all other positions.” I will agree that I disagree with parts of the other positions, but I’ve never “condemned” them and most of my attempts here have been to try to answer the charge that 2k is radical and outside the Reformed camp — in other words, that there is room for the position within the tradition. (And it does seem that when someone like David R. comes along and quotes from Turretin on the civil laws of the OT in ways compatible with my “radical” and “condemning” view, the opponents of 2k don’t really have a good grasp of the tradition.)

    In which case, are Tfan and Doug Sowers among others willing to make room for the 2k views expressed by the likes of VanDrunen and me? If they can make room for disagreement with Calvin, why not others?

    But if Calvin’s view is biblical, and if we must follow the Bible, then how could we countenance departing from Calvin’s view and allow for Hodge or the American revisions?

    This whole biblical argument is looking awfully selective, not mention David Gadbois’ point that it looks more historical than biblical.

  401. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:43 am

    DGH:

    You raise an interesting question about the degree of error that we’re willing to tolerate. If we are willing to tolerate a small error (e.g. A.A. Hodge) why not a larger error? I’m not sure it’s always clear cut where we must draw the line.

    However, when I hear you make comments to the effect that the Bible does not norm the civil magistrate, that seems sufficiently far from the Bible and the Reformed tradition for me to blow the whistle.

    On the other hand, if those comments from you have just been misunderstood, and you agree with us that the Bible does norm the civil magistrate …

    – TurretinFan

  402. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Doug (#396): Other times he’s referring to the Mosaic Law, but in Galatians 3 and 4 I believe Paul is referring to the ceremonial law.

    So the curse of the Law is God’s curse on us for eating shellfish and mixing fibers in our clothes?

    How does your exegesis connect to the discussion of the Law in Rom 2 – 5?

  403. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:59 am

    David R.:

    Let’s not forget section II of that same question/topic:

    II. There are three opinions about its abrogation: the first in defect (of the Anabaptists and Antinomians, who think it is absolutely and simply abrogated as to all things). On this account, whatever reasons are drawn against them from the Old Testament for the right of the magistrate and of war; for the division of inheritances and the like, they are accustomed to resolve with this one answer — that these are judicial and pertain to the Israelite people and the Old Testament, but are now abrogated under the New. The second, in excess, of those who think that the law is still in force and should be retained and that Christian states are to be governed like the Jewish (which was the opinion of Carlstadt and Castellio, with whom the Lutheran Brochmann agrees). Both wander from the truth. The former because thus many moral things would be abrogated which are are contained in the forensic law. The latter because thus many typical things would have to be observed which are most foreign to the reason of our times. The third, of the orthodox, who, holding a middle ground, relieve the matter by a distinction, both according to what has been abrogated and according to what is still in force.

    -TurretinFan

  404. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 2, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Also, if I may ask one more thing:

    When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. — Col 2.13,14.

    Here, the law “stands against us” and “condemns us.”

    Is that also the ceremonial law?

  405. David R. said,

    February 2, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Tfan,

    “David R.:

    Let’s not forget section II of that same question/topic:”

    I thought it might be going overboard to quote the entire question. ;)

  406. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 9:53 am

    David asked; So the curse of the Law is God’s curse on us for eating shellfish and mixing fibers in our clothes?

    No, the curse of the Law, was the constant reminder that sin had not yet been delt with. The whole sacrificial law was provisinary. This why the sacrifice needed to be repeated. The dietary part of the Law were to teach God’s people to be septerate or holy unto God. They were clean unto God. I don’t believe the cerimonial law only served one funtion. It was layered, rich, and deep. Deeper than I can fully comprehend.

  407. GAS said,

    February 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Zrim, no-no-no.

    Remember that the Jews were expecting an earthly king and Pilate was giving them their earthly king but the CP’s must have understood the temporal/eternal distinction.

    And after having listened to Jesus’ inviolable command in Mark 12 they decided to give to Caesar, and boy did they give!

    Say what you want about the Chief P’s, they knew their taxonomy.

  408. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 10:29 am

    @David, I hope I didn’t infer that the ceremonial aspects of the law, were all that is in view in Romans 2-5, because I don’t hold that perspective. As you can tell, I”m not an accomplished writer, and these are some of the deepest waters to navigate in the Bible. Moreover, it would take me much time and meditation to accurately give you my opinion. Especially going through Romans. As I said earlier, I do believe most of the time, when Paul uses “Law”, he’s talking about the whole Mosaic Law. But not always, since we know that the law is good, if we use it lawfully, ie to punish evil doers. And we also know, that Jesus did not nail the moral law to the cross., since Jesus said, don’t think I’ve come to abrogate the law, it’s perpetual, amen? So what law was nailed to the tree? The part of the law that prefigured and foreshadowed the work of Christ. Certainly not God’s moral standards of justice and morality.

  409. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 10:37 am

    @David, please feel free to help me if I’m floundering.

  410. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 10:56 am

    DGH said: As for laws from general revelation, perhaps you’ve heard of Hammurabi, or Aristotle, or Cicero? I could go on, but the history of civilization is rife with moral laws and wisdom derived well before the closing of the canon of Scripture.

    Are you equating that anything writtien by Aristotle Cicero, or Hammurabi as having binding authority?! Please explain!

    And no, this isn’t the Doug Sowers show, lol! But were this my show, even with my lack of Seminary training, and your obvious superiority in writing prose, it would still be a better show, than the “autonomous” Dr Hart show;-(

  411. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:00 am

    DGH (#400): In which case, are Tfan and Doug Sowers among others willing to make room for the 2k views expressed by the likes of VanDrunen and me? If they can make room for disagreement with Calvin, why not others?

    For my part, yes, I think there is room for pc-2k. I don’t think Scripture is sufficiently clear on the role of the magistrate and Christians in civil society to say that “A Secular Faith” is out of court.

    I *do* find it maddeningly confusing — at times very insightful, at times almost blinkered. That suggests to me that pc-2k is fundamentally incoherent at some deep level.

    I find the whole pc-2k perspective encouraging when my spine needs stiffening on visible church issues; but discouraging at other times.

    So no, I don’t agree with the label of “liberal” at all. That appellation doesn’t do justice to your vigorous Confessionalism. Nor to your principled insistence on personal obedience to Scripture.

  412. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:08 am

    @ Dr. Hart: Moreover, I think you missed the gist of my question. If, as you say that General Revelation is sufficient for “binding authority”. What have you been personally been able to glean, or discover, apart from God’s Word, that carries “binding authority”? After all, you said GR is sufficient, right?

    And if that question stumped you, then perhaps you would share with us all, what Aristotle ever said that has binding authority? If you can’t or won’t, then you whole premise is founded on sand.

  413. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Doug (#397):

    Christianity was in it’s infancy stage, the Civil Magistrate was Pagan. So of course there wasn’t a lot of instruction on how the Civil Magistrate was to govern at that moment in time, because the Magistrate wasn’t even Christian yet! Moreover, since God had all ready given *sufficient* instruction on how sin and crime should be dealt with, in his Law, there was no need for God to repeat himself. What happened when Christianity took over Rome? The Civil Magistrate ruled by the law of God, just a natural as a hand fitting in a glove.

    This is always interesting, the immature church argument. So, what you are saying is that when Paul wrote Romans 13:1-7 it was insufficient to tell us how to relate to the state? Paul couldn’t have conceived of Constantine yet, so his instructions (along with the rest of the NT) which are devoid of takeover were unenlightened (does it bother you that this is how egalitarians argue for female ordination?).What we needed was for the church to mature and come into her own and realize that she exists at least as much to take over the world as she does to administer the reconciliation of God to sinners. But 2k is saying she only exists in the inter-advental age for the latter; the former will happen in the final consummation, and it will come by the hand of God alone.

  414. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:14 am

    GAS (#407):

    Remember that the Jews were expecting an earthly king and Pilate was giving them their earthly king but the CP’s must have understood the temporal/eternal distinction. And after having listened to Jesus’ inviolable command in Mark 12 they decided to give to Caesar, and boy did they give!

    Yes, they were expecting an earthly king. And so the reason “they were amazed” in Mark 12 was that they presumed Jesus had come to overthrow (as in demand that the magistrate be taken over by saying he was normed by the Bible), and his unequivocal command to submit swallowed up any this-worldly hope for regime change, because to command such total submission is a way to force sinners to totally forget about take over and into total hope for the age to come.

  415. Todd said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

    “I *do* find it maddeningly confusing— at times very insightful, at times almost blinkered…fundamentally incoherent at some deep level.”

    Jeff, if it’s any comfort, that’s how us pc-2kers feel about perspectivalism :-)

  416. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Todd, I gathered that. :) Not only from the vigorous push-back from the pc-2k crowd, but also in the odd mis-characterizations of it from the same. Kind of like certain mis-characterizations of pc-2k, no doubt.

    It turns out it’s hard to properly understand and represent someone else’s views when they are structured differently from one’s own.

  417. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:29 am

    @Jeff says: I don’t think Scripture is sufficiently clear on the role of the magistrate and Christians in civil society to say that “A Secular Faith” is out of court. >

    Jeff, don’t you see the irony? You don’t see Scripture as *sufficiently* clear on the role of Government. And Dr. Hart is telling us, the General revelation IS sufficient for the role of Government in giving us our moral imperatives! Ironic isn’t?

  418. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Doug, per your request about how anything binding can be gleaned from general revelation, here is the Code of Hammurabi for your perusal. It would appear that nobody needs the Bible to build society.

    http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/MESO/CODE.HTM

    Israel got the Torah and Babylon got the Code. The difference between the two isn’t in either’s intrinsic goodness or effectiveness at building society. It’s that one pointed to a greater, eternal reality; and the other merely pointed to a lesser, temporal way of ordering social and political life.

  419. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:43 am

    DS (#417): No, I don’t, sorry.

    We have an obligation, in matters of faith, not to make proclamations that are beside the Word of God (WCoF 20 — sorry David G, couldn’t resist). So to say, “This view or that is disallowed in the church” requires the Gold Standard of good and necessary inference from Scripture.

    But I happen to disagree with Dr. Hart that general revelation is sufficiently clear — at least, I would want that *clearly* laid out as to its meaning.

    So there it is. I’m defending a guy I disagree with.

  420. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

    “Doug, per your request about how anything binding can be gleaned from general revelation, here is the Code of Hammurabi for your perusal. It would appear that nobody needs the Bible to build society.”

    What in the Code of Hammurabi reflects (according to you) binding general revelation?

    -TurretinFan

  421. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Zrim, I still believe the Church is in the “early” stage of development. God let sin go for over four thousand years before Jesus invaded this earth as the last Adam. Just look at us on Greenbaggins, there are days on this board, when it looks like a food fight! lol!

    You missed my point Zrim, God doesn’t need to repeat himself! He gave us enough in illustrations and moral imperatives, and instruction in his Law, that with humility, study, and the fruit of the Spirit so that all Nations can glorify God; in both realms. Scripture is sufficient for knowing God’s will for individuals and Magistrates alike! Or God wouldn’t have bothered writing it down! You call the Magistrate and the Church, Two Kingdoms, but seem forget there’s only one King. And Jesus has commanded all rulers to repent and acknowledge his Lordship, in all areas of life! His rule is all encompassing. There is no such thing, as a “God free zone”. Or, are you implying that the Magistrate is exempt from walking in obedience to every word that comes from the mouth of God?

  422. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Doug said David, I see the Bible teaching, that with each *new* measure of revelation, (or dispensation) “which was indeed a great blessing”, there came a greater measure of responsibility, “to whom much is given, much is required”.

    You are still confusing “responsibility” with culpability. The fact that culpability increases does not mean (as I was addressing) that burdensome elements and requirements of the law increase (they, in fact, decrease in the new covenant). The former means that the faithless get harsher punishment for ignoring revelation, the latter concerns how much the faithful must do in order to comply with the law.

  423. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Doug said Christ, the first seed of a new race of man. He was the smallest seed, was the last Adam, the start of a new kind of man.

    This is all pious-sounding, but is in fact code for post-millenial delusions we don’t buy into.

    Christianity was in it’s infancy stage

    That is your assertion. Christianity was, in fact, complete at Pentecost. No need to add anything more to the nature or mission of the church.

  424. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Kurt said, Is not what you have written an a priori demand of how revelation must work?

    How does that follow? If the Bible teaches the sufficiency and perspicuity of general revelation, how is that a priori?

    Do you think that you are not using a priori truths when you come to scripture?

    Surely you do not think that you are a tabula rasa when you come to God’s word.

    That is hardly the implication of anything I said. Yes, everyone brings presuppositions and interpretive frameworks with them as they approach revelation, but that doesn’t mean we have license to expect that God reveal things to us in the way we like or expect or satisfy our rational demands.


    What if Doug is getting his a priori from God’s word? That would be justified of course.

    He isn’t.

  425. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    David Gadbois; There mission was complete at Pentecost? Not one of the disciples understood the scope of the mission for years! It took another ten years before Peter received the revelation that Gentiles could be saved! Remember (Act 10) how stunned they all were, to hear salvation had come for the Gentiles? And even after that, Peter had a hard time understanding the ceremonial law should no longer separate Christian Jew from Christian Gentile. Your just plain wrong! Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, was the first to fully comprehended the *mystery* that Gentiles were on equal footing with Christian Jews. And he didn’t have much to say until fourteen years after his conversion. This was still a raging controversy until God destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD! So your wrong on all counts. It wasn’t until after 70AD that the Church really started to understand the Great Commission. BTW, let me also just say; we *still* have a long way to go!

  426. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    The 2 Kingdoms Debate post at the Johannes Weslianus blog has a qualification about Lee Irons’ defrocking.

  427. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Doug Sowers said
    David, can you give me an example of something that’s binding that you’ve found from GR, that is not found in God’s Word?

    @ Dr Hart: Let me ask you, what I asked Zrim and David Gadbois: Could you share some *objective binding laws* you’ve uncovered through General Revelation alone? After all, you say it’s sufficient, please give us a few examples of these pearls of wisdom, these *binding objective truths* you have seen through natural law, or general revelation.

    Easy. 1+1=2.

    Also, it hardly disproves the sufficiency of general revelation to point out that there is some overlap with special revelation (especially as concerns the moral law).


    I have a question, was God happy with Israel? Did General Revelation let Israel down? Wasn’t it sufficient?

    Doug, if you weren’t so prejudiced against 2K I’m sure you could think more critically than this. First, the fact that sinners sin is hardly a challenge to the perspicuity or sufficiency of revelation (general or special). This objection is, in fact, a common Roman Catholic blunder.

    Second, Israel was culpable for ignoring both special and general revelation. We are culpable for all revelation that we come in contact with.


    Oh! Follow up question for David Gadbois and friends;

    If you did come across some “binding objective truths” through the sufficiency of General Revelation, how would you know they were binding?

    “How do you know what you know” questions are interesting games for philosophers, the good folks who study epistemology might have some good answers. But knowing *how* you know is not necessary to knowing truth. You are importing your own rationalistic challenges into the debate. The question that is morally important for the Believer is “what has God said is the case?” When we read Romans 1 we find that Paul says that everyone universally knows God’s existence and natural law through the light of nature. It doesn’t say *how*, it only says *that*. That is the end of the debate for those who believe what God says.

  428. Todd said,

    February 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Truth,

    Since your name is Truth, Lee Irons was not defrocked. He was censured by his Presbytery for his views and the censure was sustained by GA. He then withdrew peacefully from the OPC without being defrocked as you call it.

  429. GAS said,

    February 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Zrim,

    because to command such total submission is a way to force sinners to totally forget about take over and into total hope for the age to come.

    Right, which why the CP’s said what they said.

    I guess the Easterners are correct with all this apophaticism and caesaropapism.

  430. Kurt said,

    February 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    David (#424),

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    1. You seem to think that Doug S. is a Clarkian rationalist. The particular thing you have in mind would be their belief that something can only be said to be true if Scripture says it. I would certainly not agree with Doug S. if that is his position.

    2. You believe that general revelation is sufficient for
    a. everything outside of the church
    b. just the civil magistrate
    c. everything except for the church and family

    3. This sufficiency means
    a. nothing but general revelation may be used to find things that bind the magistrate
    b. special and general revelation may be used.
    c. something else

    4. Is general revelation identical to conscience? If not how can it be differentiated? Do you not think that some peoples consciences tell them different things? Some have seared consciences. Could not someones conscience be misinformed?

    5. Does general revelation have extra moral principles that are not revealed in Scripture?

    Thank you for addressing my previous questions. I would certainly not want to require anyone to meet my own autonomous standards. I think that the questions I have given you might clarify what you are talking about when you say that general revelation is sufficient and perspicuous.

    Blessings,

    Kurt

  431. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Doug said There mission was complete at Pentecost?

    Well, you start off by garbling what I said. I said Christianity was complete, and that nothing to needed to be added to the mission of the church. Saying that the mission had been defined does not mean the mission was “complete.”

    Not one of the disciples understood the scope of the mission for years! It took another ten years before Peter received the revelation that Gentiles could be saved!

    But the relevant question is, should they have understood the scope? Jesus’ words in the Great Commission entailed precisely that.

    So your wrong on all counts. It wasn’t until after 70AD that the Church really started to understand the Great Commission.

    Whether or not the church came to understand the scope of the mission immediately does not change the fact that the Lord had defined it. You are jumping all over your opponents when you clearly haven’t stopped to think critically through your objections.

  432. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    “Since your name is Truth, Lee Irons was not defrocked. He was censured by his Presbytery for his views and the censure was sustained by GA. He then withdrew peacefully from the OPC without being defrocked as you call it.”

    I only used the term “defrock” because that’s the term that the blog post author, Wes White, used.

    “I should add one qualification. In point # 3, [Steve] Hays points to Misty Irons’ (the wife of Lee Irons who was defrocked in the OPC for his views on the law) advocacy of same-sex civil unions as an example of a concrete application of the “Klinean” view.”

  433. Paul said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Zrim @ 387,

    Zrim, some people let me know of your comment, I quite keeping up with the thread since you’re unresponsive to arguments and seem only able to attack positions when you’ve inserted strawy straw men into them rather than beating the real thing. Let’s see if anything’s changed, you said:

    David Gadbois said,

    Before we read what David said, let’s all remember something David said in post 30: “I don’t think anyone here is genuinely suffering from enough hero-worship of Calvin or Machen for these kinds of appeals (quote-mining dead men) to be finally convincing to anybody.” I assume he’d add the (thankfully) living David Gadbois to that list. So, Zrim, Davidsaiditthatsettlesit, isn’t going to be convincing, as even David recognizes.

    Second, let’s not that David didn’t say this to me, and I would bet that he doesn’t think I am guilty of what he said to another. That there is enough to debunk your entire approach of bringing the word of David to bear on me :-)

    So, let’s see what David says,

    “I would rather be content with what God has given us than make a priori philosophical demands of how revelation must work.

    Putting aside the fact there simply are philosophical a priori that we all bring to the table (getting into confusions of order of being and order of knowing), I agree.

    For you, there has to be chapter and verse in order for something to be clear, sufficient, and binding.”

    Of course, not “for me”, and if Steve Zrimec thinks so, let Steve Zrimec quote me to that affect, or, let him draw that inference from something I have said using valid rules of logic to derive said inferential conclusion. If not, then you’re wide of the mark in claiming that I need to be listenting to David.

    For you, something is not objectively true or cannot be demonstrated as true unless one can exegete a divine text.

    Of course, again, not “for me. And if Steve Zrimec thinks so, let Steve Zrimec quote me to that affect, or, let him draw that inference from something I have said using valid rules of logic to derive said inferential conclusion. If not, then you’re wide of the mark in claiming that I need to be listenting to David. I am on record at my blog making argument which directly refute this; indeed, you’ve even read posts of mine that refute this, e.g.,

    http://aporeticchristianity.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/christian-minimalist-and-maximalist/

    But isn’t this Clarkian rationalism/biblicism? All of this does violence to our doctrine of general revelation.”

    Aside from the fact that the above claim isn’t “Clarkian rationalism,” I’ve of course offered literally dozens of criticisms of Clarkianism when, as far as I can tell, neither you nor David has—not that that’s a criticism by me, I’m just saying that it’s simply silly to accuse me of Clarkianism (putting aside the fact that I doubt you, Steve Zrimec, have ever read a book by G. Clark or have ever offered your own unique thoughts on Clark rather than to repeat the other Clark’s, R.S., bad criticisms.

    Paul Manata, are you listening?

    Yeah; apparently the answer to “Zrim, do you ever listen,” is a resounding, “No.”

  434. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    David Gadbois;

    There are moral debates raging in America as we speak! How young should homosexual men wait, before they can have sex, with boys. We have homosexuals wanting to legally join the military. Homosexual men in leadership in our civil government, men like Barney Frank. On what grounds are you going to challenge them? By what standard do you condemn their behavior? And I am talking in the civil sphere! What good is your GR to our situation? How is GR *sufficient* to give us a solutions to these “moral” questions?

  435. Todd said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    For anyone wanting an excellent explanation of the 2k position espoused by DGH and many of us in this debate, Dr. David Coffin recently spoke to the Rocky Mountain Presbytery (PCA) on the “Spirituality of the Church.” You can listen here: http://www.rockymountainpresbytery.info/News_and_Events.html

  436. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    What in the Code of Hammurabi reflects (according to you) binding general revelation?

    Tfan, the Code seems to reflect ways of working out the second greatest commandment, which is something we all know by nature.

  437. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    indeed, you’ve even read posts of mine that refute this, e.g.,

    http://aporeticchristianity.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/christian-minimalist-and-maximalist/

    Thanks for this, Paul!

    Reading through the comments I found the link to another post Two Kingdoms and Christian WorldView which was quite helpful.

    Here are some insightful excerpts:

    Over at Darryl Hart’s place I have tried, on numerous occasions, to hint at ways he and others can avoid the extreme claims of Two Kingdoms, viz., that Christianity does not give us a worldview and does not have things to say to matters outside theology (e.g., physics, history, philosophy, politics, etc). I tried to say there was a better way than Christian-worldview-minimalism and Christian-worldview-maximalism (here, for example). These claims were met with dismissive missives and name calling, assuring 2k faithful that the Bible had nothing to say to these matters and any attempt to say otherwise was to hunt for glory and engage in “worldviewism.” I have said, on numerous occasions, that the Bible and the Confessions include propositions that entail propositions on matters outside theology. Engagement with claims like this was not the norm, rather condescension was.”

    ” As is usually my wont, I try to present a case for my position by using premises I find among the best thinkers of the position that disagrees with me. So I was pleased to read in David VanDrunen’s latest book on two kingdoms an affirmation of my position and a contradiction of the kind of 2k we meet at places like Old Life and The Confessional Outhouse.”

    [Citation]–David VanDrunen, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms, 2010, 175-176, most emphasis supplied

    This is exactly the argument I have made over and over at Old Life, only to be called “Hegelian.” It is so close to what I said, it could even appear that either I, or VanDrunen, took from the other. But I only started reading his book today; and, I’m sure he’s never read anything I’ve written! Hart & Friends unfortunately give Two Kingdoms theology much of its bad name. But what’s so bad isn’t how they constantly misrepresent the opposition, it’s that they don’t seem to read or understand the respected scholars on their own side.”

    [Comment] “I also linked to the post you [Zrim] should read, the same one I’ve been linking to at Old Life every time you and DGH lie about what my position is.

    Lastly, DVD’s quote is almost VERBATIM of what I have said over and over again and have been ridiculed for by Hart and you. DVD sides with me over you and Hart, and this is the no spin zone….

    But at Old Life I specifically and explicitly denied that we had a “detailed” biblical theory of knowledge, and I linked to a post by James Anderson where he also denied that! How can you make statements like this? It is obviously a falsehood. Is it because you don’t actually have a response that engages with my actual position? You’re getting desperate, Steve.

    DVD has vindicated what I’ve been saying to you guys all along. What he says is so contrary to what you and Hart have been saying, and it’s obvious that it is. I know you don’t like this, but it is what it is.”

  438. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Doug, right, you’re postmillennial to the extent that you believe that the church is still in the early stages of development. I’m amillennial to the extent that I believe that while she is quite imperfect she is nevertheless quite complete. Just like implicit doesn’t imply deficient, to be imperfect doesn’t mean one is incomplete. My guess is that what explains the postmillennial outlook in contrast to the amillennial is to not only confuse the categories of approximation and exactness, temporal and eternal, but also perfection and completeness. (Interestingly, just like supernatural life begins with the Spirit in the new birth, I believe that natural life begins at conception and is thus quite complete though quite imperfect—apply postmillenial confusion about perfection and completeness to your favorite socio-political issue to bring down 2k and it sounds pretty choice-y.)

    And, I too think there is only one King, but I hold that he rules in two different ways (the common realm by law, the ecclesial realm by gospel). And the point isn’t that the magistrate is free from being obedient to God, but that believers are bound to be in submission to the magistrate.

  439. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Doug said On what grounds are you going to challenge them? By what standard do you condemn their behavior?

    Again, the answer is in Romans 1: “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

    Why is “God’s decree” not an adequate standard for you? That’s a pretty strong way Paul is speaking of non-inscripturated, non-propositional revelation.

  440. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    David Gadbois:

    1+1=2 is that the best you could do? lol!

    I thought you understood I was talking about *moral* imperatives. Binding laws that obligate us morally, in both the personal and civic realm. Both kingdoms, to use your lingo. For something to be moral, I’m referring to the “ought” of life. A standard we all must obey. Not mathematics.

    Therefore, how is General Revelation *sufficient* to give us moral guidance on rather or not we should legalize homosexual marriage?

  441. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Zrim says: This is always interesting, the immature church argument. So, what you are saying is that when Paul wrote Romans 13:1-7 it was insufficient to tell us how to relate to the state?

    Zrim! Jesus said his kingdom would start out small, like the smallest seed, and then take over into the largest, tree, or better yet, like a women who puts leaven in the meal, until it’s all leavened. It would take years for them to understand that salvation was for the Gentiles!

    Therefore, when Paul says the government’s sphere of authority is to punish evil doers, “it goes without saying”, that they are God’s ministers to dispence justice. Since all men bear the image of God, they should bend their knee and confess that Jesus is Lord of all! Because Jesus said all men should live by every word from the mouth of God. There is no “God free zone”.

  442. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Doug said For something to be moral, I’m referring to the “ought” of life. A standard we all must obey. Not mathematics.

    It is slightly beside the point, but I should point out that we are morally obligated to believe all truth that is in play in our sphere as individuals.

    Therefore, how is General Revelation *sufficient* to give us moral guidance on rather or not we should legalize homosexual marriage?

    Again, Paul mentions homosexuality specifically in his comments on natural law in Romans 1. We may disagree on whether the government should or should not punish certain moral wrongdoing, but no one disagrees on the fact that government should not endorse, recognize, and subsidize moral wrongdoing. So opposing the state legalizing gay marriage should be a no-brainer.

  443. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Paul, chill. It’s just that I’ve never heard you say anything like, “I would rather be content with what God has given us than make a priori philosophical demands of how revelation must work.” It sounds pretty agnostic about the powers of philosophy. And when I say stuff like that I get karate chopped.

  444. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Doug said What good is your GR to our situation? How is GR *sufficient* to give us a solutions to these “moral” questions?

    These types of comments do alert me to the fact that you are importing your own concerns into this debate. We need to be asking, what has God said in Scripture, not “what good is X to Y situation?” All I care is that God has revealed X, it may or may not be “good” for Y situation.

  445. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    David Gadbois says:Again, Paul mentions homosexuality specifically in his comments on natural law in Romans 1. We may disagree on whether the government should or should not punish certain moral wrongdoing, but no one disagrees on the fact that government should not endorse, recognize, and subsidize moral wrongdoing. So opposing the state legalizing gay marriage should be a no-brainer.>

    Earth to David; it’s not a no brainer! We even have people in the Church who are for this! And David, notice how I forced you to go to God’s word? You couldn’t make an appeal to General Revelation; no you had to go to God’s word to talk about GR! Because God’s Word my friend, is our Standard. BTW, Romans 1 in no way claims natural revelation is sufficient for implementing wise and just laws. It just doesnt. So you have failed in your attempt to show me how GR gives us a suffecient, objective standard to help our nation determine the gay marriage issue.

  446. Ron said,

    February 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    My hope to help advance this discussion along a bit, but if this is not helpful then please do ignore the comments.

    David G. said:

    But knowing *how* you know is not necessary to knowing truth.

    So true, David.

    The question that is morally important for the Believer is “what has God said is the case?” When we read Romans 1 we find that Paul says that everyone universally knows God’s existence and natural law through the light of nature. It doesn’t say *how*, it only says *that*. That is the end of the debate for those who believe what God says.

    I’m not sure “that is the end of the debate” but that is because I’m not sure which debate you have in mind. You are correct that Romans 1 teaches natural law, yet you just used Scripture and not natural law to justify your knowledge of natural law. That might tell us something about the primacy of Scripture, I would think, with respect to the justification of knowledge in general and laws in particular – even the justification of the knowledge of natural law (and also civil law).

    Again, the answer is in Romans 1: “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

    Yes, people sin against the law written on their hearts and you are most right to opt to prove that point by Romans 1, special revelation. It seems to me that you make a good distinction, at least implicitly, between knowledge and the justification of knowledge. One lingering question could be whether God’s preceptive will would have magistrates justify their laws and if so, then maybe they should go to the same place that you did to justify natural law, that being Scripture.

    Why is “God’s decree” not an adequate standard for you?

    My guess is that you are receiving resistance because God’s natural law does not tell us which sins are to come under the jurisdiction of civil responsibility, let alone the degree of censure that would be pleasing God and incumbent upon magistrates to administer. Natural law only tells us that each sin deserves damnation. If, however, natural law informs us of which transgressions should be punished, and if natural law does not change over time, then I would think it’s safe to conclude that the civil code under Moses would be most informative today and worthy of our study in this regard.

    Again, I am not looking for a response. I’m just hoping that both sides might move beyond this apparent sticking point of knowledge and the justification of knowledge.

  447. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    “Tfan, the Code seems to reflect ways of working out the second greatest commandment, which is something we all know by nature.”

    We all know (or suppress) the greatest commandment through the light of nature as well, according to the plain teachings of Scripture.

    But what specific binding teachings (whether reflective of the first or second table) are found in the Code to which you linked us? The hand-sawing for boys who hit their dads?

    -TurretinFan

  448. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Doug, you keep making the argument that because people screw up then the implicit natural law is somehow at fault and thus what is needed to solve certain problems is explicit biblical law. Do you normally think that when someone gets an answer wrong that all you need to do is yell louder?

    So you still haven’t lifted a finger to understand that deficiency lies in the sinner, not in the law. And you still haven’t accounted for the fact that even parts of the church continue to get the gospel wrong, despite mining the Bible which is crystal clear on it. So what if homosexuality enjoys the sanction of marriage? The Pope still doesn’t get the gospel.

  449. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Doug said Earth to David; it’s not a no brainer! We even have people in the Church who are for this!

    Notice that the second sentence doesn’t actually logically support what is asserted in the first sentence.

    And David, notice how I forced you to go to God’s word? You couldn’t make an appeal to General Revelation; no you had to go to God’s word to talk about GR!

    You are truly lost if you think the 2k position somehow implies that the Bible does not describe the nature and features of general revelation. And it is not inappropriate for believers to point these facts out to other believers who hold to the Bible. But that does not mean that the Bible is necessary to give authority to general revelation (in the secular or sacred sphere). All revelation carries intrinsic authority because its author is God.

    BTW, Romans 1 in no way claims natural revelation is sufficient for implementing wise and just laws. It just doesnt. So you have failed in your attempt to show me how GR gives us a suffecient, objective standard to help our nation determine the gay marriage issue.

    Again, I wish you would actually debate in good faith and think outside of your own position from time to time. Romans 1 doesn’t have to explicitly make the connection in order for the reasoning I provided to hold true.

    Again if 1. it is objectively true that homosexuality is wrong according to natural law (per Romans 1) and 2. we acknowledge that the civil government should not endorse, subsidize, legitimize, etc. wrongdoing and violations of natural/moral law then it follows that 3. the government should not recognize homosexual “marriage.” Do you deny premise 1? Premise 2? Or do you deny that 3. follows from the premises?

  450. Paul said,

    February 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Zrim, “chill?” One simply tires of your repeated straw men and false allegations and caricaturing of my view. It’s old. You tell me chill rather than apologizing for your (repeated) slander of my views. Nice.

    Now, as a presuppositonalist, I have said things “like that” many times, your insufficient sampling of what I say and have said isn’t good grounds for you to be slandering me like that. Moreover, I have never “karate chopped” you for “saying things like that,” and if you think so, provide the link where you said what David said and I karate chopped you. Zrim, think before you type.

  451. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Tfan, are you making an emotional argument about hand-sawing? But Dt. 21 calls for disobedient children to be stoned.

    I’m not sure what the point of your question is. But mine in pointing to the Code is simply that pagan societies clearly show a natural understanding of right and wrong, crime and punishment. So pick whatever one pleases you. They make the same point as any part of the American Constitution or whatever code Saddam enforced.

  452. Ron said,

    February 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Again if 1. it is objectively true that homosexuality is wrong according to natural law (per Romans 1) and 2. we acknowledge that the civil government should not endorse, subsidize, legitimize, etc. wrongdoing and violations of natural/moral law then it follows that 3. the government should not recognize homosexual “marriage.” Do you deny premise 1? Premise 2? Or do you deny that 3. follows from the premises?

    David,

    I take your point to include the premise that civil magistrates should not legitimize same sex “marriage” because natural law forbids it, but that would seem to suggest that they should forbid such “unions” in order not to legitimize them. However, that something is wrong according to natural law is not sufficient for it to come under the jurisdiction of civil opinion lest civil magistrates would be required to forbid all transgressions of the moral law that are written on man’s heart. The fact of the matter is, the civil magistrate is to deter onlny certain evils and they are also supposed to protect us from being punished for other transgressions. Natural law may forbid throwing a beer at the television when the Phillies leave a man in scoring position, but that doesn’t mean that the civil magistrate is to do anything about it other than protect the fan’s liberty to sin in such a way. Again, natural law doesn’t distinguish between those transgressions that are punishible in this life from those that are not.

  453. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Ron said I take your point to include the premise that civil magistrates should not legitimize same sex “marriage” because natural law forbids it, but that would seem to suggest that they should forbid such “unions” in order not to legitimize them.

    Not at all. The big distinction here is that the government should tolerate some types of evil, but endorsing or rewarding evil is quite a different thing and should never be engaged in by the state. While not all violations of natural law are forbidden and punished by civil law, it is the case that NO violation of natural law should be celebrated, legitimized, or rewarded by the state.

  454. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    “the government should tolerate some types of evil”

    The Mosaic government tolerated some types of evil. For example, there was no crime of hating one’s neighbor. But what makes you think that the government should tolerate (to take an example) consensual adultery?

    -TurretinFan

  455. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Zrim:

    You wrote:

    Tfan, are you making an emotional argument about hand-sawing? But Dt. 21 calls for disobedient children to be stoned.

    To answer your question, no.

    You wrote:

    I’m not sure what the point of your question is. But mine in pointing to the Code is simply that pagan societies clearly show a natural understanding of right and wrong, crime and punishment. So pick whatever one pleases you. They make the same point as any part of the American Constitution or whatever code Saddam enforced.

    My question pretty much speaks for itself. It asks what teaching of the Code is binding.

    Recall that the claim was this:

    Doug, per your request about how anything binding can be gleaned from general revelation, here is the Code of Hammurabi for your perusal. It would appear that nobody needs the Bible to build society.

    Where is something binding in that Code?

    Maybe the right answer is: “I misspoke. There is nothing binding that can be gleaned from general revelation.” But if that’s not the right answer, we’re still waiting to hear what binding teaching from general revelation was gleaned from general revelation and presented in the Code.

    I offered the hand-sawing example before, but I’m happy to offer instead the price controls that are amongst those laws. Are they binding?

    -TurretinFan

  456. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    @David Gadbois says: Not at all. The big distinction here is that the government should tolerate some types of evil, but endorsing or rewarding evil is quite a different thing and should never be engaged in by the state. While not all violations of natural law are forbidden and punished by civil law, it is the case that NO violation of natural law should be celebrated, legitimized, or rewarded by the state.>

    How does GR inform you what types of evil are crimes and what are not?

    If GR tells you some forms of evil “are in fact” crimes, how does it tell you how to punish?

  457. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    “post-millenial delusions”

    Tell me how you really feel! :)

  458. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Doug said How does GR inform you what types of evil are crimes and what are not?

    So now that you are shifting the argument, do I take it that I have established my point about opposing gay marriage on the basis of natural law?

  459. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    David Gadbois says: And, I too think there is only one King, but I hold that he rules in two different ways (the common realm by law, the ecclesial realm by gospel). And the point isn’t that the magistrate is free from being obedient to God, but that believers are bound to be in submission to the magistrate.

    All men are commanded to repent and submit to the King of Kings. Even the Magistrate! What do you say to a ruler, who wants to legalize “man boy love”. Tell him he’s not interpreting General revelation, aright? What other appeal could you make? Aren’t all men bound to the same Standard? Yes, there are two sphere’s of responsibility, Church and State, but the same moral Standards. Jesus said “Man should live by every word that proceed from the of the mouth of God”. When God lays down moral imperatives they are binding until or unless God says otherwise. The word of God is our Rock, it carries the same authority as with God himself, therefore to say the Magistrate isn’t bound by God’s Word is to deny the heart of the Gospel! Since heaven and earth havent passesd away, let’s press on to the higher calling in Christ!

  460. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    David Gadbois: “So opposing the state legalizing gay marriage should be a no-brainer.

    So, does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square in “opposing the state legalizing gay marriage” as was done in California over Proposition 8?

  461. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Zrim:

    You wrote: “But I still don’t agree with you that the Bible norms the civil magistrate.”

    Do you mean that you don’t think that the Bible alone norms the civil magistrate? Or do you mean that the Bible does not norm the civil magistrate at all? I don’t want to misunderstand your comment.

    -TurretinFan

  462. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    David R:

    You wrote:

    I agree of course with your logic that the mere fact that something is typological (e.g., the Mosaic civil law) doesn’t *necessarily* mean it serves no additional purpose (e.g., to provide a universal standard for civil governments to follow). But I’m wondering what your argument is that it does in fact serve this purpose. I scanned the original thread to see if you’d stated it but I gave up around #500. (Forgive me if I missed it.) Do you mind stating your basic argument (or pointing me to where you’ve already done so)?

    The basic argument would be:
    1) God, being a just God, gave just laws to the Israelites.
    2) Justice is something involving moral absolutes.
    3) Therefore, in their general equity, the civil laws serve to instruct the Christian magistrate as to how to do justice.

    Does that make sense? (whether or not you agree)

    -TurretinFan

  463. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Paul:

    To add to your comments about the vagueness of “2k” standing alone, even ultramontanism is “2k.” It makes the civil magistrate the servant of the Roman pontiff, but it does make a clear distinction between the two kingdoms. Even the Amish think there are two kingdoms (although they think we have to pick one).

    It’s like another of the pm-2k buzzwords, “the spirituality of the church.” Does anyone think that the church isn’t spiritual?

    -TurretinFan

  464. Paul said,

    February 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Zrim,

    “Tfan, are you making an emotional argument about hand-sawing? But Dt. 21 calls for disobedient children to be stoned.”

    Hey, I heard Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens make that same complaint. Anyway, Dt. 21 doesn’t call for that as consulting some standard, reputable exegetical commentaries will attest.

  465. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    T fan said:The basic argument would be:
    1) God, being a just God, gave just laws to the Israelites.
    2) Justice is something involving moral absolutes.
    3) Therefore, in their general equity, the civil laws serve to instruct the Christian magistrate as to how to do justice.

    Does that make sense? (whether or not you agree)

    -TurretinFan

    TurretinFan, that makes perfect sense!

  466. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Zrim says:

    How do you *know* people are screwing up natural law? By what standard can you make that statement?

  467. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Doug said All men are commanded to repent and submit to the King of Kings. Even the Magistrate!

    We agree, but even magistrates who submit to Christ ought to observe the 2K distinction in their rule.

    What do you say to a ruler, who wants to legalize “man boy love”. Tell him he’s not interpreting General revelation, aright?

    Correct. Depending on the parties involved, one may be able to reason from other agreed-upon principles, but there may be some things that can only be axiomatically asserted as being true based on the testimony of nature and conscience.

    Aren’t all men bound to the same Standard? Yes, there are two sphere’s of responsibility, Church and State, but the same moral Standards.

    Here you are glossing over distinctions. Yes, all men are under the moral law. No, our obligations are different. We are forbidden from judging those outside of the church. We are required to take the sacraments, unbelievers are forbidden. Even the Mosaic law had various accommodations for unbelievers living in Israel.

    Jesus said “Man should live by every word that proceed from the of the mouth of God”. When God lays down moral imperatives they are binding until or unless God says otherwise.

    This principle of interpretation is just a blank check theonomists want to write themselves (aside from your consistent insistence on making civil law a subset of the moral law). But that is just a way of getting around doing responsible exegesis of individual passages as we would with any other question of theology. We consider the original audience, circumstances, covenantal backdrop, and timing of the various commands given in Scripture and only then do we determine applicability for our own lives. We do not just assume commands are immediately normative for us without doing the serious work of exegesis and systematic theology. Should we still be requiring levirate marriage?

    The word of God is our Rock, it carries the same authority as with God himself, therefore to say the Magistrate isn’t bound by God’s Word is to deny the heart of the Gospel! Since heaven and earth havent passesd away, let’s press on to the higher calling in Christ!

    Thanks for the rhetorical flourishes, but it should occur to you that if the Bible does indeed teach 2K, then it follows that the magistrate is indeed bound to observe this distinction in his rule.

  468. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    David Gadbois: “So opposing the state legalizing gay marriage should be a no-brainer.”

    So, does R2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square in “opposing the state legalizing gay marriage” as was done in California over Proposition 8?

    A straightforward Yes or No will do.

  469. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Doug said How do you *know* people are screwing up natural law? By what standard can you make that statement?

    Again I find you making remarkably similar epistemological blunders to our Roman Catholic friends. Revelation is always the standard, and if you demand that there be a standard outside of the standard in order to interpret the standard, then you overthrow the authority, sufficiency, and perspicuity of revelation. Both general and special revelation are divine revelation – they are both the Word of God. God is the author. God has made himself sufficiently clear in both the book of nature and the Bible.

  470. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Zrim says: Doug, you keep making the argument that because people screw up then the implicit natural law is somehow at fault and thus what is needed to solve certain problems is explicit biblical law.

    Zrim, how do you know Magistrates are screwing up General revelation? By what standard can you make that claim?

  471. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Mr. Gadbois,

    Even within the Bible, the more clear interprets the less clear. If you want to call that a standard within a standard, so be it. And as your standards and mine agree, the Scriptures are more clear than general revelation.

    -TurretinFan

  472. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    TUAD said So, does R2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square in “opposing the state legalizing gay marriage” as was done in California over Proposition 8?

    A straightforward Yes or No will do.

    You will have to ask this Mr. R2K that you speak of. I am David Gadbois, and if you want his opinion I think it is a good civic duty for anyone, Christian or not, ministers or laymen, to oppose gay marriage in the public square.

  473. David Gadbois said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Tfan, I hesitate to say that one is more “clear” than the other, I would rather say that the Bible is more explicit. General revelation is not propositional, special revelation is. And, yes, the Bible certainly does serve as an authoritative corrective in the case that our interpretation of nature goes astray.

  474. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    “I am David Gadbois, and if you want his opinion I think it is a good civic duty for anyone, Christian or not, ministers or laymen, to oppose gay marriage in the public square.”

    Versus (Compare and Contrast With)

    Zrim: “TUAD, 2k makes a distinction between the church qua church and her individual members, between institution and individual. When it comes to the institution, 2k says that the church should only speak in line with what she has been commissioned. She hasn’t been commissioned to protest abortion clinics. When it comes to individuals, 2k also distinguishes between extra- and ordinary members. The extraordinary have a burden on them that the ordinary simply don’t, namely to speak in accordance with the church as institution. They may certainly have their socio-political convictions, but they must be much more cautious about how they speak than ordinary individuals.

    I notice a distinct difference between David Gadbois’s 2K and Zrim’s 2K. One muzzles the free and moral speech of ministers much more so than the other. Hence, this muzzling justifies the term Radical 2K.

  475. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    David Gadbois says: Revelation is always the standard, and if you demand that there be a standard outside of the standard in order to interpret the standard, then you overthrow the authority, sufficiency, and perspicuity of revelation.

    Wrong! Sola Scriptura! Come on Daivd, how could you louse that one up?

  476. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Come on Daivd, how could you louse that one up?

    Doug, you loused up the spelling, but to hazard a guess to your question, it might be due to the eating of 2K bread that’s been leavened with Darryl Hart’s poisonous R2K.

  477. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Can you imagine our Reformed forefathers telling Rome that “Revelation” is the basis for there disagreement? LOL!

  478. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Yea Truth, talk about sour doe! LOL!

  479. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Mr. Gadbois:

    I’m not sure why you hesitate over the question of which has greater clarity. Consider what the Belgic Confession says:

    First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God: his eternal power and his divinity, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20.

    All these things are enough to convict men and to leave them without excuse.

    Second, he makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need in this life, for his glory and for the salvation of his own.

    I submit to you that “more openly” means more clearly. I understand that you agree with this article of the Belgic confession, so why the hesitation?

    -TurretinFan

  480. Ron said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    TF, please lend a hand if you would on this train of thought. It’s hard for me to believe what I think I’m hearing, so I’m wondering whether I’m missing something.

    “NO violation of natural law should be celebrated, legitimized, or rewarded by the state.”

    David,

    I don’t see that as a stricture you can consistently apply unless you would advocate tyranny through the civil prohibition of all transgressions that violate natural law.

    Say, for instance, certain lawmakers want to put into law permission for same sex “marriages” in a land that currently forbids such unions. Given what same sex marriage presupposes – a violation of natural law, your position would seem to be that it would be wrong to pass such a law, for to do so would be to “legitimize” the sin that is presupposed by such an unholy alleged union. The law makers would by your standard have to say no to same sex “marriages”, which would be to forbid same sex marriages, and the basis for that prohibition would be that the transgression the new law would allow for violates natural law.

    Now also assume a certain state forbids sports fans to commit the sin of cursing in anger at their team on television while all alone in their own homes. Also, assume that law makers want to overturn the law, just like the law makers who want to overturn the law that only allows for same-sex marriages. It would seem to me that such a sports-fan law should not be overturned by your standards, for to do so would be (by your standards) to legitimize the sin of uncontrolled anger in no less a fashion than it would be to legitimize sin by rewriting marriage laws. The problem I have with your paradigm is that it seems incapable of allowing legislators to draw distinctions between natural law transgressions that should and should not come under the jurisdiction of civil magistrates.

    Now maybe I’m misunderstanding what you mean by celebrate, legitimize and reward, but even if I am, I don’t see how you can apply your paradigm with any consistency because natural law speaks out against both anger in the heart and murder – yet natural law does not tell us which of those two classes of transgression come under the rule of civil government. NOTE: Neither anger nor murder may be celebrated, legitimized or rewarded, yet the former is not a matter for kings to punish whereas the latter is.

    My simple paradigm goes like this: No transgression is to be legitimized by the absence of a civil law that would prohibit the transgression. In my paradigm, the absence of a civil law of prohibition merely communicates that the action, whether sinful or not, is not deemed worthy to come under the sphere of civil magistrates. So for instance, when there is no civil law against a man looking with a lustful look, the absence of such a law may not be taken as making the sin of adultery in one’s heart legitimate. The question is not about legitimizing sins against natural law. The question is which sins are to be punished by civil magistrates (and what should those sanctions be), which your paradigm gets us no closer to determining.

  481. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Daivd Gadbois says (Answer, no)

    Daivd, your boardering on absurd, it’s as if your saying “we” don’t consider the covenant, context, timing, the orginal audience, and various other commands before trying to apply God’s law”. We do! The absurd part is; your staement implies that Calvin, Turrentin, Machin, Warfied, Hodge, Cotton, and the *huge majority* of our best Theologians were pretty shallow, and just dismissed these matters, without serious thought. That seems to be the implication of your statement, no?

  482. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    pm-2k [aka R2K aka PC 2K] – what DGH seems to be advocating, which condemns all the other positions identified above (as far as I can see).

    Does that help clarify?

    -TurretinFan

    TFan, you also wrote the following:

    “It seems that some contemporary theologians – names typically associated with Westminster West (located in Escondido, California) – are advocating a position with respect to the two kingdoms that takes matters even further away from the classical Reformed position. Their position seems to include such ideas as that the American “blue laws” related to the Lord’s day, criminal punishment for adultery, and the like are not proper. The position appears to reflect an idea that there should be a radical separation of church and state, and consequently is sometimes referred to as “r2k,” although the adherents of the position do not appreciate that label.

    I say “seems to include,” because there does not appear to be a lot of clear positive statements of their positions. I wonder if any of my readers know of, and can locate for me, their positive Biblical or logical argument for their position. I can find this sort of thing with respect to the American Reformed position, and I can find very excellent works ably defending the classical Reformed position, but I cannot locate anything of substance for the Escondido position.”

    After over 1300 comments on this topic, the sound conclusion is:

    Just Say No to Darryl Hart’s and Zrim’s Radical 2K doctrine.

  483. Ron said,

    February 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    David,

    Maybe it might be easier if you just give an example of the state celebrating etc.
    a transgression that violates natural law. I would take such celebration as to include making laws that allow for such sins, which as I’ve argued would require by your standards to rule against all natural law sin in the civil realm in order to avoid celebration. That, however, you claim (I think) not to be what you are saying. In which case, I don’t see how “celebrating” etc. plays a part in any practical way.

    Thanks,

    Ron

  484. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    To play devil’s advocate, Ron, I think that David might reply that his example of legalizing marriage between sodomites or between lesbians would involve the state affirmatively celebrating, legitimizing, and rewarding those sinful lifestyles, since the state gives benefits to those who marry. That wouldn’t happen (so he might say) if they simply removed a law against inward cursing at home.

    Here’s a rub (along the lines that you are explaining): take the example of recognizing Islam as a religion? (I’d pick Satanism, but Islam is plenty inflammatory enough)

    By recognizing Islam as a religion, a pluralistic state is also affording it a variety of protections that are not granted to the Elks or other social groups. Allowing Muslims to avail themselves of those protections is rather like letting lesbians avail themselves of the benefits of marriage, in that both are examples of actions where some violation of natural law enjoys privileges.

    Moreover, divorce (except in particular circumstances) violates Natural law. Must the civil magistrate permit such divorces? May he? Like marriage, divorce is an exercise of state power to the effectuating of a particular end.

    What about remarriage? What about remarriage to a divorced ex-spouse after an intervening spouse? What about temporary marriages where the real purpose is prostitution?

    A lot of these questions are rather easily answered from Scripture, but don’t have any easy answer via natural law. The absolutist approach that David has suggested has a certain attraction.

    However, it seems that it is almost certainly wrong. The issue of divorce is one such example.

    -TurretinFan

  485. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    A lot of these questions are rather easily answered from Scripture, but don’t have any easy answer via natural law. The absolutist approach that David has suggested has a certain attraction.

    However, it seems that it is almost certainly wrong. The issue of divorce is one such example.

    -TurretinFan

    Amen!

  486. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    What if Doug is getting his a priori from God’s word? That would be justified of course.

    David Gadbois said “He isn’t”.

    Oh really David? I was quoting directly from Hebrews 10 presenting one of the clearest a priori ”lesser to the greater” examples found in God’s Word. How about showing me how I’m missing what appears rather obvious on the surface of the text?

    Consider Hebrews10:28-31

    “Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence to two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay”. And again, “The Lord will judge his people”. It is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”.

    It’s a fearful thing to spurn the Spirit of grace, amen? Hebrews says the exact opposite of what Gordan was expositing. It’s fr worse to be a nominal chrsitan in the NC than in the OC. The book of Hebrews is one *a prior argument* in favor of that view. Shadows gave way to reality, promise to confirmation. In Christ our all in all. This is the theme of Hebrews, IMHO.

    Especially notice Hebrews 3, 4 6, and 10. While the New Covenant far exceeds the older administration in power, efficacy, and glory, the warnings are the same, and the sanctions a more severe, not less, as in “worse punishment”. This just isn’t mere culpability, (all though it is that) the sanctions are more severe as well. In that “the Lord will judge his people”.

  487. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Do you mean that you don’t think that the Bible alone norms the civil magistrate? Or do you mean that the Bible does not norm the civil magistrate at all? I don’t want to misunderstand your comment.

    Tfan, I don’t understand why this is so hard or why I have to keep repeating this. The Bible norms the church, not the magistrate. That’s more short hand which I’ll qualify in another way that will hopefully put this to bed for you: Sola scriptura is Protestant short hand for how the church is ruled by the Bible but also makes room for tradition (against Anabaptism which says solo scriptura and makes no room for tradition). Sola revelatio generalis is short hand for how the magistrate is ruled by general revelation but also makes room for the Bible (against legal secularism which says solo revelatio generalis and makes no room for the Bible).

  488. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    TUAD (#474), that’s right. And on top of those distinctions about what the church is commissioned to speak to as well as the distinction between extra/ordinary members, I come from the quarter of 2k that takes an agnostic view of the power of politics and legislation to nurture the right, true and good (and a dim view of social and political activism). I’m much more inclined to look to the institutions of the family and church than the halls of justice for that.

    So as opposed as I am to homosexuality enjoying the sanction of marriage, I am also equally skeptical about efforts to socially and political disenfranchise a certain group of sinners and having Christianity aligned with such disenfranchising efforts. That’s not a very good way to easily solve certain social and political issues, and it earns a variety of marginalizing descriptions, from idiosyncratic to pacifist. But I happen to think that sinners are complicated and so are their projects. So, figuratively speaking, my vote for Prop 8 is to abstain, since I don’t think such questions easily boil down to “yes” or “no.” This is the part where you go ape.

  489. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Zrim:

    You wrote:

    Sola revelatio generalis is short hand for how the magistrate is ruled by general revelation but also makes room for the Bible (against legal secularism which says solo revelatio generalis and makes no room for the Bible).

    That sounds like the Bible does norm the state – at least a little. But this:

    The Bible norms the church, not the magistrate.

    Sounds like the Bible doesn’t norm the magistrate, even a little.

    But then again when I wrote:

    But, of course, now that you seem to be on the same page with us regarding the fact that the Scriptures do norm the civil magistrate in his role as civil magistrate (and it is not general revelation or unaided reason alone that norms that calling),

    You responded:

    But I still don’t agree with you that the Bible norms the civil magistrate.

    So which is it?

    Does the Bible norm the civil magistrate, at least a little? Or does the Bible not norm the civil magistrate even a little. Let’s call the “at least a little” position A, and the “not even a little” position B.

    You can put this to bed by just letting me know “A” or “B.”

    -TurretinFan

  490. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Tfan (#479), why do you insist that explicit means more clear? The Belgic you quote says that implicit revelation is “enough to convict men and leave them without excuse.” How can that be if implicit means unclear? But implicit revelation is just as sufficient as explicit revelation. It Is not deficient.

  491. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Zrim (#490): Well…

    (see?)

  492. Zrim said,

    February 2, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Tfan (#489), it seems to me that the problem is the term “norms.” We can’t say a text “norms something a little.” It either norms or it doesn’t. At the same time, when a text norms an institution that doesn’t mean other sources mayn’t be employed. The Bible norms the church, but tradition may be used. Similarly, general revelation norms the magistrate, but special revelation may be used.

  493. dgh said,

    February 2, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    David Gadbois, my time has been limited. But u da man! Biblical and thoughtful.

    (I hope that endorsement doesn’t get you in too much trouble.)

  494. Doug Sowers said,

    February 2, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Well as we plow on, I thought I would share some telling quotes from J. Gresham Machin :)

    Education, Christianity, and the State: by J Gresham Machin

    “In the nature of the case Christianity must under take to transform all of human culture, and that only the Christian ethic based of the majesty of God’s Law could arrest the decline of western culture”.

    On reforming the government schools

    “Surely the only truly patriotic thing to teach the child is that there is one majestic moral Law to which our own Country and all Countries of the world are subject. There will have to be recourse again despite the props supported by the materialistic paternalism of the modern state, to the stern solid masonry of the Law of God. An authority which is man made can never secure the reverence of man. Society can endure, only if it is founded on the Rock of God’s commands.

    Amen and amen!!

  495. GAS said,

    February 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    T-Fan (489),

    I’m becoming convinced that the replies we see from Zrim reflect a core commitment to negative theology. Something similar to Paul’s minimalist/maximalist distinction, I think. This is why you see him ask why the explicit is more clear. What’s left is only explaining why something cannot be. So while most are trying to understand distinctions in a cataphatistic sense the other side is working from apophaticism. Apophaticism is a core principle of postmodernism.

    The result is an otherworldliness, caesaropapism, emphasis on the church over the individual, etc.

  496. TurretinFan said,

    February 2, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Zrim:

    You wrote:

    Tfan (#479), why do you insist that explicit means more clear? The Belgic you quote says that implicit revelation is “enough to convict men and leave them without excuse.” How can that be if implicit means unclear? But implicit revelation is just as sufficient as explicit revelation. It Is not deficient.

    a) “more openly” means “more clearly” — That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    b) Sufficiency and deficiency relate to a purpose. To leave men without excuse, general revelation is sufficient. But that doesn’t mean that general revelation is sufficient for something beyond that.

    You wrote:

    Tfan (#489), it seems to me that the problem is the term “norms.” We can’t say a text “norms something a little.” It either norms or it doesn’t. At the same time, when a text norms an institution that doesn’t mean other sources mayn’t be employed. The Bible norms the church, but tradition may be used. Similarly, general revelation norms the magistrate, but special revelation may be used.

    I get the sense that you mean to say “B,” by this. But I wish you would just say that and put this to bed.

    And actually, the standards (which are one kind of tradition) do norm the church, but subordinately. Scripture is the unnormed norm for those who practice sola Scriptura.

    But the real question is whether you are willing to acknowledge that the Bible norms the civil magistracy at all. Whether you are willing to acknowledge (to use other words) that the Bible speaks authoritatively in a binding way with respect to the civil magistrate, proscribing moral laws that must be obeyed by the civil magistrate in their duties as civil magistrate. The civil magistracy is not a field the consists wholly of matters indifferent – and the Bible is not completely silent on the topic of the civil magistrate.

    I think so, the Westminster divines thoughts so, the American revisers thought so. What about you? Put an “A,” if you’re with me, and “B,” if you don’t agree.

    -TurretinFan

  497. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 3, 2011 at 1:16 am

    (Better Formatting)

    Me, #474: “I notice a distinct difference between David Gadbois’s 2K and Zrim’s 2K. One muzzles the free and moral speech of ministers much more so than the other. Hence, this muzzling justifies the term Radical 2K.

    Zrim: “TUAD (#474), that’s right.”

    Thank you.

    “… I am also equally skeptical about efforts to socially and political disenfranchise a certain group of sinners and having Christianity aligned with such disenfranchising efforts.”

    Hmmmmmmm…..

    “So, figuratively speaking, my vote for Prop 8 [Marriage = 1 man and 1 woman] is to abstain, since I don’t think such questions easily boil down to “yes” or “no.” This is the part where you go ape.”

    Zrim, actually I want to thank you for being forthright in how R2K works itself out.

    For R2K certainly merits the descriptor Radical.

  498. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 3, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Darryl Hart: “David Gadbois, my time has been limited. But u da man! Biblical and thoughtful.

    (I hope that endorsement doesn’t get you in too much trouble.)

    Speaking of endorsements, Darryl Hart, who do you endorse between David Gadbois and Zrim?

    “I am David Gadbois, and if you want his opinion I think it is a good civic duty for anyone, Christian or not, ministers or laymen, to oppose gay marriage in the public square.”

    Versus

    Zrim: “TUAD, 2k makes a distinction between the church qua church and her individual members, between institution and individual. When it comes to the institution, 2k says that the church should only speak in line with what she has been commissioned. She hasn’t been commissioned to protest abortion clinics. When it comes to individuals, 2k also distinguishes between extra- and ordinary members. The extraordinary have a burden on them that the ordinary simply don’t, namely to speak in accordance with the church as institution.

    So, figuratively speaking, my vote for Prop 8 [Marriage = 1 man and 1 woman] is to abstain, since I don’t think such questions easily boil down to “yes” or “no.””

    Darryl Hart, do you endorse David Gadbois’s position or Zrim’s position?

    And how about answering this earlier straightforward question:

    Does PC 2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?

  499. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Doug said Wrong! Sola Scriptura! Come on Daivd, how could you louse that one up?

    That is a category confusion. Sola scriptura means that Scripture is the sole infallible *rule of faith*. General revelation is not a propositional rule of faith.

    Daivd, your boardering on absurd, it’s as if your saying “we” don’t consider the covenant, context, timing, the orginal audience, and various other commands before trying to apply God’s law”. We do!

    Then you can’t, up front, lay a hermeneutical demand that all imperatives in Scripture are normative to us unless explicitly abrogated.

    The absurd part is; your staement implies that Calvin, Turrentin, Machin, Warfied, Hodge, Cotton, and the *huge majority* of our best Theologians were pretty shallow, and just dismissed these matters, without serious thought. That seems to be the implication of your statement, no?

    It is very generous of you to identify those people with your theological method, but it is not an argument.

    Oh really David? I was quoting directly from Hebrews 10 presenting one of the clearest a priori ”lesser to the greater” examples found in God’s Word. How about showing me how I’m missing what appears rather obvious on the surface of the text?

    The question is “lesser to greater” what? For the third time now you simply ignore the distinction between greater culpability vs. greater/more numerous laws and obligations. My original comments concern the latter, your quotes address the former. It should be rather uncontroversial that we, as new covenant Christians, have fewer obligations to attend to as covenant members vs. the very detailed, consuming, labyrinthian requirements of the Israelites under the Mosaic law.

    It’s fr worse to be a nominal chrsitan in the NC than in the OC.

    Indeed, but my point was that it was far “worse” to be a *faithful* believer in the old covenant than the new.

    Well as we plow on, I thought I would share some telling quotes from J. Gresham Machin

    Why don’t you try to actually sustain a line of argument than firing off these scattershot tangents. I tire of this tactic when Romanists do it, it is no better when it is in-house.

    Machen, like Calvin and many others, was a mixed bag. I know it makes everyone feel better about themselves when they can quote portions of their writings that they agree with, but it is obvious that people on both sides of the debate cannot fit everything they say into their own position. Sometimes it is because they simply were not consistent with themselves, sometimes it is simply because they don’t fit into the modern categories that define the debate today.

    This is just point-scoring, not sober thinking.

  500. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Tfan said To play devil’s advocate, Ron, I think that David might reply that his example of legalizing marriage between sodomites or between lesbians would involve the state affirmatively celebrating, legitimizing, and rewarding those sinful lifestyles, since the state gives benefits to those who marry.

    Right. I think what Ron is missing is that there is no such thing as passively “allowing” gay marriage to happen. It is an active sanctioning on the part of the state by definition. While we can perhaps speak of tolerating homosexuality, we cannot speak of merely “tolerating” homosexual marriage.

    A lot of these questions are rather easily answered from Scripture, but don’t have any easy answer via natural law. The absolutist approach that David has suggested has a certain attraction.

    I’m not sure what you mean by describing my position this way.

  501. dgh said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:43 am

    To all (but also to Jeff’s point about how maddeningly confusing 2k is as well as to Tfan on the degree of error tolerable), he is what 2k is saying at least as I understand it. It comes from Stuart Robinson, a minister in the Old School Presbyterian Church and so a peer of Hodge, etc. It is from his book, The Church of God: An Essential Element of the Gospel. This book was recently reprinted by the Committee on Christian Education of the OPC. Does that make it radical? Maybe. But it also may explain its clarity.

    Robinson is speaking about the different kinds of authority possessed in the civil and spiritual realms of God’s order:

    “1. In that the civil power derives its authority from God as the Author of nature, whilst the power ecclesiastical comes alone from Jesus as Mediator.

    “2. In that the rule for the guidance of the civil power in its exercise is the light of nature and reason, the law which the Author of nature reveals through reason to man; but the rule for the guidance of ecclesiastical power in its exercise is that light which, as Prophet of the Church, Jesus Christ has revealed in his word. It is a government under statute laws already enacted by the King.

    “3. They differ in that the scope and aim of the civil power are limited properly to things seen and temporal; the scope and aim of ecclesiastical power are things unseen and spiritual. Religious is a term not predicable of the acts of the State; political is a term not predicable of the acts of the Church. The things pertaining to the kingdom of Christ are things concerning which Caesar can have rightfully no cognizance, except indirectly and incidentally as these things palpably affect the temporal and civil concerns of men; and even then Csesar cannot be too jealously watched by the Church. The tilings pertaining to the kingdom of Csesar are matters of which the Church of Christ as an organic government can have no cognizance, except incidentally and remotely as affecting the spiritual interests of men; and even then the Church cannot watch herself too jealously.

    “4. They differ in that the significant symbol of the civil power is the sword; its government is a government of force, a terror to evil-doers; but the significant symbol of Church power is the keys, its government only ministerial, the functions of its officers to open and close and have a care of a house already complete as to its structure externally, and internally organized and provided.

    “5. They differ in that civil power may be exercised as a several power by one judge, magistrate, or governor; but all ecclesiastical power pertaining to government is a joint power only, and to be exercised by tribunals. The Head of the government has not seen fit to confer spiritual power of jurisdiction in any form upon a single man, nor authorized the exercise of the functions of rule in the spiritual commonwealth as a several power.

    “§6. It is unnecessary to digress here into a discussion of the rationale of these fundamental distinctions. It would not be difficult to show, however, that they are neither accidental nor arbitrary, but spring out of those fundamental truths concerning the nature of the Church itself, and of its relations to the gospel, which have already been pointed out. These distinctions, therefore, are of a nature to forbid all idea of any concurrent jurisdiction, and to render certain the corruption and final apostasy of any part of the Church which shall persist in the attempt to exist as a governmental power concurrent with the State,—it matters not whether as superior, inferior, or equal. They are the two great powers that be, and are ordained of God to serve two distinct ends in the great scheme devised for man as fallen. The one is set up, in the mercy and forbearance of the Author of nature toward the apostate race at large, to hold in check the outworking of that devilish nature consequent upon the apostasy, and to furnish a platform, as it were, on which to carry on another and more amazing scheme of mercy toward a part of mankind. The other is designed to constitute of the families of earth that call upon his name, and into the hearts of which his grace has put enmity toward Satan and his seed, a nation of priests, a peculiar nation, not reckoned among the nations, of whom Jehovah is the God and they are his people. That not only the utter disregard of this distinction in the formal union of the Church and State—either merging the Church in the State or the State in the Church—is ” destructive of the Church, but that, also, any degree of confusion in respect of this distinction is proportionally dangerous and corrupting, the history of the Reformed Churches generally, and in particular of the Church of Scotland, is a most striking illustration. Nay, the entire history of the Church, from its first organization, testifies that his people must render to Csesar the things that are Caesar’s, as distinct from rendering to God the things that are God’s, or the Church suffers.”

    I have no idea why this is objectionable to anyone other than a theonomist.

  502. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Right. I think what Ron is missing is that there is no such thing as passively “allowing” gay marriage to happen. It is an active sanctioning on the part of the state by definition.

    David,

    I don’t see that you’re dealing with my point. A country has laws forbidding same sex marriage and Joe six-pack from getting out-of-control angry at the television. Both sins are a violation of natural law. On what basis do you allow one law to be changed (the one that prohibits Joe from sinful anger in the home when nobody is there) but not the other to be changed when both laws prohibit sin against natural law? Why wouldn’t the alteration of the Joe six pack law equally “celebrate” the sin in the same sort of way as an alteration of the marriage law? Your strictures seem arbitrary, which is why I think they can be exposed as inconsistent. Natural law does not distinguish between sins that civil magistrates should sanction and sins they shouldn’t, hence the problem I see.

  503. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 7:18 am

    To play devil’s advocate, Ron, I think that David might reply that his example of legalizing marriage between sodomites or between lesbians would involve the state affirmatively celebrating, legitimizing, and rewarding those sinful lifestyles, since the state gives benefits to those who marry. That wouldn’t happen (so he might say) if they simply removed a law against inward cursing at home.

    TF,

    I think I appreciate the distinction you’re trying to make regarding what David might say. My response would be to lift the tax advantages etc. for all marriages, placing them on equal footing regarding state benefits, and then examine the paradigm once again. I realize you were dealt a bad hand and that you are answering for a position that you find untenable.

  504. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Good people,

    Again, my hope in visiting last night was to help advance this discussion along a bit, but as I said if what I said should not prove helpful then please do ignore the comments. I think I’m clear on what is being said by the view that opposes mine. I also appreciate that I might be thought of not having yet grasped the opposing position. I can live with that. :)

    Sincerely,

    Ron

  505. David R. said,

    February 3, 2011 at 7:48 am

    Tfan (#462),

    “The basic argument would be:
    1) God, being a just God, gave just laws to the Israelites.
    2) Justice is something involving moral absolutes.
    3) Therefore, in their general equity, the civil laws serve to instruct the Christian magistrate as to how to do justice.

    Does that make sense? (whether or not you agree)”

    I appreciate you outlining your argument, thanks. The problem with it, I think, is that it fails to take into consideration the fact that Israel was uniquely constituted a holy people in a holy land and they were therefore mandated to “purge the evil from among [them].” Other nations are not so constituted and that’s why the OT civil laws ought not be used as a template for every nation, and a Christian magistrate would be grossly in error if he simply copied Israelite laws without taking this into consideration.

    Do you think this makes sense?

  506. David R. said,

    February 3, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Tfan,

    Am I correct is seeing disagreement between you and Turretin in the quote above (#381), for example, when he says that “in the laws concerning the punishment of crimes, the substance of the punishment is of natural right, but the manner and degree of punishment is of particular right and on that account mutable” and also “when the Roman laws are preferred to the Mosaic, they are not preferred simply as enacted by men, but as derived from natural and common right they can be more suitable to places, times and persons”?

  507. Paul said,

    February 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

    David R #505,

    “that’s why the OT civil laws ought not be used as a template for every nation, and a Christian magistrate would be grossly in error if he simply copied Israelite laws without taking this into consideration.

    You also need a premise like this (a) and Israel was *only* a unique, theocratic, holy land with holy people. Since (a) is false, your argument doesn’t go through as stands; second, (b), the quoted section is ambiguous with respect to (1) the actual explicit case laws and (2) the moral principles the case laws instantiate. With (1), TF’s argument you quote doesn’t assume that the actual laws verbatim should be instructions but, rather, his statements you quote lean toward (2). But if you disagree with (2) then it’s not clear you’re advancing the 2K side of things rather than some novel position as (i) Darryl Hart and Steve Zrimec both assured us that “the moral principles of the book of Deuteronomy should serve as guides for the Christian,” and (ii) they quoted (see post #2) Carl Trueman, to wit: “Thus, the basic moral principles articulated [in the book of Deuteronomy] should shape Christian ethical thinking which, in turn, will impact the political convictions of Christians as they operate in the civil sphere.” We were all assured that Trueman’s position was 2K, and Darryl Hart and Steve Zrimec both said they stood by the claim that “the book of Deuteronomy” presents “moral principles” that are valid today and “should” be taken into account.

    So I don’t think your response to TF is very cogent if it is intended to represent the “2K” response to TF.

  508. Zrim said,

    February 3, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Sufficiency and deficiency relate to a purpose. To leave men without excuse, general revelation is sufficient. But that doesn’t mean that general revelation is sufficient for something beyond that.

    Tfan, it seems to me that you’re working backward with regard to purpose. If implicit revelation is sufficient to eternally condemn then it seems obvious that it should be sufficient to temporally norm.

    …the standards (which are one kind of tradition) do norm the church, but subordinately. Scripture is the unnormed norm for those who practice sola Scriptura.

    Then conversely, if you want to say that general revelation is the unnormed norm for the magistrate but that special revelation norms it subordinately, then ok. Something tells me you might recoil, but remember that I’m working with the premise that implicit law is just as sufficient as explicit law and that deficiency lies within the sinful creature who interprets it.

    But the real question is whether you are willing to acknowledge that the Bible norms the civil magistracy at all.

    I can live with saying the Bible norms the magistracy but only subordinately. But I think it’s a bit awkward if not myopic. I think it makes more sense to place the accent on how general revelation norms the magistrate.

  509. Zrim said,

    February 3, 2011 at 9:30 am

    David R., regardless of whether your point meets all the jots and tittles of precise logic, I think you make a significant point about the relative purposes of OT laws as opposed to pagan constitutions. It might be said that to ignore this point is to ignore the whole point of the Bible. I am reminded of Jesus’ own words on John 5:39-40: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”

  510. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 3, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Zrim (#508): If implicit revelation is sufficient to eternally condemn then it seems obvious that it should be sufficient to temporally norm.

    Logic check. That doesn’t follow. Scripture is sufficient also to eternally condemn, but it clearly isn’t sufficient to temporally norm.

  511. Paul said,

    February 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Yeah, David, regardless if your argument is valid or sound, it’s still good because it asserts a conclusion Zrim agrees with! (Moreover, David disagreed with Zrim’s admission that “the moral principles of the book of Deuteronomy ought to guide the Christian’s ethical decision making today”.)

    Zrim like to say he’s not an irrationalist, but Zrim constantly denies that validity or soundness matter. Indeed, I once presented Zrim a defeater of one of his views in the form of an argument and asked him whether it was invalid or contained a false premise. He said it was valid and all the premises were true, yet he didn’t want to believe the conclusion. Zrim then said that by saying that he was rationally obligated to believe the conclusion, I was worshiping logic and kicking sand in the face of a weakling who runs of faith not sight.

    I submit Zrim’s constant attacks on logic as exhibit A in the case for hisanti-rationalism.

    “The important point to note here is that, given only that an argument is deductively valid, it may still be reasonable to doubt the conclusion or to doubt one of the premises. But what is not reasonable is to accept the premises and doubt or reject the conclusion. One who accepts the premises of a deductively valid argument ought, on pain of irrationality, also accept the conclusion. Correspondingly one who denies the conclusion of a deductively valid argument out, again on pain of irrationality, reject at least one of the premises of that argument.” (The Logic Book, Bergmann et al., p.14).

    Zrim is the mirror image of the hard-core, right wing Van Tillians who think the Bible is a handbook on logic. Their worldview makes them experts on logic. Similarly, Zrim’s position allows him to dismiss the findings of logicians because his worldview renders them irrelevant. This is odd because 2Kers are at pains to tell us that there’s a secular sphere where unbelievers are just as intelligent or more-so than believers, and we should listen to that sphere when it speaks. They don’t like the “Christian plumber” mindset of transformationalists, people who think that just because they have a Bible they can weigh in loudly on any topic whatever. Zrim’s trasnformationalist/worldviewist slip is showing. He just hasn’t got rid of that old-time evangelicalism and neo-calvinism yet.

  512. David R. said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Paul (#507).

    “You also need a premise like this (a) and Israel was *only* a unique, theocratic, holy land with holy people. Since (a) is false, your argument doesn’t go through as stands …”

    I’m not sure what you mean, but I’m guessing maybe you mean something like: Israel, in spite of their unique status, were, like other nations, comprised of sinners, who, like the citizens of other nations, needed civil laws to restrain their sin. Is that right? Certainly this is true, but it’s irrelevant. The point is, if Israel was uniquely mandated to purge the evil, then their laws cannot serve as a template for other nations.

  513. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

    David Gadbois says Machen, like Calvin and many others, was a mixed bag. I know it makes everyone feel better about themselves when they can quote portions of their writings that they agree with, but it is obvious that people on both sides of the debate cannot fit everything they say into their own position.

    This isn’t just a little trifle. Machin undermines your whole premise, lock stock and barrel! He nukes it! Morality and justice are not subject to change. For something to be moral, means it’s universal, even pagan philosophers understood that! This is where Kline is at his worst, and went haywire; Kline says in the Law God says; King David; you must execute a rapist, but in the New Covenant Kline says, you may not execute a rapist! Arrrgh!! Kline was just that incoherent and brazen! How dishonoring to God!

    Now I’m quite willing to concede that “where we build the next freeway”, or, which river should we dam, is a function left to the Magistrate, not the Church. We don’t need to ask RC Sproul for permission, lol! And yes, let’s get our best engineers to help us out! These are choices that are left to Government and the light of nature. The Bible doesn’t tell us which route to choose for 66, and this is what the Theologians you quote were referring too, “with the light of nature and such. But that in no way follows, that morality or the just punishments for crime can change; no one (of any repute) believed that, until Kline. If it was “moral” to execute a rapist in Israel, then it’s moral today. To appeal to GR, “as if it might say something different” to the Magistrate regarding morality and punishments is preposterous! This goes against the very heart of the WCF!! Since God is the author of both, and God does not change!

  514. David R. said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Doug,

    You say: “But that in no way follows, that morality or the just punishments for crime can change; no one (of any repute) believed that, until Kline.”

    But Turretin said: “Thus in the laws concerning the punishment of crimes, the substance of the punishment is of natural right, but the manner and degree of punishment is of particular right and on that account mutable.”

  515. Zrim said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Jeff, I’d rather say that Scripture may be employed but it isn’t necessary to temporally norm. It also isn’t appropriate. But you’re missing my point. If the eternal outpaces the temporal and if implicit revelation (the law written on the human heart) is sufficient for eternal purposes then it seems obvious that that the implicit is quite sufficient for temporal purposes.

  516. Zrim said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Paul, the point is that logic is all well and good but it doesn’t solve everything. One can be logically correct but still wrong, and one can be logically incorrect but still right. Have you ever heard of following the letter of the law but still missing its spirit? Don’t you think some people are wrongly convicted of crimes and guilty go free, even though the letter of the law was precisely followed? Law is good and so is logic as far as they go, but they fail just as often as they succeed.

    And isn’t slavishness to law and logic pretty mush what got Jesus hung on a tree? Or would a better logic have actually circumvented human sin and set him free? Christianity isn’t logical or intuitive: it involves all manner of miracles and strange claims to things like virgin birth, resurrection and ascension. And the gospel itself is actually pretty counter-intuitive to our natural notions of human victory. To say nothing of Paul himself opposing worldly wisdom (including logic) not with more philosophy and logic but with the cross. And against the claim that our theology owes a great debt to philosophy I’d suggest that it owes solely to Scripture (I keep checking but all I ever see footnoted in the confessional formulations is the Bible—still no philosophers). I know, that makes my view that of the “toothless fundie.” So be it.

  517. Paul said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

    David R,

    I mean as a point of logic, your claim doesn’t go through.

    1. Not all of Israel’s civil laws were inteded to “purge the evil from among you.” Purging the evil from among you is, as Brian S. Rosner points out in various places (e.g., see Paul, Scripture & Ethics; NT Commentary on the Old, 1 Cor. 5, expulsion). Moreover, the expulsion principle was invoked for breach of covenant, and guilt by association in order to maintain holiness. Of course, the problems here are that (1) many civil laws didn’t have the guilt-by-association principle and (2) there’s the same problem: i.e., even if we grant that civil laws were under the expulsion principle (they’re not), you’d need the additional premise that this was their *only* use and function.

    2. Saying “it is irrelevant” is unresponsive and out of accords with the tacit agreement about the rules of rational discourse that govern this dialectic.

    3. It is ambiguous to say “template for other nations.” First, there’s the problem that your only response to my argument was to authoritatively assert, “that’s irrelevant,” and second, the ambiguity is over what “template” means. Do you mean the actual laws or the moral principles contained in them? If the latter, what would your argument be for that since the moral principle isn’t bound to time and place and since the 2Kers here like Darryl Hart and Steve Zrimec have disagreed. There’s also the confessional statement that “the general equity” applies, and there’s Trueman’s statement, which we were assured represented 2K.

  518. greenbaggins said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:08 am

    These two threads together make up over 1300 comments. This is absolutely mind-boggling to me. By the way, we have topped 2million hits. It happened sometime this morning. Thanks everyone, I am humbled by people’s patronage of my blog.

  519. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:11 am

    David R. please forgive me for jumping in, but you say:

    David your confusing laws that were *just* for the circumcised, and laws that were binding for both Israel and the sojourners ie moral laws. This is the heart of the controversy, “moral laws” were for all men, both believers and unbelievers.Theonomists agree that the laws *that only applied to Israel* are not binding, for unbelievers. It doesn’t follow from there, that laws for murder, kidnapping, rape, and homosexuality have changed. In fact, Paul in 1 Tim 1:8-13 says the exact opposite.

  520. Paul said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Zrim, stringing together a list of unargued for assertions is rather unpresuasive. I’ve already addressed your false claims, atrocious proof-texting, and it does no good since you continue to repeat it. But hey, cool to see you admit that Christianity is illogical!

    “Christianity isn’t logical or intuitive: it involves all manner of miracles and strange claims to things like virgin birth, resurrection and ascension.”

    I take it that you think these things show Christianity isn’t “logic.” Would you care to demonstrate how they show that? What law of logic does the Virgin birth violate? How is the resurrection illogical? I am now quite certain you haven’t the slightest clue about logic, what it is and does, or much of anything else for that matter. Yet you continue to make ridiculous claims like this (i.e., Christianity is illogical) and parade your ignorance around. You should think before you type and the moderators here who care about tone should also step in and defend the faith delivered to the saints when we have content like Zrim’s that subverts the faith is dishonoring to the traditional of Christian apologists and all the work they have done to answer the objections of unbelievers. Forget Zrim Bahnsen, Zrim Dawkins sounds more right!

  521. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Doug (#513): But that in no way follows, that morality or the just punishments for crime can change; no one (of any repute) believed that, until Kline.

    Doug, if you have not already done so, please take some time to read through Calv Inst 2.7 and 4.20.

  522. TurretinFan said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Some thoughts on the intellectual aspect:

    There is sometimes a salutary lack of logic which prevents the whole of a man’s faith being destroyed when he has given up a part. But the true way in which to examine a spiritual movement is in its logical relations; logic is the great dynamic, and the logical implications of any way of thinking are sooner or later certain to be worked out.
    … What is the duty of Christian men at such at [sic] time? What is the duty, in particular, of Christian officers in the Church? | In the first place, they should encourage those who are engaging in the intellectual and spiritual struggle. They should not say, in the sense in which some layman say it, that more time should be devoted to the propagation of Christianity, and less to the defence of Christianity. Certainly there should be propagation of Christianity. Believers should certainly not content themselves with warding off attacks, but should also unfold in an ordinary and positive way the full riches of the Gospel.But far more is usually meant by those who call for less defence and more propagation. What they really intend is the discouragement of the whole intellectual defence of the faith. And their words come as a blow in the face of those who are fighting the great battle. As a matter of fact, not less time, but more time, should be devoted to the defence of the gospel.

    J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Chapter on “The Church” – also published separately)

    -TurretinFan

  523. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:27 am

    David R. Me thinks your confusing things like *jay walking* with rape. Of couse our civil Magistrate determines how we should punish infractions like *speeding on the freeway*. But when the WCF was talking about the judicial law, it was talking about moral universals. And the men at Westminster all thought a rapist must surely be put to death!

  524. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:41 am

    @ Jeff, I’m on it right now! Thanks! :)

  525. sean said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:44 am

    At some point this has more merit as a sociological phenomen rather than a fruitful discussion. I’m either amazed or freightened at the endurance. Lance Armstrong full of EPO(allegedly) doesn’t have this kind of stamina. Somebody call Guiness, this has to qualify somehow.

  526. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Paul says: I take it that you think these things show Christianity isn’t “logic.” Would you care to demonstrate how they show that? What law of logic does the Virgin birth violate? How is the resurrection illogical? I am now quite certain you haven’t the slightest clue about logic, what it is and does, or much of anything else for that matter. Yet you continue to make ridiculous claims like this (i.e., Christianity is illogical) and parade your ignorance around. You should think before you type and the moderators here who care about tone should also step in and defend the faith delivered to the saints when we have content like Zrim’s that subverts the faith is dishonoring to the traditional of Christian apologists and all the work they have done to answer the objections of unbelievers. Forget Zrim Bahnsen, Zrim Dawkins sounds more right!

    Amen, and amen!!!

  527. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Ron said I don’t see that you’re dealing with my point. A country has laws forbidding same sex marriage and Joe six-pack from getting out-of-control angry at the television. Both sins are a violation of natural law. On what basis do you allow one law to be changed (the one that prohibits Joe from sinful anger in the home when nobody is there) but not the other to be changed when both laws prohibit sin against natural law?

    Because when you say that the government would “forbid” same sex marriage, that is only saying that the government would not recognize and endorse same sex marriage. It is not actively forbidding any individual citizen from doing anything, it is only prohibiting the state from getting involved. It would not involve the prohibition of any activity by an individual – homosexuals could still go about calling themselves “married” if they like.

  528. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    “homosexuals could still go about calling themselves “married” if they like.”

    Analogously, R2Kers could still go about calling themselves “2K” if they like.

    (Although they shouldn’t. It’s false and misleading equivocation).

  529. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Doug said
    This isn’t just a little trifle. Machin undermines your whole premise, lock stock and barrel! He nukes it!

    It’d be nice to get a little more argument from you and a little less self-congratulatory cheerleading. Machen does indeed say some things we would disagree with, he also says things that no theonomist could possibly agree with. Does that mean we are both nuked?

    Morality and justice are not subject to change. For something to be moral, means it’s universal, even pagan philosophers understood that! This is where Kline is at his worst, and went haywire; Kline says in the Law God says; King David; you must execute a rapist, but in the New Covenant Kline says, you may not execute a rapist! Arrrgh!! Kline was just that incoherent and brazen! How dishonoring to God!

    As usual, this argument is too simplistic, and it proves too much. Was it moral and just for Israel to wipe out the pagan inhabitants of Canaan? Well, we all would say anything God commands is moral and just. But we acknowledge that it is very often the case that it is not our place, indeed it is wrong to prosecute and execute justice on God’s behalf. That doesn’t mean that morality or justice change, it just means that some institutions on earth are appointed by God for carrying out limited cross-sections of God’s will. Once it is conceded that not everything Israel was commanded to do was intenteded to be a normative model of government for all governments (including nations that are not in covenant with God), then one cannot simply make blanket assumptions about which prescriptions are supposed to be normative to modern governments today. Again, one has to do the hard work of exegesis, biblical theology, and systematic theology. No simplistic shortcuts allowed.

  530. Zrim said,

    February 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Paul, I didn’t say that Christianity is illogical. I said it wasn’t logical. You know, like the difference between not liking something and disliking it. Not loving someone isn’t the same as hating them, is it? I also think it’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s simplistic. You at least have to admit that it is counter-intuitive, don’t you? And isn’t the law that the virgin birth breaks that virgins don’t give birth? And isn’t the law that the resurrection breaks is that dead men don’t rise? And what gives with all the hyperventilating about “subverting the faith” and name calling, etc.? It is interesting how those fixated on law (theonomists) and those on logic speak in ways virtually indistinguishable.

    Tfan, if I were less interested in defending Christianity than propogating it I don’t think I’d have contributed to another mega-thread on 2k. But the logical outworking of anything other than 2k is some form or other of theonomy, cultural Christianity and social gospel.

  531. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Zrim: “But the logical outworking of anything other than 2k is some form or other of theonomy, cultural Christianity and social gospel.”

    What’s the logical outworking of R2K with regards to the following question:

    Does R2k condemn those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England during the American Revolution?

  532. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    David Garbo’s says: [As usual, this argument is too simplistic, and it proves too much. Was it moral and just for Israel to wipe out the pagan inhabitants of Canaan?]

    Yes it was, because God said to do! I can’t believe you even asked that question! God brought Divine judgment against the 7 nations, and even said *why* he was bringing the judgment. Because of their depravity, and because they sacrificed they’re children to Moleck.

    In the New Covenant we are still at war, but now the stakes have greatly increased, the seven nations have become the whole world! Jesus has claimed every nation as his own! Now every man is commanded to repent and confess that Jesus is Lord over all! And *all* means *all*! Yes, even in the Civil realm! There is no “God free zone”. We now proclaim the Gospel, which is the Sword of the Spirit, and our God fights for us, as we trust in his promises! Our King commanded us to disciple every Nation! That includes both spheres!! (Only the Magistrate bears the puny physical sword for evil doers, and just war.) We being ambassadors of Christ bear the far more powerful Sword, the Gospel of the Cross! When we say “Jesus is Lord”, that has implications for how we do everything. From the way we work, to the way we run a Nation. There is nothing outside of Christ’s rule and authority, since. he has all authority in heaven and earth. So when the church is corporately faithful in the true knowledge of God in unity and maturity, our enemies are slowly rolled back by God himself, *as was the case with Israel*. God has designed life to test his people; are we going to walk by faith, trust in his commands, or rely on our natural eyes? This is why your Theology is so dangerous, you completely misses the whole point of the Great Commission! You’ve taken you eye off the ball David, and confused yourself in a conceptual contradiction. Our mission is about world conquest in Jesus name, in his strength, founded on all of God’s word. Yes, that includes politics!

  533. February 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    [...] at Green Baggins where a fiesty exchange of slings and arrows — count ‘em, over 1,300 comments and climbing — over 2k has diverted what could have been a good conversation about the value [...]

  534. Zrim said,

    February 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    TUAD (#531), I believe this has been asked and answered (and ignored) already. But you also seem to miss that 2k is less interested in condemning others than in making a case for a seat at the table for itself. We figure if we can tolerate the broad evangelicalism and social gospel you guys can certainly tolerate us. Then again, maybe intolerance the point of social gospel?

  535. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Doug, sloganeering and propagandizing (complete with exclamation points) is not a substitute for rational argument and actually interacting with the reasoning I presented. You are not debating in good faith.

  536. GAS said,

    February 3, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    TUAD (531),

    Ask them about the Dutch against the Spanish and whether Althusius should be condemned.

    Poor Zrim would be without any neighbors if that hadn’t happened!

  537. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    These two threads together make up over 1300 comments. This is absolutely mind-boggling to me. By the way, we have topped 2million hits. It happened sometime this morning. Thanks everyone, I am humbled by people’s patronage of my blog.

    This is your blog? All this time I thought it was my friend Darryl’s blog. :)

  538. TurretinFan said,

    February 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    “intolerance the point of social gospel”

    Intolerance is certainly the point of the criminal law – which gets us back to the more central issue. When you criminalize something, you are saying you don’t tolerate it.

    Should every manner of sexual impurity be tolerated by the civil magistrate or not? If one begins with the Old Testament as a starting point (whether or not one alters severity or manner of punishments), one at least has some kind of foundation to answer that question.

    Otherwise, I guess every civil magistrate will simply do what seems best to him – what his conscience can endure. And in this day of seared consciences, a lot of iniquity will be tolerated. Will that please God? No.

    -TurretinFan

  539. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Zrim: “TUAD (#531), I believe this has been asked and answered (and ignored) already.”

    Zrim, you ducked in #100. I didn’t ignore your ducking. And I’m not ignoring Darryl Hart’s ducking of the question either.

    “But you also seem to miss that 2k is less interested in condemning others than in making a case for a seat at the table for itself.”

    Your statement shows that it’s actually *you* who made a big miss/mess. It’s not “2K” that’s making a case for a seat at the table, it’s your R2K and Darryl Hart’s R2K that’s making a case for a seat at the table for itself.

    Your R2K is a condemning 2K and is aberrational and radical. Everytime you try to sneak in your R2K by calling it 2K, you’re going to get called on it. It’s so dishonest.

    Let’s go through it again:

    (1) “I am David Gadbois, and if you want his opinion I think it is a good civic duty for anyone, Christian or not, ministers or laymen, to oppose gay marriage in the public square.”

    Versus

    (2) Zrim: “TUAD, 2k makes a distinction between the church qua church and her individual members, between institution and individual. When it comes to the institution, 2k says that the church should only speak in line with what she has been commissioned. She hasn’t been commissioned to protest abortion clinics. When it comes to individuals, 2k also distinguishes between extra- and ordinary members. The extraordinary have a burden on them that the ordinary simply don’t, namely to speak in accordance with the church as institution.

    So, figuratively speaking, my vote for Prop 8 [Marriage = 1 man and 1 woman] is to abstain, since I don’t think such questions easily boil down to “yes” or “no.””

    Also Zrim (per GAS), does R2K condemn Althusius in the Dutch versus the Spanish?

    Finally, GAS has a thoughtful dictum about pm-2K (aka R2K):

    “Six days you shall worship and make sacrifices to the god-state and on the seventh day you can rest from that.”

  540. TurretinFan said,

    February 3, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    “I didn’t say that Christianity is illogical. I said it wasn’t logical.”

    The only way that statement makes sense is through equivocation (logical in the sense of intuitive, as opposed to the sense of “logical” that Paul had been talking about).

    “It is interesting how those fixated on law (theonomists) and those on logic speak in ways virtually indistinguishable.”

    And there we seemingly go back to the main sense of “logic.”

    As for God’s law, there’s a reason the 119th Psalm features so prominently:

    http://cgmusic.org/workshop/smpsalter/psalm-119.htm

    If you (it’s common meter) sing with me part Mem:

    97 O how love I thy law! it is
    my study all the day:
    98 It makes me wiser than my foes;
    for it doth with me stay.

    99 Than all my teachers now I have
    more understanding far;
    Because my meditation
    thy testimonies are.

    100 In understanding I excel
    those that are ancients;
    For I endeavored to keep
    all thy commandements.

    101 My feet from each ill way I stayed,
    that I may keep thy word.
    102 I from thy judgments have not swerved;
    for thou hast taught me, Lord.

    103 How sweet unto my taste, O Lord,
    are all thy words of truth!
    Yea, I do find them sweeter far
    than honey to my mouth.

    104 I through thy precepts, that are pure,
    do understanding get;
    I therefore ev’ry way that’s false
    with all my heart do hate

    Fixate on that!

    -TurretinFan

  541. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Zrim: “We figure if we can tolerate the broad evangelicalism and social gospel you guys can certainly tolerate us.”

    #1. Note the whiny begging (which implicitly acknowledges that R2K is being rejected) for a seat at the table.

    #2. Note the comparisons of “broad evangelicalism” and “social gospel” with “R2K.” Lump ‘em all in the same rough category. Lump one, lump all.

    #3. Who says that “broad evangelicalism” and “social gospel” is being tolerated by Reform folks?

  542. Zrim said,

    February 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Tfan, (#539) and TUAD (#538), there was a time when Utah wasn’t allowed into the Union because of its protection of polygamy. One way to interpret that was that a nation founded on Protestant orthodoxy shouldn’t tolerate formally legalized sexual deviation. But another way is to say that it was a way for orthodox Protestants to stick it to heterodox Arians. It’s probably a little of both, but to deny that it has anything to do with socially and politically disenfranchising a certain class of sinners seems a little naïve. By the way, I wonder if New England states which sanction homosexual marriage and no-fault divorce should be booted out of the Union?

    TUAD, when “A Sermon to a President” is preached by a Presbyterian pastor and championed to greater or lesser degrees by the Reformed masses then I think it’s a good indication of how social gospel is quite tolerated by Reformed folks.

  543. Jeff Cagle said,

    February 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I ding Zrim on logic now and then, but I gotta stick up for him on this point:

    “Illogical” and “non-logical” really are two different terms.

    Illogical, in most uses, refers to a series of propositions that are flatly contradictory.

    Non-logical refers to propositions that do not logically follow from one another. Inductive reasoning is a species of non-logical thought.

    It might help to think of (and describe) non-logical as “not purely logical.”

  544. TurretinFan said,

    February 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Zrim:

    It’s one thing to say that some state or state is dead wrong for tolerating an abomination, and it’s another thing to ask what the suitable remedy for that transgression is.

    You seem to agree with us that it is wrong (morally wrong, not just unlikely to lead to a long and stable regime) for a state to tolerate some kinds of evil. Why those kinds and not other kinds? Why those kinds in certain degrees and not other degrees?

    Our gut tells us that it’s just ad hoc – it’s based on preference, not principle – on taste not law.

    -TurretinFan

  545. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 3, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Zrim: “TUAD, when “A Sermon to a President” is preached by a Presbyterian pastor and championed to greater or lesser degrees by the Reformed masses then I think it’s a good indication of how social gospel is quite tolerated by Reformed folks.”

    Zrim, TurretinFan has already spoken to you about the fallacy of equivocation.

    Your idea and usage of “Social Gospel” in reference to Pastor David Bayly’s sermon is very different than the more common understanding and usage of the term “Social Gospel.”

    Please don’t conflate meanings and equivocate anymore, Zrim.

  546. greenbaggins said,

    February 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    TUAD and Zrim, you two need to cool it off a bit. Both of you are stepping over the line.

  547. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    A few questions and some observations:

    It is not actively forbidding any individual citizen from doing anything, it is only prohibiting the state from getting involved.

    David,

    So, in other words, the state should not issue marriage licenses to people of the same sex. Should they issue marriage licenses to people of the opposite sex? If so, can you base your justification on natural law alone?

    It would not involve the prohibition of any activity by an individual – homosexuals could still go about calling themselves “married” if they like.

    So, homosexual acts should not be against the law between consenting adults. Got it. Should bestiality be legal if the animal appears willing?

    Natural law knows nothing of “offence” and “harm” principles, but you seem to adhere to those libertarian standards, which I find arbitrary and not defensible by natural law. After all, natural law calls all sin into judgment; so natural law would appear to be no safe haven for your justification of which transgressions should and should not be punished. Scripture, on the other hand, informs us of which sins revealed by natural law are to be punished. What God has joined together…

  548. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Zrim,

    We all get the distinction you were trying to make between something that is logical and something that is “not logical” – even in spite of the unfortunate choice of words. We get that we don’t logically deduce the virgin birth from other premises. It’s a revelation that stands all on its own. The problem, however, is that you are willing to pick on logic and those who use it well, not in an effort to defend a mystery of the faith that is not deducible but rather you pull the logic card out when your position is being tenaciously torn apart, logically. I have seen that tactic used in these sorts of discussions and it’s most illogical! :)

  549. Paul said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Jeff,

    Illogical and non-logical are different. However, NOT in the context Zrim used it. Something “not logical” is something that doesn’t have truth-value, and is either a question, command, or meaningless statement. But, clearly, Zrim meant that the resurrection, virgin birth, and ascension VIOLATED laws of logic, were illogical in some way. In any event, it is also clear that that those “not logical” in the most trivial of senses if that they are not propositions, but EVERYONE agrees on that, so Zrim couldn’t have meant that.

    Zrim’s response also solidifies my interpretations, despite Jeff’s attempt to defend a friend. Zrim wrote,

    “You at least have to admit that it is counter-intuitive, don’t you? And isn’t the law that the virgin birth breaks that virgins don’t give birth? And isn’t the law that the resurrection breaks is that dead men don’t rise? And what gives with all the hyperventilating about “subverting the faith” and name calling, etc.? It is interesting how those fixated on law (theonomists) and those on logic speak in ways virtually indistinguishable.

    First, counter-intuitiveness have NOTHING to do with this, as what is counter-intuitive is not at all what is non- or illogical.

    Second, see Jeff, he responds to my question about which law of logic the virgin birth violates by saying it violates the law of virgins not giving birth. He is thus trying to tell us that these things VIOLATE laws of logic, which means the “illogical” interpretation is correct. He thinks these things are CONTRARY to logic. Remember the discussion was over how well logic can be applied to this discussion and whether validity applies in this discussion. Zrim’s response was to point to those things as an example of how the rules of logic don’t hold sway here. (And, this is besides the fact that he’s not naming a law of logic but what he takes to be a law of nature, and it’s not even clear that this is a law of nature—even if it is intelligible to speak of laws of nature in the first place.)

    So, Jeff, you can clearly see that the best interpretation is that he meant illogical not just “not logical”, like how “Are you going to the store” is not logical. I think the whole friend thing is a source of a blind spot here, as Zrim did *mean* illogical

    Zrim, anyone who implies that Christianity violates laws of logic and is illogical subverts the faith. Of course, it’s also simply odd that you complain about hyperventalating and name calling when you have done this repeatedly to me here, as well as making false accusations and cairicatures of my position, which you haven’t admitted you were wrong to do, just like this. Lane Keister even had to tell you to cool it. So stop with the projecting. You’re always right and you don’t even care that you’re now being forced to defend your indefensible claim, so long as you are never wrong.

  550. Paul said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Jeff said,

    “Non-logical refers to propositions that do not logically follow from one another. Inductive reasoning is a species of non-logical thought.”

    Of course, inductive reasoning is a species of non-*deductive* logic, it’s not a species of “non-logical” thought, as inductive logic is a respected and highly technical branch of logics.

  551. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    “TUAD and Zrim, you two need to cool it off a bit. Both of you are stepping over the line.”

    Zrim, FYI, you have not offended me. You may have offended the moderators however.

    When I wrote the following, did I hurt your feelings?

    “Zrim, TurretinFan has already spoken to you about the fallacy of equivocation.

    Your idea and usage of “Social Gospel” in reference to Pastor David Bayly’s sermon is very different than the more common understanding and usage of the term “Social Gospel.”

    Please don’t conflate meanings and equivocate anymore, Zrim.”

  552. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Zrim says: Tfan, (#539) and TUAD (#538), there was a time when Utah wasn’t allowed into the Union because of its protection of polygamy. One way to interpret that was that a nation founded on Protestant orthodoxy shouldn’t tolerate formally legalized sexual deviation. But another way is to say that it was a way for orthodox Protestants to stick it to heterodox Arians.

    Zrim , Mormons are not Arian.

  553. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Paul,

    I was trying to read Zrim in the best possible light, but I must say that I was not reading all he said. If this is true what you say (italics below) then I retract my statement about Zrim simply meaning by non-logical, “mystery”. “[Zrim] responds to my question about which law of logic the virgin birth violates by saying it violates the law of virgins not giving birth. He is thus trying to tell us that these things VIOLATE laws of logic, which means the “illogical” interpretation is correct.

    I do still stand by my observation regarding his playing the logic card in order to avoid a corner.

  554. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Ron said So, in other words, the state should not issue marriage licenses to people of the same sex. Should they issue marriage licenses to people of the opposite sex? If so, can you base your justification on natural law alone?

    Maybe it is something that is simply legitimately debatable. I don’t assume that the state needs to issue marriage licenses at all.

    I know you want to have answers for everything, but the fact is that neither the Bible nor general revelation necessarily provide prescriptive norms for everything. Some policies may simply be more wise or prudent, and others less so. They need to be compatible with the larger principles that are revealed in natural law, but there is surely latitude in the specifics. And even appealing to the Bible would not sidestep this necessity.

    After all, natural law calls all sin into judgment; so natural law would appear to be no safe haven for your justification of which transgressions should and should not be punished.

    It is true that natural law calls all sin into judgment, but your conclusion does not follow. It does not call all sin into judgment by the magistrate. Consider that Paul in Romans 13 assumes that the government’s duty to “bear the sword” for punishment of evil is a self-evident reality even to the larger non-Christian world. The government must have some idea about its legitimate domain in order for Paul’s description to be true.

    It seems to me that all of the reasoning of 2k skeptics falls apart, since it assumes that society simply could not have ordered itself at all before there was a Bible or Mosaic law. All of these objections just evaporate when you consider Abraham and the patriarchs. God had established his covenant people without any deficit or deficiencies, and these saints were not nail-biting over a lack of detailed, propositional instruction on the proper workings of government.

  555. Paul said,

    February 3, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Ron, yes, the evidence is even stronger. As I initially relayed, I once presented Zrim with an argument against a position of his. I asked him to show how the argument was invalid, or if it was valid to show which premises were false. Zrim said he could not show that the argument was invalid and that non of the premises were false, except the conclusion. I told him this could not be done and that if the argument was valid and the premises were true he *had to* accept the conclusion. He then played the logic card and claimed that Paul critiqued logic when it contradicted what he said. This obviously never happened with Paul, but it’s a stunning example to the lengths Zrim goes to to hold on to his position.

  556. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    It is true that natural law calls all sin into judgment, but your conclusion does not follow. It does not call all sin into judgment by the magistrate.

    My brother,

    What we have here is a failure to communicate. I have ever drawn the conclusion that natural law calls all sin into judgment by the civil magistrate. The conclusion I have drawn, ad nauseam even, is that natural law calls all sin into judgment without remainder and that Scripture reveals to us which transgressions are punishable by civil magistrate. My point to natural law proponents has been that if they want to base their civil code upon natural law, then the maximum penalty possible should be imposed because natural law reveals that all sin deserves damnation.

  557. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Paul, I’m tracking now. Thanks, Ron

  558. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Ron said My point to natural law proponents has been that if they want to base their civil code upon natural law, then the maximum penalty possible should be imposed because natural law reveals that all sin deserves damnation.

    What if that’s not all that natural law reveals? What if it also reveals the eye for eye principle of civic retribution?

  559. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    It seems to me that all of the reasoning of 2k skeptics falls apart, since it assumes that society simply could not have ordered itself at all before there was a Bible or Mosaic law.

    David,

    I’m afraid that’s simply a false representation of what’s going on here. That governments by God’s good providence restrain evil does not address (but rather skirts) the question of how governments ought to behave. You, following Zrim, have confused a subjective standard of “good enough” with any authoritative justification for civil laws.

    Pagan rulers have just laws only because one lust restrains another. The lust for an avoidance of a revolution restrains a lust for tyranny. When a sinful government thinks it can get away with tyranny without upheaval, then they’ll go for it. God is simply restraining fallen man. But all of that is not germane to the issue at hand, though it might address some of things that you want to discuss. :)

    I know you want to have answers for everything, but the fact is that neither the Bible nor general revelation necessarily provide prescriptive norms for everything.

    That too I’m afraid is false. I don’t want answers for everything. I’m simply pointing out that God has revealed how governments ought to behave if they are to be wise and natural law does not give us any answers in that regard. I simply want to know how propitiation, satisfaction, expiation, and reconciliation turns God’s wisdom into something not worth adhering to (or even foolishness) over night no less. Why does the cross abrogate wisdom for governing societies?

  560. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    What if that’s not all that natural law reveals? What if it also reveals the eye for eye principle of civic retribution?

    David,

    And what if it doesn’t? I suppose if we’re not interested in justifying our laws in any authoritative way, then natural law, the perfect cloak for extreme libertarian hands-off government ideology, will do just fine. But fine by whose standards? God’s, or man’s?

    If you believe in your heart of hearts that God desires that the OT case laws not be utilized today and that we should rely on “natural law” and common sense, then best of luck with that thinking. I mean that. I believe you will be found terribly wrong on the last day on that matter, as I’m sure you would say that I’ll be found wrong. But if I’m wrong, then that would mean that what God once held up as his wisdom for a nation that would obey him is no longer worthy for the meditation and implementation of kings. For some reason, I can understand how God could blame you for not taking his law more seriously, but I cannot see how he could blame me for trying to argue for the continued validity of his precepts, even if they were given under Moses.

    Grace and peace,

    Ron

  561. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    @David Gadbois, what if? What if bull frogs had wings? Okay, sorry for the sarcastic remark. If General Revelation reveals what God revealed in Scripture, as in “eye for and eye”, then you shouldnt have any problem looking to God’s written word. If however, it’s not “suffeicient” to reuse a phrase, then let’s go with the more explicit, rather than the less clear.

  562. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    @Ron #560 Right on! I couldnt agree more!

  563. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    @David Gadbois.. If General Revelation reveals what God revealed in Scripture, as in “eye for and eye”, then you shouldn’t have any problem looking to God’s written word.

    Not to mention, equitable retribution is impossible to flesh out in may cases, which is why we need special revelation. For instance, what do humans know, let alone fallen humans, regarding the social and political implications of public blasphemy and homosexuality? It is presumptuous to think that we don’t need a more detailed revelation of how to deal with these crimes against God. For us to base laws on our understanding of what proper restitution looks like is not only naive, it’s I believe arrogant in the truest sense of the word.

  564. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    @Ron;

    I know Ron! They expect fallen man to look to GR to understand how to punish some things many people don’t even feel are wrong! What are we to do? What is true “law and order”? How can we punish crime in a God glorifying way, if we don’t base our ethical understanding on the Rock of God’s word?! And not for our personal life, “only” but in both realms, Church and State. They both must have the same ethical standard. And that standard is found in the Christian Scriptures. That shouldn’t be controversial on this board.

  565. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Ron said You, following Zrim, have confused a subjective standard of “good enough” with any authoritative justification for civil laws.

    When you demand answers to specific questions of policy, you aren’t just asking for *any* authoritative justification for civil laws, generically. You imply that if I can’t answer specific questions that somehow this must prove the deficiency of natural law in its content, utility, and perspicuity.

    The question of authority is slightly different. All of divine revelation has authority, whether we are talking about general or special revelation. Insofar as general revelation reveals the duties of the magistrate, it is fully authoritative.

    Pagan rulers have just laws only because one lust restrains another.

    Not always, common grace can instill selfless impulses in unbelievers.

    That too I’m afraid is false. I don’t want answers for everything. I’m simply pointing out that God has revealed how governments ought to behave if they are to be wise

    Wrong. God has revealed how Israel ought to have behaved if they were to be wise. Deuteronomy was not addressed to governments generically.

    and natural law does not give us any answers in that regard.

    When you ask me specific questions about policy that natural law may or may not answer, it does not provide warrant to believe that natural law doesn’t have *any* answers simply because it may not answer your immediate demands. Setting aside the particulars for a moment, it seems to me that the eye for eye principle is a pretty good principle to start with.

  566. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Doug Sowers said
    @David Gadbois, what if? What if bull frogs had wings? Okay, sorry for the sarcastic remark. If General Revelation reveals what God revealed in Scripture, as in “eye for and eye”, then you shouldnt have any problem looking to God’s written word.

    Two things:

    1. It can certainly be helpful to look to God’s written word, even given the sufficiency of general revelation. I’m all for it.

    2. That still wouldn’t justify universalizing God’s commands to Israel as being instruction to governments generically.

    Ron said Not to mention, equitable retribution is impossible to flesh out in may cases, which is why we need special revelation. For instance, what do humans know, let alone fallen humans, regarding the social and political implications of public blasphemy and homosexuality? It is presumptuous to think that we don’t need a more detailed revelation of how to deal with these crimes against God.

    You again confuse your own demands with “needs.” Abraham didn’t need to know such things in order to live as a faithful covenant member in his generation.

    For us to base laws on our understanding of what proper restitution looks like is not only naive, it’s I believe arrogant in the truest sense of the word.

    Basing laws on general revelation is not basing it on “our understanding.”

    Doug said I know Ron! They expect fallen man to look to GR to understand how to punish some things many people don’t even feel are wrong!

    I’m always a little perplexed at how theonomists think the Bible will improve the situation. The ethical problem with fallen man cannot be solved by just adding more information, it is simply more information he will deny and suppress.

    What are we to do? What is true “law and order”? How can we punish crime in a God glorifying way, if we don’t base our ethical understanding on the Rock of God’s word?!

    I dunno. How can I practice aerospace engineering in a God-glorifying way when I don’t base my mechanical understanding on the Rock of God’s word?!

    And not for our personal life, “only” but in both realms, Church and State. They both must have the same ethical standard. And that standard is found in the Christian Scriptures. That shouldn’t be controversial on this board.

    But the Scriptures themselves do not present us with the “same ethical standard.” Unbelievers are not commanded to take the sacraments, to take an obvious example.

  567. dgh said,

    February 3, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Ron, something you said caught my eye: “what do humans know, let alone fallen humans, regarding the social and political implications of public blasphemy and homosexuality?” Do you mean to say that God actually explains the social and political implications of his law? Did he do that in the case of Israel’s dietary laws? Or is the law simply a reflection of God’s moral and holy character, and he chooses to reveal what he will. In other words, I don’t see much account of the social policy consequences of OT laws.

    I mean, God didn’t want Israel to take a census. Was this really about social and political policy? And if we go down that road, isn’t our use of the law fairly utilitarian and not very theocentric?

  568. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    David Gadbois said

    Partaking of the Lord’s supper is not an ethical imperative for all mankind! I think your getting tired, because your not making a bit of sense. When we speak of moral universal imperatives, we are talking about “judicial laws” that applied for both Jew and Gentile. Why is that so hard to understand?

  569. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    DGH says

    Yes, in Acts 10 God *himself* gave direct revelation, and the Apostles finally understood that all men, *meaning even the Gentiles* were now going to be considered clean meat. (in Christ of course) The dietary laws were pedagogical. They were to teach God’s people to be separate from unbelivers. We were not to digest what the world does, and the same holds true today. As “God’s people”, were are to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

  570. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    David Gadbois says

    Please let me help you out. I don’t believe that by passing a righteouss law, say; DP for murder, that all murders will stop. I asking a much more basic question, what would justice requre?

  571. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    The most disturbing thing about this whole PC 2K mess, IMHO; is *we* are living in times when everything seems up for grabs in America. Look what’s being taught as “fact” in our public schools! The Law of God is ridiculed, as nonsense! There are scores” of competing groups trying to establish their presuppositions. Abortion on demand, homosexuality, man boy love, bestiality, evalution, and every other kind of depravity, are clamoring for justification, or legal rights. And all we get from Dr Hart, Zrim, and Gadbois, is “look to that sufficient General revelation” that no one in our culture can see. What is there reply when an evil Magistrate looks at them and says, “but we are following GR? Nothing, they have nothing to say! It’s beyond pathetic, it’s absurd!

  572. Benjamin Gibbs said,

    February 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Geez Doug. What are you a theonomist or something? Man alive, you act like God wants us to actually follow His standard of justice. What an outrage. hehe

  573. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Ron, something you said caught my eye: “what do humans know, let alone fallen humans, regarding the social and political implications of public blasphemy and homosexuality?” Do you mean to say that God actually explains the social and political implications of his law? Did he do that in the case of Israel’s dietary laws? Or is the law simply a reflection of God’s moral and holy character, and he chooses to reveal what he will. In other words, I don’t see much account of the social policy consequences of OT laws.

    Darryl,

    No, I don’t think that God explains the social and political implications of his law, which is my point. Since he does not explain why it might be pragmatic to put blasphemers to death, we need to simply take him at his word that they ought to be put to death. It’s the natural law proponents that want to base laws (no, dare to base laws) upon their finite knowledge and sense of equitable retribution, as if they know what God knows.

  574. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    David,

    It would seem that our discussion is not progressing but deteriorating. I’m of the opinion that you are not dealing with anything that I’m writing whether it’s my critique of your position or statements about my own.

    Best,

    Ron

  575. Ron said,

    February 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I’m always a little perplexed at how theonomists think the Bible will improve the situation.

    David,

    Let this serve as a classic example of your false representation of theonomy. Theonomy is concerned with OUGHT and not predictions regarding results. You miss that either intentionally or unintentionally but nonetheless you continue to miss that.

    Sincerely,

    Ron

  576. Zrim said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Re the row over logic, somewhere up there David R. made a crucial point about the difference in purposes of Israelite law codes and pagan law codes. Paul dinged him for logic. I dismissed Paul’s whistle and affirmed David’s point. Paul didn’t like the dismissal and took it to be some sort of categorical attack on logic. Like I said, Iogic is good as far as it goes. I have nothing categorically against logic, only the over-realization of its power. And when it’s used to ding an important point I think it kosher to dismiss it. Paul then wanted to defend logic against David’s point, and my response was to try and put logic into what I think is a more realistic perspective.

    Frankly, the unchecked exaltation of logic bothers me greatly. It borders on a sort of political correctness not too unlike what we see when the topic turns to abortion, where if someone is merely opposed but not sufficiently morally indignant he’s out. Here, if one isn’t sufficiently enamored with the jots and tittles of logic he’s not only out but illogical.

    TUAD, like I have said before, I’m not easily offended. And, since the reminder was sufficiently vague, I’m not sure what constituted going over the line by either of us. I can only guess that it may have something to do on my part with the social gospel point, I don’t know. If so, I stand by my suggestion that to publically rebuke from a pulpit a civil magistrate over a social and political issue (with thinly veiled affirmations of violence to boot) is nothing short of social gospel. If what Pastor Bayly demonstrates in his so-called sermon isn’t a rightist social gospel then I’m not sure what is, unless we presume that rightists are invulnerable to social gospel. But I happen to think righties are just as vulnerable to social gospel as lefties.

  577. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Ron said Let this serve as a classic example of your false representation of theonomy. Theonomy is concerned with OUGHT and not predictions regarding results. You miss that either intentionally or unintentionally but nonetheless you continue to miss that.

    If theonomy is only concerned with what *ought* to be then you all should dispense with the objections and rhetoric I was responding to (Doug’s remarks). I’m only responding on Doug’s own terms.

  578. TurretinFan said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    D.S. I think a public, moderated debate between someone from the pm-2k side and someone from the classical reformed side would be very illuminating. I can’t count the number of points that the pm-2k side has dropped along the way. In a debate, presumably that sort of thing would be underscored. Here, points get quickly lost in the stream.

  579. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Doug said Partaking of the Lord’s supper is not an ethical imperative for all mankind! I think your getting tired, because your not making a bit of sense. When we speak of moral universal imperatives, we are talking about “judicial laws” that applied for both Jew and Gentile. Why is that so hard to understand?

    But that reasoning is just special pleading. If, as you admit, not all imperatives are universal, then why is it unthinkable that Israel’s judicial laws may not be universal imperatives for all governments? Simply asserting that that is the case is simply to assume what theonomy needs to prove. You really need to think outside of your own paradigm.

    Also, this ignores the fact that Jew and Gentile had different imperatives even under the Mosaic law.

  580. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Ron said It’s the natural law proponents that want to base laws (no, dare to base laws) upon their finite knowledge and sense of equitable retribution, as if they know what God knows.

    I don’t get the sense you are thinking critically and/or representing our position accurately. We don’t claim to ‘know what God knows” other than what God reveals. You haven’t just downplayed, but chucked out our doctrine of general revelation. You do know this is a Reformed and biblical doctrine, right?

  581. TurretinFan said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Mr. Gadbois:

    I think Doug was saying that in this era of post-modernity, the pm-2k cannot tell people what “ought” to be. The classical Reformed position can.

    -TurretinFan

  582. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Doug said Please let me help you out. I don’t believe that by passing a righteouss law, say; DP for murder, that all murders will stop. I asking a much more basic question, what would justice requre?

    You said “They expect fallen man to look to GR to understand how to punish some things many people don’t even feel are wrong!.” The point is, however, that they know it is wrong. Yes, they may suppress this knowledge, or they may not on particular points. Your comment here reveals that you find this situation intolerable, and that the obvious remedy is the Bible. But I ask again, how does that solve the problem?

  583. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Doug said all we get from Dr Hart, Zrim, and Gadbois, is “look to that sufficient General revelation” that no one in our culture can see. What is there reply when an evil Magistrate looks at them and says, “but we are following GR? Nothing, they have nothing to say! It’s beyond pathetic, it’s absurd!

    We would tell them that they are wrong, that they are lying, and that they know the truth clearly because God’s decree is known to all. I have two questions for you:

    1. Why is this assertion of truth based on divine revelation not good enough? Again, I sense you are imposing your own demands about what a response to unbelievers should look like. But I don’t find any such preoccupation in the Bible. I sense the reason is that you feel an exegetical argument would be more objective or have more traction.

    2. How does appealing to the Bible in such a situation improve either the method or the outcome for those who do not hold to biblical authority?

  584. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    D.S. I think a public, moderated debate between someone from the pm-2k side and someone from the classical reformed side would be very illuminating.

    An excellent suggestion, TFan! Besides yourself, I would also nominate Steve Hays and Paul Manata. (Sorry Ron, you’re just not as irenic as Steve and Paul.)

    I can’t count the number of points that the pm-2k side has dropped along the way. In a debate, presumably that sort of thing would be underscored. Here, points get quickly lost in the stream.

    Quite true. Furthermore, in this “stream” folks can choose not to answer questions. (See Darryl Hart’s continuous non-answer to questions posed to him about the R2K doctrine.)

  585. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    David Gadbois:

    David, I can tolerate it, but I still yearn for justice. I will not rest until every knee and every tongue has confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord. And until every enemy of God has been defeated! (The last enemy will be death) When I pray, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, “I mean it”! In faith. And I trust that God will complete this good work, that he started, in Christ,through faith! After all, Jesus said our faith will overcome the world. BTW, what do you think that means in a PMS 2K world?

    Rest in his completed work,

    Douglas Sower Power, lol! aka Doug Sowers.

  586. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    David Gadbois:

    I can tolerate it, but I yearn for justice. I will not rest until every knee, until every tongue has confessed that Jesus is Lord. And until every enemy of God has been defeated! (The last enemy will be death) When I pray, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, “I mean it”! And I trust that God will complete this good work, that he started, in Christ,through faith!

    Rest in his competed work,

    Douglas

  587. Doug Sowers said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    @TUAD’s that is an excellent idea! Let’s set it up! ;-)

  588. GAS said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Ron (547),

    Natural law knows nothing of “offence” and “harm” principles, but you seem to adhere to those libertarian standards, which I find arbitrary and not defensible by natural law

    Based on the above can I assume that:

    1) Even though all the commands of the 2nd table address the harm principle you do not find that emphasis significant…

    and following that…

    2) that despite it’s significance in redemptive history you do not place any extraordinary emphasis upon the 10 words in regards to general equity?

  589. TurretinFan said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    “Your comment here reveals that you find this situation intolerable, and that the obvious remedy is the Bible. But I ask again, how does that solve the problem?”

    If the problem is, “men have no objective standard,” then providing the Bible remedies that by providing an objective standard.

    My question for you:

    9 By what means shall a young man learn
    his way to purify?

    And the answer is:

    If he according to thy word
    thereto attentive be.

    Sing it with me! Sorry that the rhyme works better with a lovely Scottish accent.

    -TurretinFan

  590. David Gadbois said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Doug, it is sad to see that you are once again stooping to sloganeering and spear-shaking.

    Doug said And I trust that God will complete this good work, that he started, in Christ,through faith! After all, Jesus said our faith will overcome the world. BTW, what do you think that means in a PMS 2K world?

    Since this is the one relevant Scripture you bring up, I’ll answer it. The fact that you quoted from a Johannine text should alert you to the fact that “world” in John’s parlance often refers to the world in the moral and spiritual sense, those powers and people opposed to God. It is not referring to overcoming the physical, political, or cultural forces in the world – you can turn back just one chapter to I John 4 to see that that is the case.

    So, please, let’s do responsible exegesis rather than running roughshod over Holy Scripture with your postmillenial-tinted glasses on.

    I will not rest until every knee, until every tongue has confessed that Jesus is Lord. And until every enemy of God has been defeated! (The last enemy will be death)

    I’m glad to see that you are willing to leave at least one thing for Jesus to defeat at the Parousia.

  591. TurretinFan said,

    February 3, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I don’t get the sense you are thinking critically and/or representing our position accurately. We don’t claim to ‘know what God knows” other than what God reveals. You haven’t just downplayed, but chucked out our doctrine of general revelation. You do know this is a Reformed and biblical doctrine, right?

    Here’s the thing, when we ask, “But what do you know from general revelation?” We get, “Here’s Hammurabi’s code.” And when we ask, “But what part of that code represents general revelation?” We get extremely vague responses. Do you have a better response?

    -TurretinFan

  592. GAS said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:04 am

    dgh (501),

    I have no idea why this is objectionable to anyone other than a theonomist.

    I don’t find it objectionable so I guess that means I’m not a theonomist. At least Robinson is careful to qualify his comments in ways that pm-2k seems to despise.

    For example:

    The things pertaining to the kingdom of Christ are things concerning which Caesar can have rightfully no cognizance, except indirectly and incidentally as these things palpably affect the temporal and civil concerns of men;

    and…

    The tilings pertaining to the kingdom of Csesar are matters of which the Church of Christ as an organic government can have no cognizance, except incidentally and remotely as affecting the spiritual interests of men;

    At least from my perspective, these qualifications are rarely seen by advocates of pm-2k.

  593. David Gadbois said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Tfan, it is one thing to say that general revelation is not explicit nor propositional (which is true), but another thing to say it is not “objective”. In Romans 1 Paul still refers to natural law as “God’s decree”, I have a hard time understanding in what sense you would say that is not objective.

    Tfan said Here’s the thing, when we ask, “But what do you know from general revelation?” We get, “Here’s Hammurabi’s code.” And when we ask, “But what part of that code represents general revelation?” We get extremely vague responses.

    Natural law would encompass all of the moral law, both love of God and love of neighbor. Obviously there is overlap on this account between general and special revelation. And I would say that special revelation can illuminate and correct general.

    I’m not sure if that answers the thrust of your question, but that would be my quick summary.

  594. TurretinFan said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:16 am

    You wrote:

    Once it is conceded that not everything Israel was commanded to do was intended to be a normative model of government for all governments (including nations that are not in covenant with God), then one cannot simply make blanket assumptions about which prescriptions are supposed to be normative to modern governments today.

    Hopefully you do not think that Calvin, Turretin, and we simply made “blanket assumptions.” If you do not think that, it’s unclear what your point has to do with the conversation.

    -TurretinFan

  595. Doug Sowers said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:17 am

    You know what everybody?! General revelation is sooooo suffecient, and clear, that Zrim doesnt know how to vote on “Gay marriage”. LOL! In other words, GR is as clear as mud!

  596. TurretinFan said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:23 am

    You wrote:

    Tfan, it is one thing to say that general revelation is not explicit nor propositional (which is true), but another thing to say it is not “objective”. In Romans 1 Paul still refers to natural law as “God’s decree”, I have a hard time understanding in what sense you would say that is not objective.

    Maybe “objective” is not quite the right word.

    You wrote:

    Natural law would encompass all of the moral law, both love of God and love of neighbor. Obviously there is overlap on this account between general and special revelation. And I would say that special revelation can illuminate and correct general.

    I’m not sure if that answers the thrust of your question, but that would be my quick summary.

    a) Special revelation cannot correct general revelation, unless general revelation is in error. If general revelation is in error, it sounds like general revelation is actually subjective – and of course appeals to “natural law” often look like appeals to subjective values.

    b) Do you agree that the Holy Scriptures norm civil magistrates in their role as civil magistrates?

    -TurretinFan

  597. Neal said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Natural law would encompass all of the moral law, both love of God and love of neighbor. Obviously there is overlap on this account between general and special revelation. And I would say that special revelation can illuminate and correct general.

    Careful Dave. This is going to get you into trouble with Zrim.

    But this does raise a good question. In what ways does special revelation illuminate and correct general revelation? My sense is that this is a point that separates 2K from R2K, pm-2K, etc.

  598. David Gadbois said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Tfan said a) Special revelation cannot correct general revelation, unless general revelation is in error. If general revelation is in error, it sounds like general revelation is actually subjective – and of course appeals to “natural law” often look like appeals to subjective values.

    Well you correctly pointed out my error. I should have said that special revelation can correct our *mis*interpretation of general revelation.

    b) Do you agree that the Holy Scriptures norm civil magistrates in their role as civil magistrates?

    Yes. For example, Belgic 36 defines the role of the magistrate, and I believe in this article because it is taught in Scripture.

  599. TurretinFan said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Welcome to our side of the discussion, David G! :)

  600. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 4, 2011 at 1:06 am

    TurretinFan: “D.S. I think a public, moderated debate between someone from the pm-2k side and someone from the classical reformed side would be very illuminating.”

    As I said earlier, I think this is a terrific suggestion. For the pm-2k side (aka PC 2K aka R2K) I think Darryl Hart would be a good proponent since he has experience in debates.

    Perhaps a Darryl Hart (pro-R2K) vs. Steve Hays (anti-R2K, classical Reformed side) would be helpful and instructive.

    At this post Westminster’s Westering Star we see the following excerpt:

    “Another flashpoint of controversy was the regulative principle of worship. At one level, I’ve never known what all the fuss was about since, to my knowledge, none of the faculty ever worshipped in the auld Skreegh-me-dead style.

    If you want to get a flavor of the debate, go here:

    http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/1998HartDebate.htm

    In my opinion, [Darryl] Hart came out of this encounter in about the same shape as a possum challenging the business end of an eighteen-wheeler, but I leave it to each reader to judge the performance for himself.”

    Let’s give Darryl Hart an opportunity to show that he’s no longer a possum who’s challenged the business end of an eighteen-wheeler.

    Darryl Hart versus Steve Hays, whaddya say everybody?

    If Steve Hays says “Yes” will Darryl Hart also say “Yes”?

  601. Doug Sowers said,

    February 4, 2011 at 1:31 am

    I would even pay good money to see this!

  602. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 4, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Steve Hays!! Steve Hays!! Steve Hays!!

    Darryl Hart!! Darryl Hart!! Darryl Hart!!

    Purported Road Kill versus Observer Purporting the Road Kill.

    R2K!! R2K!! R2K!!

    No R2K!! No R2K!! No R2K!!

    Presenting UFC Mixed Martial Arts Debate Championship:

    “Steve “Triablogue” Hays versus Darryl “OldLife” Hart.”

  603. Doug Sowers said,

    February 4, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Your too funny TUAD’s! lol!!

  604. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 4, 2011 at 4:30 am

    Doug said all we get from Dr Hart, Zrim, and Gadbois, is “look to that sufficient General revelation” that no one in our culture can see. What is there reply when an evil Magistrate looks at them and says, “but we are following GR? Nothing, they have nothing to say! It’s beyond pathetic, it’s absurd!

    David Gadbois: “We would tell them that they are wrong, that they are lying, and that they know the truth clearly because God’s decree is known to all.”

    I think Doug is right. And that what David says what an R2k disciple would say to secularists is a fantasy in his own mind.

  605. David Gadbois said,

    February 4, 2011 at 5:10 am

    TUAD, on the contrary. Nothing I said could not be found in Romans 1. Even unbelievers know “God’s decree” about homosexuality, so anyone who says otherwise is wrong, lying, and know otherwise. Romans 1, Romans 1, Romans 1.

  606. dgh said,

    February 4, 2011 at 5:55 am

    GAS, if you don’t see those kinds of qualifications in 2k then all you do is read comments at blogs, and chances are that you may even find those sorts of qualifications here if you read charitably.

    But at the same time, many 2k critics here dismiss the fundamental distinctions that Robinson makes as completely wrong and a betrayal of the Reformed tradition.

    So when it comes to explaining your view to people who think you are opposed to Christ’s rule, qualifications may not be the first item on the agenda.

  607. dgh said,

    February 4, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Tfan, while you’re taking high fives from Truth Ducks . . . and Runs you may want to consider, when complaining that 2kers don’t answer all the points here, that you yourself have not replied to a meaty quotation from David R. back in 381 and mentioned again at 501. Maybe I missed it and that may also explain why some anti-2k points go unanswered. But when someone quotes your hero in a 2k friendly way, I’d think you’d all over it like white on rice.

  608. dgh said,

    February 4, 2011 at 6:07 am

    David G. and Doug Sowers, I’d like to hear more on the question of effectiveness (do I really want more comments here? not sure). It is striking that Doug complains about how gen. rev. is not going to answer the problems of our culture. David G. responded by asking how an appeal to spec. rev. would change the culture. It seems to me this is a point seldom considered.

    So Doug Sowers marches down to the local school board meeting and starts quoting the Bible. That’ll work. In fact, isn’t it more likely that an appeal to gen. rev. would work since the only way the school board members can respond to Doug’s appeal to scripture is if the Holy Spirit works in their hearts.

    Now, I’m not opposed to the H.S. working in a school board member’s heart. But short of said regeneration, I’d like them to try to work in a manner that is as good for all as possible.

    But Doug’s tactic does have one advantage — and this is going to sound snarky, but I still think it is true and needs to be said — Doug will feel righteous. He will feel that he has absolved himself.

    So I wonder if a lot of the anti-2k rhetoric is a form of posturing. It’s not as if the theonomists are actually going to change anything. Has Doug Wilson changed Moscow? But the anti-2kers may feel superior.

    Again, I know this is inflammatory. But I do wonder if the anti-2kers have actually considered that they may sound a tad self-righteous.

  609. Zrim said,

    February 4, 2011 at 6:35 am

    Neal, in case you missed it, in responding to Tfan David G. pointed out that SR can correct our misinterpretation of GR. So the point remains that when it comes to deficiency it lies entirely in the sinner, not in either GR or SR.

    dgh, I was in that precise position many years ago. I was teaching at a public school and we had one of those administrative pow-wows where, amongst others things, letters from the public were read. One letter came from the local fundamentalist church, quoting the Bible in an attempt to beat down something in the curriculum (or sex ed or whatever). As expected, eyes glazed over and, in my opinion, an otherwise valid point was given a polite nod but ignored. Since the letter came from someone I knew in my own church, I felt pretty confident in saying that whether the point was seriously engaged wasn’t so much the issue as feeling vindicated that the Bible was quoted in the public square. Sentimentality trumped sobriety. And being ignored only helped reinforce the sense of “persecution” and marytrdom, whcih reinforces the sense of righteousness. All of which helped formulate yet another, even more bleary-eyed letter at the next admin meeting. And an otherwise valid point was roundly buried beneath efforts to take back a small piece of America.

  610. paigebritton said,

    February 4, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Guys, we need a definition here:

    What are you talking about when you say “General Revelation”?

    a. Romans 1:19-20 & etc., i.e., the truth about God’s eternal power and divine nature, which all know but try to suppress, which is why all men are culpable;

    b. Romans 2:14-15, the [moral] law of God written on the heart even of those w/o SR, which is no guarantee of moral behavior, since the conscience “sometimes condemns”;

    c. “the light of nature” — which means what??

    d. common grace (or providence) — which allows for things like penicillin, the wheel, language, committee meetings and lightbulbs w/o the need for conversion.

    I believe these are not all the same thing, biblically speaking; and some are more vulnerable than others to the sinful heart’s impulse to sabotage. I also don’t think these are all traditionally considered under the heading of “General Revelation,” but only the first two. And yet the way you guys are tossing it around, GR seems to mean all four to you; and for DGH and Zrim, GR seems to be a POSITIVE and HELPFUL thing for life in the common sphere. I don’t get there from Rom. 1 or 2, and I don’t get there from what I know of traditional formulations of GR. So what do you folks mean by “GR,” and is this really the best term to use?

  611. Ron said,

    February 4, 2011 at 8:38 am

    We don’t claim to ‘know what God knows” other than what God reveals..

    David,

    You suggested in a previous post with a “what if?” that maybe GR informs you of the eye for an eye principle. From that principle you believe yourself sufficiently prepared to reason from general revelation and common experience (you have nothing left) to the question of what an equitable sanction might be for any given transgression. You wish to determine the law not based upon what God has revealed in his word but upon general revelation and personal experience. The problem you run into is that general revelation requires death and not all transgressions are to be dealt with in that way until God deals with them on the last day. That leaves you with personal experience to determine laws since general revelation only tells you that all sins deserve damnation.

    Your principle merely says the punishment should be equitable, but what you think is equitable is based upon what you perceive in your finitude as being the harm and offense of the transgression. That we should take an eye for an eye and not an eye for a tooth is equitable, but that principle of equity does not tell us whether the sin of homosexuality deserves before God a tooth, an eye, or something else. You would opt to figure it out based upon your perception of harm and offense. Yet your opinion is obviously ill-equipped to appreciate that the harm and offense given by such a sin as homosexuality warrants, as an equitable civil sanction, death. Your reasoning betrays you, which is another reason why you need the case laws! At the very least, the harm and offense given by two consenting homosexuals goes well beyond their own suffering. Homosexuals do breed other homosexuals though not sexually.

    You haven’t just downplayed, but chucked out our doctrine of general revelation.

    How so, David? Answer as if the judgment were tomorrow. On second thought, never mind; I don’t want to have anything to do with another falsehood.

  612. Ron said,

    February 4, 2011 at 8:51 am

    David,

    Go ahead and ignore the first paragraph above. My concern is w/ the second.

  613. Ron said,

    February 4, 2011 at 9:05 am

    Paige,

    I think that some are using a more inclusive definition of GR. That might be why David thinks I’ve “chucked” general revelation.

  614. TurretinFan said,

    February 4, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I see that DGH is continuing to refer to opponents of his position as “anti-2k.” It’s a lame ploy on his part, since – as he well knows – all his opponents here believe that there are two kingdoms.

    I also see DGH arguing from pragmatism (and Zrim gives his amen). We’re told that quoting the Bible to people “won’t work,” which means (we suppose) that it won’t change the laws the way we want them to be changed. That’s, of course, not particularly germane to the question of “ought.” There are lots of things that would work, but that’s not how we measure morality.

    I further see that DGH challenged me with respect to some points he felt I hadn’t addressed. I reply:

    I responded to #381 at #403. The string of assertions from Robinson in #501 don’t seem particularly meaty to me. I wonder whether you consider assertions from him to be “meaty” when it comes to this politicized topic on which he wrote (link to “Slavery as recognized in the Mosaic civil law, recognized also, and allowed, in the Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Christian church: being one of a series of sabbath evening discourses on the laws of Moses; with notes from orthodox British and continental Biblical critics and commentators”). Of course, you wouldn’t take his assertions there (and actually there he actually argues from Scripture), and yet because he was a contemporary of Hodge, we should — who knows? Perhaps your point is simply to suggest that your views are similar to Robinson’s (not on the slavery issue, of course), and therefore are not anything new.

    And, of course, I’m hesitant to speak ill of those paragraphs, because apparently doing so will get me tarred with the epithet “theonomist” (and apparently that means Calvin and Turretin were theonomists too – but I digress).

    I may nevertheless provide a brief counter-point to the series of assertions. Take, for example, this one:

    The tilings [sic] pertaining to the kingdom of Csesar [sic] are matters of which the Church of Christ as an organic government can have no cognizance, except incidentally and remotely as affecting the spiritual interests of men; and even then the Church cannot watch herself too jealously.

    This assertion is – like many of the assertions – vague. It sounds like it is saying that the church cannot condemn evil and unjust laws. Such a point, however, cannot be maintained from Scripture. Scripture places no such limit on the church, nor is the whole counsel of God limited to matters not involving the civil magistrate. Yet, on the other hand, this assertion is couched in such wishy-washy language that it could be taken to mean nearly the opposite – i.e. it could be taken to mean that such pronouncements by the church are find, but the church should just be cautious about making them.

    Why would anyone think that such assertions are “meaty”? I have no idea. I don’t see why such vague assertions would be bothersome to anyone – except perhaps to an ultramontanist or Erastian (regarding the state being a governmental power).

    -TurretinFan

  615. Zrim said,

    February 4, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Paige (#610), some might make distinctions between all of those, but I tend to see them as relatively similar or inclusive. So what I mean by general revelation is simply what is universally and implicitly known by nature, which has a pretty wide range from theistic to moral to aesthetic to pragmatic: we all know God exists, what is right and wrong and the difference between rolling friction and sliding friction. All of which is positive and helpful in getting along in this life, even if much of it is suppressed in unrighteousness (including the unrighteousness of the self-righteous).

    And, so, when you say you don’t get to GR being a positive and helpful thing for life in the common sphere from Romans 1 and 2 from what you know of traditional formulations of GR, I get lost. The Reformed and Lutheran scholastics talked about God’s moral law and taught that there are three basic uses of the law. The first is the civil use. That is, the law serves the commonwealth or body politic as a force to restrain sin and reward good. This falls under the general revelation discussion in most of the scholastics as well as natural law (cf. Rom 1-2). I presume the scholastics thought that the law so described was a positive and helpful thing for the common sphere and got there by way of Romans 1 and 2.

  616. Doug Sowers said,

    February 4, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Good point Paige, if your scratching your head, you should be! because they’re not making a bit of sense. Pinning Dr Hart down is a rather difficult task, and I believe Meredeth Kline’s intrusion ethic, is at the heart of this muddle. The gum on the shoe, if you will. Kline would confess that in the OT God said “King David you must execute a rapists”, but today? Kline’s says “we may not execute a rapist”. Huh? Where does Kline get this new standard for justice? Doesn’t that sound like a double standard of justice? Well, yea, but Kline thought he has an answer, and this is the crux of our debate.

    Kline believed we are to follow “common grace”, today, *whatever that means*, instead of God’s written moral standards. Dr. Hart prefers to call it *general revelation*. It’s no wonder Kline’s disciples, like DGH, Zrim, and David Gadbois, are so confused. They say we should govern our society by general revelation, NOT base our nations moral laws on the Word of God. They say, we don’t need the Bible, because we’ve got general revelation, which should make any Christian wonder where they see this in God’s word. It’s not in God Word, therefore, they’re whole argument is founded on sand. We keep hearing how *sufficient* general revelation is; yet if it is, then why does Zrim *think* he would vote for “gay marriage”? This can only mean the GR is a clear as mud.

  617. David R. said,

    February 4, 2011 at 10:11 am

    “I responded to #381 at #403.”

    You did?

  618. Doug Sowers said,

    February 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

    What does David Gadbois have to say to the Magistrate who looks him in the eye and says, “I am following general revelation”?

    David Gadbois will call him a liar! LOL!

    Is that what you do? Go around and call everyone who doesnt see GR like you, a liar? What if the Magistrate replies; “no David, your the liar”, then what do you say? What if says, “my general revelation is better than yours”? And if you call me a liar one more time, I’ll slap your face? How can you prove through GR alone that he’s wrong, and your right? Other than calling him a liar, what can you say to him?

  619. TurretinFan said,

    February 4, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Me: “I responded to #381 at #403.”
    David R.: “You did?”
    Me: Yes.

  620. David R. said,

    February 4, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Um … okay … if you say so …

  621. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 4, 2011 at 11:24 am

    “Tfan, while you’re taking high fives from Truth Ducks . . . and Runs you may want to consider, when complaining that 2kers don’t answer all the points here,…”

    Dear [snip], I give you credit for not ducking and running when you debated Dr. John Frame. Of course, it’s been noted by some that your abysmal performance resulted in you coming out of that encounter “in about the same shape as a possum challenging the business end of an eighteen-wheeler.”

    Do you think you can redeem yourself all these years later in a debate with Steve Hays about R2K?

    Or would you prefer to forever be known as possum roadkill?

  622. Doug Sowers said,

    February 4, 2011 at 11:35 am

    If general revelation is *sufficient* to base a nations moral laws upon; then how come Zrim thinks he *might* vote for homosexual marriage? How could something that God called an abomination in the OT, be a legally protected practice, by the Civil Magistrate today, that a confessing Christian would vote for? Based on general revelation?! Has God changed his mind? Does God really have two standards of justice? Does general revelation contradict God’s law?

    Hey Zrim, with you understanding of “gay marriage” how will you respond if David Gadbois calls you a liar? lol! Will you tell him, “my general revelation, is better than yours”? Will you allow David to go to God’s Word, to correct your faulty views? Or, like Meredith Kline will you say, God changed the punishments for sexual sins in the NT, so we may no longer execute rapists and kidnappers, child molesters, kidnappers, and people who commit bestiality, because of an intrusion ethic, we now leave their punishment up to “common grace”. (Whatever that means!)

    This is the BIGGEST problem with Kline, is that no one could ever (Biblically) figure out, or pin down, what Meredith Kline meant by “common grace”. Especially since the bible calls common grace, the rain, and sun, and crops, which they had in the OT, as well as now. So now we hear dgh, Zrim, and David Gadbois keeping Kline’s concept, but renaming it “general revelation”, which is just as ambiguous and muddled as “common grace” was. Even after Kline was proved incoherent by Bahnsen, in “No other Standard”, Kline would not repent, an admit his folly, and neither it seems will his disciples :(

  623. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 4, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Even after Kline was proved incoherent by Bahnsen, in “No other Standard”, Kline would not repent, an admit his folly, and neither it seems will his disciples :(

    Not repent, nor admit his folly, nor do his disciples. Wow. This is an echo of what Paul Manata wrote earlier about Zrim:

    “As I initially relayed, I once presented Zrim with an argument against a position of his. I asked him to show how the argument was invalid, or if it was valid to show which premises were false. Zrim said he could not show that the argument was invalid and that non of the premises were false, except the conclusion. I told him this could not be done and that if the argument was valid and the premises were true he *had to* accept the conclusion. He then played the logic card and claimed that Paul critiqued logic when it contradicted what he said. This obviously never happened with Paul, but it’s a stunning example to the lengths Zrim goes to to hold on to his position.”

  624. dgh said,

    February 4, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Tfan, so your — I mean Turretin’s answer is what exactly?

    Why would he write ever write that the Roman laws could be preferable to those of Moses?

    “. . . when the Roman laws are preferred to the Mosaic, they are not preferred simply as enacted by men, but as derived from natural and common right they can be more suitable to places, times and persons.”

    I mean, if he — I mean, you — are a Bible only guy and the magistrate must follow Scripture, how could you — I mean Turretin — ever consider Rome’s laws preferable to Moses’?

  625. dgh said,

    February 4, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Ron, thanks for your answer. That’s what I thought you’d say. God doesn’t explain the social or policy implications of his laws. There is no reason socially or politically why pork should be prohibited from a nation’s diet. It is a law designed to set God’s people apart.

    But you did make it seem like the Bible allows theonomists to know something of the social and political implications of God’s law, when you wrote: “what do humans know, let alone fallen humans, regarding the social and political implications of public blasphemy and homosexuality? It is presumptuous to think that we don’t need a more detailed revelation of how to deal with these crimes against God. For us to base laws on our understanding of what proper restitution looks like is not only naive, it’s I believe arrogant in the truest sense of the word.”

    The other related concern here is that if you want all people to follow God’s law, how are God’s people set apart from everyone else?

    This vacillation between God’s law for his covenant people and then an appeal to its universal application is what mystifies me. God’s law says that people should take the sacrament and they should not murder. We have no trouble figuring out that the former applies to believes and the latter applies to all people. And the way 2k applies prohibitions against murder to all people is to separate the laws of God’s covenanted people from the truths he reveals in nature and on people’s consciences.

  626. Doug Sowers said,

    February 4, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Paige wisely points out: And yet the way you guys are tossing it around, GR seems to mean all four to you; and for DGH and Zrim, GR seems to be a POSITIVE and HELPFUL thing for life in the common sphere. I don’t get there from Rom. 1 or 2, and I don’t get there from what I know of traditional formulations of GR. So what do you folks mean by “GR,” and is this really the best term to use?

    Paige, I believe the reason they’re having so much trouble, is they want to hold on to (Kline’s intrusion ethic premise), but saying as Kline did, that we are under “common grace” is untenable. So now they have replaced the term *common grace* with *general revelation*. Yet neither term “in the Bible” means what they want it to mean, so they are trapped! Nice catch Paige!

  627. dgh said,

    February 4, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Hey Doug, let me break up your monologue for a second. If you’re so keen on special revelation, how do you propose to make people follow God’s specially revealed law, since the only way they can do so is by a work of the Holy Spirit? Or do you suppose that your volubility will do what the Holy Spirit hasn’t?

    In which case, do you really have anything to say to an unbelieving magistrate that will change her mind? Isn’t your only option to take her head and become congressman yourself?

  628. TurretinFan said,

    February 4, 2011 at 11:59 am

    DGH:

    You asked: “I mean, if he — I mean, you — are a Bible only guy and the magistrate must follow Scripture, how could you — I mean Turretin — ever consider Rome’s laws preferable to Moses’?”

    Are you asking because you don’t understand and wish to be enlightened, or for some other reason?

    -TurretinFan

  629. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Doug Sowers: “all we get from Dr Hart, Zrim, and Gadbois, is “look to that sufficient General revelation” that no one in our culture can see. What is there reply when an evil Magistrate looks at them and says, “but we are following GR? Nothing, they have nothing to say! It’s beyond pathetic, it’s absurd!”

    David Gadbois: “We would tell them that they are wrong, that they are lying, and that they know the truth clearly because God’s decree is known to all.”

    Me: “I think Doug is right. And that what David says what an R2k disciple would say to secularists is a fantasy in his own mind.”

    David Gadbois: “TUAD, on the contrary. Nothing I said could not be found in Romans 1. Even unbelievers know “God’s decree” about homosexuality, so anyone who says otherwise is wrong, lying, and know otherwise. Romans 1, Romans 1, Romans 1.”

    ——–

    #1. Laughably false. Many unbelievers do not know “God’s decree” about homosexuality.

    #2. It’s nice to see you resort to Special Revelation with your chant of “Romans 1, Romans 1, Romans 1″ after you’ve realized that General Revelation has failed to do what you wished it to do.

  630. GAS said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    dgh(606),

    It’s your mission so you can present it as you see fit but the polemics don’t seem to be leading to charitable readings. But I did read you charitably when you discussed Daniel and his going to prison so mega kudos for that.

    And I have to agree with T-Fan that the Robinson quote is too ambiguious except as a general outline and, at least for me, the real work lies in working out the details in those areas which I put in bold fonts in my previous post.

  631. Doug Sowers said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    What does David Gadbois say, when the Magistate says, “but David, I am following general revelation”? David Gadois says, I’ll call him a liar! lol!

    But what does David say when the Magistrate says, no Daivd, “your a liar”, and my ability to see general revelation, is better than yours? Then the Magistrate says to Gadbois, by what standard can you call me a liar?

    What is David Gadbois to do????????

  632. Ron said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Ron, thanks for your answer.

    You’re quite welcome, Darryl.

    But you did make it seem like the Bible allows theonomists to know something of the social and political implications of God’s law, when you wrote: “what do humans know, let alone fallen humans, regarding the social and political implications of public blasphemy and homosexuality? It is presumptuous to think that we don’t need a more detailed revelation of how to deal with these crimes against God. For us to base laws on our understanding of what proper restitution looks like is not only naive, it’s I believe arrogant in the truest sense of the word.”

    My point (and I think you’re now getting what I’m trying to say though not clearly perhaps) is that we don’t know why God has the same penalty for murder as other crimes that are deemed by some as much less heinous than murder. There are social implications, for instance, regarding homosexual behavior between two individuals that do not meet the eye. Some people might regard these crimes has harmless, on the order of public blasphemy in their estimation, when compared to murder. Yet maybe a good reason in God’s mind for the implementation for the death penalty for such “victimless” crimes is because the number of societal victims that come from any two practicing homosexuals can be exponential and God sees that as a reality whereas we don’t. Again, homosexuals reproduce themselves but not by fertilization. Or maybe it’s simply because the intrinsic act, whether any others follow suit or not, so sickens the Lord that he would demand judgment immediately. Or just maybe, God in his common grace wants to keep the reprobate from having to answer for more sin on the final day so He requires their death now. I don’t have to know the answers to any of those “maybes” and in fact I’m sure I don’t. So in sum, I’m not saying that Bible informs us of the “whys” but rather I’m saying that our task is to trust the God who does know the “whys”. I leave it there. God has a morally sufficient reason for the justice he demands.

    The other related concern here is that if you want all people to follow God’s law, how are God’s people set apart from everyone else?

    People are set apart by word and Sacrament. I’m two-kingdom too. :) I just think that Bible has something to say to the world and more to the point, all men are required to submit to the whole counsel of God regardless of their standing in Christ.

    On another matter, DL is engaged and will be here Saturday with his beloved. I’ll tell him to sit us together at the wedding so we can discuss this matter further! :)

  633. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Gadbois: “General Revelation Only!”

    Magistrate: “General Revelation Only! Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage is the Law of the Land!”

    Gadbois: “Liar!”

    Magistrate: “Liar!”

    Gadbois: “Romans 1, Romans 1, Romans 1!”

    Magistrate: “No Special Revelation through your Bible allowed. In fact, you yourself said ‘General Revelation Only!'”

    Gadbois: “Liar!”

    Magistrate: “No, you’re the liar! Now get the Hell out of my courtroom.”