The Sufficiency of the Word Compared to “Christendom”

I was reading in J.C. Ryle today on the Gospel of Matthew for evening sermon preparation, and I came across this simple statement: “But the sword is not to be used in the propagation and maintenance of the Gospel” (p. 368). As I got to thinking about it, the natural comparison between the governmental sword, and the Sword of the Spirit (which is Scripture) came to mind. Then I saw it: the reason why the sword cannot be used in the defense and propagation of the Gospel is that such a use proclaims the Scriptures to be insufficient. The Sword that God has provided for the Gospel propagation is entirely sufficient. It does not need modern gimmicks, and it does not need old swords. The Holy Spirit keeps the Word ever sharp to break down defenses and penetrate to the very heart of man. What other sword does the Gospel need than the Sword of the Spirit? This might also have an indirect bearing on the Two Kingdoms discussion. God has two swords.

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764 Comments

  1. Tim Prussic said,

    July 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Pastor, I don’t think your analysis is quite complete. The Bible isn’t “complete” sitting there by itself, for God’s not designed it to *function* just sitting there. God’s given his word to be ministered (both by his Spirit and by human ministers). I could just as easily (and wrongly) argue that God’s word is incomplete if it has to be preached, counseled, or applied in church discipline. The reality is that God’s word is to be ministered AS GOD HAS REVEALED that it needs to be ministered. Such ministry (by church, individual, or state) does render the word incomplete.

    I am not arguing that the Bible DOES call for the state to use its sword in ministry of the gospel’s propagation or maintenance. I’m just addressing what I see as a flaw in your analysis.

  2. greenbaggins said,

    July 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Tim, one cannot say everything in every post. By the Word, I mean the Word as it is used in the church, and that includes the preached Word (which I believe IS the Word of God). As a result, I do not believe my analysis is flawed. I’m somewhat puzzled by what you mean when you say that “such ministry (by church, individual, or state) does render the word incomplete.”

  3. Ron said,

    July 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Tim, “modern gimmicks” stands over and against the ordinary means of grace, as found in the ministry of God’s word. Obviously the word has to be “ministered” (as you say) – in fact it is so obvious that it wasn’t mentioned in the post. I think it can be assumed that the Word doesn’t do its stuff just sitting on the shelf. :)

  4. Ron said,

    July 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    “Tim, one cannot say everything in every post.”

    One does hope to preach another day. :)

  5. Tim Prussic said,

    July 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    What I’m saying, brothers, is that you’re identifying one “ministry” of the word (the state’s sword) and saying that that particular “ministry” would mean that the word of God (the Sword of the Spirit) is insufficient. I’m saying that such analysis is incomplete and faulty. If one “ministry” renders the Word incomplete, why do not the others? What’s specific about the state’s sword that renders the Bible insufficient? If it’s that humans and human power are included in the process, that’s nothing specific to that “ministry.” If it’s because it involves sanctions, that’s nothing specific either. If it’s because the Bible doesn’t call for that ministry, then your analysis simply begs the question.

    Thus, the more pertinent question (which isn’t being addressed in the post – which is fine) is whether this or that “ministry” is dictated by God in the written word itself.

  6. Ron said,

    July 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Tim,

    You certainly agree with this: If the ministry of the sword were necessary for the salvation of souls, then the ministry of the gospel for the salvation of souls would be insufficient. The ministry of the gospel is not insufficient; therefore, the ministry of the sword is not necessary.

    Yet it is also true that it is incorrect to argue that a defense of the gospel by the sword implies that the gospel is insufficient apart from the sword. Indeed, the sword need not be necessary for the gospel’s success in order for the sword to be legitimate use in defending the gospel against, say, heresy.

  7. Ron said,

    July 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Tim and Lane,

    The point I’m making in post 6 is that Ryle goes too far. He seems to suggest that if the Bible teaches that the sword is to be used for evangelical ends, then the Bible opposes itself because the use of the Sword would render the gospel useless. Since the Bible doesn’t oppose itself and since the gospel is sufficient, he reasons that the sword must not be used. However (and quite aside from one’s thinking about whether the sword has any such use), it’s fallacious to argue as Ryle has because some things can be mandated as proper with respect to the gospel yet not necessary for the gospel. Which is to say, things that are proper regarding the discharge of the gospel when not obeyed need not render the gospel insufficient.

    I think Ryle should have simply said: If the ministry of the sword were necessary for the gospel’s success, then the ministry of the gospel would be insufficient. But that’s much different than what he seemed to suggest – that the sword in this regard cannot be biblical, because if it were then the gospel would be insufficient.

  8. Ron said,

    July 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Actually, I don’t know that Ryle drew such a correlation, but I think such a correlation could be drawn from the post. All that’s noted that Ryle said is that the sword is not to be used. The post, however, goes on to say why it ought not be used. I don’t think that the post intends to say that the sword ought not be used because it would necessarily imply that the Word is insufficient. Rather, I hope the post is intending to communicate that the sword ought not to be used because the use of the sword could wrongly suggest that the gospel is insufficient.

  9. michael said,

    July 7, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I would point to this verse taken out of the Revelation given to John. It implies that Scripture is sufficient as you have laid out above:

    Rev 2:26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,

    As for the “two” swords, that is insightful, as the Psalm points out. In these Words we do see both!:

    Psa 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands,
    Psa 149:7 to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples,
    Psa 149:8 to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron,
    Psa 149:9 to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD!

  10. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    I am not sure what this particular passage has to do with the R2K debate, but John Calvin has an interesting thought on the Sword of the State in his commentary on John 18:36:

    “[Jesus] proves that he did not aim at an earthly kingdom, because no one moves, no one takes arms in his support; for if a private individual lay claim to royal authority, he must gain power by means of seditious men. Nothing of this kind is seen in Christ; and, therefore, it follows that he is not an earthly king. But here a question arises, Is it not lawful to defend the kingdom of Christ by arms? For when Kings and Princes are commanded to kiss the Son of God, (Psalm 2:10-12) not only are they enjoined to submit to his authority in their private capacity, but also to employ all the power that they possess, in defending the Church and maintaining godliness. I answer, first, they who draw this conclusion, that the doctrine of the Gospel and the pure worship of God ought not to be defended by arms, are unskillful and ignorant reasoners.”

  11. Ron said,

    July 7, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    That’s a great quote, Benjamin.

    As was said in the post, the gospel “does not need old swords,” which is of course true. The gospel is not dependent upon the sword because the proclamation of the gospel is sufficient to accomplish the Great Commission. So, amen – the gospel “does not need old swords.” However, what I think is implied in the post is that the sword cannot [probably meant ‘may not’] be used in defense of the propagation of the Gospel for to do so is to imply wrongly that the gospel apart from the sword is insufficient. That of course is not accurate, for “sword, then Gospel sufficiency” is no less true than “no sword, then gospel sufficiency.” The reason being, gospel sufficiency is a necessary condition for both states of affairs – sword and no sword defense of the gospel. Naturally, the question of the sword does not come into play with respect to gospel sufficiency. I think those seed thoughts found in the post need to be fleshed out a bit more possibly. In any case, great quote, Ben.

  12. Tim Prussic said,

    July 8, 2011 at 12:42 am

    Good discussion, brothers. Ron, I certainly appreciate the ministry of the sword not being necessary. That’s a good distinction… it’s the one I was fishing for.

    My criticism of Pr. Lane’s comments, I think, are still sound. Maybe an analogy would be helpful. Would it render the Sword of the Gospel insufficient if a Mormon missionary was making a move on my family in my absence, and when I got home I threw him out on his ear? Should I not protect my family from spiritual peril with the physical means at my disposal (supposing that physical measures are biblically lawful)? What, then, if my jurisdiction were larger than my own home? This is, I think, what Calvin is getting at up in Ben’s quote.

  13. greenbaggins said,

    July 8, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Gentlemen, I just don’t think that the Ryle quote is addressing what you’re addressing. Ryle is talking about not using the sword to advance the Gospel, because we have another, much better sword in the Word of God. Tim’s example of the Mormons is not to the point, because defending one’s family is not the same thing as propagating the Gospel. The situation I have in mind (and Ryle, too) would be more like forcing Mormons to recant at gunpoint. It is the church’s job to propagate the Gospel, not the state’s. Similarly, it is the state’s responsibility to allow for freedom of religion within the limits of natural law.

  14. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 8, 2011 at 7:18 am

    So do you believe Calvin and Ryle to be at odds with one another?

  15. Ron said,

    July 8, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Lane,

    The Ryle quote is simply making a theological assertion, that “the sword is not to be used in the propagation and maintenance of the Gospel.” Ryle might have said more in his commentary, but the quote you provided doesn’t provide a defense of the assertion so I really don’t know what more he believes other than what is contained in the quote. You, on the other hand, seemed (in my estimation) to want to explain why the sword is not to be used in the propagation and maintenance of the gospel, with which I interacted. For instance, an effort to protect the gospel and allow it to advance through the protection of the sword does not speak to the sufficiency of the gospel to save. To Tim’s point, the Scriptures are sufficient to save but only given a state of affairs. Obviously, the Scriptures aren’t sufficient to save if they simply sit on the shelf; the gospel must be communicated. Men must know the language etc. Accordingly, the sufficiency of the Scriptures to save entails the Scriptures meeting with God’s elect at God’s appointed time; the soil must meet with the seed (and God must give the increase). So, given that the Scriptures come to bear upon the hearing of God’s elect, the sword, whether biblically wielded or not, does not imply that the Scriptures are insufficient any more than the necessity of learning the vulgar language implies that the Scriptures are insufficient. Accordingly, we may not argue against that sort of use of the sword from the sufficiency of Scripture to save. That’s all.

    Yes though, trying to get people to convert at gunpoint would seem to imply that the gospel is insufficient to convert God’s elect. What Calvinist could disagree with that! :) However, a non-R2K use of the sword, even a theonomic one, does not entail such coercion. I’m not sure I even see that “propagation and maintenance” implies such direct and immediate coercion, but if that’s what you had in mind, then surely I would agree.

    Pax

  16. July 8, 2011 at 8:22 am

    You know, It isn’t that anyone should try to get anyone converted by force. But persuasion is a pretty good tool for some maybe. Paul did use his testimony to persuade. But a restraint on Society so that we may live at Peace and propagate the Gospel is not a bad thing. World missions have had some of their biggest successes world wide during times of peace and recognition that the Word of God is what it is.

    (1Ti 2:1) I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

    (1Ti 2:2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

    (1Ti 2:3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

    Either way, I honestly believe that Kings and a who are in authority are responsible to see and pray, Thy Kingdom Come, on Earth as it is in Heaven. The Crown Rights of Christ are to be recognized. Even by the unconverted. They may not fully love him but they can recognize Him and appreciate Him from afar. And that would give the Church more peace..

  17. Cris Dickason said,

    July 8, 2011 at 10:47 am

    It is interesting that the source of the lead-in quote is J.C. Ryle, who was a minister (eventually a bishop) in the Church of England, the Establishment Church of the United Kingdom. While it was toned down in Ryle’s day, the Establishment Church had previously used plenty of state power to suppress Presbyterians, baptists and congregationalists. It seems rather obvious that Ryle is reflecting on the confrontation at Christ’s arrest, and the rebuke of Peter (“put up your sword”) to say that the Gospel does not advance by powers of external compulsion.

    Lane’s observation or “application” of Ryle’s remark is quite to the point. I’m not sure how a session of a confessional (sideline) Presbyterian church could come to conclusion of a credible profession of faith if it comes in the context of state (sword) compulsion. A session would have to weigh things carefully and then follow Paul’s admonish to not ordain into office novices, and have a solid discipleship/mentoring program in place to see the profession take root and mature.

    -=Cris=-

  18. Ron said,

    July 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Indeed, compulsion is never under good regulation. :)

  19. Tim Prussic said,

    July 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    The use the sword for the conversion of folks is not anywhere near as common as the use of the sword for the punishment of heretics and infidels. If by “maintenance and propagation” we mean the positive conversion (convert or die), then Pr. Lane’s original point is dead on. If, however, by those words we mean that the sword can give place for the gospel ministry, then the sword is indistinguishable from any other earthly/human means and does not at all deny the sufficiency of the Sword of the Spirit.

    For my part, I took Pr. Lane to be speaking to the second aspect, not the first. That’s why I offered the criticism in the first place. In any event, I do appreciate the discussion (and the Calvin quote!).

  20. greenbaggins said,

    July 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Tim, I think that’s where the problem is. I don’t deny, and I don’t take Ryle to deny, that the state has a responsibility to make the free worship of Christians possible. But that raises the question of what you mean by “give place for.” Does this mean merely make possible (which I would agree with), or actually promote (which I would contest)?

  21. Tim Prussic said,

    July 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Er… what Ron said.

  22. Tim Prussic said,

    July 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Okay, Pastor, so if the national army fights for religious freedom generally, then the sufficiency of Scripture isn’t at issue. If, however, it fights for the safety and promotion of the Christian religion (not, remember, to convert folks), then the sufficiency of Scripture is being denied implicitly?

    As to what I think of the “give place for” language, if the sword helps by “preparing” the way for the Gospel, I don’t see any implicit denial of the sufficiency of Scripture. If, however, the sword is seen as necessary to the preparatory work of the gospel, then I see an implicit denial of the sufficiency of the Scripture. (That would be so unless, of course, it can be shown from the Bible that the sword is, indeed, necessary. But I do not think that is a legitimate biblical position.)

  23. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Folks, do not be distracted. The issue of the government using the sword to coerce conversion is a worn out red herring. R2k funny man Darryl Hart drags that one out repeatedly whenever he is losing an argument. Yet, no R2k critic I am aware of advocates the government doing such. What is at issue is that the government is ordained not only for the welfare of the civil state, but is to serve as a nursing mother to the church. As revised Belgic 36 says, it is ordained to “protect the sacred ministry that the Kingdom of Christ may be promoted.” Our confessions do not say it is given the task to protect polytheistic pluralism according to the limits of natural law.

  24. July 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    [...] The Sufficiency of the Word Compared to “Christendom” (greenbaggins.wordpress.com) [...]

  25. Zrim said,

    July 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    But, Mark, the revised WCF 23.3 says that “… no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.”

    If it really is true that the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, then how is it that the magistrate isn’t in point of fact given the task to protect polytheistic pluralism according to the limits of natural law? Maybe 2k critics don’t want to see coerced conversions, but do you want to see false religionists suffer upon pretense of religion some sort of civil indignity, violence, abuse or injury?

  26. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 11, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Steve Z, the post by Lane raised the point that neither the state nor the church uses the literal sword to change hearts. He then suggests this issue may have a bearing on the current 2k debate. Although he should know better, I’m simply alerting the unwary that this a repeat red herring which has nothing to do with the critique of R2k. R2k folk like Keister, Hart, Horton, Van Drunen, et.al. AND their critics all agree on this point.

    You are now shifting the discussion to whether the magistrate is to promote piety and protect the church of our common Lord according to WCF 23. This link should help you with your answer: http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2010/09/revised-wesminster-standards-vs-r2k.html

  27. greenbaggins said,

    July 11, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Just a point of clarification, Mark, I would not consider myself R2K, but only 2K.

  28. Zrim said,

    July 11, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Mark, how am I shifting anything? I am responding to your claim about “what is at issue.” And, evidently, what you are saying “is at issue” is whether the magistrate should protect false religion. And your answer seems to be that it has no duty to do so. And I am saying that it seems that WCF 23.3 begs to differ.

  29. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Lane, repeatedly defending R2k is an odd way of being 2k.

  30. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Steve Z, please read the linked article. You are reading WCF 23.3 absurdly to think the Reformed confess that the one true God ordains the magistrate to protect false religion. I suspected this is where R2k could lead some day, but didn’t think it would get there this quickly.

  31. Reed Here said,

    July 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Mark: do you distinguish between 2k and R2k?

  32. greenbaggins said,

    July 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I defend R2K in the sense of believing that it is within the pale of orthodoxy. That does not mean that I agree with everything that R2K advocates say.

  33. todd said,

    July 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Mark,

    We get that the majority of Reformed history on the role of government, at least up until the American Founding Fathers, did not hold to principled pluralism; but are you suggesting that all of us principled pluralists who believe the government should protect the legal right of Mormonism, Judaism, etc…, not just Protestantism, to exist and propagate without persecution or punishment are not even Reformed, and should not be allowed to pastor in Reformed communions?

  34. Zrim said,

    July 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Mark, I have read the post, but I don’t see how it does anything more than simply posit that “R2K’ is wrongheaded, cite the revisions then re-assert that the civil magistrate should be involved in…disapproving and removing false worship, and then assert those who dissent are outside the pale of confessional orthodoxy.

    But aside from how unhelpful the post is, if that’s true then I suppose Kuyper is outside the pale when he says pursuant to revising Belgic 36:

    </IWe 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.

    http://sb.rfpa.org/index.cfm?mode=narrow&volume=62&issue=457&article=4393&book=0&search=&page=1&chapter=0&text_search=0

    So I guess what you are saying is that since it is absurd to suggest that the one true God ordains the magistrate to protect false religion then it is sane to suggest that the same God ordains that the magistrate should prosecute false religion? If so, then the upshot seems to be you think it sane for the Obama Administration to civilly punish the Mormons and Muslims living down the street? But why would you want people who are good neighbors and citizens (at least my Mormons and Muslims are) punished? That just seems, well, not very sane.

  35. Ron said,

    July 11, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Todd re: 33, the group you would support and even suggest qualify as Reformed pastors deny the Westminster standards in a few places. For instance, they deny “general equity” of the law as shown here: http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2011/06/radical-2-kingdom-general-equity-of-law.html

    Lane, “pale of orthodoxy” is not the point for we’re not talking about mere “orthodoxy” but something a bit more specific – Reformed theology. Many doctrines are within the pale of orthodoxy yet not Reformed.

  36. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 12, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I defend R2K in the sense of believing that it is within the pale of orthodoxy. That does not mean that I agree with everything that R2K advocates say.

    Lane, having followed this topic for years now in various forums you and I both inhabit, it’s possible I’ve missed seeing you ever disagree with any R2k proponent. I’ve seen the repeated defenses, but if you could point me to where you disagree with R2k on *any* point, that would be illuminating. Also, Ron’s clarifying point about “orthodoxy vs. confessional” is a good one for you to keep in mind, as it should help guard against emotional overreaction to the growing critique of R2k.

  37. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 12, 2011 at 6:13 am

    are you suggesting that all of us principled pluralists who believe the government should protect the legal right of Mormonism, Judaism, etc…, not just Protestantism, to exist and propagate without persecution or punishment are not even Reformed, and should not be allowed to pastor in Reformed communions?

    Todd, by way of examples, if the “principle” in your pluralism leads a pastor to advocate agnosticism about the government promoting bestiality, slaughter of the unborn, or homosexual marriage, then yes, such a man should not be allowed to pastor in Reformed communions.. A false religion’s “legal right” to exist without persecution is not co-terminous with what the Reformed confess about the magistrate’s responsibility to govern according to the norms revealed in the Word of God.

  38. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 12, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Mark: do you distinguish between 2k and R2k?

    Yes, repeatedly. You will note Lane has made the same distinction.

  39. todd said,

    July 12, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Mark,

    I read the post you cited, and if a belief in the crime and penalties for blasphemy that were found in Israel apply to the state today is required to be confessional, then only theonomists are truly confessional. And in your last post to me, the government not criminalizing an activity is not the same as promoting it as good. That is a false dichotomy you are forcing us to choose.

  40. Ron said,

    July 12, 2011 at 9:08 am

    if a belief in the crime and penalties for blasphemy that were found in Israel apply to the state today is required to be confessional, then only theonomists are truly confessional

    And the rest of your “argument” reduces to: It is false that theonomy is a necessary condition for being confessional, therefore, OT case law equity is not applicable today. Yet the Confession teaches that OT case law is applicable today in its general equity. Now of course your retort is that the general equity is found in ecclesiastical sanctions, to which I ask – if the NT “general equity” of the OT penalty for blasphemy is excommunication, then how does such application of the OT case law differ from outright abrogation? In sum, your application of equity reduces to outright abrogation for there is no difference between the two. To reduce death to excommunication is a denial of general equity, making it a denial of the Confession.

  41. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 12, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Todd, maybe I’m missing it, but not sure what you found in that linked article that argued for OT *penalties* for blasphemy being applied today.

    And though it is amusing to have an R2k fellow object to false dichotomies since the entire R2k edifice is built upon them, it is not a neutral thing for a Christian to advocate agnosticism on public morality issues on which the Bible speaks clearly.

  42. Cris Dickason said,

    July 12, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Zrim @ 34 – Thanks for that citation of Kuyper! Very interesting. I will need to read it in light of the famous “every square inch” remark of Kuyper’s that gets bandied about. Perhaps it’s time to read a biography of Kuyper.

  43. todd said,

    July 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Ron, J. Ligon Duncon has answered well your objections, instead of repeated them, those interested can read it here, especially the section on Mosaic case laws. http://www.reformed.org/ethics/index.html?mainframe=/ethics/ligon_duncan_critique.html

    Mark, again, speaking out against prominent sins (abortion, homosexuality, beastiality, divorce, etc…) is not the same as assuming the Bible tells us if and how how the state should punish those sins, and therefore that the church must instruct the state on such policies. That is a distiction most reasonable Christians can make.

  44. Cris Dickason said,

    July 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Ron and others (see 40 ): the “general equity” phrase in WCF 19:4 applies to the civil laws of Israel, the sundry judicial laws of Israel as a body politic. This drives – or preserves – the wedge between enforcement of ceremonial laws by Israel as a unique body, simultaneously political and religious. Israel occupied a place and position this side of glory to which no other nation is called. Israel was both church & state and that is not where the general equity of Israel’s sundry laws is to be located.

  45. Reed Here said,

    July 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Mark, no. 38: thanks. So, what do you think are the key distinctions between 2K and R2K?

  46. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Reed, not trying to avoid the question, but having been around this drainpipe too many times, I would simply suggest there are loads of material pointing out the distinction between historic Reformed 2k and Radical Two Kingdom Theology. Your co-moderator Lane can point you to some, I’m sure. The distinction has been discussed here on Greenbaggins, on the Puritan Board, on Iron Ink, at Old Life, at Sword and Ploughshare, at Dr. Kloosterman’s site, Dr. James Anderson has blogged on it, Dr. Keith Mathison has done so, Dr. Cornel Venema has a journal article on the R2k hermenuetic, and the list goes on…

  47. Ron said,

    July 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Ron and others (see 40 ): the “general equity” phrase in WCF 19:4 applies to the civil laws of Israel, the sundry judicial laws of Israel as a body politic. This drives – or preserves – the wedge between enforcement of ceremonial laws by Israel as a unique body, simultaneously political and religious. Israel occupied a place and position this side of glory to which no other nation is called. Israel was both church & state and that is not where the general equity of Israel’s sundry laws is to be located.

    Cris,

    Either the judicial laws in their general equity have expired or they haven’t. If the Confession is correct, then they haven’t expired and consequently their general equity must relate to civil magistrates. To think otherwise is to promote abrogation, not the preservation of equity, which is a denial of the standards.

  48. Ron said,

    July 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Todd,

    Rather than hide behind Duncan, maybe you might tell me how he avoids abrogation in his supposed upholding of general equity. There were too many laws that called for execution under Moses, and if they are to be upheld in their general equity the sanction must be upheld. It is simply arbitrary (and hazardous) to operate under the principle that one is not accountable to the state because he is accountable to the church. Moreover, there was excommunication under the older economy, a “cutting off” (an exile of sorts), that was not accompanied by OT execution. Yet in God’s wisdom both were operative, presumably with distinct purposes. Accordingly, it seems a bit dubious that excommunication is equitable to execution, if for no other reason than the translation does not preserve the general equity of the civil sanction! The two aren’t even close to being equitable because, at the very least, repentance lifts the penalty of excommunication, which was not the case for capital crimes under the older economy. So again, how is the general equity upheld for blasphemy by abrogating the penalty for blasphemy? I’d prefer you answer rather than providing a link.

    Let’s not pretend any longer, shall we? By collapsing execution into excommunication the general equity of the sanction is not preserved but rather obliterated. But R2K proponents cannot admit that because in their autonomous thinking and quest for civil pluralism they also fancy themselves as the keepers of the Confession, while too often being historically inaccurate and theologically incorrect.

  49. Reed Here said,

    July 12, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Mark, no. 46: yeah, I’ve been around that same drain pipe as well. I’m not trying to set you up or draw you into anything nasty. I simply think the use of the label “R2K” is used too easily and too inappropriately. I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading and discussing it. All of the resources you recommend have already been devoured by me.

    Now, it could be that I’m a spoon trying to squeeze into the knife slot in the utensil drawer, but frankly I can’t offer a simple explanation of the difference between 2k and R2K. Surely if there really is that big a difference then someone can at least offer two or three distinguishing characteristics.

    I asked you because I recognize you as one who believes that such a distinction exists. I’ve no intention of offending you. I, however, am a bit disappointed that a simple and clear distinction is not easily come by.

  50. dgh said,

    July 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Mark VD, how’s this for humor? The Bible, which is what this post is about, nowhere gives the magistrate the authority to abolish false religion and promote the true one. Unless, of course, you are talking about Old Testament Israel. And if that is your standard, then Jesus and the apostles also fail to live up to what you imagine the Bible to teach. “R”2k is simply biblical. How else do you account for no inspired complaint against emperors who protected false religion?

  51. Tim Prussic said,

    July 12, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    It’s very obvious, isn’t it, that Jesus and the apostles are under Roman tyranny in the NT. The law given to Israel cannot be applied (general equity or whatever) in such a condition. That there’s no complaint issued by the NT writers is akin to Jeremiah complaining that the Pharaohs didn’t impose and defend that worship of Yahweh. If Israel took over Egypt (or if the church took over Rome), then the situation might call the complaint that DGH finds missing in the NT. It’s insofar as believers actually have authority that this issue comes to the fore. Thus, I think DGH’s comment misses the mark, since believers had no (or at least very little) political authority in the NT. That was, however, to change.

  52. Zrim said,

    July 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Reed, it may be that you can’t find a clear and simple distinction between 2k and R(eformed)2k because that is a redundancy.

    But there is a simple difference between theonomy (soft and hard) and 2k: what seems to animate the former is that Christianity really is directly relevant to the cares of this temporal world and that geo-political nations can prosper if they simply follow biblical principles for statecraft, while the latter is highly skeptical of the doctrines of relevancy and prosperity.

  53. Zrim said,

    July 12, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Tim, one problem with your thesis is that if you want to make a point about what’s missing in the NT then where is there any command to go theonomic once we have gained political power (or think we have)? What part of Romans 13:1-7 implies that once things change that we are to return civil persecution for civil persecution? I thought it was love your enemies?

  54. Ron said,

    July 12, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    What part of Romans 13:1-7 implies that once things change that we are to return civil persecution for civil persecution?

    Zrim,

    You presuppose that Romans 13 must affirm theonomy in order for theonomy to be a biblical paradigm, but that’s an arbitrary assertion. 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.

    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.

  55. dgh said,

    July 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Tim, why wouldn’t the example of and the prophets’ instruction to the Israelites in exile be the pattern for Christians whom Peter refers to as strangers and aliens. If you look at the governments of this world as part of the kingdom of God then you might have a point. But since the Confession actually refers to the church (exclusively) as the kingdom of Christ, I don’t think your point stands.

  56. Ron said,

    July 12, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Darryl,

    Tim’s point, which you did not touch, was that 2,000 years ago the Jews did not have the authority to implement the civil code of Moses, which means that Jesus and the apostles did not fail to live up to the implementation of those OT precepts. They were a non-issue given the state of affairs.

    To your unrelated point, that the Confession only refers to the church as the kingdom of Christ does not undermine the Confession’s teaching that the general equity of the civil code is to be – by precept, implemented today, which brings us back to an assertion you enjoy making, that the general equity for certain civil sanctions are collapsed into excommunication, which has been shown on this thread to be an outright denial and not an affirmation of the continued validity of the general equity of those laws.

    Why not just admit Darryl that you do not believe that the general equity of the civil code applies today and be done with it; let your exception to our standards be voiced. I’m sure you’ll be able to retain your office as elder. It’s simply ludicrous to suggest that excommunication is the general of the death penalty. Such a position is simply a cover-up for a non-confessional conviction.

  57. Ron said,

    July 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I should probably add that it’s a false dichotomy to argue that because Christians are to submit to ungodly government (as if we were in exile) that the precepts of God’s civil code ought not to be implemented by all governments This question of the place of the civil code in all societies is not contingent upon the supposed success of cultural transformation (whether as an effect of cause), or anything else for that matter. It’s a matter of OT precept, just like infant baptism is a matter of such precept.

  58. Ron said,

    July 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Correction in italics:

    I should probably add that it’s a false dichotomy to argue that because Christians are to submit to ungodly government (as if we were in exile) that the precepts of God’s civil code ought not to be implemented by all governments This question of the place of the civil code in all societies is not contingent upon the supposed success of cultural transformation (whether as an effect or cause), or anything else for that matter. It’s a matter of OT precept, just like infant baptism is a matter of such precept.

  59. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    how’s this for humor?

    Actually, very good Darryl, I alway thought Andy Kaufman’s act was funny, but you’ve perfected it.

  60. dgh said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Mark, Andy Kaufman?

  61. dgh said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Ron, I suppose you think it is a moral duty to follow God’s law. That hardly seems controversial. So to say that the early church didn’t have the power to follow a moral duty seems surprisingly feeble. Whether or not we have the power you think we do — after all a very non-theocratic document preserves your and my power as citizens in a federated republic — your most powerful point is to insist that God’s law must be followed. So go all the way and condemn Christ and the apostles for not having the courage of their God’s law.

    BTW, you really think that not affirming general equity in a theocratic manner makes me unconfessional? Say hello to the rest of Reformed Protestant history. It’s a lonely narrative you’re living in (not to mention your presbytery.)

  62. Zrim said,

    July 13, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Ron, I wasn’t proof texting with Romans 13 “to refute theonomy.” In response to Tim’s suggestion, I was simply pointing to it as an example of a NT text that seems to command more civil submission than civil takeover. Which is to say that if believers start gaining civil power it may be more cause for concern than glee. Tim makes it sound as if once the missing piece of the puzzle, actual political power and authority, is in place then we can go theonomic. But he still has the problem of having nothing in the NT to give the green light. I know you read it differently, but my 2k point is sola scriptura, and even with actual civil power believers still need a biblical argument for civil take over. And the plain reading of the NT is civil submission.

    Which, by the way, is a difference between 2k and the Anabaptism theonomists and other 2k critics like to lump it in with. Anabaptism is all about civil disobedience (if those civil powers aren’t Christ-like enough—Muenster, anyone? And Belgic 36’s condemnation of their errors?). 2k is all about civil submission. It’s actually theonomy and Anabaptism that have more in common than either would want to admit; both are ways of making redemption swallow up creation and making the two kingdoms into one.

  63. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Ron, I suppose you think it is a moral duty to follow God’s law. That hardly seems controversial.

    Darryl,

    The moral duty to want to see God’s law followed is controversial when we consider God’s civil law.

    So to say that the early church didn’t have the power to follow a moral duty seems surprisingly feeble.

    It’s not a matter of “power” Darryl, it’s a matter of authority. I have the power to execute; I don’t have the authority to do so. Go back and consider Tim’s point.

    So go all the way and condemn Christ and the apostles for not having the courage of their God’s law.

    I’ll let the non-theonomists deal with your obviously flawed reasoning. I trust that not even they would employ such reasoning.

    BTW, you really think that not affirming general equity in a theocratic manner makes me unconfessional?

    What makes you unconfessional is denying that the continued validity of the general equity of the case laws is confessional. Your little charade of collapsing the general equity of the civil law into ecclesiastical sanctions is an obvious denial of the standards, as has been shown.

    Say hello to the rest of Reformed Protestant history. It’s a lonely narrative you’re living in (not to mention your presbytery.)

    You’re appeal to popular authority doesn’t make you confessional. It only makes you fallacious.

  64. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 7:15 am

    Ron, I suppose you think it is a moral duty to follow God’s law. That hardly seems controversial.

    Darryl,

    The moral duty to want to see God’s law followed is controversial when we consider God’s civil law.

    So to say that the early church didn’t have the power to follow a moral duty seems surprisingly feeble.

    It’s not a matter of “power” Darryl, it’s a matter of authority. I have the power to execute; I don’t have the authority to do so. Go back and consider Tim’s point.

    So go all the way and condemn Christ and the apostles for not having the courage of their God’s law.

    I’ll let the non-theonomists deal with your obviously flawed reasoning. I trust that not even they would employ such reasoning.

    BTW, you really think that not affirming general equity in a theocratic manner makes me unconfessional?

    What makes you unconfessional is denying that the continued validity of the general equity of the case laws is confessional. Your little charade of collapsing the general equity of the civil law into ecclesiastical sanctions is an obvious denial of the standards, as has been shown.

    Say hello to the rest of Reformed Protestant history. It’s a lonely narrative you’re living in (not to mention your presbytery.)

    You’re appeal to popular authority doesn’t make you confessional. It only makes you fallacious.

  65. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Zrim,

    First off, thank you for your thoughtful response.

    Ron, I wasn’t proof texting with Romans 13 “to refute theonomy.” In response to Tim’s suggestion, I was simply pointing to it as an example of a NT text that seems to command more civil submission than civil takeover.

    All theonomists would agree. In fact, I’ll go one step further. The Bible doesn’t seem as concerned with civil takeover as some think – not even civil takeover through the success of the gospel. Notwithstanding, the Bible is clear on how a nation that wants to please God will govern itself and that premise transcends eschatological views.

    Which is to say that if believers start gaining civil power it may be more cause for concern than glee.

    Yes, “it may be,” but it also may not be. I’m more concerned with precept than speculation at this juncture.

    Tim makes it sound as if once the missing piece of the puzzle, actual political power and authority, is in place then we can go theonomic.

    I’m not sure I follow. In any case, the point I’d like to make is not what will happen; it’s not even what must occur first for something else to happen. I’m not big on the “what if” game. So, it’s not about the law ushering in the kingdom; nor is about the expansion of the kingdom providing the soil for the right laws to be implemented. I know that some R2K proponents (not saying you) enjoy impugning theonomic tenets with such a supposed reconstructionist slant, but it doesn’t help to advance any fruitful discussion.

    But he still has the problem of having nothing in the NT to give the green light.

    My brother, when you find yourself appealing strictly to the New Testament sirens ought to be going off in your Reformed head. :)

    I know you read it differently, but my 2k point is sola scriptura,

    It seems by your own admission that your sola scriptura is sola New Testament, but even that doesn’t take into account Paul’s words to Timothy that all Scripture is God breathed and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness…

    and even with actual civil power believers still need a biblical argument for civil take over. And the plain reading of the NT is civil submission.

    Your words can mislead for “takeover” has the ring of unlawful anarchy. Your words seem to underscore this misleading notion by casting “takeover” opposite “submission.” It’s not a false dichotomy to adhere to submission and also the precepts and equity found in the OT civil case laws.

    Which, by the way, is a difference between 2k and the Anabaptism theonomists

    Well, if you come across any anarchists let me know and I’ll argue with you against them.

    2k is all about civil submission.

    Your position seems terribly simplistic. And actually, you’re not “all about civil submission” in the sense you have been using the idea of submission to refute theonomy. You too want to see certain laws “taken over,” which is why you vote for law makers. You want to see takeover occur in a submissive and lawful manner, as do I. But Christians are not to be about only submission to governors but rather only about submission to God, which brings us full circles. Which laws does God require to be implemented in this submissive way?

    I get the sense from our discussions over the years that you are kept from even considering making a move toward the Bible as a justification for civil laws because you think to do so is to take a position that the transformation of society takes precedence over the church. You’re not dealing with Kennedy and Fawlwell when you deal with Rushdoony and Bahnsen – not even close.

  66. dgh said,

    July 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Ron, from where does your power come? If from God, then the early church had as much power as you? If from the state, well, then your view is not very theonomic because it depends on a democratic republic to grant Christians the authority to implement God’s civil law. In other words, your theonomy depends on the autonomy of the modern nation-state.

    “Little charade”? nice touch.

  67. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Darryl,

    You confuse the implementation of theonomic state with the question of whether there is biblical precept to have a theonomic state. Moreover, if we’re to have a theonomic state does not imply that we’re to try to implement one any which way we like. We’re work to that end in all godly submission – without giving undue emphasis to the role of state over the work of the church. Theonomy does not advocate anarchy and hostile takeover.

  68. Zrim said,

    July 13, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Notwithstanding, the Bible is clear on how a nation that wants to please God will govern itself and that premise transcends eschatological views.

    Pleasing God is a good thing, but a geo-political nation is not a person. This comment of yours helps mark out another basic distinction between 2k and theonomic presuppositions: 2k holds that the covenant is between God and his people alone, contra the theonomic which seems to agree but also thinks a covenant is made between God and geo-political nations. But 2k is saying that Jesus lived and died for his people alone (there has to be a “sola” in there somewhere). So even if you want to claim that theonomy affirms “submission” but rejects “take over” it still has the awful problem of thinking that salvation is both personal and geo-political.

    …when you find yourself appealing strictly to the New Testament sirens ought to be going off in your Reformed head.

    Reformed hermeneutics 101 is that the NT interprets the OT. I’m not “appealing strictly to the NT.” I’m wondering how anyone who thinks that the NT interprets the OT can get from the NT that God’s redemptive program is any way just as geo-political as it is personal. While we may have plenty in the history of Christendom after Constantine, we have absolutely nothing in the NT to suggest that worldly and spiritual powers should be made friends. They are actually diametrically opposed.

    Your position seems terribly simplistic. And actually, you’re not “all about civil submission” in the sense you have been using the idea of submission to refute theonomy. You too want to see certain laws “taken over,” which is why you vote for law makers. You want to see takeover occur in a submissive and lawful manner, as do I.

    Actually, no. Despite your assumption to be able to read my mind, I do not view my political involvement in terms of take over. I view it in terms of mere participation. Sometimes the way I think the world should shake out loses the day, sometimes I win. But when I lose I do not crack open the Bible to suggest that my political opponents are impious or under-spiritual. I am agnostic about the power of politics to do what the large majority of westerners, religious or not, seem to presume. What I am after is proximate justice, not an exacting one. I can actually live with what I think are bad laws.

    But Christians are not to be about only submission to governors but rather only about submission to God, which brings us full circles. Which laws does God require to be implemented in this submissive way?

    Huh? Your “rathers” and “onlys” aren’t making much sense. But if you are trying to say that obedience to God and magistrate are not mutually exclusive then I agree. Yes, there is Acts 5:29-30 to obey God rather than men which seems to suggest that cultic disobedience is commanded when personally pressed to do contradict what God morally or spiritually commands. But there is also Romans 13 (again) which seems to suggest that to civilly dis/obey the magistrate is to dis/obey God, which suggest that civil disobedience is never affirmed.

    But I get the sense that you are also doing that theonomic thing again that confuses the political and personal and thus presumes how one acts politically is the same as how one acts personally. Sorry, but 2k holds that there is a difference, such that when someone has choice politics that doesn’t mean s/he is personally guilty of either having or performing an elective abortion.

    You’re not dealing with Kennedy and Fawlwell when you deal with Rushdoony and Bahnsen.

    Actually, I prefer to play MLK off Falwell. But Kennedy and Falwell are examples of the softer, implicit and more popular theonomic impulse, while Rushdoony and Bahnsen are harder, explicit and more studied forms.

  69. todd said,

    July 13, 2011 at 11:06 am

    “Rather than hide behind Duncan, maybe you might tell me how he avoids abrogation in his supposed upholding of general equity. ”

    If I were “hiding” I’d not likely be on a public blog expressing my views. So it is fine when your friends cite your papers as a source, but when I cite Duncan I am hiding? And are you suggesting Duncan is R2k and unconfessional?

    I am not going to reinvent the wheel when so many have already written on this. Even Peter Leithart, hardly r2K, teaches ex-communication is fulfillment of the OT death sanctions http://www.leithart.com/archives/000562.php

    And Lane Tipton, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Philly, does a great job refuting your theonomic views on this topic here: http://www.kerux.com/documents/keruxv15n1a1.htm

    You say, “But R2K proponents cannot admit that because in their autonomous thinking and quest for civil pluralism they also fancy themselves as the keepers of the Confession,”

    Actually, it is guys like you and Mark who fancy themselves as keepers of the Confession. We are not the ones calling for you to be considered unconfessional and purged from the ranks of Reformed clergy. I make room for theonomists within the pale of Reformed orthodoxy.

    Men like Darryl, Zrim and myself are Reformed in theology, tend to be libertarian in our politics, and take WCF XXXI:4 very seriously.

    “Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.”

    The fact that you (I’m not speaking to those who simply disagree with our r2k convictions, but to theose who want us disqualified as Reformed ministers) cannot abide our views may simply reveal how wedded you are to your own cultural and political passions.

  70. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Pleasing God is a good thing, but a geo-political nation is not a person.

    Zrim,

    It’s simply unchristian to suggest that theonomists are trying to please a nation and not God. Please refrain from such nonsense.

    This comment of yours helps mark out another basic distinction between 2k and theonomic presuppositions: 2k holds that the covenant is between God and his people alone, contra the theonomic which seems to agree but also thinks a covenant is made between God and geo-political nations.

    That’s just another R2K falsehood, if not an intentional deception.

    But 2k is saying that Jesus lived and died for his people alone (there has to be a “sola” in there somewhere). So even if you want to claim that theonomy affirms “submission” but rejects “take over” it still has the awful problem of thinking that salvation is both personal and geo-political.

    Again, another falsehood, if not an intentional deception.

    Reformed hermeneutics 101 is that the NT interprets the OT.

    Yes, the NT informs us on the Old, but abrogation apart from good and necessary inference is dispensational and baptistic, not Reformed. More to the point, such arbitrariness is an unworkable principle that cannot be consistently maintained. Specifically, R2k proponents ignore continuity – when it suits them, and in defense you wish to hide behind a most fallacious argument from silence, that the NT does not affirm the OT; yet the question given a Reformed interpretation of Scripture is whether the NT has abrogated these OT precepts.

    What I am after is proximate justice, not an exacting one. I can actually live with what I think are bad laws.

    How can there be proximates without an absolute standard? Your reasoning is akin to the atheist’s. You want to hold to proximates but not to the absolutes that proximates presuppose!

  71. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Todd, Todd, Todd… what’s the use…

  72. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Re: Lane Tipton

    Lane is an old friend, and I don’t think that he’d be fighting against theonomy shoulder-to-shoulder with the R2K folks who frequent here. Lane is a lot more studied, and a considerably more reasonable. In any case, I familiarized myself with the Kerux article many years ago, when Lane first sent it to me.

    I find Lane’s article lacking. Mainly, it’s simply too grand a claim that OT sanctions were precursors or foreshadowing-types of the final judgment. He seems a bit too narrow with what he will allow. First off, not all (even most) OT sanctions were not death, so they are not likely to typify the final judgment. However, even when we consider only those transgressions that were punishable by death, why must we conclude that death was not merely an appropriate sanction for the transgression rather than a foreshadow of things to come? His argument begs too many crucial questions and consequently, his conclusion exceeds the scope of the premises. Does capital punishment under Moses scream typology as opposed to a mere “just recompense” that has no reference to the final judgment?

  73. todd said,

    July 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Ron, you stated above that denying the general equity of the case laws
    by seeing them fulfilled in church discipline was unconfessional. Does that mean Lane and Duncan are unconfessional? I’m trying to get a clear understanding of your limits of what is not confessional, and it is not clear. And as for # 71, I feel that every time I debate theonomists.

  74. Cris Dickason said,

    July 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Ron @ 47 ( I know, many numbers ago) You said:
    Either the judicial laws in their general equity have expired or they haven’t. If the Confession is correct, then they haven’t expired and consequently their general equity must relate to civil magistrates.

    As far azs that statement goes, I would agree. I would prefer to state the general equity of Israel’s civil laws have not expired. It should be clear that the kingdom of Israel has expired, as well as the Judean province of Israel under the protective rule of an Assyrian or Persian overlord. Since approx AD 132 there has been no geopolitical entity that has any continuity to the pre-exilic or post-exilic Israel/Judah.

    What I’m looking for is a discussion, or exegetical argument, that shows that the continuing “general equity” of Israel’s laws is tied to, involves or requires a continuation of enforcement of Israel’s theocratic laws, what some might call the 1st table of the law (meaning commands 1 through 4 of the 10 commandments).

    -=Cris=-

  75. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I asked you because I recognize you as one who believes that such a distinction exists. I’ve no intention of offending you. I, however, am a bit disappointed that a simple and clear distinction is not easily come by.

    Reed, I understand the disappointment. But in fairness, R2k is not always amenable to a few easy bullet point summaries. Its tentacles reach into many corners of Reformed theology, e.g., covenant theology, the doctrine of Scripture, Christology, ecclesiology, justification, sanctification, ethics, etc. Just as we saw with Federal Vision, R2k is not a monolothic movement, not all R2k fellas say the same things, and often they present a moving target.

    So if I were to give some bullet points, I know we will run around the flag pole till the thread reaches the 900 comment range. Internet discussion does have its limits.

  76. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Todd,

    Of course they’re being unconfessional on that point. The Confession is clear that the general equity of the civil sanctions are still binding. To try to locate the general equity of the civil case laws under the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts is no less arbitrary and unjustified than to trying to locate them within family government. Shall we also say that the death penalty is equitable to spanking a child since you’re willing to suggest it’s equitable to excommunication?

    The Confession is clear. The general equity of the civil case laws still abide, which suggests that certain components pertaining to those particulars laws, such as the use of stones to kill, are not still binding. But to try to suggest that the general equity of those civil case laws does not include the carrying out of the sanctions by civil magistrates is not to preserve equity of the civil case laws – for such a “preservation” of the equity would reduce to the outright abrogation of the equity.

    In any case, I’m convinced that you are quite beyond my convincing you, but let me at least say that I am not trying to purge Reformed pulpits from non-theonomists, as you suggest I’m willing to do. That is just another false conclusion that goes beyond the scope of the premises that can be gleaned from my statements, but I’m quite used to the wild assertions and caricatures. In a word, that one is inconsistent and unconfessional on this matter is rather incidental to my views on what are essential qualifications for a Reformed pastor or elder.

  77. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    What I’m looking for is a discussion, or exegetical argument, that shows that the continuing “general equity” of Israel’s laws is tied to, involves or requires a continuation of enforcement of Israel’s theocratic laws, what some might call the 1st table of the law (meaning commands 1 through 4 of the 10 commandments).

    Cris – how is this – all Scripture is God breathed…. etc., etc. etc., and we must presuppose continuity unless Scripture tells us otherwise. :)

  78. Zrim said,

    July 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    It’s simply unchristian to suggest that theonomists are trying to please a nation and not God. Please refrain from such nonsense.

    Ron, you misunderstand. I was pretty clear that while theonomISTS who do have a desire to please God and do have a category for the personal their theonOMY gets in their own way since the latter is pure geo-political.

    I said: “This comment of yours helps mark out another basic distinction between 2k and theonomic presuppositions: 2k holds that the covenant is between God and his people alone, contra the theonomic which seems to agree but also thinks a covenant is made between God and geo-political nations.”

    To which you replied: That’s just another R2K falsehood, if not an intentional deception.

    Well, I am not sure what else one can conclude from theonomic assertions. Theonomy wants geo-political nations to “kiss the Son,” right? So you must think that God not only lived and died for his people who come from every nation but also for those very nations. 2k simply denies this. Theonomy’s problem is how to disciple institutions as well as persons. But I know of no theonomic church that has a nation-state on its membership rolls.

    Yes, the NT informs us on the Old, but abrogation apart from good and necessary inference is dispensational and baptistic, not Reformed. More to the point, such arbitrariness is an unworkable principle that cannot be consistently maintained. Specifically, R2k proponents ignore continuity – when it suits them, and in defense you wish to hide behind a most fallacious argument from silence, that the NT does not affirm the OT; yet the question given a Reformed interpretation of Scripture is whether the NT has abrogated these OT precepts.

    Ok, Ron, so if 2k is wrong then that must mean theonomy is right, which must mean that the civil magistrate in fact has a duty to criminalize sectarian Christianity or false religion, which must mean that Roman Catholics, Mormons and Muslims must find another land to inhabit, just like a Session or Council has a duty to discipline an unrepentant Reformed Christian who denies sola fide or affirms credo-baptism or that he will one day be deified instead of glorified or that Allah and Yahweh are co-terminous and find another church to which to adhere.

    How can there be proximates without an absolute standard? Your reasoning is akin to the atheist’s. You want to hold to proximates but not to the absolutes that proximates presuppose!

    No, I want to hold to absolutes but live by proximates. That’s actually how most of my own life and world works, and yours. The difference, I think, is that I am conceding how real life and the real world actually works while you don’t seem ready to admit that you live in a world that doesn’t work the way you’d always like it. Theonomy is a theological function of impatience for imperfections and blemishes in the temporal age.

  79. todd said,

    July 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Ron,

    I can see I am confusing you and Mark and assuming you were arguing the same as he, for Mark has stated we should not be Reformed ministers. My apologies. But for the record, I never stated you thought non-theonomists should not be Reformed ministers, but that r2k shouldn’t. I just wasn’t sure the distinction you were making between Lane, Duncan and us. Anyway, I’m glad you see Duncan and Lane as unconfessional on this point, because I think that at least makes you consistent, though incorrect, though I’m always intrigued when two people in a debate do not budge why one side gets to label the other as close-minded.

  80. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Understood, Todd. Thanks for your reasonableness.

    Blessings,

    Ron

  81. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Zrim,

    The covenant God has with his people is a covenant that God made with Christ as the second Adam as the single Seed, and by extension with the elect in Christ. (Genesis 17; Galatians 3) It is a covenant that will come to consummation, being a covenant of promise. There is nothing like that with respect to the nations, and theonomy doesn’t suggest otherwise. I don’t know how you draw such inferences, but there are no such implications from the T-thesis.

    Theonomy wants geo-political nations to “kiss the Son,” right? So you must think that God not only lived and died for his people who come from every nation but also for those very nations. 2k simply denies this.

    I would think that all Christians desire that all men kiss the Son, but is simply muddled to think that theonomy implies that Jesus died for non-people. Until you refine your thinking, it will probably be futile for me to interact with the many directions such thinking can go.

    The difference, I think, is that I am conceding how real life and the real world actually works while you don’t seem ready to admit that you live in a world that doesn’t work the way you’d always like it. Theonomy is a theological function of impatience for imperfections and blemishes in the temporal age.

    For the zillionth time, this discussion does not pertain to how one wants things to be, but rather it has to do with what God requires of men. It’s a matter of precept, not desire or expectation.

    Zrim, I’m really sorry but the more you write the more I have to believe that you have no idea what theonomy entails.

  82. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Now the simple question is when Calvin uses the words “punishment” and “restraint” does anyone think he has only excommunication in mind?

    But it must at the same time be observed, that this zeal under the reign of Christ is approved by God; for Zechariah does not here confine what he teaches to the time of the law, but shows what would take place when Christ came, even that this zeal, which had become nearly extinct, would again burn in the hearts of all the godly. It then follows, that this law was not only given to the Jews, as some fanatics verily imagine, who would have for themselves at this day a liberty to disturb the whole world, but the same law also belongs to us: for if at this day thieves and robbers and sorcerers are justly punished, doubtless those who as far as they can destroy souls, who by their poison corrupt pure doctrine, which is spiritual food, who take away from God his own honor, who confound the whole order of the Church, doubtless such men ought not to escape unpunished. It would be indeed better to grant license to thieves and sorcerers and adulterers, than to suffer the blasphemies which the ungodly utter against God, to prevail without any punishment and without any restraint. And this is evident enough from the words of our Prophet.

    This quotation comes from John Calvin’s commentary on Zechariah 13:3.

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom30.iii.xiv.v.html

  83. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Zrim you say,

    “Well, I am not sure what else one can conclude from theonomic assertions. Theonomy wants geo-political nations to “kiss the Son,” right? So you must think that God not only lived and died for his people who come from every nation but also for those very nations. 2k simply denies this. Theonomy’s problem is how to disciple institutions as well as persons. But I know of no theonomic church that has a nation-state on its membership rolls.”

    The law, though it is equally binding upon all men, serves different functions for believers and unbelievers. Unbelievers cannot be disciplined by the law, and no theonomist argues, nor implies by his arguments, that individual unbelievers or corporate bodies of unbelievers are disciplined by the law.

    What they are under the application of the law is brought into external conformity to God’s standards, which one would think is obvious cause for rejoicing, since God’s normative activity is to prolong or shorten the lives of people and nations according to their adherence to His law. What individual or nation would not wish to prolong its existence?

    If one wishes to argue that external conduct cannot please God apart from an obedient heart, and therefore mere conduct alone cannot reap the blessings He annexes to obedience, well and good. However, the blessings of the covenant are categorically distinct from the wisdom of living according to just principles of conduct–wisdom that operates in its applications regardless of the individual or corporate bodies reason for abiding in such principles of conduct. In other words, just actions follow from just principles of conduct, even when the reason for upholding those just principles and actions is not the worship of God. It is not simply that God’s law is universally binding, but that it is universally just to the exclusion of all law that is not derived from God’s law. God does not maintain separate standards of justice, and neither can any man made in His image.

    You conclude by saying:
    “No, I want to hold to absolutes but live by proximates. That’s actually how most of my own life and world works, and yours. The difference, I think, is that I am conceding how real life and the real world actually works while you don’t seem ready to admit that you live in a world that doesn’t work the way you’d always like it. Theonomy is a theological function of impatience for imperfections and blemishes in the temporal age.”

    If by “my own life and world works” you mean that your life fits comfortably within the pluralistic society in which we now live, then who could argue with that claim? But also, who would prefer it when the injustice of such a society is the ultimate cause of its decay and destruction as a society? Far from being a result of impatience for imperfections and blemishes, theonomy is a longsuffering commitment to universal justice in the face of self-destructive autonomy.

  84. todd said,

    July 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Benjamin,

    I think we have mentioned many times before that we think Calvin was wrong on this. Even Homer nods.

  85. dgh said,

    July 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Reed, Ron, and Mark VD, here are a few bullet points that Mark refuses to offer:

    2k affirms:

    1) ” Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in matters of faith. Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger. And, as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.” (OPC Confession of Faith, 23.3)

    2) “Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the new testament.

    “To them 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.” (OPC Confession of Faith, 19.3-4)

    3) “The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.” (OPC Confession of Faith, 25.2)

    4) “Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.” (OPC Confession of Faith, 31.4)

    Since these 2k affirmations come from a Reformed communion that only mainline Presbyterians doubt, to call 2k radical or unconfessional is a fib.

    And to accuse 2k of providing moving targets is funnier than Andy Kaufman. The real moving target here is the weight that Ron hangs on the general equity of civil case laws. The phrase “civil case laws” appears nowhere in the OPC Confession of Faith and Catechisms. And yet he uses this phrase and the general equity thereof to accuse 2k of being unconfessional.

    Oy vey!

  86. Zrim said,

    July 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Chris (#42), you’re welcome. You might also like this from Kuyper’s “Ordinances of God.” I do. I wonder if Mark VM and the local theocrats do:

    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.

  87. Zrim said,

    July 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Joshua, if theonomy is so longsuffering then what problem does it have with 2k? It sure seems to be that 2k is too longsuffering and too willing to live with imperfection. And if Kuyper was right about the theonomic impulse that beat even in his own time, it seems to be much too at ease with the light of nature.

  88. Zrim said,

    July 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Benjamin, what Todd said. But did you miss my first quoting of Kuyper above about disagreeing with Calvin (#34)? Talk about Rrrrradical.

  89. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    The real moving target here is the weight that Ron hangs on the general equity of civil case laws. The phrase “civil case laws” appears nowhere in the OPC Confession of Faith and Catechisms.

    Darryl,

    The WCF states: “To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require.”

    It’s rather apparent the general equity refers to judicial laws, not moral laws and not ceremonial laws, but judicial laws. You yourself have argued that the civil sanctions have been replaced in their equity with ecclesiastical sanctions. So, to argue that “civil case laws” is not to be found in the standards is like arguing that the Trinity is not stated in Scripture.

  90. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Darryl, of course Andy Kaufman! His genius was getting his audience to take him seriously as he intentionally provoked them. They didn’t catch on that he was just doing his schtick. This is one my favorite examples {alert: 2 ” mildly naughty words” in the video}.

  91. jedpaschall said,

    July 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Ron,

    First your comparrison of an alleged faulty interpretation of the general equity clause and the absence of the Trinity not being found in Scripture is a bit over the pale.

    No 2Ker argues that the general equity of the law isn’t applicable or binding upon men to such a degree that they are liable to God for violating it. I think you are operating with an assumption that we don’t think that the Law is binding upon all men. Where we differ is how and when that Law will be enforced, and I would argue that we take a more eschatalogical view of the enforcement of the Law, especially in the sense that WCF 19 speaks to. The use of the Law here is not primarily for the lawful ordering of society but in order to expose sin and draw sinners to faith in Christ.

    The church has no jurisdiction over the affairs of the state, especially post-1789. It is the commision of the church to proclaim the gospel through the preaching of the Word, to teach, to administer the sacraments, and to disciple. The church was not commissioned to meddle in governmental affairs. I really don’t understand why this is so difficult. We are not enforcers of divine commands outside of our walls, merely heralds, and we call people, not institutions to repentance.

    Is this so dangerous to the church? Calling the church to do what Jesus commanded seems simple, why insert our noses where they do not belong? Private citizens who are members of churches are free to tackle social ills, but they can’t be doing so as official representatives of the Church because our mission is spiritual.

  92. Tim Prussic said,

    July 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Zrim (#53) – we can still submit to the governing authorities, even as Christians run the show (or highly influence it). Love your enemies wasn’t intended to be a governmental policy (as such), but a command to personal conduct and attitudes. “Love your enemies,” however, can look very different that romantic views of it will let on… same goes for “love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Part of the reason for the “theocracy” of the OT and the laws that pertain to it is to give us direction when Christians find themselves in power. God has not left us without instruction. Sometimes God’s people are in a position of (earthly) strength and sometimes in a position of weakness. Jesus Christ, however, IS the ruler of the kings of earth, and call his people to faithful service according to his law. “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

  93. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Ron,

    First your comparrison of an alleged faulty interpretation of the general equity clause and the absence of the Trinity not being found in Scripture is a bit over the pale.

    Jed,

    It seems as if you’ve missed the point. DGH stated that there is no mention in the Confession of the equity of the “civil case laws.” I noted that the equity to which the Confession refers pertains to the “judicial laws” – same thing. The analogy I used was in that context.

    Moreover, no theonomist I know places undo weight on that portion of the Confession with respect to defending theonomy as a biblical principle. I’m simply pointing out in this thread that it’s a farce to collapse civil equity into ecclesiastical sanctions in order to appear confessional on this matter. There are a lot of other arguments that defend theonomy from a biblical perspective, and in turn refute R2K, but those have been discussed elsewhere at sundry times.

  94. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    It is the commision of the church to proclaim the gospel through the preaching of the Word, to teach, to administer the sacraments, and to disciple. The church was not commissioned to meddle in governmental affairs. I really don’t understand why this is so difficult. We are not enforcers of divine commands outside of our walls, merely heralds, and we call people, not institutions to repentance.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “meddle in governmental affairs,” but what is clear to me is that you think that theonomy implies that the church is to enforce divine commands given to the state, which is just another caricature of theonomy. Moreover, theonomy is not about the church calling institutions to repentance. Theonomists get all that, which makes me believe that you too are incapable of distinguishing Jerry and D. James from theonomy.

  95. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    It is the commision of the church to proclaim the gospel through the preaching of the Word, to teach, to administer the sacraments, and to disciple. The church was not commissioned to meddle in governmental affairs. I really don’t understand why this is so difficult. We are not enforcers of divine commands outside of our walls, merely heralds, and we call people, not institutions to repentance.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “meddle in governmental affairs,” but what is clear to me is that you think that theonomy implies that the church is to enforce divine commands given to the state, which is just another caricature of theonomy. Moreover, theonomy is not about the church calling institutions to repentance. Theonomists get all that, which makes me believe that you too are incapable of distinguishing Jerry and D. James from theonomy.

  96. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I

    s this so dangerous to the church? Calling the church to do what Jesus commanded seems simple, why insert our noses where they do not belong? Private citizens who are members of churches are free to tackle social ills, but they can’t be doing so as official representatives of the Church because our mission is spiritual.

    As a card carrying theonomist, I’ve said that to many misguided fellows. So again, we agree. What we obviously don’t agree on is what theonomy entails, for I can “amen” much of what you said.

  97. jedpaschall said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Ron,

    Thanks for the reply, I didn’t realize that they gave cards to theonomists (I’d insert an emoticon here if I wasn’t constitutionally averse to them).

    I am tied up for the night on an econ paper and class, so I won’t have adequate time to respond and assist you in returning that theonomy card to sender. I’ll keep an eye on the responses and chime in when I can.

  98. dgh said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Ron, you have been referring repeatedly to civil case laws. This is a technical legal phrase not found in the Bible or confession.

    But here’s the kicker if you’re only referring to judicial laws. The confession says that the judicial laws “may” require certain applications based on general equity. Your position seems to be premised on reading must into that construction, so that people “must” follow your view of general equity or be outside the confession.

  99. dgh said,

    July 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Tim, this is a very interesting hermeneutic. The OT laws were given just in case Christians ever came to power. If you don’t have power, you can ignore it. I

  100. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Jed, I’m tied up too, as I’m going to watch Lord of the Rings w/ my kids who have not yet seen it, but it’s not because it’s Lane’s birthday though I did mention that at dinner tonight, that he turned 33 and finally “came of age” (and then everyone said “He’s only 33!”). Lane, it’s not that you’re a hero here, but you’re my hero… but I do have a tendency of venting sometimes and though I don’t vent about you, I do vent about GB’s site. My dear bride does read my blog so she might read GB on her own. Also, and incidentally, she was influenced by David Coffin and Mike Horton when I met her and I must say, I admire both those men in many respects. Coffin is an amazing Christian and MH seemed most gracious and kind when I met him. Notwithstanding, she too has come of age and has become theonomic, even card carrying. :)

    Darryl, it’s not that one must agree w/ my view of what the equity of the law is for any transgression to be a theonomist. Take stoning for certain transgressions as a “for instance.” Death for the transgression is a non-negotiable among theonomists. It can’t be exchanged for a church censure, a wagging of the finger, or a spanking of a child. Death is at the heart of the sanction…. and nobody playing fair would suggest that the equity of the penalty requires stoning as opposed to gas, lethal injection, or bullets. What may more reasonably be debated is whether the penalty should be public. In any case, NOBODY should collapse the equity of civil laws into ecclesiastical sanctions, my single point on this thread.

    I apologize for all the typos and formatting on this thread by me…. I’m rushed more than usual this week……….yours, rd

  101. Ron said,

    July 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    p.s. dgh, I’ll ponder later why you think the terms of “civil case laws” and “judicial laws” should be distinguished from each other, though I’m sure Bahnsen used them with no distinction as in “By This Standard.”

    p.p.s. have you worn the tie is my question………..

  102. Cris Dickason said,

    July 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    So, Ron, I’m glad you’ll spend time with the kids, and with the cinema version of LOTR no less (be sure they read the books too), but really, #77? Nice dodge. As for presupposing continuity… There’s equal indication in the NT to presuppose discontinuity as well. They need to be kept in balance. That’s a general lesson from Hebrews. It is quite something to ponder that Moses, levitical priesthood, Davidic monarchy, geo-theo-political Israel was shadow, the preliminary, that which passed and was succeeded by the fulfillment that is The Christ, and His Church.

    In Acts ch 1 we find that instead of restoring the kingdom to Israel, the Christ ascends to heaven in order to send the Spirit to be His presence with the Church, and indeed, establish the Church age.

    So, off you go to Middle Earth, watch out for orcs.

    -=Cris=-

  103. Zrim said,

    July 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Love your enemies wasn’t intended to be a governmental policy (as such), but a command to personal conduct and attitudes.

    Tim, I wasn’t suggesting a political hermeneutic of the biblical command. I’m “radical,” remember, because I employ a personal one for biblical commands. My point was that if we don’t want political power used by our spiritual enemies to persecute us when they hold political power then how can we return the insult to them when we hold political power? Which is what politically enforcing the first table is: the civil persecution of spiritual enemies. But doesn’t it make more sense to civilly punish civil lawbreakers and spiritually discipline spiritual trespassers? This seems obvious.

    Part of the reason for the “theocracy” of the OT and the laws that pertain to it is to give us direction when Christians find themselves in power. God has not left us without instruction. Sometimes God’s people are in a position of (earthly) strength and sometimes in a position of weakness. Jesus Christ, however, IS the ruler of the kings of earth, and call his people to faithful service according to his law. “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

    Odd. So, when we “find ourselves” in political power we should look to the OT theocracy to figure out what to do with idolaters and blasphemers? Ron, as a good theonomist, is clearly telling us it requires physical death and thinks whether it’s public or not is more important. Maybe that doesn’t jar you as an American, but that’s precisely where your reasoning is leading. Is that where you want to be? Or are you the soft variety that finds a way to circumvent the harsher implications of your reasoning, maybe slap idolaters with a fine? But for my part, I’ll go with straight 2k where physical transgressions are dealt with physically and spiritual violations spiritually. Small minded and radical, I know, but it sure beats insanity.

  104. dgh said,

    July 14, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Ron, do you believe that disobedient children today should be executed? I’m not trying to bait you. I’d like to know what the general equity is for this crime and its punishment.

    I personally do believe that excommunication is the spiritual analogy for physical execution. And I also believe that perverse and recalcitrant children should be executed.

    As for murderers, if they repent they may remain in fellowship with the church. The state has a different standard.

    But your conflation of the spiritual and the physical would seem to require that the church lobby for the execution (if not flick the switch) of murderers.

    p.s. Thanks for the tie. Haven’t worn it yet. Hillsdale is less bow-tie friendly than Philadelphia.

  105. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Just as an FYI Deuteronomy 21:18-21 does not refer to infants,toddlers, and children who throw temper-tantrums but grown adult sons who were physically abusive, drunkards, and.gluttonous.

  106. Zrim said,

    July 14, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Tim, another late thought. If believers today “find themselves” in positions of political power why look to OT theocracy for guidance? Since we now live in the age of exile, why not look to the exilic eras in the OT, like Joseph? His power in Egypt was great, but where was there any effort on his part to physically enforce true religion? Indeed, what we actually see is a believer who found great favor in the eyes of his pagan lord. The way anti-2kers talk I’m hard-pressed to imagine any of them finding such favor or even understanding such favor to be a good thing. And what about Daniel? He was forced to obtain a pagan education (yet nary a whiny word about worldview). He finds great favor as well. And does he repay his agitators who sought to religiously persecute him by perhaps conjuring up dreams pursuant to it? No, all we see is loyal, albeit uncomfortable, service to a God hater.

    So if it’s OT theocracy you want, fine. But why not look ahead to the final theocracy, the one the OT theocracy actually is pointing to, the one that comes by the hand of God alone? For now, living like pilgrims and exiles may mean something closer to Joseph and Daniel for those who “find themselves” in power.

  107. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 8:02 am

    But to answer your question Dr. Hart the General Equity of Deut 21:18-21 is incorrigible adult sons should be put to death, as the Law requires.

    Jesus Christ confirms the continuity of this Law in Matthew 15:3-4.

  108. dgh said,

    July 14, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Ben, so would the church that disciplined an incorrigible son by excommunication turn him over to the state authorities for punishment? And if the state has no laws against incorrigible sons, why aren’t the Baylys doing anything about that?

  109. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Cris and then Darryl,

    I don’t see how 77 was a dodge. If we don’t assume continuity, then we can’t know that any instruction is valid after it is given. If you have “equal indication in the NT to presuppose discontinuity,” then bring forth the abrogation. That “Christ ascends to heaven in order to send the Spirit…” does not imply abrogation of judicial laws. Look, it’s no different than the principle for infant baptism. We are to regard infants of professing believers as God’s heritage and disciples of the Lord, so we baptize them. They have an interest in the covenant by birth, not profession.

    Ron, do you believe that disobedient children today should be executed? I’m not trying to bait you. I’d like to know what the general equity is for this crime and its punishment.

    Darryl,

    The general equity of the death is death. So yes, if the child meets the sufficient conditions, then the penalty should be given. To disdain the penalty is to show demonstrate a contempt for the wisdom of God’s law that would transcend testaments.

    I personally do believe that excommunication is the spiritual analogy for physical execution. And I also believe that perverse and recalcitrant children should be executed.

    Glad to hear it. If you reach for your bible to justify your opinion, then you’re behaving as a theonomist.

    As for murderers, if they repent they may remain in fellowship with the church. The state has a different standard.

    I agree.

    But your conflation of the spiritual and the physical would seem to require that the church lobby for the execution (if not flick the switch) of murderers.

    I don’t think the church should lobby on that front and I don’t think the church should flick the switch. More to the point, theonomy doesn’t conflate those matters either.

    As I wrote on GB some time ago in a thread in which you were involved…
    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).

    (End of previous post on GB)

    Now then, maybe you should break out of the mold and wear the tie at Hillsdale.

  110. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Well last time I checked my last name was not “Bayly” so you can take that red herring somewhere else.I am not even sure what your point is in bringing their name up?

    The way Deuteronomy 21:18-21 reads the ecclesiastical authorities are not involved in the adjudication of the matter. The Parents are to take the son to the “Elders in the Gates” and a full trial is to be held. If the son is found guilty of the charges presented by a court of law then the State will bear the sword, as is its God-given duty.

    Though it must be noted presumably the ecclesiastical authority would have already dealt with a repetitive violent gluttonous drunkard.

  111. Alan D. Strange said,

    July 14, 2011 at 9:39 am

    WRT Lane’s post, Ryle’s comment seems both unremarkable and a good reminder.

    It’s unremarkable because the church, as far as I am aware, has never called for civil rulers to use the sword to convert. When Charlemagne forcibly baptized a Saxon army (ca. 800), Abbot Alcuin reproved him for it as it was against the teaching of the church to make Christians by force. Rulers did it, to be sure, on a number of occasions, but without the approval of the church hierarchy (granted lower clerics had to participate and higher sometimes simply looked away).

    Even when Urban I preached the First Crusade in 1095, the call then, and afterwards, was for the liberation of Christians (and their lands). As problematic as this may have been, there was still no call, in fact it was forbidden during the Crusades, for using the sword to convert. It was used, even against other Christians (Constantinople, 1204), but against Rome’s teaching.

    That the sword has been used, contra ecclesiastical canons, is why it remains a good reminder from Ryle, who, as part of an Established church, knows only too well that the church can look to, or the state employ, carnal means in the propogation of the faith, rather than the spiritual ones that are given to the church.

    Ryle, of course, in view of Article 37, would have had no problem with the state protecting the prerogatives of the church and of maintaining her free from molestation. It makes sense that someone serving in an established church should remind us that the civil sword is not to be used to advance the gospel because, contra church teaching, it had and was a temptation both to church and state.

    Our situation is rather different at this point and there seems little likelihood of the sword as such being wrongly used on these shores in that respect, though other carnal means certainly are, lamentably, regularly employed to promote the faith.

  112. dgh said,

    July 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Ron and Ben, let’s get personal. I misspoke back in 104. I do NOT believe that perverse and recalcitrant adult children should be executed. I do think they should be disciplined and such discipline could lead to the church’s death penalty — excommunication (with hopes of spiritual resurrection through repentance).

    So do you think that a Reformed Protestant officer who does not believe in execution as a fitting or necessary penalty for disobedient adult children are outside the confession? It seems like you do. If so, that’s an amazingly narrow read of the confession.

    BTW, at the level of strategy, I don’t think that execution for the sins executed in the OT is ever going to fly either in society or the church. And at the level of theory, it doesn’t work if in fact Israel’s bearing of the sword was an eschatological type of the final judgment. That type is now executed through the spiritual agency of the church. (WCF 7.5-6)

    Ben, the Baylys are ever on my mind because of all the abuse they heap. I can’t help it if they link your blog at their site. Maybe you can’t help it either. But there must be some reason for their link to you.

  113. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

    So do you think that a Reformed Protestant officer who does not believe in execution as a fitting or necessary penalty for disobedient adult children are outside the confession? It seems like you do. If so, that’s an amazingly narrow read of the confession.

    Darryl,

    It’s striking to me that you enjoy picking penalties that don’t seem palatable to you in order to argue against the plain meaning of words. You never, for instance, say things like “So do you think that serial murderers ought to be put to death? It seems like you do. If so, that’s an amazingly narrow read of the confession.”

    The confession speaks of the general equity of judicial laws being still binding, yet your interpretation of equity abolishes the judicial law without remainder. Then in your defense you merely make emotive statements that simply inform us that you don’t like these laws.

    It’s not likely your going to change your interpretation of the confession, but at the very least you ought to quit saying that theonomists think the church ought to lobby for such laws and that some would even want to throw the switch. What is frightening is that you would promulgate such falsehoods without even wincing.

  114. Cris Dickason said,

    July 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Ron @ 109: If you have “equal indication in the NT to presuppose discontinuity,” then bring forth the abrogation.

    I was thinking/typing more broadly than just the judicial or civil laws. Since you had given that blithe “all Scripture…” remark. It was leading me to think you were pressing for continuity of theocratic rule, of seeking state enforcement of Christianity. That’s clearly not what you have in mind based on the long post/re-post in the rest of 109. I am in basic agreement with that outlook.

    -=Cris=-
    P.S. Sellersville Theater is showing on Monday nights the LOTR movies (original edits, not extended) no admission fee. They make their money off adult (and hobbit) beverages I suppose. Two Towers is up on 07/18. st94.com)

  115. Zrim said,

    July 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    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.

    Ron, are you suggesting that the gospel is the means by which to arrange (or transform) society? If so, this is what I find odd. Law is the category for governing society, not gospel which is for how to govern the church. But in terms of kind, instead of biblical law it is natural law that should be employed. I don’t know which is more confused when it comes to doing civilization: theocratic law or exilic gospel.

    I believe God’s precepts require death for such a transgression [rape] and that settles it for me. I, also, believe such sanctions will deter other would-be rapists.

    So, what about those who would disagree with you about how to civilly punish rapists? Are we impious for dissenting on death and looking to the Noahic covenant with all mankind (as opposed to his covenant with Israel alone) that seems to stipulate that capital punishment is reserved only for capital crimes?

  116. dgh said,

    July 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Ron, I believe in general equity. The church still disciplines disobedient adult children. It just doesn’t use the sword.

    If your views are unpalatable, I can’t help that no matter how much I interact with you here.

    But I am still curious if you think that someone is not confessional if they don’t believe that disobedient adult covenant children should be executed? You brought up the example, after all.

  117. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    No one here believes the Church, the ecclesiastical authority that holds the Keys to the Kingdom, should wield the sword. It is a false statement to continue insinuating such.

    As Deuteronomy 21 clearly shows even in theocratic Israel the “Elders at the Gate” held the authority of the Sword by due process, not the High Priest not the Levites.

  118. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    And again Jesus Christ upholds this distinction of due process under the Law in John 8 with the woman caught in adultery.

  119. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    P.S. Sellersville Theater is showing on Monday nights the LOTR movies (original edits, not extended) no admission fee. They make their money off adult (and hobbit) beverages I suppose. Two Towers is up on 07/18. st94.com)

    Cris,

    Thanks for the tip on Sellersville Theater. :) Also, re: another post, the kids have read the Hobbit and are currently reading the trilogy.

  120. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Ron, are you suggesting that the gospel is the means by which to arrange (or transform) society? If so, this is what I find odd. Law is the category for governing society, not gospel which is for how to govern the church.

    Zrim,

    It’s terribly simplistic to suggest that we are to “govern the church” by gospel only. Is that what occurs at session meetings, a perpetual recitation of the gospel and no more, or does more than the gospel come into play when governing the church? But aside from the obvious, there’s a difference between governing and transforming. In any case, all I was saying is that as a matter of priority, the church’s primary focus should be building up the saints in the faith, not trying to change Washington. Notwithstanding, the Bible has sufficient information on how we are to be govern in the civil realm.

    But in terms of kind, instead of biblical law it is natural law that should be employed.

    Since natural law cannot contradict biblical law, it would seem that biblical law would be a better way to govern since it addresses transgressions with varying degrees of penalty. Natural law reveals that all sins deserve the maximum penalty, whereas special revelation informs us that the maximum penalty possible for men to dish out need not apply in all cases, for God will get to that later. Moreover, special revelation does something that natural law doesn’t. It informs us on the appropriate penalties for many transgressions and provides an epistemic justification for the concept of law in general and penalties in particular.

    So, what about those who would disagree with you about how to civilly punish rapists? Are we impious for dissenting on death and looking to the Noahic covenant with all mankind (as opposed to his covenant with Israel alone) that seems to stipulate that capital punishment is reserved only for capital crimes?

    It’s always under good regulation to go with what has been progressively revealed, so go with Moses and not Noah would be my recommendation.

  121. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Ron, I believe in general equity. The church still disciplines disobedient adult children. It just doesn’t use the sword.

    Darryl,

    The context of the abiding general equity pertains to the state, not the church. The church isn’t even in view: “To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require.” Moreover, the church’s job is ministerial and declarative and the church only has a hand full of censures to declare. Added to that, many if not most transgressions against the state do not warrant ecclesiastical censure. Accordingly, if the church is to implement the equity of judicial penalties, we’d find that many if not most penalties would be abolished in their equity. And as said earlier, repentance lifts ecclesiastical censure, which is not the case for civil transgressions.
    .

    But I am still curious if you think that someone is not confessional if they don’t believe that disobedient adult covenant children should be executed? You brought up the example, after all.

    If one denies that the state should carry out the general equity of the laws given to Israel, then he denies the confession on that point. That, in and of itself, might not be enough to call such a one “unconfessional”, but it is an exception to the Confession.

  122. Zrim said,

    July 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    It’s terribly simplistic to suggest that we are to “govern the church” by gospel only. Is that what occurs at session meetings, a perpetual recitation of the gospel and no more, or does more than the gospel come into play when governing the church?

    Ron, law does come into play, but even church discipline is done in order to engender repentance and restoration. Civil punishment doesn’t really care about remorse and restoring. In the church, when one repents there is forgiveness and restoration. In the state, punishment is still doled out to the remorseful without a shred of forgiveness. I want my sheriff to rule by law, not grace; contrariwise, I want my elders to rule by gospel, not law. Is that simplistic or realistic?

    Since natural law cannot contradict biblical law, it would seem that biblical law would be a better way to govern since it addresses transgressions with varying degrees of penalty. Natural law reveals that all sins deserve the maximum penalty, whereas special revelation informs us that the maximum penalty possible for men to dish out need not apply in all cases, for God will get to that later. Moreover, special revelation does something that natural law doesn’t. It informs us on the appropriate penalties for many transgressions and provides an epistemic justification for the concept of law in general and penalties in particular.

    So, re the Kuyper quote I supplied above (#86), he’s off his rocker about how “Calvinism has never supported this untenable position that we… duplicate the situation of Israel, taking Holy Scripture as a complete code of Christian law for the state…we contradict the argument that Holy Scripture should be seen as the source from which a knowledge of the best civil laws flow… We have refuted the notion that we entertain the foolish effort to patch together civil laws from Bible texts,” etc., etc.? But are you serious that by the light of nature nobody can figure out that stealing a pack of gum doesn’t deserve the chair without the Bible’s help?

    It’s always under good regulation to go with what has been progressively revealed, so go with Moses and not Noah would be my recommendation.

    But Jesus is greater than Moses. Now what?

  123. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I want my elders to rule by gospel, not law. Is that simplistic or realistic?

    It’s simplistic, or would you prefer not to be aided by your elders through the application of wisdom literature?

    Jesus is greater than Moses, but Jesus did not come to abolish the law.

  124. jedpaschall said,

    July 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Benjamin, (RE: 118)

    And again Jesus Christ upholds this distinction of due process under the Law in John 8 with the woman caught in adultery.

    But the same principle doesn’t seem to carry on to 1 Corinthians where there not a few liable for the OT death penalty. I can’t find a single place where the OT case law was enforced by the church, especially in capital cases.

    And you still have a big problem in the OT where it appears that the death penalty wasn’t always enforced in capital cases. David being the highest profile example. The prophetic lit is also rife with indictments that should have meant the death of the people, even in the post-exilic prophets with a supposedly more faithful covenant community.

    I think we need to dig deep into the notion of enforceability in some of these 2k-theonomy debates. The biblical data tells a very different story than what I hear from theonomists. Nailing this down might help frame the discussion a bit better.

  125. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    1) You are making a category mistake. The Church is not called to enforce the Penal Law. That is reserved to the Civil Magistrate. No theonomist anywhere believes the Church should wield the sword. The Church holds the Keys and the State the Sword.

    2) Why is that a “big problem”? Is the current judicial system therefore illegitimate because it fails to consistently prosecute every violation of the Law?

    3) Why is because something may or not be hard or difficult make it therefore incorrect?

  126. jedpaschall said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Benjamin,

    Lets assume a theonomist Rome (I know, a lot of imagining). Paul conducts church discipline, but since he also requires us to submit to the rule of law, he would then have to hand over the Corinthian offenders to the authorities for trial and possibly execution. Is that how the system would work?

  127. Zrim said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Ron, I’d prefer my elders who guide me through wisdom to know the difference between it and law. But If they can’t even distinguish between law and gospel I not only don’t hold out much hope, I tremble. The same way I tremble when my sheriff doesn’t know the difference between law and grace.

    But I still wonder what your thoughts are on Kuyper’s utter rejection of theonomy. Was he off the Reformed reservation?

  128. jedpaschall said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    And Re: point 2 –

    2) Why is that a “big problem”? Is the current judicial system therefore illegitimate because it fails to consistently prosecute every violation of the Law?

    The problem, especially in the David narrative, is that the lack of penal enforcement is painted in favorable terms in the narrative, an example of God’s mercy.

    As I understand, some theonomists would call for the execution of adulterers, but if Scripture prescribes mercy in certain cases, how would the theonomist state be able to hand down such judgments.

    The penal system was at times criticized in the OT, but you still haven’t dealt with the notions of enforcement. The fact of the matter is, while the penal system was in tact, it isn’t clear that the harshest penalties were always handed down, and this seemed to be a feature of the legal system that wasn’t always a bad thing.

    The OT penal system has more attestation of enforcement in the intertestamental period than it did in the biblical record. So what I am saying is the biblical data isn’t necessarily there to justify the mandate for theonomy. This is all about how the Law functions in the church age, and I don’t see the warrant for theonomy, and that predates my movement to 2k.

  129. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Jed,

    Using Deuteronomy 21:18ff as a test case the answer would be no. As I noted above the way Deuteronomy 21:18-21 reads the ecclesiastical authorities are not involved in the adjudication of the matter. The Parents are to take the son to the “Elders in the Gates” and a full trial is to be held. If the son is found guilty of the charges presented by a court of law then the State will bear the sword, as is its God-given duty.

    In an adultery case like 1 Corinthians 5 the State would require two or three eyewitnesses (Heb 10:28) for it to be a capital crime. The Church would not be anymore directly involved with the State than it is with any other crime..Adulterers would be reported to the proper authorities, just as a thief or any other criminal.

    But to speak even more broadly even in today’s society it is against the law for the Church to conceal crimes. It would be no different in a theonomic society.

    In a theonomic nation there would no more intertwining of Church courts and Judicial courts than there is in today’s society. There seems to be some kind of misunderstanding in this regard.

  130. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Jed,

    As has been noted before Calvin and other Reformers believed Adultery (and many other crimes) to be capital in nature that our legal system does not recognize as such. Adultery is still a crime (not DP of course) in the military.

  131. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    As an addendum what you are arguing against is not theonomy per se but really Establishmentarianism. Theonomy in a narrow sense really only speaks to the content of the Law of a Christian State. There are many Establishmentarians that are not theonomic.

  132. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Ron, I’d prefer my elders who guide me through wisdom to know the difference between it and law. But If they can’t even distinguish between law and gospel I not only don’t hold out much hope, I tremble. The same way I tremble when my sheriff doesn’t know the difference between law and grace.

    Zrim, you’re simply rambling in riddles. Nothing I’ve said conflates law and gospel, yet you spoke of gospel as the way to govern the church and when it is pointed out to you that gospel alone is not how the church “governs” you just ramble more. It’s all rather pitiful, but by all means ramble away if that is what makes you happy.

    But I still wonder what your thoughts are on Kuyper’s utter rejection of theonomy. Was he off the Reformed reservation?

    *sigh* It’s hard to believe you’re that careless. As a general rule, taking an exception to the Confession doesn’t necessarily make one “non-confessional”, let alone “off the R reservation.”

  133. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Zrim,

    This is where you got off track

    I wrote: 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.

    You responded: Ron, are you suggesting that the gospel is the means by which to arrange (or transform) society? If so, this is what I find odd. Law is the category for governing society,
    ——

    The gospel transforms people… If enough people are transformed, society will be transformed…. Therefore, gospel can transform society.

    Law is ordained to govern society, but as I noted to you above, governing and transforming are different things. I never suggested that the gospel governs in the state. To say that gospel alone “governs” in the church is to use terms like “govern” and “gospel” in a very esoteric way.

  134. Zrim said,

    July 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    The gospel transforms people… If enough people are transformed, society will be transformed…. Therefore, gospel can transform society.

    So the more Christians there are the better their world becomes? I understand this is a popular and sunny way of conceiving the effect of the gospel on the wider world. But how does this comport with something like HC 114:

    But can those who are converted to God perfectly keep these commandments?

    No: but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God.

    That makes it sound like believers are actually always more sinful than not in this life. How do mostly sinful people transform the world for the better? But Calvinistic 2k actually takes seriously total depravity and the depths of human sin such that notions about there being more of us making the world a better place is pretty silly and not a little conceited.

  135. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    So the more Christians there are the better their world becomes?

    Yes

    But how does this comport with something like HC 114:
    But can those who are converted to God perfectly keep these commandments?

    No: but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God.

    The way it comports with HC 114 is that perfect obedience is not a necessary condition for a better world. Men can be imperfect yet better than they were.

    How do mostly sinful people transform the world for the better?

    The gospel transforms people into better people. Since the world is comprised of people, we can safely conclude that more conversions will lead to a better world than less conversions. It’s remarkable that you would deny such a premise. You would have us believe that there is no difference in the character of a man before and after conversion. You would also have us believe that although man is not glorified, his definitive and progressive sanctification has no affect on the world.

    But Calvinistic 2k actually takes seriously total depravity and the depths of human sin such that notions about there being more of us making the world a better place is pretty silly and not a little conceited.

    You’re not upholding total depravity. Rather, you’re denying definitive and progressive sanctification.

    There’s no “conceit” in what I’m saying, just a confidence that God makes men holier and more just after their conversion.

    You’re just digging your hole deeper and deeper, Zrim.

  136. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    So the more Christians there are the better their world becomes?

    Yes

    But how does this comport with something like HC 114:
    But can those who are converted to God perfectly keep these commandments?

    No: but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God.

    The way it comports with HC 114 is that perfect obedience is not a necessary condition for a better world. Men can be imperfect yet better than they were.

    How do mostly sinful people transform the world for the better?

    The gospel transforms people into better people. Since the world is comprised of people, we can safely conclude that more conversions will lead to a better world than less conversions. It’s remarkable that you would deny such a premise. You would have us believe that there is no difference in the character of a man before and after conversion. You would also have us believe that although man is not glorified, his definitive and progressive sanctification has no affect on the world.

    But Calvinistic 2k actually takes seriously total depravity and the depths of human sin such that notions about there being more of us making the world a better place is pretty silly and not a little conceited.

    You’re not upholding total depravity. Rather, you’re denying definitive and progressive sanctification.

    There’s no “conceit” in what I’m saying, just a confidence that God makes men holier and more just after their conversion.

    You’re just digging your hole deeper and deeper, Zrim.

  137. dgh said,

    July 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Ron and Ben, I think I have finally reached an epiphany. Both of you seem to think that general equity only applies to the state, not to the church. Ben you even think that the execution of offenders in the OT was not done by the church.

    But Ron, you insist on continuity between the OT and NT. So how could read the OT and not have the church in view, or only the state minus the church. Does the OT know of a state that is different from the redeemed community?

    And Ben, the church did actually execute people in the OT. The elders at the gates were not secular police, but members of the covenant community with responsibilities delineated in the book of the covenant.

  138. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    1) Your first assertion is false. 1 Tim 5:18 proves that general equity is for the Church as well.

    2) Do you believe there was no separation in the theocracy of OT Israel between the duties of State and the duties of Church? No one said the Elders were “secular”. The delineation I was making was between the authority of the Priests and the authority of the Elders/Kings/Judges, 2 Chronicles 26 and Numbers 15:32ff shows that much.

  139. Ron said,

    July 14, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    But Ron, you insist on continuity between the OT and NT. So how could read the OT and not have the church in view, or only the state minus the church. Does the OT know of a state that is different from the redeemed community?

    Darryl,

    Certainly we must draw distinctions between church and state in Israel, e.g. King Uzziah was not allowed to do the work of the priest/ Moreover, even when a king removed the high places he did not become a priest in the process. That the church and state were comprised of the same people does not imply that all OT instructions pertain to the same spheres of jurisdiction within the people. Naturally, the enforcement of civil sanctions applies to kings, not clergy. Accordingly, the general equity of judicial sanctions speaks to kings, not clergy.

  140. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Strike my #1 I totally misspoke. Of course the judicials would not apply to the Church in that way.

  141. Zrim said,

    July 15, 2011 at 7:10 am

    The gospel transforms people into better people. Since the world is comprised of people, we can safely conclude that more conversions will lead to a better world than less conversions. It’s remarkable that you would deny such a premise. You would have us believe that there is no difference in the character of a man before and after conversion. You would also have us believe that although man is not glorified, his definitive and progressive sanctification has no affect on the world.

    Not quite, Ron. My point is one about the reality of sin and total human depravity (which, by the way, seems different from utter depravity which ends up suggesting, as you do in #120, that our natural sense of justice can’t sort out “varying degrees of penalty,” thus we need the Bible to delineate our judicial arrangements). You accuse me of over-simplifying things, but this notion that the more conversions there are will somehow translate into a better world seems hopelessly naïve and two-dimensional. Justified human beings are still sinful ones because redemption doesn’t really swallow up creation the way you seem to think it does. Have you noticed the state of the church? It seems like quite a fractured and very imperfect society to say the least. I understand that isn’t very cheerlead-y, but I can’t fathom how anyone could honestly and realistically assess the state of the church and think what the world needs is to look more like that. Sinners certainly needs to cleave to her, for apart from her there is ordinarily no hope for salvation, but that seems altogether different from suggesting that she makes the world a better place. If that’s really true then why, after over two thousand years, is what has been has been again and there is nothing new under the sun?

  142. Ron said,

    July 15, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Zrim,

    In all good conscience I cannot continue to be part of your outright denial of the transforming work of God in the salvation of sinners. I’d prefer to leave you to your elders who would able to work with you on a local and more intimate level. Your problems are serious and they run deep.

    In God’s grace,

    Ron

  143. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

    I’d be interested to hear from Dr. Hart or any others reading this discussion if they agree with Mr. Zrim’s estimation of the work of sanctification of believers.

  144. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Ben, for the R2k folk, total depravity is so bad it prevents Christian sanctification from having a positive noetic effect on society. Yet, that same total depravity is not so bad as to prevent a non-chrisitan from ordering civil society aright by the use of natural law alone, unaided by the lens of Scripture.

    Clear as mud?

  145. Ron said,

    July 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Mark,

    Yes, there appears to be more confidence in common grace than saving grace.

  146. Zrim said,

    July 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    But for the theonomic utter depravity is so bad it prevents everyone from being able to discern how to punish petty crime versus serious crime without the Bible’s help. Yet, that same utter depravity isn’t so complete that those who are being sanctified can make the world a better place in ways that those who aren’t being sanctified can’t.

  147. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    July 15, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I have seen you pushing this “utter” vs. “total” depravity position for years on the interwebs.

    Where did you learn this?

  148. Ron said,

    July 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Benjamin and Mark,

    You might be interested in some posts offered to Zrim a while back. They addressed his concerns about theonomy and man’s ability, or lack thereof, to govern himself in a fallen world apart from Scripture. The posts have nothing to do with this new assertion of his that men are no better after conversion than before. You are seeing today from Zrim that he has not yet internalized the distinction between (a) God being willing to have the nations be governed by divine providence and common grace, and (b) man’s responsibility to govern himself by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Yes, Zrim has been shown many times that one’s opinion of how good things are apart from theonomy in the world is not relevant to the question of whether the world ought to be theonomic by divine precept. Accordingly, whenever we say how things ought to be, Zrim takes that to mean that we don’t think it is possible for men to have any order apart from Scripture.

    Here’s just a bit of what has been offered to Zrim:

    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 theonomist. 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.

  149. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 15, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Ron, you might be interested in this first installment of a review of Van Drunen’s latest sell-job on R2k. The reviewer gives voice to a concern over whether with R2k we are even looking at practioners of the same religion:

    http://www.swordandploughshare.com/main-blog/2011/7/6/living-in-gods-two-kingdoms.html

  150. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Thanks, Mark. Just read it.

  151. dgh said,

    July 16, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Ben, since the confession teaches that believers good works are filthy rags, I don’t see how we can get so excited about sanctification to think that it will make citizens and societies “better”, whatever that better is (which is a pretty different idea for an agrarian or an industrialist). I think what we want in a society is more order and peace. God gave us all sorts of means to accomplish that. The church is not one, in my estimation, not only because of a question of jurisdiction. It’s also because the church now is the church militant and a militant institution is not a model of peace and order. Not a clear analogy but something there.

    Plus, I’m surprised given your agrarianism that you might be prey to the progressivism that runs through a lot of theonomic and transformational thought.

  152. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Darryl, nobody is getting “so excited” about anything. It’s been suggested by someone who holds to R2K that we have no reasonable expectation that society will improve with more converts; yet that flies in the face of Ephesians 2, which contrasts men before and after conversion. It not only speaks of our position in Christ but that we’re ordained in Christ unto good works, as opposed to walking according the spirit that works in the children of disobedience. Frankly, I think R2K is so focused on the reality of the forensic that they give little credence to the whole work of biblical salvation, which includes new life in Christ.

  153. Alan D. Strange said,

    July 16, 2011 at 11:39 am

    It is partial to cite the confession’s claim that believers good works are filthy rags. They are indeed, with respect to themselves. And in themselves, our good works “cannot endure the severity of God’s judgments” (WCF 16.5).

    But, that’s hardly the whole story about the good works of believers. WCF 16.6 proceeds in a paternal and pastoral way to encourage us as God’s children:

    “Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.”

    The Bible has more to say than Isaiah 64:6 with respect to our good works. It would also encourage us that, because we are accepted in the Beloved, our patient and loving Father is pleased to bless our efforts for Him, even though our best works remain accompanied with many weaknesses aznd imperfections. And because He is so great and providence outstrips all her players, He can make something of our good works that we would never dream to make. God is not defeated by our sin even though we struggle against it all our days.

  154. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Amen, Alan.

    Also, “church militant” refers to church’s engagement in conflict and struggle in the world. It is not a reference to disharmony within the church but rather a reference that presupposes antithesis between kingdoms. So to suggest as Darryl has that the church “is not a model of peace and order” because she is the “church militant” is simply misguided. Obviously the church is not as harmonious as she will be as the church triumphant, but it is wrongheaded to index any lack of harmony within her ranks because she is at war with the world.

  155. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    We might ask, which institution on earth reflects the best model of unity and plurality? Also, the 2nd Helvetic Confession (chapter 17) offers a pretty good balance w/ respect to waging war against the flesh and the catholicity and harmony that exists within the church militant.

    We all recognize varying degrees of silliness within the church as well as the unity and fellowship that believers have in Christ. Both exist. What troubles me (and others) is that there seems to be no admission among the R2K camp that God is doing a work of grace in his people, let alone a miraculous work, and that much of the good in the world can be attributed to God’s working through the church. After all, isn’t it God who works in his people both to will and do of his good pleasure? We are still salt and light, aren’t we?

  156. jedpaschall said,

    July 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Ron,

    To your point, there has been good done to society throughout the church age due to the presence of Christians in it. That is part and parcel of being good neighbors, good employees and employers, good scientists, doctors, magistrates et. al. This is what seeking the “good of the city” is all about. The paradigm is Daniel and his collegues who didn’t seek the establishment of a Jewish state in Babylon.

    However, I think we are hard pressed to see the good influence of the church as an institution. Since the time of Constantine the church seems to only cause trouble when it extends its institutional influence outside of its biblical charter.

  157. jedpaschall said,

    July 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Mark, (Re: 149)

    And you are accusing 2k of extremism? The implications of the interview, at times goes well beyond the realm of charity and straightaway into the preposterous. He vascilates between charity and the inability to describe the practice of religion as he sees it. Pondering the question of whether or not we practice the same religion needs to be confined to the realm of religious practice. Religious practice is quintessentially found in the church through the ministry of word and sacrament, which is something all Reformed Christians should be united around.

    I get that that there is tremendous disagreement in the Reformed camp about what this means outside the ministry of the church. Whatever the Christian life looks like outside the church, it is a mistake to equate it to what happens within it. The argument should be about how life within the church informs life outside of it. Otherwise we just further radicalize and unnecessarily polarize the debate.

  158. todd said,

    July 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    No one, as far as I can tell, is arguing against the Reformed view of sanctification, that God sets us apart and strengthens us through His Spirit for good works when we are justified. I think the original question was, is society and culture necessarily better with more Christians? That depends on what you mean. Since sanctification doesn’t automatically make you a better artist or political scientist, or a smarter businessman, not necessarily in those areas. If you mean that in a neighborhood where half the people are believers, and a neighborhood with all non-believers, the believing neighborhood would have more love for others, care for neighbors, less fighting and abuse, less porn addiction, etc…, we would assume so and hope so. But I think of the Pilgrims’ experiment with collectivism, which was an utter failure. Would you rather have free market unbelievers set our American economic policy, or those misguided Pilgrims? I think the question needs to be more carefully framed before anyone rushes to the conclusion that somebody is denying the gospel, which includes the doctrine of sanctification. Have Christians done much good in the world to imrpove the world in a common grace sense? Of course they have, but so have many unbelievers.

  159. Alan D. Strange said,

    July 16, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Jed:

    Surely you do not mean to suggest that two thousand years of the Church carrying out the Great Commission has not been a good influence on this poor sinful world? There’s so much to say here but your claim takes my breath away.

    What does your last sentence about the church exceeding her province have to do with the previous sentence? Has the church gone beyond her bounds as an institution and caused trouble? Absolutely. Has the church failed to do her duty within her bounds and caused trouble? Sadly so.

    Has the church failed to be a good influence in the world? Not when faithful to her call. When she has been and is faithful to Her Lord’s Commission, there are many in the world who have come to the Savior and become part of the church.

    Think that the world’s bad? It’s because the perishing regard the cross as folly. And the church does not see it as the power of God properly–when it seeks to be most like the world, the church does the world the least good (MLJ).

    But what would this bad-enough world be like without the church and the leaven of the gospel? I really cannot believe my eyes when I read someone say what you did. You are letting the church’s sin define her. But God does not let our sin define us. He calls the church His spotless bride: She is the apple of His eye and the light and salt of this world. And not chiefly as individual Christians living out their lives in culture, but as an institution, as the mother without which we have no God as Father.

    The institutional church is not everything, but it is something without which there would be no means of grace ministered in this world. I would encourage you to rethink and put differently your concerns.

  160. jedpaschall said,

    July 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Allan,

    I really don’t think you understood the implications of what I said. The gospel works in the lives of believers who live their lives outside the church, and the result has been of great benefit to the world. The church’s influence in these areas is indirect, as it is borne out through the lives of her members. In this fashion the church has been good for the world. When the church, on an official capacity, seeks to sway the affairs of the world, I would argue that the results are rarely good. History only proves the point.

    The church as an institution charged with a very specific task isn’t called to insert itself into the concerns of the world, because our concerns are eternal and spiritual – namely the salvation of sinners and the disciplining of believers. The church has very few defining marks, and her focus should be there. When it is elsewhere, it is outside of her call. The three marks of the church do not include what sort of influence the church exerts on the world. That is where I am going with my statement.

  161. Alan D. Strange said,

    July 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Jed:

    I do understand what you are saying here (and suspected that that was what you were saying earlier).

    I have no disagreement with you when you note that it causes trouble when the institutional church exceeds her province. This is a common Protestant conviction.

    But–whatever you meant–this sentence says something rather different: “However, I think we are hard pressed to see the good influence of the church as an institution.” You want to say that while individual Christians have done good in culture historically, when the church as an institution has sought to do so, it has done more harm than good.

    That is simply not what that sentence says, however. It says that the institutional church has not been a good influence in culture but individual Christians have. That’s astounding. The institutional church preaches the law and the gospel, telling all hearers about guilt, grace, and gratitude. This preaching is done and is to be done promiscuously. The very act of preaching, said Paul, is a savor of lfe to life and death to death, a salt both preservative and astringent.

    The faithful work of the institutional church is that which does the world the most good. I understand the point that you are trying to make and agree with you about the good wrought by God through individual Christians. But the greatest good in all the world is that gospel proclamation done in and by the institutional church, which is charged not only to disciple but to evangelize. The church’s evangelizing of the world has done untold good to her in every respect.

    It is not, Jed, that I misunderstand you. I think that your perspective and emphasis need readjusting. Peace, brother.

  162. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Mark, (Re: 149)

    And you are accusing 2k of extremism?

    No, I am not accusing 2k of anything. It is Radical Two Kingdom (R2k) theology that is in view here.

    The implications of the interview, at times goes well beyond the realm of charity and straightaway into the preposterous. He vascilates between charity and the inability to describe the practice of religion as he sees it.

    Actually, I thought the reviewer was being gracious and made an decent effort to make some sense out of R2k nonsense. Though I suspect it might be too strong for your sensitivities, you might want to read his lengthier treatment of Van Drunen’s earlier “Natural Law and Two Kingdoms”. Beware some strong medicine.

  163. Zrim said,

    July 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Alan, Jed can speak for himself, but it may be that the point is (and if not then it is my own) that the institutional church really doesn’t make much this-worldly impact by going about her otherworldy mission, by definition. She is gaining souls and preparing them for the next life. If that is the yardstick then she has been a great “influence.”

    But I also suspect that by using the word “influence” one might mean she has had great this-worldly impact. That is debatable, but I tend very much to come down on the agnostic side because it doesn’t really seem to matter much, unless one has a quest to either shame or glorify the church, two things of which I think Christians should be very wary. You say, “The faithful work of the institutional church is that which does the world the most good.” Agreed, but only when read with an otherworldly grid and not a this-worldly one. The church so described prepares sinners for the life to come, but it isn’t obvious how this translates into any this-worldly value.

  164. dgh said,

    July 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    So Alan, how comfortable are you with the general equity of executing disobedient covenant children? That is what Ron has been challenging 2k about — failing to see the implications of general equity for contemporary society. And now you and Ron are in amen corner against 2k, yet Ron seems to be talking about the state, and you vacillate between talking about the world and society.

    I don’t think any 2ker would disagree with you about the duties and benefits of the churches ministry, Ron’s dismaying dismissal of 2k for neglecting the gracious and miraculous work of the gospel notwithstanding. What would be perplexing is to see your understanding of the church and the proclamation of the gospel turned into a rationale for a theonomic state.

  165. dgh said,

    July 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Ron, you may want to chill since 2k does admit that God is doing a gracious work among his people — all the time even when society is going to hell in a handbasket as it was in the days of OT saints. What you seem to be incapable of doing is seeing that God is at work even when society is going to hell in a handbasket. This requires the distinction — crucial to 2k, Augustine, and Paul — of not identifying the progress of the gospel with the health of society.

    Does this mean that a bad society is a sign of the gospel? No. Society does not indicate either way.

    And I think you would do well to recognize the positive effects of non-Christians on society. The triumphalism that runs in conservative Reformed circles — from Kuyper to Schaeffer — is not very modest and it relies on a very impoverished understanding of social causation — as in a single cause can account for a single outcome. Lots of unbelievers, thanks to God’s providence, have contributed to the peace and order of society. And as long as we live with unbelievers, we should be thanking them for their help, not threatening them with general equity of OT civil law.

  166. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Darryl,

    Once again, you attack caricatures.

    What you seem to be incapable of doing is seeing that God is at work even when society is going to hell in a handbasket.

    How have I denied this? God’s common goodness always constrains.

    And I think you would do well to recognize the positive effects of non-Christians on society.

    I always have recognized that, and nothing I’ve said demonstrates otherwise.

    The triumphalism that runs in conservative Reformed circles — from Kuyper to Schaeffer — is not very modest and it relies on a very impoverished understanding of social causation — as in a single cause can account for a single outcome.

    I’ve made no statements that imply an eschatological bent. In fact, what I have noted to you on many occasion is that how things ought to be is not related to how things will be. Outcome has nothing to do with the matter of how we are to be governed.

    Lots of unbelievers, thanks to God’s providence, have contributed to the peace and order of society.

    As usual, when you have nothing to argue in your defense you simply resort to asserting those things that all theonomists hold to, while trying to impugn them as if they didn’t. Your integrity comes into question when you do such things, Darryl. I believe it has become your hallmark.

    And as long as we live with unbelievers, we should be thanking them for their help, not threatening them with general equity of OT civil law.

    Darryl, why not do both? Why not thank men for the good work they do and educate them on the good left undone? You seem to enjoy dealing in extremes like: if this, then not that. For instance, if society is good enough under pagan rule, then more Christians converts do make things better in the world.

  167. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    My last statement should have read:

    Darryl, why not do both? Why not thank men for the good work they do and educate them on the good left undone? You seem to enjoy dealing in extremes like: if this, then not that. For instance, if society is good enough under pagan rule, then more Christians converts do not make things better in the world.

  168. Alan D. Strange said,

    July 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    You once told me on your site, Darryl, that I was not the umpire. Are you the Grand Inquisitor on this one? I think not. I think it best that you ratchet it back a notch or two.

    To imply that I would differ with a rightly constructed two kingdom approach has no basis in anything that I’ve said here or elsewhere.

    I have said nothing in this conversation about general equity or anything of that sort. That was not what I was interested in addressing. That is not what the original post was about, which subject I did address in my first comment here.

    I will say this: I agree in general with the treatment of general equity by Ferguson in the WTS Theonomy volume and Troxel and Wallace in the WTJ in 2004 (or so). Not all judicial laws possess an equity feature, I would say, and when that feature is determined it may look quite different from the old law itself and certainly be administered differently. I think that some of them would be administered by the state (and would be related as well to natural law–equity having to do with fairness and wisdom more broadly and not law as a category more narrowly) and some by the church. There was a distinction in Israel between church and state but not as clearly as it has become in the New Economy. This is why I don’t think that you can neatly say ahead of time that in every case this would refer to the church or the state.

    Do I believe that the state is obliged to execute obstreporous young men? I do not, but it’s not as simple in my book as saying that the church can excommunicate them. I agree that the church can, but that does not mean that there is not some principle here for the state (and can be seen in things like “three strikes and you’re out,” which has to do with incorrigibility). This is a pretty complex area and does not admit of quick, easy, simple answers. I do think equity relates to natural law and the employment of wisdom and discretion. I am not convinced that the state should think that there are reasons for multiple capital crimes, however. Again, this is getting into far more than I intended.

    I could say more but I am not sure that anyone on this list cares to hear what I have to say about general equity as those sources I cite have done a competent job addressing a difficult subject. The Troxel/Wallace article is helpful in casting this in its appropriate historical light.

  169. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Darryl,

    Regarding punishment for rebellious children, you have yet to show why you would not have had the same disdain for those OT laws had you lived under them. Your disgust over OT sanctions always seems to be due to the intrinsic equity of the sanctions. You have yet to show why the cross makes that which was once God’s wisdom into something that elicits your contempt.

  170. Alan D. Strange said,

    July 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Sorry. I should have checked the citation (which it just occured to me to do) for the Troxell and Wallace article, entitled,”Men In Combat Over The Civil Law: ‘General Equity’ IN WCF 19.4.” It appears in WTJ 64:2 (Fall 2002). I had it two years later.

  171. dgh said,

    July 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Ron, a theonomist calling me extreme? Wow.

    And as for caricature, calling my view of OT law disgusting is well not exactly fair and balanced.

    Of course, all the things that you deny in my comment above regarding the good of society and the Christian component of it is good to hear. So I wish you would frame your affirmation of theonomy and of Christians’ good works in a way that also recognizes that social improvements do not depend on believers’ sanctification.

    As for doing both, the problem is that a society improves through good works and one becomes a Christian by faith. To thank pagans for a well-ordered society is not exactly a recipe for telling them they are sinners in need of forgiveness. In which case, it is possible to be externally virtuous and not be a believer. I want more external virtue. Telling a non-Christian to follow the Bible really gums that up because the Bible keeps telling the non-Christian (and the Christian) that external and internal virtue is never enough.

  172. dgh said,

    July 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Alan, you entered a conversation and agreed with people who had been arguing for general equity regarding disobedient adult covenant children. I was simply trying to alert you to the a discussion that you did not seem to know about when you entered. I too am glad to hear that you recommend the arguments of Ferguson, Wallace, and Troxel. We 2kers need all the help we can get (even if sometimes the experimental Calvinists’ view of sanctification sure sounds good to theonomists).

  173. Alan D. Strange said,

    July 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Actually, Darryl, I entered the conversation at #111, with a comment relating to Lane’s post, which had nothing to do with general equity. Only latter did I address subjects brought up by commenters.

    I did not “enter” a conversation and agree with people arguing for general equity. I had my own concerns and made my own points. That some, arguing as they were, may have agreed with me is unremarakable and of little concern to me.

    Furthermore, though I am not a theonomist, I do not regard Ron, a capable and godly brother, as a leper. I am not surprised that we agree on much. I am not surprised that you and I agree on much, even though we have our differences. You know what some of those are and I need not enumerate them here.

    I don’t tend to have a party spirit about these things and so do not feel the need to run from the room crying “eternal life” if a theonmist agrees with me about something else (that has nothing, as such, to do with theonomy). BTW, that was a reference to Bunyan, which you may recall from your earlier days.

  174. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Ron, a theonomist calling me extreme? Wow.

    Your extreme manner has to do with finding propositions to be mutually exclusive, eg. If theonomy, then no splendid pagans; If theonomy, then triumphalism; if conversions makes society better, then no externally good works from unbelievers etc.

    And as for caricature, calling my view of OT law disgusting is well not exactly fair and balanced.

    What I find rather repugnant is your apparent disdain for OT law that seems to transcend testaments, which goes beyond a mere “view of OT law.”

    So I wish you would frame your affirmation of theonomy and of Christians’ good works in a way that also recognizes that social improvements do not depend on believers’ sanctification.

    I go to great lengths to talk about how incidental theonomy is to my theology and life (see post 109), and you should know that to be the case, but more to the point – the reason I shouldn’t have to affirm the doctrine of common grace in a discussion such as this is one is because theonomy doesn’t contradict common grace. In other words, that social improvements do not depend on believers’ sanctification is not at odds with the theonomic thesis. For you to assume that a Reformed theonomist thinks otherwise simply demonstrates a lack of appreciation for the position you reject out of hand. Common grace no more needs to be affirmed in a discussion such as this one than does the doctrine of sanctification in a discussion pertaining strictly to justification. I would not assume that someone doesn’t affirm internal transformation because he affirms external imputation. I would hope I could assume that a Reformed elder entering into such a discussion would know such things, that theonomy doesn’t deny common grace, but thanks for the reminder to be more careful in the future.Take Alan for instance. I don’t suspect for moment that I’d need to preempt a discussion on theonomy with him by first acknowledging that the church’s focus in the world is word and sacrament, and that splendid pagans exist all over etc.

    it is possible to be externally virtuous and not be a believer. I want more external virtue.

    You also want more unbelievers to become believers, as do I. So, we mustn’t be fastidious in broadcasting the seed, which presupposes the proclamation of the moral law (not the civil law) and it’s requirements upon men. I say that because of what you say later.

    Telling a non-Christian to follow the Bible really gums that up because the Bible keeps telling the non-Christian (and the Christian) that external and internal virtue is never enough.

    Not enough for what, salvation? Of course that’s true. In any case, my only point to which you were responding is that telling an unbeliever what the Bible requires is not anithetical to encouraging him in the laws he does agree with, formally speaking, for we have no agreement with the unbeliever in principle.

    Darryl, my only hope is that you would quit with the caricatures and treat the theonomic position according to its tenets. Even if you don’t receive it as a respectful position, you are to treat it truthfully. Moreover, theonomy has nothing to do with eschatology, let alone “triumphalism” (a word Dick Gaffin probably wished he never used). And finally, one may embrace theonomy while having his doctrinal emphasis and ministry priorities in good order.

    With all best wishes,

    Ron

  175. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    However, I think we are hard pressed to see the good influence of the church as an institution. Since the time of Constantine the church seems to only cause trouble when it extends its institutional influence outside of its biblical charter.

    Jed,

    I’ll even take it one step further and maybe you’ll agree. That the church causes trouble when it extends its institutional influence beyond its ordained sphere is not as important to me as the precept that she is not to extend her institutional influence beyond her ordained sphere. In other words, if she brought less trouble and more good by stepping outside her domain, I’d still be troubled. This too is a matter of principle to me and not pragmatism. But yes, we most likely agree. As I’ve said elsewhere in so many words, when the late D.J.K used to broadcast from Coral Ridge, it saddened me greatly what he so often chose to preach on. Somewhere along the line that ministry, at least then, seemed to have lost sight of its charter. No argument here, Jed.

  176. dgh said,

    July 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Ron, but I don’t hear much from you or other theonomists about splendid pagans, a view of the law that sounds triumphalist, and very little about external good works. If I sound extreme about theonomy it could be that theonomists sound extreme. Does the execution of disobedient covenant children come to mind? It does for me.

    And yet if I find this application of general equity extreme then I “disdain” God’s law. Does this mean that if you don’t find it extreme you love God’s law and delight in seeing people condemned? In the presence of God’s law I experience great terror and dread because of its holy standard and my guilt. And yet you think I should run frolicking through the streets about God’s law?

    What part of total depravity do you not understand?

  177. dgh said,

    July 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Alan, the way you’re following me around the blogosphere harping on my faulty views of sanctification I feel leperous.

  178. Ron said,

    July 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Ron, but I don’t hear much from you or other theonomists about splendid pagans, a view of the law that sounds triumphalist, and very little about external good works.

    Darryl,

    I think what you meant to say is: “I don’t hear much from you or other theonomists about splendid pagans, a view of the law that does not sound triumphalist, and very little about external good works.”

    As I noted above, theonomy does not deny the fact that there are splendid pagans. And, theonony speaks to how things ought to be but it does not speak to how things will be eschatologically. So, once again, you accuse me according to what I don’t say but what I don’t say doesn’t refute what I do say. Maybe a course in elementary logic would be of use.

    If I sound extreme about theonomy it could be that theonomists sound extreme. Does the execution of disobedient covenant children come to mind? It does for me.

    You prove my point to a watching world, Darryl. Your apparent disdain for any particular OT sanction transcends testaments. Your words accuse you for they suggest that you simply hate God’s law regardless of economy.The only reason you ever offer for the objection to OT civil sanctions is that they don’t suit you. You find OT laws extreme in their equity, yet you’ve failed to show in all these years I’ve know you why these sanctions are not reasonable. You simply object to them according to your autonomous sense of reason, but you’ve yet to distinguish your conclusion from your argument.

    Darryl, I will say this, besides Van Drunen, you might be the best spokesperson against Escondido that the world has seen – even better than R.S. Clark.

  179. Doug Sowers said,

    July 17, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Keep pressing on Ron! May God give strength to your right arm!!

  180. jedpaschall said,

    July 17, 2011 at 12:53 am

    Ron, (RE: 175)

    I must say, I am glad to hear that you do take the marks of the church. Seriously, I wish more theonomists would.

    Allan,

    If Ron has such little problem with that specific point then what’s all the shoutin’ about?

  181. Ron said,

    July 17, 2011 at 7:31 am

    “I must say, I am glad to hear that you do take the marks of the church. Seriously, I wish more theonomists would.”

    Jed,

    Let’s keep in mind that if you were to teach on the doctrine of election, you shouldn’t be considered a fatalist if you don’t address the matter of prayer as a means of grace. In the like manner, in a defense of theonomy, you might not always hear a defense of the purpose of the church, for that too is not germane to theonomy narrowly considered.

    I can’t speak to the manner of those theonomists you know, but the ones I know are no different than I. In fact, the theonomists I know, even the ones that fill pulpits, you’d never know were theonomists – for there’s little occasion to address this matter if one is faithful to the balance of Scripture. In any case, I’m glad we can come together on something. :)

    Good Lord’s Day,

    Ron

  182. dgh said,

    July 18, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Ron, a couple of points of clarification? 1) Does general equity require a one-on-one application, or is the word “may” in the Confession an indication that general equity may take a variety of forms? So, while the law is against recalcitrant adult covenant children, punishment for such disobedience by the state today may not require execution.

    As much as you think I disdain God’s law, I am actually awed by it. And I do believe that disrepect for superiors should be punished in some way by our society, and in many cases we already have laws to that effect. Israel, according to the eschatology I follow, was a type in its civil penalties of the final judgment. Since the U.S.A. is not in such a covenantal relationship, her laws need not have such eschatalogical significance.

    Also, if you are a strict general equity man, what is the general equity of monarchy in the OT?

    2) I am not trying to bait you but I do find it odd that you can be so dismissive of another elder in such a public way while also upholding so vociferously God’s law. Part of God’s law is to protect and honor the good name of all people. Maybe you think I no longer have a good name, I am so beyond the pale. As such, when you say that I “simply hate God’s law,” is that merely a form of telling the truth even if it doesn’t do much for my reputation?

  183. Ron said,

    July 18, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Ron, a couple of points of clarification? 1) Does general equity require a one-on-one application, or is the word “may” in the Confession an indication that general equity may take a variety of forms?

    The general equity of laws obligates those to whom they pertain. So for instance, I may be required to put a fence around my roof, or I may not be. It would depend on the state of affairs, i.e. depend upon what I do or don’t do. For instance, if I make my roof into a non-pitched one upon which I entertain guests, then I would be required to do x-and-so to be in compliance with the law. If the roof is not conducive for entertainment, then I would not be obligated by what that law contemplates, putting a railing on the roof. Accordingly, I “may” be obliged by the instruction of the law, in this case provide safety for guests. That’s all “may” implies. So, the general equity of that law would be that I may be obligated to fence my yard, but only if I have an in-ground pool for instance. If I don’t put in a pool, then I would not be obligated by what that law requires in its equity, making my yard additionally safe by installing fence. So, I may or may not be obligated by the requirement to have a fence around my roof or my yard. It’s really no more difficult than that. Now indeed, the general equity can take on various forms, but that is not what “may” would seem to suggest in this context. Rather, the various forms the law can take on are implied in the “general equity” principle, not in the word “may.”

    Having said that, to suggest that death in its general equity reduces to excommunication is unreasonable for two reasons. First, the heart of the equity would have been removed by such a reduction! As noted before, death is not lifted as a penalty by a profession of repentance, whereas excommunication can be. Accordingly, even allowing for a transferring of equity from the civil realm to the ecclesiastical realm, no equitable sanction for death would be carried out given repentance. To suggest that the equity need be carried out because of the word “may” is quite a stretch as shown above. Secondly, given such a reductionist view, the penalty would then be carried out by someone not commissioned by the original law, a monstrosity indeed that conflates authoritative spheres –something 2K and Theonomy don’t permit. According, such a reduction would not only abolish the penalty in its general equity, it would end up conflating the civil sphere of retribution with the ecclesiastical sphere that is ministerial and declarative only.

    Israel, according to the eschatology I follow, was a type in its civil penalties of the final judgment.

    One may hold to your eschatology bent and not hold to your view of typology and abrogation.

    Also, if you are a strict general equity man, what is the general equity of monarchy in the OT?

    Monarchy is not law, so I don’t see the relevance of the question that pertains to the general equity of the law.

    when you say that I “simply hate God’s law,” is that merely a form of telling the truth even if it doesn’t do much for my reputation?

    Again, you demonstrate an apparent disdain for the law that transcends testaments because you habitually project that you find these penalties intrinsically cruel, hence your emotive remarks about the death penalty for children.

    Again, I don’t think you can be persuaded. I only hope you’d quit with the caricatures about theonomy.

    BR,

    Ron

  184. Ron said,

    July 18, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Darryl, in bold below is a word I left out in the post above – but you would have probably gotten the intent – in any case the correction is in bold below…

    Ron, a couple of points of clarification? 1) Does general equity require a one-on-one application, or is the word “may” in the Confession an indication that general equity may take a variety of forms?

    The general equity of laws obligates those to whom they pertain. So for instance, I may be required to put a fence around my roof, or I may not be. It would depend on the state of affairs, i.e. depend upon what I do or don’t do. For instance, if I make my roof into a non-pitched one upon which I entertain guests, then I would be required to do x-and-so to be in compliance with the law. If the roof is not conducive for entertainment, then I would not be obligated by what that law contemplates, putting a railing on the roof. Accordingly, I “may” be obliged by the instruction of the law, in this case provide safety for guests. That’s all “may” implies. So, the general equity of that law would be that I may be obligated to fence my yard, but only if I have an in-ground pool for instance. If I don’t put in a pool, then I would not be obligated by what that law requires in its equity, making my yard additionally safe by installing fence. So, I may or may not be obligated by the requirement to have a fence around my roof or my yard. It’s really no more difficult than that. Now indeed, the general equity can take on various forms, but that is not what “may” would seem to suggest in this context. Rather, the various forms the law can take on are implied in the “general equity” principle, not in the word “may.”

    Having said that, to suggest that death in its general equity reduces to excommunication is unreasonable for two reasons. First, the heart of the equity would have been removed by such a reduction! As noted before, death is not lifted as a penalty by a profession of repentance, whereas excommunication can be. Accordingly, even allowing for a transferring of equity from the civil realm to the ecclesiastical realm, no equitable sanction for death would be carried out given repentance. To suggest that the equity need not be carried out because of the word “may” is quite a stretch as shown above. Secondly, given such a reductionist view, the penalty would then be carried out by someone not commissioned by the original law, a monstrosity indeed that conflates authoritative spheres –something 2K and Theonomy don’t permit. According, such a reduction would not only abolish the penalty in its general equity, it would end up conflating the civil sphere of retribution with the ecclesiastical sphere that is ministerial and declarative only.

    Israel, according to the eschatology I follow, was a type in its civil penalties of the final judgment.

    One may hold to your eschatology bent and not hold to your view of typology and abrogation.

    Also, if you are a strict general equity man, what is the general equity of monarchy in the OT?

    Monarchy is not law, so I don’t see the relevance of the question that pertains to the general equity of the law.

    when you say that I “simply hate God’s law,” is that merely a form of telling the truth even if it doesn’t do much for my reputation?

    Again, you demonstrate an apparent disdain for the law that transcends testaments because you habitually project that you find these penalties intrinsically cruel, hence your emotive remarks about the death penalty for children.

    Again, I don’t think you can be persuaded. I only hope you’d quit with the caricatures about theonomy.

    BR,

    Ron

  185. todd said,

    July 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    “Again, you demonstrate an apparent disdain for the law that transcends testaments because you habitually project that you find these penalties intrinsically cruel, hence your emotive remarks about the death penalty for children”

    Ron,

    To suggest that an OT penalty was cruel is suggesting God is cruel. That is not the point. The point is; the death penalties of the Law revealed God’s awesome wrath, which we believe are fulfilled in both in the New Israel (church) through ex-communication, and then in final judgment, not in government penalties today. To be horrified if they are implemented today is not to call into question God or his nature, but the inappropriateness of applying certain laws in the wrong redemptive era, laws not intended for the new covenant age. Phineas (Num. 25:8) was a holy man with holy zeal for God in using his spear, and to be commended in the theocracy, but it would horrify us if someone in our church did that today. You may respond, yes but the state only has the right to punish this way, not an individual. Not agreeing with your theonomy, we are equally horrified in a modern government putting to death homosexuals for example, or Sabbath breakers (Ex 31:15), It is not about hating God’s law, it is about disliking what we believe are wrong uses and applications of God’s OT law in the new covenant. Quite a difference.

  186. Ron said,

    July 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Todd, you miss the point I think. Let me quote DGH for you, first from this thread:

    “So Alan, how comfortable are you with the general equity of executing disobedient covenant children?”

    “If I sound extreme about theonomy it could be that theonomists sound extreme. Does the execution of disobedient covenant children come to mind? It does for me.”

    Also, DGH from another thread:

    “Why isn’t there shame on the part of any Christian minister who would call for God’s justice to be granted upon the heads of a wayward child rather than a call for faith and repentance?”

    You see Todd, Daryll doesn’t prefer certain penalties because, well, he’s just not “comfortable” with them, and why is he not “comfortable” with them, well, it’s because they seem rather “extreme” to him. Does the death penalty for serial murders who rape in the process sound “extreme” to Daryll? I would think not. He might not like death for such transgressions (I really don’t know), but I doubt death would sound “extreme” to him. So why does he play these emotive cards so often, like “So, you think that Mormons should be put to death?”

    What seems suitable to Darryl is calling of the wayward child to faith and repentance, something that of course is not contrary to my position. At the end of the day, Daryll often plays the “this penalty is ridiculous” card, which is why I am led to believe that he would not have thought these penalties good at any time, or in any place.

    Finally, Darryl offers another category of reason for objecting to these penalties. Not only do the laws seem passé to him, they don’t seem practical either. For instance, “Where you think I am not making any sense comes from my applying your grand theory to my everyday reality, and frankly, your ideas don’t have much connection to the way most of us live.”

    So you see Todd, and I think you do see – these laws simply don’t suit Darryl’s sense of justice, and they aren’t compatible with his sense of what can be established in the land with any consistency.

  187. Ron said,

    July 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    “this penalty is ridiculous” is not an actual quote of Darryl’s.

  188. Zrim said,

    July 18, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    But, Ron, instead of deflecting such practical questions about the fate of Mormons in a theocratic state as “emotive,” can you at least try to muster a response? You may not like it, but that is actually part of the point of the post it seems to me: to wonder what the implications are in a civil-theocratic state for those who trespass the Decalogue.

    2k presumes that ex-communication is the NT version of OT execution. I know you don’t accept that. But one of the outworkings of it is to say that unequivocally that those who are unrepentant in trespassing ANY law of God are to be excommunicated. So when someone asks a 2ker whether someone who continuously uses the Lord’s name is vain should be put out the answer is yes. One of the intentions of such an interlocutor is to imply how ridiculous it is to respond to such a presumably trifling violation so seriously. Same here. The point isn’t to demean God’s law. It is to ask for some consistency and clearly answer in a way that might seem “emotive” for a wider audience. We say third commandment violations that are unrepentant should get the full force of the law, excommunication. Do you admit that first commandment (Mormons) and fifth commandment (disobedient children) violations that are unrepentant should get execution?

  189. Ron said,

    July 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    but that is actually part of the point of the post it seems to me: to wonder what the implications are in a civil-theocratic state for those who trespass the Decalogue.

    Darryl’s not wondering what the implications would be. He knows full well the implications. Daryll’s argument is all wrapped up in the shock value of 21st century death for certain transgressions, whether they be “waywardness” or “blasphemy.”

    “The point isn’t to demean God’s law.”

    Indeed, that is not the intended point, but it is the result of Darryl’s questioning. After all, Darryl informs us that to call for the same OT penalty today for a particular transgression should bring “shame on the part of any Christian minister…” which begs the question of whether the penalty is biblical or not. Accordingly, what is in view for Darryl is his view of the “extreme” nature of the given penalty, with which he does not feel “comfortable.” Notice well that Darryl does not say things like: “So Alan, how comfortable are you with the general equity of executing serial murders who rape little children in the process?” His argument would lose its punch, but that can only be because his argument is based upon his subjective opinion of the appropriateness of the penalty. The point Darryl is trying to make would be lost on his audience if he said things like: “If I sound extreme about theonomy it could be that theonomists sound extreme. Does the execution of murdering rapists come to mind? It does for me.” Ah, is the point becoming clear? Darryl is not able to pump into the equation just any combination of OT transgression along with its associated sanction because some penalties to him seem to fit the crime more than in other cases. But if his argument was one of principle and not emotive in nature, then we wouldn’t expect that to be the case.

    I’m obviously wasting my time.

  190. todd said,

    July 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Ron,

    I read Darryl’s disdain for the death penalty for disobedient children and such and calling them extreme with the assumption that he means it is extreme in the new covenant era, not extreme as if it was wrong for God to implement them in the OT theocracy. I assume that is a given he may assume you are hearing. If he thought what you were accusing him of, I would strongly object, like you are, for that would call into question God’s character and wisdom, I just think you are jumping to the wrong conclusions, but Darryl can speak for himself.

  191. Zrim said,

    July 18, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Ron, what Todd said. So, then, I suppose what this means is that you affirm the implication of theonomy to be that Mormons would indeed be physically executed in a theonmic state (as well as excommunicated from the church). I won’t hesitate to say that that does indeed chaff my own sensibilities of what religious liberty and freedom entails; theonomy undoes American genius. But, despite what you seem to think, that really isn’t the main point here. I would think that a Christian minister would bring shame upon himself for calling for the execution of idolaters because this undermines how Christ has fulfilled the law. That really is what is so odious about theonomy: it completely misunderstands fulfillment and necessarily brings us back under the bondage of the law; it wants sinners to suffer what Christ has already suffered for us. Theonomy is a legislative undercutting of the gospel by suggesting that the life and death of Jesus isn’t enough.

  192. Ron said,

    July 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Todd,

    Given what you are saying in Darryl’s defense we should think that all OT penalties should be deemed as extreme and shameful, and consequently make Darryl feel uncomfortable. In which case, we could expect Darryl to say something like this: “If I sound extreme about theonomy it could be that theonomists sound extreme. Does the execution of murdering-rapists come to mind? It does for me.”

    Yet you won’t find Darryl using the execution of murdering, child rapists as his exhibit-A against theonomy. For his emotive argument only works if he drags those laws into the game that don’t seem reasonable to man’s unaided reasoning. That particular argument of Darryl’s is based upon an emotive appeal to the “extreme” intrinsic-nature of the penalty.

    Men, I’m done. I’m sure I cannot express my views any better than I have.

    God’s speed,

    Ron

  193. dougsowers said,

    July 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    @Zrim, when is the last time you’ve heard of a Mormon that wanted to join the Church? Since they are not memebers in the Church, how can they be excommunicated? And no Zrim, we wouldn’t execute people for “thought” crimes. In a mature and wise, Theonomic Nation, people couldn’t “openly” practice Mormonism. Big difference! Much like when Kings tore down the “high places” in the OT. Erecting a shrine, or an edifice to a false God would not be allowed. But one can believe what they want.

  194. dgh said,

    July 18, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Actually, my point Ron and Todd was that Ron and theonomists who think disobedient children should be executed TODAY are extreme by an plausible public standard. That’s doesn’t mean they are wrong. Just that they have no real chance of persuading most of the evangelical, Reformed, or secular worlds. Maybe they really are God’s remnant.

    And with that, I’ll take what’s left of my good name – now that Ron has not said one word about his own obligations to the law contained in the 9th commandment — and say I’m outta here.

    Ron, you really do need consider that love part of God’s law.

  195. Zrim said,

    July 18, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Doug, you’re missing forest for trees. The point has to do with those already covenant members and who trespass without repentance. The 2k answer is to excommunicate full stop. The theonomic answer to excommunicate and then hand over for execution. In addition to sanity, one advantage to the 2k answer is that there is always a chance for repentance unto life even after spiritual disicipline. In the theonomic world, even “a mature and wise” one, not so much. But how mature and wise is it really to let man play God? That actually sounds like foolishness.

  196. jedpaschall said,

    July 18, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Ron,

    Darryl informs us that to call for the same OT penalty today for a particular transgression should bring “shame on the part of any Christian minister…” which begs the question of whether the penalty is biblical or not.

    If you want to be consistent here it must be the theonomist magistrate that must call for the death penalty in the case of a insolent child or an adulterer. There is really no place for the minister as an officer of the church to call for the enforcement of the law. He must abide by that law, but he has no executive power.

    I really don’t see how your conclusion follows here Ron.

  197. July 19, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Just to remind the Biblical scholars here who intentionally keep trying to sully Theonomists by claiming they want to stone whiny infants and grumbling toddlers, just as an FYI Deuteronomy 21:18-21 does not refer to infants,toddlers, and children who throw temper-tantrums but grown adult sons who were physically abusive, drunkards, and.gluttonous.

    Would be nice if some here didn’t act like the Democrats who claim Paul Ryan wants to kill their grandma.

  198. Ron said,

    July 19, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Zrim and Todd down, Darryl and Jed to go…

    Actually, my point Ron and Todd was that Ron and theonomists who think disobedient children should be executed TODAY are extreme by a plausible public standard.

    Darryl,

    All along you have been calling certain penalties “extreme” (even shameful) by measuring those penalties against your own personal standard of what is reasonable. Now you have equated this standard of yours with “a plausible public standard,” which demonstrates once again that your standard of what is reasonable “today” was never a matter that was informed by God’s word (anymore than a “public standard” has any reference to God’s word). That’s the material point, Darryl. You find these penalties extreme today not because they have fulfilled their supposed typology, for public standards don’t consider such things, but because they just seem “shameful” to you in their general equity. This emphasis of yours on “today” that you throw into the mix does not lead one to believe that under Moses these penalties would not appear less extreme by any “plausible public standard,” for public standard, which by your own admission is yours, is not constrained by special revelation.

    Moreover, that you have zero confidence that there is “no real chance of persuading most of the evangelical, Reformed, or secular worlds” is not germane to the question of whether these standards are appropriate. You are not likely anytime soon to persuade the “evangelical, Reformed, or secular worlds” of what you believe Scripture teaches regarding biblical worship, but that doesn’t keep you from voicing what you believe to be a biblical view of such worship.

    And with that, I’ll take what’s left of my good name – now that Ron has not said one word about his own obligations to the law contained in the 9th commandment — and say I’m outta here.

    Making a case in the face of opposition regarding your alliance with secular thought on your apparent disdain for OT sanctions in their equity being implemented today by civil magistrates is hardly a violation of the ninth commandment. My only hope is that your words do not convey your heart.

    Ron, you really do need consider that love part of God’s law.

    I believe I have, Darryl. And I believe you should begin to love God’s law – all of it.

  199. Ron said,

    July 19, 2011 at 8:06 am

    If you want to be consistent here it must be the theonomist magistrate that must call for the death penalty in the case of a insolent child or an adulterer. There is really no place for the minister as an officer of the church to call for the enforcement of the law. He must abide by that law, but he has no executive power.

    Jed, it doesn’t seem as though you’re trying very hard to understand Darryl’s remark and my response. Darryl finds it shameful that a minister would call for the execution of a wayward child per OT precept. Was Darryl suggesting that the minister’s behavior was shameful because he was playing judge and executioner? I trust not, for Darryl knows that theonomists agree that ministers are to submit to the courts and not take up the sword. What would be shameful by Darryl’s standards is that the minister would be expressing such an opinion at the expense of the gospel. I agree that if the minister did not preach the gospel in such a case it would be shameful. Notwithstanding, the minister may preach on the appropriate penalty for such a transgression. Obviously to “call for the execution” in a judicial sense is not the minister’s place, but if that is all Darryl meant, then he was addressing the topic at hand.

    I really don’t see how your conclusion follows here Ron.

    My conclusion was that the “shamefulness” in view begged the question of whether the wayward child deserved the penalty in view.

  200. Ron said,

    July 19, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Jed,

    See correction in bold below.

    If you want to be consistent here it must be the theonomist magistrate that must call for the death penalty in the case of a insolent child or an adulterer. There is really no place for the minister as an officer of the church to call for the enforcement of the law. He must abide by that law, but he has no executive power.

    Jed, it doesn’t seem as though you’re trying very hard to understand Darryl’s remark and my response. Darryl finds it shameful that a minister would call for the execution of a wayward child per OT precept. Was Darryl suggesting that the minister’s behavior was shameful because he was playing judge and executioner? I trust not, for Darryl knows that theonomists agree that ministers are to submit to the courts and not take up the sword. What would be shameful by Darryl’s standards is that the minister would be expressing such an opinion at the expense of the gospel. I agree that if the minister did not preach the gospel in such a case it would be shameful. Notwithstanding, the minister may preach on the appropriate penalty for such a transgression. Obviously to “call for the execution” in a judicial sense is not the minister’s place, but if that is all Darryl meant, then he was not addressing the topic at hand.

    I really don’t see how your conclusion follows here Ron.

    My conclusion was that the “shamefulness” in view begged the question of whether the wayward child deserved the penalty in view.

  201. Ron said,

    July 19, 2011 at 8:43 am

    “That’s doesn’t mean they are wrong. Just that they have no real chance of persuading most of the evangelical, Reformed, or secular worlds.”

    Darryl,

    That’s a remarkable statement. If “they” (the theonomists) are not wrong, then don’t you think that the church has a better chance of being persuaded on this matter than the secular world? Does your statement presuppose, once again, that even if theonomy is biblical, most men, Christian or not, will not be persuaded of its truth? Now why should that be the case for the church, unless you are presupposing that reason, unaided by Scripture, is ultimate for the Christian – just as it is for the secular world.

  202. Zrim said,

    July 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Just to remind the Biblical scholars here who intentionally keep trying to sully Theonomists by claiming they want to stone whiny infants and grumbling toddlers, just as an FYI Deuteronomy 21:18-21 does not refer to infants,toddlers, and children who throw temper-tantrums but grown adult sons who were physically abusive, drunkards, and.gluttonous.

    Benjamin, I’ve tried to make the point to Ron. 2k takes just as seriously the law of God as theonomy does. That’s not really the question, despite Ron’s relentless efforts to demean 2k’s regard of the law. The question revolves around what to do about unrepentant lawbreakers in our midst (e.g. grown adult sons who are physically abusive, drunkards, and gluttonous). 2k says to spiritually excommunicate. Theonomy does, too, but also to physically execute. To the 2k mind, by doing this theonomy wants to put us back under the old covenant, under the types and shadows, etc. So what was the point of the cross if all that pointed to it must be re-instated by a theocratic magistrate?

  203. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 19, 2011 at 9:35 am

    The greatness of the Gospel, as understood by Escondido 2KT, is that it frees men not only from the penalty of sin, but also from the responsibility of keeping the Law of God. No longer is the Law of God binding upon men in public society, but only men in the society of the church. The world outside the church may fix its own standards of law, and the church may abandon its blasphemers, rebellious children, adulterers, et al. over to the secular culture, which may welcome those under the church’s judgment with welcome arms (as we can attest to with the acceptance of abortion, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, blasphemy, and a host of other transgressions which the church condemns and the culture condones).

    But consider how it is that a man under judgment of the church is to be brought back into fellowship when he is tossed into a world that fellowships with antichristian law? The retort is that society follows the natural law, which is simply God’s law written on the hearts of men for them to discern and apply. However, Romans clearly indicates that though men know they law, they break it willingly and even give approval to those who violate the law’s commands. Given this, what society (and in particular, a society relatively free to choose its own laws) of godlessness would choose to operate according to laws it found objectionable? The answer is that it would not choose such laws, but would create laws that allowed for the maximum freedom from God’s law while hoping to avoid the inevitable self-destruction that results (whether in the short term, or the long term).

    No theonomist hopes, prays, or acts to use the law to convert the wayward or construct a society of pharisees who will pay lip service to the law while hating God in their hearts. What the theonomist does recognize is that God does not operate by separate standards for separate groups of men. The Ammorites were removed from the land because of their stored up transgressions. The Philistines and Assyrians and Ninevites also. Rome is the New Testament exemplar, as Revelation clearly indicates. Theonomy therefore is but the simple recognition that God’s law, which was a gift to Israel in the OT to guide them in pleasing the Lord is a gift available to all nations under the great commission to disciple the nations in pleasing the Lord. That many cultures find the laws and penalties uncomfortable or even despicable is but a measure of how greatly they need to be evangelized to see God’s mercy and grace in both the union and justification of the Son, and the sanctification by His Word, which binds conscience and action according to the whole counsel of its precepts.

  204. dgh said,

    July 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Joshua Butcher wrote: “The greatness of the Gospel, as understood by Escondido 2KT, is that it frees men not only from the penalty of sin, but also from the responsibility of keeping the Law of God.”

    How could this be anywhere near within the bounds of the 9th commandment — we are talking law here — if proponents of 2k also affirm the regulative principle of worship, the sanctification of the Lord’s Day, and prohibitions against images of Christ and the Holy Spirit (not to mention the Father).

    You may want to say that 2kers are inconsistent. But otherwise your point is patently false since 2kers do affirm God’s law.

  205. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 19, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I believe you should begin to love God’s law

    In fairness to Darryl, he does have a love of God’s law found in the 9th commandment when defending against critics who take his routine seriously.

  206. dgh said,

    July 19, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Mark, shouldn’t you love me (as much as you love Andy Kaufman)? As in hate the sin, love the sinner?

  207. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 19, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Darryl, I do love you! As I said, you’ve become my favorite and I think what you are doing is genius. I’ve been trying to enlighten your critics about what you’re up to, and they just aren’t getting it.

  208. Reed Here said,

    July 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    A number of recent comments seem to be (mis)-characterizing to the extreme one’s opponent.

    I’m not interested (nor do I have time) to call individuals to account for specific comments. Instead, I trust that our mutual love rooted in our mutual union with Christ will be sufficient to prompt all my brothers to ask the Spirit to show them if/where they are stepping out of bounds.

    In other words, please, dial it back brothers.

  209. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    The quoted statement is explained by what follows: “No longer is the Law of God binding upon men in public society, but only men in the society of the church.”

    Escondido 2K alleviates men from obedience to God’s law in public society. That is what I said, and that is what you’ve been asserting in this entire thread.

  210. dougsowers said,

    July 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks for putting a fine point on Dr Hart, (and Zrim) Joshua. That seems to be exactly what they’re saying. Which is why I find R2K so repugnant.

  211. dgh said,

    July 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Joshua Butcher, no, you still don’t have it. Men outside the church are still bound to observe God’s law. That’s why 2k preaches the gospel to these people, so they will repent of their disobedience, see their guilt, and turn to Christ. 2k actually believes that the law goes with the gospel. Anti-2k people seem to think that the law is a welcome presence without the gospel.

  212. dgh said,

    July 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Mark, I’m impressed. Kuyperians don’t do irony since they generally stumble over paradox. They have typically left paradox — and humor — to Lutherans. Maybe Kaufman is having a good effect on you. He was Lutheran, right?

    But isn’t it spotin to love insincerely — you know, a greater love hath no man. . .

  213. jedpaschall said,

    July 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Joshua & Doug,

    It amazes me how you guys will protest so vehemently when you feel your views are mischaracterized, but when you seem to have no problem doing the same to 2Kers.

    Escondido 2K alleviates men from obedience to God’s law in public society.

    This is absolutely false. Men are all liable to the Law of God in all times and in all places. Every sin will be judged, and men will be called to account for their sins against the law. We happen to believe that the calling to account will happen in an eschatological setting as opposed to a temporal one. 2kers believe as much in upholding the Law as theonomists do, so stop acting like you own it.

  214. dgh said,

    July 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    In line with the original post, I wonder if we would all agree with Kuyper’s assessment of ancient cultures. Just as the gospel needs no gimmicks to succeed, so apparently Kuyper thought that culture did not need the gospel to excel.

    “As far as holy things are concerned, Israel is chosen, and is not only
    blessed above all nations, but stands among all nations, isolated. In the
    question of Religion, Israel has not only a larger share, but Israel alone
    has the truth, and all the other nations, even the Greeks and the Romans, are bent beneath the yoke of falsehood. Christ is not partly of Israel and partly of the nations; He is of Israel alone. Salvation is of the Jews. But just in proportion as Israel shines forth from within the domain of Religion, so is it equally backward when you compare the development of its art, science, politics, commerce and trade to that of the surrounding nations. The building of the Temple required the coming of Hiram from a heathen country to Jerusalem; and Solomon, in whom, after all, was found the Wisdom of God, not only knows that Israel stands behind in architecture and needs help from without, but by his action he publicly shows that he, as king of the Jews, is in no way ashamed of Hiram’s coming, which he realizes as a natural ordinance of God.
    “. . . if Israel was chosen for the sake of Religion, this in no way
    prevented a parallel election of the Greeks for the domain of philosophy
    and for the revelations of art, nor of the Romans for the classical
    development within the domain of the Law and of State.” (Lectures on Calvinism)

  215. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    If men outside of the church are bound to observe God’s law in civil society, then how does it follow that God’s law should not be the standard establishing civil law? Further, given that only those ceremonial laws typifying Christ’s sacrifice have been fulfilled in their scope and application, how can the moral and civil laws (including the penalties annexed to those laws), given in the Law of Moses be considered fulfilled, excepting such a time as when either, 1) civil societies have ceased, or 2) men have been finally judged and rendered immutably righteous or immutably unrighteous?

    As has been pointed out numerous times by others in this thread, by entirely collapsing the general equity of the civil laws into ecclesiastical laws and sanctions, one does not preserve the general equity of civil law, but rather abrogates it or “fulfills” it in the ecclesiastical laws and sanctions. But this interpretation would, ironically, only preserve the general equity of the civil laws if the civil society were entirely an ecclesiastically sovereign theocracy (something not even present in OT Israel).

    As long as men in civil societies are necessarily required to obey the law of God, then it is necessarily the law of God that ought to govern civil societies. The civil laws given by God to Israel in the OT never presumed to judge the conscience, and therefore holding the laws in perpetuity in their general equity as civil laws (and not collapsed into ecclesiastical laws) does not preclude the relevance or requirement of the Gospel. Rather, the presumption ought to be that where God’s civil laws are upheld, the application of the Gospel is more easily understood, since the requirements of God’s law (which no man can meet upon his own merit) are more easily understood since men are beholden to them in their civil life explicitly, and now must understand that the requirement of righteousness before God extends to the conscience or will as well as to external conformity. A land in which God’s law is despised is less likely to understand that God requires a willful obedience to His law, since there is no correspondence between what they hold themselves accountable to externally.

  216. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Jed,

    God held the Ammorites, Philistines, Sodomites, Ninevites, Romans, etc. temporally accountable for their disobedience to His law. The accountability begins in the OT and spans to the end of the NT. What principle of exegesis then gives you the claim that the entirety of God’s judgment upon men is eschatological? God’s Word consistently reveals that temporal and eschatological judgment is in view with regard to the law. By pushing all of God’s judgments to the end of the age, you effectively deny the validity of the law as a temporal standard by which men must act or otherwise suffer consequences. That, sir, is carte blanche antinomianism. The only recourse is to argue that until the end of the age, men are left to themselves to use the sword of the state to hold men accountable for their external transgressions. That, sir, is carte blanche autonomy.

  217. Zrim said,

    July 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    The reason theonomy thinks 2k “alleviates men from obedience to God’s law in public society”(and renders 2k public square antinomianism) is that it works with a geo-political hermeneutic, whereas 2k works with a personal one alone. Theonomists also work with a personal one but their theonomy get in the way of their otherwise biblical hermeneutic. For 2k the law is about personal obedience alone, not personal AND political obedience. I have to say, the discomfort theonomy has with personal obedience alone sure seems to have a lot in common with the discomfort some others have in justification by faith alone.

  218. jedpaschall said,

    July 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Joshua,

    God held the Ammorites, Philistines, Sodomites, Ninevites, Romans, etc. temporally accountable for their disobedience to His law.

    This is about half right. God did not hold any of the nations accountable in a theonomistic sense. The Amorites and Philistines were not punished for violating the Law in the Mosaic administration. They were to be dispossesed on two accounts:

    1. God had promised the land to Abraham and his descendents, and he would not disposses them of the land until their wickidness had become unbearable. So we are talking 400 years until God ‘judges’ these nations. I doubt theonomists would be so patient.

    2. Their wickedness: The Amorites and Philistines were to be dispossesed on the basis of their wickedness. In this sense they were Law breakers brought to justice. However, we must also ask the question of why weren’t similar nations judged thusly. The Caananites weren’t practicing anything novel in the ancient world. They caught the heat justly, but I think some of it had to do with where they were located with respect to the promised land.

    Nineveh wasn’t judged for breaking God’s Law in the Mosaic sense, since they had no such revelation. They were punished for their cruelty to God’s people which sounds more like a violation of Natural Law (or something like it), than a violation of the 6th, since they didn’t have a decalogue. From a covenant perspective it was the outworking of the promises to curse those who cursed the seed of Abraham.

    We have no revelatory record of what precipitated the fall of Rome. It would be unwise to speculate on what the cause was from a divine perspective. The historian Edward Gibbon claims Rome fell due to “the injuries of time.”

    By pushing all of God’s judgments to the end of the age, you effectively deny the validity of the law as a temporal standard by which men must act or otherwise suffer consequences.

    What is worse than the threat of damnation? The law is valid because if we don’t keep it we are liable to hell. No temporal threat can uphold the validity of the Law more effectively than this.

  219. jedpaschall said,

    July 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Ron,

    Notwithstanding, the minister may preach on the appropriate penalty for such a transgression.

    In the context of a sermon on the OT practice, yes. But, I am honestly reaching for any sort of example where the preacher can go beyond this. Claiming that the “wages of sin is death” is a lot different than calling for the death of the sinner

  220. dougsowers said,

    July 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Jed are you for the death penelty for murder? And if so, by what standard?

  221. dgh said,

    July 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Doug, I’ll take a shot at your question. Hammurabi’s Code. Do you really think that pagan societies have no laws against murder?

    Joshua and Doug, the answer to all of your complaints is Natural Law. You do not believe in it. Paul taught that pagans had a law revealed to them from God through the light of nature. And this is what civil societies have used to oppose murder, etc. Like Jed says, the pagans were not judged for not following the laws of Moses. They were judged because they didn’t follow what they knew to be right.

    Josh, not to sound more pious than you, but I’m actually concerned to see people follow God’s law even outside of civil society. I believe people should and amazingly do follow God’s law in a host of ways in their personal lives. None of it is sufficient for salvation. None of it alleviates them from God’s judgment. For that reason, any society not judged by God still needs the gospel. By insisting that God’s special revelation be the basis for civil society where the covenant of grace is absent, you run the risk of becoming a neo-nomian.

  222. dougsowers said,

    July 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Dr Hart, does Natural Law contradict God’s Law?

  223. dougsowers said,

    July 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Moreover Dr Hart, how does Natural Law say we should punish a rapist?

  224. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Darryl, I’m surprised you think you can read the love of my heart as insincere. I thought only revivalists born from the Second Not-So-Good Awakening claimed the ability of such special revelatory insights.

  225. Paul M. said,

    July 19, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    Doug, in metaethics, natural law theory is an *ethical* theory, not a theory of penology. So, NL doesn’t say how we should punish rapists. Natural law is a theory about what *makes* actions right or wrong, it also weighs in on what actions are right or wrong. This is what ethicists call an ethical theory’s theoretical and practical aims. When coupled with virtue theory, it brings in an existential perspective to go along with the above normative and situational perspectives, respectively.

    If an ethical theory weighs in on penology, it can try to tell us whether some punishment is just or unjust by applying their ethical theory to it. For example, natural law would tell us that raping a rapist is not a just punishment. However, the job of an ethical theory is not to pronounce specific punishments, it may simply pronounce on the ethics *of* such theories.

    According to natural law theorists, NL doesn’t contradict God’s law for it *is* God’s law. As I said, it is an ethical theory like other ethical theories, dealing with what *makes* actions wrong and *which* actions are wrong (or right). It may appeal to the Bible for higher-level justifications, but not to justify every jot and title. It doesn’t answer all normative questions by appeal to the Bible. Surely to be a good card carrying Christian you don’t need to have chapter and verse for all normative questions. So, when you claim that NL theorists should give chapter and verse for ideas on how rape should be punished, one might ask you for a chapter and verse for your own request? Indeed, the idea that all normative claims whatever need to have chapter and verse in order for one to justify them, is itself a normative claim that has no chapter and verse to support it. There’s actually dozens of normative stances you hold and take sides on that you don’t have chapter and verse for.

    However, NL shouldn’t be confused with the laws of states. While a law of a state may align with natural law, just because something is a law of the state doesn’t mean it’s natural law. Thus it is curious why Hart appeals to Hammurabi’s code. One wonders if he’s read it. For surely Hart wouldn’t want *all* the laws on the code to be operative today.

    In any event, the biggest problem 2K people have is that their interlocutors don’t want I.O.U.’s anymore. It seems as if they think mere announcement of the words ‘natural law’ buy them all the answers to their opponents’ questions. But natural law as expounded in the relevant ethical literature commits one to all manner of metaphysical and philosophical assumptions that 2Kers don’t seem keen to defend. It commits them to a broader theistic worldview, and this must be defended when they debate ethic-denying secularists about matters of right and wrong. The most developed versions of NL are those in the Thomist tradition, but 2K NLers have told us that their position isn’t Thomist. But then, since it is an ethical theory, and all ethical theories are *noramtive* philosophical theories that make substantive metaphysical and epistemological claims, the 2K NLers need to present this framework if they want to engage in the nature of *justification* of their view. As of yet, the project *seems* to be simply one of historical bullying, i.e., “Reformers believed in NL, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.” To make matters worse, 2Kers like Darryl Hart despise and cut down and belittle those who would help his position best in this matter: theistic philosophers. He claims that there simply is no such thing as a theistic or Christian theistic metaphysic and epistemology. But since he holds to a theistic ethics, and since an ethic presupposes stances on the former, his view is simply curious. I am unclear why 2Kers don’t want to engage in the substantive issue of justification but are content to play in the non-normative sand and tell people that other people believed such and such. They don’t seem to understand that others want to know why they *should* believe such and such.

  226. TurretinFan said,

    July 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    “I have to say, the discomfort theonomy has with personal obedience alone sure seems to have a lot in common with the discomfort some others have in justification by faith alone.”

    Wow.

  227. Kyle said,

    July 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    RE: 216, 218, etc.

    Jed’s right that the Ammorites, etc. don’t get caught out by the Mosaic covenant. None of them were parties to it (Ex 19:3-6, and, importantly vs. 8). But Gen 9:5-6 applies to all humanity.

  228. Ron said,

    July 19, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Paul, who is your web designer and what does he / she charge? :)

  229. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 19, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Jed,

    That those nations did not violate a Mosaic administration does not touch the point that God required them to obey His law. Further, the two reasons you give for the Ammorites both imply that the Ammorites weren’t judged in history because of their wickedness, but because of where they lived (for had they lived outside the promised land, God would not have had them killed). Besides presuming that God did not judge other nations in history otherwise unmentioned in the Bible, it also presumes that the standard of wickedness could be something other than God’s revealed law. The comment about impatient theonomists is both a cheap shot and a non-sequitur.

    Again, for Ninevah, you presume that “cursing those who curse Abraham” is somehow unrelated to the laws revealed at Sinai. That men transgressed the law before Moses or in ignorance of Moses does not imply that the Law given at Sinai is not the revelation of the law against which these transgressions are weighed.

    Worse than the threat of damnation is the threat of damnation compounded upon the threat of temporal penalty. It isn’t an either/or requirement.

    Dr. Hart,

    I don’t have a problem with natural law when defined as the law of God written upon the heart. The problem is that men do not unequivocally organize societies upon this natural law. Paul explicitly says that men willingly disobey this law, and approve of those who do likewise. In other words, given the opportunity, societies of men will inevitably operate apart from the law of God, rather than according to it–not only in their behavior, but in the laws they adopt for themselves.

    Also, wanting people to abide by God’s law is hardly the same as providing a principle by which such desires are made possible, or even relevant to the material point. What you fail to see is that the law itself is a gift–though not a gift of salvation itself–a gift that provides, among other things, a better context for understanding God and what He requires of men. Your claims seem to indicate that man’s conscience is made more receptive to the Gospel when the Law of God is made less prevalent in the culture, whereas Paul indicates that one of the chief purposes of the Law of God is to serve as a tutor that leads to conversion. The prima facie claim is that clearer knowledge of God’s law will lead to greater opportunity (and culpability) for conversion to the Gospel–not less, as you and others have seemed to argue.

    Finally, for Zrim,

    Your claim that a realm of “personal obedience” can be quarantined from “political obedience” is tenuous. Would you object, for example, to legislation punishing blasphemy against God should a majority vote of the people elect theonomists into the legislature? Or, to put it a different way, does one’s personal obedience to disdain fornication disallow him from voting against a bill to legalize prostitution because it is a political issue? The broad distinction you draw between personal ethics and political ethics is impossible to maintain in reality. Is it even necessary for me to point out that you fail to make sound categorical distinctions when you attempt to compare a refusal to accept personal obedience as sufficient for Biblical ethics as analogous to a refusal to accept justification by grace alone as sufficient for salvation?

  230. Ron said,

    July 19, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I look forward to reading Paul’s post and Josh’s in the a.m. For now I’ll just post that although men disobey natural law, we must appreciate that men also disobey God’s written law too. Therefore, the insufficiency of natural law to bring man into an external conformity to God’s standards does not seem sufficient to bolster an argument of the requirement of special revelation to bring to pass that desire end. In essence, what I’m saying is that pragmatic arguments that are predicated upon the inadequacy of natural law are not sufficient to prove the requirement of special revelation. Our arguments must be more principled I would think.

  231. Kyle said,

    July 19, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Joshua, you say “That those nations did not violate a Mosaic administration does not touch the point that God required them to obey His law.”

    But see my 227 above. Wouldn’t Ex 19:8 suggest that the Sinaitic ordinances were authoritative for Israelites because they endorsed them?

  232. Ron said,

    July 19, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    My study in Galatians leads me to believe that the tutor Paul has in mind (or schoolmaster if you prefer) is only the ceremonial law, which has clearly been abolished. If R2k doesn’t like that interpretation, then let’s see where that leads. If they want to say that the moral law is also the tutor Paul has in mind, then I’ll ask has the moral law been abrogated too, for Paul implies that the “tutor” has been done away with? Now, of course, the moral law can serve as a tutor in a sense, in that it shows us how short we fall (and in a lesser extent so does the civil law), but I don’t think it fits Paul’s use in Galatians. So, and my only point is, let’s not get hung up on Josh’s employment of “tutor” for we should all agree that all non-ceremonial laws are a backdrop to the gospel of forgiveness and we all know that the ceremonial law has been abolished. In other words, the civil law, as an outworking of the moral law, can enable, as a backdrop, the proclamation of the gospel yet without bringing us under the bondage of foreshadows. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  233. dougsowers said,

    July 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Well put Ron! God bless you, and keep pressing on! I especially say amen to your perspective on Galatians.

  234. Zrim said,

    July 20, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Your claim that a realm of “personal obedience” can be quarantined from “political obedience” is tenuous. Would you object, for example, to legislation punishing blasphemy against God should a majority vote of the people elect theonomists into the legislature? Or, to put it a different way, does one’s personal obedience to disdain fornication disallow him from voting against a bill to legalize prostitution because it is a political issue? The broad distinction you draw between personal ethics and political ethics is impossible to maintain in reality.

    Joshua, the distinctions I make do not disallow anyone to vote one way or another. That’s actually the point. So, two people may vote to either criminalize or legalize a form of blasphemy or fornication but neither may actually blaspheme or fornicate personally. It’s actually harder to maintain the theonomic conflation of personal and political obedience because then on top of any personal view or act every political view and act also becomes subject to spiritual scrutiny. The upshot is church members having to submit not only their doctrinal beliefs and moral lives but also their politics to ecclesiastical evaluation. Maybe that’s what you are after (and it seems to me should be what you’re after as a theonomist), but 2k thinks that when it comes to political there should be as much latitude and liberty as there is narrowness and intolerance when it comes to doctrine and morality within the ranks. The history of Reformed and Presbyterian Christianity won’t sustain the implications of the theonmic project very well at all. So on top of biblical and theological, it’s also both a pragmatic and historical conundrum for you guys.

    Is it even necessary for me to point out that you fail to make sound categorical distinctions when you attempt to compare a refusal to accept personal obedience as sufficient for Biblical ethics as analogous to a refusal to accept justification by grace alone as sufficient for salvation?

    The larger point is about making distinctions between law and gospel and that theonomy is but one system that basically confuses them in its own special way, i.e. politically and legislatively. I understand theonomy thinks 2k is not sound in making categorical distinctions, but the favor is returned.

  235. dgh said,

    July 20, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Mark, what do the words, “funny,” “routine,” and “act” suggest other than that you think I am trying to be funny. Now who’s interpreting motives? If you love me, you need to love me when I’m serious too. Or maybe there is something about Indiana, since David Letterman is also a Hoosier, that turns all of life into a big joke.

  236. dgh said,

    July 20, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Joshua, so if civil society is supposed to follow God’s law as revealed in Scripture, and if God’s law reveals that believers are to be under the oversight of elders who are constituted in assemblies, then do you believe that the magistrate should establish presbyterian churches and require all Christians to be members of those churches?

    The reason for asking is that you seem to think that 2kers are inconsistent with the way they apply God’s word. But if you were to be consistent in what the magistrate is supposed to do according to Scripture, then not only the moral law or the general equity of the OT should guide him but everything in the Bible.

    But that then raises the question of why the civil magistrate is not supposed to forgive seventy-times-seven. Well, the answer would be that those texts are not addressed to the civil magistrate. In which case the 2ker says that the biblical texts that theonomists want to apply to today’s government weren’t addressed to today’s government. Those OT texts were addressed to a nation that was unique in the history of the planet — the literal greatest nation on God’s green earth — and that nation doesn’t exist any more.

  237. Ron said,

    July 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

    But that then raises the question of why the civil magistrate is not supposed to forgive seventy-times-seven. Well, the answer would be that those texts are not addressed to the civil magistrate.

    Darryl,

    The declaration of pardon is the ministry of the church, not the state, hence a category distinction.

    In which case the 2ker says that the biblical texts that theonomists want to apply to today’s government weren’t addressed to today’s government. Those OT texts were addressed to a nation that was unique in the history of the planet — the literal greatest nation on God’s green earth — and that nation doesn’t exist any more.

    By that standard one could argue that the Lord only instituted the Supper for the twelve and Proverbs only applied to Israel. Your approach seems a bit arbitrary and dubious.

  238. Ron said,

    July 20, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Thanks, Doug, for your encouragement along the way.

    Ron

  239. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 20, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Darryl, my theory of Comedic Provocateur {C.P.} helped me to think of you in a better light. Much of what you write about the Word of God and the Law of God is, well, pretty provocative when measured by the confessions and often is laced with some good barbs. { Your Hooiserland/ Letterman zinger at me was pretty good!}. You didn’t challenge my C.P. theory right off, so I was happy to think I was on to something. Now I could relax and just enjoy your writing with a smile on my face.

    But you are saying you are serious and believe this stuff. So you want me to go back to thinking of you as seriously misguided? If so, then my apologies to you— and to the fans of Andy Kaufman.

  240. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Since Darryl has corrected me about his seriousness, perhaps he could affirm whether these are some fair representative tenets of his R2k:

    1. The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.

    2. The Bible provides standards for the church only.

    3. General Revelation provides the exclusive standards for the political realm.

    4. It is illegitimate to make unbelievers to obey the Bible’s standards since they do not believe the Bible.

  241. dougsowers said,

    July 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Yep, that’s pretty much what he thinks. Although, it gets worse, he would also say the Magistrate should protect all false religions as though they were on par with Christianity! He believes that freedom of religion, means, freedom to legally propagate all forms of false gods and blasphemies. Dr Hart’s cohort in this insanity, *Zrim* has gone so far to say, “why not legalize homosexuality”? It won’t change anything! He says “a law” isn’t going to stop them from engaging in the act”. His words not mine. Men that honestly believe that nonsense should step down from ministry.

  242. TurretinFan said,

    July 20, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Zrim wrote: “Pleasing God is a good thing, but a geo-political nation is not a person. This comment of yours helps mark out another basic distinction between 2k and theonomic presuppositions: 2k holds that the covenant is between God and his people alone, contra the theonomic which seems to agree but also thinks a covenant is made between God and geo-political nations.”

    Someone else pointed out how this caricatures the “theonomic” position (which in this conversation means, surprisingly, the position held by all the Reformers).

    I’d like to add something:

    This comment from Zrim reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of God’s dealing with nations. The force of the comment is to suggest that God is not interested in national obedience or disobedience. However, such a suggestion is patently false. God is not only interested in individual obedience, but also in familial and national obedience. The self-labelled “2k” folks who would be booted out of Geneva in a New York minute should rethink their theology in a major way.

  243. Zrim said,

    July 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Doug, I believe a lot of what animates theonomy is something common in the wider world, namely an over-realization of just what laws, legislation and politics can affect in the temporal age. From my 2k perspective, these things are indeed important and have their due place, but civic virtue really doesn’t flow from the halls of justice. “As City Hall goes so goes the nation” is something closer to a theonomic presumption than a 2k-SOTC outlook. I tend more to think that the institution of the family has way more influence and much more important in both creating and measuring the health of a larger nation. For better or ill, a mother and father nurturing sons and daughters in personal ethics and virtue does more to instill righteousness than any law a set of legislators pass. So it’s not apathy for laws that I mean to convey, but rather to suggest a more sober and realistic perspective on the ordained and natural order of things in the creational arrangement.

    But shouldn’t you be out on a ledge somewhere?

  244. TurretinFan said,

    July 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    In the original post: “Then I saw it: the reason why the sword cannot be used in the defense and propagation of the Gospel is that such a use proclaims the Scriptures to be insufficient.”

    This position, I should note, is in conflict not only with the original Westminster Confession but also with the revised Westminster Confession.

    WCF 23:3 “Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the Church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger.”

    http://pcanet.org/general/cof_chapxxi-xxv.htm#chapxxiii

    Necessarily, that means that the civil magistrate ought to use the sword to defend the proclamation of the gospel from violence and danger (i.e. physical persecution).

    Moreover, think Biblically for a moment. Surely you agree that the Word of God was sufficient for the people of Israel. Yet, surely you also agree that the sword was employed in a way that was for the benefit of the people. That use of the sword did not declare God’s word to be insufficient, and neither would a godly use of the sword today declare God’s word to be insufficient. The sword cannot change the heart, of course, and it never could. Nevertheless, there can be a proper use of the sword as both the original and revised Westminster standards affirm.

    May I suggest a retraction of the statement, “such a use proclaims the Scriptures to be insufficient.” One can make the important point that the Word is sufficient and the Sword isn’t, without placing God’s ministers of the Sword at odds with His ministers of the Word.

  245. Zrim said,

    July 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Tfan, the point isn’t that God “isn’t interested” in the dis/obedience of civil nations. It’s that God has made covenant with his people alone and not with them plus geo-political nations. I fail to see how this should be controversial.

  246. dougsowers said,

    July 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    @Zrim, So honoring God with all our Civil Laws is unrealistic? Hmmmm, seems to me, that Jesus commissioned His people to do just that. We have been commanded to instruct *every* Nation in *all* of His commandments. Jesus then lovingly said, “I will be with you to the end”. If you take Jesus words seriously, then we should at least contend that our Laws would reflect the wisdom found in the Law of God. To call that goal unrealistic is to disparage the Great Commission. IMHO.

  247. TurretinFan said,

    July 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I’ve noticed, Zrim, that the person to whom you were replying didn’t say God made a covenant with geo-political nations. If that was your whole point, I call “red herring.”

  248. TurretinFan said,

    July 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    In fact, you were supposedly replying to this, Zrim: “Notwithstanding, the Bible is clear on how a nation that wants to please God will govern itself and that premise transcends eschatological views.”

    There’s nothing there about God making a covenant with geo-political nations (or even regular old nation states).

  249. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Tfan, I think the issue of God “making covenant” relates to the proposed R2k tenets I listed above. If under R2k the Bible is relevant and binding for God’s covenant people only, then perhaps we can see R2k operates from a different presupposition about the sufficiency and authority of the Word of God.

  250. Jed Paschall said,

    July 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Mark (Re: 240),

    These questions might open up some room for dialogue:

    1. The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.
    No 2ker believes this. God’s Laws are binding upon all men to follow. For those who have been exposed to Scripture they would be bound to obey it. For those who haven’t been exposed, they are bound to obey the law revealed in nature and engraved upon their consciences (loosely defined as NL – Check Paul’s comment even if I’d disagree with his final paragraph or so). 2kers believe these accounts will be settled in final judgment.

    The church is the only recipient of God’s discipline in the sense that Christians are reprimanded for violating God’s Law. This discipline is restorative as “God disciplines who He loves” Unbelievers do experience God’s judgment prior to the eschaton and this is manifested in God’s giving of sinners over to even more sinful practice, driving them further from his presence. This is a kindness of God intended to draw men to repentance, but for the unresponsive they are “storing up wrath… on the day when God’s righteous judgment is revealed” (Rom. 2:5)

    According to 2k, especially NL proponents, no one is off the hook. However, since the enforcement of God’s Law is in a very real way a future reality, and he is allowing sin to advance in the current age, the role of the Church is to call sinners to repentance in an age where sin is advancing. For the individual Christian in the world, we are called to faithfully discharge our vocational callings and prepare to give an answer for the hope that is within us (testify). Beyond this, we pray for the leaders (however wicked they may be) God has placed over us, and only refuse to submit when we are called to directly violate God’s Law ourselves. There is no obligation of the Christian to transform the structure of society, though to be certain we are to seek it’s good, and many Christians in leadership have done good with respect to society by faithfully discharging their calling.

    This means that while there is freedom for Christians to serve society in such a way that transforms it for good, these can only be incremental and will always coexist with the advance of sin in the present age. But many Christians are not in such a position to transform, and they bear no guilt for not transforming the structural ills of society.

    For me, my primary concern as a Christian in society is the advance of the Gospel through the work of the church. This means that I seek a society that is maximally free and peaceful on a political plane. While this means allowing the exercise of freedom in a way I don’t agree with, the freedom of all is good for the freedom of the church to worship and evangelize.

    I realize that is only one answer to one question, but my time is limited tonight, so I’ll try to get to your other questions as I am able.

  251. dgh said,

    July 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Mark, do you still love me?

  252. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    “However, since the enforcement of God’s Law is in a very real way a future reality, and he is allowing sin to advance in the current age, the role of the Church is to call sinners to repentance in an age where sin is advancing.”

    1 Cor. 15: 24-28:
    Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

    The Bible tells us that Christ’s reign is advancing, not sin’s reign. What Scriptural justification can you provide to support such a claim that the advance of the Gospel does not also entail transformation within the culture? Is not a culture improved when even one fornicating, God-hating, violent man is converted and becomes a chaste, God-fearing, and peaceful man?

  253. dgh said,

    July 20, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Mark, since I have actually explained what I consider to be 2k theology, let me reproduce the affirmations and denials of what were posted at Green Baggins within the last year. (I’m not sure you actually believe the reverse of what you attribute to 2k. Do you really think you can “make” believers do what the Bible teaches? Don’t you need the work of the Spirit?)

    BTW, since the good folks at Green Baggins published these propsitions, I suspect these views are within confessional bounds among those who write and edit GB.

    Theological Affirmations

    1) Affirmation: Jesus is Lord
    Denial: Jesus is not Lord over everyone in the same way; he rules the covenant community differently than those outside the covenant.

    2) Affirmation: the visible church is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ
    Denial: Outside the visible church is not part of the redemptive rule of Christ (even though Christ is still sovereign).

    3) Affirmation: the Bible is the only rule for the visible church (in matters of conscience).
    Denial: Scripture does not reveal everything but only that which is necessary for salvation.

    4) Affirmation: Christ alone is lord of conscience
    Denial: Christians have liberty where Scripture is silent.
    Denial: the pious advice and opinions of Christians is not binding.

    5) Affirmation: the visible church has real power (spiritual and moral, ministerial and declarative, the keys of the kingdom) in ministering the word of God.
    Denial: the church may not bind consciences apart from Scripture.
    Denial: the church may not bind consciences on the basis of one minister’s or believer’s interpretation but must do so corporately through the deliberations of sessions, presbyterians, and assemblies.

    6) Affirmation: Christ’s righteousness alone satisfies God’s holy demands for righteousness, and believers receive this righteousness through faith alone (i.e., justification).
    Denial: believer’s good works, much less unbelievers’ external obedience to the law, do not satisfy God’s holiness but are filthy rags.

    Affirmations about Vocation

    1) Affirmation: the church is called to gather and perfect saints through word, sacrament and discipline.
    Denial: the church is not called to meddle in civil affairs.

    2) Affirmation: the Christian family is called to nurture and oversee children in both religious and secular matters.
    Denial: Christian families will not all look the same but have liberty to rear children according to Scripture and the light of nature.
    Denial: non-Christian families do not rear children in godliness or holiness but still have legitimate responsibility for rearing their children.

    3) Affirmation: the state is called to punish wickedness, reward goodness, and promote peace and order.
    Denial: the state does not hold the keys of the kingdom.

    4) Affirmation: A Christian is called to use his talents and gifts to serve God and assist his neighbor.
    Denial: some Christians are not called to engage in civil affairs.
    Denial: the responsibilities attending one Christian’s vocation may not be the standard for other Christians.

    Affirmations on Ethics

    1) Affirmation: Christians have an obligation to submit to God’s laws as they are found in general and special revelation.
    Denial: persons cannot obey God’s law truly apart from regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
    Denial: non-Christians may not please God in their external observance of God’s law.
    Denial: even if non-Christians may not please God, their civic virtue is crucial to a peaceful and orderly society.

    2) Affirmation: Christians please God in their good works thanks to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
    Denial: the good works of Christians are not free from pollution (i.e. they are filthy rags).

    3) Affirmation: the state and families have the responsibility for establishing and maintaining social order.
    Denial: the church does not have the responsibility for establishing and maintaining social order.

    4) Affirmation: church members have a duty to obey the laws of civil magistrates.
    Denial: church members may not rebel against or disobey the magistrate.
    Denial: church members must not obey the magistrate rather than God.

    5) Affirmation: God has established a pluriformity of institutions (e.g. civil society) for the sake of social order.
    Denial: the church has no calling to establish social order but will have an indirect influence on peace and order by encouraging godliness in her members.

  254. dgh said,

    July 20, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Joshua, think about it. How much was the Roman Empire or the nation of Israel “improved” when the very son of God ministered there?

  255. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    That depends upon what standard of improvement you are using. Jed made the claim that sin is advancing. That appears prima facie false in light of the passage quoted (among others that could be cited). I am not arguing that the NT church improved the laws of Israel or Rome (how could it, seeing that conversions are not the same thing as a change in legislation). My point was less sweeping than that, and entirely unconcerned with your pragmatic suggestion.

  256. Ron said,

    July 20, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Josh wrote: Is not a culture improved when even one fornicating, God-hating, violent man is converted and becomes a chaste, God-fearing, and peaceful man?

    Darryl replied: Joshua, think about it. How much was the Roman Empire or the nation of Israel “improved” when the very son of God ministered there?

    Darryl,

    You just don’t quit with the evasiveness. First, it’s impossible for one to measure “how much” a transformed life “improved” but certainly you must agree that a transformed life does improve upon conversion, lest justification and sanctification can be put asunder.

    Now Josh’s point was clear, and it was true. One convert to Christ improves the culture more than zero converts to Christ. For some strange reason though, you are unwilling to admit that God changes people for the better in the work of biblical salvation. One would think that a Christian would rejoice in that fact; yet we can’t even get you to acknowledge it as true. That is truly a pity, but be of good cheer, you’re doing fine P.R. work for Escondido. I’m sure you’re making them all so proud.

  257. Jed Paschall said,

    July 20, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Joshua,

    The Bible tells us that Christ’s reign is advancing, not sin’s reign.

    Read Romans 1-2. If sin is no longer advancing, then how is God’s wrath still being manifest among men by giving them over to sinful desires?

    I think there are some fundamental hermenutical differences in how we read 1 Corinthians 15 as well. I am not sure how you square a few things:

    You seem to be flattening the already-not yet realities in this passage and Paul’s letters and the NT as a whole:

    a) While Christ has defeated death, all men still die.
    b) While Christ has defeated all enemies, he has not yet handed over the kingdom of the earth to the Father in the seventh trumpet sense in Revelation 11:5.

  258. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Jed,

    First, that God’s wrath is still being poured out does not imply a specific measure of sin upon which that wrath is being exercised.

    Second, the already/not yet itself implies advancement toward the culmination of the not yet. In other words, the defeats marked by the “already” are what secure progress toward the “not yet.”

  259. Jed Paschall said,

    July 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Joshua,

    You are talking about an entire way of reading Scripture here, the advance of sin is part of the fabric of salvation history. From Genesis to Revelation as human sin advances both as more sinners are born and as sin increases God’s purposes for judgment and and blessing are advanced. You can pick this up in several current commentators, Beale’s Revelation would be a good place to start. Walton and Waltke’s Genesis commentaries pick up on this; Watke’s OT Theology; Schriener and Theilman’s NT theologies.

    I can give you citations when I get home, but this is fundamental. I’d really like you to give some sort of justification for your claim here, because it frankly seems to be a categorical mis-reading of key portions of Scripture. I’ll do the same if you want to hammer this one out.

  260. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 20, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Jed,

    No need to get sidetracked in this thread on the progress of the church in history. Let’s pick it up another time.

  261. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 12:06 am

    @Paul M. Thank you brother, for you well written exposition on NL. I not only enjoyed it, but you have caused me to be a Berean.

    Keep pressing on, to the higher calling found in Christ Jesus!

  262. dgh said,

    July 21, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Joshua, you wrote that the culture improves when someone is converted. So I raised the examples of the Roman Empire and the nation of Israel during the time when Christ ministered. Do we see cultural improvement then when his followers are converted? It’s hard to see it in Israel since the Temple is destroyed. And it’s hard to see improvement in the Roman empire since the emperors treat Christians pretty shabbily for starters.

    So these examples might prompt you to qualify your assertion.

    One more thing — if sin is not advancing in some sense, why do you appear to be advocating God’s law as a remedy for this culture? The United States seems to have a lot of converted people and yet it would be possible to say that the culture is less well ordered now than it was at the start, for instance, of Billy Graham’s career.

  263. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 21, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Mark, since I have actually explained what I consider to be 2k theology, let me reproduce the affirmations and denials of what were posted at Green Baggins within the last year.

    Yes, I’ve seen those. They cover areas beyond the “tenets” I formulated above, some are vague to my reading, and I’m not sure I find the same issues posited in my “tenets” above. Perhaps you are willing to narrow the focus and and let me know if the wording of the “tenets” {or any of them} I posted are fair representations of what you could affirm.

    (I’m not sure you actually believe the reverse of what you attribute to 2k. Do you really think you can “make” believers do what the Bible teaches? Don’t you need the work of the Spirit?)

    Did you intend to write “believers” in that 2nd sentence? Or was that to meant read “unbelievers”?

    {and yes, love still remains}.

  264. dgh said,

    July 21, 2011 at 7:10 am

    Mark, your proposals are also vague, even vaguer, as in “making” unbelievers (as I meant to write) conform to God’s word. So before I sign on or critique what you’ve written, I need you to be clear.

    For instance, in #1, do you mean to say that because the Bible requires faith and repentance that public life should have laws and institutions making believers go through the motions of faith and repentance. After all, laws about murder, which Mohammedans also believe, are only obeyed externally by unbelievers (since they still hate in their hearts). So why do you appear to think that only the law applies to public life but not all that God’s word requires.

    Or in #3, do you mean to suggest that the Bible contains all we need for public life and we can dispense with general revelation (that sure isn’t the way the granddaddy of Kuyperianism understood public life — and he was a public servant)? So is the Bible sufficient for public life? Or is the Bible only sufficient for the way of salvation?

  265. Zrim said,

    July 21, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Tfan, re #247/248, the point was that theonomy generally implies God is in some sort of special covenant with geo-political nations.

    Joshua, you asked, “Is not a culture improved when even one fornicating, God-hating, violent man is converted and becomes a chaste, God-fearing, and peaceful man?”

    But a better question is what happens when an upstanding citizen (i.e. chaste and peaceful) is converted, as in the sort of citizen who has helped make his created place well? It seems to me that on top of this naïve belief that the more conversions there are the more tangible good is affected, this optimistic and less-than-Augustinian-Calvinist view you all keep pushing starts with the odd notion that to not inwardly believe is to be outwardly vile. But even if you are not convinced by a biblical doctrine of human nature, plain reality shows us that unbelievers are very capable of law-keeping and creating a very good (small “g”) society. Indeed, that is part of the point of Romans 2.

    But I know you are of the notion that Christianity makes bad people and their societies good and good people and their societies better, so it may be that the way you explain what happens when to a good society when a good man is converted is that things just keep getting better every day and in every way. But then you have to contend with Ecclesiastes who says that what has been will be again what has been done will be done again and there is nothing new under the sun. I wonder what that could possibly mean under your system that has things progressing simply because you and I are present?

  266. Zrim said,

    July 21, 2011 at 7:27 am

    And, BTW, Joshua, have you considered that the account of the pagan king Abimelech in Genesis 20 suggests that Abraham was wrong to assume that the king was “not God-fearing”? So I wonder about your suggestion that to be God-hating is to not be God-fearing.

  267. Ron said,

    July 21, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Tfan, re #247/248, the point was that theonomy generally implies God is in some sort of special covenant with geo-political nations.

    Just another falsehood from Zrim. That man is required by God to adhere to his law does not imply that God has sovereignly entered into a mutually binding compact wherein a promise his made that calls for trust on the part of the nations.

  268. TurretinFan said,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Zrim:

    You wrote: “Tfan, re #247/248, the point was that theonomy generally implies God is in some sort of special covenant with geo-political nations.”

    Looks like a straw man to me. Please explain how it is that you conclude that “theonomy generally implies God is in some sort of special covenant with geo-political nations.”

    -TurretinFan

  269. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:26 am

    1. The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.

    Darryl, you asked regarding this tenet #1: “do you mean to say that because the Bible requires faith and repentance that public life should have laws and institutions making believers go through the motions of faith and repentance.” I would answer, no, this tenet is saying the opposite: the Bible does NOT speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life–which life includes laws and institutions compelling any form of conformity. In other words, by its very wording, the tenet intends to *exclude* the concern implicit in your question.

    3.General Revelation provides the exclusive standards for the political realm.

    Then you asked regarding this tenet #3: do you mean to suggest that the Bible contains all we need for public life and we can dispense with general revelation (that sure isn’t the way the granddaddy of Kuyperianism understood public life — and he was a public servant)? So is the Bible sufficient for public life? Or is the Bible only sufficient for the way of salvation? I would answer again, no, this tenet is saying the opposite: general revelation, not the Bible, is providing the exclusive standard for public life. Therefore, arguments about the applicablity or sufficiency of the Bible for public life are *excluded* from this tenet.

  270. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:32 am

    “Joshua, you wrote that the culture improves when someone is converted. So I raised the examples of the Roman Empire and the nation of Israel during the time when Christ ministered. Do we see cultural improvement then when his followers are converted? It’s hard to see it in Israel since the Temple is destroyed. And it’s hard to see improvement in the Roman empire since the emperors treat Christians pretty shabbily for starters.

    So these examples might prompt you to qualify your assertion.”

    Dr. Hart,

    The answer is “yes,” culture can be said to have improved under NT Rome and the ministry of Christ when culture is defined as the outward expression of people’s inward beliefs. I don’t know if you espouse a similar definition of culture, but it is patently obvious given that definition that the conversion of sinners leads (whether immediately, sooner, or later) to a tacitly better culture in some degree, however small. I really don’t see why 2Kers cannot agree to this basic point that individual sanctification is good for more than the individual.

    “One more thing — if sin is not advancing in some sense, why do you appear to be advocating God’s law as a remedy for this culture? The United States seems to have a lot of converted people and yet it would be possible to say that the culture is less well ordered now than it was at the start, for instance, of Billy Graham’s career.”

    You can argue that sin is advancing in its intensity, or even in its scope in certain times and places, but as a general principle it is not advancing over the reign of Christ’s advance. I’ve never argued that the Law is a remedy for culture. It is a blessing to any culture, but it does not of itself convert sinners, which is the remedy I am supposing you mean to indicate. As for Billy Graham, let’s not attempt to debate whether or not the “seeming” conversions are in fact genuine. Let’s simply deal with the principle that when converted individuals are being sanctified, their lives are becoming less marked by sin, and therefore the communities and cultures in which they live are becoming less marked by sin. What you wish to argue is that the spiritual effects upon the individual stop there, whereas Scripture indicates that the effects impact relationships in every sphere of the individual’s existence.

  271. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:45 am

    “But a better question is what happens when an upstanding citizen (i.e. chaste and peaceful) is converted, as in the sort of citizen who has helped make his created place well? It seems to me that on top of this naïve belief that the more conversions there are the more tangible good is affected, this optimistic and less-than-Augustinian-Calvinist view you all keep pushing starts with the odd notion that to not inwardly believe is to be outwardly vile. But even if you are not convinced by a biblical doctrine of human nature, plain reality shows us that unbelievers are very capable of law-keeping and creating a very good (small “g”) society. Indeed, that is part of the point of Romans 2.”

    Zrim,

    Why shouldn’t a “small g good” unbeliever become better as a result of the sanctifying work of Christ? Do you suppose that the average upstanding citizen Joe doesn’t have sins that impact the life around him that could not be improved by conversion? What is it about Augustine or Calvin that leads you to believe that they do not see conversions as impacting society for the better? Total depravity is met by sanctification, such that God is completing the work which He began in conversion. This is a basic confessional point:

    III. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

    Though the struggle with sin remains until the end, there is “tangible” growth in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

    “But I know you are of the notion that Christianity makes bad people and their societies good and good people and their societies better, so it may be that the way you explain what happens when to a good society when a good man is converted is that things just keep getting better every day and in every way. But then you have to contend with Ecclesiastes who says that what has been will be again what has been done will be done again and there is nothing new under the sun. I wonder what that could possibly mean under your system that has things progressing simply because you and I are present?”

    Zrim,

    Since others are so quick to point out the ninth commandment, perhaps it is my turn. Where have I or anyone said that the conversion of the sinner implies that “things just keep getting better every day and in every way.” Zrim, you continually construct straw positions and attribute them to your opponents. Sanctification, which is all I’ve been point to for the last few posts, implies change, real change for the good, but does not imply a specific timeline or bell curve for that change. Nothing in Ecclesiastes’s claim that “things that have been shall continue to be” implies the GROWTH of sin. Besides, if you read that statement as a universal, then how does a unique, “never before, never again” event like the Flood or the Crucifixion avoid contradiction?

    Once again you fail to distinguish categories. Rewind, stop, replay.

  272. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:47 am

    “And, BTW, Joshua, have you considered that the account of the pagan king Abimelech in Genesis 20 suggests that Abraham was wrong to assume that the king was “not God-fearing”? So I wonder about your suggestion that to be God-hating is to not be God-fearing.”

    Zrim,

    Passing strange! So you wish to argue that God-hating is God-fearing then?

    I simply argued that the God-hater who is converted to a God-fearer will be a benefit to society. Are you suggesting that Abimelech was both a God-hater and a God-fearer at the same time?

  273. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I might add, for precision’s sake, that in speaking about “conversion” I am speaking of it in a genuine sense, presuming actual rather than feigned transformation. I should have thought that obvious, but with Darryl asking about Billy Graham’s converts and Zrim asking about Abimelech, I suspect there is at least an inkling of confusion as to what exactly is in view.

  274. Zrim said,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I really don’t see why 2Kers cannot agree to this basic point that individual sanctification is good for more than the individual… Let’s simply deal with the principle that when converted individuals are being sanctified, their lives are becoming less marked by sin, and therefore the communities and cultures in which they live are becoming less marked by sin.

    But if HC 114 is right, then only the holiest amongst us is making but the smallest beginning of obedience. How does that translate into better communities? Does grace leak out our finger tips? Maybe you’re one of the holiest, Joshua, but even you are only making a small beginning in obedience, and if only a small personal beginning then only the most minimal of social impact. And you can’t pass down whatever personal progress you’ve made to the next generation—it goes with you into glorification.

    And it’s not that 2kers don’t hold to a biblical doctrine of sanctification (as Ron likes to suggest). It’s that some think sanctification is more conservative than progressive. Some of us think it aligns more with faith than with sight and so doesn’t really have the sort of “cash value” others seem to presume. It is more mysterious than known. I know, not very good for rallying troops for influence and take over, but that’s part of the inherent point of a pilgrim theology.

  275. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Although, it would not be outlandish to argue that even the hypocritical and false convert, insofar as he attempts to live in outward obedience to God’s commands, will still be a better result for the society in general than the fornicating, violent, and blasphemous individual.

  276. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Zrim,

    Isn’t a “minimum of social impact” by definition some social impact? And if a minimum of growth in obedience is impact for the better, doesn’t this imply that the some impact is for the better?

    Also, if my conversion and growth makes me a better father to my children, are not my children in return better off as the next generation than had I never made any progress at all?

    The reason why people think you deny sanctification is that while affirming it, you subsequently deny all examples of its occurrence having any impact in the present life, which is the only time when sanctification can occur, since the life to come is a glorified life.

  277. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Zrim even ten thousand years from today, when the Gospel’s leaven has leavened the earth to a far greater degree, the body of Christ will still have to battle the flesh. But the improvement to society through the advance of the Kingdom of God will be vast. I don’t know if we would recognize the earth. Maybe we would, maybe we wouldn’t.

    What will it look like? I don’t know. But I do know that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. As whole societies start leaning what it means to trust and obey, in every sphere and glorify God, *even in our laws*, good things will happen. Glory upon glory. God is the author of history, and the story he’s writing doesn’t suck.

    However, I think it’s wrong for us to speculate on God’s next move. One thing all Bible readers “should” understand, is that when Israel *collectively* obeyed God, good things happened. They’re enemies were pushed back. When they built high places, God’s anger was kindled and they’re enemies over ran them. Is that analogous for today? Yes! A thousand times yes! In that sense, things remain the same. Obedience yields blessing and good fruit. Collective obedience yields God’s blessings to flow throughout the Nation.

  278. Reed Here said,

    July 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Jed: you mentioned the twin advance of sin and sanctification over the course of history, referencing Rom 1. Might you provide other passages you believe supports this notion? For the record, I’m inclined to believe likewise.

  279. Ron said,

    July 21, 2011 at 11:50 am

    But if HC 114 is right, then only the holiest amongst us is making but the smallest beginning of obedience. How does that translate into better communities? Does grace leak out our finger tips?

    Non Radical 2Krs,

    What Zrim is avoiding with his “leak out our finger tips” remark is that man is part of society. Accordingly, the conversion of each man has a direct effect on society. Zrim, though he doesn’t admit it, is treating “society” as an abstract entity that is not comprised of moral agents.

    Basically:

    1. More obedience is better than less obedience
    2. If man is more obedient through conversion, then he is better through conversion
    3. Each man is part of society
    4. If part of society is better, then the whole of society is better (all other things being equal)
    5. If man, a part of society, is more obedient through conversion, then part of society is better through conversion, and consequently the whole of society is better through even one man’s conversion

    Now the only “out” for R2K, which is no out at all, is that God could bring to pass a worse societal state of affairs with the advancement of the gospel. That, however, is not an argument against the positive impact of conversion upon the existing society in view, for such thinking would not be based upon holding all other variables constant, making the comparison misleadingly fallacious. .

    Only pure obstinacy would deny that such a basic truth that the conversion of sinners would have a positive effect upon an existing society, if for no other reason than the converted man is part of society.

    When someone is willing to stand up to the microphone and say such things as this man Zrim, I think the debate is over. Let’s not measure the strength of one’s argument by the persuasion of another.

  280. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    DGH said: 3) Affirmation: the state and families have the responsibility for establishing and maintaining social order.
    Denial: the church does not have the responsibility for establishing and maintaining social order.

    Darryl this is a good example of how convoluted your logic is: In Romans 13 Paul goes on to say that the Magistrate “is a *minister* unto God to punish crime”. This presupposes that once the Magistrate is saved, he will wield the sword in a God glorifying way. Justice is the foundation of the Law of God! How can you tell a minister of God, to not base justice on God’s very own Law? Your position is oxymoronic.

  281. Reed Here said,

    July 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Doug: I’ve sought not to jump in here, but this last comment has me scratching bleeding furrows into my scalp. Can you explain how Darryl is being oxymoronic in this statement? The affirmation/denial itself does not contradict itself or the point you make in your comment.

  282. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    It is noteworthy, that the very sins (crimes?) Dr Hart and his ilk “claim” are no longer deserving of death; (if anything at all) are the very same sins (crimes?) that are eating our Culture alive! We see NAMBLA running around, brazenly demanding to have sex with our young boys, and “Gay Pride Days” celebrating depravity. Men stalking young girls at a pace never before seen before in America; and why? Because our nation (collectively) has turned her face away from the Law of God! What God said was worthy of death, Zrim says “let it be”. We are now “as a Nation” being eaten alive by these very same besetting sins.

  283. TurretinFan said,

    July 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Zrim wrote: “But if HC 114 is right, then only the holiest amongst us is making but the smallest beginning of obedience. How does that translate into better communities?”

    There’s a category error behind this retort. While the holiest amongst us has but the smallest beginning of obedience judged absolutely, the holiest amongst us may have a large relative degree of sanctification.

    What Zrim doesn’t understand is why we pray for kings and all those in authority. Life under godly kings is (other things being equal) better than life under ungodly kings. The same goes for godly mobs vs. ungodly mobs in the case of mob rule or democracy or the like.

  284. todd said,

    July 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Doug,

    All sins are worthy of death; that is not the question.

  285. TurretinFan said,

    July 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Let me give an even more easy to understand illustration:

    Proverbs 21:9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

    Proverbs 25:24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

    A godly wife is a blessing from the Lord and something that makes the domestic community a more pleasant place, even notwithstanding that her obedience is quite far from perfect.

  286. Reed Here said,

    July 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Doug, no. 282: after that comment, I think I need to head to the Emergency Room for stitches. Dude, you’re mischaracterizing Darryl and his “ilk”..

  287. Zrim said,

    July 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Joshua and Doug, re how personal sanctification relates to wider social effect, I am not sure what more I can say. I do think views of sanctification figure significantly into how the theonomic (and transformational) and 2k views differ. It seems to me that the theonomic outlook takes as obvious that converted persons means an improved society. Simply put, to some others however this just isn’t as obvious, and, in point of fact, seems more a function of the sort of religious fantasy that animated Protestant liberalism more than a more restrained Reformed orthodoxy. It seems much more reliant on both a sunny view of man, even a justified and sanctified man, and a brighter hope for just what to expect out of this present evil age.

    Frankly, none of you seems capable of doing much justice to HC 114. And I don’t see any room in your system to be able to admit that perfectly pagan people can contribute good things, even exceedingly good things, to the common sphere and even outpace believers at least as often as not. If you do, I don’t know on what grounds.

    And, Joshua, re Abimelech, if you and I can be simultaneously just and sinful then I don’t know why he can’t be at once a God-hater and a God-fearer. The point is about being inwardly evil and outwardly righteous. It is as possible, but what I think theonomy is after legislatively and politically is a way to erase that possibility and make the inward and outward line up 24/7. But all I want from my pagan kings qua kings is an external obedience. Sure, in their persons I want more for their inward, but until then punishing evil and rewarding good will do. And they have all they need by the light of nature to do so.

  288. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I would be happy to Reed :)

    All Magistrates, rather they know it or not, are in fact “Ministers unto God for justice”. This doesn’t mean they all execute their office with honor. It follows from there, that once they are either pressured by society, or regenerated, they will use the sword in a God glorifying way. To *knowingly* say, “I’m a Minister unto God, but I won’t adhere to the Law of God, is an oxymoron. It’s a contradiction in terms. If we are to be consistent God glorifying, Ministers of God, we *must* apply the general equity of the Law of God.

    I hope that helps.

  289. Reed Here said,

    July 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    But Doug, that is not what the quote you reference from Darryl is saying. It does not deny that the civil magistrate must rule in accordance with God’s law. You’re reading into things here bro.

  290. Ron said,

    July 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    “Frankly, none of you seems capable of doing much justice to HC 114.”

    The man refuses to deal with (i) TF’s demonstration of the category fallacy, which was implicit throughout the posts of others, Josh’s posts being an example, and (ii) the progression I put forth that logically concludes with what he denies. (shakes head in disbelief…)

  291. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Reed it makes perfect sense, unless you think that the Church and State are against each other, or somehow at odds. They can be, but not always. What happens when the majority of People and our Leaders become Christians? Then of course our judicial standard will be the Law of God. How can you be a Minister of God and reject his Law? After all, that is exactly what the Great Commission commands us to accomplish; as in teach every nation “all my commandments”. Even commandments found in Leviticus :)

  292. dgh said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Joshua, one reason I am reluctant to go along with the idea that cultures improve when sinners convert is that it does lead and has led to Christian triumphalism. It also leads to really bad history such as the kind that any number of evangelical political activists have written claiming the Second Pretty Good Awakening was responsible for making the United States great.

    Another reason is that Roman Catholics may be able to beat us at this game, as in appealing to Christendom as the model culture, which sort of makes the PRotestant Reformation look foolish (oh, great, you Reformed the church and wrecked the culture). Lots of FV people and some theonomic types like Christendom. if culture is based on religion, and the religion of Rome was flawed, how could that culture be great?

  293. Reed Here said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Doug: Darryl’s affirmation/denial does not deny the point you are making. He may deny this somewhere else, but not in this statement. The statement is distinguishing between the role of the Church and the State.

    It is not addressing the role of the State’s relationship to God’s law. It is denying that the Church has authority in the State’s realm of responsibilities. Please, go back and read again. Better, find a different quote from Darryl to make your point. Your use of this one is nonsense.

  294. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Zrim,

    Another categorical error. Being justified yet sinful does not entail that one can both hate God and fear God at the same time or in the same way. Romans 7 demonstrates that justified sinners struggle with their sin, whereas God-haters–those unjustified–do not, but rather applaud disobedience to God’s law (Rom. 1).

    “but what I think theonomy is after legislatively and politically is a way to erase that possibility and make the inward and outward line up 24/7.”

    Perhaps you think this because you don’t actually internalize the points that theonomists have been making this entire thread, which has nothing whatsoever to do with inward and outward conformity to God’s law being identical for any given magistrate or individual. Whatever it is that you are opposing, it isn’t theonomy, and I’m not aware of anyone who espouses or implies what you are attacking.

    Ron gave a perfectly clear demonstration of how sanctification categorically implies a positive impact upon society. Why don’t you interact with his claims, instead of dismissing them with your wildest assertions and spectres of attribution.

  295. dgh said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Mark, please explain how only some parts of the Bible apply to public life — like the ones having to do with morality? Isn’t worshiping the true God a moral act? So why doesn’t the magistrate have a duty to enforce everything in the Bible — including making sure churches exist that practice the true religion and shutting down those that practice the false religion?

    Plus, the morality that you seem to think can be separated from other norms in Scripture is always given in the context of the covenant of grace — as in the Decalogue begins with “I am the Lord your God. . .” So how do you take those laws and apply them to people who are not in a covenant relationship (of grace) with God? I know it has been done. But I believe such appeals have been flawed and don’t recognize the difference between God’s friends and enemies.

    So the point is that your Van Der Molen red letter edition of the Bible — where you can discern what guides our public life today and what doesn’t is (to use a phrase I’ve heard around here) dubious and arbitrary.

  296. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Todd, I’m talking socio-political crimes. Are you saying we should have the death penalty for all crimes?! God has said that some sins/crimes are worse than others, just read the Law! Not all sins are crimes! We don’t execute people for drinking too much, although being a drunkard is a sin and if not confessed can damn your soul. If someone steals, he isn’t to be put to death, he is to make restitution. God knows the appropriate penalty for any particular socio-political crime. It’s called “eye for and eye” perfect justice.

    However, for crimes like child molestation, homosexuality, rape, kidnapping, blasphemy, and murder, God sees them on a different par, from getting drunk, or stealing because one is hungry. To even have to explain this to you is troubling.

    And just look at that Death Penalty list! Wow! The very things that are growing out of control in our society! And what is Dr Harts answer? Does Dr Hart think we should obey the Law of God and execute a rapist? He says no, no, no! Is that what God revealed in His Law? Surely not! God said, “they must surely be put to death, and let their blood be upon them”! Dr Hart says, “We may not put them to death”! I’ll take God’s side on this question.

  297. dgh said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Doug, blasphemy and idolatry also need to be punished and the OT way was execution? Blasphemy and idolatry actually get Israel in far more trouble than sexual sins in the OT (unless sex is connected to idolatry). So why aren’t you worked up about Baptists who don’t allow their infants to receive the sign of the covenant? Such practices were not even tolerated by the Reformers or the states that sponsored them.

  298. Reed Here said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Doug: you keep affirming comments to Darryl I’ve never heard him state. Where have you heard him say, “no, we may put (rapists, murderers) to death.”? C’mon man. It is one thing to disagree with with Darryl’s 2K position. It is another to mischaracterize it. You may very well end up encouraging new converts to his position.

  299. Ron said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    So why aren’t you worked up about Baptists who don’t allow their infants to receive the sign of the covenant?

    There is no civil sanction against such a practice, Darryl. Yes, the child will have broken covenant but that’s the end of the story.

  300. Ron said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Reed,

    Are you going to go back through the thread and call DGH on all his caricatures? :-)

  301. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    “Joshua, one reason I am reluctant to go along with the idea that cultures improve when sinners convert is that it does lead and has led to Christian triumphalism.”

    Not by logical entailment, it doesn’t. Therefore your perception of what follows is anecdotal at best. I could as easily assert that R2K leads to and has led to sickness.

    “It also leads to really bad history such as the kind that any number of evangelical political activists have written claiming the Second Pretty Good Awakening was responsible for making the United States great.”

    Not by logical entailment, it doesn’t. Therefore your perception of what follows is anecdotal at best. I could as easily assert that R2K leads to and has led to back spasms.

    “Another reason is that Roman Catholics may be able to beat us at this game, as in appealing to Christendom as the model culture, which sort of makes the PRotestant Reformation look foolish (oh, great, you Reformed the church and wrecked the culture). Lots of FV people and some theonomic types like Christendom. if culture is based on religion, and the religion of Rome was flawed, how could that culture be great?”

    That Roman Catholic culture in Christendom was a Christian culture does not imply that they were obedient to God’s law in every respect. To the extent that any culture obeys the law of God it is “greater” than its surrounding cultures.

  302. Reed Here said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    No Ron, nor am I going to through all your’s. ;-)

    I’m assuming you’re not defending Doug’s.

  303. Zrim said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Joshua, if you don’t think I have theonomy in mind here then I wonder what your beef is with 2k, since I don’t recognize my 2k views in any of the wildest assertions and specters coming from your side of the table (especially Doug “The Sky is Falling” Sowers). As you all would have it, 2k doesn’t take God’s law seriously and the world is running amok when it places general revelation in its hands to run the affairs of state instead of special revelation.

    But on this wild assertion that 2k isn’t serious about God’s law, and this will be repetitive since I made this point way above to no avail: 2k disciplines for any unrepentant violation of God’s law, from blasphemy to murder to withholding baptism to covenant children. And lest anyone cry foul for misrepresenting theonomy, we both take God’s law just as seriously, but it’s the way we treat violations that makes all the difference between us. We both would have unrepentant trespassers spiritually excommunicated, but you also would have them physically executed. This isn’t a trifling difference though. It marks which system understands messianic fulfillment best and which only thinks it does. Theonomy places everything back under the old economy. But either Jesus live and death was sufficient or it wasn’t. It should give theonomists great pause to consider that the answer to this question, o rat least how their understanding of law seems to strongly suggest that it wasn’t sufficient. And nothing gets Paul’s goat more than this in the NT.

  304. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    @Reed, it’s my understanding that Darryl would be *for* the death penalty for murder. (Maybe) But not for homosexuality, bestiality, adultery, striking ones parents, blasphemy, kidnapping or rape. Those punishments he mocks as Neanderthal. And his side kick, Zrim has gone so far as to say that homosexuality should be legalized! Bottom line, Darryl does not believe the Bible has anything to say, when it comes to punishing those “former” DP crimes. And that’s a fact jack. And since Dr Hart doesn’t believe that God’s Law has standing validity, then he is against God’s Law “in some very real sense”. Although he SAYS he’s not; I think he talks out of both sides of his mouth. And that is why I saw through his assertions. IMHO.

  305. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Zrim,

    I don’t think any unbiased observer could mistake the overwhelming lack of argumentation coming from you and yours in comparison to the several arguments (some even provided in logical sequence) from the theonomic proponents.

    You cannot even read carefully, as I did not say anything about what you “think” you are attacking. I have no reservations that what you “think” you are attacking is theonomy. I’m talking about what you are actually presenting in your claims.

    You still haven’t interacted directly, materially, or logically with any of the arguments presented to you, although you are full of other things to say.

    So here we are again.

    Rewind. Stop. Replay.

  306. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    @Reed: Perhaps we should ask Darryl to clarify his thoughts on how we should punish those (crimes?) I mentioned. Rather than accusing me of mischaracterizing Darryl, I think I hit the nail right on the head. Let’s get Darryl to explain how he would apply God’s Law to say the crime of bestiality. Would he say, “Let sleeping dogs lie”?

  307. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    @Reed, I meant to say: Darryl doesnt think the Bible has anything to say to the Magistrate when it comes to punishing what were once DP crimes anymore.

  308. dgh said,

    July 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Joshua, but what are your anecdotes about 2k sickness or back spasms? I’m all ears and eyes and back.

    But by logical entailment your position does require that cultures improve as people repent and believe. That does seem to be what you are asserting. And I am trying to counter with a paradoxical relationship where when the church is most faithful she suffers and where the most glory comes at the expense of faithfulness. The history of Israel is writ large with this dynamic — compare Gideon’s band to Solomon’s glory.

  309. dgh said,

    July 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Doug, the point is that you cannot “make” me affirm the death penalty for all of the sins you list. If this is the criterion for good standing in the church, then you have to throw out a host of greater lights than I — start with Kuyper, add Machen, mix in Warfield — you get the point.

    And I’m still curious to hear why you do not seem to be upset by sinful behavior in the realm of worship.

  310. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    Improvement and betterment with regard to the upholding of God’s standards, not necessarily with the prosperity of the church or the ones who obey. For example, should 1,000 slaves be converted to the Gospel, whilst the magistrate remains hostile to Christianity, the culture would be improved as to obedience to the Law (since the 1,000 slaves would experience sanctification), but not improved as to the slaves prosperity and comfort (since their conversion might lead the magistrate to persecute them). We could also argue that the cultural arenas in which the 1,000 slaves had the most influence would benefit from their improved obedience to the Law, while they remained free from persecution.

    For an historical example, take the rescue of exposed children by Christians in the Roman empire. Surely a culture is improved when lives that are otherwise squandered are saved from death. Christians were still experiencing periodic persecutions, but also contributing to the betterment of their culture through the preservation of life.

  311. dgh said,

    July 21, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Joshua, thanks for the clarification.

    So in your estimate, would the converted slaves sing better slave songs once they were saved? Would they grow more cotton, learn how to pick it with fewer cuts?

    I’m not being facetious. I’m trying to understand your idea of culture and how obedience to the law improves it.

  312. Zrim said,

    July 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Doug, huh? Where have I said “homosexuality should be legalized”? What would that even mean?

    But you keep missing my point and then mischaracterizing it with exclamation points to boot. I’d rather you at least made an effort to understand my point and then disagree. And the point is about the capacity of laws. I take a rather dim view of what laws either express or what they can do, such that while legislation has its place it simply cannot instill and maintain civic virtue. You seem to have a much higher view, one that presumes that a nation’s health is set and measured by its laws. I’m saying that politics help us get from day to day in a relative peace and order, but in the complicated reality of the human condition east of Eden they are but one aspect of social arrangement and only do so much. I think it’s this higher estimation of the capacities of politics and legislation that fuels so much of theonomy. I think you guys have most of the American culture on your side in this aspect. I wonder if that gives you any pause, having so much in common with the culture you seem to love to hate?

  313. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    I was thinking more of Roman slaves, but that’s ok :-)

    The material point is that insofar as the converted slave conforms to Christ and His commandments, to that extent he is benefiting his neighbor, which is an improvement in his societal relations, therefore society as a whole. Any number of factors could be affected, but no one of them in particular is logically entailed, for sanctification does not proceed uniformly in every facet of life, though it does proceed.

  314. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Darryl, regarding 295, again you shift the discussion to what you think *my* problems might be. Early on, someone asked me to nail down some R2k “bullet points”. I resisted the temptation, thinking I’d end up going round the pole till I’m dizzy. But like a cheap date I succumbed, professed my love for you, and with TLC crafted some R2k propositions I thought you could easily affirm. In return, now I see you evade my overtures AND point out my flaws. I’m sensing you might not really love me.

    So, I’ll try once more. I’m just asking whether *you* can affirm any of the proposed tenets as fair representations of what *you* believe. They are worded very simply and to my( misty) eyes, solve the objections you toss at what you think of my position. That would include the “red letter” problem, since the tenets clearly remove the Bible from public life outside the church.

  315. dgh said,

    July 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Joshua, thanks again.

    I don’t necessarily disagree, nor to I think that Christianity necessarily benefits other people in a society. The Pope and the Emperor did not necessarily benefit from the Reformation, nor do my neighbors in Hillsdale benefit from my congregation not having to pay taxes. The benefits of Christianity can go a number of ways.

    But the point I am curious about is whether you now will say that Christianity to be true needs to benefit society. In other words, if Christians do not benefit their neighbors — whatever that is — then are they really Christians? The reason for asking is that pietists and revivalists have long insisted that for faith to be genuine it needs to be evident in holy lives and holy societies.

  316. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    @Zrim: A few months ago on the “Warrior Machen” post. You said, on more than one occasion, that you might even vote FOR “Gay Marriage”. At the very least, you said you might abstain from voting. That is not only is legitimatizing homosexuality, that’s putting that vile act, on par with the marriage of a man and women.

    Shame on you! Did you think I would forget what you’ve said?

  317. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    @Zrim; you’re not sure that personal sanctification has a positive affect?! Zrim! Read your Bible, God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah if there were just 10 righteous men. The whole city would have been spared! It’s as if you’ve never the Old Testament. If God would spare a whole city for the sake of ten righteous families, then how can you say Christians wouldn’t benefit society, now?

  318. Jed Paschall said,

    July 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Reed, (Re: 278)

    Jed: you mentioned the twin advance of sin and sanctification over the course of history, referencing Rom 1. Might you provide other passages you believe supports this notion?

    Here is a few:

    1) Romans 5:20 – “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…”

    Note: We see, that both sin and grace advance. In the inter-advental age we see this heightened as grace is supremely revealed in Christ, but abounds even more as antichrist is revealed (see below), and Satan as makes war upon the saints (a central theme of Revelation) through tempting them to assimilate in an enticing world system and causing them to sin

    2) Matthew 24:22-24 – “22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. ”

    Note: The rise of antichrists seems to denote the advance of sin, carrying the power to deceive the whole world, and threaten the elect.

    3)Psalm 14:1-3 – “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
    there is none who does good.
    The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.
    They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.”

    Note: Just on the basis of an increasing population, more sinners = more sin. In this sense as human population grows, sin grows quantitatively

    4) (I realize this is in Romans 1 but here goes) Romans 1:28-32 – “28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 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.”

    Note: Here we see the qualitative advance of sin as new modes of evil are invented by depraved humans. As our knowledge and technological capabilities grow, so also does our capacity to sin. We have harnessed the power of the atom, with it we can power the world or incinerate it. We now have info. technologies that enable us to be more connected than ever, but there is an underbelly to this as pornography, prostitution, and a whole host of sin has skyrocketed. With our heightened capabilities we have new opportunities to sin in ways that weren’t previously possible

    I could go on (and on and on), but that is a good start. The problem that I had with Joshua’s assertion is that it was poorly backed up with any sort of biblical proof. The fact is, I think the case for the advance of sin is overwhelming. I am not sure that most theonomists would even object to this. Maybe they see a turning of the tide at some point, but I don’t see many arguing that things have turned yet.

  319. Reed Here said,

    July 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks Jed. So, (at least) three possibilities seem to be in view:

    1) Sin and sanctification have in inverse relationship (one must decrease if/when the other increases) OR
    3) Sin and sanctification have a corollary relationship (both increase or decrease) OR
    3) Sin and sanctification do not have any relationship (either may increase/decrease irregardless of the other).

    Which does Scripture seem to teach?

  320. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    @Jed: The problem with your *opinion*, is that you don’t have an objective Standard by which you can judge the progression sin vs righteousness. Only your *natural eyes*. You’re just a human with a darkened mind, like me. Only God has the right, honor, and authority to completely evaluate a nation. It’s waaay beyond our ability to comprehend. So you need to quit pretending like you can judge like God. Trust in the LORD with all of your heart, and lean NOT on your own understanding. Believe the promises of God! And don’t say in your heart, “that will never happen”, or that sounds harsh by “today’s” standards.

  321. Reed Here said,

    July 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Doug: wake up! Jed offered exegetical considerations. Critique his exegesis.

  322. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Okay! I’m awake. :) His exegesis is horrendous! Matt 24 1 through 34 is referring to the time between our Lord’s crucifixion and the looming judgment of Jerusalem. (As in this generation will be no means pass away) It has nothing whatsoever to say about OUR future, or the progression of sin. (Strike one, Jed) He seems to be thinking much like dispensationalists today, believing that the Olivet discourse is talking about things in the future tense, and we’re all waiting for the Antichrist to take over.

    Jed, let RC Sproul disabuse you of that ridiculous notion, it’s simply indefensible. (Read Spouls: “Last days according to Jesus”) Jed’s other scriptural proof in Romans 5:21 is grossly taken out of context. He seems to be insinuating the Law only made things worse! Hmm, I guess it wasn’t a blessing after all. (Strike two Jed!)

    This is what makes “pessimistic” amills so hard to talk too. I’m sorry Jed, but you’re stuck in an incoherent philosophical bog of quick sand with no foundation except the autonomous reasoning’s of your natural eyes. IMHO

    As for, “There is none righteous no not one. I don’t know what he means by that. I would suggest that Jed goes over to Dallas Theological seminary and become a dispensational premellinnialist. At least he would be more consistent with his fellow brethren there.

  323. Zrim said,

    July 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Doug, re #316, thanks for the reminder. But as I recall, the point was trying to make when the question was about gay marriage as we understand it in 2011 America was one I have tried to make here, namely that political conclusions are not as synonymous with personal behavior as some seem to think. So whatever way one might vote on any given political question shouldn’t be evaluated spiritually. What I don’t think you realize is that this benefits you as well as your political opponents. I can conceive of plenty who would suggest that to politically oppose gay marriage is to be spiritually impious. In fact, that insinuation is made by emergents and evangelical progressives all the time from what I read.

    But you also hold my possible political abstinence on such a question against me and you suggest that to abstain on a vote to strip people of rights previously granted (i.e. Prop 8) is to legitimatize homosexuality, which is another way of implying impiety. But have you considered that abstaining is a perfectly legitimate way to respond to a political question? It’s when you think the options on the table just plain aren’t satisfying and you find it unacceptable to have to choose between two evils. On the one hand, I’m not at all persuaded that homosexuality should enjoy the sanction of marriage and to give it legal protection seems to me just not good policy. On the other, I am equally wary (if not even more) of what I think is behind efforts to keep homosexuals politically disenfranchised. It reeks of culture war, something I think actually hurts society, something culture warriors ironically never seem to take into account. Human beings are brutally complicated and thus so are their political projects, and to think that the only thing involved in this political question is the moral conclusion one has on homosexuality (“yes” means one morally approves of it, “no” means one is morally opposed) is the height of over-simplification and mediocre thinking. It is also to make things safe for the moralizing of politics and the politicizing of faith, the affliction of our time. That is something I strongly oppose.

  324. Ron said,

    July 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Matt 24 1 through 34 is referring to the time between our Lord’s crucifixion and the looming judgment of Jerusalem.

    Doug,

    I’m not following this too closely at all but I didn’t think that any Reformed Christian believed contrary to what you just stated. Certainly that generation would not pass until all those things had transpired.

  325. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Hi Ron :)

    I sure hope your right. Maybe I’m wrong, but I almost got the feeling that Jed is not a partial preterist. That he was using Matt 24:22 as that being proof that the world will continue to get more and more evil. Another post he wrote, caused me to infer that he sees the book of Revelations Chapter 11 in our future, and not refering to the fall of Israel and Nero. Just for the record I understand the book of Revelations was written prior to 70AD probably around 66 or 67AD. Maybe it’s that I have debated to many dispensationalist who always read the Olivet discourse as in our future.

    Brother Jed, how about explaining what you meant by Matt 24:22 please?

  326. dougsowers said,

    July 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Darryl Hart says:

    I’m not trying to “make” you say anything, silly. I asked how you think we should punish bestiality. Break it down for me, which ones “on the list” do you feel are still Capital crimes; and why? Walk me though this Dr Hart, I really want to know where you stand on the Death Penalty for say, “Rape”, and why?

  327. Jed Paschall said,

    July 22, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Doug,

    There is plenty of 2k lit out there that interacts with theonomy available. I realize you don’t like my interpretations, but this is a blog and I have limited time, so what do you expect, a Kloosterman-esque review of Van Drunen here? But, since you responded so sweetly and with such opulent charity, I can’t help but offer my (always) humble response:

    There are some major problems with confining Matthew 24 to pre-AD 70 exclusively. The first argument is historical; when Jesus says “If it those days were not cut short, no human being would survive But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” it is difficult to imagine the events of AD 70 are the only ones in view. The Roman destruction of Jerusalem was a local event affecting a small population within the Roman empire. All humans, even in the region weren’t threatened. There is also the case of the elect. By the time we get to AD 70, according to church history Christianity had spread throughout most of the Roman empire, and to regions beyond, so the elect themselves as an entire population were not significantly threatened with the exception of a few isolated pockets within the empire.

    My eschatalogical views are modeled after Beale’s eclectic position on Revelation, so take up your revulsion for my view with him, since he is the preeminent scholar in Revelation studies as far as I am concerned. In this, the most apocalyptically oriented of all of Jesus’ discourses, it is difficult to pin down a precise history, even when certain historical events, such as AD 70 are certainly within the purview of the passage at hand, there is a broader prophetic history in the scope of the passage. You can argue until you are blue in the face for an exclusively AD 70 position on Matt 24, and you might even be right, but you cannot apply the doctrine of certainty to that interpretation.

    When it comes to the Dispy accusation, don’t pin that tag on me unless you want to take it yourself, since you seem to take their view of the eschatological land inasmuch as you see the administration of Mosaic norms in some fashion in the current cosmos. If I am guilty of seeing the possibility of a future Antichrist, then you are guilty of tying the eschatological promises of God’s righteous reign to this dusty lump of rock. I don’t even think amil eschatology requires a future antichrist as Jesus can return at any time. There have been plenty of characters in history who have fit the bill, so I am not aggressively looking for the rise of Nicolae Carpathia if you take my meaning. So by this account, your dispensational slip is showing too amigo. (I’ll go more into the Land argument too if you want to go there, Joseph didn’t)

    You also make the false assumption regarding my take on the Law in Romans 5. I go no further than Paul does, when he defends himself from the accusation that some might lay at his feet; namely, that he made the Law out to be evil:

    Romans 7:7-8 “7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.”

    The Law is good, as it is revelation from God, but it arouses the depraved human propensity to rebel. The point was simply that, there is a concurrent advancement of two realities: Sin and Grace. I actually said nothing about the Law, other than the fact that I left it in the citation. So you are wrong on this account. Unless you have a better explanation for the fact that Paul speaks of sin abounding. I see your assertions that I am off my rocker, but there is no argument to the contrary. Please back up your claim here with some kind of justification.

    As for, “There is none righteous no not one. I don’t know what he means by that. I would suggest that Jed goes over to Dallas Theological seminary and become a dispensational premellinnialist. At least he would be more consistent with his fellow brethren there.

    Doug, why would I do that when Westminster CA is in my backyard? The dispy accusations seem like more of a deficiency in your arguments than they are substantive. I’ll respond to your arguments, but if all you have is biting assertions, I’ll spend my time elsewhere, like banging my head against the nearest brick wall.

  328. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Mark, I suppose as a lawyer — unless you’re the kind that writes jokes for Letterman — you haggle over language in contracts or even letters all the time. At this point the answer to your question about your 2k propositions should be obvious, unless you’re feeling overly ironic these days.

  329. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Doug, speaking of silly, I don’t know any Christian personally who would make the death penalty for rape a test of soundness, orthodoxy, fellowship, etc.

  330. Ron said,

    July 22, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Doug, I trust you’re right, that he was using Mt 24 in that strange way, which is why I commented that I didn’t think anyone in the Reformed tradition does that anymore.

    I’m curious about something else now. How does a question of what one thinks the penalty should be for rape imply that the one asking the question thinks that the answer and its justification is a test of orthodoxy? I didn’t see you making it out to be such a test, and I don’t think I saw an answer to your question, but again I’m not following that closely. :)

  331. Reed Here said,

    July 22, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Doug: careful now. Notice Darryl did not tell you what he thinks is an appropriate civil punishment for rape. All he affirmed was that opinions on this should not be a test for who is or who is out of the Church.

  332. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 22, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Darryl, while you tempt me to object to your answer as evasive, I’ll take it you’re satisfied the record can reflect that your answer is obviously “yes” to affirming the tenets.

  333. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 22, 2011 at 8:16 am

    All he affirmed was that opinions on this should be be a test for who is or who is out of the Church.

    Reed, I think you’re missing the word “not” in that sentence.

  334. dougsowers said,

    July 22, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Thanks Reed :) I’ll try to be careful. @Darryl, I wasnt implying that your position on the DP for rape is a test of orthodoxy or church fellowship. It’s just that I don’t *know* where you stand. Are you saying that whatever we do is “okay”? Is the Death Penalty still justice for a raptist? And if not, why not?

    Just trying to figure out where your coming from :)

  335. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Mark, how lawyerly. Any person who uses the English language primarily would be able to tell that I do not think your 2k propositions are coherent or accurate.

  336. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Doug, is it really that hard to tell where I’m coming from? I’m an elder in the OPC, have subscribed our confession of faith and catechisms, and affirm our FOG and DPW. I have also written in defense of 2k, Reformed confessionalism, and the separation of church and state.

    For some reason, I suspect that you are more than curious.

  337. dougsowers said,

    July 22, 2011 at 10:51 am

    @Darryl: Why can’t you answer a simple straight forward question? By the way, I *know* you’re an Elder for the OPC. I know you claim to subscribe to our confession of faith and catechisms. My question is: what do you *think* is a just punishment for a rapist? Of course there can be extenuating circumstances, but in general, how should we go about punishing rape; and why?

  338. dougsowers said,

    July 22, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Jed, thanks for taking the time to answer my question, I’ll have a longer response and reaction to your post later this evening.

  339. Reed Here said,

    July 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Mark: thanks for the catch.

  340. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Doug, if you don’t know what I think (I’m not even sure my pastor or wife does), that’s okay with me. If you want to pursue this offline where you may be less inclined to score points you seem to know enough about me to find an email address at which point I may be inclined to give an answer.

  341. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Any person who uses the English language primarily would be able to tell that I do not think your 2k propositions are coherent or accurate.

    Darryl, I never claimed they are coherent–they’re proposed R2k propositions after all. But I fail to see how the propositions don’t accurately reflect what you have argued, even here on this thread. It may very well be that we are speaking different *theological* languages, so enlighten me. What in the tenets are inaccurate representations of your belief?

  342. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Mark, as the teacher of 2k to you the student, I cannot go beyond what I have already said both in objecting to the phrasing of your propositions and what I outlined as affirmations and denials. At some point, the student has to turn in homework that he did by himself. (And the teacher didn’t even give an assignment.) I’m sure you’ll recognize that this is the loving way to teach.

  343. dougsowers said,

    July 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    @Darryl, why the mystery and intrigue? Zrim has already told us he believes all the death penalty sanctions found in the Law of God were typologically fulfilled at the cross; except for murder. While I strongly disagree with Zrim, at least I know where I stand with him. I don’t believe I scored cheap points for knowing where he stood. You on the other hand, haven’t been as open, on how we are to punish these crimes. Has morality and justice changed? I will be honest with you, as a Theonomist I do see some thorny questions as to how we are to enforce the Lord’s day, for example. I don’t have all the answers as to “how” we are to apply God’s Law in a correct New Covenant context for socio-political morality.

    However,it seems to me, that you just fire rocks at the Law of God being enforced in the socio-political arena, without giving an alternative that I can understand. As Paul M. pointed out Natural Law and the Law of God are coterminous. So I think it’s only fair for us to ask you, what penalty would you impose on a child molesting rapist? You can’t beat something with nothing. Just saying Natural Law, doesn’t give us a standard to judge, as Paul M. so eloquently stated.

    When I import or attribute to you, things that Zrim believes, Reed castigates me for putting words in your mouth. For the record Reed is right! What we need from you, is an explicit explanation, or at least, a rational or standard on how you would punish a “rapist”. I want to accurately understand how you would apply Natural Law on crime in America. And “if” Natural Law is the same as the Law of God, what’s your beef?

  344. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Doug, has it occurred to you that I am less willing to answer because of such language as “firing rocks at the Law of God”? I would not characterize your reading of me as charitable, so I’d prefer not to give you more rocks to throw at me publicly. If you want an answer, send me an email.

  345. Reed Here said,

    July 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Doug: small quibble – I’m not castigating :-) Consider it admonishing ;-)

  346. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    The student wrote:

    1. The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.

    2. The Bible provides standards for the church only.

    3. General Revelation provides the exclusive standards for the political realm.

    4. It is illegitimate to make unbelievers to obey the Bible’s standards since they do not believe the Bible.

    The teacher’s lecture notes read:

    “To expect the Bible to address the affairs of the state is to apply the wrong standards. We have general revelation to muck through the political realm. We have the Bible to plod along in the church.”

  347. dougsowers said,

    July 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    @Reed; thanks Reed I wil take that as a good admonishment. Oil for my head :)

  348. dougsowers said,

    July 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    @Darryl: Notice I didn’t say; you just fire rocks at the Law of God, and end it there. I said you “fire rocks at the Law of God, (as being enforced in the socio-political arena.) Isn’t that true? Aren’t you very much against that notion? Yet, you act as if “I’m” extreme. You act as if I’m out in left field. But you refuse to publically put your cards on the table. I’ve seen you fire a few zingers my way, poking fun at “my” desire to see God’s Law enforced in all of life. And I’ve fired a few back at you, in love of course :)

    But you’re vague and slippery when it comes to giving us your alternative. When asked, you say things like Natural Law, (which isnt an answer I understand) or you change the subject, and blame your evasiveness on my potentially rude comeback. This is a public debate among Reformed Christian men; please give “us”, and “me”, a public answer. Were all big boys here. I’m very curious to see if your going to use the same typological argument that Zrim has attempted to use. How close are you to Zrim?

  349. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    The student wrote:

    1. The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.

    2. The Bible provides standards for the church only.

    3. General Revelation provides the exclusive standards for the political realm.

    4. It is illegitimate to make unbelievers to obey the Bible’s standards since they do not believe the Bible.

    The teacher fails the student, but the teacher’s lecture notes read:

    “To expect the Bible to address the affairs of the state is to apply the wrong standards. We have general revelation to muck through the political realm. We have the Bible to plod along in the church.”

    “The problem with using the Bible in public life is that you bind people who don’t believe the Bible…I believe making non-believers obey the Bible is illegitimate a long as they don’t believe the Bible.”

    To quote Pink Floyd: “Hey teacher! Leave them kids alone”.

  350. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Mark, the teacher detects a recalcitrant spirit. The student not only fails to understand the teacher’s points, which were elaborated in three different lectures at this blog, but the student displays an attitude which does not seek enlightenment but faults in teacher.

    Surely the student is familiar with the fifth commandment.

    Pink Floyd and Andy Kaufmann — they were popular when all Dutch-Americans were still sending their kids to Christian day schools.

  351. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I know you are a talented fellow, but your over-the-internet attitude detector is on the fritz. You confuse my patient effort at clarity with your recalcitrance in providing it. If you can show how the tenets differ from the cited lecture notes, I’m all ears, teacher. The other lecture(s) {assuming you are referring to the affirmations/denials} do not directly address your student’s questions.

  352. dougsowers said,

    July 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    @Dr Hart: Surely your not suggesting that your *opinions* are above reproach? I thought “Christian” teachers were to base they’re opinions on the Word of God, no? Moreover, I thought being a “humble” servant, any Christian teacher, would be only too happy to explain “in the Bible” how he arrived at his conclusions. What are you afraid of?

  353. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Mark, please patiently see #264. And then think through how those objections to your affirmations might extend to your other points. Then please write 500 words describing why you were mistaken in your original affirmations.

    Since we have a teacher-student relationship now established — as David G. Hall says, “DO IT!”

    BTW, this is not outlandish pedagogy since my advisor in grad school regularly corrected the first ten pages of a dissertation chapter and then said to use that as a model for fixing the rest.

  354. dgh said,

    July 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Doug, I would have thought that you could tell the difference between saying that someone throws rocks at God’s law as a summary of their views on general and special revelation and someone else’s summary of a theonomist’s position as applying God’s law to all of life. The one connotes blasphemy, the other is at best an exaggeration (but don’t you want the law of God applied to all of life?).

    My views are not above reproach, to be sure. Nor are my views on trial. (BTW, a 2k Christian teacher bases his views on the Word of God where the Bible speaks and on the light of a nature created by God. I suppose your use of the English language is not based on God’s word.)

  355. TurretinFan said,

    July 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Zrim wrote: “Frankly, none of you seems capable of doing much justice to HC 114. ”

    Frankly, Zacharias Ursinus wrote the Heiderlberg Catechism. His view on the two kingdoms (he did carefully distinguish between the power of the keys and of the sword) was such that he wrote:

    A magistrate ought to be a defender of order and discipline among his subjects, as it respects both tables of the Decalogue, and to guard against and prohibit open idolatry and wickedness; and ought also to avoid, as far as it is possible, all offences and occasions to sin that may be given to his subjects by foreigners and sojourners.

    If you want to do justice to HC 114, read Ursinus’ commentary on it. I trust you’ll find it consistent with my explanation above.

    -TurretinFan

  356. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 23, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Mark, please patiently see #264. And then think through how those objections to your affirmations might extend to your other points. Then please write 500 words describing why you were mistaken in your original affirmations.

    Darryl, this was patiently answered in #269 above and it didn’t take 500 words to easily do so. {My graduate school profs stressed brevity as next to godliness.} Now, I can’t know if you are intentionally being evasive or if you are just having a case of C.P again, but your “objections” are not directed at the proposed tenets. You object to what you believe my *contra* position to those tenets would be. I’ve yet to hear what you particularly find objectionable in those propositions. Your lecture notes I cited demonstrate harmony with those propositions. Why you won’t engage the tenets, tweak them, or own them is a mystery.

  357. Zrim said,

    July 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

    But, Tfan, where you stand with Ursinus I stand with Kuyper, who said the following (and by the looks of the revisions to Belgic 36 and WCF 23, so did the church):

    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.

  358. dougsowers said,

    July 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    @Zrim; you stand with Kuyper?!! Bhahaha! Maybe on that *one* narrow point (Executing heretics) But seriously Zrim, Kuyper also believed in the DP for kidnappers, rapists, homosexuals, and child molesters. (As did, virtually all of the Reformers!) In other words Kuyper thought God’s Law *should* be applied in socio-political sense today. Just not the executing of heretics. He would disagree with you and Dr Hart vehemently! Please quit taking selective cuts *out of context*, in a lame attempt to make your views fall within “Reformed” norms. Both you and Hart are out of bounds. I’m throwing a flag on the play!

  359. todd said,

    July 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Doug,

    Can you please cite your source that Kuyper believed in the death penalty for homosexuals. I’m not saying it’s impossible I’ve just never seen this.

    Thank you

  360. Zrim said,

    July 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Doug, what you call this “one narrow point” is actually the whole point of this thread.

    But I’m not so sure how vehement his disagreement would be with the sort of 2k represented here which would that general revelation is sufficient to norm civil society. In fact, from what it sounds like in “Ordinances of God” uncle Abe might be inclined to think the theonomic impulse is something Calvinism has never abided. What does “foolish” mean to you?:

    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.

    And you keep making it sound as if one’s view on how to externally deal with kidnappers, rapists, homosexuals and child molesters is a matter of orthodoxy, and anything less than execution marks infidelity. But it would seem that the revisions of Belgic 36 and WCF 23 suggest orthodoxy involves how to externally deal with idolaters and blasphemers. And physical punishment is what marks infidelity. If you want to keep flirting with who is in and who is out based on certain sins and their sanctions, that’s fine, but since most here subscribe the revisions it’s not looking good for the local theonomists and theocrats.

  361. TurretinFan said,

    July 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Zrim wrote: “But, Tfan, where you stand with Ursinus I stand with Kuyper …”

    Leaving aside the amusingly misleading idea that you are a Kuyperian, the point remains that it’s disingenuous of you to be bandying around the Hiedelberg Catechism, as though “theonomists” like Calvin, Ursinus, Turretin, etc. have less claim to it than you.

    You’re less Reformed than Kuyper was – and you can’t (that I’ve seen, and I’ve been watching your attempts for quite a while) back up your position with the Bible. So where does that leave you?

    That’s not to suggest that your doctrines are damnable heresies, but they certainly don’t deserve to be taught in Reformed churches.

    -TurretinFan

  362. dougsowers said,

    July 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    @Tod; nice catch :) Kuper may have not been okay with the DP for homosexuality.

  363. dgh said,

    July 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Mark, your 2k affirmations would need to be qualified for a 2ker to affirm them. That is what I’ve been trying to say. You not only deserve to be in a remedial class, but you’re not showing great prospects for graduating from the class for dullards.

    In other words, I cannot affirm or deny what you have posited as the 2k position up or down. I have given explanations for that and have offered alternative propositions.

    Do you want to go to the principal?

  364. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 25, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Darryl, I suppose one positive thing about your judgment of me is that at least us “dullards” are just too dull to obfuscate like you really “smart” guys.

    So I’ll ask directly: what qualifications would need to be made to the 4 points in order to make them an accurate representation of your position (beyond your just generally referring to your other affirmations/denials you made)?

  365. dgh said,

    July 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Mark,

    Before I issue a hall pass for you to see the principal, I’ll try to give you some help.

    1. The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.

    DGH – this makes no sense since the Bible does speak about lying, stealing, and murder. So does the Koran. So are you trying to say something about the claims of Scripture or the nature of its authority in United States laws?

    2. The Bible provides standards for the church only.

    DGH – well, again this is highly misleading because the Bible also teaches some things about families and Christian persons. Plus, do you mean the corporate church, the church as the people of God?

    3. General Revelation provides the exclusive standards for the political realm.

    DGH – again, this is confusing since the two books of revelation overlap to some degree in what they reveal. But it is not the case that federal government or the states justify their law making by appealing explicitly to general revelation. If you want to explain why people who aren’t believers actually behave relatively well, general revelation or the light of nature would be a possible explanation.

    4. It is illegitimate to make unbelievers to obey the Bible’s standards since they do not believe the Bible.

    DGH – this is highly confusing. Who would ever say that Christians can make believers do anything? It sounds like you’re saying it is inconsistent instead of illegitimate. But is there actually a law against making covenant children obey the Bible’s standards? I don’t know of one.

    So overall, I’m not really sure what you’re trying to assert about 2k.

  366. dougsowers said,

    July 25, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    @Mark Van Der Molen: Really Brother Mark, why bother at this point? How is Darryl going to answer your questions “plural” when he can’t even answer the most basic question I asked? I’ve asked Darryl to explain what punishment he feels is appropriate today through his *keen sense* of general revelation, for a child molesting rapist, and he said and I quote: “I don’t know if my wife or Pastor knows the answer to that question”. Huh?! Isn’t this the same Dr Hart that was lecturing us on how general revelation is sufficiently clear? Yea, clear as mud!

    Darryl’s evasive answer proves he *probably* doesn’t know himself! While Darryl seems like a nice enough fellow, he’s obviously not teaching material. To embarrass himself all the more, he’s afraid that if he did tell me, I would score points on him. LOL! He knows his answer would probably cause the Reformed community to think he’s got a screw loose. Earth to Darryl, we already do! Dr Hart perhaps it’s time you stepped down from your teaching role, and try to get your act together, so you can at least answer these simple direct questions; oh you, who write books on subjects you, know virtually nothing of.

    Now go to the Principles office and wait for your swat young man, you have it coming.

  367. jedpaschall said,

    July 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Doug Sowers,

    Whatever your opinion is of Dr. Hart’s espousal of 2k, it would do you well to recognize that you are belittling a fellow Christian and and an officer in the church. Snark, and a little of back and forth is one thing, personal attacks are another issue entirely. I am not so sure your response would be pass the muster of the Law or the NT commands.

    Your child molester rapist question is not a very strong litmus test to begin with, since it really doesn’t prove anything. God has endowed the sword to each nation, and there are probably a range of acceptable punishments for this crime. The DP wouldn’t be a bad penalty if the penal code called for such punishment. For your hypothetical molester-rapist, life in prison would likely be a very short brutal one. For these kind of offenders, death would often be a kindness. Some nations could resort to corporal punishment that stopped short of the DP, with restitution paid to the child and the child’s family.

    The point of the Lex Talionis is that the punishment fits the crime, and there is flexibility in the Law even on how far to push the punishments. David deserved death, for an egregious offense, yet was spared the death penalty. The law sets limits and perimeters on the punishments for crimes committed in Israel. This doesn’t mean every criminal received maximum punishment for every crime. Theonomists need to do better in accounting for OT jurisprudence, if they want to make a better case for their position.

  368. dougsowers said,

    July 26, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Jed thanks for your word of caution on my tone. But now I must take you to task. You say:

    “God has endowed the sword to each nation, and there are *probably* a range of acceptable punishments for this crime”.

    Come on Jed are you kidding? “Probably”?! Says who? Certainly not God’s Word! How can you make such an outrageous assertion? Is that what God meant by *eye for and eye*, a range of punishments? Where does God suggest that it’s *justice* to put men in Prison for life? Joseph sat in an Egyptian prison, four hundred years before God gave the Law to Moses. If God thought prison was justice, He would have said so. Do you have a better handle on justice than God? Can justice and morality change? You sound like a moral relativist. Whatever we do is *probably* just?

    And thanks for making the *point* that the Lex Talionis personifies justice. It shows us precisely what punishment fits a given crime. Not all crimes are of equal heinousness. God did not give a *range* of punishments. *Eye for an eye* is poetry for “perfect” justice! Who knows what punishment fits a given crime, other than the Law giver himself? God has already spoken and given us clear and direct answers to many of our questions! Therefore we don’t have to say *probably*. We know!

    Notice God did not give a range of punishments for child molesting rapists, did he? Nor did he give a *range* of punishments for kidnappers or thieves. God has endowed his Church and yes the whole world with blessed specificity written in the Holy Scriptures that carry the very authority of God Almighty. We worship the God who does not change. The thief must pay back full, and make restitution; the kidnapper must be put to death, because God’s Law commanded it. If it were moral to execute a kidnapper then, then it must be moral to execute a kidnapper now. Because morality can not change, it’s philosophically impossible! So please enough of this philosophical nonsense!

  369. dougsowers said,

    July 26, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Moreover Jed, my child molester rapist question is not a litmus test. I am merely attempting to understand, what rational or moral standard does Dr Hart believe America should use when it comes to punish crime? His silence is deafening! Does he, like you believe in moral relativism? Whatever we do is *probably* justice? Wow! I can’t believe you really said that. Because of Dr Hart’s evasiveness in answering a direct and straight foreword question I’m beginning to believe that he is a moral relativist as well.

  370. dgh said,

    July 26, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Doug, this will be my last interaction with you on-line (dv). Whatever my answer to your question, have you considered that according to your definition Daniel was a moral relativist. After all, the Chaldeans were not following God’s law as revealed to Moses but Daniel did not insist that Nebuchadnezzar follow Scripture. Since Peter calls Christians aliens and strangers, the church’s existence is one of exile. And exile means we could well react to a pagan power the way Daniel did.

    But again, I find it odd that you are so intent to defend God’s law and yet you seem to be fairly selective in your adherence. Christ told us to love our enemies. You seem extend a lot of encouragement to fellow theonomists but don’t have much in reserve for “the other kind.”

    I don’t point this out to protect my own “good” name but simply to suggest you may want to change your on-line presence.

  371. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 26, 2011 at 6:46 am

    Darryl, perhaps it won’t yield any fruit, but since you responded as a good teacher should, I’ll give it a further go. Let’s see whether this discussion can advance by looking at just tenets #1 and #3 for now since they are related.

    1. The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.

    3. General Revelation provides the exclusive standards for the political realm.

    These are based on arguments I’ve read from R2k advocates, for example:

    “To expect the Bible to address the affairs of the state is to apply the wrong standards. We have general revelation to muck through the political realm. We have the Bible to plod along in the church.” –Darryl Hart.

    “Scripture is not the appropriate moral standard for the civil kingdom.”–David Van Drunen.

    “The Old Testament Scriptures were not given to the world at large but to the people of Israel. . . . Neither were the New Testament Scriptures given to the world at large but to the church, the new covenant people. ….The Ten Commandments, for example, provide not an abstract set of principles but define the life of God’s redeemed covenant people.” –David Van Drunen.

    “Scripture is not given as a common moral standard that provides ethical imperatives to all people regardless of their religious standing.”–David Van Drunen.

    “The cultural or civil sphere is normed by God’s general or natural revelation. Special revelation wasn’t given to norm cultural or civil life.” R. Scott Clark.

    These should suffice for you to see from whence I drafted tenets #1 and #3.. Your response here says that #1 makes “no sense”, since the Bible does speak about various ethical issues in public life {lying, stealing, etc.}. In this I would agree. But note tenet #1 specifically states the Bible does not speak matters “binding” on unbelievers. In fact, you raised the question of the “authority” of the Bible vis a vis the Koran, given they speak similarly on some moral issues. Tenet #1 answers that question: the Bible is not considered a binding authority on unbelievers in public life.

    Tenet #3 is a natural corrolary to #1, i.e.,since the Bible does not serve to speak binding standards for unbelievers in public life, then natural revelation serves as the normative standard in public life. Yes, there is overlap in between general and special revelation in what they “reveal”, but the tenet #3 says that it is general revelation which provide the normative standard for public life. {as per the supplied quotes above}.

    Now, if you still don’t think tenets #1 and #3 are fair representations, then in light of the published quotes above, I would like to know how you think they need to re-worded, tweaked, etc. If you now differ from Van Drunen and Clark and wish to state that the Bible DOES speak normative> standards for unbelievers in public life, or that natural revelation is not the the exclusive standard there, that would be a welcome development. Perhaps this discussion actually will yield some clarity, if not some remarkable fruit.

  372. jedpaschall said,

    July 26, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Doug,

    With almost laughably false statements like this:

    Does he, like you believe in moral relativism? Whatever we do is *probably* justice? Wow! I can’t believe you really said that. Because of Dr Hart’s evasiveness in answering a direct and straight foreword question I’m beginning to believe that he is a moral relativist as well.

    I really don’t think interacting with you further would be of any value, since you twist my responses into absolutely absurd conclusions. This really is no way to discuss an issue. I am fine and dandy with the occasional dust-up, it promotes learning, but when it devolves into fabricating falsehoods, and contentedness to build up straw men, I’ll take my cue and find another sandbox to play in.

    If theonomy is looking for new adherents, they might want to consider sending better ambassadors.

  373. dgh said,

    July 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Mark, your assertions miss a more basic consideration — for what was the Bible given? Was it supposed to be a manual of public life? I don’t think so. But that doesn’t mean that the Bible is silent on some things that civil magistrates legislate. This is why my reposting of the affirmations and denials previously published at GB was a good pedagogical response.

    As for general revelation as the “exclusive” standard for public life, I don’t think I’d ever go out of my way to be a sola gen rev person. The point is that the Bible reveals the gospel and the way of salvation. The task of the state is different from salvation. And the state has plenty of truth out there from which to draw aside from Scripture.

  374. dgh said,

    July 26, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Mark, in addition, what your affirmations do not seem to acknowledge is some awareness of the theological reasons for 2k, and that such a theological rationale actually comes from Reformed theology. Your reduction of 2k to these propositions appears wooden, merely a checklist for crossing 2k from your list of things approved.

    What I don’t understand is the theological rationale for opposition to 2k unless you are a theonomist, and even then I don’t think theonomists understand the civil law as the Reformed churches have confessed. But if you are not a theonomist then you are 2k in some fashion. So why all the hostility. All the Reformed confessions have been revised on the teaching about the magistrate. When will you stop bucking the consensus of the churches?

    You will need to if you’re going to advance to fourth grade.

  375. dougsowers said,

    July 26, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    @Jed, I apologize for my uncarefully worded characterization of your point. You did not say exactly what I characterized you to say. Point taken. But when you make statements like:

    “The DP probably wouldn’t be a bad penalty IF the penal code called for it”.

    I don’t know rather to laugh or cry. “If” the penal code called for it?! In other words, the Penal code is the standard of justice? What if the Penal code doesn’t call for it? Then it wouldn’t be a good penalty? This is what I meant be moral relativism. I’ve always believed that there is an objective standard for socio-political justice found in the Law of God. And only God himself has the authority to say what that is, because morality and justice can not change. It’s simply misguided IMHO to say, “well that was justice then, but now, for the same crime it’s not justice”. That is philosophical moral relativism to my way of thinking.

    So when you talk about a “range” of punishments that would “probably” be okay, I want to ask you on what basis can you make that statement? It sure sounds like moral relativism to me. Please explain how I’m missing your point.

    Moreover I’m not a spokesman for Theonomy, (Ron is far more eloquent than I) I’m just a man who desires the Body of Christ to be faithful to our calling as to the “salt” and “light” of the world. When I hear men like Hart say that we may *not* look to God’s Law for socio-political ethics I am deeply saddened.

  376. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Darryl, some quick observations before I dash off to the magistrate. We agree the Bible reveals the gospel and the way of salvation. We also agree that the Bible does not provide a “manual” for public life, if by “manual” you mean it tells us the detailed mechanics of public policy. We also agree that the Bible *does* speak to public life in some areas that are subject to the magistrate’s legislation.

    A question still lingers in my mind: in those public life topics on which the Bible does speak, is the Bible speaking an authoritative, normative voice to all men? Part of the reason for my question is that your affirmation #1 on “Ethics” says “Christians have an obligation to submit to God’s laws as they are found in general and special revelation.. I assume that the limitation of that obligation to “Christians” was intentional? Perhaps you would amend that affirmation to say “All men”?

    As for your not being a “sola gen rev” guy, glad to hear it. Sounds like ou embrace what I’ve argued repeatedly re: the revised Belgic 36 (the Word provides normative limits on the magistrate} and Canons of Dort III/IV art. 4 {no sola gen. rev.}. !

  377. Paul M. said,

    July 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Doug,

    First, define moral relativism. Relativism is a claim about what *makes* actions right or wrong. Saying that different cultures may allow different punishments, and both those punishments may be just, does *not* logically imply that it is *the cultures* that *make* the punishments just or unjust. So Jed hasn’t said enough for you to impute relativism to him, unless you’re working with some specialized stipulative definition?

    Second, what’s the relevant difference between different punishments for rape and different punishments for speeding? Is a fine of $270 just? How about the fine one state over of $250? Since those are “same crimes” then they can’t, per you, get “different punishments.” You can’t allow for a “range of punishments,” right? Or, if you can, what is the morally relevant difference and how do you know this?

    Third, the ghost of Christmas future told me to tell you to chill out on how you interact with others. You don’t want to be like me (Jacob Marley) and burn tons of bridges and set your character to automatic snark and sarcasm mode. Because one day when you settle down you’ll want to have good discussions minus all the smack talk but people will be so hardened by you that you’ll just get snark and smack talk directed your way, and then you’ll respond in kind because that’s all that’s left, and then you’ll have wasted your blogging life. Also, it just looks better when you take the pious title of “Lord defender of God’s law against all 2K antinomians” and don’t act like a jack ass (from one jack ass to another).

  378. dgh said,

    July 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Mark, since the Bible is given in the context of a covenant people — as in, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt” — how would we read that as written to all men? Your appeal to all men turns you into a universalist. So how about a qualification about the Bible speaking to all men?

  379. dgh said,

    July 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Jed, please tell Doug that I do believe God’s law is binding on all men and that I consider the light of nature part of God’s law.

  380. dougsowers said,

    July 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks Paul, I needed that :)

    I will attempt to answer your excellent question to the best of my ability, later this evening.

  381. TurretinFan said,

    July 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    DGH wrote: “In the presence of God’s law I experience great terror and dread because of its holy standard and my guilt.”

    It is sad to hear that. It may explain your view of the law, however.

  382. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 26, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Darryl, a note for the flow of the conversation: my #376 was responding to your #373. I didn’t see your #374 {the one questioning my motive and insulting my I.Q.}. I’ll leave #374 alone for now.

    As to your #378, you asked: Your appeal to all men turns you into a universalist. So how about a qualification about the Bible speaking to all men?

    First, the fact that Scripture and the Ten Commandments are given to a covenant people does not preclude what is stated therein from also testifying of what God demands of “all men”. Stating that all men are bound to the follow the will of God as revealed in Scripture is not universalist. It’s actually found in our confessions. For that same Scripture testifies that not all men will be saved. They remain in defiance of God’s will. It appears your question really relates to my tenet #4 {which was based on your statement} about the “illegitimacy” of making people obey the Bible who don’t believe the Bible.

    Yet, you previously had said that the Bible *does* speak to areas in public life, including the family, vocation, and the magistrate’s duties. The pregnant unanswered question remains the one I raised in #371: do you think this “Bible speech” is normative/binding/authoritative {pick one} speech or no? And if so, is it normative for both believers and unbelievers–or just believers?

  383. dougsowers said,

    July 26, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Jed, will you please tell Darryl, that once God has established a just punishment for a child molesting rapist, we may not “claim” that God has given us a new standard through nature? Please tell Darryl that special revelation and general revelation don’t contradict each another.

    P.S. Since he’s not speaking to me anymore :(

    Oh,and Jed, please forgive my biting sarcastic remarks directed towards you, they were emotional, and over the top, and not condusive to real conversation.

  384. dougsowers said,

    July 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

    @Paul, I havent forgotten your question, but it’s going to take me another day.

  385. dgh said,

    July 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Mark, but you haven’t really answered the question. If the Bible is given to a covenant people, how are you going to qualify the sense that the Bible is given to all people? One way to cut the knot is to say that special revelation is part of God’s revelation, and the bigger and less specific revelation of God, available to all people is the light of nature or the law written on the human conscience. But because you don’t seem to recognize God’s law outside of Scripture, you keep needing to make a covenant document apply to people who aren’t in the covenant.

    2k supplies an answer to that riddle. (which also speaks to Doug’s concern about special and general revelation. Gen. Rev. doesn’t reveal salvation.)

  386. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 27, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Darryl, no one is saying the Bible was “given” to all people in a covenant context. I said that the Bible “speaks” of matters that are authoritatively binding on all people. Do you believe this or not?

  387. dougsowers said,

    July 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    @Darryl: General revelation does not reveal the God ordained socio-political punishments for rape; kidnapping, homosexuality; adultery, stealing, and blasphemy is either.

    Is that why you refuse to answer a direct question? You don’t know the answer yourself? Is there now a whole “range” of punishments that are God glorifying when it comes to dealing with a kidnapper? Does that mean, what was once was a moral punishment, is no longer? Can morality and justice change? My question is philosophical.

  388. dgh said,

    July 27, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Mark, I assume your answer to your question is yes, the Bible speaks to matters that authoritative for all people. So please help me understand why it is that it is only the moral parts of the Bible that seem to be binding on all people but not the ecclesiastical or liturgical. I really do need to know how you can take part of God’s revealed will and apply it to all people but then withhold the rest of God’s revealed will and reserve it for the covenant community. I do not see any hermeneutical aids that will allow for that kind of distinction.

    Now you may reply that it is only the covenant community that can respond to God’s revealed will about ecclesiastical and liturgical matters. Only these laws make sense for Christians. But can unbelievers really follow God’s moral law? I mean, really, as in the context of the covenant relationship in which they were given? I don’t see how they can. And that is why I believe that Gen Rev and Spec Rev overlap on most of the issues that agitate culture warriors and that Gen Rev is sufficient for the culture war, and that by only using Gen Rev Christians do not muck up giving covenant instruction to people outside the covenant.

    So Mark, please tell me your hermeneutical principle that allows you to pick and choose what you say to people outside the covenant.

  389. Paul M. said,

    July 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Doug, consider the realist position of W. D Ross. There’s a distinction drawn between *prima facie duties* and *actual duties*, these are all-things-considered duties. Both of these are *real* obligations. They are true in a (human) mind-independent way. Thus, I have a prima facie obligation or duty to keep a promise to you. Suppose I promise to meet you at the movies. The prima facie duty to keep my promise is a strong reason for me to keep it, it serves as an action guide in knowing the right thing to do. However, suppose that my son badly injures himself, I thus have an *actual duty* to take him to the hospital and break my promise to you. Here we see that later circumstances may remove or cancel out prior obligations. No one considers Ross a relativist. Now, Darryl’s going to argue that there are just these sorts of consequent circumstances that remove or cancel our prior duties. Mind you, I’m not saying that everything from Ross carries over to this discussion, but it seems pretty clear that you’re painting with a broad brush. We can see that what once was a moral thing to do (meet you at the movies) is now no longer. Other ethicists have said similar things. Consider Thomas Aquinas. Moral principles for human flourishing are grounded in the nature of the things they govern. Hence, since we have anuses, sodomy is sinful. However, suppose God made humans with no anuses, there would be no such sin or crime or moral principle regarding sodomy. It wouldn’t make sense. Thus we would get different laws given different natures (or parts of natures).

    Moreover, your view may devolve into some kind of modal collapse. It seems strange to harp on the idea of “ranges of acceptable punishments.” Why can’t there be ranges and each member of the range just? On your view, since there is only *one* possible just punishment, then it would not have been possible for God to create a world with different punishments; thus, this actual world is the only possible world in some limited sense. Similar claims have been made through the ages, especially when the discussion turned to whether God had to create the best possible world and so this world was the best possible world. For reasons like this and other ones, Reformed along with other scholastic Christians, distinguished between God’s absolute and God’s ordained power in order to answer questions of whether God could have decreed otherwise. Other issues where that if God was wise and chooses according to wisdom, then each thing in our world was the wisest thing and so all worlds would have what this world has. Thus, 27,547 mosquitos in Jacksonville, Florida is the wisest number of mosquitos, and so all possible worlds must contain exactly 27,547 mosquitos in Jacksonville, Florida.

    However, and to bring matters back, one might be inclined to say that there are equally wise things from which God could have chosen according to his pleasure. That is, there’s a range of wise choices to choose from. Same with best-of-all-worlds questions. The problem there is the simplistic assumption that there is only *one* best world, but perhaps there is a set of best worlds. For example, take you. I assume God could have made you with red hair if he had so chosen. There’s a range of hair colors from which God could pick, and each of them equally wise choices, good choices, proper choices. Now, according to his decrees, he gave you brown hair because he also, say, decreed that some young lady he picked for you would be attracted to your brown hair. However, God could have created another world where you didn’t marry your wife, but another wife, the one attracted to your red hair.

    The point here isn’t to talk in the clouds, it’s to challenge your notion that ranges of things somehow implies relativism. On what basis do you assume that there can only and always be just *one* wise decision, good choice, just punishment, etc? As you say, this is a philosophical question.

  390. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 27, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Darryl, you are correct that the simple answer I would give is “yes” to the question of does the Bible speak authoritatively to all men. Once I get a clear answer from you, I’ll be happy to give you the Reformed hermeneutic leading to my simple “yes”.

    So back to you once again: can you give a “yes” or “no” to that simple question?

  391. Jed said,

    July 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Paul,

    Thanks for stepping in and adding your perspective.

    Doug,

    Thanks for bringing the conversation back to normal decibels. We all have gotten carried away from time to time in internet comboxes, and I am not lilly white myself. After taking some severe lumps, I’ve learned civility is the best route, even on hot topics, which is sometimes harder than it should be. Anyhow…

    I think that the child-molester rapist example is too provocative to lay the groundwork for the conversation to begin with. Let’s go ahead with 2 different crimes, punished in different ways by different judicial systems. The examples aren’t precise but generally illustrative of different approaches to criminal justice:

    1. A criminal is convicted of stealing a car radio:

    a. In California, the thief is convicted of misdemenor theft where he must pay restitution for the damages, serve 30 days in jail, and must complete 150 hours of community service.
    b. In Turkey, the thief’s hand is chopped off, restitution is paid
    c. In Singapore, the thief if flogged 11 times, serves a week in jail, and pays restitution.

    2. A construction worker (crane operator) is convicted of accidental manslaughter due to gross negligence on the jobsite.

    a. In California, the worker makes a plea bargin, serves 2 years in county jail. Restitution paid to the deceased family in civil suit.
    b. In England, at the discretion of the judge, the defendant is sentenced to 5 years in prison.
    c. In Saudi Arabia (where no manslaughter laws are on the books) the crane operator is beheaded
    d. (curveball) In ancient Israel, the worker was operating an oxen-powered crane which crashed and killed a worker below. The assailant flees to a city of refuge pursuant to Numbers 35, and 4.5 years later returns home after the high priest dies.

    In each of these cases, there is a talionic principle observed, except oddly under Mosaic Law, yet the punishments differed. There is no relativism in play here, just latitude for the magistrate to enforce the law. That is all I am getting at with the child molester case. It is a horrendous crime, but each country has been given authority by God (Rom. 13) to use the sword (i.e. to use coercive/judicial power to punish crime). I am saying that there is a range of acceptable penalties. This isn’t to say lenient penalties are in order, but even in our own wicked society the penalties for molestation are trending to stiffer penalties as opposed to more lax ones. In the #2 example, Scripture itself seems most lenient.

  392. Ron said,

    July 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    “The problem there is the simplistic assumption that there is only *one* best world, but perhaps there is a set of best worlds.”

    Paul,

    At the very least, let’s allow for possible worlds to be rated numerically from worst to best. I don’t see why they couldn’t be if comparing them as better and best is indeed legitimate. It would seem to me that one world would have to edge out in the ratings the next best, even if it was by a value of 1 divided by the closest number “to infinity.”

    Now of course that does not mean that this world is the best possible world.
    But why create this world? Although the rationale for creating this world is pass finding out, I trust there is a rationale behind the decision to create this world. (I trust the decision wasn’t capricious in other words.) So, given some rationale behind the decision to create this world, I would think we might pause to reconsider the thesis of multiple best worlds, or at least not assume too quickly that there are multiple best worlds, or that God chooses things not best. Now we might think that there are improvements that could have been made to this world (more red hair or even multicolor striped hair), but for some reason we would all agree that God didn’t see fit to make those “improvements.” That, however, doesn’t lead me to believe there is a better world out there, or even that there is another world as good as this one. Rather, it causes me to recalibrate my thinking on “best.” Best by what or whose criteria? Two things only – (i) we can take the decimal place pretty far to the right if there’s something that begins to look like a draw and (ii) we’re to judge what is good by what God does and says.

  393. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    “There’s a range of hair colors from which God could pick, and each of them equally wise choices, good choices, proper choices.”

    Is not the question what is it that God desires rather than what is it that is wise, good, or proper, since what is wise, good, or proper depends entirely upon what it is that God desires in accordance with what is God?

  394. Paul M. said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I’m going with one standard interpretation. For example, your friend and mine said God must choose the wisest thing. Moreover, why think God could only desire one hair color? I’m not sure how to parse your last sentence :-) Why think only brown hair for Doug is in accordance with God’s nature?

  395. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Paul,

    I’ve always had difficulty understanding how God could want otherwise than He does want, given the simplicity of His nature and, therefore, the lack of deliberation in His mind.

    It isn’t that brown hair for Doug is somehow better or wiser or more prudent in any meaningful evaluative sense. It is rather that God, not actually desiring it otherwise, therefore desires it brown. What does the introduction of possible other hair colors for Doug add to the understanding of or appreciation for God? In other words, what does the purely hypothetical conjectures of other possibilities demonstrate?

  396. Paul M. said,

    July 27, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Ron, why think there is a best of all possible worlds and not worlds that are equally good? My point is, the question is a non-starter since, as you point out, there’d have to be a “best” of all possible worlds, and I don’t think there is. So that’s how I should have phrased it, not as a “set of the best.”

    Now, surely god had a reason or rational to create this world. But you cannot get from that to the claim that this world is the only possible world. On your view, no matter what world God created, God *had to* make Ron D. and *had to* save Ron D. but clearly, God did not *have to* save you; indeed, he could have left you in your sins.

  397. Ron said,

    July 27, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I think we should all agree that God desired most of all to create this world and not another, lest he acted contrary to his strongest desire. The conclusion Josh has drawn presupposes that God desires to act in accordance with what is most wise and good, hence Josh’s conclusion that we can ascertain what is most wise and good by what God brings to pass. I think that is at least in concert with Josh’s sentiments. I’m certainly comfortable with the synopses, whether it’s Josh’s or not. Logically speaking, I suppose we might consider whether it can be best, most wise, most loving or whatever for God to bring to pass that which is not best, most wise, most loving… I’m not sure what that would mean once cashed out, but I suppose it’s a consideration: Can God desire most what he believes to be second best; yet if he desires “second best” most, then why isn’t “second best” best? Too much for this old man. Let me turn to something I’m more certain about…

    I encourage everyone here to click on Paul’s name and check out his paper on free will. I’m delighted Paul has put out such a work for public consumption. I was lamenting to Paul on the phone in mid June (while circling the French Quarter looking for my hotel!) about the need for such a work. My cell phone died and we continued later. Bottom line is, there are Reformed pastors and professors out there that have an Arminian metaphysic and don’t appreciate the basics that Paul has so precisely and concisely provided for the church. I have intended all week to plug the paper on my insignificant blog, but I might as well say something here given that posts here get better press than on my site. Check Paul’s paper out soon! Lord willing I’ll plug it later this week on RA. I have only one tiny issue with it, and that’s between Paul and me and won’t appear on RA. Paul was gracious enough to give me an out on my small disagreement, but I was “kind enough” to tell him that I thought his kindness contradicted another part of his paper! :-)

  398. dgh said,

    July 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Mark, as I’ve indicated, it’s not a simple question.

    Please go to the principal.

  399. Ron said,

    July 27, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Ron, why think there is a best of all possible worlds and not worlds that are equally good? My point is, the question is a non-starter since, as you point out, there’d have to be a “best” of all possible worlds, and I don’t think there is. So that’s how I should have phrased it, not as a “set of the best.”

    Paul,

    If there’s not a single best possible world, then I would think there would have to be a “set” of the best.

    Now, surely god had a reason or rational to create this world. But you cannot get from that to the claim that this world is the only possible world.

    “Possible” is a word subject to many interpretations, as you are well aware. Craig and Plantinga would distinguish between possible and feasible worlds based upon would-counterfactuals. For them, God can create only the feasible worlds and not all the possible worlds. I would say that any such possible worlds are feasible worlds too – had God wanted to create them – my classical compatibilism coming through loud and clear. :) But to your point…

    On your view, no matter what world God created, God *had to* make Ron D. and *had to* save Ron D. but clearly, God did not *have to* save you; indeed, he could have left you in your sins.

    I am quite comfortable saying that God had to create this world given that his eternal desire was to create this world.This is not to suggest that creation had a claim on God, but rather it presupposes that God’s eternal desires had a claim on God. God didn’t have to save me because of me. I received unmerited favor, without question. Nothwithstanding, that is not at odds with the premise God given God’s desire to save me he had to save me. Even you agree that given the decree, God had to save me. Where we depart is that I don’t posit a logical moment wherein God from a posture that was metaphysically free formed an intention. I embrace a logical moment of the act of choosing the decree, but not one that contemplates an intention for that choice that was not as ultimate as the Intender. In a word, I don’t believe God has libertarian freedom and I do believe that God’s eternal intention is as ultimate as He. Maybe my most recent Blog entry has something to do with this…

  400. dougsowers said,

    July 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    I thank, and praise God for my brother Ron! Keep pressing on to the higher calling found in Christ Jesus! Please don’t be discouraged by these temporary obstacles, they will soon disappear like mist. Your clearly on the right track!

    May God continue to strengthen your right arm!

    :-)

  401. Dawn said,

    July 27, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I really don’t understand what is so complicated about this. Whatever God determines to come to past is BEST. Whatever world He chooses, based upon His strongest inclination at the moment of choice, is best. Best, because he desires it! Best because He thinks it most wise. Best, because he believes it is best for his people. To have a 2nd best is ridiculous. He choose the best possible world to glorify Himself and that is all that should matter to us His finite creatures.

  402. Jed Paschall said,

    July 28, 2011 at 2:11 am

    May God continue to strengthen your right arm!

    Hopefully only so much that Ron’s right side doesn’t dwarf his left. It might come in handy when combating 2kers in a arm-wrestling battle of champions in David v. Goliath fashion, but also could make buying shirts difficult if not downright embarrassing.

    Jabs aside, I’ll second Ron’s reccomendation. Paul has put together a very fine paper that any reader could benefit from.

  403. paigebritton said,

    July 28, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Paul –

    Jed’s #391 is addressed to you but was held up in the “pending” box, so you might have missed it.

    Paige B.

  404. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 28, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Darryl, the principal said to remind the teacher that complexity arises in the application { the areas of S.R. and G.R. “overlap” you mentioned}. He said my apriori precept question {does the Bible speak authoritatively to unbelievers at all} should be a no-brainer for a teacher to answer. He then mumbled something under his breath about the board of trustees, a tenure committee, and pink slips.

  405. Zrim said,

    July 28, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Is not the question what is it that God desires rather than what is it that is wise, good, or proper, since what is wise, good, or proper depends entirely upon what it is that God desires in accordance with what is God?

    To the extent that this thread really concerns what relation the Bible has to political arrangements (and by extension whether the physical sword can be used for spiritual coercion), this question seems to reveal what some have called the quest for religious certainty. Another way of asking the question might be, Don’t we know the political and legislative will of God for the present day from special revelation? The 2k answer is a simple no. We do not know how God wants states or republics today to be arranged. We know how he wanted theocracy in Israel to be arranged, but he is utterly silent on whether we should be ruled by kings or presidents or dictators or strongmen.

    The quest to know God’s specific political or legislative will for society at large is akin to questing after God’s secret will for an individual. But the Bible doesn’t tell us how to specifically arrange our private lives, and it doesn’t reveal how states are to specifically arrange their public orders. Magistrates are to punish evil and reward the good, individuals are to behave in a moral and upright manner. Which means that there will be as much a wide variety as to how societies are arranged as there are for how individuals arrange their private lives. It seems that for some this is much too much to handle and states and individuals should be as uniform as possible. But on top of the biblical silence problem this view has the additional conundrum of plain reality, which is to say if you want states to be politically and legislatively uniform then you also would seem to need to have your private life just as uniform. And I have a good hunch that even the most ardent theonomists and theocrats don’t all look the same in the specifics of their private lives (even if we 2kers can’t tell them apart).

  406. dougsowers said,

    July 28, 2011 at 11:07 am

    @Paul: The reason you couldn’t make it to the movies with me, were because of *morally relevant* factors (your Son injuring himself) which took president over your promise to catch a movie with me. But that is not analogous to punishing crime the way God has commanded. I have asked Darryl on many occasions what are the *morally relevant* differences today that would prohibit a society from carrying out let’s say the DP for a homosexual man. I could have heard a pin drop. In fact Darryl confessed that he didn’t know of any morally relevant factors today for not carry out what God said should be done, in that situation.

    Moreover there is no exegesis giving us a wedge that would lead us to agree with Darryl. If it were moral to execute homosexuals in the Old Testament then to *not* execute them today has to be immoral. Since you and I, both understand “philosophically”, that morality can not change. There would have to be morally relevant factors today that are different from the past. I’m still waiting to hear what they may be. Until then, IMHO Darryl must wear the tag “moral relativist”.

  407. dgh said,

    July 28, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Mark, I can only answer your question if it is coherent. I have indicated that you appear in your question to separate the moral law from ecclesiastical and liturgical in order to get the Bible to apply to unbelievers. You haven’t reformulated your question.

    I called the principal. He now sees the problem which you were unwilling to explain. He might be expelling you and leave you with no recourse but to attend — eee gads — a public school.

  408. Jed Paschall said,

    July 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Paige, thanks for flagging #391, I was wondering why there were no bites on it. I had dropped a brief line to Paul, and then the body of the response was addressed to Doug. I should have split it into two comments.

  409. David R. said,

    July 28, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Hey Doug,

    I don’t remember if anyone has suggested you read this, but if nothing else, it might help you to see why it is not true that “If it were moral to execute homosexuals in the Old Testament then to *not* execute them today has to be immoral.” You really seem stuck in a rut. Check it out:

    http://www.meredithkline.com/files/articles/Kline_on_Theonomy.html

  410. Reed Here said,

    July 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Doug: re-word your comment and I think you can see an error.

    “If it were moral to execute homosexuals in the Old Testament then to *not* execute them today has to be immoral.”

    Re-worded:

    If it were moral to eat apples in the Old Testament then to *not* eat them today has to be immoral.”

    See the error?

  411. TurretinFan said,

    July 28, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    That’s a fair criticism of what he wrote, Reed. I think he meant “if there was a moral imperative to execute them … then …” The same criticism would not apply to that reformulation, agreed?

    -TurretinFan

  412. TurretinFan said,

    July 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    The question, “does the Bible speak authoritatively to unbelievers at all,” is not “incoherent.” Try again, dgh.

  413. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Darryl, if you continue turning the discussion back to what you think I believe or what you think I’m doing with the Bible, we’ll never hear whether the tenet reflects YOUR beliefs. If this were a court, I’ve had witnesses held in contempt and jailed for less dodgy answers than you’re giving here. You are free to put any qualification to your answer that you’d like, but the question is both clear and coherent {except perhaps to the mind twisted by training in the public schools}.

  414. Reed Here said,

    July 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    TFan: aside from the hermeneutical differences between the theonomic and 2K approach, agreed. I.e., we’d still need to agree on the binding nature of the moral imperative.

    Thanks.

  415. Reed Here said,

    July 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    David R: excellent recommendation! Any more?

  416. dougsowers said,

    July 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks Tfan! :)

    Let me try to word this better:

    If it was immoral *not* to execute a homosexual in the Old Testament, then how is it *not* immoral to execute a homosexual now. Can morality and justice change? Has God changed his mind? What are the morally relevant circumstances today that would resend a clear command by God himself? After all, Jesus said he did not come to abolish the Law, amen?

  417. David R. said,

    July 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Reed, thanks! Here are a couple of others I’ve found helpful:

    http://www.theologicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/gordon_theonomy.pdf

    http://www.kerux.com/documents/keruxv15n1a1.htm

  418. Paul M. said,

    July 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Sorry to any waiting for comments, I need to bow out of this thread due to personal reasons.

  419. dougsowers said,

    July 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    David R.

    That paper written by Meredith Kline is sadly lacking in *any* exegesis from God’s Word. As in none. Kline merely asserts an intrusion ethic for the Old Testament penal sanctions, claiming they foreshadowed the final judgment, and were done away with in the New covenant. Now, according to Kline we are to run society through General Revelation. Huh?! Yet, Kline offers no exegesis for his theory. He claimed, *any* Covenant child could *see* he was right, and thought that was enough. His insinuation that Greg Bahnsen wasn’t a covenant child shouldn’t be lost on us. What a wretched thing to say!

    Moreover, Kline made a deal with Westminster journal that if he wrote a paper critiquing Theonomy, Greg Bahnsen nor anyone else would be allowed to respond. This was not only a cowardly act, but it lacks honest scholarship. I am embarrassed I have to respond to Kline’s non-exegetical fantasies.

    I would also like to note, that Kline believed the Reformers who wrote the WCF were Theonomic, and it frustrated him to no end. Kline also thought the revision was Theonomic as well. Basically, Kline came out with a new theory that can’t be proved in the Holy Scriptures. We just have to accept Kline’s intrusion theory by trusting in our natural eyes, “if of course were really covenant children”. I give his paper two thumbs down.

    P.S. I suppose Calvin, wasn’t a covenant child either, since he was Theonomic according to Kline :(

  420. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    “Another way of asking the question might be, Don’t we know the political and legislative will of God for the present day from special revelation? The 2k answer is a simple no. We do not know how God wants states or republics today to be arranged. We know how he wanted theocracy in Israel to be arranged, but he is utterly silent on whether we should be ruled by kings or presidents or dictators or strongmen.”

    What form of legislative governance, that is, what type of governing body, is not the same question as what laws ought to be binding upon a society. Zrim, theonomy does noes entail a specific type of governing body, but rather what laws and sanctions remain binding upon all men in whatever society in which they have arranged themselves.

  421. Jed Paschall said,

    July 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Doug,

    Back up the claims that Kline did no exegesis. This is the biggest flaw in your comments here, you aren’t doing a great job supporting your claim with any analysis. We get that a theonomist might be averse to Kline, however we’d like to see a better accounting of how a theonomist answers Kline, even a link to someone else’s argument would be more helpful.

    Attacking Kline over his stance on Banshen still doesn’t deal with the content of his works. I realize Kline is persona non grata among theonomists, however, if the current debate is to progress, we ought not trade in the ill sentiments of two men who have gone home to glory, where I am sure they will have ample time to iron out their differences.

  422. dgh said,

    July 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Mark, I did not know that I was on trial.

    Remember, we have established our relationship: I’m the teacher of 2k, you are the student. It is an imaginary world that promotes failing students to the superintendent of the schools.

    What you also fail to see is that I have explained my views much more than you have yours. You have read my affirmations and denials, I blog regularly at Oldlife, we have interacted here and elsewhere.

    But your courtroom analogy does explain why your questions feel more like those of a prosecuting attorney than of someone trying to understand the other’s position.

  423. dougsowers said,

    July 28, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Jed, how am I supposed to prove a negative? Please show me where Kline offers any Scriptural proof for his intrusion ethic? Greg Bahnsen went over Kline’s critique with great care and detail, and it came down to this: (any covenant child should see this), Kline offers no exegesis, not even one Scripture that implies the Old Testament penal sanctions were an intrusion of the final judgment. To Kline’s way of thinking, he doesn’t need to! It should be obvious to any covenant child!

    But in the final judgment all crimes will be Capital, even thought crimes! So Kline is just wrong to say that the DP crimes found in the Law were an intrusion of the final judgment. Moreover Kline thought common grace was preferable or *more* gracious than the Mosaic Law! But is that how the Bible speaks? Is there a different standard if justice today? Of course not! God told Moses that Israel was to be an example to the Nations. The nations were to say, Deuteronomy 4:7

    “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our 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?”

    Notice God’s Law epitomized perfect justice! To Kline’s way of thinking it’s preferable to be under common grace, “whatever that means”. Which the Bible tells us is the rain falling on both believer and unbeliever. And the problem is, no one can define common grace in a way as to “how” we are to punish crime today. This is why Dr Hart is hesitant when it comes to answering direct questions. IMHO

  424. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Jed asked:

    we’d like to see a better accounting of how a theonomist answers Kline, even a link to someone else’s argument would be more helpful.

    Jed receives:

    http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/pe043.htm

  425. dougsowers said,

    July 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    @Darryl, any direct question thrown your way, causes you to sweat like Mike Tyson in a spelling bee. Why is it, your unable to answer even the most basic question? Oh, I know! I just answered my own question in the post above. In the (good?) tradition of Kline you neednt give us a Biblical answer, I guess any covenant child should just take your word for it, right?

  426. Jed Paschall said,

    July 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Doug,

    All I was looking for was some form of engagement with Kline, not to dig up his bones to be burned.

    Mark,

    Thanks for the link. i will comment on it when I am able. But I am taking the family to the zoo today, so I will be offline for a while.

  427. dougsowers said,

    July 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    David R.

    Please read the response Mark posted by Bahnsen. He demolishes Kline’s mean spirited diatribe lock, stock, and barrel. IMHO. Oh, and if you don’t agree, please tell us why?

    Praise God! I think were finally getting somewhere!

  428. TurretinFan said,

    July 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    “But your courtroom analogy does explain why your questions feel more like those of a prosecuting attorney than of someone trying to understand the other’s position.”

    Some of the answers given to his questions feel more like someone trying to hide his position than someone trying to reveal it.

    Perhaps the situation can be illustrated through a hypothetical courtroom encounter:

    Prosecutor: “Did you kill your wife?”
    Defendant: “My paper in marriage can be found on my web site, I direct you to it.”
    Prosecutor: “I read it. Although it doesn’t come right out and say it, it does sound like you killed your wife. Did you kill your wife?”
    Defendant: “Your question confuses issues of ontology and jurisprudence. Why don’t you just stick with my characterization of my marriage, as expressed in my paper, which I already pointed out to you.”
    Prosecutor: “Read the paper. It didn’t directly answer my question: did you kill your wife?”
    Defendant: “Your question isn’t a coherent question. It assumes things about the duties of husbands and wives that I’m not altogether comfortable with. Plus, you must be dense – I’ve pointed you to my paper several times already.”
    Judge: “Answer the question.”
    Defendant: “But he doesn’t want to know the truth! Besides, I said lots of other interesting things in my paper!”
    Judge: “Sure he does, that’s why he’s asked you the question you keep evading, over and over again. Now, will you please answer the question.”
    Defendant: “What you also fail to see is that I have explained my views much more than the prosecutor has his.”
    Judge: “You can enlighten the warden. Bailiff, place this man in custody.”

  429. dougsowers said,

    July 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Have fun at the zoo, brother Jed :)

  430. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Beginning in about #45 above,Reed asked: Mark, no. 38: thanks. So, what do you think are the key distinctions between 2K and R2K?

    I replied: Reed, not trying to avoid the question, but having been around this drainpipe too many times, I would simply suggest there are loads of material pointing out the distinction between historic Reformed 2k and Radical Two Kingdom Theology. Your co-moderator Lane can point you to some,

    Reed pressed: I asked you because I recognize you as one who believes that such a distinction exists. I’ve no intention of offending you. I, however, am a bit disappointed that a simple and clear distinction is not easily come by.

    Well, Reed, it now being almost 400 entries after I grudgingly took up the effort, you feeling any better about the prospects for “simple and clear” distinctions being achieved in my discussion with my friend Darryl?

  431. Zrim said,

    July 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    What form of legislative governance, that is, what type of governing body, is not the same question as what laws ought to be binding upon a society. Zrim, theonomy does noes entail a specific type of governing body, but rather what laws and sanctions remain binding upon all men in whatever society in which they have arranged themselves.

    Joshua, it is not clear to me why theonomist would want to stop at specific legislative arrangements and not press forward to specific political arrangements. This is more or less the same question DGH asks of MDM when he wonders why biblical morality binds all of society but not liturgical and ecclesiastical laws. In the same way, it seems rather arbitrary to stop at specific biblical morality in civil legislation and not include specific political outworkings. I mean, if you guys are going to criminalize false religion (i.e. shut down the Mormon and Catholic churches, as well as Muslim mosques, etc., etc.) I don’t see why you wouldn’t construct a theocratic monarchy in the order of David. Doesn’t political ordering matter to God just as much as specific laws and sanctions? Or are you going “relativist” on whether kings beat presidents or dictators beat strongmen? Why does political arrangement get to play by 2k rules but legislation has to be theonomic?

  432. TurretinFan said,

    July 28, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    “I don’t see why you wouldn’t construct a theocratic monarchy in the order of David.”

    Read 1 Samuel 8:7.

  433. dgh said,

    July 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Mark, please indicate where you attempted to answer Reed’s question. It sure looks to me like you have been relying on me to supply the answer. We are still waiting for you to distinguish the good 2k from the bad.

  434. dgh said,

    July 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Tfan, so 2k is analogous to killing my wife? And you wonder why I sense that I am being baited?

  435. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Zrim,

    Which Mosaic law binds a society to adopt human kingship as the only form of government?

    An hereditary king can, in principle, as easily legislate and enforce blasphemy laws as can an elected parliament. It isn’t the form of administration that is material, but the upholding of the law.

    As for the question about societal laws in comparison to ecclesiastical laws (including liturgical stipulations), one should think that having cited Kuyper you would also be aware of his concept of God-ordained spheres of authority. That certain societal laws and penalties pertain to society and not the church (the magistrate executes murders, but the church cannot) and ecclesiastical laws and penalties pertain to the church and not society (the pastor guards the Lord’s Supper from an unrepentant sinner, but the magistrate cannot) is because they inhabit separate spheres of authority, which only occasionally overlap (e.g. an adulterer may suffer excommunication from the church and suffer civil penalties at the hand of the magistrate).

    Incidentally, your post seems to assume that first table commandments like blasphemy are something only “theocratic” states enforce, but this assumption is false. Even secular states censure certain forms of speech, which are directly analogous to blasphemy. Hate speech legislation is precisely blasphemy law. So the question isn’t whether or not a state can or ought to enforce laws regarding blasphemy, but rather, what sort of blasphemy will be condemned in any society.

  436. dougsowers said,

    July 28, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Good job Mr. Butcher!!!

    Uh, Dr Hart? Case in point, what Joshua just articulated is the good kind of 2K. Two realms of authority with two separate functions. Both look to the Law of God for their direction, and authority. I believe Mark would concur with what Joshua just wrote above. I know I do.

  437. TurretinFan said,

    July 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    “Tfan, so 2k is analogous to killing my wife? And you wonder why I sense that I am being baited?”

    The analogy was between your evasiveness and that of a criminal defendant, an analogy you suggested with your “I did not know that I was on trial” and “your questions feel more like those of a prosecuting attorney” comments to Mark.

    I would think you would be able to figure that out, without having to have it spelled out for you.

    And lest you have any doubt, no – I don’t consider your unbiblical doctrine on the two kingdoms (in contrast to the more biblical doctrine of Calvin) to be akin to killing your wife.

    As for your “sense” of being baited, I’ll leave that to your own imagination.

  438. dgh said,

    July 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Joshua, isn’t all of God’s law moral in some sense? So aren’t laws governing the spiritual oversight of believers and their acts of worship also moral? In which case, why doesn’t the magistrate have a duty to make sure that people are in churches that are reformed according to the word? Why can’t he make sure that the people under his sight are having their spiritual needs addressed by the proper authorities?

    But if you’re going to appeal to sphere sovereignty to avoid the religious and liturgical laws of Scripture as binding on magistrates, why is the decalogue binding on the political sphere? It wasn’t given to the magistrate in the OT. It was given to all the people. So why assume it is the magistrate’s duty to enforce the moral law?

  439. David R. said,

    July 28, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Doug (#427),

    “David R.

    “Please read the response Mark posted by Bahnsen. He demolishes Kline’s mean spirited diatribe lock, stock, and barrel. IMHO. Oh, and if you don’t agree, please tell us why?”

    Sure, I’ll be happy to tell you why I don’t agree. It’s because in my judgment, Bahnsen has failed to adequately answer this critique (among other things):

    “One radical fault that undermines the whole Chalcedon position is the failure to recognize that the socio-geo-political sector of the Israelite kingdom of God was a part of the total system of kingdom typology established through the covenantal constitution given to Israel in the law of Moses–just as much so as was the cultic sector. Bahnsen appeals to the symbolically restorative-redemptive nature of the Old Testament cultus to justify his exempting the laws of the cultus from his claim that all Mosaic laws remain normative in the new covenant. When he insists then on carrying over into the New Testament age without significant exception all case laws regulative of the socio-political aspect of the Israelite kingdom, he is evidently saying that Israel as a geo-political kingdom is not expressive of the restorative-redemptive principle, that it is not a type of the antitypical kingdom of Christ, the Redeemer-King. Certainly, for him to say otherwise would be incompatible with his dogmatic assertion that the socio-political laws are still everywhere binding. For it would be patently arbitrary for him to acknowledge the typological-redemptive nature of the socio-political laws of the Old Testament and yet insist they are still normative, while simultaneously arguing from the typological-redemptive nature of the cultic laws of the Old Testament that they are now abrogated.”

  440. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    “Joshua, isn’t all of God’s law moral in some sense?”

    Yes.

    “So aren’t laws governing the spiritual oversight of believers and their acts of worship also moral?”

    Yes.

    “In which case, why doesn’t the magistrate have a duty to make sure that people are in churches that are reformed according to the word?”

    They do have a duty to ensure the safety and perpetuity of Christian churches to a certain extent, but there is a limit since there is a sphere of jurisdiction reserved for the authority of the churches themselves. Magistrates don’t have the authority to dictate to churches what polity they must adopt, or what view of the Supper they must have, as those issues do not fall within the scope of their authority. Magistrates do have the authority to adjudicate civil laws that are religious or moral in nature; for example, blasphemy. They also have the authority and even the responsibility to protect the liberty of the church to promote its creeds and confessions. This is not to argue that all societies that organize themselves according to Biblical law will arrive at the same interpretations or conclusions. Even within theonomy there are intramural debates as to the specific applications of general equity. What remains consistent, however, is the principle of ordering societal laws in accordance with the laws revealed in Scripture.

    “Why can’t he make sure that the people under his sight are having their spiritual needs addressed by the proper authorities?”

    If by “the proper authorities” who are to address “their spiritual needs” you mean that the magistrate ought to ensure that people are free to worship in a Christian church, then the answer is that not only is the magistrate at liberty to do this, but he is duty-bound to do this. If you mean that the magistrate has jurisdiction to tell people what form of Christian worship is legitimate, then the answer is no, it is the not explicitly the role of the magistrate to determine orthodoxy or mandate beliefs.

    “But if you’re going to appeal to sphere sovereignty to avoid the religious and liturgical laws of Scripture as binding on magistrates, why is the decalogue binding on the political sphere? It wasn’t given to the magistrate in the OT. It was given to all the people. So why assume it is the magistrate’s duty to enforce the moral law?”

    Moses was given the law to give to the people and he adjudicated the law until he divided this burden amongst appointed elders. What support do you have for the assertion that the people were to govern themselves without reference to another authority simply on the basis of their having been presented with the law?

  441. Zrim said,

    July 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    But, Joshua, all you have done is reassert that the form of political administration is immaterial while the upholding of law is what counts. I still want to know why the former is so negligible.

    I’m loathe to go there, but since abortion is the legislative go-to issue for theonomists I’ll use it as an example. The difference between a pseudo-conservative theonomist and an actual traditional conservative over this issue revolves around morality or politics, respectively. The theonomist is mainly concerned for the moral question, “May she or mayn’t she?” The traditionalist is primarily concerned with “Who gets to decide?” What irks the traditionalist about RvW is how the federal government took away the political power of states to decide for themselves one way or another; what irks the theonomist is how RvW legislatively forced the moral answer to “She may.” The theonomist uses the Bible to morally condemn American jurisprudence and suggest impiety on any who disagree. The traditionalist dissents, presses forward with folks who don’t agree with him and hopes one day he might live another day to come back to the table and win but doesn’t hold his breath (because he’s also an amillenialist and a realist). In his more ungodly moments, he wishes he could, like the theonomist, plumb Scripture and surface giddily where heaven agrees with his localist sensibilities on the role of government. But alas he comes up with nothing (because he’s also a 2ker who takes seriously the Reformed virtue to only speak where God has spoken and to remain silent where he has been silent). Even the theonomist tells him that heaven has no revealed concern for the form of political administration (i.e. big government or limited and local). So he consoles himself with this, that a theonomist is at least half way 2k. But the theonomist still has the odd problem of saying that he knows God’s will for how to morally legislate but that he is oddly silent about how to politically order.

  442. dgh said,

    July 28, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Joshua, I don’t know of any OT administration or Reformation state church where the magistrate’s duty was to make sure that the people were “free” to worship in a Christian church. It was just the opposite. The magistrate required people to worship in the established church. Your appeal to “free” is much more akin to modern 2k, but it won’t work with theonomy.

    My reason for thinking that the moral law was not given directly to the magistrate comes from your own example. The magistrate system was not in place when the decalogue came down. And if you look at the responsibilities of the monarchy, they are not very well specified nor is it clear from Deut. 17 that the king was supposed to enforce the law. He was to read and submit to it, but the direction seems to be for the king to follow it personally.

  443. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 28, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Zrim,

    Instead of interacting with what I’ve written, you simply dismiss it as an assertion and launch into a creative account what you think is theonomy.

    Dr. Hart,

    Sojourners in Israel didn’t have to offer sacrifices to God, but they couldn’t move their neighbors boundary markers. By “free” I merely meant that Christians in a society governed by God’s law would be given the freedom to worship God as opposed to being censured or otherwise prevented from doing so (as has been the case in states which are hostile to Christianity). Theonomy does not entail a state supported denomination in which all people are mandated to worship.

    Magistrate is just a label for the governing authority of a society. Moses was the final governing authority, not the people writ large. Prior to him, it would have been the heads of households and clans that would have been responsible for keeping the law, as that was the governing structure. You seem to imply that anyone could adjudicate the law upon anyone else, such that a son could serve as both prosecutor and judge of his father in a criminal hearing prior to the appointment of civil legislators. Is that really what you think Israel looked like under its initial reception of the Law? Also, kings were expected to render judgment in civil cases, for one of the ways in which Absalom won the people was by intercepting them when they came to the gate to receive hearing from David. This does not imply that there were not lower courts of appeal, but it certain does affirm that kings served as adjudicators of God’s law, unless you are wishing to argue (and by argue, I don’t mean assert) that such behavior was either disobedient to the Law or unsupported by it.

  444. TurretinFan said,

    July 29, 2011 at 8:23 am

    “My reason for thinking that the moral law was not given directly to the magistrate comes from your own example. The magistrate system was not in place when the decalogue came down. ”

    1) I certainly agree that the decalogue is properly categorized as moral law, not civil law. Furthermore, just because something is contrary to the Decalogue doesn’t mean that the civil magistrate must punish it. Nevertheless, the Decalogue is binding on all men everywhere in all their roles in life. So, the Decalogue does bind the civil magistrate, although it is not itself “civil law.”

    2) But this reason is not correct. The magistrate system was in place when the Decalogue came down.

    The people of Israel were governed by the elders of Israel, even prior to the Exodus. As it is written:

    Exodus 3:16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:

    Now, of course, the civil law given to Moses improved that system. Nevertheless, the rule by elders was a pre-Mosaic system that came out of the rule by the patriarchs.

  445. Zrim said,

    July 29, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Joshua, I get your overlapping point about sphere sovereignty. Though I think sphere sovereignty is better to make the 2k point that spheres overlap instead of the theonomic point that spheres are extensions of one another, as in the state is an extension of the family as well as the school.

    But I don’t see how your point about sphere sovereignty helps answer the question about why the form of political administration is immaterial while legislatively upholding the moral law is where relevancy abides.

    I don’t know, Joshua, are you sure you’re a theomomist? When it comes to sphere sovereignty you make a 2k point about sphere overlap instead of sphere extension, and when it comes to forms of governance you seem to be saying heaven is silent.

  446. Ron said,

    July 29, 2011 at 8:52 am

    “I don’t know, Joshua, are you sure you’re a theomomist?”

    I don’t know, Zrim, are you sure you know what theonomy is?

  447. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 29, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Zrim,

    Theonomy recognizes two kingdoms, but it doesn’t recognize the two kingdoms set forth in the form promoted by Escondido. Whereas theonomy argues that God’s revealed law is the standard for both kingdoms, though they are administered differently, Escondido argues that God’s revealed law is not applicable to one of the kingdoms. Rather, natural law, which is supposed to be discernable through general revelation, is what men must appeal to in order to govern themselves in society. Theonomy argues that this construction is flawed in three respects: 1) natural law is undefinable apart from revelation, which 2) means that general revelation is insufficient to account for natural law, which 3) means that only by using God’s revealed law can one begin to approach a sound version of natural law for the governing of society.

    This is my last post, as I’ve no more time to devote to these issues at the present.

  448. Ron said,

    July 29, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Joshua,

    How about adding “4″ – R2K isn’t the least bit concerned with an epistemic justification for natural law, which means that R2K is fine with tyrannical rule.

    Professing themselves to be wise they became fools.

  449. dgh said,

    July 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Joshua, you should know that 2k people understand natural law to be revelation from God, part of general revelation, and even Van Til spoke of the perspicuity and authority of general revelation.

    What you are consistently missing is that 2k starts from the basic reality of the covenant community, which comprises the people to whom special revelation was given. When the Israelites were in exile they did not insist that their captors follow the Torah.

  450. Ron said,

    July 29, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Joshua, you should know that 2k people understand natural law to be revelation from God, part of general revelation, and even Van Til spoke of the perspicuity and authority of general revelation.

    Yes, Joshua is well aware of that, but not surprisingly that observation doesn’t address, let alone undermine, Joshua’s points. Darryl, no one may accuse you of intentionally avoiding Joshua’s points because there is not enough evidence to convict you of even understanding them.

    A quote from non-theonomist Nelson Kloosterman comes to mind: “In contrast, with his teaching in the areas of apologetics, epistemology, and ethics, Cornelius Van Til has shown us the mistaken assessments and answers supplied by non-Reformed thought, including those proffered by a coalition of Roman Catholic and post-Enlightenment theorists who have joined together in denying the absolute necessity of special revelation for properly apprehending and rightly using general revelation. Somehow, Van Til’s enduring contribution needs to be integrated into this conversation.”

  451. dgh said,

    July 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Joshua wrote: “Escondido argues that God’s revealed law is not applicable to one of the kingdoms.”

    2k asserts that general revelation, which applies to both kingdoms, is part of God’s revealed law.

    So Joshua didn’t seem to know the 2k view, much like his cobelligerent, Ron.

    The point of mentioning Van Til was simply to show that Gen Rev or natural law or the created order is part of God’s law. And 2k appeals to this law for the civil polity.

    The claim that 2k denies God’s law is mistaken (or worse).

  452. Ron said,

    July 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Snore… Yes, Darryl, we all get the premise that natural law is a subset of general revelation, which is God’s revelation.

    Joshua’s post had to do with the justification of that premise. Your response to Joshua’s point was to assert something we all grasp, that natural law is a subset of God’s general revelation and known by all men at all times.

    Your response doesn’t indicate that Joshua doesn’t understand the premise. Rather, your response indicates that you have yet to comprehended the point, which I suppose explains why you haven’t yet interacted with it in any intelligent way.

  453. Zrim said,

    July 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Joshua, I know you’re gone, but I don’t see how any of your last comment addresses why particular forms of governance out of the scope of alleged biblical concern. Be that as it may, I do agree that so long as one wants to maintain that general revelation is insufficient for its task to order common life and needs special revelation to make up for its supposed deficiencies then one has more makings for theonomy than 2k. But lest anyone take that as a way to suggest that special revelation has no place in civil life or cannot be read in full conjunction with special revelation, that is not the point. The point is that deficiency lies in human beings to discern, not God’s revelation be it general or special. Sinners are totally depraved, but God’s two books are sufficient for their respective tasks of either governing civil life or ecclesiastical life.

    And, Ron, do you understand that CVT rejected the attempt to force upon him a crown by theonomists? Invoke him all you please, but he wanted nothing to do with theonomy.

  454. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    In perusing the linked article by T.David Gordon {himself a Klinean koolaid drinker}, we find that even he could acknowledge:

    “Theonomy follows the {Westminster} Assembly in abstracting the decalogue from the covenant administration in which it was given and of which is the essential feature…”

    Of course, one does not have to be a theonomist to follow the Assembly in abstracting the decalouge from the covenant context in which it was given.

  455. Ron said,

    July 29, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Zrim,

    Your logic is as deplorable as Darryl Hart’s logic. I didn’t invoke Van Til in a defense of theonomy. I merely pointed out that non-theonomists that appreciate Van Til’s thought, like Nelson Kloosterman for insance (I could have just as easily cited Frame; Tipton and others), also appreciate that general revelation and by extension natural law can only be justified by special revelation.That point was obviously lost on Darryl (and apparently you too), for he thought it appropriate to say in response to that premise that Van Til found natural law perspicuous and authoritative, as if that addressed Josh’s three points.

  456. Reed Here said,

    July 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Mark: what can I say? Are you saying that your statements to Darryl were the simple summary of what you understand R2K to be? Or are you saying that the 430 comments demonstrates that this is one of those things that men of good will on both sides just can’t accomplish?

    Dr. Hart did reference these three posts:

    Admittedly these are not as simple as I was asking you to provide. Yet my question to you was to distinguish between 2K (presumably acceptable to you) and R2K (not acceptable to you).

    Since you expressed strong convictions against R2K, I was hoping you had this distinction clear in your mind and could express it for me. I tend to think the “R” pre-fixed in front of 2K is a bit pejorative. But I’m willing to be shown otherwise.

    It seems to me that if there is such a big difference between these two, and that the one is acceptable while the other is not, then we should be able to make that case. Otherwise one would have to question whether or not the distinction is valid.

    Regardless, these 430 (now 455) comments simply show me that while there is a lot of heat, it is more blowing smoke than actual flames.

  457. Ron said,

    July 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Reed,

    I’m sure you’re aware of at least some of the differences that men like Frame and Kloosterman have with the natural law theorists as represented on this site. I would think those differences speak to whether the “R” in R2K is pejorative or not.

  458. Reed Here said,

    July 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Ron: familiar, but still hoping for a simple listing of these. No complaints, but I just do not have the time to do all the studying many of you do. Most of my study time is locked up for sermon and discipling preparation. I value the exchange on this blog in large part because I can boot strap my understanding on things I don’t have the time to fully study (yet).

    It may be that the key area of distinction comes down to a question of the nature of the relationship between Special Revelation and the role of the civil magistrate. At least this seems to be an area where there is a lot of friction.

    But if there is more to it than this, I’d like to see the list. Jeff C. sent me a gracious reply off list that provided some help. But I’m still thinking like a dull spork. :)

  459. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Reed, the discussion here on the R2k tenets have really done nothing to demonstrate the tenets are inaccurate. Frankly, the cited R2k quotes and additional postings here only confirmed they were on track. You reference Darryl’s affirmations, but don’t know how you missed that I found those affirmations as avoiding some very basic issues that the tenets address. Darryl blowing smoke here doesn’t mean the distinction between 2k and R2k isn’t real or that the distinction is not clear to the watching world.

    Granted, the tenets may not capture the exact position of every R2k guy. Just as there were variations among the Federal Visionists in the language of their errors, there are differences among the R2k proponents in the degree and phrasing of their errors.

    Now, I could continue on in this discussion with listing with additional tenets of R2k. I drafted only 4 and we only got through talking about 1 or 2 of them. There are least 4 *additional* ones that could be listed. But it is fruitless until there is an answer to a foundational question: “Does the Bible speak authoritatively to unbelievers at all”?

    Until then, carry on brothers.

  460. dgh said,

    July 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Mark, is it possible that your mind could be changed about 2k? Are your propositions a way to explore what 2k means? Or is it a way to prosecute 2k?

    Somewhere along the line it would be really helpful for you to identify what you believe. So far, you have been an ally of Ron and Ron quotes the non-theonomist, your hero, Nelson Kloosterman. I’d love to see the Kuyperian-thenomist food fight. It’s not like you guys agree.

  461. Reed Here said,

    July 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Mark: sorry, where did you note the very basic issues that are avoided? I’ll go back a review those comments.

    I don’t agree Darryl is blowing smoke. Instead I read him as unwilling to proceed because he believes that there are significant discrepancies between what you say he is saying and what he is actually saying. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with him that this is in fact true. Yet to say he is “blowing smoke” is to suggest he is intentionally communicating in a manner that is less then genuine, marked by the integrity of Christlike character. I wish to make it clear that I think such an inference is uncalled for and lacking in charity we owe to one another.

    My use of the “smoke blowing” may have offered confusion. Maybe you heard me suggesting someone(s) are guilty of disingenuousness? If so, please forgive my weak expression. Instead of “blowing smoke” I sought to infer the notion of a smoldering rubbish pile (smoke blowing) rather than a blazing inferno (flames). I.e., I was characterizing the significance of the distinction between 2K and R2K. I was not inferring anything disingenuous on anyone’s part in this conversation.

    Finally, I agree with your last question. Maybe you could answer that, for your position (theonomic?), what you thing is the 2K position, and then what you think is the R2K position. If you’d like, we could correspond offline, maybe get some ground work covered that way, and then I could start a new post under which we could explore this one topic.

  462. TurretinFan said,

    July 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Reed:

    Will you agree that Mark’s own views about the kingdoms are essentially irrelevant to the question of whether a real and important difference exists between the traditional Reformed view held by Guido de Bray, Calvin, Turretin, and the Westminster divines and the view(s) set forth by Darryl and Zrim?

    -TurretinFan

  463. todd said,

    July 29, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Mark,

    Maybe it is my general suspicion of lawyers, but your affirmations do sound like a trap, as if unless we agree with your paradigms we are only left with affirming these general statements. I think the problem is we have answered these accusations many, many times but you just don’t like our answers. But let me have a stab at your affirmations to see if we can get anywhere. As usual, it all depends on what you mean. So…

    1. The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.

    It depends what you mean by “public life.” The Bible instructs unbelievers to repent of their sins and trust in Christ for salvation. The Bible provides many lists of sins unbelievers must repent of, sins common to every man and common to all man’s endevours (including political endevours), found in Gal 5:19-21, I Cor 6:9&10, II Timothy 3:2-5, Rev 22:15, etc… Unbelievers are bound to repent of these sins and believe in the gospel. That is our (our meaning the visible church as she speaks authoritatively for Christ) only message to unbelievers. But if your affirmation means unbelievers are given a manual for statecraft in Scripture, and that magistrates are bound to enforce God’s law over man revealed in Scripture, and the church is to command the government to enforce God’s laws, this we deny.

    2. The Bible provides standards for the church only.

    If by “church” you mean God’s people, then yes. The Bible is a covenantal book. The imperatives of Scripture flow from the indicatives of Scripture. Only those who first believe in Christ and are filled with the Spirit can obey God’s commands (John 15:5). To believe in Christ is the first command of God that can be obeyed – by God’s grace – faith is a gift. John 6:28&29 – “Then they said to him, `What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, `This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’” Now God’s standards for unbelievers are written on their hearts through the conscience, but even through outward restraint they can never truly follow God’s commands, as they are dead in sin.

    3. General Revelation provides the exclusive standards for the political realm.

    The political realm, like the medical realm, is a matter of the kingdoms of this world which are passing away. If we do not go to Scripture to find answers for our medical problems, we do not go to Scripture to find solutions to our political problems. It is simply an illegitimate use of Scripture to do so. But the Christian is always guided by Scripture as he participates in all areas of culture, politics and public life; he remembers Scripture’s admonition to do good to all men, to pray for the peace of the city, to love his enemies, to be holy in every area as a testimony, etc…but even with these Scriptural imperatives guiding us, we may disagree as to how to apply these principles in the political realm.

    4. It is illegitimate to make unbelievers to obey the Bible’s standards since they do not believe the Bible.

    Correct. We are not to, nor cannot, “make” unbelievers follow God’s standards outside of a theocracy, which only belonged to OT Israel. Daniel did not try to make Babylon follow the Law of Moses. When Daniel had an opportunity (and the legal authority) to enforce the Law of Moses by putting to death false prophets, (see Ex 22:28, Lev 20:27, Deut 18:20, vs. Dan. 2:24) he refused. Thus in the non-theocratic political realm we are servants, not masters, we share the culture with unbelievers, and with them attempt to help better their lives as good neighbors, whether with our own neighbor across the street or in politics helping neighbors on a wider scale in our state or country through political means.

  464. Reed Here said,

    July 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    TFan: my interest is not in Mark’s views as if they were the last word on the subject. I only asked him because he was made the distinction initially on this thread. I’ve only taken it back in response to his question to me.

    I’m not hung up on who provides the distinction. I’d just like to see it, a distinction that folks like Darryl and Zrim (and others who have been labeled R2K) could agree is a fair representation of their own convictions.

    E.g., maybe going back to the three previous posts where Dr. Hart offered some affirmations and denials is a way forward. Maybe someone who thinks there is a distinction between 2K and R2K could take one of those A-&-D’s and distinguish it from what is a 2K only position.

    I’m looking for some clarity in other words, not more polemical fuel for the fire. To use my previous analogy, it seems like far too much of the “fuel” is either moldy rubbish, or at best green/wet wood. Lot’s of smoke, but no fire.

  465. TurretinFan said,

    July 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Back in March or so, I wrote (but did not publish) a response to those A&Ds. Perhaps it makes sense to go back, edit and post that response.

    I would note that, with Mark, I’m not sure that the A&Ds actually capture the R2K distinctives well. They may express some aspects of DGH’s position well, but not necessarily the key distinctives.

    In other words, they may be incomplete and in need of supplementing through asking pointed questions that DGH seems disinclined to answer.

  466. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Todd, I understand your suspicion of lawyers. I deal with dodgy ones every day. Most are pikers compared to our dear Darryl, who does a superb job living out his avatar. I have no intention of “trapping” anyone, but it is fair to ask folks to own up to their own expressed positions.

    Which leads me to say I am sincerely appreciative for your non-evasive and helpful answers. I will take this up again with you when time permits, hopefully tomorrow.

    In the meantime, based on a quick read of your answers, am I correct to think that your answer to my foundational question “does the Bible speak authoritatively to unbelievers at all”? would be “yes” {with qualifications as to the *areas* in which it is authoritative}?

  467. dougsowers said,

    July 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    @Todd; what Law is Jesus going to judge the nations by, on the final day, if not the Law of God?

  468. dougsowers said,

    July 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    By the way Todd, what a breath of fresh air you are! While you and I might not see this eye to eye on the R2K debate, it’s a pleasure to have someone honestly state what they really believe. God bless you brother!

  469. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    July 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Turretinfan, you said that Mark’s own views….. are essentially irrelevant.. .

    My wife says the same thing.

  470. todd said,

    July 29, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Mark,

    Yes, with qualifications

    Doug, in the NT, nations ends up meaning people from every nation. A nation politically speaking does not have a soul – it cannot be judged. Only people can. People will be judged based upon their works. Maybe you are looking for more?

    And Doug, thank you

  471. dougsowers said,

    July 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    So Todd; are you claiming that God “only” judged whole nations in the Old Testament, but has now he changed his mind, and only judges individuals? Did nations have “souls” in the Old Covenant, but no longer?

    It’s amazing that people of your ilk, claim Theonomists don’t understand typology, yet you can’t see the obvious. The Seven Nations were a picture of the “world”, that Jesus commanded “us” to conquer, through faith and the power of the gospel. Jesus is the King of every realm, Church and State, same standard, the very the Law of God.

  472. dougsowers said,

    July 29, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Todd: Are you claiming that God was only going to destroy *individuals* in Nineveh, or the whole nation? Didn’t God judge the *whole* Roman Empire? How about the whole city of Sodom? Did they have a soul, or were they a bunch of individuals? Are you claiming that God has changed his mind when it comes to judging nations, and now will *onlyt*, judge individuals?

  473. todd said,

    July 30, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Doug,

    #471 and #472 look like the same question to me, and wow, it sure doesn’t take you long to go from nice to rancorous, does it? I guess you are easily riled.

    A change from typology to eternal reality doesn’t mean God “changed his mind.” For example, because there were certain gifts in the Apostolic age that are not for the church today doesn’t mean God “changed his mind” about the Spirit’s power, as our charismatic friends often accuse us of saying.

    Nations in the old covenant did have a typological element to them, as clearly as the nation of Israel did. Their judgment had to do with their relationshuip to national Israel as much as anything. It is disensationalists who believe God will judge whole nations when he returns based on how they treated Israel. So, nations did not have souls in the old covenant as in the new, and nations were only judged typologically, or temporarily, or earthly in the Old, however you want to say it. God did not send Nineveh to hell for example. In final judgment, people are judged individually.

    These OT national judgments were types of final judgment. Rev 7:9 reveals that the “nations” in glory mean people from every nation. And when God judges…”And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened…And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in them” (Rev 20:12).

    This does not mean God cannot or does not send catastrophies and judgments on nations in this life, but there is no verse that teaches that if a nation outwardly obeys some laws of God they will have less disasters or such, nor are we to try to read God’s mind as to why certain nations seem more blessed by him than others. The Jews tried this with individuals and it didn’t go to well (John 9:1-3, Luke 13:1-3).

  474. dgh said,

    July 30, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Tfan, Reed, and Mark, here is why Mark’s views are VERY pertinent to the discussion: he is assuming that 2k is different from some other 2k view. Would it not be fair to have him explain what those differences are? Would it not be especially important for him to explain his view because there are at least three different critiques of 2k but those critiques are also at odds:

    1) the 16th century view of the magistrate and his duties to promote the true religion is one critique. (But this critique is marginal to contemporary Reformed communions because all the Presbyterian and Reformed churches of which most of us here are members have repudiated those views and revised our confessions).

    2) the generally Kuyperian view that Christ is Lord of all things which reads the relationship between general and revelation in a particular way against 2k. (This is generally Kuyperian because this view is only implicit in Kuyper who also rejected the 16th century view of the magistrate and who also held up the ancient philosophers as models of political philosophy despite their lacking special revelation.) If someone could actually explain the Kuyperian view it would be very helpful and I have ask Mark many times for it and he keeps avoiding an answer.

    3) there is the theonomist critique which is a reading of the law of recent vintage (though it may pull from earlier Reformed thinkers) and which has no standing in any of the Reformed churches represented here (as in people asking for the magistrate to execute adulterers).

    These three critiques are not in agreement and the third would actually have to take as much issue with the first two as with 2k because those other positions don’t follow the law any more than 2k does (as theonomists understand the law).

    So with all of this hostility, it would be useful for the critic to identify himself and what the model or standard is for which he stands. The first two critiques hold up part of a historical example and use that against 2k to show that 2k has departed from a certain standard. But the entire Reformed world has moved from those earlier expressions. So the first two critiques need to explain what the new model is now that Reformed churches have moved on.

    Theonomists don’t really need to identify themselves. I generally get their objection. I just don’t see why theonomy is as much a problem for Calvin as it is for Kuyper.

  475. Reed Here said,

    July 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Mark: DGH’s comment here goes effectively to my underlying concern. I hear an awful lot of criticism against R2K, ordinarily initiating at a higher temperature than one would expect for “mere” academic differences. I.e., the heat of the criticism infers the criticizer believes there is something seriously, even dangerously wrong with what he is calling R2K. At the same time he does not offer the same kind of heat against 2K, just more like friendly disagreement.

    I understand and value “heat” in criticism, when it is warranted. E.g., no one reading here over the last so many years will miss that I regularly apply heat to my criticisms of the FV. And, in fairness to the FV’ers, I try to back that up.

    So my initial request to you Mark, as the one making the initial (and early) heated criticism of R2K, differentiate for me. Help me see the distinctions you see between 2K and R2K. Then I’ll be better prepared to agree/disagree with you, and maybe even join in piling some dry wood on the fire.

    Full disclosure, I’ve not made any secret of the fact that I am friendly, even intrigued by what I hear coming from Dr. Hart (Van Drunen, et.al.). Yet my friendliness is not cart blanche. In particular I do not think Dr, Hart has offered, at least for me, a sufficient explanation of the relationship between special revelation and the unbeliever, particularly with reference to civil/secular matters. That being said, the fault maybe with this student, or it maybe shared with the teacher. Nevertheless in this one area I am not yet fully persuaded of the 2K position Dr. Hart espouses.

    At the same time, I look with skepticism at the R2K label. That may change. When I first began looking at the FV (2002) I was likewise skeptical of the early expressions of heat (RPCUS). Yet In was willing to be instructed.

    That’s all I’ve been asking here.

  476. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Darryl, according to Meredith Kline, the father of R2K, Calvin was theonomic, as were the men who penned our Confession, and it bothered him to no end! Meredith Kline also believed the revision was theonomic, so much for your model of repudiation. Far from repudiating theonomy, the church has drifted away from our calling regarding our duty to instruct every nation, in all of God’s commandments. With “leaders” like you, we have failed to be either the “light” or the “salt” of the world, when it comes to civil Law. God’s Law provides some much needed direction and God glorifying boundaries for our cultures moral confusion. But all you’re willing to say is, “look to general revelation”, which is muddled at best.

    The way you’ve just attempted to characterize these three perspectives shows me, you just don’t get it. We, the Church in the West, are embroiled in a culture war with an increasingly hostile Secular government towards the revealed Word of God. Less and less respect is being shown towards the Law of God. We’re close to hearing in our day, that the Bible is hate speech, (in fact, we are hearing it) and men of your ilk have capitulated under the attack.

    You agree with our enemies, that God’s Law is embarrassingly out dated. You blush when someone points out that God commanded the death penalty for homosexuals. You agree with God’s enemies that it would be horrible to call homosexuality a DP crime today. You act with revulsion that Christian’s still believe in the general equity of God’s penal sanctions, and that they are still a model of justice today. Just when “Christian” men should be counted on to look to God’s Law, you act ashamed of God’s commandments, the ones you “claim” the church has repudiated. Well I repudiate your obtuse view of Chruch history. Let’s remember our Lord Jesus words; that not until heaven and earth pass away, will one jot or title pass away from his good Law. I’ll side with Jesus over your view of Church history.

    R2K personifies what’s wrong with our so called leadership in the church. Your leading us straight to antinomianville. Unless or until the body of Christ comes together in the unity of the true knowledge of Christ towards maturity, we will continue to lose clout in the very *world* were “supposed to be overcoming”. Listening to you is a proscription for being judged by God, as a people who have lost there saltiness, and now are only good for being stepped on, by the foot of the Gentile.

  477. Reed Here said,

    July 30, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Doug: your criticisms of Dr. Hart are wa-a-a-a-a-y over the line. You are making character defaming conclusions based on your insinuations on unproven inferences you see in Dr. Hart’s responses here. That is far from fair, being quite an egregious offense of the very law you purport to uphold.

    Cease and desist, at least (spoken as moderator). Please, pray for some repentance (plea as brother).

  478. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    @Reed, I know that it was hard hitting, but I thought it was above the belt. I’ll pray that God reveals a more gracious way of repudiating Dr Hart in the future. At least I wasn’t bitingly sarcastic, I was writing from my heart, what I felt was the crux of the issue.

  479. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    @Todd: Believe it or not, I love typology! I marvel at God’s amazing Sovereignty over history, to provide us with shadows and types that prefigure his atoning work on the cross. I see types and antitypes all through God’s Word. When God in His Son provides us with antitypes it is certainly not God changing his mind, amen and amen. An antitype is the fulfillment of an Old Covenant type; I think we all get that.

    BUT where I don’t see types or antitypes are in the Mosaic Penal sanctions. They merely describe for us, how we are to punish crime. You see, Todd, your going to run into a buzz saw trying to give us a rational of why God thought homosexuality was a Capital crime then, but not now. How did God typologically fulfill homosexuality? Why would only death penalty crimes by typological when on the Day of Judgment all crimes, like stealing, and yes even thought crimes will be deserving of hell.

    Let me illustrate: Jesus is the Temple, Jesus is our scape goat offering, Jesus is the Lamb of God, Jesus is our Great High Priest, Jesus is our Passover, Jesus is the greater King David, Jesus is the greater Moses, Jesus is the King of Kings, Jesus is our day of Jubilee, Jesus is the Pascal Lamb. These are all marvelous antitype realities, amen, and amen.

    What has any of that to do with homosexuality, and it’s just punishment in a civil society? How did Jesus fulfill homosexuality and its punishment? Did Jesus typologically fulfill murder and it’s punishment as well? What did Christ do at Calvary that makes homosexuality not a crime? What did Jesus fulfill at the cross that makes kidnapping no longer a death penalty offence anymore? What did Jesus typologically fulfill that makes a child molesting rapists no longer worthy of death? And where pray tell, do you see this taught in the Bible?

    This is where Kline is at his worst. Kline never gave us any exegesis to explain how at one time certain moral sins were worthy of death but now since Jesus went to the cross, they no longer are. And please, give us some specifics, with exegesis that would show were your coming from.

  480. Zrim said,

    July 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Reed, briefly, I think the quest to find a difference between so-called “R2k” and 2k is mainly futile. It might give pause to remember that the radical term was invented by a certain CRC pastor who, I understand, is no longer welcome at this blog. I think the categories are 2k and theonomy and that is a better pursuit.

    But beyond their inflammatory character, Doug’s latest round of remarks I think help shed some light on what largely drives the theonomic mind and set of concerns. It is culture, or what used to be called the cares of this world. Doug claims to grasp typology, and by extension fulfillment, but then turns around and wonders what Jesus being the end and fulfillment of the law has to do with certain sins. Talk about looking into a mirror and forgetting the image after turning from it, or taking away with one hand what is given with another. Not only is it a contradictory way of speaking that in turn reveals a self-defeating way of thinking, but it also helps illustrate just how unduly fixated theonomy is on provisional life. And this is but one more broad stroke difference between 2k and theonomy: the former emphasizes the eternal, the latter the temporal. 2k takes very seriously Jesus’ declaration that his kingdom is not of this world, Paul’s teaching that we live by faith and not by sight, and the writer to the Hebrews’ point in chapter 11 that faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen and that people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland and desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Meanwhile, theonomy frets over how to politically handle sexual deviancies. But do theonomists ever consider Paul’s point in 1 Cor. 5, where sexual deviancy was the issue, that it is sexual deviancy within the church that matters and not that outside:

    I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

    Does that really sound like a man concerned the way the theonomist is? It actually sounds like a 2ker who thinks all moral and spiritual trespass—from idolatry to sexual sin—is serious and should be handled seriously. And not only seriously but spiritually and not politically.

  481. Reed Here said,

    July 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Doug: I do appreciate and recognize the sincerity of your defense of your words. The difficulty I have with what you call hitting above the belt is that your conclusions are far from proven in this setting. I recognize you believe you are rightly reading between the lines in Dr. Hart’s statements. You may be – but it is not patently obvious.

    Such hard hitting above the belt would be perfectly appropriate with a friend across the table over the proverbial reformed brew. But this setting, in which even if you are bosom buds with Dr. Har, the majority of the readers are not in the same loop, I believe it is at best unwise. You are offering an offense the readers do not have the resources to acknowledge to be just.

    Now, if your reading between the lines is just plain wrong, well then you are actually hitting below the belt. :)

    I trust and sincerely believe that is not your intention brother. With you I am praying for a better expression next time.

  482. dgh said,

    July 30, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Reed, how could Doug’s words even be a plausible reading of the implications of my words or arguments since I affirm God’s law (i.e. the light of nature and the created order) as being the norm for our time and all times, which includes truths prescribed by the sixth and seventh commandments? I think you also know that I affirm all of the decalogue and have affirmed repeatedly that people pushing for the 6th and 7th commandments also need to do more pushing on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th within the church because idolatry and blasphemy are sinful and what has historically brought God’s judgment upon his people.

    So I affirm both special and general revelation. I have repeatedly. Doug’s billingsgate that I regard God’s law as “embarrassingly outdated” is patently false (and doesn’t show a smidgeon of charity — but when has charity ever dawned on a theonomist? I know that’s snarky but these guys really do root, root, root for God’s law except for the 9th commandment.)

    That being said, I do wonder what you make of both my and Todd’s remarks about special revelation having always a reference to the covenant of grace, that it is given in that setting, and so the preface to the decalogue becomes the lens through which to understand the audience for special revelation.

    I understand that at a time when Barth and Van Til both gave knock out punches to natural law, the restriction of special rev’s reference to the covenant community seems to leave the common realm without any divine law. But general revelation would sure seem to fix that. And then when you add VanDrunen’s recovery or natural law within the Reformed tradition, then the referees may reverse the decision on the match between Barth/Van Til and natural law. In other words, it’s okay to believe in natural law because even the Confession of Faith recognizes its validity.

    Bottom line, I believe in all of God’s law. Mark, Doug, and Ron only seem to believe in the parts that come from spec. rev.

    As for the need for spec. rev. to read gen. rev. aright, the argument from the Canons of Dort is not at all air tight (I think it is a misreading) and it has so many practical problems — e.g., all police should be believers if they are going to execute the law aright and then need to have gone to Bible College — that it is not a good and necessary consequence of our confessional standards.

  483. dgh said,

    July 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Doug, do you really believe that you are going to fix the culture by calling for laws to execute disobedient adult children? Do you not have a bit of a sense that a lot of people even in the church would consider such a law hateful? That doesn’t mean that your legal proposal is wrong. But nor does it explain why some citizens would be reasonable if they concluded that such laws are hateful. After all, the execution of sinners does display God’s hatred of sin, so why are you worried about laws against hate speech? The shoe appears to fit and may even be comfy.

    Or do you really think that secular folks are supposed to love you while you are calling for capital punishment for a host of our society’s offenders?

    And I don’t “get it”?

  484. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    @Darryle, BUT (This is me) “Where I don’t see types and antitypes are in the Mosaic Penal sanctions. They merely describe for us, how we are to punish crime. You see, Dr Hart, your going to run into a buzz saw trying to give us a rational, or a precondition on of why God thought homosexuality was a Capital crime then, but not now. How did God typologically fulfill homosexuality? Why would only death penalty crimes by typological when on the Day of Judgment all crimes, like stealing, and yes even thought crimes will be deserving of hell?

  485. Ron said,

    July 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    “Doug, do you really believe that you are going to fix the culture by calling for laws to execute disobedient adult children?”

    The culture is not binary – so, it’s not a matter of moving from an absolute broken culture to a “fixed” culture. Therefore, opinions on what laws won’t “fix” the culture are irrelevant. It’s not even a matter of whether certain laws will improve the culture; yet at least evaluating laws with an eye to improving the culture has some relevance to pragmatic considerations. It would seem, however, that those who argue that way (as in the quote above) are not interested in being relevant, though they don’t seem to tire of being fallacious and repetitive. After all, is that why we should have any law on the books, so to “fix” the culture? Do radical 2K proponents actually believe that the only laws they approve of are those they deem necessary in order to avoid having to fix the culture? Of course not, which is why it appears that radical 2K proponents aren’t interested in advancing arguments, let alone interacting with them. In passing we might note too a close cousin to that sort of imprecise analyses as found in the quot above – the radical 2K argument that suggests that laws are not worthy of being implemented when they are deemed so extreme as to appear impossible to get implemented, which of course is to confuse “ought” with “can.”

  486. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Good word, Ron.

  487. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Dr, Hart; can you say “checkmate”?

  488. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Dr Hart: How did the “world” love us (the Church) fifty years ago, when homosexuality was illegal in all 48 States?

  489. TurretinFan said,

    July 30, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    DGH:

    Re: #274

    a) No. Whether Mark (or any of the rest of us) falls in any of those categories or not does not make his criticisms of your position more or less accurate.

    b) To put it bluntly, your attacks on your critics do not constitute a valid defense of your own position. A Mormon could come in here and offer a valid criticism of your position while having nothing valid to offer as his own position (I’m not suggesting for a minute that my brother Mark is a Mormon, nor that he has nothing valid to offer).

    c) And what’s more, your glib and inaccurate characterizations of the Reformed churches and their views on the kingdoms is something that has been addressed previously. I mean, their glibness and inaccuracy has been addressed previously. It’s not helpful when you continue to repeat them, especially when their inaccuracy has already been brought to your attention.

    d) To add to that, even supposing that the Reformed churches reject your opponents’ positions, that does not mean that they adopt your position. There are multiple possible ways to be outside the standards.

    Let me give you an example. If you were to argue that divorce ought to be permitted by the church for any reason other than divorce and irremediable desertion, then you would be in violation of WCF 24:6.

    It would be no good for your position for you to point out that your opponent’s view that desertion is not a valid ground upon which to be remarried is also against WCF 24:6. That would particularly be the case if, as in this example, WCF 24:6 does not actually reject your opponent’s view.

    And let’s get something straight. If a “theonomist” (in scare quotes) teaches that the civil magistrate is morally obligated to punish public blasphemy with death, he is not in conflict with any statement of the WCF, even as revised by the Americans referring specifically to the versions used in the NAPARC churches that have the WCF as their standard. His view is within the bounds of the confession, although it may not be a view required by the confession.

    - TurretinFan

  490. TurretinFan said,

    July 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Doug Sowers:

    Some proposed response for you to give DGH:

    DGH: “Doug, do you really believe that you are going to fix the culture by calling for laws to execute disobedient adult children?”

    Proposed response: No. In order for the culture to be improved, such laws would have to actually be adopted and implemented. Good laws have a restraining effect even on unregenerate men.

    DGH: “Do you not have a bit of a sense that a lot of people even in the church would consider such a law hateful?”

    Proposed response: This is a non sequitur But, of course, having the law enacted and enforced would eventually lead to people viewing it not as “hateful” but as normal, with disobedience to parents being considered “hateful,” as well it ought to be.

    DGH: “That doesn’t mean that your legal proposal is wrong.”

    Proposed response: Well said. We agree on this much.

    DGH: “But nor does it explain why some citizens would be reasonable if they concluded that such laws are hateful.”

    Proposed response: I don’t adopt your position that it would be reasonable for them to conclude that the laws are “hateful” in any particular way that is distinct from other criminal laws.

    DGH: “After all, the execution of sinners does display God’s hatred of sin, so why are you worried about laws against hate speech?”

    Proposed response: There is a sense in which all just criminal law displays a measure of God’s wrath and judgment against sin. But, of course, that’s not what the objectors would have in mind. As for laws against “hate speech,” I’m not sure why DGH thinks you are “worried” about them. Presumably, one objection to such laws is that they are – in the application – unjust laws.

    DGH: “The shoe appears to fit and may even be comfy.”

    Proposed response: This looks like a category error. Just because we might be in favor of capital punishment for those who curse their parents (upon request of the parents), does not mean we think that every “hateful” word deserves to be criminally penalized.

    DGH: “Or do you really think that secular folks are supposed to love you while you are calling for capital punishment for a host of our society’s offenders?”

    Proposed response: Well, of course, they ought to love those who call for better laws, but if by “supposed to” DGH just means that we expect that kind of reaction, of course not. It’s not as though “secular folks” realize what laws are the best, even if they have not entirely seared their consciences yet.

    -TurretinFan

  491. Zrim said,

    July 30, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    It’s not even a matter of whether certain laws will improve the culture; yet at least evaluating laws with an eye to improving the culture has some relevance to pragmatic considerations. It would seem, however, that those who argue that way (as in the quote above) are not interested in being relevant….

    You say that like it’s a bad thing, but bingo, Ron. Here is yet another feature that distinguishes 2k from theonomy. 2k is not interested in being relevant or pragmatic or improving culture. These are closer to evangelical virtues than Reformed. And those virtues have in mind something closer to prosperity, which is what seems to make theonomy the prosperity gospel for the politically and legislatively inclined: the Spirit indwells believers, who not only improve culture simply by existing in it but also by bringing to bear on culture biblical laws.

    But what leaves 2k scratching its head is the fact that the church is the only “Christian nation” on earth where, by definition, she is indwelt by the Spirit and orders herself by biblical law. And yet, if we’re being more honest than inspirational (big “if”), she does not appear to be a model for the good society. She is filled with errors and schisms and sin. If the church, filled with the Spirit as she is, is so brutally human then what makes anybody think her indwelt members toting her Word into the public square, where the Spirit is absent, is going to improve things (whatever that might mean)?

  492. Zrim said,

    July 30, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    In order for the culture to be improved, such laws would have to actually be adopted and implemented. Good laws have a restraining effect even on unregenerate men.

    Tfan, how does restraining evil result in improving anything? Laws are actually intended to order society, not improve it. When I punish my daughter for an infraction I haven’t improved our family. I have simply kept it in order. Theonomy is a function of a more progressive notion of how the world works, while 2k is more conservative. 2k aligns with preservation, order and obedience, while theonomy aligns with transformation, progress and results.

  493. Ron said,

    July 30, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Zrim,

    If I actually thought you were capable of drawing a conclusion that actually followed from your premises, I’d show you how you haven’t achieved that end in your latest post, but since I don’t find you capable in this regard I’ll leave you to your session as I said I’d do in post 142.

  494. Ron said,

    July 30, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    When I punish my daughter for an infraction I haven’t improved our family. I have simply kept it in order.

    TF,

    Haven’t you heard, having more order than less in one’s family is not to improve the state of affairs! When men step up to the microphone and say such things, what might one say in response? :)

    Do enjoy all the softballs that R2K proponents continue to lob into the wheelhouse. What a smorgasbord of foolish statements have been served for all of non-R2K, whether theonomic or not. It’s sad in a sense, but one of the most unifying dynamics in the Reformed church today could end up being its unified opposition to R2K. It reminds me of elves, men, dwarfs and hobbits going against the ugly orcs.

  495. dgh said,

    July 30, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Ron, Tfan, and Doug, you really should determine which play book you’re using and execute the same play. In case you didn’t notice, Doug was the one to introduce the question of pragmatics. He wrote:

    “We, the Church in the West, are embroiled in a culture war with an increasingly hostile Secular government towards the revealed Word of God. Less and less respect is being shown towards the Law of God. We’re close to hearing in our day, that the Bible is hate speech, (in fact, we are hearing it) and men of your ilk have capitulated under the attack.

    “You agree with our enemies, that God’s Law is embarrassingly out dated. You blush when someone points out that God commanded the death penalty for homosexuals. You agree with God’s enemies that it would be horrible to call homosexuality a DP crime today. You act with revulsion that Christian’s still believe in the general equity of God’s penal sanctions, and that they are still a model of justice today. Just when “Christian” men should be counted on to look to God’s Law, you act ashamed of God’s commandments, the ones you “claim” the church has repudiated.”

    If it is a question of what is right, then why is Doug constantly talking about the crisis of our culture? He seems to think the culture was fine 50 years ago. But Calvin would have been horrified with a Roman Catholic president. (For that matter, he might have been horrified by democracy.)

  496. dgh said,

    July 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Tfan, what exactly is a proposed response? May I pick the one I like?

  497. TurretinFan said,

    July 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Re: #496

    Well, DGH, I’m offering those responses to Doug Sowers to use if he likes, or not to use, if he likes. That’s the way in which they are proposed as responses.

  498. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Thanks Tfan, I appreciate those responses!

  499. TurretinFan said,

    July 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Re: 495

    DGH:

    Not to take anything away from Ron’s LotR’s analogy, but chords often have three different notes.

    But I don’t sense that DS’s objection is intended to be purely pragmatic. He’s not vexed simply because he thinks you are promoting a strategy with bad consequences.

    -TurretinFan

  500. Ron said,

    July 30, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    …but chords often have three different notes.

    LOL

    Brothers,

    May we all have a blessed Lord’s Day, one and all.

    Tiny Tim

  501. Ron said,

    July 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    2k is not interested in being relevant

    Just another gem. I was speaking of “relevant” to the discussion, which was apparent.

  502. TurretinFan said,

    July 30, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    “Tfan, how does restraining evil result in improving anything?”

    The answer seems sufficiently self-evident. A society in which evil is restrained is better than one in which evil is unrestrained. See Hobbes’ Leviathan for considerably more thought on this particular topic.

    “Laws are actually intended to order society, not improve it.”

    That’s incorrect.

    “When I punish my daughter for an infraction I haven’t improved our family. I have simply kept it in order.”

    a) In general, a family in which infractions are sternly, immediately, and fairly punished is a family in which there are fewer infractions.

    b) The rod of correction does drive foolishness from the heart even of daughters (Proverbs 22:15).

    “Theonomy is a function of a more progressive notion of how the world works, while 2k is more conservative. 2k aligns with preservation, order and obedience, while theonomy aligns with transformation, progress and results.”

    I don’t like the way you use “theonomy” and “2k,” but suffice to say:

    a) God’s ministers (both kinds) ought to seek the betterment of those under their care – maintaining the status quo is not enough;

    b) Being “conservative” of gold is better than being “conservative” of dung (whether a society in which sodomites are free to marry one another is gold or dung, I leave to your conscience); and

    c) With others, I think that some of the views calling themselves “2k” (particularly yours and DGH’s, which seem to be different on certain points) are actually liberal and corrupting, not conservative.

    - TurretinFan

  503. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    @Zrim: Please explain, and walk this “layman” through, the (type, antitype) fulfillment of homosexuality and its just punishment? How did the cross of Christ change or fulfill what was once an abomination, and a just punishment? And what are we to do today? Did God change his mind?

  504. dougsowers said,

    July 30, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Let me echo brother Ron’s statement: Have a blessed Lord’s day one and all!

  505. dgh said,

    July 31, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Doug, please explain why sodomy vexes you more than idolatry.

  506. dougsowers said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Darryl, sodomy is the bitter fruit of idolatry. Please read Romans 1:24

    I thought you were supposed to be a teacher?

  507. Zrim said,

    July 31, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Tfan, yes, I’m sure you do find 2k liberal and corrupting. But I think that is because you have a basic evangelical premise that unless the public square is finally assessed and managed by biblical imperatives it can be nothing but corrupt. But 2k has a Reformed premise, a la Kuyper cited in this thread (#86), that civil life is best guided by the light of nature and that to think it is best guided by biblical revelation is at best tenuous and at worst foolish.

    Doug, re 503, if homosexuals are to be executed because “God doesn’t change his mind” and thus justice in OT theocracy should be replicated in modern political and legislative arrangements, then does that mean sterilized men cannot become church members? Maybe you think so. It seems to me you really should if you want to be a good theonomist. But then what of the eunuch in Acts 8 whom Philip baptized (an act of church initiation)? Maybe Philip wasn’t aware that there are just certain things Jesus’ life, death and resurrection didn’t overcome? But if you admit that sterility doesn’t preclude a man from church membership then I don’t know what keeps you clinging to this notion that homosexuals need to be executed. One possibility is that your fixation has more to do with contemporary culture war than it does with anything close to a sane Reformed hermeneutic which really does believe that Jesus has overcome the world.

  508. Eliza said,

    July 31, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Who said this, “the state and the church have different aims and different methods. The state doesn’t promote the gospel, the church doesn’t use the sword.”?

    It’s Bahnsen in Theonomy (p. 426). Thanks to Mark Van der Molen for the URL. I believe that R2K also tries to use quotations like this from Thornwell and Dabney to prove their point and claim them for the R2K position. Yes, Bahnsen and others can say these things and deny the tenets of R2K.

  509. David R. said,

    July 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Doug,

    “@Zrim: Please explain, and walk this “layman” through, the (type, antitype) fulfillment of homosexuality and its just punishment? How did the cross of Christ change or fulfill what was once an abomination, and a just punishment? And what are we to do today? Did God change his mind?”

    I’m sure you’re aware of this at some level, but the OT penal sanctions typify the justly deserved penalty of eternal torment that the wicked will receive in the final judgment. For believers of course, those penalties are fulfilled by the sufferings of Christ:

    “This office [of Mediator and Surety] the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which, that he might discharge, he was made under the law [including the prohibition against homosexuality], and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered; with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession; and shall return to judge men and angels, at the end of the world” (WCF 8.4).

  510. dgh said,

    July 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Doug, then why not go after the root of sodomy?

  511. dgh said,

    July 31, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Eliza, and Bahnsen goes on to say: “By not ‘operating in the name of the Redeemer,’ the state does not enforce a profession of saving faith. That is what I meant. Now what Kline wishes to mean by the expression is that the state does not enforce any law revealed by God as the Redeemer.”

    But what Old School Presbyterian ever thought that any state, other than Israel, enforced laws “in the name of the Redeemer”? No nation aside from Israel has a covenant relationship with God.

  512. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I’m sure you’re aware of this at some level, but the OT penal sanctions typify the justly deserved penalty of eternal torment that the wicked will receive in the final judgment.

    Even if the OT penal sanctions typify the final judgment, that doesn’t imply that the OT penal sanctions were not an example of the standard for penal sanctions for all nations. Accordingly, even granting the assumption, the conclusion is too grand, which is to say that the conclusion exceeds the scope of the premises, a common practice among radical 2K proponents.

    For believers of course, those penalties are fulfilled by the sufferings of Christ:

    That God’s justice as it pertains to the elect was satisfied at the cross does not speak to question of appropriate civil justice in a fallen world. So, once again, R2K confuses the biblical benefits of eternal redemption with the biblical precepts that pertain to temporal civil sanctions.

    So, again, radical 2K shows itself lacking cogency.

  513. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    But what Old School Presbyterian ever thought that any state, other than Israel, enforced laws “in the name of the Redeemer”? No nation aside from Israel has a covenant relationship with God.

    Maybe Dr. Hart would like to justify his unspoken premise, that no nation is permitted or should adhere to God’s law unless God reveals to that nation a covenant commitment. Dr. Hart would have us believe that God must address a nation by name in order for it to enroll in God’s service. That would be like saying that for any individual to follow the Lord, he must first read his name in Scripture. Once again, R2K proponents expose themselves as utterly incapable critical analyses.

  514. Reed Here said,

    July 31, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Ron: you do recognize that Dr. Hart does in fact believe that all nations must submit to God’s law? His quibble is with regard to what role the Bible plays in that submission. I think your criticism would prove more adequate if it correctly addressed your opponent’s position.

  515. TurretinFan said,

    July 31, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    “But 2k has a Reformed premise, a la Kuyper cited in this thread (#86), that civil life is best guided by the light of nature and that to think it is best guided by biblical revelation is at best tenuous and at worst foolish.”

    That’s not really a “Reformed” premise.

    -TurretinFan

  516. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Ron: you do recognize that Dr. Hart does in fact believe that all nations must submit to God’s law? His quibble is with regard to what role the Bible plays in that submission. I think your criticism would prove more adequate if it correctly addressed your opponent’s position.

    Reed, you equivocate, for “God’s law” is not merely the law written on man’s heart. Accordingly, Hart does not think that all nations must submit to “God’s law” for if he believed that, then he would reason according to “God’s law” and want to see “God’s law” legislated in its general equity by all nations. At best, what Hart believes is that all men should not transgress the law of nature, but of course that begs the question of what “God’s law” requires of those who sin. To bring this full circle, to say that Hart believes that all nations must submit to “God’s law” is not only equivocal, it’s misleading.

    I find it more than a bit passing strange that you would call me on not representing my opponent’s position “correctly” when (a) I have and (b) Hart never does. It’s that sort of stacked deck that has restrained certain godly men from posting on this site.

  517. dougsowers said,

    July 31, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Hart says: “Hey Doug then why not goes after the root of sodomy”

    Was that supposed to be a joke? Notice how you always poke fun at the very notion of attempting to apply God’s Law in a God honoring way? Your quip implies we could never root out idolatry, or sodomy, so why bother? Well, I don’t think you’re funny.

  518. David R. said,

    July 31, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Ron,

    “Even if the OT penal sanctions typify the final judgment, that doesn’t imply that the OT penal sanctions were not an example of the standard for penal sanctions for all nations.”

    I actually think that if the OT penal sanctions typify the final judgment, then that DOES imply that the OT penal sanctions were not intended as an example to be followed by every nation. But for the sake of clarity on your position, do you hold that: (1) the OT penal sanctions are types of final judgment AND (2) they were intended as an example of the standard to be followed by every nation (thus disagreeing with Doug who apparently only holds to #2)?

  519. dougsowers said,

    July 31, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    dgh says: “Hey Doug why not go after the root of sodomy”?

    Huh?!

    Darryl, I weary of telling you, but it’s unlawful to punish thought crimes. The Bible gives us sufficient instruction on how God wants crimes punished in the civil realm. Since God’s wisdom is infinite and unchallengeable, I suggest you quit mocking the notion of actually applying God’s moral standards. It’s not your duty to judge God’s Law, just to obey it.

  520. dougsowers said,

    July 31, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    David R.

    Not all the OT Penal sanctions were Capital. Therefore, how could they all typify the final judgement? Or are you implying that God was teaching that only the DP crimes were worthy of hell?

  521. Zrim said,

    July 31, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Tfan, I know you find a way around it, but on top of Kuyper there is also your namesake who contends that civil power is regulated by natural reason, civil laws and human statutes while ecclesiastical power is regulated sola scriptura. There is also Gillespie: “Government and authority which hath a foundation in the law of nature and nations…cannot be held of, and under, and managed for Christ, as he is Mediator. But Magistry or civil government hath a foundation in the law of nature and nations.” There is also Belgic 2 which tells us that God has revealed himself in two ways, creation (that most elegant book) and holy writ. True, Belgic 2 is following Paul to make the case for law (not gospel), but if natural revelation is sufficient to eternally condemn without aid of special revelation then why insufficient to provisionally order in the same way?

    But then there is also WCF 19.4, which also pertains to the general discussion here: “To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require.” The latter part of the theonomic formulation of “the abiding validity of the law of God in exhaustive detail” simply cannot be harmonized with a plain reading of this confessional statement. The Mosaic civil laws do not bind non-canonical civil authorities because those laws “expired together with the State of that people.” The upshot is that all that is left to order civil life is the moral law, which was delivered at creation, republished at Sinai and referred to again in Romans 2:14-15. Only this moral law survived the expiration of the national covenant made with the geo-political Israel.

  522. Reed Here said,

    July 31, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Ron:

    Equivocate: use ambiguous language so as to conceal the truth or avoid committing oneself.

    Your defense of yourself demonstrates you know exactly how Dr. Hart understands and uses God’s Law in this context. Therefore I did not equivocate. Rather I presumed, and that rather accurately.

    And why is it that whenever I issue a mere verbal challenge your way you bring up an accusation against my moderating? Don’t be so defensive Ron.

    I made a simple challenge. It would be easy for you to correct your critique. Acknowledge Dr. Hart’s usage when you make your sweeping assertions. Seems like simple good form. At the very least more might be persuaded you’re being reasonable and right.

  523. David R. said,

    July 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Doug,

    I don’t know whether or not they all typify final judgment. You had brought up the penalty for homosexuality and that is what I was responding to in particular. But while it’s true that the capital penalties in particular provide a vivid figure of final judgment, I think all the penalties speak of God’s justice (as they express the lex talionis principle), perhaps especially with a view to that justice being meted out at the Last Day.

  524. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    I actually think that if the OT penal sanctions typify the final judgment, then that DOES imply that the OT penal sanctions were not intended as an example to be followed by every nation.

    David R.,

    That one thinks “the OT penal sanctions typify final judgment” does not somehow prove (i.e. logically “imply”) “that the OT penal sanction were not intended as an example to be followed by every nation.” Probably what you would like to say is that “given” the OT sanctions typify the final judgment, then “the OT sanctions are not intended as an example to be followed by every nation.” That conclusion, however, would require a few more premises. For one thing, one would need to establish (and not just subjectively “think”) that the OT sanctions typify the final judgment, for thinking it is true and then repeating it over and over to oneself does not make it true. Secondly, allowing for such typology, one would have to establish from Scripture the conditions for abrogating a shadow of something that has not yet been fulfilled. Although the cross put away the ceremonial law of types and shadows, it certainly did not fulfill civil justice, nor was it intended to do so. Finally, one would have to square the hermeneutical arbitrariness of allowing some OT sanctions to be modeled in societies today but not all OT sanctions. Given the typology argument, all sanctions that resemble OT sanctions would be disallowed. Or are you saying that we may have such laws as long as we don’t justify them with Scripture?

    But for the sake of clarity on your position, do you hold that: (1) the OT penal sanctions are types of final judgment AND (2) they were intended as an example of the standard to be followed by every nation (thus disagreeing with Doug who apparently only holds to #2)?

    No, I find it absurd that the OT penal sanctions are types of the final judgment. Consider, the OT sanctions did not typify the final judgment because many, arguably most, transgressions under the law were not to be punished by OT sanctions; yet at the final judgment all thoughts, words and deeds will be accounted for, as well as things left undone. Moreover, most of the sanctions that were punishable under Moses did not come close to calling down fire from heaven, which would have been the case given such typology. Moreover, if the OT sanctions were intended to typify the final judgment, then we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion for we should expect that God would have ensured the premature end of history that such a typological interpretation implies in precept. Finally, there is no hint of God chastising his ancient people for not bringing down hell-fire for all transgressions, yet why would there be such a hint from God given that he required the opposite(!) – just, wise and temperate penalties for an age of redemption, which still abides.

  525. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Reed,

    Nothing more needs to be said by me regarding your recent posts. I am quite certain that I am incapable of making the obvious even more obvious.

  526. Reed Here said,

    July 31, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Ron: do you always have to be so condescending? Sheesh.

  527. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Reed, maybe you can at least agree that my words probably sound a lot less condescending (and maybe not condescending at all) to those who agree with me that (i) you’ve accused me falsely and (ii) defended Hart when it was wrong to do so.

  528. Reed Here said,

    July 31, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Ron: I didn’t accuse you falsely and I didn’t defend Hart. I offered a comment suggesting how your criticism could be more accurate.

    Seriously brother, you’re too touchy. Forget I said anything.

  529. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 31, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    For what it is worth, Reed, the only substantiation for your claim that Ron has inaccurately represented Dr. Hart’s view is your own word and the word of Dr. Hart and his supporters.

    If you go back to the earliest posts, Ron offered a link to his website where he posted a refutation of Hart’s view that the general equity of the law spoken of in the confession reduces to excommunication.

    Since Hart admitted as much, is it so strange that Ron should object to an accusation of misrepresentation? One may attempt to find a flaw in Ron’s reasons for rejecting Dr. Hart’s view of the general equity clause, but one can hardly substantiate that Ron is misrepresenting Hart’s view of the clause, since he’s using Hart’s own admission to the viewpoint.

    If there is another point of misrepresentation to which you refer, perhaps a specific claim of Ron’s that constitutes misrepresentation rather than a sweeping generalization of misrepresentation is in order.

  530. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Reed,

    Let’s review the bidding before I “forget” you said anything that might incriminate you. You accused me of not representing DGH’s position accurately: “I think your criticism would prove more adequate if it correctly addressed your opponent’s position.” You then ratchet things up a notch and accuse me of knowing I was misrepresenting his position: “Your defense of yourself demonstrates you know exactly how Dr. Hart understands and uses God’s Law in this context.” Then you put on your passive aggressive hat with a loaded question that is on par with “Have you stopped beating your wife?” “Ron: do you always have to be so condescending?” Reed, if you behaved more like a moderator and less like a partisan cheerleader we might get along better. :)

  531. Reed Here said,

    July 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Joshua:tag-team, is it? The issue is not as big as your interest warrants.

  532. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 31, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    If I may be so bold, one might add that attributing emotive qualities to a person’s words (e.g. condescending, touchy) constitutes a misrepresentation of what they have said.

  533. Reed Here said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    If I may be so bold, it is impolite to butt into a conversation.

  534. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I was under the impression that this thread was open for comments on any of the posts.

  535. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    If I may be so bold, it is impolite to butt into a conversation.

    Unless, of course, one is a moderator. :)

  536. Reed Here said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Ron: I am untouched. You’re a bully.

  537. Reed Here said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Joshua: stick to the topic of the post and your fine. Jumping in on an attack on someone is always wrong.

  538. Joshua Butcher said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    Reed,

    Hm. I was attempting to defend Ron against an accusation (attack?) that seemed to detract from the arguments he has been making upon the substance developed from the original post.

    Anyway, I can see that the worth of my “for what its worth,” wasn’t much, so you may carry on as you please without my butting in any further.

  539. Jed Paschall said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Ron, (524)

    David has at least one NT scholar that lines up with his position on the eschatological nature of the Law in foreshadowing final judgment: DA Carson. In his 3-part lecture (I believe at the ELF Lectures in Europe – I’ll supply the link if you want to dig in here), he elaborates that the Law prefigures the wrath of God in a similar manner to how eschatological righteousness is also anticipated in the Law, pointing to the kind of person (namely Christ) who possessed the righteous character to keep such commands. So your accusations for absurdity are simply unfounded.

    If Romans 3:23 generalizes the penalty for all sin with the blanket sentence of death, then David’s reading isn’t that far off. There are but a handful of capital offenses in the OT, yet the whole sacrificial system points to the fact that death is the price of sin.

    Although the cross put away the ceremonial law of types and shadows, it certainly did not fulfill civil justice, nor was it intended to do so.

    Carson goes on to elaborate on how the civil law points to a just society that ethically embodies the Kingdom of God. The new heavens and new earth will need no such regulations because humans in their glorified state will not need a command to obey God, because they are perfect and by nature will do so. The life of Christ prefigures this, obeying the commands of God weren’t burdensome to Christ, since he was perfectly righteous. The only kind of man who could obey the law in full would be one who is perfect. Now Carson goes on to assert things that we Reformed wouldn’t regarding the Law, namely that since it is all completed we are now bound only to live lives that reflect the righteousness of Christ (mainly in his argument against Reformed Sabbatarian views). Nevertheless, even where we disagree with Carson on the Law, as Christians who live in a way that is in conformity to the character of Christ, the Law is no longer our master but Christ is. The Law looses it’s teeth, and takes the other semantic range of torah – instruction; a guide to live our lives by instructing us in the way of obedience.

    Christ absolutely completes the Law. If we take the glorified state of eschatological man to be the telos of human existence, then we must take the eschatological use of the Law seriously. The Law’s political purposes met their zenith in ancient Israel. The Law still serves it’s three purposes, but nowhere in the NT do the apostles assume the mantle of setting up the Law as the political norm for Rome. How has the Church, founded by the apostles so changed that we must concern ourselves with establishing the Law as the means of governance in a passing world. I have never had a theonomist deal with that question without pointing to a very debatable interpretation of the OT (especially Psalm 2) in order to make that case.

  540. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Reed,

    Maybe I will try to make more clear to you what I think myself and others find somewhat obvious. I was addressing in post 513 Darryl’s view that the nations need not submit to God’s written law. You then introduced the observation that DGH believes that men should submit to God’s law and then follow by accusing me of not treating his post fairly. Yet what I was addressing was this quote of Darryl’s having to do with the irrelevance of God’s written law for the nations:

    “But what Old School Presbyterian ever thought that any state, other than Israel, enforced laws “in the name of the Redeemer”? No nation aside from Israel has a covenant relationship with God.” Clearly Reed, the context was the books of the law.

    In response I wrote: “Maybe Dr. Hart would like to justify his unspoken premise, that no nation is permitted or should adhere to God’s law unless God reveals to that nation a covenant commitment. Dr. Hart would have us believe that God must address a nation by name in order for it to enroll in God’s service. That would be like saying that for any individual to follow the Lord, he must first read his name in Scripture. Once again, R2K proponents expose themselves as utterly incapable critical analyses.”

    Reed, Darryl’s flimsy argument had to do with nations not being required to submit to God’s written law. Natural law was nowhere in view. Accordingly, this criticism of yours was just another misguided arrow: “I think your criticism would prove more adequate if it correctly addressed your opponent’s position.”

    Own it, Reed. You jumped the gun and missed the point. You ran once again to DGH’s defense and went after one of his opponents without cause. You’re not moderating. You’re cheerleading.

  541. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Jed,

    You wrote much, but it comes down to this point of yours: “nowhere in the NT do the apostles assume the mantle of setting up the Law as the political norm for Rome.”

    Please incorporate that premise in a syllogism that concludes with: nations are not to submit to the general equity of the law.

  542. Reed Here said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Own it Ron, you did not reference Hart accurately in the post I critiqued. If you follow your past pattern next I suspect you’ll respond with a condescending comment insinuating that any dummy could have understood what you meant.

    My criticism of you was not a moderating comment. It was interaction with regard to the subject thread. I always put a note in a comment identifying it when it is a moderating comment. You assumed wrongly. Rah, rah, rah!

    If all it was that I was wrong, what about some kind words of correction? Seems to me I remember quite a bit about that in Scripture.

    I’m not interested in talking with you Ron any further. You’re never wrong and hardly ever nice. You’re a mean spirited bully.

  543. Ron said,

    July 31, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Well Reed, I reproduced the bidding and you’ve chosen not to interact with anything from me or Joshua.

  544. Reed Here said,

    August 1, 2011 at 12:01 am

    No Ron, I’ve chosen not to interact with bullying.

  545. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Jed says: The Law’s political purposes met their zenith in ancient Israel.

    Jed, once again you’re blurring “political” laws over against “moral” laws and their accompanying penal sanctions. Our Reformers saw a difference. God’s moral laws judicial, were to give an *eye for and eye*, and *tooth for a tooth*, as in perfect justice, which was a model for all nations. And Jed, because of there intrinsic moral character being given by the Law giver Himself, they must be presumed to be perpetual, unless we have further revelation that either modifies or resends his commandments.

  546. Reed Here said,

    August 1, 2011 at 12:07 am

    Hey Doug: did you see the article about the women in Iran who was granted the literal judgment of eye for eye? The court agree with her plea and arranged for her to pour acid in the face of the man who did it to her, blinding her, some years back.

    She chose mercy and didn’t follow through. Is she guilty of ignoring God’s law? Eye for eye after all.

  547. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 12:29 am

    @Dr Hart: How did the world love us (the Church) back in the early 1800′s when America had the DP on the books, in all thirteen States for sodomy, rape, kidnapping, and murder? Yikes! That’s even after the revision! :)

    By the way, that factoid *repudiates* your *repudiation* of Reformed history.

  548. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 12:46 am

    Ron,

    It would be a whole lot easier if you would just prove your case, cite an example where the apostles seek to establish the Law as a political norm in the Roman empire. I have never claimed to be a logician, so I’ll just outline the body of my argument:

    1.: Jesus commissions the apostles to build his church basically outlining the three marks of the church (Outlined in BC Ch. 29).
    2. The apostles go on to abrogate the ceremonial law in Acts 10, where the kosher law was abrogated. The argument of Hebrews extends this argument to the whole sacrificial system (e.g. Hebrews 10:1-22)
    3. The apostles abrogate the civil law in Romans 13:1ff and 1 Peter 2:13, and the only command laid upon Christians is they may not disobey God in obedience to the magistrate, even at great cost (e.g. Rev. 2:14;12:11)
    4. Even charges to keep the moral Law are addressed to Christians, whose duty is to obey (cf. WCF proof text XIX.5.f – Romans, Ephesians, 1 John are cited) – in each of the epistles, obedience is demanded of Christians in these local churches not to unbelieving Romans as the primary audience.
    5 The record of Paul’s entreaties to Felix, Festus, and Agrippa (‘the apostle to the Gentiles’) in Acts 24-26, Paul does not call these pagan magistrates to rule according to the OT Law. Peter and John make no mention of the Law to the ruling Jews in Acts 4. Peter again makes no mention of the Law or the priests violation of the Law in Acts 5. Only Stephen (not an Apostle in Acts 7) appeals to a kangaroo-court of Jewish usurpers to Rome’s magisterial authority accuses the Jews of breaking the law, but even this is in accord with the 1st use (to establish guilt). Nowhere where a pagan magistrate is addressed under the NT administration is a ruler called to rule according to OT Law. The only other violation of the Law that a magistrate is cited for in the NT is when John the Baptist cites Herod with adultery, and this is still technically under the administration of the OT Law Covenant.
    6.The Great commission in Matt 28 and (cf. Acts 1) speak of making disciples of the “nations” (Gr – ethne), which is more akin to ethnicity than it is to the nation-states or empires of the world, so the political order is not in the purview of the greek, and the the only ones who will be liable to the accountability structures of the church are believers. It is the disciples that are to be taught to obey in any rate not the unbelieving nations.

    You also have a whole heck of a lot of nerve accusing others of evasiveness here when the body of my response to you demonstrated that David was not absurd in thinking that the death penalty in the OT civil Law prefigured final judgment.

  549. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Reed, it’s not my understanding that “eye for and eye” was ever understood in such a wooden literalistic way, even by the Jews. Pouring acid in someone’s eyes doesn’t seem right to me, but I’m not an expert on applying the Law, nor do I know of the circumstances.. But thanks for thinking of me :)

  550. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Doug,

    The NT doesn’t distinguish between political and moral law, these are exegetical categories (rightly) derived from the OT. Aquinas was the first to assert a tripartite (Moral, civil, ceremonial) division of Law. All I was arguing is that if Ron wants to say that David was out to lunch, then he needs to assert that Carson is out to lunch. If he is going to do this then he needs to do his homework.

  551. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Jed: We must presume that all of God’s commandments are binding today unless or until we receive further revelation that either resends or modifies them. Once God has spoken, he need not repeat himself.

  552. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Doug,

    That actually sounds a whole heck of a lot like what the baptist argue. That isn’t even what is argued in WCF 29, so if you are operating off of that hermenutic you really do need to pay more heed to Carson’s exegesis.

  553. Ron said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:31 am

    It would be a whole lot easier if you would just prove your case, cite an example where the apostles seek to establish the Law as a political norm in the Roman empire.

    Jed, you’re proceeding on a false premise regarding silence and onus of proof. Tell me, is it a necessary condition for the law to be binding upon civil magistrates that the apostles sought to establish such laws? Do you really want to base your argument upon what the apostles did not do or say? I address such reasoning in post 54.

  554. Ron said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:33 am

    Doug,

    That actually sounds a whole heck of a lot like what the baptist argue.

    Jed,

    I think you have that backwards. Doug just argued for continuity, not discontinuity.

  555. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:13 am

    No Ron. That is where you are wrong. I gave you no less than 6 points to comprise a very rough sketch of an argument you have given no proof at all. I am inviting you to prove that your bark is at least as bad as your bite. So where’s your responses? Where are we to conclude that the NT argues that the OT Law is to figure into contemporary politics? At least rebut my points.

    And Doug makes the same argument that some ‘New Covenant Theologians’ and Carson makes, namely, that the Decalogue is only operative where repeated (ruling out Sabbath obligations usually). Doug was making an argument that is commonly used to pomote discontinuity regarding Sabbath among NCT-ers and non-Sabbatarians in the Reformed world. Wrong again.

    For all of your insistence on arguing the right way, you have a strange way of not arguing at all when substantive issues are brought to your attention. The ball is in your court Ron.

  556. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:15 am

    Nice pick up Ron! :) Yea Jed, You’ve got things backwards. You’re the guy sounding like a Baptist! R2K says, we must hear God repeat His Law, if we’re to believe His penal sanctions are binding today. The Presbyterian, over against the Baptist argument is, once God has spoken, it’s binding, unless God himself modifies or resends his commands with further revelation.

    That’s why we baptize our babies!

  557. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:22 am

    I’ll agree wlth this much Jed, that is a VERY rough sketch! LOL! I’ll let Ron clean your clock tomorrow. God bless you anyway, I’m going to bed. Let’s stay in the conversation. Iron sharpens iron!

  558. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Doug,

    Iron sharpens iron!

    Or dull objects just wear each other down. I think we’re iron, but the productivity of our arguments are saying otherwise. Get some rest amigo.

  559. Reed Here said,

    August 1, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Doug: interesting, real world example and all you’ve got is. “I’m no expert.” Why all the heat over something you’re no expert on? If your bellicose verbosity can’t be applied to real world examples then maybe its not worth all that much after all.

  560. TurretinFan said,

    August 1, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Zrim:

    I see you are continuing to excerpt quotations from DvD’s book. But the Gillespie quotation relates to the ontology of the magistracy. Whether or not DvD is misusing the quotation, you are misusing it to suggest that it supports your non-Reformed premise stated above.

    Indeed, at the end of the same chapter, Gillespie explains: “wherefore, though there be huge and vast differences between the Christian magistrate and the heathen magistrate, the former excelling the latter as much as light doth darkness, yet, in this point of the derivation and tenure of magistracy, they both are equally interested, and the Scripture showeth no difference as to that point.” This explains Gillespie’s earlier comment that was quoted by DvD and then posted without consideration of its context by you.

    -TurretinFan

  561. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Reed, so you would you have me to give a verdict, when I don’t “know” all that facts? Let me ask you something; is what the victim “thinks” germane to the Magistrates duty to enforce the Law? Does God’s Law ever ask the victim to gauge out an eye, let alone pour acid in someone’s eyes? Just on the face of it, this seems like an unlawful use of the law. The Magistrate is supposed a Minister of God’s wrath, meaning you don’t ask the poor blind women to enact her own revenge.

    I hope that helps

  562. TurretinFan said,

    August 1, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Let me be more specific:

    The idea that “civil life” is guided by the light of nature is an uncontroversial point. Both sides agree with this.

    The idea that “civil life” is not guided by biblical revelation is a point of controversy between Zrim2K (not sure about Hart2k – his affirmations and denials don’t address this, as far as I can see) and us.

    The idea that the light of nature is somehow a better guide than the light of Scripture on any subject on which Scripture speaks, including civil life, is seriously offensive to some of us.

    -TurretinFan

  563. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Jed, your “rough” sketch has point three backwards. No where in Romans 13 does Paul abrogate God’s Civil Law. In fact, Paul calls the Magistrate “ministers of God”! It should stand to reason, that if you’re a Minister of God, you should enforce God’s Law! So instead of helping R2K Romans 13 undermines it!

    Just look at history Jed, once the Roman Empire became “Christianized” and understood they’re duty as ministers of God to execute His wrath, what Law do you suppose they enforced? This is a no brainer Jed, God’s Law found in Holy Scriptures! How could you make such a blunder?

  564. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 1, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Picking up on the conversation in #464, Todd it appears you are in agreement with tenets 3,&4.

    It sounds like you are in general agreement with tenets 1 & 2, but you ask for some clarification. Let me interact a bit and perhaps the tenets will be sufficiently acceptable or they could be modified to your satisfaction.

    Your wrote:

    “1. The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.

    It depends what you mean by “public life.” The Bible instructs unbelievers to repent of their sins and trust in Christ for salvation. The Bible provides many lists of sins unbelievers must repent of, sins common to every man and common to all man’s endevours (including political endevours), found in Gal 5:19-21, I Cor 6:9&10, II Timothy 3:2-5, Rev 22:15, etc… Unbelievers are bound to repent of these sins and believe in the gospel. That is our (our meaning the visible church as she speaks authoritatively for Christ) only message to unbelievers. But if your affirmation means unbelievers are given a manual for statecraft in Scripture, and that magistrates are bound to enforce God’s law over man revealed in Scripture, and the church is to command the government to enforce God’s laws, this we deny.”

    “Public life” is intended to be equivalent to the “common realm” or “civil realm” described by Horton, Van Drunen, Clark ,et. al. That would include family, vocation, politics, the magistrate, i.e., life activity outside the gathered visible church. Is there a better term that you would think more accurately describes the area in which the Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers? It sounds from your answer above that the Bible perhaps *does* speak authoritatively to unbelievers in some areas of “public/common” life, but that authority stops when it comes to public policy/ statcraft?

    You then wrote:

    “2. The Bible provides standards for the church only.

    If by “church” you mean God’s people, then yes. The Bible is a covenantal book. The imperatives of Scripture flow from the indicatives of Scripture. Only those who first believe in Christ and are filled with the Spirit can obey God’s commands (John 15:5). To believe in Christ is the first command of God that can be obeyed – by God’s grace – faith is a gift. John 6:28&29 – “Then they said to him, `What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, `This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’” Now God’s standards for unbelievers are written on their hearts through the conscience, but even through outward restraint they can never truly follow God’s commands, as they are dead in sin.”

    When I say “church”, I mean *both* God’s people individually and the visible, institutional church. From your answer above, it doesn’t appear to me that this distinction makes any difference to affirm that the Bible provides the normative standards for the church “only”. If it is a covenant book, then wouldn’t you say it is providing the standards for God’s covenant people only, both individually and corporately?

  565. TurretinFan said,

    August 1, 2011 at 8:25 am

    “She chose mercy and didn’t follow through. Is she guilty of ignoring God’s law? Eye for eye after all.”

    No. There was only one case where satisfaction less than the judicial sanction was forbidden, the case of murder:

    Numbers 35:31 Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.

    Including manslaughter:

    Numbers 35:32 And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.

    Otherwise, there was no prohibition on victims receiving satisfaction instead.

    So, no – this woman’s mercy would not have been in violation of the Mosaic law.

    -TurretinFan

  566. Ron said,

    August 1, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Jed, you said earlier that “It would be a whole lot easier if you would just prove your case, cite an example where the apostles seek to establish the Law as a political norm in the Roman empire.”

    What you continue to misunderstand is that it is an invalid claim that theonomy must be proved by an appeal to the apostles’ teachings. That would be like arguing that the foundational precepts for infant baptism must be proved by an appeal to the apostles’ teachings. You underscored this misunderstanding when you claimed that Doug argued like a baptist when it was he who presupposed continuity rather than discontinuity.

    “I have never claimed to be a logician”

    Do you suppose that gives you a pass on putting forth an argument from which the conclusion logically follows from the premises without begging crucial premises?

    “1.: Jesus commissions the apostles to build his church basically outlining the three marks of the church (Outlined in BC Ch. 29).”

    The marks of the church do not pertain to civil magistrates. Accordingly, establishing the former does not negate the latter.

    “2. The apostles go on to abrogate the ceremonial law in Acts 10, where the kosher law was abrogated. The argument of Hebrews extends this argument to the whole sacrificial system (e.g. Hebrews 10:1-22)”

    The civil code is not the sacrificial system, accordingly by demonstrating that the sacrificial system has been abrogated is not sufficient to show that civil code has been abrogated.

    “3. The apostles abrogate the civil law in Romans 13:1ff and 1 Peter 2:13, and the only command laid upon Christians is they may not disobey God in obedience to the magistrate, even at great cost (e.g. Rev. 2:14;12:11)”

    The requirement to submit to government does not address the precepts by which we’re to be governed anymore than the requirement for wives to submit to husbands addresses the manner in which husbands are to behave toward wives.”

    “4. Even charges to keep the moral Law are addressed to Christians, whose duty is to obey (cf. WCF proof text XIX.5.f – Romans, Ephesians, 1 John are cited) – in each of the epistles, obedience is demanded of Christians in these local churches not to unbelieving Romans as the primary audience.”

    Obedience to the moral law does not speak to the question of moral obligation to civil magistrates.

    “5 The record of Paul’s entreaties to Felix, Festus, and Agrippa (‘the apostle to the Gentiles’) in Acts 24-26, Paul does not call these pagan magistrates to rule according to the OT Law. Peter and John make no mention of the Law to the ruling Jews in Acts 4.”

    How does this synopsis refute theonomy? Paul spoke to Felix about righteousness, self-control and the impending judgment, which made Felix afraid and became the occasion for many future (and unrecorded) discussions over the next two years. Festus sought out charges against Paul. The accusers brought many charges that could not be proved. Paul vindicated himself and appealed to Ceasar’s court, and Festus acknowledged that Paul had done nothing worthy of death, as did Agrippa later. Again, how does Paul vindication of himself refute theonomy?

    I’m a theonomist and I would not appeal to OT law if on trial. I’d work within the God ordained system of government – the rules I was to play by.

    “Peter again makes no mention of the Law or the priests violation of the Law in Acts 5. Only Stephen (not an Apostle in Acts 7) appeals to a kangaroo-court of Jewish usurpers to Rome’s magisterial authority accuses the Jews of breaking the law, but even this is in accord with the 1st use (to establish guilt). Nowhere where a pagan magistrate is addressed under the NT administration is a ruler called to rule according to OT Law. The only other violation of the Law that a magistrate is cited for in the NT is when John the Baptist cites Herod with adultery, and this is still technically under the administration of the OT Law Covenant.”

    Same as above

    “6.The Great commission in Matt 28 and (cf. Acts 1) speak of making disciples of the “nations” (Gr – ethne), which is more akin to ethnicity than it is to the nation-states or empires of the world, so the political order is not in the purview of the greek. and the the only ones who will be liable to the accountability structures of the church are believers. It is the disciples that are to be taught to obey in any rate not the unbelieving nations.”

    All people are commanded to be disciples. Accordingly, all people are commanded to obey the whole counsel of God. The question is whether the whole counsel of God, which Paul refers to in 2 Timothy 3:16, includes precepts for people who are enrolled in the service of civil magistrate.

    What is most striking to me is that you think these points of yours have not been addressed throughout this thread. In post 553 I link back to post 54, which is where I show how hazardous it is to argue from silence.

  567. Zrim said,

    August 1, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Tfan (re #562), the point has been made before that general and special revelation do not contradict one another but are instead in harmony because they are both authored by God. It is unclear to me how you get from that that the light of nature is somehow “better” than the light of Scripture on any subject on which Scripture speaks, including civil life. It isn’t a matter of being qualitatively better. It’s simply a matter of prudence and what book is appropriate for which sphere. General revelation orders general life and special revelation orders ecclesiastical life; general revelation may be employed for ecclesiastical life and special revelation may be employed for civil life, since overlap is inevitable, but in the end the propriety of which book corresponds to which sphere has to be respected. From where I sit, it’s actually the theonomist on one side who wants special revelation to swallow up general revelation in the public square and the legal secularist on the other who wants special revelation to sit down and shut up when ordering common life. But it’s the 2ker or Christian secularist who simply wants the rules to be followed about books and spheres even as he allows for some interplay.

    So, I have to say, to the extent that he thinks special revelation is somehow how “better than” general revelation, and for all his conceding that the idea that civil life is guided by the light of nature is uncontroversial, I really don’t see what keeps the non-2ker from simply jumping roughshod over general revelation and going right to special when it comes to civil life. Why waste time with general when special is superior? But the 2k point is that God authored both books for different ends and both are entirely sufficient for their respective purposes. You claim to be “seriously offended” by the idea that the light of nature is somehow superior to the light of Scripture on whatever subject the latter speaks. That makes sense, but hopefully the point about propriety over against quality helps. But I also have to say, the suggestion on your part that God’s general revelation is somehow insufficient to do its general task is bothersome. Deficiency lies in the sinner to discern, not in God’s books to reveal.

  568. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 1, 2011 at 10:02 am

    It’s simply a matter of prudence and what book is appropriate for which sphere. General revelation orders general life and special revelation orders ecclesiastical life; general revelation may be employed for ecclesiastical life and special revelation may be employed for civil life, since overlap is inevitable, but in the end the propriety of which book corresponds to which sphere has to be respected.

    You start by stating which book is “appropriate” for which sphere: Gen Rev. for general life and special rev. for ecclesiastical life. That suggests a prescriptive *ought*, such that doing otherwise would be “inappropriate”.

    Yet you concede that special revelation may be employed for civil life due to “overlap”. So why do you still argue against the *precept* that the Word of God speaks normatively to civil life?

  569. Reed Here said,

    August 1, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Mark: you did pick up on Zrim’s “may”? Doesn’t that detract from the force of the “ought” inference you are hearing?

    I’m not quibbling about your last point. Zrim ought to answer that one. I question whether or not the “ought” is a necessary inference to draw from Zrim’s comment.

  570. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 1, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Yes, Reed, I did see the word “may”. I also saw the word “appropriate” in the assignment of the 2 books to their respective different realms. Hopefully the answer to my question will provide clarification on the usage of those terms.

  571. Cris Dickason said,

    August 1, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Jed @ 548 Appreciate your outlined points. I would rephrase #2:

    The apostles recognize the abrogation of the ceremonial law.

    I would rephrase # 3:

    The apostles recognize OT civil law is not binding on Rome or any other geo-poitical entity.

    Sorry to be picky on the terminology, Jed, because I’m in basic agreement with your position as in 548 and #539 with Carson’s insights are helpful. Even Carson is striving for a redemptive-historical understanding of Israel and the progression of God’s words and deeds found in the OT.

    In further trying to reflect on the issue of OT civil law and the nations I would offer the following to all, not just Jed.

    Israel as an independent, self-governing body (geo-political body) is done at or with the exile. Look at what transpires. The Davidic/Solomonic empire splits into the 2 kingdoms, Northern & Southern, Israel and Judah(includes Benjamin). Israel goes into exile 1st, and is followed by Judah. The independent, sovereign nation is gone.

    Who comes out of the exile? Basically Judah, but not as a sovereign nation. Scripture follows the restoration of a community in the former territory of Judah/Benjamin, the area around Jerusalem. The post-exilic community is completely dependent on Babylon. Note that in all the Ezra-Nehemiah narratives, and even in Esther, the Exiles never plead their case as “we are the favored nation.” Esther makes simple plea: “you would have my family and my people destroyed?” Esther argues on personal grounds, not moral, religious or theological grounds, nor on divine right or place for her people. It takes some time for the details to all fall into place, but we know from the Passion Week narratives of all four Gospels that when the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus Christ executed, they had no authority to do so on their own as the entity of Judea. The Jews are dependent upon imperial tolerance to continue to exist in the open… Just as the NT Church will be by A.D. 70, by which time all would agree that Christianity is not a subset of Judaism.

    To summarize in geographic terms the kingdom of Israel devolves to Israel and Judah. Israel & Judah both go into captivity. While representatives of all the tribes return from exile, they settle mostly around Jerusalem as the Judean province. Many choose to not return, and thus you have Jewish communities continuing in the Tigris-Euphrates region. They are Jewish communities, not Israelite.

    In terms of faith/religion, the religion of Israel goes into exile, but the Jewish religion is what comes out of exile. This is clearly the case by the time of Christ’s incarnation.

    -=Cris=-

  572. Cris Dickason said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Doug @ 556 says The Presbyterian, over against the Baptist argument is, once God has spoken, it’s binding, unless God himself modifies or resends his commands with further revelation. This is just too much.

    Just what do you think is meant by Old covenant and New covenant, by shadow and fulfillment, or shadow and reality, or promise and fulfillment? Just what do you think is going on with the replacement of Israel with the Church? Just what do you think is going on when we see the ministry, the work of the Davidic Messiah, great David’s greater Son, as it is in the Gospels and as apostles give us theological reflection and application in the Epistles? Have you never read Epistle to the Hebrews, full of continuity and discontinuity, full of contrast between what can be shaken and what can’t (cf. Heb 12:18-24).

    Just what do you make of this?

    ESV Act 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

    Does anyone dispute this?: The kingdom (national sovereignty) is not restored to Israel. The Church of the Resurrected and Ascended Lord Jesus is the new Israel of God, and it transcends geographic and ethnic bounds (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, end o’ the earth).

    -=Cris=-

  573. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    @Cris: says: The apostles recognize OT civil law is not binding on Rome or any other geo-poetical entity.

    Sorry Cris, but your conclusion is patently absurd! Scripture no where makes such an outrageous claim. To believe this nonsense (which is a conceptual contradiction) you have concocted a convoluted argument from silence, which is always fallacious! Since morality and justice are coterminous, they are not subject to change.

    So of course God’s moral standards found in the Penal sanctions are still binding, unless or until we receive further revelation either modifying or resending His commandments”. God Word does neither. Even elementary logic should have told you, you’re on shaky ground. What’s most galling is the ease with which you impugn the very wisdom of God, having the temerity to abrogate God’s commandments (in your own mind) with an argument with silence. Shame on you!

  574. Reed Here said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Cris: welcome to the fun.

  575. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Moreover Cris: The theonomists I’ve read here at Green Baggins, are light years ahead of you, in understanding typology. Of course the New Israel transcends geographic boundaries, but that’s not the point, nor has it ever been. That has nothing to do, with “how” nations should punish crime. Shouldn’t all nations submit to God’s Law? Isn’t Jesus the King of Kings? That should be the biggest no brainer of all time; of course!

    You see Cris, it’s either Theonomy or Autonomy, take your pick. I realize Hart is fond of saying that Natural Law is God’s Law, but why in world would you choose a sin obscured view (general revelation or natural law) of the same message, when we have the revealed Word of the Lord?

    Or is God’s Law really a different Law than natural Law? If you’re Darryl Hart the answer is a resounding YES! Or else he would be for the Law of God revealed in Holy Scritpure. Sadly, he’s not :(

  576. David R. said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Doug,

    “So of course God’s moral standards found in the Penal sanctions are still binding, unless or until we receive further revelation either modifying or resending His commandments.”

    God’s moral standards are always binding of course, but penal sanctions are another matter. It seems that theonomists always confuse the two.

  577. dgh said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Ron wrote:

    “I find it more than a bit passing strange that you would call me on not representing my opponent’s position “correctly” when (a) I have and (b) Hart never does. It’s that sort of stacked deck that has restrained certain godly men from posting on this site.”

    It must be great to be white all the time and to have an opponent who is clearly black all the time.

  578. dgh said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Doug, last I checked, Mormons and Roman Catholics worshiped not simply in their heads but in their bodies within real buildings.

    So again, why not go after the root of sodomy?

  579. Zrim said,

    August 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    You start by stating which book is “appropriate” for which sphere: Gen Rev. for general life and special rev. for ecclesiastical life. That suggests a prescriptive *ought*, such that doing otherwise would be “inappropriate”.

    Yet you concede that special revelation may be employed for civil life due to “overlap”. So why do you still argue against the *precept* that the Word of God speaks normatively to civil life?

    Mark, maybe an example would help. If one wants to make the point in civil discourse that it is a better thing to emphasize duties people have to one another rather than individual rights to be protected, I see no problem referring to the second greatest commandment, since that is an ethic which applies to all without exception. But that seems to be an altogether thing from saying that we should deliberately order our public life based upon the ethic Jesus explicitly gives in the NT. That actually does seem inappropriate and something that ought not be done because while there is an ethic that overlaps and generally applies, the Bible, quite simply, is the church’s book. It really doesn’t belong to the common sphere any more than the Decalogue was for Israel’s neighbors (who were not brought out of the land of Egypt).

    So once it is conceded that the Bible norms civil life then I don’t know what protects against things like civil religion, social gospel or cultural Christianity. And are judges to suspend punishment on criminals in light of the command to turn the other cheek and forgive enemies? What theonomy seems to forget is that Jesus is greater than Moses and his commandments to lay down rights, shoulder crosses and let wrongs go isn’t only harder to do but makes hay out of the civil life—which is normed by law—we still have to live. That is to say, if the Bible, which is finally about grace, norms civil life.

  580. Zrim said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    You see Cris, it’s either Theonomy or Autonomy, take your pick. I realize Hart is fond of saying that Natural Law is God’s Law, but why in world would you choose a sin obscured view (general revelation or natural law) of the same message, when we have the revealed Word of the Lord?

    And there it is. One of God’s books, general revelation, is deficient (so go with special revelation). But, Doug, the deficiency lies within sinners, not within the books God writes. Have you ever considered how poorly sinners also read special revelation? Why, some even think justification is by faith and works. And that’s just for starters. Some read all sorts of wild heresies and justify all sorts of wild things by it. So how does special revelation overcome human sin? It doesn’t. It’s not magic. Theonomy is yet another manifestation of trying to overcome total depravity. It sounds really good and pious because it waves the Bible around as that prescription. But until it takes seriously the reality of abiding sin even within those who are also indwelt, it really is as misguided as any form of propserity.

  581. Reed Here said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Doug: I reject theonomy. According to your comment to Cris, my only other option is autonomy. Does that mean I’m going to hell?

  582. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    @David R. It’s not good enough for you to *say* I’ve confused the two, as if morality and justice found in the penal sanctions could be torn apart, or temporal. Once God has spoken on how he feels a certain crime should be punished, then that’s the final Word, unless God changes it himself. Arguments from silence are always fallacious. And that’s all you’ve given us, is a highly dubious argument from silence.

    Must God have to repeat himself, before your bend your knee to his will?

  583. Cris Dickason said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Doug

    I hope I’m not guilty of misusing or making light of God’s Word (see Larger Catechism 113), but 1st to your impassioned question is Jesus the King of Kings, I will affirm: John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.” And remember Acts 1:6-9 cited above: There is no restoration of a kingdom to Israel on this earth, and so no re-implementation of Israel’s civil laws.

    As for your “Theonomy or Autonomy” choice – I choose neither of them as you define them. I reject Theonomy as a misguided hermeneutic program, a mistaken application of the Westminster Standards, and a misguided way to relate the Church to our surrounding society.

    I reject autonomy as I confess and submit to our Lord and his Word. I am not bound by God’s Word to accept your alternative to autonomy.

    Here’s a few bonafides – I knew Rushdoony personally. I was born & raised in Southern Calilf, where Rush was active in my college days. I knew Greg Bahnsen, interacted with him, had his seal of approval on critiques of MG Kline’s work written in my college days, while Greg B was also in & out of Southern California. I was best man at David Chilton’s wedding, where Rushdoony was one of the officiating ministers (the David Chilton, now with the Lord, who wrote for Rushdoony and North, etc). I am quite familiar with Theonomy, for all my respect and friendship with Greg Bahnsen, my deep, deep friendship with David Chilton, I learned to set aside that Theonomic approach as less than optimal in explicating the Scriptures.

    I’ve guessed I not learned enough humility or thick skin, because you’ve really irked me young man.

    -=Cris=-

  584. Cris Dickason said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    That 1st paragraph should end, And remember Acts 1:6-9 cited above: There is no restoration of a kingdom to Israel on this earth, and so no re-implementation of Israel’s civil laws.

  585. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Reed, I’m not God, nor do I judge the heart but I consider you a brother in Christ. I would just say you’re confused, after all, you’ve admitted you were a D- student. Nevertheless, I consider you a precious, albeit, confused brother in Christ, which is why I’m taking the time to explain what I believe, is an important truth in God’s Word. Morality and justice are coterminous.

    Moreover, I think all Christians struggle with submitting our whole minds to the Word of God. We all battle the flesh, amen? Yet, aren’t we commanded to renew our minds daily? To what end? So we aren’t conformed to the world! Let’s face it Reed, all Christians to some degree or another are still conformed to the world. Our sanctification is an ongoing process.

    The hatred for Theonomy, in the Church *in my opinion*, stems from our minds and attitudes being conformed to the world, and *not* being transformed by God’s revealed Word. I’m as guilty as anyone else of resisting and not applying truths in the Bible to my mind and heart. I pray that God would sanctify us all in the truth found in His Holy Scripture, and when it’s revealed, that we would bend our knee, and say, “if God says it’s so, then that’s the way it should be”. End of story.

    I hope I didn’t offend you Reed :)

  586. David R. said,

    August 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Doug (#582),

    Just wondering, did Calvin fail to “bend his knee to God’s will” when he wrote:

    Now, as it is evident that the law of God which we call moral, is nothing else than the testimony of natural law, and of that conscience which God has engraven on the minds of men, the whole of this equity of which we now speak is prescribed in it. Hence it alone ought to be the aim, the rule, and the end of all laws. Wherever laws are formed after this rule, directed to this aim, and restricted to this end, there is no reason why they should be disapproved by us, however much they may differ from the Jewish law, or from each other (August. de Civit. Dei, Lib. 19 c. 17). The law of God forbids to steal. The punishment appointed for theft in the civil polity of the Jews may be seen in Exodus 22. Very ancient laws of other nations punished theft by exacting the double of what was stolen, while subsequent laws made a distinction between theft manifest and not manifest. Other laws went the length of punishing with exile, or with branding, while others made the punishment capital. Among the Jews, the punishment of the false witness was to “do unto him as he had thought to have done with his brother” (Deut. 19:19). In some countries, the punishment is infamy, in others hanging, in others crucifixion. All laws alike avenge murder with blood, but the kinds of death are different. In some countries, adultery was punished more severely, in others more leniently. Yet we see that amidst 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 of 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. There may be a country which, if murder were not visited with fearful punishments, would instantly become a prey to robbery and slaughter. There may be an age requiring that the severity of punishments should be increased. If the state is in troubled condition, those things from which disturbances usually arise must be corrected by new edicts. In time of war, civilisation would disappear amid the noise of arms, were not men overawed by an unwonted severity of punishment. In sterility, in pestilence, were not stricter discipline employed, all things would grow worse. One nation might be more prone to a particular vice, were it not most severely repressed. How malignant were it, and invidious of the public good, to be offended at this diversity, which is admirably adapted to retain the observance of the divine law. 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” (Institutes 4.20.16, emphasis mine).

  587. Reed Here said,

    August 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Doug: I never admitted I was a D- student. I never ever told you what kind of grades I got, in any schooling I’ve taken. You presume way too much familiarity brother.

    Hatred of theonomy??? You equate disagreement with hatred? Well I guess this makes sense. After all you only see two choices elsewhere, theonomy or autonomy.

    You can’t on the one hand offer a self-intflicted anathema to a brother and then with the other hand opine, “well, I’m not God.” If you are right, theonomy or autonomy, and I reject theonomy, by your own definition of TRUTH then in rejecting theonomy I MUST be choosing autonomy. Do you think God is going to let anyone into heaven who chooses autonomy? Be consistent with you your words Doug.

    As to offending me, I believe you mean that. Given your previous attempts at playing nice, only to go back to maligning your opponent’s words, I sincerely wonder about your understanding of holiness.

    Praying for your sanctification, because I think you are seriously wrong. Praying for my sanctification, because I’m grateful I’m not saddled with the confusion of the system you espouse as truth.

  588. todd said,

    August 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Mark wrote, “It sounds from your answer above that the Bible perhaps *does* speak authoritatively to unbelievers in some areas of “public/common” life, but that authority stops when it comes to public policy/ statcraft?”

    Mark, sorry for the delay, my golf day, and golf always takes precedence over debating theonomists. Anyway, to answer your questions, the Bible has one message to unbelievers – the gospel – I don’t know of a second message.

    “If it is a covenant book, then wouldn’t you say it is providing the standards for God’s covenant people only, both individually and corporately?”

    The standards of the Bible for the unbeliever is the moral law that binds him in sin. Since we (non-theonomists) do not believe that Israel’s penal code is part of the moral law in the conscience, the unbelieving magistrate will not be held accountable for not implementing the Mosaic civil sanctions, but he will be held accountable for his breaking of the moral law. And therefore, the commands of the Bible are for God’s people, the church, those God has called out of darkness into the light so they can now obey his commands.

  589. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Cris, I am soooo glad, I didn’t write what I was going to write earlier. I might have irked you even more. Okay, a lot more! :) By the way, I’m almost 54 so I’m hardly a young man.

    Bonafides aside, you haven’t given me a Scriptural rational for laying Theonomy aside. Other than a few paltry arguments from silence. If you could give me anything substantial, I could be swayed in a heart beat. It’s not easy standing on God’s word in today’s culture. I realize theonomy makes me look ridiculous to non Christians. The sad and heartbreaking thing is hearing ridicule from fellow believers, who mock and disparage the notion of God’s penal sanctions being valid today. Cris, the longer this debate drags on, the more convinced I am that God’s moral standards are still binding unless or until you can show me something more, than arguments from silence, which even you know is always fallacious. Cris, how about coming back over and stand of the Rock with me?

  590. David R. said,

    August 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Ron,

    That one thinks “the OT penal sanctions typify final judgment” does not somehow prove (i.e. logically “imply”) “that the OT penal sanction were not intended as an example to be followed by every nation.” Probably what you would like to say is that “given” the OT sanctions typify the final judgment, then “the OT sanctions are not intended as an example to be followed by every nation.”

    Yes, that is not just what I’d like to say, but what I actually said (I think): “I actually think that if the OT penal sanctions typify the final judgment, then that DOES imply that the OT penal sanctions were not intended as an example to be followed by every nation.

    That conclusion, however, would require a few more premises. For one thing, one would need to establish (and not just subjectively “think”) that the OT sanctions typify the final judgment, for thinking it is true and then repeating it over and over to oneself does not make it true.

    Right, that’s the issue on the table. But if it could be shown that the OT penal sanctions were designed to typify final judgment, then the theonomic cry of “theonomy or autonomy” would fall to the ground, since God’s law for Israel would then not be His law for the nations.

    Secondly, allowing for such typology, one would have to establish from Scripture the conditions for abrogating a shadow of something that has not yet been fulfilled. Although the cross put away the ceremonial law of types and shadows, it certainly did not fulfill civil justice, nor was it intended to do so.

    The fulfillment has already been mentioned above, in comment #509 (see WCF 8.4). “[Christ] was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death …”

    Finally, one would have to square the hermeneutical arbitrariness of allowing some OT sanctions to be modeled in societies today but not all OT sanctions. Given the typology argument, all sanctions that resemble OT sanctions would be disallowed. Or are you saying that we may have such laws as long as we don’t justify them with Scripture?

    I’m saying that the OT sanctions were not intended to be a model for every nation. And since that is not their purpose, then for a civil magistrate to model his laws after them–thinking that his laws are better because they are God’s laws–would be misguided.

    No, I find it absurd that the OT penal sanctions are types of the final judgment. Consider, the OT sanctions did not typify the final judgment because many, arguably most, transgressions under the law were not to be punished by OT sanctions; yet at the final judgment all thoughts, words and deeds will be accounted for, as well as things left undone.

    Are you really asserting that OT penal sanctions cannot typify eschatological sanctions because while the one punished only outward deeds, the other also will punish thoughts? Maybe I’ve missed your point here.

    Moreover, most of the sanctions that were punishable under Moses did not come close to calling down fire from heaven, which would have been the case given such typology.

    I think all parties agree that Israel’s exile from the Land typifies final judgment, but that was not a calling down of fire from heaven either. But why do you think that calling down fire is a requirement? That seems arbitrary.

    Moreover, if the OT sanctions were intended to typify the final judgment, then we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion for we should expect that God would have ensured the premature end of history that such a typological interpretation implies in precept.

    Huh?

    Finally, there is no hint of God chastising his ancient people for not bringing down hell-fire for all transgressions, yet why would there be such a hint from God given that he required the opposite(!) – just, wise and temperate penalties for an age of redemption, which still abides.

    Hmm, I guess I’m still missing why you “find it absurd that the OT penal sanctions are types of the final judgment.”

  591. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    @Reed: I was using autonomy in the broad sense, in that we all still have autonomous reasoning’s. We all have darkened minds; even Christian’s have antinomian and autonomous reasoning’s. IMHO. That’s what sanctification is slowly dealing with, as God transforms our minds, more and more to the image of Christ. So when I say you’re autonomous, I’m only speaking in regards as to how “we” ought to govern civil society. I’m certainly not questioning your faith in Christ. Now if I wind up being proven wrong in this issue, then I will be the one who needs my *autonomous* mind transformed in comprehending God’s true will for civil society. We both can’t be right. One of us is in error.

    By the way Reed, a couple years ago, long before I started posting here at Green Baggins, Douglas Wilson made the comment, “why should C- students get to judge everyone else’s papers”. That’s when I remember you admitting you were even worse than that, and if not for the mercy of your professors, you wouldn’t have passed. I could have sworn you said you were D-. If I got you mixed up with someone else, or you were kidding, and then please forgive me.
    .

  592. David R. said,

    August 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    In my second response to Ron in my comment above (#590), where I said that “the theonomic cry of ‘theonomy or autonomy’ would fall to the ground, since God’s law for Israel would then not be His law for the nations,” by “law” I of course meant civil law.

  593. Ron said,

    August 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    But if it could be shown that the OT penal sanctions were designed to typify final judgment, then the theonomic cry of “theonomy or autonomy” would fall to the ground, since God’s law for Israel would then not be His law for the nations.

    David R.,

    Two things must be shown – one is that they typified the final judgment and the other is that such typology precludes the books of the law from being the standard for all nations. In other words, after establishing the former, you must then show that the former is mutually exclusive to the latter. That’s a pretty tall order.

    The fulfillment has already been mentioned above, in comment #509 (see WCF 8.4). “[Christ] was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death …”

    When we say that Christ fulfilled the law on behalf of sinners, we don’t mean that there are no temporal consequences left for transgressing the law whether personal or judicial (let alone ecclesiastical or civil). Certainly you are not suggesting that Christ fulfilled the temporal consequences for our transgressions in this life, whether those transgressions are sins or crimes. Put another way, does Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice satisfy the requirement for church censures? Of course not, for in fact R2K suggests that civil sanctions are swallowed up in church censures, which are necessary and perpetual. So naturally, the cross does not rid us of the need for judicial sanctions. Moreover, are we to think that Christ satisfied the civil code for only the elect? After all, the same chapter affirms particular redemption. So, if we’re to apply the Confession as you have, we could just as easily conclude that the civil code is only binding upon the non-elect since Christ fulfilled the law only for the elect. In other words, however you want to take “fulfilled” you’re going to have to apply that fulfillment only to the elect.

    Are you really asserting that OT penal sanctions cannot typify eschatological sanctions because while the one punished only outward deeds, the other also will punish thoughts? Maybe I’ve missed your point here.

    One of my points was that if the OT sanctions typified the final judgment, then we would expect all transgressions to be indexed to a civil sanction, for at the final judgment such will be the case – all transgressions will be judged. The civil code does not address most transgressions, making it a poor example of the final judgment.

    That’s probably enough for now.

  594. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    David R. So if God’s *civil* Law fell to the ground, why does Dr Hart feel the need to call it the same Law? Why can’t he admit we have a different standard today, when it comes to socio-political ethics, and be done with it? Why insist on calling General revelation or natural Law, the *same* Law of God? If, as you’ve just admitted, God’s civil law fell to the ground and is to be done with? Why can’t Hart just say, YES we have two different standards!

  595. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 1, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Mark, sorry for the delay, my golf day, and golf always takes precedence over debating theonomists.

    I understand. Although I don’t know where you are debating a theonomist, I agree that golf takes precedence. That’s what I was doing on Saturday instead of discussing proposed R2k tenets. So now the pressing question I have is this:

    Did you shoot under 86?

    Todd, you then wrote:

    Anyway, to answer your questions, the Bible has one message to unbelievers – the gospel – I don’t know of a second message.

    Which message includes the call to repent of sin that transgresses the moral law codified in Scripture {per what you say in this quote immediately below}?

    “The standards of the Bible for the unbeliever is the moral law that binds him in sin. Since we (non-theonomists) do not believe that Israel’s penal code is part of the moral law in the conscience, the unbelieving magistrate will not be held accountable for not implementing the Mosaic civil sanctions, but he will be held accountable for his breaking of the moral law.

    If the Bible does have binding standards for unbelievers {including the magistrate} to conform to the moral law revealed in scripture, then help me making sense of this last statement of yours:

    And therefore, the commands of the Bible are for God’s people, the church, those God has called out of darkness into the light so they can now obey his commands.

  596. todd said,

    August 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Mark,

    As for 86, I wish, mid-nineties on my good days, which today was. As for the last statement, the standard of the unbeliever’s judgment is found in Scripture, i.e., the moral law, but the Lord does not command unbelievers to obey the moral law outside of Christ is my point.

  597. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Chris (571),

    Your critique is fair, and I appreciate the feedback. I would qualify the story of how Jews applied issues pertaining to civil law: it appears that even under the reign of occupying forces there was some magisterial authority consigned to the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin stones Stephen, seeks to stone the adulteress in the debated John 8 passage. But, yes the actual level of discretion left to the Jews with regards to civil enforcement is not a static reality. So broadly, I would say you are correct. I was simply using WCF proof texts to demonstrate our own confessional witness to the abrogation of the civil Law. Judaism is tricky on all accounts though, and WCF proof texts don’t always paint a robust picture.

  598. David R. said,

    August 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Doug (#594),

    Are you really asking me, or are those rhetorical questions? If you’re really asking me, then can you please cite relevant quotes so I’ll know to what you’re referring? Thanks.

  599. Richard Hardy said,

    August 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Chris D.,

    All because you have foresworn Rushdoony, Bahnsen, and Chilton doesn’t really advance any truth claims. It merely means that you knew them and put aside their teachings for whatever reason.

    Your appeal to Acts 1:6-9 does not prove that there is no restoration of the Kingdom to the Church at some future point. All Acts 1:6-9 proves is that the restoration in question wasn’t to happen at that time. Now, since in a postmillennial (i.e. — Biblical) reading since there is a restoration of the already present Kingdom in the future then it stands to reason that the laws of Israel would be restored as well so that the knowledge of the Lord (and His Law-Word) would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

    Also the old misinterpreted canard about “My Kingdom is not of this world” was ably handled by Rushdoony on more than one occasion. Certainly if you were conversant w/ RJR or Bahnsen you would know that they more than ably handled that misplaced objection.

    Blessings Chris from one old codger to another,

  600. Cris Dickason said,

    August 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    All – If you’ll permit a word of advice from a somewhat older elder… This is to many of this topic’s participants:

    Please pause and reflect before posting. Are you posting in a combative mode? This is not about scoring points – neither with your supporters nor against those holding to different positions.

    You men with children still living at home (or grandchildren visiting): is this how you want them to see you behaving? There is some very petty language flying around. You don’t want to start taking to your family the way you’re “talking” here, I hope!

    Make no mistake, I’m not saying we can’t have an exchange of opinions and debate (the hosts/moderators obviously allow for that), but let’s engage in a somewhat more elevated fashion. I’m proudly one of Machen’s Warrior Children, but we should all take note that 5-Star-General Machen never stooped to the kind of insulting rhetoric, or juvenile arguments that some of us around here have. I include myself in this exhortation.

    Some of you are elders or deacons – take heed to your office. Some of you may aspire to office, you too, take heed to 1 Tim 3:3 – “not quarrelsome.”

    -=Cris=-

  601. TurretinFan said,

    August 1, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Jed:

    You wrote: “I was simply using WCF proof texts to demonstrate our own confessional witness to the abrogation of the civil Law. Judaism is tricky on all accounts though, and WCF proof texts don’t always paint a robust picture.”

    The difference between expiration and abrogation is an important difference. The WCF teaches the former, not the latter. I suppose, however, that you are actually arguing for the latter, in which case it seems you are arguing for a position in conflict with the WCF (as it stands).

    Have I correctly understood your position?

    -TurretinFan

  602. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Cris,

    Good word of caution Cris, I will try to heed your wisdom, since I tend to get carried away more than most. (Sorry gang) Please let me ask you some questions?

    When did you lay down your theonomic convictions?

    How long were you theonomic?

    Did I understand you to say, that at one time you critiqed Kline, for Bahnsen?

    Do you stand by your critique, or say Kline was in the right?

    Could you please give us or “me” some story line to show us how your thoughts progressed over the years, and what finally won you over..

    Thank in advance,

  603. TurretinFan said,

    August 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Doug Sowers:

    You may have misremembered what Reed wrote here:

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/even-d-students-have-a-calling/

    And let me also suggest that it is not good etiquette (or good strategy) to rub Reed’s nose in humble admissions he has made. May I encourage the “Calvin 2k” crowd (as a member) to refocus on the theological issues and away from the personal issues.

    -TurretinFan

  604. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Yes I didn’t quite get that right.

    @Reed: Please forgive me Reed; your humble admission of your GPA shows you to be the better man than me. And for me to dredge it up in such a public way was uncharitable. (And not even get it right) While it’s no excuse, I was frustrated with you pinning me down, so I lashed back. So please forgive my dredging something up that would only make you look bad. It was mean spirited.

  605. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 1, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Todd, I’m guessing you just golf on more difficult courses than I do.

    I’m thinking I have just one more question and then I might be able to re-draft tenet #1 to make it more satisfactory. You answered me:

    the standard of the unbeliever’s judgment is found in Scripture, i.e., the moral law,but the Lord does not command unbelievers to obey the moral law outside of Christ is my point.

    This “moral law” that the Lord does not command obedience from unbelievers: are you referring specifically to natural law in distinction from the Decalogue, {or do you have in mind both, with no distinction necessary for your proposition?}.

  606. Reed Here said,

    August 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Doug: the point of the post was not to admit me being a D- student :-) The “D student” reference was a humorous attempt to chide D. Wilson who criticized his interlocutors as “C” students.

    Your apology is appreciated. I’ve still not told you my GPA. It was not the point of the post.

  607. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    TFan, (603)

    Yes, you are correct, I used the wrong term, and my arguments are more along the lines of expiration, thanks for the heads up.

    Also, thanks for the redirect (603), I think we all have strong convictions on the issue, but there is a difference in attacking the position and the man. I’ll try to keep the same principles in mind as well.

  608. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Ron (566)

    I am not going to get to a response until later. I have no problem offering reasonable arguments, but your initial request for a syllogism seems silly given the fact that you haven’t been framing your arguments as such. Let’s just demand for well reasoned, common sense arguments since that is what we are aiming for on this thread. That was the whole spirit behind my eschewing the role of logician. I’ll simply outline my position, delving into the OT next.

  609. David R. said,

    August 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Ron (#593),

    Thanks for responding.

    Two things must be shown – one is that they typified the final judgment and the other is that such typology precludes the books of the law from being the standard for all nations. In other words, after establishing the former, you must then show that the former is mutually exclusive to the latter. That’s a pretty tall order.

    Agreed with your two things, though I’m not sure it’s such a tall order to show that the one (once established) would preclude the other.

    When we say that Christ fulfilled the law on behalf of sinners, we don’t mean that there are no temporal consequences left for transgressing the law whether personal or judicial (let alone ecclesiastical or civil)…. So naturally, the cross does not rid us of the need for judicial sanctions.

    Agreed.

    Moreover, are we to think that Christ satisfied the civil code for only the elect?

    I’m not sure what you mean. If by “civil code” you mean the Mosaic civil code as it obligated Israelites who were under it, then no, of course Christ did not satisfy for that. If you mean that which the Mosaic civil code prefigured, then yes, Christ satisfied the justice of the Father on behalf of the elect only (WCF 8.5). If you mean ordinary civil penalties, then no, Christ did not satisfy for those on behalf of anyone.

    So, if we’re to apply the Confession as you have, we could just as easily conclude that the civil code is only binding upon the non-elect since Christ fulfilled the law only for the elect. In other words, however you want to take “fulfilled” you’re going to have to apply that fulfillment only to the elect.

    I’m afraid I’m not catching your point here.

    One of my points was that if the OT sanctions typified the final judgment, then we would expect all transgressions to be indexed to a civil sanction, for at the final judgment such will be the case – all transgressions will be judged.

    I still don’t see why this has to be the case.

    Ron, Deuteronomy 21:22-23 says: “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance” (NASB)

    Can we at least agree that this one particular Mosaic civil sanction prefigured Christ’s sufferings? (It’s also interesting, in light of this discussion, that this passage immediately follows the one prescribing the death penalty for rebellious sons.)

  610. Ron said,

    August 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    David,

    If you want to continue on the phone, I’d be glad to do so. Things would go much faster I’m sure for there are too many things you’re not getting that I’m trying to say and visa versa. I’m not assigning blame, just stating what I think to be the case. The mods have my email address.

  611. Ron said,

    August 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Jed, same thing for you. I went line by line through your six points and found each of them to beg crucial premises by assuming too much by way of silence. I also found you to assume mutual exclusivity between premises that were logically compatible. My request for a syllogism was because I believed your conclusions to exceed your spoken premises. The syllogism would not have been to bait you but a tool to help you see what I believe you are assuming yet not asserting. If you would have finally asserted what I thought you to be assuming, I would have tried to zero in on your justification with an internal critique, attempting to show how you don’t interpret all of Scripture by that unspoken premise of discontinuity. This post gets to what I’m talking about w/ respect to syllogisms – nothing fancy mind you, just a way to distill an argument. http://reformedapologist.blogspot.com/2006/07/primer-on-covenant-theology-baptism-3.html

    Finally, any discussion I’d have off line would be between us in that I wouldn’t share it with anyone, but you could with my blessing do what you wanted with what I might say. That’s the best I can offer. 611 posts is about my threshold. :)

  612. todd said,

    August 1, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    “This “moral law” that the Lord does not command obedience from unbelievers: are you referring specifically to natural law in distinction from the Decalogue, {or do you have in mind both, with no distinction necessary for your proposition?}.”

    Mark,

    Of course when we say the Lord does not command obedience from unbelievers we do not mean that there is not a binding quality to the law on the unbelieving heart, but that Scripture is not interested in unbelievers outwardly obeying God’s laws; you know, the outside of the cup, etc…As for the Decalogue, the Decalogue should not be equated exactly with the law on the conscience; I don’t believe people’s consciences are telling them to rest on the seventh day for example, but the substance of the Decalogue minus the features unique to the Israeli theocracy is also God’s moral law. BTY, golf is a great 2k sport, no matter how much we practice we will never take dominion of the course.

  613. Cris Dickason said,

    August 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Richard @599

    All because you have foresworn Rushdoony, Bahnsen, and Chilton doesn’t really advance any truth claims. It merely means that you knew them and put aside their teachings for whatever reason.

    That’s ridiculous. “Foresworn”? There were no oaths, no vows. We’re talking about Theonomy, not the Freemasons, aren’t we?

    Your appeal to Acts 1:6-9 does not prove that there is no restoration of the Kingdom to the Church at some future point.

    Um, you got that so wrong, there’s an element of truth. The kingdom was not, is not, shall not be restored to national, ethnic Israel. The Church is the present expression of the Kingdom. The Church is/will be the final expression of the Kingdom when the Church is fully glorified at the Last Day.

    since there is a restoration of the already present Kingdom in the future then it stands to reason that the laws of Israel would be restored as well so that the knowledge of the Lord (and His Law-Word) would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. The laws of Israel as a system for a political entity were done and finished when that Israel was done and finished. There is no national Israel as a present Kingdom that will expand its bounds around the globe.

    if you were conversant w/ RJR or Bahnsen you would know that they more than ably handled that misplaced objection. You speak as if I’m supposed to carry every argument and everything they said around in my head with me. That or you’re calling me a liar.

    Granted I mentioned John 18:36 as shorthand for that verse in its context. Calling John 18:36 an old canard is dangerously disrespectful. Rushdoony gives it four sentences in Institutes of Biblical Law, and doesn’t do much more than selectively cite Westcott. 1st “kingdom” in the Gospels does not mean “realm” (a place) but reign, or rule. 2nd, if this reign or kigndom of Christ’s is not sourced from this world, neither does he implement it into this world in manner like the world’s kingdoms or empires. Here is Calvin, explaining Christ’s remark. “I am accused falsely of trying to stir up a disturbance or overturn the state. I have preached about the kingdom of God, but that is spiritual and so you have no reason to suspect me of aspiring after a [political] kingdom.” (Comm on John vol. 2, Parker trans, 1961 with my augment in brackets).

    Christ’s kingdom is unlike any of the kingdoms of this world or age. Consider Luke 22:25-26. Thus he did not call on human or angelic servants to overthrow Rome, or Herod. Thus He tasked the apostles and the Church to preach the gospel and bring all nations into the Church.

  614. Cris Dickason said,

    August 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Doug, I think I spilled more than enough personal info for one thread.

    But let me clarify. I did not write for Bahnsen, he did not commission any work from me. I shared work with him from an Ancient Near East history course at CSUF. It was analysis of MGK’s 1st three books (Treaty of Great King, By Oath Consigned and Structure of Biblical Authority). They were done on that ancient thing known as paper and pen, then transferred to typewriter. So they are not available in this digital age. I believe the main point where I once differed with Kline would have been over intrusion ethics, this would have been where Bahnsen and I were in agreement concerning Kline’s contributions.

    I can’t replay every jot & tittle of my out growing Theonomy. It just solved less and less hermeneutical and exegetical issues for me. After my M.Div., I was working on questions of NT use of OT, OT citations in Matthew, etc. Reflecting on the elements of continuity and discontinuity between the testaments; greater appreciation of redemptive-historical understanding of the Bible (Vos, Ridderbos, Gaffin, faithful preaching from a redemptive-historical point of view).

    -=Cris=-

  615. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Ron,

    I don’t mind picking up new and useful tools, but that wasn’t how I understood you. I don’t mind taking this offline. You can hit me up at my first and last name at g mail, and we can go there. I’ll still probably post a response dealing in OT passages, just because I do think it will be useful to the overall discussion.

  616. dougsowers said,

    August 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Cris,

    Thanks for filling in some of the blanks. Keep pressing on.

  617. Jed Paschall said,

    August 1, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Cris,

    It just solved less and less hermeneutical and exegetical issues for me. After my M.Div., I was working on questions of NT use of OT, OT citations in Matthew, etc. Reflecting on the elements of continuity and discontinuity between the testaments; greater appreciation of redemptive-historical understanding of the Bible (Vos, Ridderbos, Gaffin, faithful preaching from a redemptive-historical point of view)

    Thanks for sharing this, I never was a theonomist, but coming into the Reformed world, it seemed to be somewhat shocking how much it figures in some of the current debates. The use of the OT in the NT has often been at the forefront of my mind in these discussions, as well as biblical theology. I realize that theonomists wouldn’t see it this way, but how they want the law to figure in modern society seems to me to be a step backward in salvation-history. I don’t think this equates to legalism, but I do think it has a hard time squaring with the eschatological underpinnings of the OT metanarrative.

    I also spend some time in ANE studies, and I don’t think that the average theonomist has really interacted adequately with the implications that continuity between the Sinai Covenant and the ANE legal tradition carries, both in form and in content. If Banshen was digging into some of these issues, I would have liked to hear how he handled Hammurabi or Hittite Treaties. This would at minimum give some more credence to NL formulations within theonomy, since many of the laws in the ANE (e.g. goring ox) predate similar OT codes.

    Anyhow, I am glad to hear someone is thinking along those lines Cris, and thanks for what you have added to this thread.

  618. David R. said,

    August 2, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Ron (#610),

    Thanks for the invitation. I’d be more than happy for someone to send me your email address or vice versa.

  619. Ron said,

    August 2, 2011 at 7:41 am

    David R.,

    You can email me at my first name as shown on this site… dig1, and I’m at comcast with a net, not com.

    Jed, look for me in your inbox.

  620. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 2, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I see no problem referring to the second greatest commandment, since that is an ethic which applies to all without exception. But that seems to be an altogether thing from saying that we should deliberately order our public life based upon the ethic Jesus explicitly gives in the NT. That actually does seem inappropriate and something that ought not be done because while there is an ethic that overlaps and generally applies, the Bible, quite simply, is the church’s book. It really doesn’t belong to the common sphere any more than the Decalogue was for Israel’s neighbors (who were not brought out of the land of Egypt).

    Zrim, this still sounds contradictory. On the one hand, you say the Second Greatest Commandment {2nd table of the Law} applies to all without exception and you have no problem appealing to it. On the other hand, you say while this ethic overlaps and generally applies, the Bible {presumably including the decalogue} doesn’t belong to the common sphere. Thus, what you initially gave {a biblical ethic applies to all in the common sphere} you take away when you say:

    So once it is conceded that the Bible norms civil life then I don’t know what protects against things like civil religion, social gospel or cultural Christianity

  621. Zrim said,

    August 2, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Zrim, this still sounds contradictory. On the one hand, you say the Second Greatest Commandment {2nd table of the Law} applies to all without exception and you have no problem appealing to it. On the other hand, you say while this ethic overlaps and generally applies, the Bible {presumably including the decalogue} doesn’t belong to the common sphere.

    Mark, think of it this way. I’ve no problem telling my pagan neighbor’s kids around a common dinner table that they should treat each other they way they want to be treated. That’s an ethic we all share without controversy because we have equal access to it by virtue of our shared creation. But it’s quite another thing to suggest that they should heed my exhortation because they belong to me, because they most certainly do not. Only my own children are given to me and are duty bound to heed my instruction. Theonomy is the political equivalent of this sort of familial confusion. There is good reason the Bible uses familial metaphor. It seems to me this really should be obvious to anyone working with a covenantal theology, as well as a doctrine of sphere sovereignty.

  622. Zrim said,

    August 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Todd, re golf, invented by Scottish Presbyterians it is truly thee pilgrim sport. A good walk ruined and all that.

  623. TurretinFan said,

    August 2, 2011 at 8:54 am

    All the nations of the world belong to the Lord, both as Creator and as Redeemer in a limited sense in view of the flood.

    And while for a long time God let the nations sit in darkness, he has now shed forth the light of Scripture:

    Romans 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

    So, yes. The Scriptures are no longer for a subset of humanity, but are for all humanity.

    That’s one of the key differences between the Old and New Testament eras.

    Acts 14:15-16
    And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

    I wonder how Zrim and DGH would interpret this:

    Revelation 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

    -TurretinFan

  624. todd said,

    August 2, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Zrim,

    Because of the language, I’m hesitant to provide the link to Robin Williams’ 3 minute “How golf was invented” but you can find it on You Tube

  625. Richard Hardy said,

    August 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

    613

    CD,

    (1) Forsworn — To renounce seriously.

    You will notice that free Masonary is not in the definition. Neither is the Illuminati or the Bilderbergs.

    Who is the one really being ridiculous?

    (2) I never said that the Kingdom was going to be restored to ethnic Israel because the Kingdom has already been restored to Spiritual Israel and is yet to be restored to Spiritual Israel. “Now, Not Yet” and all that.

    (3) The laws of God are never finished. Now, certainly the law as it applied to National Israel in its sitz-em-leben is completed but the General Equity of the law is eternal because it reflects the Character of God.

    I’ve always loved this Calvin quote which puts a stick in the spokes of some of these nouveau readings.

    “Then let us not think that this Law is a special Law for the Jews; but let us understand that God intended to deliver us a general rule, to which we must yield ourselves … Since, it is so, it is to be concluded, not only that it is lawful for all kings and magistrates, to punish heretics and such as have perverted the pure truth; but also that they be bound to do it, and that they misbehave themselves towards God, if they suffer errors to rest without redress, and employ not their whole power to shew greater zeal in their behalf than in all other things.”

    John Calvin, Sermon on Deuteronomy, sermon 87 on Deuteronomy 13:5

    Clearly Calvin did not agree with you CD that “The laws of Israel as a system for a political entity were done and finished when that Israel was done and finished.” Legion are similar quotes that could be provided from Reformed men from centuries past.

    (4) No … I do not think you a liar. Not in the least. However, I would have thought that you would have remembered that chestnut especially since John 18:36 was and is brought out repeatedly against Theonomy.

    (5) I did not call John 18:36 a canard. I said, “the old misinterpreted canard about ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.’” You will notice the canard is not the Scripture itself but rather the canard is the misinterpretation of it. No disrespect was intended in the slightest to the King’s Word.

    (6) Here is Bahnsen on John 18:36

    “‘My kingdom is not of [ek: out from] this world,’” is a statement about the source – not the nature – of His reign, as the epexegetical ending of the verse makes obvious: ‘My kingdom is not from here [enteuthen].’ The teaching is not that Christ’s kingdom is wholly otherworldly, but rather that it originates with God Himself (not any power or authority found in creation.)”

    Clearly, as Calvin’s own Geneva reveals, the Spiritual reality of the Kingdom impinges upon political Kingdoms.

    (7) I am pleased to end on agreement that Christ’s kingdom is unlike any of the kingdoms of this world or age. However to agree with that does not mean that the Christ’s kingdom is, in Bahnsen’s words “wholly otherworldly.” As the glorious Gospel goes forth and conquers nations the inevitable result is and will be that the converted men that lead and comprise nations will rule in a way consistent with the King’s Law, just as Scripture reveals to us happened under Jonah’s ministry.

    Together for the Kingdom,

  626. todd said,

    August 2, 2011 at 9:38 am

    ” I wonder how Zrim and DGH would interpret this: Revelation 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. ”

    By seeing that Christ ruling the nations with a rod of iron is imagery referring to final judgment:

    Rev 19:11-16 – “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”

  627. Ron said,

    August 2, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Mark, think of it this way. I’ve no problem telling my pagan neighbor’s kids around a common dinner table that they should treat each other they way they want to be treated. That’s an ethic we all share without controversy because we have equal access to it by virtue of our shared creation. But it’s quite another thing to suggest that they should heed my exhortation because they belong to me, because they most certainly do not. Only my own children are given to me and are duty bound to heed my instruction. Theonomy is the political equivalent of this sort of familial confusion. There is good reason the Bible uses familial metaphor. It seems to me this really should be obvious to anyone working with a covenantal theology, as well as a doctrine of sphere sovereignty.

    Zrim,

    I know no analogy is perfect but this one seems to me to be dead on arrival. Indeed, your neighbor’s kids need not heed all you instruction, but isn’t all of creation subject to the Creator in all things? That one knows God in mercy and no longer in judgment does not imply that those who only know him in judgment are not accountable to Him, does it? Is it not only the privilege but also the duty for all men to give thanks for creation and providence, and of course redemption for those who have received grace?

  628. Zrim said,

    August 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Todd, can Robin Williams be more offensive than Mark’s posting of Andy Kaufman in this thread? But George Carlin’s “Baseball and Football” routine is not only inoffensive and smart but also smart-alecky in a way that seems to escape Kaufman.

  629. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 2, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Zrim, you said: it’s quite another thing to suggest that they should heed my exhortation because they belong to me,

    Your example does not resolve the contradiction. By your own previous statement the ethical rules found in the 2nd table applies to them. Whether they they heed your exhortation or whether you have any assigned authority in your sphere to address the failure to heed the ethical rule is a different issue.

  630. Zrim said,

    August 2, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Ron, I thought you were leaving me to my elders?

    But yes, all creation is indeed subject to the Creator in all things. That’s the assumption behind the point about everyone agreeing on the second greatest commandment. 2k holds that Jesus is Lord over all but rules in two different ways (creation by law, redemption by grace). So he is Lord over my pagan neighbors, but not Redeemer. They can’t have his special book until they become his covenant people. Until then, we both have his common book and that’s good enough. The point of the analogy is to say that expecting folks who are created but not redeemed to live as those who are redeemed is as foolhardy and obnoxious as expecting Smith kids to behave like Zrimec kids.

  631. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 2, 2011 at 11:00 am

    BTY, golf is a great 2k sport, no matter how much we practice we will never take dominion of the course.

    Agreed, as no 2k-er expects perfection this side of glory. But thankfully it’s not an R2k sport, since we do see improvement and tranformation in our games through faithful practice and following rules that apply to all golfers, whether they are members of the club or not.

  632. Jed Paschall said,

    August 2, 2011 at 11:16 am

    TFan

    I’ll try to give some more interaction to your Acts 14 comment, because of all the verses you put up here, that is probably the one that 2kers need to account for most. But as a quick note nations in the scriptural context compared to nations in our current context are not semantically identical, but there is some overlap. Context does determine usage, but do consider that political consrtructs might not entirely be the emphasis when we consider Christ’s international reign. Some of the verses (Rev 12) are going to also hinge on one’s view of eschatological fulfillment of messianic rule. Hopefully I’ll have some time today to address these with more detail.

  633. Ron said,

    August 2, 2011 at 11:45 am

    “Ron, I thought you were leaving me to my elders?”

    Zrim,

    What I’m trying to do in this instance is flesh out your analogy, not persuade you away from your convictions.

    “So he is Lord over my pagan neighbors, but not Redeemer.”

    Jesus is Lord. We don’t make him Lord. But you are correct that he’s not the Redeemer of the non-elect and to the unconverted elect he’s not known to be their redeemer.

    “They can’t have his special book until they become his covenant people.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “can’t.” “Can’t” implies lack of ability but since when is ability a requirement four “ought?” That doesn’t seem to be a Reformed premise.

    Ability is not a necessary condition for responsibility, for even the regenerate cannot be perfect, but they are required to be perfect. So, I remain unclear as to what is meant by “they can’t” have this special book. If what you mean is that they cannot receive the things of God, then I agree; but lack understanding due to one’s own sin does not relieve one of being responsible for what he does not understand (or cherish). I would think that even most secularists agree that a student is responsible for the material discussed in class even when he cuts class.

    “Until then, we both have his common book and that’s good enough.”

    That God providentially restrains society by the use of this “common book” is not incompatible with the premise that man is required to submit to that which he doesn’t prefer. Accordingly, “good enough” does not seem to address the question of “ought,” especially when men willfully reject that to which they should submit. Guilt doesn’t make one less culpable. It makes one more culpable.

    “The point of the analogy is to say that expecting folks who are created but not redeemed to live as those who are redeemed is as foolhardy and obnoxious as expecting Smith kids to behave like Zrimec kids.”

    Expectation of how men will behave is not relevant to the question of how men ought to be required to behave. I trust that this is not a universal precept for you, that requirements ought not apply when it seems doubtful that the requirements will be heeded. It would seem that you apply this principle in a very selective way but without any consistency, which is to say arbitrarily.

  634. todd said,

    August 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    “since we do see improvement and tranformation in our games through faithful practice and following rules that apply to all golfers,”

    Good one, but apparently you have not seen me golf.

  635. Zrim said,

    August 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Mark, exactly, and that “different issue” concerns belonging and is the point. Created and redeemed people belong to Christ, not created but unredeemed. To continue the analogy, if you want created but unredeemed people to behave like they belong then that would mean I would have to have my neighbors’ kids baptized. I’ll only do that when they leave their kids to me in their wills and I legally adopt them. Until then, only the imperatives from the light of nature apply.

    And now you’re redeeming golf through law? No thanks, I like my golf the way I like my city: created and ordered (even as my path is crooked). But what’s next, sheep herding? Oh wait, that’s been done.

  636. Zrim said,

    August 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Ron, does it help if instead of “can’t” I say “mayn’t”? You know, the way your second grade teacher drove the point home when you asked permission to go to the restroom by saying, “I don’t know, can you?” One pertains to ability, the other pertains to legitimacy. In which case, certainly unbelievers have the ability to behave like believers, but it is inappropriate or illegitimate for unbelievers to do so, and by extension for believers to expect them to. Behaving like a believer involves both tables, not just the second, which means both sacramental behavior and moral behavior. Charitable guy that I am I’m pretty sure that, like me, you don’t want unbelievers involved in baptism and communion. But if you want biblical imperatives to apply to the civil realm I don’t know how you don’t end up with such a thing since biblical imperatives include religious behavior, unless you are more selective and prudent in these matters in a 2k kind of way.

    When I say that general revelation is “good enough” for both un/believer to use for civil life I do not mean that unbelievers are not required to submit to what they know by nature (even if they don’t want to). They are required. And I’m not saying that some are not required because it is doubtful that they will actually behave correctly. My point has nothing to do with ability but everything to do with authority, as in who is in covenant and who isn’t in covenant. Unbelievers are not authorized to behave like believers. In point of fact, they are actually forbidden from this every bit as much as believers are forbidden from behaving like unbelievers. General revelation says nothing about sacramental behavior, which is what makes it sufficient for civil life and guards against violating such prohibitions.

  637. Ron said,

    August 2, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    “Ron, does it help if instead of “can’t” I say “mayn’t”?…One pertains to ability, the other pertains to legitimacy. In which case, certainly unbelievers have the ability to behave like believers, but it is inappropriate or illegitimate for unbelievers to do so, and by extension for believers to expect them to.

    Zrim,

    “May not” suggests they don’t have permission, which of course doesn’t fit your paradigm since unbelievers have permission to behavior differently. As for unbeliever’s having the “ability” to behave like believers, if what you mean is that can do external good then of course I agree, but that truism wouldn’t help your case any because God can certainly cause unbelievers to obey the civil code through the means of sanctions. As for importing what is “inappropriate” or “illegitimate” into the equation, how does that advance your thesis? Those terms seem to pertain to what is most natural in keeping with their unconverted nature, which of course is irrelevant. As for what we may “expect” of them, once again expectation does not having anything to do with oughtness.

  638. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Todd:

    My original tenet #1 said:

    The Bible does not speak matters binding on unbelievers in public life.

    Based on the clarifications and narrowing of matters in our exchange, would this revised tenet better reflect your view?:

    Revised 1: The Bible does not bind unbelievers to obey the moral law revealed in Scripture.

    P.S. I haven’t seen you golf, but I’d hazard {pun intended} a guess you are somewhat more proficient than the first time you picked up a club!

  639. Ron said,

    August 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    “Unbelievers are not authorized to behave like believers…”

    That one warranted its own reply. What do you mean that they are not “authorized” to behave like believers and why does such authorization, whatever that might mean to you, have any bearing on how one ought to behave? The civil code does not require devotional fidelity to God, so the civil code is within the reach of unbelievers.

  640. todd said,

    August 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Mark,

    Revised 1 is still not clear. Of course unbelievers are bound in the sense that outside of Christ they must obey God perfectly to be justified, and since they cannot they are bound in sin. What other binding do you have in mind?

  641. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Todd:

    The binding I have in mind is one of obedience, based on your statement below which distinguished between the moral law binding them unto “judgment” ,but not binding them to “obey”.

    the standard of the unbeliever’s judgment is found in Scripture, i.e., the moral law,but the Lord does not command unbelievers to obey the moral law outside of Christ is my point.

  642. todd said,

    August 2, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Mark, can you show me any Scripture where God calls unbelievers to obey him outside or apart from redemption?

  643. Ron said,

    August 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Mark, can you show me any Scripture where God calls unbelievers to obey him outside or apart from redemption?

    Todd,

    God doesn’t “invite” men to repent. He commands men to repent. To repent in response to a command is to obey by grace, but it is to obey nonetheless.

    And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

  644. todd said,

    August 2, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Ron,

    That passage is making my point – that the call, or command (same idea), to repent there is the call to believe the gospel.

  645. Ron said,

    August 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Todd,

    Do you deny the WSC?

    Q. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
    A. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his
    revealed will.
    Q. 40. What did God at first reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
    A. The rule which God at first revealed to man for his obedience,
    was the moral law.
    Q. 41. Wherein is the moral law summarily comprehended?
    A. The moral law is summarily comprehended in the Ten
    Commandments.

    God requires obedience from man (39); God reveals that obedience in the moral law (40); the moral law is best comprehended in the Ten Commandments.

  646. Reed Here said,

    August 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Ron: have you ever read Marrow of Modern Divinity? The recent edition from Christian Heritage Publishers includes Boston’s notes with it. Given the Socratic format of the book it would fit well with your giftedness.

  647. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    August 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Mark, can you show me any Scripture where God calls unbelievers to obey him outside or apart from redemption?

    Todd, not at the moment, since I’m heading out to a meeting. So back to the drafting of your position, did my answer to your question help clarify how I came with the language for Revised #1 based on the distinction you make between binding unto condemnation and binding unto *obedience*?

  648. Ron said,

    August 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Reed,

    I’ll Google it… I don’t believe I’ve heard of the work. David King gave me early on when he got here Alexander Whyte’s exposition on the Shorter, which I had never heard of either but found quite good, so I look forward to checking out Marrow of… Thanks for the tip. :)

    Zrim et al., if I check back tonight, then I have zero discipline. I’m going to shower, then grill and then hopefully relax w/ the family. :)

    I hope by morning we’re still under 700 post.

  649. todd said,

    August 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Ron,

    I second Reed’s recommendation, for that books deals with your question. The Ten Commandments are covenantal – “I brought you out of the land of Egypt, therefore…”

  650. Dave said,

    August 2, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t see how asserting that the commandments are covenantal does anything to discount that they are a summary of the moral law, which is binding upon all men from creation. While taking into consideration the specific covenantal context of the specific formulation of the moral law embodied in the Mosaic revelation must play a part in the exegetical exercise of identifying the element of general equity to be applied to the New Covenant context, I don’t see how it necessarily eliminates the binding nature of that moral law upon all men.

  651. Kurt A. Scharping said,

    August 2, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Q. 95: Of what use is the moral law to all men?
    A. The moral law is of use to all men, to inform them of the
    holy nature and will of God, and of their duty, binding them
    to walk accordingly; to convince them of their disability to
    keep it, and of the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts, and
    lives; to humble them in the sense of their sin and misery,
    and thereby help them to a clearer sight of the need they have
    of Christ, and of the perfection of his obedience.

    It seems that the divines thought the moral law is of use to ALL men and that it informs ALL men of their duty. Perhaps an exception is in order.

  652. todd said,

    August 2, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Dave,

    No one is denying the moral law is binding on all men in the sense of our Confession, but this came up in the context of a discussion of the civil use of the law, i.e., the magistrate enforcing God’s law over unbelievers. It is in that sense that we deny the Mosaic law is to be used.

  653. Kurt said,

    August 2, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Hello Todd,

    Just to clarify please enlighten me.
    1. You believe that the scripture is of use to all men to tell them their duty.

    2. There is a duty of the civil magistrate taught by Scripture as outlined in the WCF.

    3.And you believe that it is permitted to the church to publicly declare this duty whether it is the church corporate, or individual ministers to all whether christian or not.

    Is this true? If not, then which do you disagree with?

    Thanks,

    Kurt

  654. Eliza said,

    August 3, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Todd: “It is striking how frequently the other nations are called upon in the Psalms to recognize and to honor God, and how complete is the witness of the prophets against the nations surrounding Israel. God does not exempt other nations from the claim of His righteousness, he requires their obedience and holds them responsible for their apostasy and degeneration.” Bavinck. Introduction to the Science of Missions [quoted by Bahnsen]

  655. todd said,

    August 3, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Kurt,

    1. The duty of the unbeliever is to believe in Christ for salvation. After they believe they are to obey his commands, not before.

    2. The WCF does not say the state must enforce the Law of God over unbelievers

    3. I do not say the church should instruct the state how to enforce laws. That is not the church’s calling.

  656. Reed Here said,

    August 3, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Todd: I admit to being one who when I first read your question back to Mark, I was a tad concerned. In particular I am reminded of WCF 19.5, the first phrase:

    The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;

    Yet it was interesting, when I looked up all the references offered here I could not find one that contradicted your point, at least as I read the Scriptures.

    It seems to me that the key distinction in your question to Mark is captured in the last phrase or two, namely where you say, “outside or apart from redemption.”

    Are you saying, yes, of course, God’s (moral) law is binding on everyone, believer and unbeliever? And it is binding on them for one particular purpose, to show them their just condemnation? And that the intention of this condemning binding then serves to either leave them without excuse or be used of the Spirit to drive them to Christ? (WLC Q&A 95-96).

    Then is there no use of God’s moral law apart from redemptive purposes? What about its usefulness in restraining sin in the unregenerate? Wouldn’t that be a usage outside/apart from redemption?

    (WCF 19.6 specifically applies this last usage exclusively to the regenerate. I cannot find anywhere that the restrain apart from redemption purpose applies to unbelievers. I’d be interested if any one can demonstrate that.)

  657. August 3, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I think WLC 123-133 answers your inquiry as to the question whether the moral law is to be used by the Civil Magistrate in restraining the day-to-day behavior of men towards their fellow men.

  658. Ron said,

    August 3, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Todd,

    Do you think your 649 addressed my 645?

    As Dave brought to light, that the commandments were given to God’s covenant people doesn’t suggest that they are not binding upon all men. Those WSC questions I referenced seem to support that premise. Similarly, are we to assume that the Shorter is teaching that it is only the chief end of the elect to glorify God? If so, then that would mean that the Shorter is speaking of the telos of the elect as opposed to making a statement about God’s will of precept for man – i.e., God’s design for man in terms of precept, not decree. That the Shorter is speaking to God’s will of precept would seem to be in keeping with Q&A 3, which speaks of man’s duty. But in any case, as I don’t want to get off topic, please check to see if your 649 addresses my 645. I think Kurt and others might be pursuing that same sort of questioning, so feel free to address them and not me.

    On another matter, though related, is your position close to either of these?

    1. You are fine w/ man legislating any laws as long as they’re not God’s law.

    2. You are fine with man legislating God’s laws as long as they’re not required to do so and don’t justify those laws with Scripture.

  659. Ron said,

    August 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

    “Yet it was interesting, when I looked up all the references offered here I could not find one that contradicted your point, at least as I read the Scriptures.”

    Reed,

    Yes, when looking at those texts yesterday I saw that to be the case as well, which didn’t surp