A question about topics

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by D Battjes, Jun 2, 2005.

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  1. D Battjes

    D Battjes Puritan Board Freshman

    After beeing here for a short time, I must ask this question.

    Is the topic of Theonomy, Reconstructionism, or whatever other labels it falls under only discussed in Presbyterian circles?

    Coming from the PRC I must say we never even mentioned it. Is it denominational specific? I feel like the kid in gym class that just watched from the sidelines.

    Why is it so important to have the same topic, discussed under 72 headings? Is it a complicated matter?

    According to my teachings and understandings, The gospel does not equal disputed externals of Sabbath, tithe, church government, water administration, sacraments, worship, civil magistrate authority.

    I am not implying that the topic is not worth discussing, I am just wondering why it is weighed so heavily in the 33 Presbyterian spin offs only?:bigsmile:



    DMB

    [Edited on 6-2-2005 by D Battjes]
     
  2. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    It gives us something to talk about when we tire of discussing infant baptism and the Federal Vision stuff...

    All joking aside, I'll have to think about your post...I think possibly with a history of Knox, Calvin, Rutherford, Gillespie, Dabney, Thornwell, etc. we have historically done so and it kinda carries on.

    For me personally, I find it spiritually and intellectually stimulating. It has broadened my worldview and application of the Bible to all of life. That can be done without ever referring to theonomy but by studying the issue it has definitely been a by-product for me. Not to mention, studying the law of God is great gain (hopefully done in full Christian charity and humility)...
     
  3. D Battjes

    D Battjes Puritan Board Freshman


    Very fair answer. And I agree our conversations should be wider than predestination, of which I have had my fill for a while....:D


    Again I am more curious than anything else.
     
  4. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Without addressing the distinctions between theonomy, reconstructionism, theocracy, National Confessionalism, etc., I will say briefly that the Reformed Faith holds simply that God is Lord over all things and all spheres of life now in the present day. Christianity is not just confined to the church but pervades all of life. Society, politics, economics, the arts, etc. are all under the dominion of Christ. Abraham Kuyper's Lectures on Calvinism does a good job explaining this simple truth. The implications are enormous. For Martin Luther, godly vocations could be found outside the church, which was a revolutionary thought. Christians have an interest in promoting that which is good in all spheres of human activity. How that is done is a matter of application and some controversy amongst Reformed Christians. The Reformed view though is that Christians ought to be engaged and involved in applying Biblical principles to civil government and society, rather than taking the position that Christians have no business being involved in such things, and thus here on the Puritan Board many offer their perspectives on what this means. Also, historically, the Reformation had a huge positive impact on society and civil government as well as science, arts and other areas. We can and should learn from our forefathers about how Reformation should impact our world today. Discussing how to put this into practice is a favorite pastime here on the Puritan Board.

    [Edited on 6-2-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
     
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I try not to beat this horse more than twice a week. For instance, and I think most would agree with me here, I wouldn't recommend doing a thread: "Theonomy: Good or Bad?" Currently "Theonomy: What is it?" is in third place for the most popular topic, or something like that. It is about ten pages long. If you have any questions, that should answer most of them.
     
  6. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Actually, it takes top honors... ;) Of course the NBA playoffs are #5 if that means anything!

    Top 5 most viewed topics:
    Did baptism really replace circumcision as the sign/seal of (16477)
    Theonomy? What is it? (3199)
    Top 3 English Translations (2499)
    Your Eschatalogical View (Poll) (2458)
    Celebrating Christmas (2412)

    Top 5 most replied to topics:
    Theonomy? What is it? (280)
    Images and the 2nd commandment (253)
    Celebrating Christmas (247)
    At What Age Do We Start Baptizing our Children? (213)
    NBA Playoffs (193)

    [Edited on 6-2-2005 by crhoades]
     
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    And to think, I posted in that thread!
     
  8. D Battjes

    D Battjes Puritan Board Freshman

    VH, DH CR:

    Thank you for responding.

    I cannot emphasize enough that I am not discrediting the topic, or am asking for a crash course on it. I was just amazed by the time spent on it in the forum.


    WHen I would encounter anything in the PRC in regards to CR ( Christian Reconstructionism), it was flatly denied as heresy.

    But I will give the threads a read if i have time.

    DMB
     
  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    We do probably spend a little too much time on it. However, when we discuss politics if often comes up a lot.
     
  10. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    And thus why I spend time here discussing it more. Usually regarding most doctrines people give it a fair hearing and read both sides, but for some reason this doesn't happen much in regards to discussions on the civil magistrate. Rarely will you meet someone that has taken time to actually read Bahnsen, Symington, etc. Check out the lists in the Politics forums on the Confessions/Catechisms on the Civil Magistrate as well as the Bibliography on it compiled by Andrew and myself.

    There is soooo much to read from any and all perspectives. It becomes daunting and people give up. I'm thinking back to the blog by Phil Johnson about Calvinists...same thing can hold true to online theonomists...(or anti-theonomists as well.) People come away from forums (even this one) and think they know what theonomy is or isn't. I'm still studying the matter in-depth. I hope that people wouldn't only read the previous threads in this forum but will go out and read books from various angles. An excellent one to start with if you can find it is God and Politics: Four Views. Another great one from the National Reform Association is Explicitly Christian Politics (even has theonomic sympathies).

    BTW, NONE of this was directed to you. Just a general, broad paint brush stroke from my experience. And I can honestly say that this board has been refreshing because so many people are dialoging about it from so many perspectives and are doing so in love. That's pretty cool.

    Read on and let us know your thoughts on it too.
     
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Yeah, try to find that for cheap
     
  12. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Inter-library loan, my friend...(Actually I coughed up the money...)

    Jacob, check your u2u...

    [Edited on 6-2-2005 by crhoades]
     
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Thanks for pointing that out to me.
     
  14. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    I also think one just has to look around at our government and culture. We are having cases now such as abortion, stem cell, Schiavo, gay marriage, and on, and on, and on. come up all the time. I think everyone is trying to formulate a Christian, Biblical, Confessional, Historical, etc. answer to the spirit of the age. As Christians we are called to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ including the role of the civil magistrate and the law of God and how they interrelate.

    It is interesting to note that almost all if not all of the confessions and catechisms back in the day dealt with the civil magistrate. It was a topic that was taught to children - that the magistrates were subject to God and His law (moral/judicial...another book). For myself growing up in a small, rural, general baptist church I never gave any of this much thought. Didn't use to be the case.

    I think part of the degeration of the church in regards to thinking through this was the impact of dispensationalism. The whole don't polish the brass on a sinking ship mentality. Dave Hunt and Hal Lindsey both were voracious opponents of theonomy back in the day. Doesn't make it right of course but it does show that dispensationalism does not coalesce to well either...
     
  15. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    And this is where I would like to compliment ANdrew. It appears taht he has read the leading works from "the other guys." He will quote Bahnsen/Rushdoon with their page numbers. I think this is important for debate. I for one would like to read Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, among other reasons for Muether's essay in there. I hold Mr Muether in high-regard and would value what he has to say. Unfortunately, I think the book is only available in seminary bookstores in spiralbound.

    [Edited on 6--2-05 by Draught Horse]
     
  16. D Battjes

    D Battjes Puritan Board Freshman

    If I may, I will tell you basically what i have been taught.

    and again, please I am not here to debate, this is what I was taught very very briefly. and never questioned it.

    CR does make a disjunction or separation between church and kingdom. To say, as it says, that the church is the means or instrument or "nursery" or "boot camp" of the kingdom is not just to make the kingdom something wider than the church, but to make a disjunction between the two. A means or instrument is never the same thing as the end to which that instrument or means is used. In this regard CR is no different from Dispensationalism, which makes the same disjunction.


    It makes this disjunction by insisting that the kingdom of God and of Christ is not the church, but is to be thought of as a Christian civilization or culture, or as an earthly dominion by the godly over all life's institutions.


    The possibility of establishing such a kingdom is found in two things: first, in the doctrine of common grace or some such similar teaching; and second, in extending Christ's work as Mediator, particularly His mediatorial rule, to the whole world. Of which at this point I vehemently deny that He his mediator of the reprobate. He rules them for the purpose of destroying them and all their works. This is the biggest issue I have with CR.

    According to what I have been taught and my understanding, Reformed theology knows nothing of a kingdom that consists in a "Christian civilization" or "Christian culture" or future world dominion by the saints.

    So as you can see, when the topic was briefly discussed, Hanko, Englesma and the crew had absolutley nothing good to say about it. And thats where i am settled.

    But to see it spoken of in such great lengths, is nudging me to spend more time prayerfully and conclude again.

    DMB

    [Edited on 6-2-2005 by D Battjes]
     
  17. nonconformist

    nonconformist Puritan Board Freshman

    This is the only board I have seen that you can talk of this intelligently.Even the ones on this board that do not agree will judge it intelligently in the light of scripture
     
  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    A few points of clarification coming from one who has been called a CR. I have always--to my knowledge anyway--held to the Confession's view of the kingdom:

    I think showing that I do not as a CR hold to the disjunction mentioned above alleviates some of the tensions of your post. I would go into detail but my computer crahsed and I fear it shall crash again.

    Abraham Kuyper wrote a whole book arguing for precisely the opposite. Lectures on Calvinism, at least he argued for calvinism permeating culture.

    [Edited on 6--2-05 by Draught Horse]

    [Edited on 6--2-05 by Draught Horse]
     
  19. D Battjes

    D Battjes Puritan Board Freshman


    Wasnt this called, "Sphere Theology" or something like that? I vagueley remeber Prof Hanko blasting AK on this non traditional issue.
     
  20. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Perhaps. I am not finished with the book yet. I think it has its promises. WItholding comment for the moment, though.
     
  21. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    In reference to DMB'S points....I think perhaps those struggling with eschat positions and the hows of "how we should then live" naturally steer to the Theonomy question.

    I'm told this occurs to those "traveling to Reformed thinking" from other American-Evangelical positions. The Exodus, if you will.

    My Theonomy days far behind....I'd care more to discuss the Gospel and the way Reformed DO evangelism; the nature of the Kingdom; the drama of Redemption. Just some topics that interest me. My former topic question: "what is the eschatology of the Apostle Paul?" sank like a rock. O, well....perhaps there are few interested in Paul's eschatology -- compared to say, Gary DeMar? (No offense intended.)

    Sigh.

    Robin
     
  22. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    Jacob,

    Weren't you about to study Revelation? How's that coming?

    R.
     
  23. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I primarily meant translate. Slow-going.
     
  24. D Battjes

    D Battjes Puritan Board Freshman

    I am not "struggling", or moving anywhere Robin. I have been planted in the Gospel of Sovereign Grace.



    RIght now I am abot to begin a study on exactly this topic. I received some writing of B B Warfield on exactly this subject. He is a hard read and there is no hebrew or greek translations in the book when he uses them. But he specifically spends considerable time on Pauls Esch. view.

    And briefly in my studies of the Kingdom/ Church age, my initial and premature conclusion is that to reach a conclusion of a "Christian Culture", one must read the New in light of the Old. ALmost mirrors a Dispensational approach of complete seperation.

    Also, as an aside, one must hold to a form of common grace, of which I do not, therefore Christ as ruler of all does not equal Christ as savior or mediator of all.


    DMB
     
  25. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    Hey, DB,

    This sounds great! BB is solid!

    To clarify a bit of what I meant by 'struggling" is that eschatology drives theology...so with all of us, as we work-out our eschatology, that necessarily causes shifts in thoughts/attitudes about Providence; sanctification; the sojourn in culture; and a re-think of Justification. If one has the right eschatology (Biblical) then this only strengthens and matures us. It is a complex, organic, lengthy process, Btw. If our eschatology is not Biblical...well, you can guess the rest...

    Everybody has some sort of eschatological view - be it fragmented, self-conscious or otherwise.

    DB, it sounds like you're going in the direction of Augustine's "two cities: the city of man and the city of God." Good direction!! (polite-curtsy to our Theonomist friends.)

    :D

    Robin
     
  26. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    "Got Beale?"

    r.
     
  27. D Battjes

    D Battjes Puritan Board Freshman

    Again, I will say with my stay in the PRC, Eschatology was not a primary focus of the teaching I received. In fact I have done little if any.

    So I do nto quite agree that one must understand the end to know from the beginning.

    THat is why I asked where was the choice for Bah-millenialist.. As in Bah Humbug!!!!! I leave it in Christs hands. And all I know is that those In Christ will be glorified forever. And that settles the topic for me.

    But I am going to give BB a good read and see what all this fuss is about.
     
  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Although Robin and I disagree about eschatology, we both agree that it is of immediate importance, as it is woven with several key doctrines in Scripture. This does not mean we degenerate into Lahaye-ism. It provides a richer hermeneutic in Scripture.
     
  29. D Battjes

    D Battjes Puritan Board Freshman


    SOmething fresh for me to consider. SOme have obviously been given the gift to study this in-depth though. Not I at this time.
     
  30. Robin

    Robin Puritan Board Junior

    :ditto: :amen:

    Indeed, the entire Bible is eschatalogical in nature -- from creation throughout Redemtive history, God "breaks-into" history to act out the His decrees. His self-revelation is first clouded in types and shadows: OT; and progressively unfolds to the reality: Christ. This is what Jesus taught the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 24)...the entire OT is about Him - hence the NT writers testify of this! (We're not reducing E to only the time of the 2nd Advent. That misses the whole story that God has written...we are actors "in the play.")

    r.
     
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