Magistrates as "nursing fathers"

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mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
Excellent article showing even the revised confessions contemplate the magistrate has an interest in the first table of the law (contra some R2k fellas):

"My point is simply to demonstrate that there are alternatives to a fatuous and fictitious value-neutral “liberal proceduralism” even from within a “liberal” framework—one that can trace its emphases to the heritage of both the Protestant Reformation and patristic theology. In other words, one need not pick either secularism plus religious liberty or the Christian political tradition plus religious coercion. There are resources within that very same tradition, on the basis of complementary principles (the moral law as a standard of public justice and the non-coercion of faith; or, in other words, one iteration of the law/gospel distinction), to aid in the formulation of a coherent Christian political philosophy that not only takes freedom seriously, but takes the moral end of government, as the Apostle Paul sets it out in Romans 13, seriously as well."

https://davenantinstitute.org/nursi...PUDYmqNjSwAG1mk8-yUlPkR9nSocLZSA1IFQkns-AGuPs
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Excellent article showing even the revised confessions contemplate the magistrate has an interest in the first table of the law (contra some R2k fellas):

"My point is simply to demonstrate that there are alternatives to a fatuous and fictitious value-neutral “liberal proceduralism” even from within a “liberal” framework—one that can trace its emphases to the heritage of both the Protestant Reformation and patristic theology. In other words, one need not pick either secularism plus religious liberty or the Christian political tradition plus religious coercion. There are resources within that very same tradition, on the basis of complementary principles (the moral law as a standard of public justice and the non-coercion of faith; or, in other words, one iteration of the law/gospel distinction), to aid in the formulation of a coherent Christian political philosophy that not only takes freedom seriously, but takes the moral end of government, as the Apostle Paul sets it out in Romans 13, seriously as well."

https://davenantinstitute.org/nursi...PUDYmqNjSwAG1mk8-yUlPkR9nSocLZSA1IFQkns-AGuPs
Thank you for sharing the article, it was wonderful. I'm not sure it actually made the point about the first table of the law. Sure he gave some arguments up front about the magistrate being required to uphold the good, which he equated with the decalouge. But the paper got confusing towards the end about a revised WCF? I'm afraid I don't understand what he was getting at. Also I loved the article, this not me bashing it, but the focus of your thread seems to be that the state has an "interest" in the first table of the law. That is one more friendly critique I have of it, it was very vague on the details. How and in what way should the state be interested in the first table of the law? Thank you for posting the article.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Next step: get the American civil magistrate to countenance the church.
I assume by "countenance" you mean give support? In what way? And what is one to do with our case laws that forbid at least support for any one religion or religious tradition?
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
The answer to the last question is to overturn them - any such laws are unbiblical.
Good luck. I admire your opinion but without armed revolution or some postmillianal "great awakening" that's never gonna happen. Why not just live in a country where you have to tolerate religious laws that protect you as well. If you can religiously do whatever you want you have to tolerate others who disagree with you doing whatever they want.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
Good luck. I admire your opinion but without armed revolution or some postmillianal "great awakening" that's never gonna happen. Why not just live in a country where you have to tolerate religious laws that protect you as well. If you can religiously do whatever you want you have to tolerate others who disagree with you doing whatever they want.

OK, but it is the scriptural model, whether we see it as likely to happen or not in any given time frame. I understood the original article as more of an "ought" statement than an "is" statement, so was just responding accordingly, but maybe I misunderstood.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
OK, but it is the scriptural model, whether we see it as likely to happen or not in any given time frame. I understood the original article as more of an "ought" statement than an "is" statement, so was just responding accordingly, but maybe I misunderstood.
Fair enough. But two kingdom people don't see the scriptual data the same way. I pointed out that that was confusing to me about the article. Maybe I missed something. But the ought position still has to grapple with the is position. How do you get there from here? That's a practical question, and my personal opinion is that these discussions would go a lot better if the practical was brought into consideration that would be best. If I woke tomorrow and lived in a society that upheld the first table of the law I wouldn't complain but practically I think it's impossible without one or both of the options I laid out. Nice response about it being an ought question though.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Fair enough. But two kingdom people don't see the scriptual data the same way. I pointed out that that was confusing to me about the article. Maybe I missed something. But the ought position still has to grapple with the is position. How do you get there from here? That's a practical question, and my personal opinion is that these discussions would go a lot better if the practical was brought into consideration that would be best. If I woke tomorrow and lived in a society that upheld the first table of the law I wouldn't complain but practically I think it's impossible without one or both of the options I laid out. Nice response about it being an ought question though.

I think both sides do argue the practical.

My practical argument in favor of Mediatorial Dominion, or at least patterning law after the Ten Commandments, is that the failure of a nation to submit to Christ will contribute to its ruin. And when unrighteous men are put in power, the result will be more unrighteous laws and more unrighteous rulers, which in turn promotes unrighteous citizenship, and will incite God to judge us. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."

On the other side, some argue that such a view violates personal freedom, denies authority of conscience to decide how one worships, and others will argue that the most practical thing to do is vote in whoever has a chance of winning that would let in the least evil. Some say that national covenanting and patterning laws after the First Table is not even possible or allowed anywhere outside national Israel, and God will not bless such an endeavor. And some will argue that a view like mine is just likely never to be implemented.

So, I would say we do discuss practicality.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I think both sides do argue the practical.

My practical argument in favor of Mediatorial Dominion, or at least patterning law after the Ten Commandments, is that the failure of a nation to submit to Christ will contribute to its ruin. And when unrighteous men are put in power, the result will be more unrighteous laws and more unrighteous rulers, which in turn promotes unrighteous citizenship, and will incite God to judge us. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."

On the other side, some argue that such a view violates personal freedom, denies authority of conscience to decide how one worships, and others will argue that the most practical thing to do is vote in whoever has a chance of winning that would let in the least evil. And some will argue that a view like mine is just likely never to be implemented.

So, I would say we do discuss practicality.
Fair enough, I don't want to take this thread off course (I'll probably start another thread on that to be fair) but the kind of practicality I'm referring to is specific practicality. In my response to Scottish Presbyterian comment, which I have no doubt was well intended, about "overturning laws" I pointed out what seemed to me the only two options for that happening. I could be wrong, if postmillianalism is true (I'm amill) Christ will solve all practical problems when he comes to rule. Other than that there is no legal way to do it in West at this time. Definitely not in America. So what other options are there? But again I don't want take this thread too far off course. My point is this debate is settled in scripture but not in the church. So since its not settled in the church we have to include other things to persuade one way or the other, like if the only way for the US to instill the first table of the law would be for the church to rise up in armed revolution and force the state to do it, is that really moral and are we really right in this debate? I ask rhetorical questions and I'm going to start a thread so as not to drag this one off course.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
...How do you get there from here? That's a practical question, and my personal opinion is that these discussions would go a lot better if the practical was brought into consideration that would be best.
Only God gets a nation from here to there ("there" being a godly "nursing father" establishment of Christ's church}. Look back at history and see how it has come about in times past. After darkness, light- with war, tumult, persecution, godly men raised up in key times (Knox, Calvin, not to mention Hezekiah and other OT prophets and kings). Revivals of religion and reform. God brings such things about in his time and for his purposes. It may never happen again as in the past? Or it may. But we are to pray toward it in praying for the success of his gospel.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
if the only way for the US to instill the first table of the law would be for the church to rise up in armed revolution and force the state to do it, is that really moral...
Historically, the people of a nation in league with godly magistrates desired an establishment of the true religion. God brought about the desire, generally out of political and religious tumult. The church is never to rise up in armed revolution and never did in true reformation.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Only God gets a nation from here to there ("there" being a godly "nursing father" establishment of Christ's church}. Look back at history and see how it has come about in times past. After darkness, light- with war, tumult, persecution, godly men raised up in key times (Knox, Calvin, not to mention Hezekiah and other OT prophets and kings). Revivals of religion and reform. God brings such things about in his time and for his purposes. It may never happen again as in the past? Or it may. But we are to pray toward it in praying for the success of his gospel.
I appreciate the thoughtful reply. I do we think we see history a little different. Christiandom didn't work in the long run and is responsible, like it or not, with the current secular world we live in. If people don't like religious freedom as it is, they have the church to blame for that. Yes God can make these things happen. But how is going back going to solve problems that we don't even existed and hence are probably going to repeat themselves?
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I appreciate the thoughtful reply. I do we think we see history a little different. Christiandom didn't work in the long run and is responsible, like it or not, with the current secular world we live in. If people don't like religious freedom as it is, they have the church to blame for that. Yes God can make these things happen. But how is going back going to solve problems that we don't even existed and hence are probably going to repeat themselves?
I'll answer in your new thread @ https://puritanboard.com/threads/first-table-of-the-law-as-us-law.100841/.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Historically, the people of a nation in league with godly magistrates desired an establishment of the true religion. God brought about the desire, generally out of political and religious tumult. The church is never to rise up in armed revolution and never did in true reformation.
With all due respect the Reformation was full of wars, not all religious. It was those wars that appear to have shifted western society in the direction it's gone, in my opinion.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
Fair enough, I don't want to take this thread off course (I'll probably start another thread on that to be fair) but the kind of practicality I'm referring to is specific practicality. In my response to Scottish Presbyterian comment, which I have no doubt was well intended, about "overturning laws" I pointed out what seemed to me the only two options for that happening. I could be wrong, if postmillianalism is true (I'm amill) Christ will solve all practical problems when he comes to rule. Other than that there is no legal way to do it in West at this time. Definitely not in America. So what other options are there? But again I don't want take this thread too far off course. My point is this debate is settled in scripture but not in the church. So since its not settled in the church we have to include other things to persuade one way or the other, like if the only way for the US to instill the first table of the law would be for the church to rise up in armed revolution and force the state to do it, is that really moral and are we really right in this debate? I ask rhetorical questions and I'm going to start a thread so as not to drag this one off course.

Apologies for not having time to post a full response, I will try to do so at the weekend God Willing. I only want to point out that you seem to be confusing postmillennialism with premillennialism - which seems to be a surprisingly common misunderstanding. They are very different views and I'd encourage you to read up on the postmillennial view to understand it, even if you disagree with it. A good place to start is The Puritan Hope by Iain Murray.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Apologies for not having time to post a full response, I will try to do so at the weekend God Willing. I only want to point out that you seem to be confusing postmillennialism with premillennialism - which seems to be a surprisingly common misunderstanding. They are very different views and I'd encourage you to read up on the postmillennial view to understand it, even if you disagree with it. A good place to start is The Puritan Hope by Iain Murray.
I meant premill but I still think it goes hand in postmill too. The idea is similar in that the world will Christian with the only difference being whether or Christ physically sits on the throne.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
Historically, the people of a nation in league with godly magistrates desired an establishment of the true religion. God brought about the desire, generally out of political and religious tumult. The church is never to rise up in armed revolution and never did in true reformation.
Jeri, are those who hold to the Establishment Principle uniformly post millennial? Do they necessarily travel together?
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Jeri, are those who hold to the Establishment Principle uniformly post millennial? Do they necessarily travel together?
No, not unless I’m missing something vital! I am amillennial but of the optimistic variety, I guess. I don’t have all those distinctions worked out myself. I just believed (and still do) I saw establishment in the Scriptures as a biblical ideal and principle, not tied necessarily to the eschatology of post millennialism.

I saw the blessing brought about in church history in times of establishment (aka times of reformation), when the godly magistrate for a little while was making and upholding laws that reflected God’s moral law (both tables), thus protecting and promoting and allowing to thrive true religion. These times enabled great and godly men to study and write and grow ideas that have been handed down to us in an atmosphere of doctrinal purity. Just a few extra thoughts on the matter. :)
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
No, not unless I’m missing something vital! I am amillennial but of the optimistic variety, I guess. I don’t have all those distinctions worked out myself. I just believed (and still do) I saw establishment in the Scriptures as a biblical ideal and principle, not tied necessarily to the eschatology of post millennialism.

I saw the blessing brought about in church history in times of establishment (aka times of reformation), when the godly magistrate for a little while was making and upholding laws that reflected God’s moral law (both tables), thus protecting and promoting and allowing to thrive true religion. These times enabled great and godly men to study and write and grow ideas that have been handed down to us in an atmosphere of doctrinal purity. Just a few extra thoughts on the matter. :)
Thanks. It somehow seems natural that they would go together but I see that’s it’s not inevitable. I can certainly see why some Reformers and most Puritans embraced post-mil though. I am amil but admit to not having a very deep understanding of eschatology in general.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Lately I’ve heard people say something along the line that postmil for the reformers and puritans was closer to what is now called amil? Or something like that; don’t want to confuse the issue. Perhaps @Reformed Covenanter or a minister on the board can shed light on that.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
Lately I’ve heard people say something along the line that postmil for the reformers and puritans was closer to what is now called amil? Or something like that; don’t want to confuse the issue. Perhaps @Reformed Covenanter or a minister on the board can shed light on that.
Well that would sense since I think I read that the Reformers at least, mostly continued with the amillenialism of the previous 1000 years. Perhaps they were abundantly optimistic!:)
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Lately I’ve heard people say something along the line that postmil for the reformers and puritans was closer to what is now called amil? Or something like that; don’t want to confuse the issue. Perhaps @Reformed Covenanter or a minister on the board can shed light on that.

Westminster Larger Catechism 191 sets forth an optimistic eschatology but does not get into too many specifics. Hence, those who are either optimistic amilllennial or postmillennial may subscribe to it without any difficulties. What those people mean might be that the "Puritans" and others did not hold to a Neo-Kuyperian-style transformationalist version of postmillennialism, which you may find in Reconstructionism.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
No, not unless I’m missing something vital! I am amillennial but of the optimistic variety, I guess. I don’t have all those distinctions worked out myself. I just believed (and still do) I saw establishment in the Scriptures as a biblical ideal and principle, not tied necessarily to the eschatology of post millennialism.

I saw the blessing brought about in church history in times of establishment (aka times of reformation), when the godly magistrate for a little while was making and upholding laws that reflected God’s moral law (both tables), thus protecting and promoting and allowing to thrive true religion. These times enabled great and godly men to study and write and grow ideas that have been handed down to us in an atmosphere of doctrinal purity. Just a few extra thoughts on the matter. :)
With all due respect, and I do respect you and enjoy your conversation, but how many died for this? Was it really worth it for people to die?
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
By “this” and “it” I assume you mean the Reformation struggle over an establishment of the church?
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
From William Symington's Messiah the Prince. An example of the good effect of the governor being a true nursing father.

Worthy quote from book footnotes.

"In the second edition the author inserts here the following passage from the Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel's Letter to Lord Melbourne, p. 34 :—' A body of faithful Christian ministers, -whether in the establishment or out of it, are the means of diffusing religion throughout the land. By thus implanting in men's minds the fear and love of God, they dry up the sources of crime, diminish the cost of [jails] and hulks, of convict ships and penal settlements, sweeten social life, discountenance fraud, condemn oppression, and lay solidly the foundation of all national prosperity. A grant, therefore, for the erection of new churches by increasing the number of such ministers, would lessen the labours of the police, support the magistracy, uphold the laws, and tend to perpetuate sobriety, good order, industry, wealth, and contentment in the whole nation. That grant refused, the legislature will consign a dense population to religious ignorance,—with the full and certain knowledge that, by the operation of its own laws, by the force of circumstances which it has itself created, they are prevented from being otherwise instructed. It will then doom them to the influence of gin and Sunday newspapers, of vice and ungodliness, of revolutionary orators and furious demagogues. It will provide policemen to apprehend them, gaols to shut them up, ships to transport them, and soldiers to shoot and sabre them when necessary; but it will give them no instructors. It will raise the most costly apparatus to punish them, if criminal, but will not devote a farthing to render them virtuous.'
 
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