Might not be a theonomist much longer...

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pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
why is it so easy to miss the simple Biblical fact that we are not citizens here???

Dittos to Fred and Wayne and Dan.

Phillip
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Philip,


Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Because our citizenship transcends earth, does not imply we are not to "live" here and be stewards and citizens of the world God is redeeming.

That would be gnostic.

We are ambassadors right ?
Did not Paul appeal to his Roman citizenship ?

[Edited on 10-7-2005 by Saiph]
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by pastorway
why is it so easy to miss the simple Biblical fact that we are not citizens here???

Fine...we're not citizens...but should we strive against the citizens who are murdering millions of unborn every year or sit around doing our private devotions? If you're not a citizen here, why do you own guns? If anyone seeks to do you harm, doesn't that just allow you to go home sooner?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by pastorway
why is it so easy to miss the simple Biblical fact that we are not citizens here???

Dittos to Fred and Wayne and Dan.

Phillip

Why do you vote for Bush? You vote for Bush because he seems (assume for the sake of argument) to support Christian ethical values (assume again): ie, stopping abortion, sodomy, protecting citizens (oops, wrong word) right to defend themselves.

But if we are merely citizens of heaven and our decisions do not have any lasting import on earth, then why not vote for Hillary? I mean, the worse soceity gets the closer the rapture comes. On several other threads you sounded (rightly) like a radical postmillennialist. I mean, you were all for fighting abortion and arming the populace for the preservation and establishment of a just social order. Why stop now?

Would we apply the same standard to our own personal sanctification? Since we are citizens of heaven (which actually means that heaven will come down to earth and transfomr the earth. Given the Roman background of the saying it meant, not that the phillipians would go and live in rome--God forbid, they had enough people there. It meant, as citizens, populate and transform your own city) and won't be perfect in this lifetime, why try?

[Edited on 10--7-05 by Draught Horse]
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Amen Jacob.


Here are a few other things to consider even if you are not a theonmist:

Types Of Citizenship In Scripture

Hebrew Citizenship

Eph 2:12
remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Roman Citizenship

Act 22:25-28

But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, "Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?" When the centurion heard this, he went to the tribune and said to him, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman citizen." So the tribune came and said to him, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?" And he said, "Yes." The tribune answered, "I bought this citizenship for a large sum." Paul said, "But I am a citizen by birth."

Paul was not ashamed to be a Roman citizen.


Spiritual Citizenship
Eph 2:19.-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Phi 3:20

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Christian Duties As Citizens


Obey God First Acts 5:27-29
Be Subject To Rulers Romans 13:1-7
Pray for Rulers I Tim. 2:1,2
Honor Rulers I Peter 2:17
Pay Taxes Matt. 22:21
Be Patriotic Nehemiah 2:3
Live Righteously I Peter 3:8-17
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I will throw down the guantlet:

As long as babies are being burned alive in saline, try to tell me that eschatology (the hope that one day our lives and social order will be better *in history*) and the necessity of the civil magistrate to confess Christ and rule by his law isn't important.

As long as babies are being dissected and sucked alive, tell me that eschatology and God's law do not matter.

Therefore, when people like Jim Jordan come up and say to the theonomists, "Listen, you are right in your initial thrust but here are some exegetical concerns taht you need to take into account. Don't worry, this doesn't mean you will become a pluralist." I can accept those critiques of theonomy. Anything to sharpen my attack--great!

Now to some other concerns raised in this thread:

JohnV seemed interested that I was trying to separate theonomy from Bahnsen and the man from the issue and willling to see the criticisms of "the other side."
That being said, will y'all consider reading Theonomy in Christian Ethics and No Other Standard? Just seems fair to me.

Moreover, I finally got a chance to get my hands on Theonomy: A Reformed Critique. I understand why it went out of print so quickly. Only 25% of it actually dealt with the theonomic thesis. Furthermore, the authors began disagreeing with each other. Moises Silva writes an essay refuting the Klinean (think antithesis to Bahnsen) approach to the Mosaic Law. Gaffin write an essay blasting postmillennialism. The final chapter of the book has an essay that rebuts Gaffin's paragraph in one sentence! John Frame is essentially a theonomist but refuses to admit it. Poythres is almost a theonomist.

Bruce Waltke refuted a bunch of books that don't exist! I could go on.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Draught Horse
I will throw down the guantlet:

As long as babies are being burned alive in saline, try to tell me that eschatology (the hope that one day our lives and social order will be better *in history*) and the necessity of the civil magistrate to confess Christ and rule by his law isn't important.

As long as babies are being dissected and sucked alive, tell me that eschatology and God's law do not matter.

Jacob,

Why do you think then that there is so little on social order *in history* in the Old Testament? Babies (and grown children) were being butchered and burned alive, weren't they? Why virtually nothing about the lesser magistrate?

Why is Paul (and Peter for that matter - see 1 Peter 2) view social order *in history* as so secondary? 1st century Rome was at least as bad - if not worse, than 21st century America. Rampant homosexuality, abortion, euthenasia, infanticide, rampant adultery, thievery, you name it.

I don't understand why we have to be so more concerned about social order *in history* than the Bible is. I'm not saying the now is not important; but I don't understand the obsession with the now. That one would even waste time on someone who butchers the essentials (read: Jordan) in order to be better versed in the non-essentials strikes me as a bad idea.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by Draught Horse
I will throw down the guantlet:

As long as babies are being burned alive in saline, try to tell me that eschatology (the hope that one day our lives and social order will be better *in history*) and the necessity of the civil magistrate to confess Christ and rule by his law isn't important.

As long as babies are being dissected and sucked alive, tell me that eschatology and God's law do not matter.

Jacob,

Why do you think then that there is so little on social order *in history* in the Old Testament? Babies (and grown children) were being butchered and burned alive, weren't they? Why virtually nothing about the lesser magistrate?

Why is Paul (and Peter for that matter - see 1 Peter 2) view social order *in history* as so secondary? 1st century Rome was at least as bad - if not worse, than 21st century America. Rampant homosexuality, abortion, euthenasia, infanticide, rampant adultery, thievery, you name it.

I don't understand why we have to be so more concerned about social order *in history* than the Bible is. I'm not saying the now is not important; but I don't understand the obsession with the now. That one would even waste time on someone who butchers the essentials (read: Jordan) in order to be better versed in the non-essentials strikes me as a bad idea.

Why, then, did Samuel Rutherford, du Plissis Mornay, Althuisis (sp) write the books they did?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by Draught Horse
I will throw down the guantlet:

As long as babies are being burned alive in saline, try to tell me that eschatology (the hope that one day our lives and social order will be better *in history*) and the necessity of the civil magistrate to confess Christ and rule by his law isn't important.

As long as babies are being dissected and sucked alive, tell me that eschatology and God's law do not matter.

Jacob,

Why do you think then that there is so little on social order *in history* in the Old Testament? Babies (and grown children) were being butchered and burned alive, weren't they? Why virtually nothing about the lesser magistrate?

Why is Paul (and Peter for that matter - see 1 Peter 2) view social order *in history* as so secondary? 1st century Rome was at least as bad - if not worse, than 21st century America. Rampant homosexuality, abortion, euthenasia, infanticide, rampant adultery, thievery, you name it.

I don't understand why we have to be so more concerned about social order *in history* than the Bible is. I'm not saying the now is not important; but I don't understand the obsession with the now. That one would even waste time on someone who butchers the essentials (read: Jordan) in order to be better versed in the non-essentials strikes me as a bad idea.

Why, then, did Samuel Rutherford, du Plissis Mornay, Althuisis (sp) write the books they did?

I can't answer that - except to say that it is not an unimportant theme but just not nearly as imporant as modern theonomists make it out to be.

I might just as easily counter, why are such books a drop in the bucket (or rather lake) of Christian books that have been written (and I mean from a Biblical Reformed perspective - I'm not even contemplating drivel)?

It's obvious that those who completely ignore the here and now can fall into extreme pietism. But the past two decades have shown that it is just as easily (in fact easier) for Reconstructionists to produce aberrant soteriology.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Don't forget William Blackstone.

But you are right also Fred. The kingdom only comes by the grace of God. We must pray and act towards reform, but not succumb to the temptation of being militant fanatics. If we train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and they train theirs, ad infinitum ad gloriam, then that is the beginning, for they will continue to make disciples from within and without the Church.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
We're not citizens of this world?

Acts 17:6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, "œThese men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,
7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus."
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by Saiph
Don't forget William Blackstone.

But you are right also Fred. The kingdom only comes by the grace of God. We must pray and act towards reform, but not succumb to the temptation of being militant fanatics. If we train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and they train theirs, ad infinitum ad gloriam, then that is the beginning, for they will continue to make disciples from within and without the Church.

Dead on, Mark!

I am NOT saying that we should not transform the culture, but rather that the gospel is what does that, not "Reconstructionism." I truly believe that China is being transformed far more than America is, for all its "culture warriors" (whether of the theonomic or D. James Kennedy stripe).

We don't see it - like the Kingdom of God - but I believe we will see the effects of a persecuted, praying, gospel-bringing Church in China for centuries to come (if the Lord tarries).
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I agree with Fred so far. I cannot imagine why trying to reform the politics of a temporary country is more important than working to save people from the wrath to come. We have about 70 years to serve God, 80 if we have the strength. I'd rather work for souls in eternity than reforming the politics of temporal nation in a world reserved for destruction. Of course, if we focus on souls, then politics and cultural redemption will naturally follow anyway without additional effort on our part.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by puritansailor
I agree with Fred so far. I cannot imagine why trying to reform the politics of a temporary country is more important than working to save people from the wrath to come. We have about 70 years to serve God, 80 if we have the strength. I'd rather work for souls in eternity than reforming the politics of temporal nation in a world reserved for destruction. Of course, if we focus on souls, then politics and cultural redemption will naturally follow anyway without additional effort on our part.

While I won't give there names because I will get in trouble and people won't take me seriously--and I agree with you, Patrick--certain "theonomic" pastors and theologians have argued that we will only change society when we reform the church (I have in mind mainstream evangelicalism). I have always argued that the spearhead of our attack is evangelism/missions/church.

That being said, what does God's word say about politics, economics, prison, etc.?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Originally posted by puritansailor
I agree with Fred so far. I cannot imagine why trying to reform the politics of a temporary country is more important than working to save people from the wrath to come. We have about 70 years to serve God, 80 if we have the strength. I'd rather work for souls in eternity than reforming the politics of temporal nation in a world reserved for destruction. Of course, if we focus on souls, then politics and cultural redemption will naturally follow anyway without additional effort on our part.

While I won't give there names because I will get in trouble and people won't take me seriously--and I agree with you, Patrick--certain "theonomic" pastors and theologians have argued that we will only change society when we reform the church (I have in mind mainstream evangelicalism). I have always argued that the spearhead of our attack is evangelism/missions/church.

That being said, what does God's word say about politics, economics, prison, etc.?

A better question maybe... What was the NT church's attitude and practice in those areas of concern?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Originally posted by puritansailor
I agree with Fred so far. I cannot imagine why trying to reform the politics of a temporary country is more important than working to save people from the wrath to come. We have about 70 years to serve God, 80 if we have the strength. I'd rather work for souls in eternity than reforming the politics of temporal nation in a world reserved for destruction. Of course, if we focus on souls, then politics and cultural redemption will naturally follow anyway without additional effort on our part.

While I won't give there names because I will get in trouble and people won't take me seriously--and I agree with you, Patrick--certain "theonomic" pastors and theologians have argued that we will only change society when we reform the church (I have in mind mainstream evangelicalism). I have always argued that the spearhead of our attack is evangelism/missions/church.

That being said, what does God's word say about politics, economics, prison, etc.?

A better question maybe... What was the NT church's attitude and practice in those areas of concern?

Using a resurrection paradigm, I maintain that they were to evangelise the world as God restores all things--to undue the curse on creation--Acts 3: 21, "whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago."

Secondly, the Church was to prepare for Godly Rule. Paul saw the church as eventually ruling the Pagans. 1 Corinthians 6: 2-3, Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (intersetingly enough, this happened. When the Roman State fell and there were no civil courts, the people then took their pleas to church courts).

John saw Christ vindicating his people and after the Apostate religion (Judaism's attack on the church) destroyed, he said in Revelation 2:26,
The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star.

What is interesting about this verse is that it is Christ speaking. Normally we use such language about Christ, but here Christ is talking of those in the church.

Furthermore, regardless of one's views on the interpretation of revelation, most generally agree that at least chapters 1-3 are written to the church in the first century.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Originally posted by puritansailor
I agree with Fred so far. I cannot imagine why trying to reform the politics of a temporary country is more important than working to save people from the wrath to come. We have about 70 years to serve God, 80 if we have the strength. I'd rather work for souls in eternity than reforming the politics of temporal nation in a world reserved for destruction. Of course, if we focus on souls, then politics and cultural redemption will naturally follow anyway without additional effort on our part.

While I won't give there names because I will get in trouble and people won't take me seriously--and I agree with you, Patrick--certain "theonomic" pastors and theologians have argued that we will only change society when we reform the church (I have in mind mainstream evangelicalism). I have always argued that the spearhead of our attack is evangelism/missions/church.

That being said, what does God's word say about politics, economics, prison, etc.?

A better question maybe... What was the NT church's attitude and practice in those areas of concern?

Using a resurrection paradigm, I maintain that they were to evangelise the world as God restores all things--to undue the curse on creation--Acts 3: 21, "whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago."

It is unfortunate that you are leaving now because it would be nice for you to explain this further. Perhaps others will pick up where you left off.

Particularly, I'd like to understand how you can harmonize your thoughts with Rom. 8 or 1 Cor. 15. There the redemption of creation is clearly tied to the final resurrection with the redemption of our bodies, not before. The final defeat of sin, Satan, and death is a victory that all God's people will be present to see in both body and soul. Glory does not come until Christ comes again in glory. All our hope must be bound to Him. Until then, we suffer as He did, until He comes again in glory to judge. The already/not yet does not refer to physical dominion. It refers to the fact that we enjoy communion with God now, and grow in grace despite the opposition of the world. And even when the world is glad to see us go at our funeral, we still have won, for we are now in glory.

Secondly, the Church was to prepare for Godly Rule. Paul saw the church as eventually ruling the Pagans. 1 Corinthians 6: 2-3, Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (intersetingly enough, this happened. When the Roman State fell and there were no civil courts, the people then took their pleas to church courts).

John saw Christ vindicating his people and after the Apostate religion (Judaism's attack on the church) destroyed, he said in Revelation 2:26,
The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star.

What is interesting about this verse is that it is Christ speaking. Normally we use such language about Christ, but here Christ is talking of those in the church.

Furthermore, regardless of one's views on the interpretation of revelation, most generally agree that at least chapters 1-3 are written to the church in the first century.

I think you are misunderstanding these promises. The reward we inherit from Christ is something we share with him. We are co-heirs. Our rewards are granted after our suffering has been endured, just as it was with Christ. When He comes in glory, then the blessings are fully granted. Then the sons of God are revealed to the world. Then the creation is liberated into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Then we will judge with Him over the nations. Our lives are characterized by the manner of His first coming, in humiliation. So our glory will follow His second coming in glory. Now, this is too short for anything meaningful I guess, but this is how I understand the Christian life and hope. How do these reconcile with postmil?

[Edited on 10-8-2005 by puritansailor]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Yes, I too would ditto Patrick and Fred.

It seems often that the gist of different threads run together, and this goes right along with that. I want to write and post here, in Matt's thread on Jus Divinum, and in my own thread on the Jus Divinum Discussion. But they would all be about the same thing: Who then? and How then? Those have been the questions I wanted answered. And it seems to me that this underlies Jacob's concern as well, and also everyone else's that has posted in this thread.

I did some looking at some of the citations given in this thread. I looked at the Tyler trial, a few other web pages related to this thread, and then also paged through the Kinnaird trial chronology. Remembering all my own history having to do with church governing and rulership already from my CRC days, my present circumstances, and my reading of Jus Divinum, and then going through these websites, its been a most disturbing and thought-provoking few days for me.

Jacob, I agree that it would be only fair for me to give Bahnsen a read in return, but that assumes that I haven't already done so. I have read him, and I reject his argumentation. I have my reasons, which I don't think is good to take up at this time, but which I believe to be firmly grounded. Having said that, I want you to know that theonomy has an idea behind it that is right, but just not in the right direction. Its not just society that desparately needs reform, its the church too, and as of first importance.

Theonomy is right that the church in general does not pay enough attention to the righteousness of God; but the second half of that problem is that men are imposing their person onto the office, thinking that somehow their own thoughts and leanings are the same as the Spirit's leading. And Theonomy, the movement, is guilty of that. So you have people mixing man's precepts with God's doctrines, confusing the offices with the men's own perception of leadership. That is, there's just too much of that going on to define Theonomy properly.

You will notice that I have often gone out of my way to try to understand, and give credit where it is due; but have stood firm on refusing to cede any ground to any that take liberty to add man's philosophy to the Word of God, especially as it pertains to the duties of the offices in the church. I think the churches are in a deplorable state in that regard. So, as to Bahnsen, he says some things that are helpful, and even at times right on the money, but he goes far too far in the second part of that concept, namely the "how then?" part: he is right in asking "By what Standard?", but not in how to apply that standard. But, as I already said, that is not the mere the reason that I reject his argumentation.

I'd like to elaborate on this, but that will have to come out some other time, as well as the questions following when I'm ready to discuss Jus Divinum. As to the latter, I will be coming out on the Continental side of the discussion, namely not so much subscriptionism as the necessity of subscription as identified with the offices, as the Dutch Reformed have it. I will be taking my major premise from 1 John 4:1.

Another consideration would be whether I survive as a member myself on this Board. I do not wish to open up a can of worms and then not be around to be corrected or to contribute the things that I believe need to be said. This is big to me, and I am going to be careful and scrupulous about this.

All this to encourage you, my friend, to continue to prayerfully seek your answers from Christ Himself. If you believe that His Word is sufficient, then believe that you will find your answers there, and then ask the Father, Who draws us through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Don't settle for man's answers; don't fall for the reasoning that says you won't find resolution in the Word for hard questions. The Word is as much new ground for the mature believer as it is for the new believer, because it is a growth in the knowledge of God and of Christ. Experiences, lessons learned, values changed, new submissions given each day, these all add up to new understandings as you grow in faith and trust in God daily. In all the trials and hurts that it brings with it, there is a "deeper still" (r.e.: Corrie Ten Boom) joy that pervades that growth.

Be encouraged, my friend. Our differing with you is in love.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by Draught Horse
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by Draught Horse
I will throw down the guantlet:

As long as babies are being burned alive in saline, try to tell me that eschatology (the hope that one day our lives and social order will be better *in history*) and the necessity of the civil magistrate to confess Christ and rule by his law isn't important.

As long as babies are being dissected and sucked alive, tell me that eschatology and God's law do not matter.

Jacob,

Why do you think then that there is so little on social order *in history* in the Old Testament? Babies (and grown children) were being butchered and burned alive, weren't they? Why virtually nothing about the lesser magistrate?

Why is Paul (and Peter for that matter - see 1 Peter 2) view social order *in history* as so secondary? 1st century Rome was at least as bad - if not worse, than 21st century America. Rampant homosexuality, abortion, euthenasia, infanticide, rampant adultery, thievery, you name it.

I don't understand why we have to be so more concerned about social order *in history* than the Bible is. I'm not saying the now is not important; but I don't understand the obsession with the now. That one would even waste time on someone who butchers the essentials (read: Jordan) in order to be better versed in the non-essentials strikes me as a bad idea.

Why, then, did Samuel Rutherford, du Plissis Mornay, Althuisis (sp) write the books they did?

I can't answer that - except to say that it is not an unimportant theme but just not nearly as imporant as modern theonomists make it out to be.

The route of saying that you can't answer that is not available to you unless you can say, 1) "I know these people wrote there books for a different reason than Bahnsen et. al" or 2)Throw them overboard and just say they made the same mistake that Bahnsen et. al. made.

Next, to be fair to Bahnsen, he taught (or at least attempted to teach) the whole Counsel of God. One however does not write books on issues where you think that most people either are in the right camp on or if there are books readily available that expouse your point of view.

Next, we should make sure that we remember that Bahnsen wrote his book on theonomy, out of his heart for apologetics. Not out of his need to defend postmil. It was a fleshing out of the Christian worldview. If you think he did a bad job, fine.

I might just as easily counter, why are such books a drop in the bucket (or rather lake) of Christian books that have been written (and I mean from a Biblical Reformed perspective - I'm not even contemplating drivel)?

I think it depends on how you categorize the book as in how many book on the subject have been written. But if you wish to throw everyone who has written on the Christian worldview overboard as overemphasising issues of secondary importance, then that is on you.


It's obvious that those who completely ignore the here and now can fall into extreme pietism. But the past two decades have shown that it is just as easily (in fact easier) for Reconstructionists to produce aberrant soteriology.

One must remember what conditions were at play when Theonomy came (came back?) on the scene. That extreme pietism is what was running wild. Hence it was not a one book project.

CT
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by fredtgreco
Originally posted by Saiph
Don't forget William Blackstone.

But you are right also Fred. The kingdom only comes by the grace of God. We must pray and act towards reform, but not succumb to the temptation of being militant fanatics. If we train our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and they train theirs, ad infinitum ad gloriam, then that is the beginning, for they will continue to make disciples from within and without the Church.

Dead on, Mark!

I am NOT saying that we should not transform the culture, but rather that the gospel is what does that, not "Reconstructionism." I truly believe that China is being transformed far more than America is, for all its "culture warriors" (whether of the theonomic or D. James Kennedy stripe).

We don't see it - like the Kingdom of God - but I believe we will see the effects of a persecuted, praying, gospel-bringing Church in China for centuries to come (if the Lord tarries).

Reconstructionism is a set of belief of which the gospel is the centerpiece instead of some program competing with the gospel. So I see your statement as some sort of false dichotomy. I see Recon. as partly saying, "this is what a transformed just society come into fruition looks like". Now depending on whether one is postmil or amil, one will believe or not believe that we will see the whole nine worldwide this side of the second coming.

The way we go about bringing about transformation is the gospel.

I also agree that China is being set up for future riches by its present circumstances and its praying Christians.

Lastly, if you were able to actually say what you wrote to Bahnsen, he would probably say, "And I am supposed to disagree with this?"
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
I agree with Fred so far. I cannot imagine why trying to reform the politics of a temporary country is more important than working to save people from the wrath to come. We have about 70 years to serve God, 80 if we have the strength. I'd rather work for souls in eternity than reforming the politics of temporal nation in a world reserved for destruction. Of course, if we focus on souls, then politics and cultural redemption will naturally follow anyway without additional effort on our part.

Are you saying that you think the goal of theonomy is to reform politics instead of spending time working to save people from the wrath to come? I hope not.

Also we must be careful not to take the same view as the pietious pre mills who also preach about "just souls". They have a wacked out view (of which I am not accusing you.)
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by ChristianTrader
Originally posted by puritansailor
I agree with Fred so far. I cannot imagine why trying to reform the politics of a temporary country is more important than working to save people from the wrath to come. We have about 70 years to serve God, 80 if we have the strength. I'd rather work for souls in eternity than reforming the politics of temporal nation in a world reserved for destruction. Of course, if we focus on souls, then politics and cultural redemption will naturally follow anyway without additional effort on our part.

Are you saying that you think the goal of theonomy is to reform politics instead of spending time working to save people from the wrath to come? I hope not.

Also we must be careful not to take the same view as the pietious pre mills who also preach about "just souls". They have a wacked out view (of which I am not accusing you.)

That is the trend I see yes. Theonomy, at least in my opinion, is following the same path as the old liberal postmils, except with conservative politics. I'm sure I will be blasted by the theonomists here, but that's the trend I see. I could be wrong. But what troubles me is the language that the gospel is the "spearhead" or "centerpeice" of the movement. The gospel is not one tool, or even the cheif tool in some worldwide reform movement. It is the only tool, and that not for a political reformation, but to save souls from hell, and bring them into the kingdom, not a physical kingdom, but Christ's kingdom. The kind of kingdom I see postmil theonomists argue for, just seems to me, the exact type of kingdom Christ rejected. His glorious kingdom will be set up when He returns in glory. That is when the victory takes place. Until then, this present age is characterized by war and suffering, faithful service in the face of irrational opposition. :2cents:
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
But what troubles me is the language that the gospel is the "spearhead" or "centerpeice" of the movement. The gospel is not one tool, or even the cheif tool in some worldwide reform movement. It is the only tool, and that not for a political reformation, but to save souls from hell, and bring them into the kingdom, not a physical kingdom, but Christ's kingdom.

Patrick,

I am not going to blast you brother. But I do have a few questions for you.

By physical Kingdom do you mean corporeal, or earthly ?

Is the Church physical ?

Is there anything wrong with the civil government using laws to restrain evil ? (ie. crime)

If not, why would you prefer the laws of utilitarian ethics and fallen men, to the perfect law of God ?

Do you vote ? And if you do, what determines which candidate you select ? Biblical laws, or something else ? ?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Saiph
But what troubles me is the language that the gospel is the "spearhead" or "centerpeice" of the movement. The gospel is not one tool, or even the cheif tool in some worldwide reform movement. It is the only tool, and that not for a political reformation, but to save souls from hell, and bring them into the kingdom, not a physical kingdom, but Christ's kingdom.

Patrick,

I am not going to blast you brother. But I do have a few questions for you.

By physical Kingdom do you mean corporeal, or earthly ?

Is the Church physical ?

Is there anything wrong with the civil government using laws to restrain evil ? (ie. crime)

If not, why would you prefer the laws of utilitarian ethics and fallen men, to the perfect law of God ?

Do you vote ? And if you do, what determines which candidate you select ? Biblical laws, or something else ? ?

I've gone over my understanding in a few other theonomy threads. So I'll just recap here. Basically, the civil magistrate is not an office in the covenant of grace. It was instituted (at least officially) with the Noahic covenant with creation, as a means of preseveration or common grace, to restrain evil. I do agree with theonomists that God's law is the only standard of justice by which teh magistrate can justly rule. I believe we can charge our civil magistrates with breaking God's law just like John the Baptist did with Herod and demand repentence. But, it is not the place of the magistrate to preach teh gospel, or even to enforce it with teh sword. At most, the magistrate is to defend the church from harm, so she may do her mission of evangelism and discipleship unhindered. The magistrate is to provide a stable environment where obedience may flourish and disobedience is suppressed. But the proclamation of the gospel is strictly the function of the Church. Christ exercises His kingship within His kingdom, on behalf of His people. His kingship over them is bound by his covenantal work on their behalf. In the covenant of grace, His kingship does not go beyond His preisthood. As King He is to apply His work as preist, subduing us to Himself, ruling and defending us, and restraining and conquering both His and our enemies.

As for what I mean about a "physical" kingdom, I mean just that. Jesus did not leave us here to establish a new nation called Christendom to compete with all the other nations of the earth. His kingdom transcends all that. His physical domain in that sense of political rule here in earth will not take place until He comes again in glory. Until then, we are strangers and pilgrims, citizens of a heavenly city, harvesting the elect, until the time is complete. While residing here, we obey all God instutited authority, and uphold it, in so far as they obey God's law (i.e. like Daniel, his three buds, Esther, Mordecia, etc.)
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Patrick,

I agree with you. And I am a theonomist.

I would like to highlight something you said here:


A. But, it is not the place of the magistrate to preach the gospel, or even to enforce it with the sword.

B. At most, the magistrate is to defend the church from harm, so she may do her mission of evangelism and discipleship unhindered.

B. The magistrate is to provide a stable environment where obedience may flourish and disobedience is suppressed.

A. But the proclamation of the gospel is strictly the function of the Church.

Thematic Chiasm. Cool.

But, I would say that by protecting the Church, so the gospel can be preached, is a mediate form of preaching the gospel. Those of us without a talent for evangelism or church planting provide financial resources and hospitality to those who do embark upon that work.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by ChristianTrader
Originally posted by puritansailor
I agree with Fred so far. I cannot imagine why trying to reform the politics of a temporary country is more important than working to save people from the wrath to come. We have about 70 years to serve God, 80 if we have the strength. I'd rather work for souls in eternity than reforming the politics of temporal nation in a world reserved for destruction. Of course, if we focus on souls, then politics and cultural redemption will naturally follow anyway without additional effort on our part.

Are you saying that you think the goal of theonomy is to reform politics instead of spending time working to save people from the wrath to come? I hope not.

Also we must be careful not to take the same view as the pietious pre mills who also preach about "just souls". They have a wacked out view (of which I am not accusing you.)

That is the trend I see yes. Theonomy, at least in my opinion, is following the same path as the old liberal postmils, except with conservative politics. I'm sure I will be blasted by the theonomists here, but that's the trend I see. I could be wrong. But what troubles me is the language that the gospel is the "spearhead" or "centerpeice" of the movement. The gospel is not one tool, or even the cheif tool in some worldwide reform movement. It is the only tool, and that not for a political reformation, but to save souls from hell, and bring them into the kingdom, not a physical kingdom, but Christ's kingdom. The kind of kingdom I see postmil theonomists argue for, just seems to me, the exact type of kingdom Christ rejected. His glorious kingdom will be set up when He returns in glory. That is when the victory takes place. Until then, this present age is characterized by war and suffering, faithful service in the face of irrational opposition. :2cents:

It seems that where we disagree is that you are not a postmil and I am. However that disagreement cannot fairly be used against theonomy. The issue of theonomy is "what is justice" or "what does it look like" If we get that or not, is a related but secondary question. If answering the question of what justice looks like can possiblly lead to error, that is a risk, I am willing to take.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Saiph
Patrick,

I agree with you. And I am a theonomist.

I would like to highlight something you said here:


A. But, it is not the place of the magistrate to preach the gospel, or even to enforce it with the sword.

B. At most, the magistrate is to defend the church from harm, so she may do her mission of evangelism and discipleship unhindered.

B. The magistrate is to provide a stable environment where obedience may flourish and disobedience is suppressed.

A. But the proclamation of the gospel is strictly the function of the Church.

Thematic Chiasm. Cool.

But, I would say that by protecting the Church, so the gospel can be preached, is a mediate form of preaching the gospel. Those of us without a talent for evangelism or church planting provide financial resources and hospitality to those who do embark upon that work.

It could be a mediate form of preaching, but I would avoid that language just because it can be misunderstood. Plus, just because the magistrate may do a good job restraining evil, doesn't mean the gospel will flourish. The Church must do her job as well. I agree with you as well, that not all are preachers or church planters. I speaking in general regarding the Church. We all have different gifts to support that work from within.

I know I have parroted John's line a few times here too, that I am a small "t" theonomist. I agree with theonomy that God's law is the only rule of justice. Perhaps I am more against post mil and Reconstructionism and the like, with their overemphasis on politics. To me, that is a waste of time. We are here to gather and nourish the elect. We only have a few years on this earth to do that before God calls us home. We need to be more focused on how we spend our time in this work. :2cents:
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by ChristianTrader
It seems that where we disagree is that you are not a postmil and I am. However that disagreement cannot fairly be used against theonomy. The issue of theonomy is "what is justice" or "what does it look like" If we get that or not, is a related but secondary question. If answering the question of what justice looks like can possiblly lead to error, that is a risk, I am willing to take.

If that is all theonomy is, then I have no problems with it (see my post to Mark). But it seems to me that Theonomy as a movement does alot more than define justice. They are using the Church to advance this political form of justice, which to me, is not the mission of the Church. Again, I am open to correction in all this, especially if I am misunderstanding Theonomy. :2cents:
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
As I see it, the civil authority is mandated by God to punish wrongdoers and to praise those who do good. If that is the case, then the state must of necessity praise the church if the church is faithful to her Master, because a good church is a good to the state. And it must bless the church and its existence within her realms because it is there only for good, not for evil. To foster the growth and freedom of the church is to foster growth and blessing in the realm of the state.

The early church shows no record in Scripture of rulers in the church trying to gain the rule in the state as well, by virtue of the power given them to rule the church. If they were given a mandate to reconstruct the nations through the control of political power, it is not shown in the New Testament. Rather it seems clear to me that God's people were to be of all nations and tongues, and that this should be done through the power of the gospel. Those who are rulers in the state have no part in ruling the church, as it is often the case that those who do not believe are eligible to rule the state, and do so. They can have no authority from Christ to rule the spiritual lives of His people.

It is true that true justice will reflect the equity already outlined in the Old Testament. The principles of justice are traced back to what God has commanded to His people long ago. And there is no other standard of justice. If the state wants to foster goodness and blessing in her realm, then she would rule so as to foster the growth and blessing of the church within her borders. To work against the church is to invite evil and curses. This is what I believe.

If by Reconstruction we mean Reformation within the churches, so that the leading of the Spirit is again evident through the advance of the gospel, then I am all for it. If we don't turn heads by preaching the gospel, the need for the Saviour, then all talk about the righteousness of law is useless, and a striving after wind. Why should people want the righteous law if they are not saved to uphold it by faith and love? The gospel will turn peoples' hearts to submissive confession, and so to submission to rightous law. The latter will not happen without the former being the goal. It is a fruit of faith. People will not embrace God's law if they do not embrace the Saviour who enables them to live by it.

In a state where the church is faithful, blessings will overflow to the communities within which the churches exist. The spread of good morals is a fruit of the steadfastness of the people of a faithful church.
 
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