More Questions For Theonomists.

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Blueridge Believer, Dec 14, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Would multiple wives be accepted in a theonomic society? In OT Israel is was part of life and nowhere was condemned.
    How would you handle a circumstance where a married man has sex with an unmarried woman? Since the scripture defines adultery in the OT has sleeping with another man's wife and the penalty in most cases for sex with a single woman was marriage how would that be handled today if multiple marriages were not allowed?
    Also, would the death penaly be enforced for sabbath breaking? If not, why not?
    Thanks for putting up with my questions brethren. :handshake:
  2. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I hope I can be of some help to you brother (please don't take my answers as the opinion of all Theonomists).

    1. I would argue that the NT makes it more clear that polygamy is a form of adultery than the OT, hence it should not be permitted. Theonomic ethics allows for modifications in the NT if the can be proved from Scripture.

    2. That is adultery, since the man has had sex with someone other than his wife. Adultery is, by good and necessary consequence, both sleeping with another man's wife, and sleeping with another woman's husband.

    3. in my opinion, yes it should be. Since the Sabbath is part of the moral law, then the penalty for unnecessary public labour on the Sabbath should be upheld. Gary North argues to the contrary in The Sinai Strategy - maintaining that the penalty was part of the ceremonial law - I differ, and answer him in my forthcoming book.

    However, just because Theonomists are agreed on the basic principle, does not mean that we will always agree on how that principle should be applied. In like manner, people who agree on the regulative principle of worship, do not always agree on how it should be applied. Hence, Baptists and Presbyterian - who are both wholeheartedly committed to the RPW - disagree as to who are the proper subjects of baptism. Consequently, Theonomist (and RPWers) need to show much humility when disagreements arise as to how to properly interpret and apply Biblical law. While the God's civil law is infallible and inerrant, our interpretation and application of it is not. :handshake:
  3. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Thanks brother Daniel. Let me throw another question at you. Let's say you, as a pastor of a church that holds to theonomy, have a member that is caught breaking the sabbath somehow. Since you can't execute him should he be excommunicated? Since it is a sin worthy of death should any place of repentance and restoration be allowed?
  4. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, if he has high-handedly broken the Sabbath - i.e. opened a shop on the Lord's day - he should be excommunicated for committing a scandalous sin.

    However, since the church disciplines people - it does not punish them in accordance with strict justice (Heb. 2:2; 10:28) - then the person can be readmitted upon repentance. The point of discipline is to rehabilitate the offender through correction, while the point of punishment is to inflict God's justice upon him. The church does one, the state does the other. :handshake:
  5. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    So, in a true theonomic society, a sabbath breaker may be forgiven by his church but would still have to be turned into the civil authorities to be executed. Is that correct?
  6. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    In short, yes. Though if caught Sabbath-breaking he would probably be executed by the civil authorites before the matter reached a church court. The same principle would hold true of Sodomites, idolaters, blasphemers etc. :handshake:
  7. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Makes one wonder if anyone would survive. :scratch:
  8. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Wouldn't do much for the foreign missions enterprise either.
  9. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Why would you think that? Most crimes are not death penalty issues. And besides that, the overwhelming majority of people would avoid things that could lead to execution by the civil magistrate.

  10. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    How so?

  11. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    As far as the Sabbath issue, this is what Rutherford and Baillie each had to say:
    Rutherford writes in Divine Right of Church Government Vindicated (London: 1646), p. 493-494:
    But surely Erastus errs, who will have all such to be killed by the magistrate under the New Testament, because they were killed in the Old. Then are we to stone the men that gather sticks on the Lord's day; the child that is stubborn to his parents, the virgins, daughters of ministers that commit fornication are to be put to death. Why, but then the whole judicial law of God shall oblige us Christians as Carlstadt and others teach? I humbly conceive that the putting of some to death in the Old Testament, as it was a punishment to them, so was it a mysterious teaching of us, how God hated such and such sins, and mysteries of that kind are gone with other shadows. “But we read not” (says Erastus) “where Christ has changed those laws in the New Testament.” It is true, Christ has not said in particular, I abolish the debarring of the leper seven days, and he that is thus and thus unclean shall be separated till the evening; nor has he said particularly of every ordinance and judicial law, it is abolished. But we conceive, the whole bulk of the judicial law, as judicial, and as it concerned the republic of the Jews only, is abolished, though the moral equity of all those are not abolished; also some punishments were merely symbolical to teach the detestation of such a vice, as the boring with an awl the ear of h im that loved his master, and desired to serve him, and the making him his perpetual servant. I should think the punishing with death the man that gathered sticks on the Sabbath was such; and in all these the punishing of a sin against the moral law by the magistrate, is moral and perpetual; but the punishing of every sin against the moral law, tali modo, so and so, with death, with spitting on the face: I much doubt if these punishments in particular, and in their positive determination to the people of the Jews, be moral and perpetual. As he that would marry a captive woman of another religion, is to cause her first pare her nails, and wash herself, and give her a month or less time to lament the death of her parents, which was a judicial, not a ceremonial law; that this should be perpetual, because Christ in particular has not abolished it, to me seems most unjust; for as Paul says, “He that is circumcised becomes debtor to the whole law,” surely to all the ceremonies of Moses' law; so I argue, a pari, from the like, he that will keep one judicial law, because judicial and given by Moses, becomes debtor to keep the whole judicial law, under pain of God's eternal wrath."
    Robert Baillie, A Dissuasive From the Errors of the Times (London, 1646), 31-32
    They lay it upon the Magistrate to punish by death, without any dispensation, every Adulterer, every Blasphemer, every Sabbath-breaker; and above all, every Idolater. … For all this they will not permit any Magistrate to hang any thief at all
    Ibid, 127-128.
    …Look back upon what I have cited from the chiefe of the Brownists writings. I grant the New English polishers of Brownism do not express their Tenents in tearms so hugely gross; yet see how neare they come to them in substance, when they tell us that no Magistrate may make any laws about the Bodies, Lands, Goods, Liberties of the Subject, which are not according to the Laws and Rules of Scripture, Scripture being given to men for a perfect rule, as well in matters of Civill justice, as of devotion and holiness; and if so, then they must make it as unlawfull and contrary to the Scriptures perfection, for any man to make Lawes in matters of Righteousness and of the state, as in matters of Holiness and of the Church…. Eightly, what men besides them have made so bold with Kings and Parliaments, as not only to break in pieces their old Lawes, and to divest them of all power to make new ones; but also under the Pretext of a divine right, to put upon their necks that unsupportable yoke of the Judiciall Law of the Jews, for peace and for warre, without any power to dispence either in addition or subtraction. I grant this principle of Barrow is limited by Mr. Cotton to such Judicialls as doe contain in them a morall equity; but this morall equity is extended by him to so many particulars, as Williams confesses the whole Judiciall law to be brought back againe thereby, no less than by the plaine, simple, and unlimited Tenet of the rigidest Brownists.
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    How so:

    If church and state are joined and theological errors are punished by the civil stae, the expansion of the church and the expansion of the civil state always go together.

    Regarding target cultures, especially Muslim ones, they cannot help but link CHristianity and colonialism and the cause of Christ will be entertwined with politics and the encroachment of a foreign gov't.

    A too-close church and state relationship is an infertile ground for missions.
  13. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    That is a pragmatic, non-biblical argument. Do you think that God's judgment falling on the nations that rebel against him and refuse to punish the wicked will do much for missions either?
  14. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Its highly unlikely there would be that many executions, read the history of Puritan New England - there were very few people executed.
  15. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    For those who are not theonomists...

    If you believe that the civil government should not execute Sabbath breakers, but that they should execute murderers....why?

    Also, is seems like non-theonomists place an arbitrary division within the commandments...why is that?
  16. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    My approach IS pragmatic, but it is not unbiblical. Is Biblical knowledge inpractical?

    It is high time for Calvinists to give up the "Christendom" idea.

    Your quotes do not apply. Who is doing the punishing in your quotes? Missionaries who carry in governments wanting to put the heretic to the sword? Or even worse, governments that use missionaries to "paciify" a people and "civilize" them and make them fit subjects for their rule?

    No, it was usually enemy nations, plagues, etc in those prophecies that you mentioned above.
  17. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

  18. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Non-theonomists do not disregard the OT or GOd's law, they just believe that the switch in focus from the CIVIL GOVERNMENT that was also the church in Israel to the CHURCH in the NT calls for a view of general equity that is more in keeping with Paul's injunction to excommunicate than with the encouragement of execution.

    A favorite bait of the theonomists is to say that one must choose either their form of theonomy or else they do not respect the law.

    Again, here is a Biblical response to theonomy form Third Mill:

    Both theonomists and other reformed scholars believe that the moral law continues into the present age and the ceremonial law has been abrogated by the coming of Christ, since He has fulfilled those aspects of the law in His priestly ministry. The point of discussion is over how the judicial law should be applied to the present age. It is important to realize that the Mosaic law "was accommodated to the people of God in their particular redemptive-historical setting" (Pratt 1990, 345). The Jews lived in the land of Israel and many of the penal sanctions (as well as the moral and ceremonial laws) were contextualized to that situation. For instance, "Prohibitions against stealing in the Old Testament included respect for a fellow Israelite's permanent land inheritance (1 Kings 21:1-19)" (Pratt 1990, 345). However, the Christian has no inheritance in the land of Israel. Our inheritance is the New Heavens and New Earth (Hebrews 4:8-11). The coming of Christ and the consequent disenfranchisement of the Kingdom of God so affected history that the proper application of the Mosaic law within the church must account for these situational changes.

    John Frame has noted that the New Testament church "fulfills the Old Testament theocracy" (Barker 1990, 95). In applying the Old Testament laws to the church, Paul did not apply them exactly as they were applied in the Old Testament. For instance, In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Paul addresses a situation where a man is living with his father's wife. According to Old Testament law, the man and the woman should receive capital punishment (Leviticus 20:10). However, this was not recommended by Paul. Rather, the proper punishment of this crime for Paul is excommunication (vv. 2, 13). Furthermore, Paul's statement in verse 13 is a quotation of a formula found in Mosaic penal sanctions (Deut. 17:7, 12; 12:19; 19:21, 21:21; 22:21, 24: 24:7).

    Dennis Johnson has noted that "in the Deuteronomy contexts this formula, whenever it appears, refers to the execution of those deeds 'worthy of death': idolatry, contempt for judges, false witness, persistent rebellion towards parents, adultery, and kidnapping" (Barker 1990, 181). These crimes were to be punished by purging the offender from the covenant community through his execution. Johnson continues, "Paul applies the same terminology to the new covenant community's judging/purging act of excommunication-- a judgment that is both more severe (since it is 'handing this man over to Satan,' an anticipation of the final judgment), and more gracious (since it envisions a saving outcome to the temporal exercise of church discipline, which may bring about repentance that will lead to rescue from eternal judgment)" (Barker 1990, 181-182). Therefore, it may be safely said that the proper application of those capital offenses of the Mosaic law are properly applied in the church today as excommunication. 3. Conclusion In 1 Timothy 1:8 Paul claims that "we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully." Theonomists take this to mean that the law should be applied largely as it was in the Old Testament, without using it as a means of salvation and taking into account the explicit statements in the New Testament where certain laws have been abrogated. However, it appears that Paul's statements concerning the end of the law are somewhat more inclusive than this. The law, in its ministry of condemnation (2 Cor. 3:9), has been abolished and has replaced with the "ministry of righteousness" by the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:9-11). The law has been written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. As we walk in the Spirit, we fulfill the law. This does not mean that the Mosaic law no longer applies to the Christian as a rule of life. Rather, it means that the law can no longer condemn us (Rom. 8:1) because Christ has satisfied the demands of the law in His life and paid for our sins on the cross, and He has sent us the Holy Spirit, by whom we are empowered to fulfill the law (Rom 8:2-4).

    Furthermore, Theonomy fails to take into account the situational changes brought about by the coming of Christ in the application of the Mosaic law to the church. The Mosaic law was accommodated to the Israelites living in the theocracy of Israel. The church is the fulfillment of the Old Testament theocracy. Yet as a result of the coming of Christ, the Kingdom of God has been disenfranchised to include both Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:14-16). This situational change in the Kingdom of God necessitates a change in the way the law is applied to lives of believers.
  19. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Well most theological errors are not punished by the state. Basically just the 'biggies' that have societal consequences.

    They should think of Christians as a threat, for when the area is "Christianized" there will be no more Muslim law. Going from Muslim to Christian has far reaching consequences for a society.

    The church and state will always have a close relationship. The only question is which church is the state going to listen to.

  20. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Biblical knowledge is not impractical, however a question is how good is the Biblical knowledge on which you rest your case.

    Umm, this is this Puritanboard. The Puritans had certain views on the relationship between church and state. You should not be shocked that some here attempt to hold close to those views.

    Who said anything about carrying in foreign governments? A (not The) goal is to transform the government of the society to behave in a righteous fashion, instead of overthrowing it with the sword.
    All missionaries proselytize for a certain god. If that god is the God of the Bible, then good. If not, then bad.

    Unless you are going to change that "usually" to all, then I do not see how you have a case.

  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    It would be made highly inconvenient to say the least.
    Is this rape, seduction, or something else? If seduction then they would marry or the man would be penalized heavily.

    If rape, death penalty (yes, I know the counter arguments given by the study bibles. THey aren't any good).
    Bypassing that for the moment. Let's get rid of sodomy and abortion first, before we get to this.
  22. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    The sabbath stipulations were given as part of a covenant between God and Israel, a covenant which has since expired. It was Theonomist Rousas Rushdoony who denied that Sabbath breach was a death penalty offense outside the Sinai Covenant. He wrote: "Does this mean that in the modern world, Sabbath-breaking is punishable by death or should be? The answer is, very clearly and emphatically no. The modern state is not in covenant with God but is an enemy of God. Sabbath-breaking has no specific penalty of death just as there is no death penalty for adultery (Hos. 4:14), because the nations are not in covenant with God and are therefore under sentence of death. Because of this general and central indictment, the lesser offenses have no place. Covenant offences are one thing, enemy offenses another." (Rushdoony, Law and Society, p. 685)

    The command to execute murderers was given to the father of all post-diluvian human beings and his family and it has never been revoked.

    Although the Sinai covenant has now expired covenantally, and with it the civil stipulations, we recognize that the moral law given to Adam in the Garden and written on every human heart since, which is also the decalogue (WCF 19:1-3), has not expired. In addition we also recognize that some or all of the Mosaic stipulations may yet require IF it can be shown that they remain just in the differing covenantal circumstances.

    Hope that answers your questions.
  23. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Ignore him. He gave up giving logical reasons against theonomy a long time ago.
  24. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    How many times do I have to tell you that Frame and his people have gone on record critiquing non-theonomic thought while at the same time calling themselves 80% theonomic? :deadhorse:

    And the whole "copy-paste" link-tag form of debating is getting annoying
  25. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    For the non-theonomists:

    Is abortion to be outlawed, why?
    Apropos of above, what should be the punishment? Why?

    Is homosexuality to be outlawed? Why?
    Apropos of above, what should be the punishment? Why?

    And finally, how do you justify your punishments?
  26. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Spear Dane: You need to delete the above and learn some manners.

    You have never responded to the Third Mill post above regarding how the Apostle Paul responds to the death penalty and changes it to excommunciation in I Cor.
  27. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Rushdoony didn't believe in the death penalty for adultery should still be in force? Did I read that right?
  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I think so. Jim Jordan did a (largely unsuccesful) critique of Bahnsen. In it he showed how Gary North and Rushdoony disagreed with Bahnsen. Ultimately it came to naught. Plus, not all crimes are easily prosecutable and so many of what you would think death penalties (your comment: how would any survive? Well, how did they survive when God gave the law?) weren't always prosecuted.
  29. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    Paul never changed the death penalty to excommunication..

    The churches FUNCTION is to Excommunicate the sinful even if the state does NOT do it's job...

    The states FUNCTION is to punish and suppress Evil and respond with the death penalty when required by God.

    Each Function separately from each other. If a sinner commits sin he is to be excommunicated by the church AND tried by the courts for his sin but if the state does not do it's job biblically then they are still excommunicated by the church which would be why Paul said some of you were murderers, etc... The state did not do it biblical ordained function so men got off scot free from the state... Even living in a Godless government if murderers and other criminals got away with it by the state they are still excommunicated by the church until visible repentance....

  30. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Maybe or maybe not, if we went only by this passage. If we go by Institutes of Biblical Law we might find that he believed it remains in force. (It has been a long time since I read IBL). Does anybody have it to hand?

    Rush says here nothing about adulterers in the modern state. He is saying that sabbath breach is an enemy offense and not a covenant offense.

    Rush does however make a technical error in reading Hosea 4:14. God announces there that he will not punish Israel's daughters when they turn to prostitution and adultery; God is not announcing that he is decriminalizing adultery.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page