More Questions For Theonomists.

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

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Hey, respond to my argument. "He's illogical" is only "against the person" argument. And it is an insult.

    You have never dealt with Paul's general equity and howhe changes the death peanlty to excommunication.
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I have it in pdf format. If you give me a few key words I will search it (don't worry. I won't falsify the evidence ;) ) or better yet, the chapter.
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Paul doesn't change the death penalty. The church never had that power (like the family in the OT). The state executes; the church excommunicates. I responded to this months ago. I will respond to it again.
  4. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Great, thanks for the real answer. It is better than calling others illogical.
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    . I disagree with Rushdoony on the punishing of rape on 396-397. The context is seduction, not rape and that skews Rush's argument.

    p. 399:

    Make of that waht you will.
  6. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    According to your thinking there can now be no civil punishment for any crime at all, because if your view is taken to its logical conclusion then the role of civil government is defunct as only church discipline now remains.

    However, your hermeneutic is proved erroneous by the fact that Paul says the civil magistrate is to inflict God's wrath on the evil-doer (Rom. 13). Therefore, the fact that the incestuous man was excommunicated by the church, does not prove that he should not also have been executed by the state.

    I would counsel you to try to understand why we have such serious problems accepting your hermeneutic at this point.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Here is another dimension to the argument. Many will object and say well, "there's crimes against man and crimes against God. We can only punish crimes against man." In other words, we can punish violations of the second table, but not the first.

    Here are the problems with that:
    1) The Bible makes no such distinction.
    2) The Bible actually suggests the opposite. Is murder a crime against man or God? Well, in whose image is man made? Therefore, murder is an attack upon God.
  8. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Obviously missionaries are not doing the punishing but magistrates are to punish blasphemers, idolaters etc. Even the pagan Nebuchadnezzar called for blasphemers to be executed.

    The prophecies which speak of God's judgment on the pagan nations show us that God judges ALL nations in accordance with His law-word. All nations are theocracies, either of the true God, or of a false god. Israel's law was a standard for the nations (Deut. 4:5-8). And so as they did not uphold God's law, then they were judged. This applies to all nations even in the New Testament (read Psalm 2 were we are clearly told that the ascended Christ judges the nations that rebel against Him). If the nations do not submit to Christ, they will be destroyed by Him; to me, that is a much greater hindrance to evangelizing the lost than executing a few wicked criminals.

    Anyway, I shall now pull out of this discussion and leave everyone else to it.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007
  9. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    I don't agree that the Sabbath command is the only command in the decalogue to be specific to Israel alone.
    The Sabbath was around since creation. That's why we see Cain and Abel fulfilling their religious duty on the seventh day...

    It came about at the end of days that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. (Gen 4:3)

    That's why the commandment itself starts with the word "Remember"...

    Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exo 20:8)

    That's also why it was enforced even before Israel became a nation (eg: Ex 16:26)

    And how can we even begin to say that the Sabbath is only for Israel when Christ Himself says that it is for man, not merely for Israelite...

    Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. " (Mar 2:27)

    The Sinai covenant was part of the covenant of grace, so i disagree that it has "expired"...i rather look at it as being expanded and fulfilled in Christ.

    If the decalogue has not expired, then neither has the Sabbath commandment.

    Bottom line for me is that all men are required to bow down to God and serve Him. As the government is made of men, they are not excused from their duty to God. And they will pay for their neglect of God's Law when judgment comes upon them.

    After all, the government " a minister of avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil." (Rom 13:4)
  10. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    Excellent point!
    The reason sins are so terrible, even the ones some consider minor (like lying), is not because of the act itself, but because of who it is acted out against - God.

    If i would punch my brother in the face it would be a bad thing.
    If i would punch my 4yr old daughter in the face it would be terrible.

    The reason is not the action, but who it is acted out against.
  11. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Why does Paul never say "excommunicate him and hand him over to the rightful authorities then."

    God ordained civil gov't in Genesis even before He called Abraham. We do not need the OT to know how the civil gov't runs; civil gov'ts have been running since history began. God has, however,matured His people and His revelation to the church, however, has been gradually enveiled. We do not need GOd's special revelation to know that murder is wrong and theft is wrong, even the heathen with no knowledge of the Scripture can know these truths. And their pagan gov'ts can punish these sins even without a Biblical basis.

    We are all theonomists here in a little t sense, and we need not become BIg T Theonomists. We are to obey the never-ceasing moral law as general equity requires but we need not mistake or conflate the moral and the judicial laws of the OT. General equity for execution is already proven by Paul to be excommunication, and Paul again nowhere commands Scripture to turn anyone over to the civil court (we are not even to sue other Christians in the court).

    We should work for rightousness in all realms, but Jesus was largely uninterested on politics. He had people come to him trying to get an inheritances and he turned them away, he paid his taxes, etc, and said that his kingdom was not of this world. Paul spoke of excommunication. The Roman church and the Magesterial Reformers, however, favored MUCH more than excommunication on occasion and this is to their shame. To have doctrinal errors punished by the State is impractical, impossible and makes a Christian majority an oppressor rather than a liberator. The Crusades, the inquisition and the Protestant burning of supposed witches all stemmed from an over-eagerness of those who claimed Christ to get involved with the secular sword.

    P.S. Daniel Ritchie: Please don't pull out of this argument, your responses are profitable. Thanks for them.

    Some more objections against theonomy, from a past post by Poimen (thanks for posting this great summary). These are good things to ask about how we discuss punishment in relation to OT law:

    Some food for thought These are the best (in my opinion) arguments compiled from the book Theonomy: A Reformed Critique

    Tremper Longman III "God's Law and Mosaic Punishments for Today"

    1) Israel and American cultural differences

    -should we stone people or use a firing squad?
    -should we put up parapets around roofs (Bahnsen)? If so, then we have moved beyond the theonomic hermeneutic to a "general equity"
    -what happens when someone steals my car? do I get four in return? (Exodus 22:1).

    2) Israel and American redemptive differences

    -Israel's situation in God's redemptive plan is unique (Deuteronomy 7:6)
    -Israel, in traditional Reformed understanding, is the Church in the NT, which does not, nor is commanded to, punish temporally, but rather through excommunication

    Specific abrogation of OT sanctions

    I Corinthians 5:5: The sin of adultery is recognized, but not the application of its punishment (cf. Matthew 5:31). "The gravity of the offence is established by the fact that the extreme of ecclesiastical censure is pronounced upon it. But the sanction by which the gravity of the offence was recognized and penalized in the Old Testament economy is revoked" (Murray, Principles of Conduct , page 54.) Similarily, Murray remarks that for the sin of adultery, a stoning was prescribed in the Old Covenant. However, in Matthew 5:3, Jesus allows for divorce in these cases. This is in light of the fact that the spiritual significance is known more fully as to the heinousness of sin, and therefore the punishment is abrogated, it being given originally to demonstrate God's hatred of sin.

    Bruce Waltke: "Dispensational and Covenant Theologies"

    The theonomist exegesis of Matthew 5:17 is fundamentally flawed because Jesus does in fact set aside the laws of Old Covenant Israel: Mark 7:18-19; as well as the New Testament Church: Acts 15:19-20; Colossians 2:14-17.

    The laws of the OT were, primarily to make the people of Israel holy (Exodus 19:5-6). Similarily, the New Covenant law is given to believers, who are expected to keep it, by asking the Father for the good gift: the Holy Spirit (Luke 11: 13). Theonomy claims that (a la Deuteronomy 4:6) the laws were to be a model for the nations around them. However, "our Lord intends nations to come under his sway, not apart from the Gospel but through it (cf. Mt 28:18-20)." Deuteronomy 4:6 should read as does Proverbs 14:34.

    The role of church and state were intertwined in the Old Covenant, even though Bahnsen claims that they parallel the separation of church and state in the New. "Christ does not give the keys of the kingdom to Ceasar, nor the sword to Peter before the parousia. The church is the new nation" (I Pe 2:9). Clowney, "The Politics of the Kingdom,"WTJ (1978-1979): 306. As quoted by Waltke.

    "Bahnsen underestimates the role of natural law, which is sufficient to either commend a person toward God or condemn him before God (Ro 2:15)."

    Dennis E. Johnson "The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Mosaic Penal Sanctions"

    "It is no accident of history that the New Testament speaks more often and more explicitly regarding the responsibilities of subjects to political authorities (Mt. 5:41; Ro 13:1-7; I Ti 2:1-2; Tit 3:1; I Pe 2:13-17; et al.) than it does regarding the responsibilities of political rulers (Ro 13:4)." This is significant, because "when the time had fully come" (Gal 4:4), God was pleased to bring about his greatest victory, not in a country, people, or laws, but in the god-man Jesus Christ, and thus to his body, the church.
  12. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Pergamum, with all due respect, it is hard for us to respond adequately to "carpet-bombing" posts. Copying/pasting is helpful, but it doesn't make for good dialogue since no one has the necessary herculean energy to respond to every point you just made. Summarize your post.
  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I actually had a good response to this but it got deleted. I might continue tonight. I don't know.
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor


    Again, with all due respect, so?
  15. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Just search the section on "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and let us know what it says.
  16. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Post #35 on previous page.
  17. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Agreed. Christendom comes with Jesus and not until then. :up:
  18. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Missed that on first reading. Thanks
  19. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    There is another factor involved here. The realationship between the sinner and the one acted against.
    In sins against God, the relationship between God and man has changed with the expiry of the Sinai Covenant.
    While God remains the lawgiver of the still applicable moral law/decalogue (WCF 19:1-3), he is no longer the covenantally established Head of State, covenantally obligated to punish covenant breaches committed by citizens of the state he rules (Israel). This means that breaches of the first table, while remaining sins against God are no longer treason against the state in the same sense. A state may vote to criminalize them on the basis that they arouse God's disfavour which sooner or later will end in judgment, but if it does so it must demonstrate that general equity still requires the criminalization of such actions and the punishment imposed even though the covenantal circumstances are different.

    In second table offenses, on the other hand, while God, as Lawgiver (via moral law) is indirectly sinned against, the one directly sinned against is man and the relationship between a man and his neighbour is essentially unchanged despite the change in covenant situations, Christians may therefore justify the criminalization of Mosaic crimes and the application of Mosaic punishments to second table offenses on the grounds that such actions remain crimes by general equity today and deserve a punishment equal to or of equal equity to the same offense committed under Sinai.
  20. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    God is still King of kings and Lord of the nations.
    If God only held Israel accountable to His Law, would Sodom have ever been judged?
    Paul understood that the power of the sword rested in the state, not the Church. Yet he still acknowledged that the wide variety of sins are still worthy of death, which could only be enforced by the state...
    [bible]Rom 1:32[/bible]

    I think the division of the two tables into different laws is a supposition that may not be accurate. Yes, there were two tables, but the tables were probably for the Ark of the Covenant, and one for the priests to read. In that historical setting, when a covenant was made it was normally given to each party of the covenant.
  21. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor


    This shall be my last response to you saying you requested me to continue. However, I shall not be saying anymore after this; please PM me if you want to discuss anything further.

    Argument from silence; he does not need to since the death penalty for incest is already laid down in Holy Scripture. According to your logic incest should not even be a crime. Besides the Roman state (civil government) did not uphold the holy, just, righteous, inerrant and infallible civil law of God - hence it was judged and destroyed.

    Not so, excommunication existed in the OT as people were excluded from the camp and put out of the synagogue. The church is not armed with the sword and therefore it cannot enforce the "general equity" of the civil law, as the church is required to discipline people, not to punish them in a manner which is just and equittable. You have built your case on an argument from silence. Moreover, the reason Paul did not allow them to go before pagan courts was because they were "unjust" as the did not uphold Biblical standards of righteousness in the civil realm.

    Please think about precisely where your logic is taking you before posting in such a dogmatic fashion, and read Theonomy: An Informed Response for a reasoned answer to the errors of Westminster Seminary. By continuing to argue in this manner you are embarrassing yourself and bringing dishonour on your good name. I don't like to have to say that, but I believe it is for your own benefit.

    Well actually Genesis 9 is in the OT, plus you seem to have forgotten that since God has ordained civil government then we are dependent upon His revelation in Scripture to know how it should be run in a manner which is pleasing to Him since civil goverment is the servant of God which is to execute God's wrath on the evil-doer (not its own wrath) - Romans 13. It is true that revelation has advanced in the NT, but your position means that the civil government has now less guidance than it had in the Old.

    Actually, the Lord Jesus Christ made this very mistake when he put the death sentence for cursing one's parents on a par with the fifth commandment (Matt. 15:4).

    Well you contradict yourself in that statement; why work for righteousness in civil government if Jesus is not all that bothered about it? Moreover, your "proofs" are far from convincing; the reason Christ did not get involved in the inheritance dispute is because during His humiliation he was not an earthly judge. However, Psalm 2 makes it abundantly clear that Christ expects civil rulers to bow in submission before Him and acknowledge His crown rights. Moreover, Christ only justified legitimate taxation (what is Caesar's), not political larceny. His kingdom's origin is not of this world, but He is king of kings and Lord of Lords - even over civil governments.

    Do pagan government's really punish these sins? Yes and no. Common grace means that they have some idea that murder and theft are criminal, but they define murder and theft in different ways from Christians. For example, many pagans do not believe that slaughtering an infant in the womb is murder, nor do they recognize euthanasia as murderous. And as for theft, while they might think that individuals stealing their property is wrong; they do not say the same about re-distributive taxation which steals from the rich to give to the poor. However, special revealtion makes it abundantly clear that abortion and theft by the state are illegitimate.

    I am not in favour of the state punishing doctrinal errors; I am however in favour of the magistrate punishing idolaters and blasphemers which Scripture warrants. The Reformers and Puritans sometimes erred on this point, not because they closely followed Biblical civil law, but because they went beyond it - had they stuck more closely to the Bible they would not have made some of these errors. However, what mistakes they did make are nothing in comparison to the disastrous ethics of humanism - which has led to the death of millions of people who are not criminals (i.e. the unborn). Again, you need to realize that they sword is not "secular" - it is theocratic - it will either be used to further the Theocracy of the true God, or it will be used to further the theocracy of an idol.
  22. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Daniel said all that needs to be said. Pergamum, with all due respect, given your logic there is not much that is a crime since we now have "exommunication".
  23. cih1355

    cih1355 Puritan Board Junior

    I haven't studied the issue of theonomy enough to take a stand on the issue. I have heard non-theonomists say according to Genesis 9:6 one should receive the death penalty for murder. Abortion is murder so it should be outlawed. I have also heard from non-theonomists that that part of the law of Moses that says that homosexuals should receive the death penalty has been abrogated.
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