PCA and the Original WCF

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larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
Does the PCA allow for officers who hold to the original WCF? or must they hold to the American revision?

The reason that i ask is the original WCF seems to be more theonomic than the American revised version of the WCF.

For example, Chapter 23 section 3 speaks of civil magistrates ensuring that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
The original WCF is anti-theonomic (see Rushdoony's Institutes and the Free Church of Scotland's 1997 statement on Theonomy):

"The General Assembly declare that the teachings commonly known as Theonomy or Reconstructionism contradict our subordinate standard, the Confession of Faith, and are inconsistent with our supreme standard, the Bible, particularly on the question of the expiry of the judicial laws."
 
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larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
Then how could they say that the civil magistrates must ensure that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed.

That sounds theonomic to me.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Then how could they say that the civil magistrates must ensure that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed.

That sounds theonomic to me.

I think the reply will be that the Original WCF language is theocratic, not theonomic. Now I will leave it to Andrew to explain the difference. :D
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
Thank you Andrew, but those posts are quite long. I started reading them, but never came to the difference between theonomic and theocratic. Can someone please sum up the difference for me. This may be the the crux of the whole situation for me.

I would think that theocratic is when the Church rules society and theonomic is when the standards from the OT are considered applicable to modern society.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Thank you Andrew, but those posts are quite long. I started reading them, but never came to the difference between theonomic and theocratic. Can someone please sum up the difference for me. This may be the the crux of the whole situation for me.

Well I'm no expert on the subject, but I think that I believe the theocratic understanding of government myself. From what I know, the theocratic (Westminsterian) system believes that the O.T. civil laws are abolished, while the government is still under obligation to uphold both tables of the moral law. Theonomy believes that the O.T. punishments are still to be enforced, while the theocratic would lump O.T. punishments into the civil law. Theonomy (at least some...as far as I know) has a hard time with the three-fold distinction of the law (civil, moral, ceremonial) and thus differs from the traditional reformed view.

I'm open to correction, but this is my understanding.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
Interesting stuff from Dr. Greg Bahnsen found here...

This positive attitude toward the standards of God's law, moreover, pervades the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. Even those with strong reservations about the theonomic perspective in ethics have recognized its advocacy within the Westminster Standards. A rehearsal of my personal confession of faith along with the view of the Westminster Confession of Faith can thus serve to introduce and summarize the position of theonomic ethics.
According to the Westminster Confession of Faith, He does not dissolve it in any way in the Gospel but rather "much strengthens this obligation" (SIS.5). Reformed theologians have always held such a conviction.

Here is another interesting article
Theonomic Ethics and the Westminster Confession
This article states that the PCA allows for the adherence to theonomy, which basically answers my original question if that's true.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I believe the answer to your question on the PCA is yes. As to the rest, Sinclair Ferguson is more correct in saying there is some practical agreement between Theonomy and the views of some of the Westminster Divines. There has been some Theonomic over reaction (the whole 'Assembly of Theonomists' take on Westminster); just as there has been some rather odd over reaction on the side of those opposed to Theonomy; e.g. a minor example, the rejection of George Gillespie authorship of Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty.

NB. Interestingly, the article by Bahnsen Larry links to above predates his discovery of Gillespie's Wholesome Severity, and does not depend upon it. i.e. denying authorship doesn't really accomplish anything for the debate.

Does the PCA allow for officers who hold to the original WCF? or must they hold to the American revision?

The reason that i ask is the original WCF seems to be more theonomic than the American revised version of the WCF.

For example, Chapter 23 section 3 speaks of civil magistrates ensuring that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Well I'm no expert on the subject, but I think that I believe the theocratic understanding of government myself. From what I know, the theocratic (Westminsterian) system believes that the O.T. civil laws are abolished, while the government is still under obligation to uphold both tables of the moral law. Theonomy believes that the O.T. punishments are still to be enforced, while the theocratic would lump O.T. punishments into the civil law. Theonomy (at least some...as far as I know) has a hard time with the three-fold distinction of the law (civil, moral, ceremonial) and thus differs from the traditional reformed view.

I'm open to correction, but this is my understanding.

Yes, Jeff has summed up the distinction between theocracy and theonomy very nicely. Sorry if my earlier responses have not been fully clear. Theonomy says that the law of God should be divided into two primary categories -- moral and ceremonial, with the judicial laws of Moses being a subset of the moral law, and thus, still binding today, contrary to the 1647 confession's statement that the judicial laws have expired. Within the ranks of theonomists, you will find those who attempt to argue that theonomy is consistent with the 1647 confession and that some members of the Westminster Assembly were theonomists. I disagree strongly with those assertions and that point has been argued extensively on the board in the past.

I would add that theocracy is simply the recognition that Christ is Lord over nations and civil magistrates as well as the church, and therefore should rule in accordance with his law, contrary to the pluralist / secular position which says that magistrates should not in any way attempt to enforce the whole Decalogue. That is quite different from saying the church rules society (ie., Erastianism). The historic Presbyterian view of the relationship between church and state is one of alliance between the 'ministers of God' (magistracy and the church) (cf. Rom 13.4) with each respecting the sphere sovereignty of the other, but working towards the same end, ie., to glorify God according to their callings.

To get back to your original question, the PCA does allow for theonomy, but I don't know if it allows an office-bearer to say "I take exception to the PCA confession at 23.3 and I personally adhere to the 1647 confession at this point." An exception in favor of theonomy is not the same thing as an exception in favor of the 1647 confession. Probably so, because the PCA allows a wide lee-way when it comes to exceptions to its confession, but usually the exceptions have a liberal / modernist tilt to them (ie., recreation on the Lord's Day, etc.). I was a member in the PCA, not an office-bearer, and I held to the 1647 confession at the time. But I was not a theonomist.

There is overlap between theocrats and theonomists in that both desire to see recognition of God and his law codified in the state. In that sense together we oppose the secularists inside and outside the church. We disagree in the nature of the law to be codified, that is, the former argues that only the moral law of God is still binding (WCF 19.4-5) and the latter argues that the judicial law of God is still binding as well as the moral.

In the Presbyterian Reformed Church, one of a tiny handful of churches in the US that adheres to the original confession, some well known leaders have argued strongly in the past against theonomy as being inconsistent with the confession, and argued that the circumstantial case for identifying the anonymous treatise called Wholesome Severity as the work of George Gillespie has not been proved and contradicts his other writings (but allowing him authorship does not prove that theonomy per se is consistent with the Westminster Confession), and yet argued just as strongly that theocracy and the establishment principle represent the teaching of the original confession.

William Cunningham, The Westminster Confession on the Relation Between Church and State

See also, William Young, The Westminster Confession on the Relation Between Church and State
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Thank you guys so much.
This has been very helpful to me.

You're welcome, Larry. :handshake:

I'll add what I think is a helpful theocratic comment from William Gouge, member of the Westminster Assembly and "father of the London divines," on Heb. 7.12:

Sec. 68. Of the abrogation of the ceremonial law.
...
The Jews were under a threefold law, moral, ceremonial, and judicial.
...
The moral law concerns all the sons of Adam, but the two other concern the sons of Abraham.
...
Sec. 69. Of the judicial law of the Jews.

Besides the ceremonial law, the Jews had a judicial law, proper and peculiar to that polity. This law concerned especially their civil estate. Many branches of that law appertained to the Jewish priesthood; as, the particular laws about the cities of refuge, whither such as slew any unawares fled, and there abode till the death of the high priest, Num. xxxv.25. And laws about lepers, which the priest was to judge, Lev. xiv.3. And sundy other cases which the priest was to judge of, Deut. xvii.9. So also the laws of distinguishing tribes, Num. xxxvi.7; of reserving inheritances to special tribes and families, of selling them to the next of kin, Ruth iv.4; of raising seed to a brother that died without issue, Gen. xxxviii.8, 9; of all manner of freedoms at the year of jubilee, Lev. xxv.13, etc.

There were other branches of the judicial law which rested upon common equity, and were means of keeping the moral law: as putting to death idolaters and such as enticed others thereunto; and witches, and wilful murderers, and other notorious malefactors. So likewise laws against incest and incestuous marriages; laws of reverencing and obeying superiors and governors, and of dealing justly in borrowing, restoring, buying, selling, and all manner of contracts, Exod. xxii.20; Deut. xiii.9; Exod. xx.18; Num. xxxv.30; Lev. xx.11, etc., 32, 35.

The former sort were abolished together with the priesthood.

The latter sort remain as good directions to order even Christian politics accordingly.

1. By these kinds of laws the wisdom of God was manifested in observing what was fit for the particular kind and condition of people; and in giving them answerable laws, and yet not tying all nations and states thereunto.

2. That liberty which God affordeth to others to have laws most agreeable to their own country, so as they be not contrary to equity and piety, bindeth them more obediently to submit themselves to their own wholesome laws, and to keep peace, unity, and amity among themselves.

Also, David Dickson, author of the first commentary on the Westminster Confession:

Did the Lord by Moses give to the Jews as a Body Politick sundry judicial lawes, which expired together with their State?

Yes.

Do they oblige any other now, further than the general Equity thereof may require?

No; Exod. 21, from the first to the last Verse. Exod. 22.1 to Verse 29. Gen. 49.10. I Cor. 9.8,9,10. I Pet. 2.13,14. Matt. 5.17,38,39.

Well then, do not some err, though otherwise Orthodox, who maintain, “That the whole Judaical Law of the Jews, is yet alive, and binding all of us who are Christian Gentile?”

Yes.

By what reason are they confuted?

1st, Because the Judaical Law was delivered to Moses to the Israelites to be observed, as to a Body Politick; Exod. 21. Chap.

2d, Because, this Law, in many Things which are of particular Right, was accommodated to the Commonwealth of the Jews, and not to other nations also; Exod. 22.3. Exod. 21.2. Lev. 25.2,3. Deut. 24.1,2,3. Deut. 25.5,6,7.

3d, Because, in other things which are not of particular Right, it is neither from the Law of Nature obliging by Reason; neither is it pressed upon Believers under the Gospel, to be observed.

4th, Because, Believers are appointed under the Gospel to obey the civil Law, and Commands of those under whose Government they live, providing they be just, and that for Conscience sake; Rom. 13.1. I Pet. 2.13,14. Tit. 3.1
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
See also, Ligon Duncan, The Westminster Confession of Faith: A Theonomic Document?

C. The Meaning of the Confession: Five Assertions which show it is non-theonomic

Whatever the claims of our Reconstructionist brethren, we are convinced that it can be conclusively demonstrated that the WCF does not support the peculiarities of the theonomic thesis. The WCF is clear and precise on the issue, and a careful reading of the relevant passages will expose the idiosyncratic reinterpretation which the Reconstructionists have imposed on the text in question.

1. WCF 23:3 (original or American revision) does not support Reconstructionism First of all, WCF 23:3, does not lend support to the theonomic thesis concerning the continuing binding validity of the case laws in either its original or American versions. The original formula reads:

The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the word and the sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he has power to call synods, to be present at them, and provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.

One phrase which seemingly supports the Reconstructionist interpretation is "that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed." This provides evidence that part of the magistrate's duty in "taking order" is the censure of those in violation of the first four commandments.17

Perhaps these words seem strange to the Presbyterians of the new world, but they reflect a common seventeenth-century Puritan view of church-state relations and despite first impressions to the contrary, the Assembly did not intend to subjugate the church to the civil magistrate. A formidable body of work may be cited which shows that WCF 23:3 is not Erastian.18 What is in view here is the establishment principle: the state's obligation to assist the church in the advancement of Christ's kingdom. This however, as we have already pointed out, is not the distinctive element of the Reconstructionist view.

Bahnsen's claim that 23:3 is theonomic is based on two grounds: 1) that the text of the Confession makes the civil magistrate responsible for enforcing the first four laws of the Ten Commandments, and 2) the scripture references cited approve capital punishment for blasphemers. However, Bahnsen's reasoning does not follow. As Sinclair Ferguson puts it, his is an argument by synecdoche (i.e., Since the Divines appeal to the application of one Mosaic sanction, then they must hold the entire class of Mosaic civil sanctions to be valid).19 It is possible for one to believe in the obligation of the civil magistrate to enforce the first four commandments, and to approve the death penalty for certain crimes for which it is prescribed under the Mosaic code and yet repudiate the theonomic thesis in principle. Bahnsen, then, has failed to provide adequate or convincing evidence for his assertion the WCF 23:3 is theonomic.

We may note in passing that though Bahnsen is correct in his assertion that WCF 23:3 is not Erastian, he is mistaken in his contention that the change from original to the American version is cosmetic.20 Actually, there is a substantial ecclesiological shift. In the American revision, a form of voluntaryism is explicit. The Westminster Confession 23:3 in the American version reads as follows:

Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; or, in the least, interfere in matters of faith. Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the Church of our common Lord, without giving preference to any denomination of Christian above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free, and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their sacred functions, without violence or danger. And, as Jesus Christ has appointed a regular government and discipline in his Church, no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual matter as that no person be suffered, either upon the pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.

Certainly the American revision intended to clear up any ambiguity about Erastianism and "persecuting principles" in the original. But primarily it sets forth a moderate voluntaryist position. That is, it intended the state to oversee for the welfare of all Christian denominations, not establishing one particular church, the support of each denomination being drawn from the free gifts of its adherents.21 It goes without saying that they did not propose that the state should be atheistic or neutral.

One observation concerning the relation of Reconstructionism to the polity of voluntaryism and establishment is worth mentioning in passing. Whatever one says about the nature of the church-state relationship under the Old Covenant, it is clear that it was the state's responsibility to support the church. Hence, the theonomic position, if it is to be consistent with both the Old Testament law and the original formulation of WCF 23.3 must advocate the establishment principle. There does accordingly seem to be an anomaly in theonomic thesis in that Bahnsen, while adamant about the implementation of the civil laws of Israel, is indifferent toward the establishment principle.22 This is a strange combination, for if the Old Testament church was anything, it was established!23 In fact, a large portion of the case law is devoted to the establishment of religion in the Old Testament. One may favor the establishment principle and reject Theonomy, but one cannot consistently be a Theonomist and reject the establishment principle.

2. WCF 19:3-5 clearly asserts a threefold division of the law

Second, WCF 19:3-5, clearly asserts a threefold division of the law following in the line of John Calvin and the church fathers, and contra Bahnsen.

It does so on the basis of inference from Scripture, taking into consideration both the nature of the laws themselves and the distinctive role of Israel in the redemptive economy. Moreover the WCF identifies the recipients of two of the three departments of law (ceremonial and judicial) as the people of Israel, while it extends the obligation of the moral law to all men. Accordingly, if Bahnsen is consistent in his criticism, the WCF must be classified as practicing "unwarranted compartmentalization" in its view of the law and therefore guilty of Bahnsen's charge of "latent antinomianism."24 It should be said that the WCF did not aim to say the final word on categories of the law of Moses or to rule out further discussion of the issue. But in regard to the issue of which laws are obligatory for New Covenant believers, its threefold division is definitive.

3. WCF 19:4 asserts that the judicial law has expired

Again, WCF 19:4 says that the judicial law has expired and is not binding ("obliging") on any nation-state now. It is entirely appropriate to ask two questions at this point. First, can a Theonomist really affirm that the civil law has "expired" and is "not obliging" any other nation-state now, and do justice to the plain sense, original intent and obvious emphasis of the statement? Second, if one were a Theonomist and writing a confession, is this how one would phrase a theonomic position which emphatically affirms the universally and perpetually binding character of the Mosaic civil code? The only rational answer to both these queries is an unequivocal "NO!" Bahnsen immediately counters, that in light of his interpretation of 23:3, "whatever 19.4 may mean, it cannot be understood as abrogating, say, the death penalty for blasphemers, and so forth."25 However, to interpret the confession in such a way that "general equity" cancels out the Assembly's declaration in the restrictive clause (which expired...) that modifies the direct object (sundry judicial laws) is to make a mockery of the English language. Indeed, Sinclair Ferguson comments:

it is difficult, to the point of impossibility—in this context in which the question of the continuation of the Mosaic judicial system had been long and heatedly discussed—to believe that the Westminster Divines would attempt to express a theonomic viewpoint by the wording we actually find in the Confession.26

The sentence structure of 19:4 yields a modern wording like this: "He [God] gave to them [the people of Israel] also, as a body politick, sundry judicial laws which expired together with the state of that people [Israel], not obliging any other [nation-state] now, further than the general equity thereof may require."27 To paraphrase and put in contemporary English: "God also gave to his people Israel, in their capacity as a nation-state, various civil laws. These laws terminated along with the extinction of the state of Israel and are not binding on any other nation-state now, further than the general equity (which lies behind them) may require."28

It is clear that there is no theonomic reading of WCF 19:4 which is capable of doing justice to its declaration of the judicial laws' termination. It may be asked in this context, what exactly the Divines meant by "further than the general equity may require?" This will be addressed shortly, but warrants one brief comment here. Undoubtedly, the WCF intended to allow for a broad range of opinion on the propriety of the application of various Mosaic judicial statutes in modern society.29 What it did not accommodate for, however, is the view that the judicials remain binding in principle.

4. WCF 19:4 assumes the ad hoc character of the civil laws

Furthermore WCF 19:4 recognizes the ad hoc character of the civil laws when it employs the phrase "as a body politick." A look at the structure of 19:3 and a comparison of it with 19:4 will serve to highlight the Assembly's view of the nature of the civil law. WCF 19:3 says "Besides this law, commonly called Moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances." Compare now 19:4: "To them also, as a body politick, he gave sundry judicial laws." The precision of the Confession's language, as a legal document, is here to be noted.

Observe first, the ceremonial law is said to have been given "to the people of Israel" (19:3). So also, in 19:4 is the civil law given specifically to Israel ("To them"). This could, of course, simply be descriptive of the circumstances in which the whole law was publicly set forth. But it is possible to detect a more significant meaning in the phraseology when 19:3 and 4 are contrasted with 19:1,2, and 5. According to 19:1, in the garden, God gave Adam and all his posterity a law. That law, 19:2 says, continued to be the perfect standard of righteousness even after the fall, is identical to the Ten Commandments, and was promulgated at Sinai. It is intimated in 19:3 that this law is "commonly called moral" and 19:5 concludes the discussion of legal categories by asserting "the moral law doth forever bind all." We may note: a) the WCF never says that any law is binding on a Christian but the moral; b) while the WCF indicates that the moral law was intended for all men, it never implies the same of the ceremonial and judicial laws, and speaks explicitly only of their having been given to Israel; c) hence, it is possible to argue that in the phrase "To them" in 19:4 the WCF contradicts Bahnsen's view on both the unity of the law and the universal application of the Mosaic civil law.

Second, and more importantly, the ad hoc character of the judicial law is indicated by the Assembly in the phrase "as a body politick." As the ceremonial law had been given to the Old Covenant community in their capacity "as a church under age" (19:3) so also had the judicial law been given them in their role "as a body politic." Hence, the judicial code no less than the ceremonial, according to the WCF, was given in a unique situation, under temporary circumstances, to a particular people, serving in a special capacity. Thus when the nation-state of Israel expired, its civil code expired with it.

Now it will be complained that this view makes the civil law "arbitrary."30 At least two things can be said in response. The first is, that may be so. Nevertheless, it is clearly the view of the Confession. Hence, one may either attempt to vindicate the Confession from the charge of arbitrariness for not holding the theonomic view, or one may repudiate the Confession. But one thing is certain, and that is--the Confession's position is not the theonomic position. Second, it may be said that there is nothing whatsoever necessarily capricious about a law which is ad hoc. The maxim "what is ad hoc is necessarily arbitrary" is strange logic. To argue that it is arbitrary to take into account the peculiar circumstances of a given situation in the formulation of a legal code for a nation-state (or to suggest that it is inconsistent with the character of God to make a law which is temporal and limited in scope and purpose) is frankly, utterly bewildering.31

5. WCF 19:4 meaning of "general equity" is at odds with theonomic interpretation

Finally, as we have previously mentioned, Reconstructionists appeal to the phrase "further than the general equity thereof may require" as negating the force of the phrases "which expired" and "not obliging any other now." In that light, they interpret the statement as a whole as an indication that though the wording of the judicial law has expired, yet all its regulations and penology remain not only viable but obligatory for the modern nation-state. Now it goes without saying that this is a very dubious way of reading 19:4 indeed. Yet Bahnsen assures us:

The Puritans termed these case-law applications of the Decalogue "judicial laws," and they correctly held that we are not bound today to keep these judicial laws as they are worded (being couched in a language of an ancient culture that has passed away) but only required to heed their underlying principles (or "general equity," as they called it)[emphasis mine].32

Bahnsen's identification of "general equity" with "underlying principles" is accurate, but his implicit relegation of the concept to the wording of the laws is misleading and ahistorical. Calvin and his Puritan successors, to be sure, believed that there were underlying principles to be gleaned from the Mosaic civil code. But they also believed that not only the form but the content (including the penal sanctions) of the law could be altered by the modern legislator in the pursuit of an equitable law.33 In this light, Ferguson correctly remarks "that the theonomic interpretation of the principle of general equity is not identical with that adopted by the Puritan writers."34 At any rate, the theonomic exegesis of WCF 19:4 is hopeless since the preceding parts of the sentence are ignored and "general equity" is made to be the main thrust of the sentence's statement about the judicial law.

These five assertions make it quite clear that the Assembly was not committed in principle to the theonomic thesis. Of course, this was always very clear to the father of the Reconstructionist movement. Rushdoony himself, commenting on WCF 19:4, said: "...in paragraph IV, without any confirmation from Scripture, it is held that the `judicial laws' of the Bible `expired' with the Old Testament. ...At this point, the Confession is guilty of nonsense."35 Rushdoony seems to have managed an objectivity in his reckoning with the clear meaning of WCF 19:4 which has escaped most of the Presbyterian proponents of Theonomy.

The fact that the Confession does not assert a theonomic view of the role of the Mosiac law in current civil ethics, leaves us with two options in determining the relationship of the theonomic theory and the view presented in the Westminster Confession. Theonomy is either extra-confessional or anti-confessional. That is, Theonomy is either not addressed by the Westminster Confession (and hence, neither affirmed nor condemned by it) or is contradictory of the teaching of the Confession.

The case for it being extra-confessional has sometimes been made, but fails for the following reason. The Theonomist (because of his view that the civil law of God is universally and perpetually obligatory, the promotion of which is part of sanctification) must consider fellow ministers, who are in hearty agreement with the Confession's teaching on the law, to be latent antinomians at best. This indicates that the confessional position is, in fact, at odds with Theonomy. Which brings us to other option.

Reflection on this matter will show that Reconstructionism's view of the continuing obligation to the civil law is antithetical (rather than supplemental) to the Confession's view of the law. No man can unreservedly subscribe to the Westminster Confession (or the Second London Confession of 1689 [a Particular Baptist creed]) and hold a Reconstructionist view of the law, because the Reconstructionist position on the continuing normativity of the civil law on priniciple (cf. Bahnsen, By This Standard, 301) postivel y contradicts the WCF in at least four points: 1) the threefold division of the law, 2) the assertion that the civil law has expired, 3) the recognition of ad hoc principles in the civil law, and 4) in its definition of "general equity." Thus, if the Reconstructionists are right in their view, the Confession must of necessity be declared antinomian in its view of God's law. This alone ought to make clear the fact that Theonomy is not extra-confessional, but anti-confessional.

and Bob Vincent on Theonomy.
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
This has been discussed ad nauseum before, but on Gillespie authorship of Wholesome Severity, see . Also, the final version of my paper of some 17,000 words on this topic forms the preface to WS in the Naphtali Press free PDF of The Anonymous Writings of George Gillespie [no longer offered]. Email me or join the NP newsgroup to get the password to open the PDF. Included in the paper is a first time translation of the portion Gillespie cites out of Junius (quote below): Franciscus Junius on Possible Changes in the Common Law of Moses.
To conclude therefore this point, though other judicial or forensical laws concerning the punishments of sins against the moral law may, yea, must be allowed of in Christian Republics and Kingdoms; provided always, they are not contrary or contradictory to God’s own judicial laws; yet I fear not to hold with Junius, De Politiæ Mosis,26 that he who was punishable by death under the judicial law, is punishable by death still; and he who was not punished by death then, is not to be punished by death now. And so much for the first argument from the Law of God. ["Wholesome Severity," in The Anonymous Writings of George Gillespie (Naphtali Press, 2001) 74.]
---------------
26. [Franciscus Junius (1545-1602) De Politae Mosis Observatione (Leyden, 1593). Also, Francisci Ivnii Bitvrigis, Sacrarvm Literarvm in Academia heidelbergensi et LvGdvno-Batava Professoris Ervditissimi, Opera Theologica… (Genevae, 1607) De Politia Mosis, ilbellus, cap. vi, 1517-1520.]
 
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