Role of Magistrate in Upholding Moral Law (split from civil union thread)

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PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Martin Snyder has raised a question over on another board about my last post. It's a fair question. I think I can defend my statement, but let's use this instead: "To see a respected Reformed leader say he could affirm civil domestic partnerships is a problem."

I have absolutely no desire to misrepresent Dr. Horton. This is an area where words count and I want to stick as closely to his actual words as possible.

Regards,
Darrell Todd Maurina


I am growing weary of this between board, Warfield / URC list, and trying to clarify things with Dr. Horton in email. I don't think I have had to work so hard in a long time to understand what other people are saying.

Darrell,

I might be incorrect but I think the following statement would reflect things more truthfully in the spirit and context of Dr. Horton. I think this would be more accurate and actually help us understand the relationship between the Two Kingdom / Natural Law understanding that is coming out of Westminster California also.

"To see a respected Reformed leader say he could affirm that Civil Government has the right to endorse civil domestic partnerships is a problem."

Do you see the difference and why this might be helpful in the discussion? It isn't a problem for some and it is for others. It is also tying the Two Kingdom / Natural Law debate to the equation. I really want to separate a misconception here from the situation. Dr. Horton is not endorsing nor affirming sinful civil domestic partnerships on a personal level. He calls individuals out of sin to believe in the person and work of Christ.

additional thoughts...
To me this is like any other discussion in the Church. The last major hurdle we are still attempting to overcome is the Federal Vision. We had to learn the nuances of the language and the spirit in which they were writing. Things are still being discovered. For instance, we are learning about the nuances between Klinean Theology and other Historic positions that are Confessional. And I do believe that does play a part in the last situation (Federal Vision) and in this situation (Two Kingdom / Natural Law) when it comes to the discussion of law and gospel. We had to learn a lot about what these guys were meaning when they were discussing Ecclesiology and the Sacraments. There were a lot of nuances to learn. I believe that this situation is harder but we have to learn nuances here also. We need to listen a bit more. I think this is important and that the health of many spheres and realms in life will be directly effected by this stuff. After all, orthodoxy does have a close tie to our orthopraxy as it has been noted through the years. We have to learn the nuances and let others catch up on these nuances also. If we don't this turns into an emotional battle more so than a truth battle. I admit I have been on the emotional side of issues many times. It is hard to separate our emotion from desiring to be correct and have others be correct also. We care that much. And that is commendable. But precision is important here. We don't want to violate the 9th commandment and we do want to perform the positive side of this commandment.

Methinks it is time for me to even review this......
http://www.puritanboard.com/content/9th-commandment-40/
 
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kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Reading through this thread makes me all the more concerned about the outcome of the 2K and R2K discussions taking place in Reformed circles right now. I can't imagine how we got through the last 500 years without this new means of dividing the body of Christ, but here it is (I know there was discussion previously, but the level of rhetoric has been kicked up a bunch - I just read about the ''R2K Sanhedrin'' at WTS Escondido somewhere in reference to this). The fact that it is taking place in the URC is all the more distressing, as we have tried so hard (and so recently) to disentangle ourselves from the CRC's present and past intricacies with charity (though not successfully in many cases) and here we are unsheathing the long knives again - internally. I know it is too important not to fight for it, but I pray that Christ may be glorified in this somehow.

PS - I was going to quote extensively from the works of Mark van den Molen, Mark van der Meulen, Mieke van der Pol, Mark van den Pool, and a few other notables to support these statements, but I thought it might muddy the waters some... :)
 

darrellmaurina

Puritan Board Freshman
Please accept my sincere apologies. I have no desire to violate list rules. My sole intent was to guard Dr. Horton's name by giving him the opportunity to represent himself in his own words, with a link to the original post.

No private emails have been posted. Elder Vander Pol has made clear in his public post on CO-URC that he was posting Dr. Horton's comment as a public response to public discussion of his views, since Dr. Horton does not have an account on these boards.

I will not crosspost items again across lists now that I realize the problem. I'm not used to that rule; in fact, I'm used to being required to show documentation via links to prove the legitimacy of a citation. However, I certainly will try to follow rules once I understand them.

Again, please accept my apologies. My rule violation was entirely unintentional and will not be repeated.


MODERATION

Thread is straying far from a discussion on the original article. Our rules do not allow the importing of discussions from other forums, forwarding people's responses from other venues, or posting of private emails.

Besides, the link to the Yahoo group presupposes that everyone has an account. Many of us don't.

Let the discussion stay focused on the original article, and do not import other discussions. If that cannot be done, the thread will have to be closed.
 

darrellmaurina

Puritan Board Freshman
Martin, you are absolutely right that this is a taxing and complicated issue. You are also right to bring out the Federal Vision parallels and the need to learn how people use language.

An underlying factor we probably need to recognize is that a fair number of the Federal Visionists were strong opponents of Two Kingdoms theology, and in some cases the Federal Visionists were also theonomists.

I think some of the antipathy toward the Two Kingdoms people at Westminster-West is coming from people who were targets of Westminster-West's sustained critique of theonomy, and more recently, Westminster-West's role in the critique of the Federal Vision movement.

There's a lot of middle ground here. Just because someone is active in the political realm doesn't mean they're a Federal Vision supporter. Classic Kuyperians and Dutch Reformed people would fall into that middle category, along with people who are supporters of Francis Schaeffer, D. James Kennedy, etc. Also, there are people like the Bayly brothers who are sympathetic to the political, educational, and family views of the people in Moscow, Idaho, without being full-blown Federal Visionists, and who have a long history of crossing swords with some of the leading Two Kingdoms advocates like Dr. Daryl Hart in ways that have nothing to do with the Federal Vision controversy.

It is too simplistic to say that what's happening now is a Federal Visionist "payback" against Westminster-West. That certainly isn't how I view things, and it's not why I got involved. But it is an underlying factor for some people who believe it's time to "go after" Westminster-West because of their significant success in driving the Federal Visionists out of mainstream Reformed and Presbyterian churches. I know the battle is ongoing in the PCA, but apart from a couple of presbyteries the question was answered by the General Assembly, and the question now is not what the General Assembly will say but rather whether GA will enforce what it (and other major NAPARC denominations) already said.
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
I guess I see both sides. The One Kingdom argument (which I believe tends towards theonomy) argues correctly that the Moral Law is binding on all. But it ignores a very basic fact, to wit, that the world is in rebellion against God. While the government SHOULD make and enforce laws that are in concert with the Scriptures, the truth is they DON'T.

Brining the issue of marriage into the discussion introduces an interesting dynamic into the question. Does marriage fall under the religious or civil sphere? I think the answer to that question has evolved. During the Middle Ages when marriage was considered a Sacrament, it clearly fell in the religious sphere. During the Reformation era, the answer fell somewhere in the middle. In America, in which the spheres of religion and government are kept separate, marriage is a civil activity, which MAY be overseen by a minister of the gospel. Since the requirement for marriage to be a religious activity has long since disappeared in our country, I can sympathize with Horton's position. Even if gay marriage became the law of the land, I could refuse to perform such a ceremony, while acknowledging their civil right to marry.

This question for me was very similar to the question of gays in the military. I did not oppose it and I am an 11 year veteran. It just made no sense to me to deny patriotic men and women the opportunity to serve, simply because their sexual orientation was different than mine.

Let's face it guys. Gay marriage is coming. It will become the law of the land in our lifetimes. What we should consider is how we bring the gospel (not the Law) to bear on the culture. We could resist gay marriage with all of our strength, and perhaps delay it for a bit, but that won't change the conditions of men's souls. 80 years ago, well-meaning legalists succeeded in bringing Prohibition to this country. What did they accomplish? Nothing. Not a soul was saved as a result. Men still beat their wives, people found ways to get alcohol illegally, and organized crime grew to unprecedented levels of power. All men's sins will be judged, whether they are in Christ or in Adam. Our job, brothers, is not to be the vanguard of that judgment, but to be the heralds of salvation.

Kevin Carroll
Currently Without Call
 

mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
What we should consider is how we bring the gospel (not the Law) to bear on the culture.

This is a false dichotomy. The law is a "proto-gospel", per Berkhof. The law and the gospel do "sweetly comply" with each other, per the WCF. The law has a usus politicus, restraining evil and promoting good.

No, what we are in most dire need of today are heralds who proclaim the whole counsel of God to a dying culture.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
What we should consider is how we bring the gospel (not the Law) to bear on the culture.

This is a false dichotomy. The law is a "proto-gospel", per Berkhof. The law and the gospel do "sweetly comply" with each other, per the WCF. The law has a usus politicus, restraining evil and promoting good.

No, what we are in most dire need of today are heralds who proclaim the whole counsel of God to a dying culture.

Mark,

If I'm wrong (this is addressed to Rev. Kev) then correct me, but I think you're missing the point. We are called to proclaim the Gospel of Christ (which you cannot do without the Law). However, you are saying that the Law must be preached to promote good order (restrain evil), which "children of wrath" cannot do. I think this misses the point Paul makes in many places:

12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.” (Romans 3)

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2)

People aren't ignorant of God's Law. It's quite apparent in many places, including His special revelation. We live in a culture that knows God's Law yet "they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened". For Paul tells us "they know God's righteous decree" (Romans 1:32).
 
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mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
We are called to proclaim the Gospel of Chris (which you cannot do without the Law.

I'm not missing anything. You just said here precisely the point I am making. This is in contradistiction from the suggestion I read in Rev. Kev.'s statement that we are to preach the gospel and NOT the law. This is to be proclaimed to believer and unbeliver unlike. The fact that the unbeliever does not discern spiritual things does not negate the second use of the law. Nor the third use of the law.

The subject of this very thread should be alarming evidence enough of the need to actually recover our Reformed confessions. May our heralds wake from the stupor of this thinking that entices us into surrendering proclamation of the whole counsel of God-- law and gospel-- to all men everywhere.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
In all due respect Andrew, you are getting spheres (realms) and operations of office mixed up. The Civil realm is to apply the Law of God and use it correctively also. The Church does the same thing for those it is to shepherd. It is a grace from God. Both the Civil and the Church are to reflect grace, mercy, and discipline. You can see it in Israel as it was to function in its legal spheres concerning the Tabernacle and the King. And the two offices are not to mix. But both have responsibilities to glorify God. The Confession discusses how the two operate under the authority of Christ.

I believe Kevin Carroll has just lost hope on this issue. We can pray. Ezekiel 22:30.
(Eze 22:28) And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.

(Eze 22:29) The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.


(Eze 22:30) And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.


(Eze 22:31) Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Keep praying brothers. God is good and faithful. Our children need our prayers.

(Jas 5:16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

(Jas 5:17) Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.


(Jas 5:18) And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.


(Jas 5:19) Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;


(Jas 5:20) Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
 
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Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
In all due respect Andrew, you are getting spheres (realms) and operations of office mixed up. The Civil realm is to apply the Law of God and use it correctively also. The Church does the same thing for those it is to shepherd. It is a grace from God. Both the Civil and the Church are to reflect grace, mercy, and discipline. You can see it in Israel as it was to function in its legal spheres concerning the Tabernacle and the King. And the two offices are not to mix. But both have responsibilities to glorify God. The Confession discusses how the two operate under the authority of Christ.

I believe Kevin Carroll has just lost hope on this issue. We can pray. Ezekiel 22:30.
(Eze 22:28) And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.

(Eze 22:29) The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.


(Eze 22:30) And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.


(Eze 22:31) Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Keep praying brothers. God is good and faithful. Our children need our prayers.

(Jas 5:16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

(Jas 5:17) Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.


(Jas 5:18) And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.


(Jas 5:19) Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;


(Jas 5:20) Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Interesting that you use Israel as an example. Israel operated under a theocratic society. Are you saying that America should be a theocracy? Israel was a special case.
 

Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
Interesting that you use Israel as an example. Israel operated under a theocratic society. Are you saying that America should be a theocracy? Israel was a special case
Yet James uses Israel, so it does not appear to be such a special case that it is irrelevant. Furthermore, the moral law is binding to everyone, so to believe that it can be enforced by the magistrate is not theocratic but just reformed historical orthodoxy.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
In all due respect Andrew, you are getting spheres (realms) and operations of office mixed up. The Civil realm is to apply the Law of God and use it correctively also. The Church does the same thing for those it is to shepherd. It is a grace from God. Both the Civil and the Church are to reflect grace, mercy, and discipline. You can see it in Israel as it was to function in its legal spheres concerning the Tabernacle and the King. And the two offices are not to mix. But both have responsibilities to glorify God. The Confession discusses how the two operate under the authority of Christ.

I believe Kevin Carroll has just lost hope on this issue. We can pray. Ezekiel 22:30.
(Eze 22:28) And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.

(Eze 22:29) The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.


(Eze 22:30) And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.


(Eze 22:31) Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Keep praying brothers. God is good and faithful. Our children need our prayers.

(Jas 5:16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

(Jas 5:17) Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.


(Jas 5:18) And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.


(Jas 5:19) Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;


(Jas 5:20) Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Interesting that you use Israel as an example. Israel operated under a theocratic society. Are you saying that America should be a theocracy? Israel was a special case.

Israel was a special case, but that doesn't mean she was so special that there isn't a general equity in the law to guide churches re the types of presumptuous sin that should be dealt with by sanctions, and to - more broadly - guide regarding the formation of Christian civil government and civil laws.

WCF Chapter 19
IV. To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.(g)

(g) Ex. 21 chap.; Ex. 22:1 to 29; Gen. 49:10 with I Pet. 2:13, 14; Matt. 5:17, with ver. 38, 39; I Cor. 9:8, 9, 10.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
In all due respect Andrew, you are getting spheres (realms) and operations of office mixed up. The Civil realm is to apply the Law of God and use it correctively also. The Church does the same thing for those it is to shepherd. It is a grace from God. Both the Civil and the Church are to reflect grace, mercy, and discipline. You can see it in Israel as it was to function in its legal spheres concerning the Tabernacle and the King. And the two offices are not to mix. But both have responsibilities to glorify God. The Confession discusses how the two operate under the authority of Christ.

I believe Kevin Carroll has just lost hope on this issue. We can pray. Ezekiel 22:30.
(Eze 22:28) And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.

(Eze 22:29) The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.


(Eze 22:30) And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.


(Eze 22:31) Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

Keep praying brothers. God is good and faithful. Our children need our prayers.

(Jas 5:16) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

(Jas 5:17) Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.


(Jas 5:18) And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.


(Jas 5:19) Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;


(Jas 5:20) Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Interesting that you use Israel as an example. Israel operated under a theocratic society. Are you saying that America should be a theocracy? Israel was a special case.

Israel was a special case, but that doesn't mean she was so special that there isn't a general equity in the law to guide churches re the types of presumptuous sin that should be dealt with by sanctions, and to - more broadly - guide regarding the formation of Christian civil government and civil laws.

WCF Chapter 19
IV. To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.(g)

(g) Ex. 21 chap.; Ex. 22:1 to 29; Gen. 49:10 with I Pet. 2:13, 14; Matt. 5:17, with ver. 38, 39; I Cor. 9:8, 9, 10.

Richard,

America isn't a Christian nation. It isn't a Christian civil government either. So I'm not sure how this applies, regarding your argument.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Richard,

America isn't a Christian nation. It isn't a Christian civil government either. So I'm not sure how this applies, regarding your argument.

It should be according to the original WCF.

But even where a government isn't explicitly Christian, should Christians before God want immoral laws on the statute book and shouldn't they want laws that are based on Christian standards for the good of the church and nation?

E.g. Some examples of the kind of laws which Christians should oppose are the legalisation of the murder of abortion or euthanasia; provision for homosexual marriage; for incest; for polygamy; easy divorce; gross public blasphemy; certain cases of Sabbath-breaking, etc, etc.

R2K seems to be saying that there should be no biblical reform beyond the Church, nor any work towards it.

The second use of the law, as respects its application to civil matters, is overthrown, all in the name of opposing theonomy. You're out of the frying pan and into the fire.
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
It is a dichotomy, but not necessarily a false one. I should have been more precise. When I said "Law" I guess I was thinking along the lines of the Moral Majority. It is pointless trying to compel unbelievers to live like believers. Only the gospel preached, received, and lived will do that.
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
You guys are putting words in my mouth (sort of what like folks are doing to Horton, only he's more cool than I). I am not talking about preaching. Of course both law and gospel need to be declared. I thought this discussion was about Horton making a remark about civil law. Randy thinks I have given up hope. Not sure what that means. Have I come to grips with the fact that evil men will wax worse and worse, yep. Guilty as charged. Have I lost hope in the triumph of the gospel? Nope. I think part of the challege here is that I have never bought the (European) Reformed notion that it is the job of the government to enforce the Law of God. Now they may in fact do that as an operation of common grace, but nowhere does the Bible say that they must. If that makes me an R2K guy, so be it. My hope is not in Uncle Sam; it's in the Lord.
 

Dearly Bought

Puritan Board Junior
It is pointless trying to compel unbelievers to live like believers. Only the gospel preached, received, and lived will do that.
What does this mean? Surely you believe that the civil government should compel unbelievers to refrain from murder? I doubt anyone on the PB believes that civil law can compel faith in the heart. However, isn't the duty of civil government to compel outward obedience to God's Law, punishing evildoers and praising the good?

I think part of the challege here is that I have never bought the (European) Reformed notion that it is the job of the government to enforce the Law of God. Now they may in fact do that as an operation of common grace, but nowhere does the Bible say that they must. If that makes me an R2K guy, so be it. My hope is not in Uncle Sam; it's in the Lord.
If civil government does not enforce the Law of God, what other standard of good and evil do you see in Romans 13?
 
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Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
Richard,

America isn't a Christian nation. It isn't a Christian civil government either. So I'm not sure how this applies, regarding your argument.

It should be according to the original WCF.

But even where a government isn't explicitly Christian, should Christians before God want immoral laws on the statute book and shouldn't they want laws that are based on Christian standards for the good of the church and nation?

E.g. Some examples of the kind of laws which Christians should oppose are the legalisation of the murder of abortion or euthanasia; provision for homosexual marriage; for incest; for polygamy; easy divorce; gross public blasphemy; certain cases of Sabbath-breaking, etc, etc.

R2K seems to be saying that there should be no biblical reform beyond the Church, nor any work towards it.

The second use of the law, as respects its application to civil matters, is overthrown, all in the name of opposing theonomy. You're out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Richard,

I agree with you that Christians should seek to push governments to do good and restrain evil (i.e. murder, abortion, homosexuality, etc.). However, I can't say that secular governments have the same standards as "Christian" governments. I think that Charles Hodge says it best in his systematic theology (Vol. 3 Ch. 19 - The Law):
3. A third class of laws have their foundation in certain temporary relations of men, or conditions of society. and are enforced by the authority of God. To this class belong many of the judicial or civil laws of the ancient theocracy; laws regulating the distribution of property, the duties of husbands and wives, the punishment of crimes, etc. These laws were the application of general principles of justice and right to the peculiar circumstances of the Hebrew people. Such enactments bind only those who are in the circumstances contemplated, and cease to be obligatory when those circumstances change. It is always and everywhere right that crime should be punished, but the kind or degree of punishment may vary with the varying condition of society. It is always right that the poor should be supported, but one mode of discharging that duty may be proper in one age and country, and another preferable in other times and places. all those laws, therefore, in the old testament, which had their foundation in the peculiar circumstances of the Hebrews, ceased to be binding when the old dispensation passed away.

It is often difficult to determine to which of the last two classes certain laws of the old testament belong; and therefore, to decide whether they are still obligatory or not. Deplorable evils have flowed from mistakes as to this point. The theories of the union of Church and State, of the right of the magistrate to interfere authoritatively in matters of religion, and of the duty of persecution, so far as scriptural authority is concerned, rest on the transfer of laws founded on the temporary relations of the Hebrews to the altered relations of Christians. Because the Hebrew kings were the guardians of both tables of the Law, and were required to suppress idolatry and all false religion, it was inferred that such is still the duty of the Christian magistrate. Because Samuel hewed Agag to pieces, it was inferred to be right to deal in like manner with heretics. No one can read the history of the Church without being impressed with the dreadful evils which have flowed from this mistake. On the other hand, there are some of the judicial laws of the old testament which were really founded on the permanent relations of men, and therefore, were intended to be of perpetual obligation, which many have repudiated as peculiar to the old dispensation. Such are some of the laws relating to marriage, and to the infliction of capital punishment for the crime of murder. If it be asked, how are we to determine whether any judicial law of the old testament is still in force? the answer is first, when the continued authority of such law is recognized in the new testament. That for Christians is decisive. And secondly, if the reason or ground for a given law is permanent, the law itself is permanent.

It's important to realize that governments have certain obligations to protect the people, such as: defining marriage as between one man and one woman, capital punishment for murder, and protecting the innocent. Also, the WCF (Ch. 23), as adopted by many, states the following:
3. 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 the preference to any denomination of Christians 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 hath 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 manner as that no person be suffered, either upon 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.
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
What does this mean? Surely you believe that the civil government should compel unbelievers to refrain from murder? I doubt anyone on the PB believes that civil law can compel faith in the heart. However, isn't the duty of civil government to compel outward obedience to God's Law, punishing evildoers and praising the good?

See you are using different words that don't help the discussion. The government DOES (at times) enforce the 6th Commandment, but it does so because of the operations of common grace, not because of some overwhelming conviction that Exodus 20 is true.

If civil government does not enforce the Law of God, what other standard of good and evil do you see in Romans 13?
Again you are confusing what it does with the motivations for it. And we are way off the comments that Horton made.

Bottom line, if your state legalizes civil unions, on what basis would you deny them the tax benefits of doing so? Bottom line, the WCF paragraph on the civil magistrate does not work in a country in which there is not an established religion. Recongnizing that hardly flies in the face of "Reformed orthodoxy" as someone else asserted. If it does then the PCA, ARP, et al are heterodox.
 

Dearly Bought

Puritan Board Junior
Bottom line, if your state legalizes civil unions, on what basis would you deny them the tax benefits of doing so? Bottom line, the WCF paragraph on the civil magistrate does not work in a country in which there is not an established religion. Recongnizing that hardly flies in the face of "Reformed orthodoxy" as someone else asserted. If it does then the PCA, ARP, et al are heterodox.
Are you arguing that Christians should not oppose civil unions?
 

davenporter

Puritan Board Freshman
See you are using different words that don't help the discussion. The government DOES (at times) enforce the 6th Commandment, but it does so because of the operations of common grace, not because of some overwhelming conviction that Exodus 20 is true.

I understand that it's not, but shouldn't the ideal be that the government enforce the 6th commandment because of a conviction that Exodus 20 is true? And shouldn't the same be true of the rest of the 10 commandments?
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
See you are using different words that don't help the discussion. The government DOES (at times) enforce the 6th Commandment, but it does so because of the operations of common grace, not because of some overwhelming conviction that Exodus 20 is true.

I understand that it's not, but shouldn't the ideal be that the government enforce the 6th commandment because of a conviction that Exodus 20 is true? And shouldn't the same be true of the rest of the 10 commandments?

Sure, if we lived, or had hope of living, in a Christian society, then yes. However, this is not, nor can be, the case any longer. The dream of transforming culture is just that, a dream. We live in a sinful world. Christ came to seek and save the lost, not culture.
 

Dearly Bought

Puritan Board Junior
Sure, if we lived, or had hope of living, in a Christian society, then yes. However, this is not, nor can be, the case any longer. The dream of transforming culture is just that, a dream. We live in a sinful world. Christ came to seek and save the lost, not culture.

Sin does not preclude national revival. There is yet hope for the fullness of the Gentiles, the restoration of the Jews, and kings learning to kiss the Son. This hope does not come from the mere sight of men, but from the vision given in the promises of Scripture.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
Sure, if we lived, or had hope of living, in a Christian society, then yes. However, this is not, nor can be, the case any longer. The dream of transforming culture is just that, a dream. We live in a sinful world. Christ came to seek and save the lost, not culture.

Sin does not preclude national revival. There is yet hope for the fullness of the Gentiles, the restoration of the Jews, and kings learning to kiss the Son. This hope does not come from the mere sight of men, but from the vision given in the promises of Scripture.

Obviously you say this with an optimistic view of eschatology. I'm assuming you're either post or pre-millenial. This is side tracking however. We aren't discussing "there is yet hope" but the function of the Law. As such we know that this society is sinful, and has always been (and always will be) sinful. Therefore, I have no idea what you are actually responding to.. (not meant to be taken as a negative thing, I just don't see how it responds to me).
 

Dearly Bought

Puritan Board Junior
Sure, if we lived, or had hope of living, in a Christian society, then yes. However, this is not, nor can be, the case any longer. The dream of transforming culture is just that, a dream. We live in a sinful world. Christ came to seek and save the lost, not culture.

Sin does not preclude national revival. There is yet hope for the fullness of the Gentiles, the restoration of the Jews, and kings learning to kiss the Son. This hope does not come from the mere sight of men, but from the vision given in the promises of Scripture.

Obviously you say this with an optimistic view of eschatology. I'm assuming you're either post or pre-millenial. This is side tracking however. We aren't discussing "there is yet hope" but the function of the Law. As such we know that this society is sinful, and has always been (and always will be) sinful. Therefore, I have no idea what you are actually responding to.. (not meant to be taken as a negative thing, I just don't see how it responds to me).

As I understand your argument, you believe that the use of divine revelation to norm civil law is "a dream" which is unachievable in a sinful world. Therefore we should not seek such things. My response is that this standard is achievable through the power of God according to Scripture's promise. We should not allow our dim view of the world to dictate the goals which we strive for.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Andrew
Sure, if we lived, or had hope of living, in a Christian society, then yes. However, this is not, nor can be, the case any longer. The dream of transforming culture is just that, a dream. We live in a sinful world. Christ came to seek and save the lost, not culture.

You're just positing false dichotomies in a very unreformed way: Preaching law versus Gospel; preaching the gospel versus addressing culture and civil laws. What if the Lord wants "both/and" ? It's not a very good gospel witness - apart from anything else - to be on the side of history that opposes good civil reform or that supports bad civil reform.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
Andrew
Sure, if we lived, or had hope of living, in a Christian society, then yes. However, this is not, nor can be, the case any longer. The dream of transforming culture is just that, a dream. We live in a sinful world. Christ came to seek and save the lost, not culture.

You're just positing false dichotomies in a very unreformed way: Preaching law versus Gospel; preaching the gospel versus addressing culture and civil laws. What if the Lord wants "both/and" ? It's not a very good gospel witness - apart from anything else - to be on the side of history that opposes good civil reform or that supports bad civil reform.

Richard,

So now you're name calling? Saying that I support bad civil reform? In other words you're saying I support e.g., gay marriage. It's not a false dichotomy. You just don't understand what I'm saying (or you don't like it). God didn't give the Law to the other nations. He gave it specifically to His covenant people.

I'm also glad to hear you're an expert in all things reformed.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
Sure, if we lived, or had hope of living, in a Christian society, then yes. However, this is not, nor can be, the case any longer. The dream of transforming culture is just that, a dream. We live in a sinful world. Christ came to seek and save the lost, not culture.

Sin does not preclude national revival. There is yet hope for the fullness of the Gentiles, the restoration of the Jews, and kings learning to kiss the Son. This hope does not come from the mere sight of men, but from the vision given in the promises of Scripture.

Obviously you say this with an optimistic view of eschatology. I'm assuming you're either post or pre-millenial. This is side tracking however. We aren't discussing "there is yet hope" but the function of the Law. As such we know that this society is sinful, and has always been (and always will be) sinful. Therefore, I have no idea what you are actually responding to.. (not meant to be taken as a negative thing, I just don't see how it responds to me).

As I understand your argument, you believe that the use of divine revelation to norm civil law is "a dream" which is unachievable in a sinful world. Therefore we should not seek such things. My response is that this standard is achievable through the power of God according to Scripture's promise. We should not allow our dim view of the world to dictate the goals which we strive for.

I'm not a theonomist... so.. yes I don't believe that divine revelation is to be used to norm civil law. It was given to the covenant people of God. Not the heathen nations.

However, just so we are clear, if this was a Christian nation, then that would be a different story. FYI, Calvin even made a distinction between a Christian and heathen nation.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Well, we know where Andrew is getting his theology. LOL. E2K / Natural Law?

(Act 17:29) Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

(Act 17:30) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:


(Act 17:31) Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Looks like I am going to have to catch up on this thread. Theonomy is being thrown around a lot when it isn't necessarily a Theonomy stance. Always point at the bad guy. All preachers must be perverts because they are preachers and some are bad. Wow. Great logic.

BTW, Someone had me reference Natural Law in John Colquhoun recently. For some reason the whole decalogue is attached to it in the old definitions. Especially in his book on Law and Gospel. I have read it. Evidently Van Drunnen did too but I am not seeing this Natural Law / Two Kingdom stuff in it they came away with.

BTW, I don't know of a Culture that doesn't know the Ten Commandments. I have been to a few other Countries also. They even know the first tablet. It is pretty common knowledge.
 
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