The Sovereignty of God and Civil Law

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timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
From another thread:

Daniel, Theonomy is not the only position that consistently holds that God and His law-word is sovereign in civil law.

No, Theonomy is the only position that consistently holds that God is the only Lawgiver to the state. Other positions - by rejecting Biblical penal sanctions - deny this. All other views deny that God ALONE has the sovereign right to determine what constitutes crime and what constitutes a just penal sanction. Others may tip their hats to the sovereignty of God in civil affairs, but they deny it by their rejection of Biblical law.

One of the things I have found in discussing these matters in the last 7 years is that Theonomists almost invariably misunderstand the historic reformed position at both epistemological and historico-theological levels and attack straw men versions of it. The classical Reformed view does not reject Mosaic civil stipulations: while it recognizes that they have expired as the law code for Israel, a nation state in national covenant with God, it does not draw the false conclusion that those laws are irrelevant for today. Rather, it specifically recognizes that any Mosaic civil stipulation may or may not be valid depending on whether or not general equity will apply in that case. And although he didn't like the way WCF 19:4 expressed the matter, no less a Theonomist than Rushdoony has recognized the issue as legitimate. For Rush has observed that God's:


…covenant people are doubly God’s property: first by virtue of His creation; and second, by virtue of his redemption. For this reason, sin is more personal and more than man-centered. It is a theological offense.

Rousas J. Rushdoony, Law and Society, p 28.

From this premise, Rushdoony wonders whether the nature of some offenses changes depending on the type of relationship with God that underlies the situation.


Does this mean that in the modern world, Sabbath-breaking is punishable by death or should be? The answer is, very clearly and emphatically no. The modern state is not in covenant with God but is an enemy of God. Sabbath-breaking has no specific penalty of death just as there is no death penalty for adultery (Hos. 4:14), because the nations are not in covenant with God and are therefore under sentence of death. Because of this general and central indictment, the lesser offenses have no place. Covenant offences are one thing, enemy offenses another.

Rousas J. Rushdoony, Law and Society, p. 685.

Notice that Rushdoony recognizes that there are some questions about the applicablility of Mosaic judicials that are resolved at the hermeneutical level. And notice too, that by parity of reasoning Rush's argument (if correct) invalidates and decriminalizes all Mosaic crimes that are offenses against the first table and nullifies all Mosaic penalties for the same. So the real division is not between a simon pure Theonomy that advocates all biblical laws unless amended, but to what extent must hermeneutical considerations be allowed to influence results.


And you should not call a quotation a misquotation unless you go on to demonstrate that it is one.

The point of that statement was that the issue is NOT a historical one. Now is not the place to determine whether or not something is a quote or mis-quote as their are other threads in which this may be done.

Given that almost all major Reformers, a majority of the Puritans, and the WCF clearly utilize a different hermeneutic from that of Bahnsen, as documented in How Firm a Foundation, the issue is both epsitemological and historico-theological.


May I recommend Tim that you devote more of your time to refuting the disastrous ethics of humanism, rather than waging war on those who wish to uphold the holy laws of God. This would be a much more profitable use of your time. If you don't agree with me, then I have to respect you as a brother in the Lord, but things need to be kept in proportion: there are bigger battles to fight.

I agree that there are other, and bigger battles to fight. But those battles have other people fighting them; nobody else As far as I know is challenging Bahnsen's disciples on the internet when they present his view as if it is the Reformed view. If Bahnsen's Theonomy is an error it is more serious than you realize. Here are the consequences:

Although the difference between the reasoning processes of the two groups seems irrelevant when both advocate the adoption of given Mosaic civil laws or punishments, significant problems arise when the different approaches arrive at different conclusions.

Erring in this matter impacts Christian political activity. Lacking an agreement on the correct hermeneutic, Reformed and Evangelical Christians working in politics will have to fight a two-front war; while trying to persuade their electorates to take a righteous position on second table commands, they will have to deny that they have a hidden agenda to institute Mosaic first table crimes and penalties while Theonomists proclaim the contrary, a confusion that will hinder effective Christian political witness.

The theological consequences of choosing the wrong hermeneutic are far more serious. If applying all unamended Mosaic civil laws remains our New Covenant duty, certain consequences inevitably follow. As Bahnsen correctly noted;

God's law is weighty with relevance for sanctification. The breaking of the very least stipulation of the law generates God's displeasure ... taking an erroneous teaching position with respect to the details of the law (e.g. that the exhaustive details of God's law no longer bind Christians or this period of history) does the same....The antecedent referent of 'these' in verse 19 is clearly the 'jot and tittle' mentioned in verse 18. Verse 19 teaches… that the smallest part of the law of God is a canon for determining personal standing in the kingdom of heaven.

Yet if Theonomy errs, its advocates are adding an unbiblical element to their teaching of sanctification thus hindering Christian growth in grace. In addition, by misrepresenting God's New Covenant requirements to unbelievers, they will have launched an unnecessary debate between Christians and created a considerable amount of unnecessary opposition to Christian evangelism. Finally they will be liable to God's rebuke (Prov. 30:6) for adding to His word the thesis that obeying and promoting all non-amended OT civil laws is part of Christians’ New Covenant duty when God has not so demanded it.

If Bahnsen has put forward an unbiblical hermeneutic based on a misreading of both Scripture and history that has led to another division among God's people, shouldn't somebody make the effort to stop it?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Erring in this matter impacts Christian political activity. Lacking an agreement on the correct hermeneutic, Reformed and Evangelical Christians working in politics will have to fight a two-front war; while trying to persuade their electorates to take a righteous position on second table commands, they will have to deny that they have a hidden agenda to institute Mosaic first table crimes and penalties while Theonomists proclaim the contrary, a confusion that will hinder effective Christian political witness.

Despite claiming to uphold the Reformed view of the judical law, Tim clearly shows his opposition to the Reformers and Puritans as they believed that the civil government was to uphold the first table of the law. Moreover, the framers of the Westminster Standards had to swear a national covenant in order to enter the Assembly.


Given that almost all major Reformers, a majority of the Puritans, and the WCF clearly utilize a different hermeneutic from that of Bahnsen, as documented in How Firm a Foundation, the issue is both epsitemological and historico-theological.

This is utter nonsense as the Westminster Confession utilizes Matt. 5:17 as a proof-text for the general equity of the judicial law being binding today. Tim is reading the Reformers and Puritans through post-enlightenment spectacles.

Finally they will be liable to God's rebuke (Prov. 30:6) for adding to His word the thesis that obeying and promoting all non-amended OT civil laws is part of Christians’ New Covenant duty when God has not so demanded it.

This totally flies in the face of Christ's words in Matthew 5:17-19, and it is a Dispensational hermeneutic as it means God has to say something twice before it can be considered as binding.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Daniel, no matter how you try to argue it, the Reformers and Puritans were not Theonomists. They will not fit the mold. Acknowledge the innovation of Rushdoony and Bahnsen and deal with it. :2cents:
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Daniel, no matter how you try to argue it, the Reformers and Puritans were not Theonomists. They will not fit the mold. Acknowledge the innovation of Rushdoony and Bahnsen and deal with it. :2cents:

I concur with your sentiment. I however think that the easiest way to get Theonomists to agree that the Reformers and Puritans were not of the same mind (lots of overlap but not the same), is to have various opposition groups, step up to the mike and say, "We reject the Reformed view on the authority and responsibility of the civil magistrate. Through our exegesis of history and etc,, we believe that the Reformed view leads to unnecessary wars and various other negative consequences."

CT
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
Erring in this matter impacts Christian political activity. Lacking an agreement on the correct hermeneutic, Reformed and Evangelical Christians working in politics will have to fight a two-front war; while trying to persuade their electorates to take a righteous position on second table commands, they will have to deny that they have a hidden agenda to institute Mosaic first table crimes and penalties while Theonomists proclaim the contrary, a confusion that will hinder effective Christian political witness.

Despite claiming to uphold the Reformed view of the judical law, Tim clearly shows his opposition to the Reformers and Puritans as they believed that the civil government was to uphold the first table of the law. Moreover, the framers of the Westminster Standards had to swear a national covenant in order to enter the Assembly.

Tim-Although the Divines had to swear national covenant before they entered the assembly and although many of them shared with Bahnsen the belief that particular Mosaic judicials remained required today, they did not derive their conclusions by the same means Bahnsen did. The difference in heremeneutic became more critical when Rushdoony pointed out a problem needing to be addressed in a fuller way. Does the differeing covenant status of nations today affect the equity of particular punishments? Finally, my comment about contemporary reformed rejecting first table punishments is not necessarily my own view but an objective description of the majority reformed view here in North America today. I am not necessarily against Mosaic civil punishments for 1st table offenses, provided that the hermeneutic used to justify them to the electorate demonstrates that they remain equitable under the present circumstances. Bahnsen's hermeneutic fails this test, based as it is on unjustifiale mistranslations of key words without consderation of all relevant alternatives, misrepresentations of commentators opinions that make it look if the commentator supports Bahnsen's view when the commmentator denies Bahnsen's conclusion, and sundry points at which Bahnsen unwittingly refutes himself.

Given that almost all major Reformers, a majority of the Puritans, and the WCF clearly utilize a different hermeneutic from that of Bahnsen, as documented in How Firm a Foundation, the issue is both epsitemological and historico-theological.

[This is utter nonsense as the Westminster Confession utilizes Matt. 5:17 as a proof-text for the general equity of the judicial law being binding today. Tim is reading the Reformers and Puritans through post-enlightenment spectacles.

Indeed the WCF does so cite Matt. 5:17. The problem is, as HFAF demonstrates, that Bahnsen and the Divines differ slightly but significantly in how they believe general equity should be applied. Bahnsen does not believe that general equity can be used to overturn an case of applying Mosaic punishments to Mosaic crimes, but it is clear that for Calvin and Divines such as Rutherford, Gillespie and Anthony Burgess (who drafted 19:4): not all Mosaic laws remain valid today.

Finally they will be liable to God's rebuke (Prov. 30:6) for adding to His word the thesis that obeying and promoting all non-amended OT civil laws is part of Christians’ New Covenant duty when God has not so demanded it.

This totally flies in the face of Christ's words in Matthew 5:17-19, and it is a Dispensational hermeneutic as it means God has to say something twice before it can be considered as binding.

Tim-Not so. For the Sinai covenant was given to Israel not the nations. Unless of course you believe that a repetant Ninevah, after Jonah's visit could have claimed as of right the blessings of the covenant without successfully petitioning God to covenant with them.

It is worth noting that Bahnsen and other Theonomists such as DeWar and North clearly recognized that the Sinai civil stipulations did not automatically pass into the new covenant. In his view they were brought into the New Covenant by Christ in Matt. 5:17-19 and other passages. As HFAF demonstrates, however, none of the passages cited in support of that premise necessarily require it.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Daniel, no matter how you try to argue it, the Reformers and Puritans were not Theonomists. They will not fit the mold. Acknowledge the innovation of Rushdoony and Bahnsen and deal with it. :2cents:

I concur with your sentiment. I however think that the easiest way to get Theonomists to agree that the Reformers and Puritans were not of the same mind (lots of overlap but not the same), is to have various opposition groups, step up to the mike and say, "We reject the Reformed view on the authority and responsibility of the civil magistrate. Through our exegesis of history and etc,, we believe that the Reformed view leads to unnecessary wars and various other negative consequences."

CT
I would agree with the sentiments of theonomists, there is only one standard of justice. But hermenuetically, it can't be the Isrealite theocracy and mosaic covenant. That was for Israel and expired with Israel. It was never intended to be perpetual, but point forward to the new covenant. Only the moral law is binding upon all men. We can't go back to types and shadows. Christ has come. But I've argued this elsewhere on the Board and need not get into again now. I just wanted to clarify that you don't have to be a Theonomist in order to believe the civil magistrate must enforce the entire 10 commandments (though we would certainly disagree as to how that may be enforced), and the Theonomy as we know it today is clearly an innovation, it's new. :2cents:
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Daniel, no matter how you try to argue it, the Reformers and Puritans were not Theonomists. They will not fit the mold. Acknowledge the innovation of Rushdoony and Bahnsen and deal with it. :2cents:

I concur with your sentiment. I however think that the easiest way to get Theonomists to agree that the Reformers and Puritans were not of the same mind (lots of overlap but not the same), is to have various opposition groups, step up to the mike and say, "We reject the Reformed view on the authority and responsibility of the civil magistrate. Through our exegesis of history and etc,, we believe that the Reformed view leads to unnecessary wars and various other negative consequences."

CT
I would agree with the sentiments of theonomists, there is only one standard of justice. But hermenuetically, it can't be the Isrealite theocracy and mosaic covenant. That was for Israel and expired with Israel. It was never intended to be perpetual, but point forward to the new covenant. Only the moral law is binding upon all men. We can't go back to types and shadows. Christ has come. But I've argued this elsewhere on the Board and need not get into again now. I just wanted to clarify that you don't have to be a Theonomist in order to believe the civil magistrate must enforce the entire 10 commandments (though we would certainly disagree as to how that may be enforced), and the Theonomy as we know it today is clearly an innovation, it's new. :2cents:

Just give me a national covenant and an established church and I'll just go away. I do not ask for much.:handshake:

CT
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
I concur with your sentiment. I however think that the easiest way to get Theonomists to agree that the Reformers and Puritans were not of the same mind (lots of overlap but not the same), is to have various opposition groups, step up to the mike and say, "We reject the Reformed view on the authority and responsibility of the civil magistrate. Through our exegesis of history and etc,, we believe that the Reformed view leads to unnecessary wars and various other negative consequences."

CT
I would agree with the sentiments of theonomists, there is only one standard of justice. But hermenuetically, it can't be the Isrealite theocracy and mosaic covenant. That was for Israel and expired with Israel. It was never intended to be perpetual, but point forward to the new covenant. Only the moral law is binding upon all men. We can't go back to types and shadows. Christ has come. But I've argued this elsewhere on the Board and need not get into again now. I just wanted to clarify that you don't have to be a Theonomist in order to believe the civil magistrate must enforce the entire 10 commandments (though we would certainly disagree as to how that may be enforced), and the Theonomy as we know it today is clearly an innovation, it's new. :2cents:

Just give me a national covenant and an established church and I'll just go away. I do not ask for much.:handshake:

CT

I'm with you there brother, as long as I'm not forced to be a paedobaptist! :lol::handshake:
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Daniel, no matter how you try to argue it, the Reformers and Puritans were not Theonomists. They will not fit the mold. Acknowledge the innovation of Rushdoony and Bahnsen and deal with it. :2cents:

I concur with your sentiment. I however think that the easiest way to get Theonomists to agree that the Reformers and Puritans were not of the same mind (lots of overlap but not the same), is to have various opposition groups, step up to the mike and say, "We reject the Reformed view on the authority and responsibility of the civil magistrate. Through our exegesis of history and etc,, we believe that the Reformed view leads to unnecessary wars and various other negative consequences."

CT
I would agree with the sentiments of theonomists, there is only one standard of justice. But hermenuetically, it can't be the Isrealite theocracy and mosaic covenant. That was for Israel and expired with Israel. It was never intended to be perpetual, but point forward to the new covenant. Only the moral law is binding upon all men. We can't go back to types and shadows. Christ has come. But I've argued this elsewhere on the Board and need not get into again now. I just wanted to clarify that you don't have to be a Theonomist in order to believe the civil magistrate must enforce the entire 10 commandments (though we would certainly disagree as to how that may be enforced), and the Theonomy as we know it today is clearly an innovation, it's new. :2cents:

This confuses the judicial law with the ceremonial law, the civil law had nothing to do with types and shadows, that was the ceremonial law. The civil magistrate is not to enforce the Ten Commandments per se, but only breaches of the Ten Commandments that constitute crimes.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Finally, my comment about contemporary reformed rejecting first table punishments is not necessarily my own view but an objective description of the majority reformed view here in North America today.

That is because you Americans were influenced by the enlightenment to amend the Westminster Confession to suit the spirit of the age; of course Tim as a Baptist you don't agree with the WCF, so there is little point criticising Bahnsen for (allegedly) disagreeing with a document you yourself reject. You keep going on about the historical evidence against Theonomy, however it does not seem to occur to you that I have already considered this (and documented it) myself and do not agree with your conclusions, so repeating the same arguments over and over again is not going to work.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Daniel, no matter how you try to argue it, the Reformers and Puritans were not Theonomists. They will not fit the mold. Acknowledge the innovation of Rushdoony and Bahnsen and deal with it. :2cents:

Even if it was an innovation, it would not move me in the slightest. The fact of the matter is however, that the only people who would accept the Reformers and Puritans into office today would be the Theonomists. I freely admit that the Reformers and Puritans did not agree with modern Theonomists as to the extent which the state needs to be limited (so in that sense they differ) however it is abundantly clear that the New England Puritans implemented the Mosaic judicials, and if they were alive today they would be denied ordination by most modern Reformed churches for their views on the abiding validity of Biblical civil law.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
how does the law about not having sex with a woman in her period point to Christ? How does a law about a husband pleasuring his new wife on their honeymoon point to Christ? Remember, all laws in OT point to Christ.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I would agree with the sentiments of theonomists, there is only one standard of justice. But hermenuetically, it can't be the Isrealite theocracy and mosaic covenant. That was for Israel and expired with Israel. It was never intended to be perpetual, but point forward to the new covenant. Only the moral law is binding upon all men. We can't go back to types and shadows. Christ has come. But I've argued this elsewhere on the Board and need not get into again now. I just wanted to clarify that you don't have to be a Theonomist in order to believe the civil magistrate must enforce the entire 10 commandments (though we would certainly disagree as to how that may be enforced), and the Theonomy as we know it today is clearly an innovation, it's new. :2cents:

Just give me a national covenant and an established church and I'll just go away. I do not ask for much.:handshake:

CT

I'm with you there brother, as long as I'm not forced to be a paedobaptist! :lol::handshake:

Or an Episcopal. I am still growing fonder of the Congregational Pluralistic Elder ruled Church. I am not denying the importance Government has played in the church. I am fearful of what Government rule has done to the Church.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member

This comes from the blog Jacob posted above.

Checkmate
~1. Intrusion ethics denies that God's revealed law is applicable to all people. In fact, it most certainly is not. You often hear Klineans remark, "Israel was a type and the law doesn't apply to those outside the covenant with whom it was made (that is Irons' specific argument).
~2. Intrusion ethics by its very definition denies premise 2. If ethics (justice) intrudes, then it most specifically does not apply.
~3. Premise 3 is a corollary to premise 1. If it doesn't apply to all peoples, then it doesn't apply to all places.

It appears then, given the above premises of Intrusion Ethics, why there is no reason to call God's law culturally relative. And if God's law is culturally relative, and if God's law is a reflection of his character, then God is a relativist!

But what about the natural moral law written on the heart? On one level I agree with it. But is it different in substance than the revealed moral law? If it is, and it differs with its commands at the same time in history (which would necessarily be the case since on the Klinean premise 3 it is conceivable that two different legitimate commands would be given at the same time), then we have a logical contradiction. But if both these laws are given by God, and there is a contradiction, then we have contradictory norms within the Godhead. But it is impossible to have contradictory norms within the Godhead. Therefore, God's natural moral law does not contradict the Mosaic law.

UUHHHMMMMM
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I concur with your sentiment. I however think that the easiest way to get Theonomists to agree that the Reformers and Puritans were not of the same mind (lots of overlap but not the same), is to have various opposition groups, step up to the mike and say, "We reject the Reformed view on the authority and responsibility of the civil magistrate. Through our exegesis of history and etc,, we believe that the Reformed view leads to unnecessary wars and various other negative consequences."

CT
I would agree with the sentiments of theonomists, there is only one standard of justice. But hermenuetically, it can't be the Isrealite theocracy and mosaic covenant. That was for Israel and expired with Israel. It was never intended to be perpetual, but point forward to the new covenant. Only the moral law is binding upon all men. We can't go back to types and shadows. Christ has come. But I've argued this elsewhere on the Board and need not get into again now. I just wanted to clarify that you don't have to be a Theonomist in order to believe the civil magistrate must enforce the entire 10 commandments (though we would certainly disagree as to how that may be enforced), and the Theonomy as we know it today is clearly an innovation, it's new. :2cents:

This confuses the judicial law with the ceremonial law, the civil law had nothing to do with types and shadows, that was the ceremonial law. The civil magistrate is not to enforce the Ten Commandments per se, but only breaches of the Ten Commandments that constitute crimes.
The author of Hebrews would disagree with you.

Hebrews 2
1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Here OT penalties are types of the judgment to come. :2cents:
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I would agree with the sentiments of theonomists, there is only one standard of justice. But hermenuetically, it can't be the Isrealite theocracy and mosaic covenant. That was for Israel and expired with Israel. It was never intended to be perpetual, but point forward to the new covenant. Only the moral law is binding upon all men. We can't go back to types and shadows. Christ has come. But I've argued this elsewhere on the Board and need not get into again now. I just wanted to clarify that you don't have to be a Theonomist in order to believe the civil magistrate must enforce the entire 10 commandments (though we would certainly disagree as to how that may be enforced), and the Theonomy as we know it today is clearly an innovation, it's new. :2cents:

This confuses the judicial law with the ceremonial law, the civil law had nothing to do with types and shadows, that was the ceremonial law. The civil magistrate is not to enforce the Ten Commandments per se, but only breaches of the Ten Commandments that constitute crimes.
The author of Hebrews would disagree with you.

Hebrews 2
1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Here OT penalties are types of the judgment to come. :2cents:

A fortiori arguments are only valid if the minor premise is still valid. If it is not valid, then you can't reason from the lesser to the greater.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
This confuses the judicial law with the ceremonial law, the civil law had nothing to do with types and shadows, that was the ceremonial law. The civil magistrate is not to enforce the Ten Commandments per se, but only breaches of the Ten Commandments that constitute crimes.
The author of Hebrews would disagree with you.

Hebrews 2
1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Here OT penalties are types of the judgment to come. :2cents:

A fortiori arguments are only valid if the minor premise is still valid. If it is not valid, then you can't reason from the lesser to the greater.

The author of Hebrews thinks it's valid :)
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
The author of Hebrews would disagree with you.

Hebrews 2
1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Here OT penalties are types of the judgment to come. :2cents:

A fortiori arguments are only valid if the minor premise is still valid. If it is not valid, then you can't reason from the lesser to the greater.

The author of Hebrews thinks it's valid :)

You made a logical jump somewhere. You asserted that they are *merely* types.

If what you are saying is true, then your argument implodes. Watch.

1. Lesser premise: Old Testament penal crimes are assumed to be true by the author of Hebrews.
2. If (1), then how much greater is God's ultimate punishment.

However, you deny half of (1).
If you deny (1), how can you reach (2)?
 

BrianLanier

Puritan Board Freshman
A fortiori arguments are only valid if the minor premise is still valid. If it is not valid, then you can't reason from the lesser to the greater.

The author of Hebrews thinks it's valid :)

You made a logical jump somewhere. You asserted that they are *merely* types.

If what you are saying is true, then your argument implodes. Watch.

1. Lesser premise: Old Testament penal crimes are assumed to be true by the author of Hebrews.
2. If (1), then how much greater is God's ultimate punishment.

However, you deny half of (1).
If you deny (1), how can you reach (2)?

You can't unless you use a multi-valued logic, which says that there are more truth values than 'true=1' and 'false=0'. But if you do this then your conclusion (2) will have a truth value of >1. So the a fortiori can still work, but just not with the 2nd premise being 'true' or 'false'. I am at work, so this is the best I can do. Maybe when I get home and check my sources, I'll realize that I made some mistake. (Probably WILL happen!!!)
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk

This comes from the blog Jacob posted above.

Checkmate
~1. Intrusion ethics denies that God's revealed law is applicable to all people. In fact, it most certainly is not. You often hear Klineans remark, "Israel was a type and the law doesn't apply to those outside the covenant with whom it was made (that is Irons' specific argument).
~2. Intrusion ethics by its very definition denies premise 2. If ethics (justice) intrudes, then it most specifically does not apply.
~3. Premise 3 is a corollary to premise 1. If it doesn't apply to all peoples, then it doesn't apply to all places.

It appears then, given the above premises of Intrusion Ethics, why there is no reason to call God's law culturally relative. And if God's law is culturally relative, and if God's law is a reflection of his character, then God is a relativist!

But what about the natural moral law written on the heart? On one level I agree with it. But is it different in substance than the revealed moral law? If it is, and it differs with its commands at the same time in history (which would necessarily be the case since on the Klinean premise 3 it is conceivable that two different legitimate commands would be given at the same time), then we have a logical contradiction. But if both these laws are given by God, and there is a contradiction, then we have contradictory norms within the Godhead. But it is impossible to have contradictory norms within the Godhead. Therefore, God's natural moral law does not contradict the Mosaic law.

UUHHHMMMMM

I will say it again, a different way:

If you are going to hold to moral absolutes, then you must affirm the following propositions:

1) A judgment (P) is objectively and unchangingly true regardless of the beleifs of individuals or cultures.

2) A moral absolute is universalizable: it is equally binding on all people at all times in relevantly similar circumstances. The denial is cultural relativism.

Now move to the second phase of the argument:

3) A Klinean will not affirm either proposition with regard to God's law. In other words, God's law was relevant only to the Israelite Theocracy.

4) However, to the degree that it is faithful to Reformed theology, it will say that God's law is a reflection of his character.

At this point I will draw a conclusion that demands to follow the premises, but one no Klinean will dare draw.

If God's law is relevant only to a certain culture (denial of 2)
And it is a reflection of God's character (4).

Therefore,

5) God is an ethical relativist.
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
The English Puritans generally accepted the British constitution, parliament and common law. So long as they could worship according the Scripture, they were fine with it. They denied Divine Right of Kings, but they supported a commonwealth based on representative government instead of a theonomic system that would have overhauled everything.

To the extent that I want to retain the Anglo-American common law and constitutional tradition, I cannot be a theonomist. This would put me with William Blackstone and John Witherspoon. I find it reasonably just and practical. Besides, it is our birthright. As part of what Churchill called the English-speaking people, this political tradition is at the foundation of our culture. I believe it ought to be restored.

The Puritans did not reject the constitutionalism or common law system. In fact, they helped build it. Abandoning it would be a bit like abandoning my own parents. But Bahnsen would have no idea what I am talking about.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
The English Puritans generally accepted the British constitution, parliament and common law. So long as they could worship according the Scripture, they were fine with it. They denied Divine Right of Kings, but they supported a commonwealth based on representative government instead of a theonomic system that would have overhauled everything.

To the extent that I want to retain the Anglo-American common law and constitutional tradition, I cannot be a theonomist. This would put me with William Blackstone and John Witherspoon. I find it reasonably just and practical. Besides, it is our birthright. As part of what Churchill called the English-speaking people, this political tradition is at the foundation of our culture. I believe it ought to be restored.

The Puritans did not reject the constitutionalism or common law system. In fact, they helped build it. Abandoning it would be a bit like abandoning my own parents. But Bahnsen would have no idea what I am talking about.

Bahnsen, a trained logician, philosopher, and theologian, would have no idea of what you speak concerning common-law?

Being that the above post was all assertion, I don't know how to respond. Suffice to say that theonomist Stephen Perks wrote a book defending the use of common law.

PE188

Also, RTS rejected Bahnsen by saying he was "too puritan."
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
"Israel was a type and the law doesn't apply to those outside the covenant with whom it was made (that is Irons' specific argument)."

Not really. Both sides of this debate are confused.
1. Israel was a type and a physical nation. The civil law attaches to the civil society.
2. Under Christ, we have a multi-ethnic Church, and no physical nation.
3. The civil law expired with Israel and remains as model of justice and shows us the moral law.
4. "The judicial laws remain obligatory only insofar as they embody the contents of the moral law which was given already at creation, republished in the ten commandments, and whose authority was strengthened under the Gospel."
5. We still must remember the moral law in policy considerations today. Since cultures and nations differ, the issues are framed in terms of general equity, applied to the time in situation.
6. Ergo we can still support jury trials, the presumption of innocence in criminal cases, contract law, the law of landlord and tenant, etc.
7. This is not relativism.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
"Israel was a type and the law doesn't apply to those outside the covenant with whom it was made (that is Irons' specific argument)."

Not really. Both sides of this debate are confused.
1. Israel was a type and a physical nation. The civil law attaches to the civil society.
2. Under Christ, we have a multi-ethnic Church, and no physical nation.
3. The civil law expired with Israel and remains as model of justice and shows us the moral law.
4. "The judicial laws remain obligatory only insofar as they embody the contents of the moral law which was given already at creation, republished in the ten commandments, and whose authority was strengthened under the Gospel."
5. We still must remember the moral law in policy considerations today. Since cultures and nations differ, the issues are framed in terms of general equity, applied to the time in situation.
6. Ergo we can still support jury trials, the presumption of innocence in criminal cases, contract law, the law of landlord and tenant, etc.
7. This is not relativism.

As a quasi-theonomist I have no disagreement with the above.
 

BrianLanier

Puritan Board Freshman
3. The civil law expired with Israel and remains as model of justice and shows us the moral law.
4. "The judicial laws remain obligatory only insofar as they embody the contents of the moral law which was given already at creation, republished in the ten commandments, and whose authority was strengthened under the Gospel."

The conjuction of (3) & (4) seem to entail that the entire civil/judicial laws remain obligatory. (3) says that the civil laws "[remain] as [a] model of justice and shows us the moral law". And (4) says that "[they] remain obligatory only insofar as they embody the contents of the moral law". So if the civil laws show us the moral law, and the civil/judical laws are obligatory insofar as they embody the moral law, then the entire civil law is obligatory.

Whether right or wrong, this seems to be the logic of the statement made above. It's no wonder Jacob has nothing to disagree with. ;)
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
I mean that Bahnsen would think me fallacious; that I am hidebound to tradition, which puts man's law above God's law. (I know he praised the original Massachusetts constitution, but he never explained how that was a theonomic document.)

I would respond that our _traditional_ common law constitutional system is not autonomous and humanistic. It represents a protestant nation applying general equity to a particular people: English-speaking Europeans and their progeny. In fact, I submit that this is the exact tradition that the Westminster Assembly was sworn to uphold under the Commonwealth.
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
So if the civil laws show us the moral law, and the civil/judical laws are obligatory insofar as they embody the moral law, then the entire civil law is obligatory.

Not really. The moral law is also "a testimony of natural law and of that conscience which God has engraved upon the minds of men." (Calvin) For example, the penal sanctions are not obligatory. There's no mandate to execute Sabbath breakers or juvenile delinquents today. There is also no modern equivalent of the Canaanites and no Christian equivalent of jihad.

Also: We may build prisons and charge tariffs. We may license barbers, doctors and drivers. We may allow jury trial and a right to counsel. The police may arrest prostitutes and drug dealers. We can abolish slavery and polygamy. You get the idea.
 
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