The Sovereignty of God and Civil Law

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clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
So even though you claim that WCF 19:4 refers to the judicial law, you also claim that general equity refers only to the moral law. If that is the case, then as the Westminster Divines cite the OT penalties as expositions of the moral law, then they must have regarded the penalties as part of the moral law and thus perpetually binding upon all.

That doesn't follow. The OT penalties can be an example of the moral law without being perpetually binding upon all.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
God ALONE has the sovereign right to determine what constitutes crime and what constitutes a just penal sanction.

This where I start waving my hand and saying, "NOW wait a minute!" God delegates to the civil magistrate power to punish criminals and keep social order, to preserve humanity and allow Christians to live in peace. I don't consider it usurpation if the state wants to mandate wearing seat belts or issue drivers' licenses.

It is an infringement upon our liberty and unnecessary intrusiveness. Moreover, show me from Scripture how the state should justly punish someone for not having a driving license.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
So even though you claim that WCF 19:4 refers to the judicial law, you also claim that general equity refers only to the moral law. If that is the case, then as the Westminster Divines cite the OT penalties as expositions of the moral law, then they must have regarded the penalties as part of the moral law and thus perpetually binding upon all.

That doesn't follow. The OT penalties can be an example of the moral law without being perpetually binding upon all.

So they quote it as an example of the moral law even though it is not a moral law? If they are examples of the moral law then they are perpetually binding upon all.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I have no insuperable objection to instituting 1st table crimes or Mosaic punishments for them provided that the hermeneutic used to justify such actions is biblically consistent and exegetically sound. As HFAF demonstrates, Bahnsen's hermeneutic is neither.

So do you hold to the Reformed view that the civil magistrate should in fact institute both tables, but just disagree with how Bahnsen justifies such, or do you not hold to the Reformed view but wish to show that Bahnsen also deviates from that view in certain ways?

Also how does one get a copy of HFAF?

To date I have seen no proponent of the pro side of the question interacting with Rush's point that covenant status determined the first table penalty for sabbath breach (and by parity of reasoning all other first table commands). Until I do see an attempt that both engages Rush's point and is both consistent with Scripture and exegetically sound I must hold the point "Not proven".

CT
[/QUOTE]

Yet more evidence that Tim is outside the Reformed and Confessional camp. The WCF explicitly states that blaspehmy and idolatry are to be supressed. Clearly this is not defensible on Tim's line of reasoning.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Sorry, I am not accusing anyone on this board of being a theological Arminian; however, I am saying that their application of the principle of God's sovereignty to civil law is autonomous and thus more in line with Arminian theology than consistent Calvinism. I hope this clears things up.

:up: Thanks.

However, I do not see any calls for withdrawal on the statement comparing Theonomists to apostates.

I guess I didn't see it that way since it was simply claimed that the two groups shared a common mistake on one aspect of this issue, while your saying "that is Arminianism" (emphasis mine) gave a different impression. But to clarify, it will indeed never be (and never has been, since the accusation has been made in the past) tolerated when anyone accuses someone's position of actually rendering apostacy - juat like the charge of a position on an issue like this one actually being Arminianism.

Bahnsen says that Calvin was a theonomist, however if you read Rushdoony you will find that he bashes Bahnsen on this idea.

I know Gary North is adamant about Calvin being a definite theonomist, but I can't remember exactly how Bahnsen made the point. Did he make an outright claim to the same relative degree of North's assertions, or more of a suggestion that Calvin was something of a proto-theonomist?
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
Daniel: The more I read from you, the more I realize I am not "reforemd" at all. IF one must be a theonomist to be considered once again,"Historically in line with the WCF and Divines" Then I must say I may have to change teams.. Again this is a word I really never heard of until recently, yet I see polemical diatribes ad nauseum here.

As a newbie, I guess the problem I am havig understanding this is it sppears to these "untrained eyes" that one must view the NT through lenses of the OT to join the theonomy team. Also it appears to be an almost neurotic unhealthy focus on Law.

Again, this is new to me, and I know I have much to learn from both teams. But I will leave on this note:

John 1:17

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.


I do not look to Moses, nor Elijah. Ill take the Grace of Christ double portion.

And probably would hang out with Roger Williams in Rhode Island...
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
So even though you claim that WCF 19:4 refers to the judicial law, you also claim that general equity refers only to the moral law. If that is the case, then as the Westminster Divines cite the OT penalties as expositions of the moral law, then they must have regarded the penalties as part of the moral law and thus perpetually binding upon all.

That doesn't follow. The OT penalties can be an example of the moral law without being perpetually binding upon all.

So they quote it as an example of the moral law even though it is not a moral law? If they are examples of the moral law then they are perpetually binding upon all.

They are types that are fulfilled in Christ and his Church. They are models of justice in a time, place and civilization that are not ours. That is not "perpetually binding upon all."

You seem to believe that either I must accept the judicial laws as a perpetual mandate or take up antinomianism. Not so. Show me where the case laws answer whether Northern Ireland gets to stay in the UK.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
WCF 19.4. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired [17th century English, expired= kaput, gone, done way, no longer in effect] together with the State of that people, not obliging any other, now, further than the general equity thereof may require.

Again, you have committed the mistake of equating the judicial law along with the ceremonial law. The ceremonial law is said to have been abrogated, as it was given to Israel as a church under age, this is not said of the judicial law. The reference in WCF 19:4 refers to aspects of the law circumstantial to Israel which do not pertain to the general equity (underlying moral principle/justice/fairness); hence the reference to Israel as a "body politick" and "the state of that people". Your reading of the Westminster Confession makes the Divines inconsistent as they quote the penal sanctions in the footnotes of the WCF and Larger Catechism as being perpertually binding. Again, this is another example of Americans reading their post-Enlightenment presuppositions into the Westminster Standards.
Expired means expired. You can rail all you want to, but Theonomists are the innovators here, not me.

Israel integrated the judical and ceremonial. Thus Deut 17:
2 “If there is found among you, within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing His covenant, 3 who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded, 4 and it is told you, and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination has been committed in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and shall stone to death that man or woman with stones.

12 Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die.

Note, this isn't just ceremonial. You don't obey the priest, that means death (civil sanction). The author of Hebrews considers the penal sanctions such as these part of the old covenant and typological of the greater judgment to come in the new covenant. Until you deal with that undeniable truth, your hermenuetic is flawed.

The NT authors don't apply your interpretation to the old covenant civil sanctions in their day. Show me one place where Paul calls upon idolaters to be executed? I see plenty of places where he warns of the coming judgment to come, and the Man whom God had appointed for that purpose (i.e. Acts 17 in Athens), Just as the author of Hebrews does in Hebrews 2. I see Peter and Jude emphasizing the coming judgment upon idolatry in the final judgment, but where do they ever call upon the public execution of idolatators?

They function for instructional purposes only. Otherwise you have to put up a railing around your roof.

What instructional purposes be specific. You can't have it both ways.

Actually I can because the apostles treated it that way. The Mosaic administration is pedagogical today (hence general equity). Just as it continues to teaches us about Christ, without being binding upon us (i.e. the typological system is abrogated), so it continues teach us about how the law may apply in social ethics, without being binding upon us.

Otherwise, you should have no problem continuing types and shadows under the new covenant. If you are going to argue the old covenant penal sanctions are still in effect, then you may as well argue it's ok to continue sacrifices. They still teach us about Christ right? Why not continue their pedagocial function right in front of our very eyes? Why not rebuild the temple? It can still teach us about Christ right? You're not going to say that the truth about Jesus Christ which these types contain is no longer applicable to us are you? How can you call yourself a Bible believing Christian if you don't see the perpetual validity of these types and shadows?

The civil penalties were made for ceremonial crimes, like apostacy. And capital punishment was not given through Moses but through Noah and the covenant of preservation, a truly global covenant, unlike the Mosaic covenant.

If you want a biblically based penology and social ethic you need to build on what covenant administrations are still in force. The Mosaic is not one of them.

No penalty was made for unbelief, but instead the death penalty was required for blasphemy and idolatry. Moreover these penalties were to be inflicted upon both Jews and Gentiles who sojourned in Israel. According to this logic about the Noahic covenant, you would have to say that it was illegitimate to appeal to the Mosaic law in order to distinguish premeditated murder from manslaughter. Furthermore, it is clear from Rom. 1-3 that the Mosaic law remains in force today; not to mention the fact that the civil stipulations were meant to be an example to the surrounding nations of justice and righteousness in civil ethics (Deut. 4:6-8).

Please answer this question: were the civil penalties of the Older Testament morally right or morally wrong?
You're simply not asking the right questions Daniel. Of course they were morally right. But they are covenantally limited and pedagogical in purpose. As I have shown you with the author of Hebrews, the Mosaic sanctions were part of the old covenant. The old covenant is no longer in force because it was surpassed by the new covenant which they prefigured. The author of Hebrews clearly includes the old covenant sanctions in that old covenant. By arguing the way you are, you are hermenuetically going back to the shadows. Until you answer these harder questions, you will not understand how to properly apply the general equity of the judical laws in harmony with our Reformed understanding of covenant theology.

I would strongly encourage you to go back through the NT and see how the apostles treat the old covenant and consider that in light of their interactions with and exhortations about civil magistrates (They aren't Theonomists...) When you are willing to do that, then we can discuss some more. :book2:
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Everyone take a deep breath before posting further on this thread; keep the forum rules in mind.

3. Pause Before You Post
This is something that everyone can benefit from. Before you send the latest jab, punch, tweak, etc into cyberspace, take a minute (or two, or five) to make sure that you are doing so in a spirit of Christian maturity. Study first, pray, post after.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Actually I can because the apostles treated it that way. The Mosaic administration is pedagogical today

What does pedagogical mean when used here Patrick? Does it mean relating or used for educational/teaching purpose?

Basically yes, at least for us today. But for Israel, it was the way of life under the Mosaic administration, causing them to long for something better (i.e. Hebrews 11).
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
That doesn't follow. The OT penalties can be an example of the moral law without being perpetually binding upon all.

So they quote it as an example of the moral law even though it is not a moral law? If they are examples of the moral law then they are perpetually binding upon all.

They are types that are fulfilled in Christ and his Church. They are models of justice in a time, place and civilization that are not ours. That is not "perpetually binding upon all."

You seem to believe that either I must accept the judicial laws as a perpetual mandate or take up antinomianism. Not so. Show me where the case laws answer whether Northern Ireland gets to stay in the UK.

The question of whether to secede or stay in the UK is one that must be answered by the lesser magistrates (see 1 Kings 12)
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
Actually I can because the apostles treated it that way. The Mosaic administration is pedagogical today

What does pedagogical mean when used here Patrick? Does it mean relating or used for educational/teaching purpose?

Basically yes, at least for us today. But for Israel, it was the way of life under the Mosaic administration, causing them to long for something better (i.e. Hebrews 11).

PAtrick: Thank You.

Quick question people, and again I beg your pardon for lack of understanding in this arena. Didnt the Death of Christ bring to an end of the economy of the LAw and deliver all Elect Israelites from its bondage? And believers, though not under the Law of Moses, are governed by the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and are required to "fulfill the law of Christ."

I mean I know I must sound lacking in the terms of this debate, but if Adultery is punishable by death, then we shuld all be put to death right? I mean Christ said even looking at a women who is not your wife with lust is adultery. Perhaps I am missing the big picture here and again I apologize..
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
William Gouge, Westminster Divine, on Heb. 7.12:

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.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
So do you hold to the Reformed view that the civil magistrate should in fact institute both tables, but just disagree with how Bahnsen justifies such, or do you not hold to the Reformed view but wish to show that Bahnsen also deviates from that view in certain ways?

Also how does one get a copy of HFAF?

Email me at [email protected]

To date I have seen no proponent of the pro side of the question interacting with Rush's point that covenant status determined the first table penalty for sabbath breach (and by parity of reasoning all other first table commands). Until I do see an attempt that both engages Rush's point and is both consistent with Scripture and exegetically sound I must hold the point "Not proven".

Yet more evidence that Tim is outside the Reformed and Confessional camp. The WCF explicitly states that blaspehmy and idolatry are to be supressed. Clearly this is not defensible on Tim's line of reasoning.

Since my confession is the Old London which does not mandate state suppression of blasphemy and idolatry, the unconfessional tag should never have been applied. And as for Reformed, I am Baptist not Presbyterian and that is known to all here. But confessional Baptists and Presbyterians share the identical view on how the judicial laws continue a fact easily confirmed by noting that the OLC on the point is verbatim WCF except it deletes a couple of Scripture references.
 
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timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
In which book did Gouge write this? I'd love to know.

William Gouge, Westminster Divine, on Heb. 7.12:

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.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Originally Posted by Romans922 View Post
Bahnsen says that Calvin was a theonomist, however if you read Rushdoony you will find that he bashes Bahnsen on this idea.

Bahnsen was way too smart to make an unqualified statement like that. He offered several critiques of Calvin's civil ethic in Bahnsen's 80+ lectures on the Institutes. Mainly along lines of changing governments and Calvin's (convenient) appeals to the Law of Nations, which happens to agree with whoever appeals to it.

That is one of my problems with most natural law theories as formed: they beg the question in favor of the position being offered. But more on that later when I submit my review on Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law. I am not against natural law, per se, just not impressed with recent formulations--and older formulations won't stand against a good nihilist in debate.

When will theonomists admit they don't follow, so goes the argument, the divines on this point? They will admit at the same time Klineanism admits all of its innovations. Otherwise, the deck is unfairly stacked against theonomists.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thanks for that clarification, Jacob. I didn't think I had heard Bahnsen make the same claim as North on the matter.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Expired means expired. You can rail all you want to, but Theonomists are the innovators here, not me.

Your ignorance of Reformed history frankly astounds me; the Reformers, Puritans and Covenanters who appealed to the Mosaic judicials as being morally binding today must have been highly confused if they understood the word expired to mean what you say that it means. The context of WCF 19:4 is aspects of the law that were circumstantial to Israel; note that not one word is said about the penalties being abrogated. And keep in mind that WCF 20 does not say that our liberty is increased by freedom from the penal sanctions of the judicial law of Moses; nor does WCF 7 tell us that the new covenant differs from the old by the setting aside of Biblical penology.

Israel integrated the judical and ceremonial. Thus Deut 17:
2 “If there is found among you, within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing His covenant, 3 who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded, 4 and it is told you, and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination has been committed in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and shall stone to death that man or woman with stones.

12 Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die.

Note, this isn't just ceremonial. You don't obey the priest, that means death (civil sanction).

Again, you do not understand the nature of the Reformed 3-fold division of the law; Theonomist recongnise (with the Westminster Divines) that some Old Testament laws were judicial and ceremonial, while others were judicial and moral. Besides the example you cite is in the context of a civil trial were a priest was called in to interpret the law of God as it applied to civil affairs.

The author of Hebrews considers the penal sanctions such as these part of the old covenant and typological of the greater judgment to come in the new covenant. Until you deal with that undeniable truth, your hermenuetic is flawed.

Actually, your own hermenuetic is flawed, because if you are going to argue that the penal sanctions were typical of the final judgment, then they may still be applied as the final judgment has not taken place yet (unless you are a hyper-preterist).

Show me one place where Paul calls upon idolaters to be executed? I see plenty of places where he warns of the coming judgment to come, and the Man whom God had appointed for that purpose (i.e. Acts 17 in Athens), Just as the author of Hebrews does in Hebrews 2. I see Peter and Jude emphasizing the coming judgment upon idolatry in the final judgment, but where do they ever call upon the public execution of idolatators?

Argument from silence and a Dispensational hermenuetic. But yet again you show your opposition to the Reformers and Puritans as they believed idolaters were to be executed (Servetus?).

The Mosaic administration is pedagogical today (hence general equity). Just as it continues to teaches us about Christ, without being binding upon us (i.e. the typological system is abrogated), so it continues teach us about how the law may apply in social ethics, without being binding upon us.

Yet again you have confused the civil law with the ceremonial law. Note that the Westminster Confession says that general equity applies to "sundry judicial laws", not to the ceremonial law which has been completely abrogated.

If you are going to argue the old covenant penal sanctions are still in effect, then you may as well argue it's ok to continue sacrifices. They still teach us about Christ right? Why not continue their pedagocial function right in front of our very eyes? Why not rebuild the temple? It can still teach us about Christ right? You're not going to say that the truth about Jesus Christ which these types contain is no longer applicable to us are you? How can you call yourself a Bible believing Christian if you don't see the perpetual validity of these types and shadows?

The OT ceremonies pointed to Christ's finished work of redemption, since that is now complete then we have no need to keep them. However, the function of the penal sanctions was to administer God's temporal justice on criminals. As we are not at the day of judgment, when God's eternal judment shall be applied to all ungodly sinners (not just criminals), then the penalties must still be binding today.

Of course they were morally right. But they are covenantally limited and pedagogical in purpose. As I have shown you with the author of Hebrews, the Mosaic sanctions were part of the old covenant. The old covenant is no longer in force because it was surpassed by the new covenant which they prefigured. The author of Hebrews clearly includes the old covenant sanctions in that old covenant. By arguing the way you are, you are hermenuetically going back to the shadows. Until you answer these harder questions, you will not understand how to properly apply the general equity of the judical laws in harmony with our Reformed understanding of covenant theology.

They were morally right, but it would be immoral to apply them today even though they were not ceremonial in nature? This does not make any sense at all. Would it have been immoral to have executed a sodomite who committed that crime one yard outside the border of Israel? Actually, your view makes it impossible to apply the equity/justice of the law, since according to you that justice was pedalogical and cannot be applied today. Moreover, your assertion about the penalties being unique to the old covenant is not taught in WCF 7 or 20; plus the argument that everything in the Mosaic covenant has been set aside would also mean that the Decalogue has been set aside, since it was not given before Moses.

I would strongly encourage you to go back through the NT and see how the apostles treat the old covenant and consider that in light of their interactions with and exhortations about civil magistrates (They aren't Theonomists...) When you are willing to do that, then we can discuss some more.

The arrogance of this statement is amazing; do you not think that I have already read the NT myself? Actually Paul must have been a Theonomist as he said the magistrate was to adminster God's wrath upon the wrong-doer (not his own wrath). Where does the magistrate go to know how to adminster God's wrath on criminals? To the judicial law of Moses.

Now let us be more specific; show me from Scripture how the civil magistrate is to punish the following crimes in a manner which is just and equittable:

1. Idolatry

2. Sodomy

3. Blasphemy

4. Adultery

5. Kidnapping

6. Theft

7. Manslaughter

8. Rape

9. Bestiality

10. Incest
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Expired means expired. You can rail all you want to, but Theonomists are the innovators here, not me.

Your ignorance of Reformed history frankly astounds me; the Reformers, Puritans and Covenanters who appealed to the Mosaic judicials as being morally binding today must have been highly confused if they understood the word expired to mean what you say that it means.
I hate when these arguments get so fractured and emotional, but I'll try to keep up for one more post. In response to the above, VH just supplied a quote by Gouge describing exactly what I argued.
Israel integrated the judical and ceremonial. Thus Deut 17:
2 “If there is found among you, within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing His covenant, 3 who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded, 4 and it is told you, and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination has been committed in Israel, 5 then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and shall stone to death that man or woman with stones.

12 Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the LORD your God, or the judge, that man shall die.

Note, this isn't just ceremonial. You don't obey the priest, that means death (civil sanction).

Again, you do not understand the nature of the Reformed 3-fold division of the law; Theonomist recongnise (with the Westminster Divines) that some Old Testament laws were judicial and ceremonial, while others were judicial and moral. Besides the example you cite is in the context of a civil trial were a priest was called in to interpret the law of God as it applied to civil affairs.
Idolatry was not just a civil affair in Israel, nor are matters regarding public worship, which the priest oversaw. If you messed with the ceremonial, you got civil penalties. If you messed with civil, you got ceremonial penalties. We can distinguish them but can't divorce them.

if you are going to argue that the penal sanctions were typical of the final judgment, then they may still be applied as the final judgment has not taken place yet.
For believers, the final judgment did take place. Christ suffered our final judgment on the cross. Hence, the penalties are fulfilled in him. We have a new administration of the covenant of grace, one better than Moses. If you are going to argue that the old covenant penalties continue, then you must also argue that Christ's fulfillment was only ceremonial and not judicial.

Argument from silence and a Dispensational hermenuetic. But yet again you show your opposition to the Reformers and Puritans as they believed idolaters were to be executed (Servetus?).
That will severely hamper your evangelism if you kill them first. Perhaps there was a little more going on in history with the Reformers and Puritans??? I've articulated nothing more than what has been historical understood in the Confession, one covenant of grace, different administrations/dispensations.

The OT ceremonies pointed to Christ's finished work of redemption, since that is now complete then we have no need to keep them. However, the function of the penal sanctions was to administer God's temporal justice on criminals. As we are not at the day of judgment, when God's eternal judment shall be applied to all ungodly sinners (not just criminals), then the penalties must still be binding today.
As I noted above, if Christ suffered the final judgment for sinners on the cross, you would have to admit that the type has been fulfilled by the antitype correct? You would have to agree that the administration of the servant Moses has been replaced by the administration of the Son, Jesus Christ, correct? The author of the Hebrews places the old covenant penal sanctions in the same category as the old covenant blood of bulls and goats. Both have been fulfilled by the new covenant, both a greater sacrifice and a greater judgment.

If you reject this basic teaching of Hebrews, then look what you have done to the cross. What did Christ accomplish on the cross? Is my verdict of justification grounded in a complete propitiation by Christ? Did Christ suffer my final sentence of wrath for me? Was his death only ceremonial, or was it judicial too? That, my brother, is a crucial question for you to ponder very seriously. You are on the verge on the Federal Vision if Christ's work was not the final judicial verdict for those who believe. Don't let your noble and righteous quest for social justice short change the cross. Until you wrestle with this question, there really is nothing further to talk about in this debate.

Of course they were morally right. But they are covenantally limited and pedagogical in purpose. As I have shown you with the author of Hebrews, the Mosaic sanctions were part of the old covenant. The old covenant is no longer in force because it was surpassed by the new covenant which they prefigured. The author of Hebrews clearly includes the old covenant sanctions in that old covenant. By arguing the way you are, you are hermenuetically going back to the shadows. Until you answer these harder questions, you will not understand how to properly apply the general equity of the judical laws in harmony with our Reformed understanding of covenant theology.

They were morally right, but it would be immoral to apply them today even though they were not ceremonial in nature? This does not make any sense at all.
Tell me brother, who administered the Mosaic sanctions? Prophets, Preists, and Kings, all which were replaced by Christ. So yes, it would be immoral for you to adminster those old covenant penal sanctions because you do not have that God given authority. The American magistrate was not present at Sinai.

Actually, your view makes it impossible to apply the equity/justice of the law, since according to you that justice was pedalogical and cannot be applied today.
Pedagogical doesn't mean, not applicable. It means it functions as a guide. It gives us illustrations of how the moral law works in social situations, and so provides a magistrate with some guidance about how to rule justly. That is how I understand general equity.

The argument that everything in the Mosaic covenant has been set aside would also mean that the Decalogue has been set aside, since it was not given before Moses.
Here, brother is where you mistake. The moral law was given in creation, in the garden, then later inscribed in stone.
Ch. 19
1. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience; promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it; and endued him with power and ability to keep it.

2. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon mount Sinai in ten commandments, and written in two tables; the first four commandments containing our duty towards God, and the other six our duty to man.


I would strongly encourage you to go back through the NT and see how the apostles treat the old covenant and consider that in light of their interactions with and exhortations about civil magistrates (They aren't Theonomists...) When you are willing to do that, then we can discuss some more.

The arrogance of this statement is amazing; do you not think that I have already read the NT myself? Actually Paul must have been a Theonomist as he said the magistrate was to adminster God's wrath upon the wrong-doer (not his own wrath). Where does the magistrate go to know how to adminster God's wrath on criminals? To the judicial law of Moses.
I never said you didn't read the NT. Your exagerations are not helpful to this discussion. I asked you to show me one instance where the apostles instructed magistrates to go to the judicial laws. Just because Paul said magistrates have authority to punish evil doers doesn't mean that they must use the judicial laws. Again, all I asked you to do is show me one instance where they advocated using the old covenant in that way. They had plenty of interactions with magistrates. The provide several exhortations about magistrates. They talk about the old covenant in several places. Show me one place where they interpet the old covenant penalties the way Theonomists do.

Now let us be more specific; show me from Scripture how the civil magistrate is to punish the following crimes in a manner which is just and equittable:
You still hav to ask the more fundamental question. Figure out first, how your hermenuetic will not compromise the cross of Christ, then we can go from there. I never said there is no universal standard of justice to turn to. Quite the contrary. I have only argued that you can't ground your social ethics in the expired administration of the Mosaic covenant. My whole contention in this debate is to put our shared concern for political/social ethics upon a right hermenuetical approach to Scripture. You have not yet dealt with the text of Hebrews, nor considered the implications of your hermenuetic to what Christ accomplished on the cross for his people. Until you get the covenant of grace right, you aren't ready to tackle your common grace political questions.

I'll have to take a break for a few days. Too much to do. I hope you will take the time to sit back and think about this before you respond. :cheers:
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Show me one place where Paul calls upon idolaters to be executed? I see plenty of places where he warns of the coming judgment to come, and the Man whom God had appointed for that purpose (i.e. Acts 17 in Athens), Just as the author of Hebrews does in Hebrews 2. I see Peter and Jude emphasizing the coming judgment upon idolatry in the final judgment, but where do they ever call upon the public execution of idolatators?

I am no longer a theonomist in the full Bahnsenian sense of the word (my ethic is sort of a revamped Aquinas "graced nature" view of John Milbank). However, this is a textbook example of the argument from silence fallacy. It doesn't mean your overall position is wrong. It just means that this argument is bad and you need to use other ones.

Using this method of argument, I can prove that St Paul did not believe in the virgin birth.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
All this talk of theonomy MUST be grounded in Scripture, which means that if a Biblical example of a change of an OT law into something else in the NT due to general equity can be shown, then this would guide our discussion as to how God views the law.

Just such an example is found in I COrinthians 5:1-13:

In the OT this couple would have received the death penalty. In the NT, Paul tells the church to excommunicate them.


This then should be our model of general equity. The death penalty in Paul's example has, in the context of the church, turned into excommunication. When theonomist types start talking about killing homos (and then responding..well, I think they need to be killed, as I have heard them respond) we can give them Paul's concrete example in I COr. to inform their opinions.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Please read this fine link at how Paul viewed the OT law:

Third Millennium Ministries



Here's is the most pertinent selection:

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

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

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

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

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
All this talk of theonomy MUST be grounded in Scripture, which means that if a Biblical example of a change of an OT law into something else in the NT due to general equity can be shown, then this would guide our discussion as to how God views the law.

Just such an example is found in I COrinthians 5:1-13:

In the OT this couple would have received the death penalty. In the NT, Paul tells the church to excommunicate them.


This then should be our model of general equity. The death penalty in Paul's example has, in the context of the church, turned into excommunication. When theonomist types start talking about killing homos (and then responding..well, I think they need to be killed, as I have heard them respond) we can give them Paul's concrete example in I COr. to inform their opinions.

Disanalogous. Paul was talking to the church, not the civil magistrate. Using your logic we should "just forgive rapists and serial killers."

It does not logically follow that a change in one law on one level necessarily means a change in all laws on all level. Again, as I have pointed earlier, the non-theonomists (and I have my own bones with theonomy) continues to make logical leaps.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Please read this fine link at how Paul viewed the OT law:

Third Millennium Ministries

Strictly speaking, that's how John Frame views the law, not Paul. Anyway, I have no bones with Frame. He is a self-admitted 80% Theonomist, anti natural law theologian, and publically advocates the dominance of Scripture in the Civil sphere. So against theonomy you are advocating a form of theonomy. I am cool with that.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Spear Dane:

Your assertion is given without evidence. I could just as easily respond with "Well....that's what YOU say! :p"



But, yes, you are correct, all reformed Christians believe in some form of little t theonomy. Whether it is 80% or whatever I am not sure who gets to determine these percentages.

I would call the type of theonomy that advocates the killing of "infidels" to be 200% theonomy, and thus gross error which advocates murder. I like Paul's use of the law just fine and will stick to him.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Show me one place where Paul calls upon idolaters to be executed? I see plenty of places where he warns of the coming judgment to come, and the Man whom God had appointed for that purpose (i.e. Acts 17 in Athens), Just as the author of Hebrews does in Hebrews 2. I see Peter and Jude emphasizing the coming judgment upon idolatry in the final judgment, but where do they ever call upon the public execution of idolatators?

I am no longer a theonomist in the full Bahnsenian sense of the word (my ethic is sort of a revamped Aquinas "graced nature" view of John Milbank). However, this is a textbook example of the argument from silence fallacy. It doesn't mean your overall position is wrong. It just means that this argument is bad and you need to use other ones.

Using this method of argument, I can prove that St Paul did not believe in the virgin birth.
It's not the crux of my argument, only a supporting point. And as you can see in my quote, I broadened the appeal to more than just Paul. Any apostolic witness will do (thus negating the virgin birth fallacy). If Theonomy is so central an ethical assumption of the apostles, surely it would be reflected in at least one place in all their numerous ethical exhorations to the churches and their expositions of the old covenant.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Show me one place where Paul calls upon idolaters to be executed? I see plenty of places where he warns of the coming judgment to come, and the Man whom God had appointed for that purpose (i.e. Acts 17 in Athens), Just as the author of Hebrews does in Hebrews 2. I see Peter and Jude emphasizing the coming judgment upon idolatry in the final judgment, but where do they ever call upon the public execution of idolatators?

I am no longer a theonomist in the full Bahnsenian sense of the word (my ethic is sort of a revamped Aquinas "graced nature" view of John Milbank). However, this is a textbook example of the argument from silence fallacy. It doesn't mean your overall position is wrong. It just means that this argument is bad and you need to use other ones.

Using this method of argument, I can prove that St Paul did not believe in the virgin birth.
It's not the crux of my argument, only a supporting point. And as you can see in my quote, I broadened the appeal to more than just Paul. Any apostolic witness will do (thus negating the virgin birth fallacy). If Theonomy is so central an ethical assumption of the apostles, surely it would be reflected in at least one place in all their numerous ethical exhorations to the churches and their expositions of the old covenant.

If infant baptism were so central to the apostolic teaching, surely they would have been more clear.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Spear Dane:

Your assertion is given without evidence. I could just as easily respond with "Well....that's what YOU say! :p"



But, yes, you are correct, all reformed Christians believe in some form of little t theonomy. Whether it is 80% or whatever I am not sure who gets to determine these percentages.

I would call the type of theonomy that advocates the killing of "infidels" to be 200% theonomy, and thus gross error which advocates murder. I like Paul's use of the law just fine and will stick to him.

Theonomists do not advocate that. You failed to make the distinction between inward unbelief and public idolatry. No one advocates prosecuting unbelief. Spend an afternoon reading up on what theonomists believe before you make comments like that.
 
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