The Sovereignty of God and Civil Law

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clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
I thought Theonomy a Reformed Critique was a very bad attempt to address Bahnsen, but I do not have cognitive rest on theonomy, so I can't call myself a full theonomist.

Sinclair Ferguson's chapter is better than the rest of the book combined.
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
I have problems with all approaches (the fewest problems with Frame). My ethical position would probably be that of John Frame.

I don't think ethical systems are things we should be hunting down in our spare time. The church should be teaching these things. That the church is apparently not doing this is a bad sign.
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
Yawn. Paul is talking to *the church,* not the state. Theonomy deals with the state, not the church. Therefore what you said does not talk to theonomy.

Theonomists tend to be antonomians about the church. The published ones repeatedly deny the Sabbath, the regulative principle of worship, the prohibition of images and the like. They call these things baptistic innovations.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Yawn. Paul is talking to *the church,* not the state. Theonomy deals with the state, not the church. Therefore what you said does not talk to theonomy.

Theonomists tend to be antonomians about the church. The published ones repeatedly deny the Sabbath, the regulative principle of worship, the prohibition of images and the like. They call these things baptistic innovations.

except for Bahnsen
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
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.

" The dominance of Scripture in the civil sphere" is not theonomy. FYI. I am a zero percent theonomist. I want to live in a free republic, based in Anglo-American traditions like common law and constitutionalism. If it was good enough for 450 years of English-speaking Reformed people, it is good enough for me.
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
Theonomists tend to be antonomians about the church. The published ones repeatedly deny the Sabbath, the regulative principle of worship, the prohibition of images and the like. They call these things baptistic innovations.

except for Bahnsen[/QUOTE]

"Institutes of Biblical Law," which started all this, repudiates the Sabbath.
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
never mind...you win. I'm out.

So now you'll be taking up John Milbank or John Frame? I worry about the church that left you swinging in the breeze like this.

What's wrong with Frame? Are you disagreeable for the sake of being disagreeable?

No. I got along with Frame personally in my handful of dealings with him. He is a decent man. Still, he continues Van Til's project off into the rabbit trails of fideism. All of this stuff is an unintentional reinvention of the Calvinist philosophy of Peter Bayle, who was a father of enlightenment skepticism.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
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.

Civil magistrates are instituted by God to maintain social order. Part of social order entails that roads that are reasonably passable.

:agree:

And I believe that there is Biblical warrant for this (we need roads to get to cities of refugee and towns for court cases); however, there is no Biblical warrant for driving licences etc., it is just more state power.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Yawn. Paul is talking to *the church,* not the state. Theonomy deals with the state, not the church. Therefore what you said does not talk to theonomy.

Theonomists tend to be antonomians about the church. The published ones repeatedly deny the Sabbath, the regulative principle of worship, the prohibition of images and the like. They call these things baptistic innovations.

Sadly, there is some truth in this. But that does not mean Theonomy is wrong, any more than the fact that infant baptism is the position of the Roman Catholic Church. However, being a Theonomist myself I have written a book on the regulative principle which also defends the Sabbath and condemns images.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
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.

True, Paul tells the church to excommunicate him; but he was not writing to civil magistrates empowered with the sword (see John Calvin's commentary on the verse in question).
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
But that does not mean Theonomy is wrong, any more than the fact that infant baptism is the position of the Roman Catholic Church. However, being a Theonomist myself I have written a book on the regulative principle which also defends the Sabbath and condemns images.

Why be a Theonomist? You can be Reformed instead!

You have a perfectly good, if broken, legal system in the UK. Our forefathers fought so you could have it. Why would you want to lose it? The Anglosphere is not the Ancient Near East. We weren't made to live there. The Mosaic Code was not made for us, any more than the Code Napoleon or the Roman Law was.

I have the familiar theological objection to theonomy. I also don't like the anti-conservative and downright revolutionary aspects to that doctrine. I want to see the old political traditions upheld on both sides of the Atlantic.

Our liberties are based in a long tradition going back to the Magna Carta. I'm not interested in throwing that out because Anglo constitutionalism and common law aren't based on Moses. Nor has any Reformed denomination for the past 450 years.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
But that does not mean Theonomy is wrong, any more than the fact that infant baptism is the position of the Roman Catholic Church. However, being a Theonomist myself I have written a book on the regulative principle which also defends the Sabbath and condemns images.

Why be a Theonomist? You can be Reformed instead!

You have a perfectly good, if broken, legal system in the UK. Our forefathers fought so you could have it. Why would you want to lose it? The Anglosphere is not the Ancient Near East. We weren't made to live there. The Mosaic Code was not made for us, any more than the Code Napoleon or the Roman Law was.

I have the familiar theological objection to theonomy. I also don't like the anti-conservative and downright revolutionary aspects to that doctrine. I want to see the old political traditions upheld on both sides of the Atlantic.

Our liberties are based in a long tradition going back to the Magna Carta. I'm not interested in throwing that out because Anglo constitutionalism and common law aren't based on Moses. Nor has any Reformed denomination for the past 450 years.

Actually, modern Theonomy is the only epistemologically Reformed view of civil ethics, as it alone asserts that only God has the right to determine what sins constitute crimes and to stipulate how they should be punished in a manner which is just and equittable. All other views undermine the Sovereignty of God in civil law. Moreover, since I am a psalm-singing Covenanter, I think I have as much right to be called Reformed as anyone. Before I was a Theonomist I had no idea of what was a coherent, Biblical, Christian political philosophy. However, when I became a Theonomist I stopped asking "By What Standard?" and started saying "By This Standard".

We have a perfectly good legal system in the UK!!! Really?? Our laws are capracious and unjust; not to mention the fact that the civil government is basically totalitarian. Are you really saying that a legal system which men have invented is better than that which has been "breathed out by God" in His infallible word.

The justice/equity of the Mosaic penal code was not just made for Israel (Deut. 4:5-8). If you assert that it was then you have to maintain the absurd proposition that it was just for God to call for sodomites, kidnappers etc to be executed in Israel, but one yard over the border it would have been unjust to have upheld the same holy, just, righteous and God-breathed law.

Theonomy is anti-conservative? Really? From what I have read, Reconstructionists appreciate the praiseworthy aspects of the conservative and classical liberal positions; however, they are not enough, we need Biblical law, not human traditions.
 
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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Jacob, what does the letter y signify in italics?

Those who speak with malice and unkindness are the ones with the neurotic unhealthy attitude, Those who speak from the flesh and not Spirit led.

y signifies said category. Instead of referring to "a class of people who are theonomists," I shorthanded it to y. As to your other posts, I think you are confusing my rhetoric with Daniel's. Anyway, I am none too bothered by your comments. You haven't yet told me I should be thrown in jail for my views on the law (which have changed a little). You haven't called me an evil terrorist. So, we're cool. :cheers2:

Yes we are cool. Daniel is the one who has a neurotic unhealthy obsession with Law. As far as things being moderated, like I said, I try not to get to worked up from an internet forum. And Daniel is passionate. Then again, he lives in Ireland. It is in your blood Daniel. Nothing you can do about it. You are probably still beating your chest becasue of the tale told of the Battle of Diamond Hill of 1795.. Keep up the fight Daniel. I repsect you for your passion and zeal. I would guarantee you have blood in your veins from the orange order!!!!!:D

Tell me, did David have a "neurotic unhealthy obsession with law" when he wrote Psalm 119? God's statues are my delight and my meditation. If that is unhealthy then so be it.

As for your comments about the Orange Order, I had a real laugh at these :rofl:; it is true that I used to be an Orangeman, but left it when I became a Covenanter 5 years ago. Though I still respect the noble things it stands for.
 
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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Someone please deal with I Cor 5.

To say, "well Paul was talking to the church, not the civil gov't" does not cut it. The NT does not give any demands to civil gov't in the NT.

Israel was both gov't and church and had rules regulating both, but the NT only says to obey civil gov't.

Inside the church, like in I Cor 5, the civil laws of Israel was applied and death was changed to excommunication.


THis is a Biblical example of how Paul deals with the law in NT context. THis too should be our example by which we define general equity.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Someone please deal with I Cor 5.

To say, "well Paul was talking to the church, not the civil gov't" does not cut it. The NT does not give any demands to civil gov't in the NT.

Israel was both gov't and church and had rules regulating both, but the NT only says to obey civil gov't.

Inside the church, like in I Cor 5, the civil laws of Israel was applied and death was changed to excommunication.


THis is a Biblical example of how Paul deals with the law in NT context. THis too should be our example by which we define general equity.

Actually, Paul tells us that civil goverment is God's servant that is to adminster God's wrath on the evil-doer. Where do we go in order to find out how the servant of God (civil government) is to adminster God's wrath on criminals in a manner which is just and equittable? The answer is to the penal sanctions of the judicial law of Moses which deal with issues pertaining to civil justice. It is true that the NT has little to say on the role, functions and limitations of civil government; but this should not surprise us as the matter has been extensively dealt with in the Old Testament. To argue that we cannot appeal to the Old Testament is to adopt a Dispensational hermenuetic.

This is a sphere sovereignty issue; the church is required to excommunicate scandalous sinners, the state is to punish criminals. Paul's argument in 1 Cor. 5 is that since this individual had committed a crime worthy of death, then at the very least he should be excommunicated from the church. However, to argue that this means the state should no longer apply the appropriate civil penalty is to build an argument from conjecture. Should the state no longer execute murderers, but just leave it to the church to excommunicat them?

While it is true that Israel was church and state, the two institutions were distinct (though not entirely separate). The argument that excommunication has replaced the death penalty is one that is contrary to how most Puritans understood it (this was the argument of the tolerationists like Roger Williams in New England). Moreover, it was the Erastians who argued that the death penalty was OT excommunication. So the argument that this is what the Westminster Divines meant by general equity is historical revisionism.

Furthermore how are we to deal with incestous persons outside the church. We cannot excommunicate them, can we?
 

Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
While it is true that Israel was church and state, the two institutions were distinct (though not entirely separate). The argument that excommunication has replaced the death penalty is one that is contrary to how most Puritans understood it (this was the argument of the tolerationists like Roger Williams in New England). Moreover, it was the Erastians who argued that the death penalty was OT excommunication. So the argument that this is what the Westminster Divines meant by general equity is historical revisionism.

I follow the likes of Roger Williams on this. I would have moved to Rhode Island with him. The irony is they left mother england becasue of not wanting to part part of the "state church" there, avoid persecution of the King, and then impose a theocracy in my country.

The arrogance in the way they attempted to erect a "City on a hill" and they themselves were guilty of stealing, and covetousness, not to mention murder, and false testimony in their dealings with the Indians, overwhelms me. And the thought of not only preaching the Gospel, but legislating it is absurd. . Human beings can't legislate as to what is in a person's heart. Only God can do that.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
You have a perfectly good, if broken, legal system in the UK. Our forefathers fought so you could have it. Why would you want to lose it? The Anglosphere is not the Ancient Near East. We weren't made to live there. The Mosaic Code was not made for us, any more than the Code Napoleon or the Roman Law was.

In a sense, this quote highlights the fundamental difference between Theonomic and non-theonomic approaches to civil law. We believe man is to fallen to invent legal systems which are just, holy and righteous; instead we assert that in order for civil law to be just, it must be prescribed by God.

If we assert that men can devise a better system of civil justice than what God has prescribed, then what (logically) is to stop us from saying that men can invent forms of worship which God has not prescribed or that men can invent doctrines which God has not set down in His word. If Roman law is better than the judicial law of Moses, then maybe Plato and Aristotle wrote better stuff than the apostle Paul.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
While it is true that Israel was church and state, the two institutions were distinct (though not entirely separate). The argument that excommunication has replaced the death penalty is one that is contrary to how most Puritans understood it (this was the argument of the tolerationists like Roger Williams in New England). Moreover, it was the Erastians who argued that the death penalty was OT excommunication. So the argument that this is what the Westminster Divines meant by general equity is historical revisionism.

I follow the likes of Roger Williams on this. I would have moved to Rhode Island with him. The irony is they left mother england becasue of not wanting to part part of the "state church" there, avoid persecution of the King, and then impose a theocracy in my country.

The arrogance in the way they attempted to erect a "City on a hill" and they themselves were guilty of stealing, and covetousness, not to mention murder, and false testimony in their dealings with the Indians, overwhelms me. And the thought of not only preaching the Gospel, but legislating it is absurd. . Human beings can't legislate as to what is in a person's heart. Only God can do that.

I would not endorse everything that was done in Puritan New England. A good book to read is Gary North's Puritan Economic Experiments (its pretty short) which documents some of the strange things which they did.:banghead:
 

clstamper

Puritan Board Freshman
The arrogance in the way they attempted to erect a "City on a hill" and they themselves were guilty of stealing, and covetousness, not to mention murder, and false testimony in their dealings with the Indians, overwhelms me. And the thought of not only preaching the Gospel, but legislating it is absurd. . Human beings can't legislate as to what is in a person's heart. Only God can do that.

Please do not disrespect our forefathers like that. While I do not support New England Congregationalism, I cannot abide this distortion of history. Those colonists were faithful Reformed people living in unusual circumstances.

John Cotton committed no murders, tortured no Indians, and made no attempt to legislate the Gospel. Nor did he try to legislate what is in a person's heart. His system is not mine, but I do not seek to slander his memory.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
And the thought of not only preaching the Gospel, but legislating it is absurd. . Human beings can't legislate as to what is in a person's heart. Only God can do that.

[/QUOTE]

The Satanist believes he can practice his religion by sacrificing virgins and torturing animals. Are you going to impose your morality and legislate against the dictates of his conscience?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
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.

After making this comment I was accused by Puritan Sailor (I refuse to answer him directly until he repents) of denying that the law of God was given in creation; however, that is not what I actually said. If you adopt the Klienian idea that nothing in the Mosaic covenant can be binding today, then you cannot hold that the Decalogue is binding, as this summary of the moral law was not given until Moses. So the Klienian cannot argue that the moral law was given in creation, he must assume that it was unique to the Mosaic covenant and, therefore, according to his logic, not applicable today. Another problem for the Klienian is how does he argue that bestiality is not prohibited toady, since this was forbidden in the Mosaic economy but not beforehand?

Also it should be remembered that Theonomists believe that the penal sanctions of the judicial law of Moses are part of God's moral law - every bit as much as the Decalogue is - and therefore are universally binding upon all. Keep in mind that the penalties are quoted in the Larger Catechism as expositions of the moral law of God.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Readers should note that the idea that the penal sanctions of the judicial law of Moses were unique to the Old Covenant is contrary to WCF 7:5 which reads:

This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the Gospel: under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come;which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah,by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament.

Not one word about the penalties being unique to the Old Covenant. In light of this those who accuse Theonomists of being apostates, Judaizers etc. etc. are also accusing the Westminster Divines of being the same. Note that anyone who does not subscribe to Puritan Sailor's idiosyncratic interpretation of Heb. 2:1-3 in asserting that the penal sanctions were typical and cannot be applied today is categorised along with the apostates in Hebrews 6 and 10. According to this logic, it would appear that our confessional standards were written by apostates; by implication, this means that any church which subscribes to them is apostate.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Daniel, I gave my first warning after Patrick's "expired means expired" statement and about you railing, to which you responded with the comment on his ignorance. As the warning was directed toward everyone, and was well before your response, I expected you to heed it along with everyone else. That is the context of my second warning.


Just to clarify, I took extra time to respond after your first warning to ensure I did not say anything over-the-top; therefore, I do not regret any of my measured and accurate remarks. However, the fact that someone can compare his brethren to the apostates in Hebrews 6 and 10, and not be dealt with troubles me greatly. This is an extremely serious accusation as it calls into question the salvation, not only of modern Theonomists, but of all the Reformers, Puritans and early Covenanters who called for any of the Mosaic penalties to be applied today. On this logic even Charles Colson (who only believes that restitution should be reinstituted) is to be categorised with the apostates of Hebrews 6 and 10. In light of the wildness of this accusation, Theonomists have the duty to defend their reputations and highlight the folly of such a view.

Moreover, Puritan Sailor has continually maintained a position which is contrary to the Confessional Standards - namely, that the penal sanctions were part of the ceremonial law - and has compared those who disagree with him with apostates; I fail to see how this is substantially any different to people who come unto discussions about worship and accuse those who adhere to the RPW (the position of the standards) of being Pharisees (in fact I believe it is a whole lot worse). Furthermore, he has accused me of being on the verge of the Federal Vision due to his idiosyncratic interpretation of Hebrews 2:1-3; this is a total slander, yet the moderators do nothing about it. Federal Visionists hate me because of my opposition to their heresies.

While I refuse to answer Puritan Sailor directly until he repents of the disgraceful accusations he has made against me, let me make it clear that I believe Christ bore the eternal wrath of God on behalf of the elect on the cross. However, this does not set aside God's standards of temporal justice in the world, otherwise Paul could not have called the magistrate God's servant who administers God's wrath on the evildoer. Moreover, because Christ has bore God's wrath on behalf of believers, how does this mean that civil rulers are now no longer to punish murderers, rapists, incestuous persons, sodomites etc, etc, in accordance with Biblical law? Christ bore our eternal wrath judicially, but He did not set aside God's standards of temporal justice against those who violate Biblical civil law. If we are to assume that because Christ bore God's wrath on account of the elect, therefore, we cannot apply God's temporal judgments upon those unbelievers who commit crimes, then we must also assume that God will not apply His eternal judgment upon the same people.

Puritan Sailor has made a serious mistake in relation to his interpretation of Heb. 2:1-3. The writer does not say that the penalties have been set aside; what he does say is that because God is just in punishing criminals who transgressed the judicial law of Moses, we can also be certain that He is just in eternally condemning those who reject the gospel. Puritan Sailor has built a case on conjecture and is using this to undermine the orthodoxy of his brethren, yet the moderators allow him to get away with this.

Where to begin???
Daniel, I do apologize for the comment above which Chris pointed out. I made it in impatience, and I owe you more courtesy than that. I should have just left it with a 17th century definition of "expired."

As for the accusation that I am comparing you to or calling you apostate, I never intended such a thing, so I can't apologize or repent for that. If I considered you apostate, I never would have engaged you at all, nor called you "brother" so many times. My point was hermeneutical as has been my entire argument thus far, dealing with your arguments, not challenging the validity of your faith. My intentions in this thread have been brotherly the entire time. I made it clear from the outset that I believed the entire decalogue must be enforced by the magistrate. I shared your concern for civil justice, as I reassured you over and over again. I even expressed agreement that the Mosaic judicial laws had abiding relevance. I expressed these reassurances to you repeatedly so that you would focus on the real point of disagreement, not attack positions which I do not hold. Why? Because I was endeavoring to build a constructive unity in the faith over this issue and it was clear to me that you had not considered some logical implications to your hermeneutic. I did not want you nor other brothers who read these things to not consider them as well.

My first argument was exegetical. My argument from Hebrews was very simple and straightforward. There was nothing said which has not been said before, yes by many Klineans, but also by Gouge (quoted by Andrew above) and many others in the Reformed camp. But what was clear to me by your reaction was that you had not considered it before and rather than respond exegetically you resorted to name calling (Dispensational, Hyper-preterist, idiosyncratic, ignorant, arrogant, etc) and then accused me of denying the Confession.

I summarize the argument here just so you don't have to piece it together from the other posts. The author of Hebrews argues that the old covenant has been fulfilled by the new covenant with the coming of Christ. Notice that Hebrews doesn't use our 17th century 3-fold law distinction (I'll deal with that below). He says the old COVENANT has passed away, not just the old ceremonies. He recognizes that Moses (and angels in Ch. 2) initiated an entire economy, not just ceremonies. He uses several descriptions to describe the inferiority of this COVENANT designating Moses as the inferior mediator of the entire covenant, the inferior priesthood and temple system established by this covenant, the inferior promises made in the covenant (land, rest, etc), and yes even inferior civil penalties. Not only in ch. 2 but also in ch. 10 (alluding to Deut 17 which I quoted before) the lesser yet certain penalties are used to foreshadow the greater and more certain penalties, just like Paul comparing the death of Israelites in the wilderness (under the old covenant) to the future judgment upon unfaithful Christians in 1 Cor 10. The author of Hebrews puts the old/new covenant penalties in the same inferior/superior paradigm which he used in the rest of the book. An entire economy was instituted under the mediation of Moses which expired with the coming of a better mediator. Christ's work on the cross fulfilled and laid aside this former economy. He was the antitype of all the types, of which the civil penalties were also a type. Now, that is the exegetical argument. If you disagree with the exegetical argument, fine. Lets discuss this specific argument in civility at some point in the future.

Here is where my comment about the Federal Vision came in. I know full well that you don't hold to the Federal Vision. I never accused you of holding it at all. My point was again hermeneutical. I know you believe that Christ took upon himself the eternal wrath of God. My point was to take you to the logical conclusion of your hermeneutic, a conclusion which you would not agree with in the broader context of your faith. It seemed to me that in your zeal for continuing the Mosaic penalties, you argued the final judgment had not yet come so the penalties were not fulfilled and must continue. To make you think about that statement further, I countered that Christ's death was not just a ceremonial but a judicial fulfillment too. To deny the judicial fulfillment until the Second Coming puts you exegetically in the Federal Vision camp. Your later posts trying to clarify this point indicates to me that you had never thought about this implication before. And I would encourage you to do so now. This is not an accusation of heresy, but a logical inconsistency that I noted in your hermeneutic.

You further argued in response to me that I could not use the moral law under my hermeneutic because the Decalogue was not given until Moses. In response I showed that it was in fact given in creation, and demonstrated the Confessional validity of my argument. it seemed to me that you had not considered the implications of arguing the moral law was first given in Moses, because you then clarified later that you did believe the moral law was given before. I know full well that you believed this. But it seemed to me in your zeal for continuing the Mosaic civil laws you made a hasty argument to which I showed you the logical anti-Confessional conclusion of that hasty argument. And since I am not a Klinean, I don't even know what you were talking about regarding your last comment about Klineans.

Now we could have discussed this issue exegetically in Hebrews, dealing with specifically how the Mosaic penalties can continue to help us today when they have expired with that old covenant economy, but instead you challenged my Confessional fidelity to which I must now respond, lest anyone else have doubts about this. But I would remind you that the Confession, especially on chapter 19, was a consensus document. The Divines disagreed among themselves as to the implications of "general equity," but the language we do have is what they could agree was taught clearly in Scripture.

You apparently did not understand my argument (or perhaps I was not clear enough) for you accused me of confusing the ceremonial and civil laws. But my argument was about covenantal administration and fulfillment. The Mosaic covenant was a dispensation of the one covenant of grace. With the coming of Christ, that dispensation was finished and a new dispensation began. Regarding chapter 19: I argued the moral law was given in creation and the covenant of works before it was given to Moses. The decalogue is a summary of that law but it was present long before. We agree the ceremonial laws were abrogated, So I'm in perfect accord with 19:1-3. Regarding 19:4, I clearly articulated from Hebrews how that entire old covenant economy was replaced by the new covenant. As a dispensation in the covenant of grace it expired, therefore the judicial laws of the body politic (established by the old covenant) as well expired with that State. So my understanding of the judicial laws expiring as well fits the language of the Confession. I further argued that the old covenant civil laws functioned pedagogically, in that they guide us (and the magistrate) in how to address ethical situations. This is how I understand general equity. As an exposition of the moral law they can help magistrates today find principles to govern justly. Just because the Divines use Scripture references from the judicials to further explain the commandments doesn't mean those judicials are binding in the same way (I don't remember the Divines arguing for stoning someone, though they still argued for capitial punishment). Thus in practice they operated in some form of general equity, not bound to use the exact mode of punishment prescribed by Moses. You may not agree with my definition of general equity, but that's fine. We can discuss what constitutes general equity at some point in the future. But clearly my position does not contradict the Confession and since the Divines themselves could not agree on a definition of general equity, I don't think we have to agree either in order to consider each other within the bounds of the Confession. Just because some of the Divines may have been closer to your interpretation doesn't bind my conscience in the least, because they did not include their particular interpretations in the Confession itself. I further argued that capital punishment was an institution in the Noahic covenant, a point which the Confession doesn't address here and is thus not a Confessional issue.

Regarding ch. 7, I agree with every word. My understanding of the old covenant judicial penalties are included in 7:5 under "other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews." I already articulated how there was a change in administration and thus I am in perfect agreement with the language there.
Regarding Ch. 22 on Christian liberty, I no where argued that Christians were free from lawful obedience to the civil magistrate. Thus this section is irrelevant to our discussion since they were not asking here the questions we are asking. And furthermore I agree in full with ch. 23 on the Civil Magistrate (1789 version, which you probably don't like on this issue). So then, let us set aside Confessional infidelity rhetoric.

Now, I hope this will explain all my intentions and interactions with you in the this thread. My intentions were never malicious nor accusatory. I was interacting with your arguments not questioning your salvation. If you wonder why I did not respond earlier than I did to your reaction to the "apostate" comment that was because I usually (and purposely) ignore emotional arguments, comments, and accusations in my interactions on this Board (as my history will show) because I want constructive interactions. I will only interact with arguments on point. Unfortunately, I did not realize until later how you misunderstood the comment and apologize for not earlier alleviating your concern. I hope I have satisfactorily answered your concerns and clarified my intentions with this post and look forward to more constructive and edifying conversations in the future.
:cheers:
 
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