Trying to understand the Law!

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he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Thanks, Tim! I think I was not quite understanding you before--that was a great and helpful post! Thank you!
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Rutherford's most mature statement (i.e. latest in life) RE the judicial law can be found in his Examen Arminianismi chapter 19 on the Civil Magistrate, a good portion of which is translated and presented in The Confessional Presbyterian journal volume 4. "In Translatione, Samuel Rutherford, Of the Civil Magistrate From Examen Arminianismi," translated by Guy M. Richard.

Chris,

Would you say that Rutherford's view of what constitutes "judicial law" is what we normally think of?

For instance, in saying that execution for idolatry was not part of the judicial law, isn't this different from what is normally assumed?

Cheers,

Adam

-----Added 1/10/2009 at 02:41:03 EST-----

Adam,
I really don't want to get into a long discussion on theonomy. My purpose in the thread is not to persuade you away from your convictions, but to address Jessica's (and other's) specific issues. And if I have to contradict your position to do it, well then she can see there are two sides to the matter.

Very good. No long discussion will ensue.


And, I reject that overarching "principle of continuity," as if theonomy was a necessary entailment of Covenant Theology. It's not.

Yes it is.

Cheers,

Adam
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Adam,
I'm deferring comment on this topic to Matthew Winzer's forthcoming analysis of Rutherford and all the Westminster Divines that had anything to say connected to the topic of any abiding nature of the judicial law in the 2009 issue of The Confessional Presbyterian.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
Adam,
I'm deferring comment on this topic to Matthew Winzer's forthcoming analysis of Rutherford and all the Westminster Divines that had anything to say connected to the topic of any abiding nature of the judicial law in the 2009 issue of The Confessional Presbyterian.

When will this be forthcoming?
 

Christusregnat

Puritan Board Professor
Adam,
I'm deferring comment on this topic to Matthew Winzer's forthcoming analysis of Rutherford and all the Westminster Divines that had anything to say connected to the topic of any abiding nature of the judicial law in the 2009 issue of The Confessional Presbyterian.

Come now Chris, this kind of shameless promotion of the CPJ should not be tolerated! :lol:

Look forward to reading it.

Cheers,

Adam
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
2) The Confession states that the Judicial laws of Israel have "expired." Think of laws we have today that have "sunset provisions."
notional law: After Jan XX, 20XX, the law against X is no longer the law of the land. Do as you please.
But you STILL can't do X if it involves breaking some other law that remains in effect.

That "law that remains in effect" corresponds to "general equity." The moral law (the Confession's referent to "general equity") is present anywhere and everywhere, at any time. It never expires nor is abrogated. It's been in the hands of men and societies since the dawn of history.

OK, so maybe me wanting a formula for this (ie: trying to determine specifically if a given action goes against at least one specific commandment) is not an effective manner of determining whether a law is binding, or Moral. But it does seem to me that maybe that could be a way to check for general equity. If not, how does one determine general equity?

I am not disagreeing with you, for I think that your post explained what I believe very well. But I am still wondering how, if at all, we determine general equity? Do we hold it up to the Ten Commandments?

And maybe I am mis-reading your post altogether and the Ten Commandments are not the only summary of the Moral Law, to which all other laws must have "general equity." (That term is new to me.)
 

Rangerus

Puritan Board Junior
Is it right thinking to say that the whole of the Moral Law is summarized in the Ten Commandments?

I've pretty much always been taught this, and agree it sums up the whole of the Moral Law. Emphasis on Moral Law.

However, I think to complete the concept, one must add these thoughts:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
OK, so maybe me wanting a formula for this (ie: trying to determine specifically if a given action goes against at least one specific commandment) is not an effective manner of determining whether a law is binding, or Moral. But it does seem to me that maybe that could be a way to check for general equity. If not, how does one determine general equity?

I am not disagreeing with you, for I think that your post explained what I believe very well. But I am still wondering how, if at all, we determine general equity? Do we hold it up to the Ten Commandments?

And maybe I am mis-reading your post altogether and the Ten Commandments are not the only summary of the Moral Law, to which all other laws must have "general equity." (That term is new to me.)
Jessica,
If you must, certainly measure the lessons of the past, given to Israel, by the only perfect rule--the Bible (comprehensively), or more handily by the 10C.

We find other Scriptural summaries (less detailed) in the words of our Lord, the two Great commandments that sum up "all the Law and the prophets."

Paul gives an even shorter sum when he refers to the law of love.

Micah 6:8 is another summary statement.

The Bible is where we go to get a reliable summary of God's moral will.

The Bible tells us (Rom.1 & 2) that the moral law still exists (however faintly) in the hearts of all men. So, be it unevenly expressed, but various societies to greater or lesser degree reflect the moral standards of God in their laws AND customs. Thus, God can hold them accountable for their breaking the same. Witness the prophets attacking the sins of the nations that surround Israel.

But their laws AND customs are unreliable as a witness to heaven's morality. They seldom make use of the rule of God's Word to measure their own rules. And I'm not talking about merely using Moses' law as an ideal yardstick, but all of God's written revelation in the Bible.



Even though we've been freed from the Law, we keep wanting a set of rules to live by. Its as though we've been pared down to a set of 10 essentially heart-conditions, but our natural Pelagian selves insist on a a new rubric.

We want the Bible to tell us once again how to balance our checkbook in the "Christian" way. Is the Christian method dual-entry or single-entry bookkeeping, or something else? Isn't there a Mosaic regulation that I can bend to answer that?

Isn't the Larger Cat. enumeration of the many particular ways we sin of the heart enough?

I'm just asking again, for you to please consider the wisdom of Paul when he says: "Ask no [new] questions for conscience sake." Go look for the answers when you are confronted with the questions, and you cannot turn aside from them.

In my opinion, Paul's dictum is more a fundamental rule for us as Christians, than mastering a variety of applications of the Old Testament regulatory system, just in case one of them applies to me tomorrow.

If attempt that, then exactly how is it that we have been freed (Rom.7:4-6) from that old law, in the sense of Gal.3:23-25?

The law is one thing, and the gospel--it's something entirely different. The gospel needs to be our obsession.
 

Zeno333

Puritan Board Freshman
So, Jessica, do you think after all of this dialogue here, that you can next time sizzle your pork-chop guilt free?? ;) ;)
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Rev. Bruce,
Thank you for your words and advice♥
However, I am not exactly sure what you are worried about me doing. I am not going to write a list of rules and then try to live by them. I guess I was more interested in proving, or finding, that we are not bound to the same law that Israel was. If you read this thread:Tattoo Debate, people were giving all kinds of reasons that having, or getting, a tattoo was a sin. I was surprised by people dropping Levitical law as reasons for that. I did not know/think that Reformed folk felt bound by that. I do not feel bound by that. But in that thread, no one could really satisfy me, and it seemed others, with which part of the Levitical laws remain for us. Plus, that thread was closed before anyone helped us with understanding the role of the ceremonial or civil law on Christians today.

In case you did not read that thread, I will re-post part of my final point here, because I believe that it might explain more clearly what I feel. (I was responding to an assertion that tattoos show character.)


...I think the only safe way to live is for me to look however I choose, as long as it does NOT go against the principles in Scripture and let those people deal with their consciences while I deal with my own.

That is truly how I feel. So I'm not setting about to collect rules on how to live. But someone started a debate thread on tattoos. How do we debate that w/out looking at Scripture? I personally do not believe that they are unbiblical, but I would want to know if they were--I would want to hear the proof. Are you saying that it is safer for me to just not know? So is it safer to not debate?

Are you saying that Paul was saying that we should not try to determine what law is still binding? I should just do what I want b/c my conscience allows it? I thought it was right to search scripture.

I really don't understand what you are warning me of. So if you can explain, thank you! If after I explained what I believe, you still think I am in danger, please tell me, just use baby words!
Shalom,
jessi

-----Added 1/10/2009 at 10:09:06 EST-----

So, Jessica, do you think after all of this dialogue here, that you can next time sizzle your pork-chop guilt free?? ;) ;)

But I already do that!! I guess I was wondering why others don't!
Apparently this whole thread makes me look like a weak-conscienced sister. But I will tell you, I feel (or hope to feel) bound to very little but Christ!
 
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Zeno333

Puritan Board Freshman
So, Jessica, do you think after all of this dialogue here, that you can next time sizzle your pork-chop guilt free?? ;) ;)

But I already do that!! I guess I was wondering why others don't!
Apparently this whole thread makes me look like a weak-conscienced sister. But I will tell you, I feel bound to very little but Christ!

I know, was teasing you. You sound like a sister that has a good level headed conscience...I do not like pork-chops myself. If they have applesauce on them, then I can survive one maybe :)

In all of this debate, I do not think anyone mentioned that all important "Reformed" fact that the perfect Righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, so God only sees Christ's perfection when he sees us.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Jessica,
I didn't have the whole background, outside this thread. So I'm sorry for any confusion added.

Enjoy the debate. Its usually just fine.

If someone can convince you that you shouldn't get a tattoo from the Bible, that's the only source they should convince you from.

We do need to search the Scriptures, primarily so that we can know God, and believe in him. Doctrine is what we believe.

We know what is still binding: the 10C, the moral fund. The following applications of those laws (the rest of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) all have moral dimensions, to a greater or lesser extent, because all law flows from the same moral source. The "general equity" is whatever moral dimension inheres (indwells) in that commandment.

Laws regarding sexual ethics have been regarded almost always and everywhere, in Christian lands, as virtually little more than "rewording" of the 7th Commandment. In other words, these laws are usually considered to have very high "equity", or natural moral propriety.

We are wise, therefore, to treat these as mainly unchanged; and when we look at the New Testament (e.g. Paul, the Jerusalem council) it appears as though this is the basic judgment of the Apostles. They do not adopt new definitions of "sexual immorality" but point us back to the OT definitions as adequate, as continuing. And what they do explicitly repeat is confirmatory.

But, at the same time, we hardly ever see Paul or others saying, in response to a query from someone, or to a problem in a church: "What saith the Law? How is this problem addressed?" (For an exception, see 1Cor.9:8-9, where there is a rather unique application of a Mosaic Law--certainly not a "fence around the pool" sort of application, but certainly showing "general equity").

We need to be more than a little cautious about going back to Moses. The "principle of continuity" turns the WCF statements "abrogated" and "expired" both on their heads. And Paul, Gal 4:21 "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?" Doesn't his terminology sound just a bit ominous?

Finally, Eph 2:14-16 "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:"

And I think this will be my final contribution. Sorry for not really hitting the nail on the head.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Rev. Bruce,
Thank you so very much! That was extremely helpful and I now completely understand all of your posts from that last explanation. Thank you, and I do appreciate the advice from Paul (via you) about not turning to the law. I guess I was still doing that, b/c I thought using the law to show what we are permitted to do was better than using the law to show what we aren't allowed to do. Either way, you are right, and it was, in a sense, a desire to be under the law. Thank you!!
Thank you, especially, for your patience with this very dense sister!
 

Pilgrim's Progeny

Puritan Board Sophomore
Jessica,

I had no idea this thread was here until a 30 minutes ago, but it speaks to my experience.

I have wrestled with the law myself. I have wrestled with Paul. I have come to this conclusion, so far.

As I look into the law I gaze into the person of Jesus Christ. As I stare into the impossible, I see He who single-handedly did what was impossible for all men, except the God-man. In the law I finally see the glory of God in Christ. As I do this, I have learned to not subject myself to this law as a law keeper. I now submit myself instead to the keeper of the law. As a result I've learned to love the law instead of dread the law. I do not see it as a burden anymore but a glorious thing. Christ has broken the yoke I could never bear. I now rejoice in the Lord's day because Jesus has secured my eternal rest. I have turned away from the law as a debtor and unto Christ as a free man, may God be praised. I have been made alive to Christ.
 

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
Paul, thank you for that beautiful description of your love of Christ and His law!
I think I could learn a lot from that post. Thanks!
 
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