Why did Bahnsen shave his beard?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by KMK, Oct 29, 2007.

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  1. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Ok, it is time for me to pull out the big guns. I am going to stop the debate once and for all. I will quote the Confession. Hear, and keep silent.


    CHAPTER XX.
    Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience.
    I. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law;

    Note that we are freed, not from the "law" (whatever that means) but from the curse of the moral law. A number of posts (about 5 or 6 above, excluding the obvious) didn't make that distinction and either looked like a bald form of relativism, or dispensationalism.
     
  2. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    So up until the Mosaic covenant, man was incapable of justly punishing these things? To the contrary, 'an eye for an eye' was instituted because man punished too much.
    Both general and natural revelation frown on evil men ruling. The imago Dei is not so marred. If I'm speaking against God's law then you are speaking against Romans 1 and 2.
     
  3. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior


    They had a duty to follow the commands, but just as God knew there was no atonement in the blood of bulls and Goats, there was no perpetual binding of the penal sanctions..
     
  4. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Premise 1 is true

    Premise 2 is true


    Where did this come from? You made a leap in logic
     
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    With each covenant there is more revelation being given. The Mosaic covenant tells us more of God's ways than the Abrahamic covenant. And that's not a theonomic argument, per se. I learned that from Ligon Duncan.


    Both general and natural revelation frown on evil men ruling. The imago Dei is not so marred. If I'm speaking against God's law then you are speaking against Romans 1 and 2.[/QUOTE]

    In the previous post you said a magistrate's conscience is good enough. I provided counter-examples. Conscience qua conscience is not good enough. As I have demonstrated--and Romans 1 says men suppress the truth--conscience can be seared.
     
  6. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore


    Brian,

    You are right.

    But I am arguing for the larger picture, in that Christ has come and I do not wish to impose the Mosaic covenant on the civil sphere because it was especially crafted for a purpose that was completed by His coming.

    For now, just like exiled Israel, we should marry and give in marriage, plant gardens, build houses, prosper and above all, spread the gospel. It is our task to conform the world to Christ by the preaching of the gospel, not by force of arms which is required under any law system.

    Jacob and Brian,
    I fear that I am not a worthy opponent in this debate but I am grateful for your help. And I promise to read more and post less.
     
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    You have always been very courteous to me on this issue. I really thank you for it. Believe it or not, I have changed on this issue over the past few years (the basic structure is still the same. There are a few arguments I no longer use, etc).
     
  8. BrianLanier

    BrianLanier Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi David, fair enough.

    I think this is how the discussion should go--exegetically. You come to a different conclusion than theonomists by reading the *scriptures* and not by attacking what you may think are undesirable consequences from enforsing a law-code. I was not arguing for theonomy, I was just pointing out that certain "critiques" of theonomy go to far (as I demonstrated above). As for an exegetical defense of theonomy, I leave to someone else.

    Thanks for being charitable in your responses. I hope I was in return.
     
  9. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Leap in Grace Jacob.

    As an aside, I found one example of penal sanctions. Achan..


    Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations; “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using; according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.


    Colossians 2:14 (American Standard Version)
    14 having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross;


    Galatians 3:19 (American Standard Version)
    19 What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; and it was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
  10. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    1) The majority of scholars do not believe that text to be in the autographa.

    2) The accusers would cast the stones, and if they were false witnesses, they'd receive the same penalty. Now, was Jesus "smart" here? That is, if she really was "caught in the act" then where was the man? Perhaps they were her lovers, or they didn't like her, or they were testing Jesus?

    3) That Jesus said "he who is without sin cast the first stone" does not logically translate to "I am doing away with the death penalty for adultary."

    3 a) Is this now a pre-requistite for *all* criminal punishment? If so, then why should we punish *anyone?* We all are not "without sin."

    3 b) Is this *only* in the case of adultary? Then why think all the *other* laws are done away with?

    3 c) (3a) and (3b) put you on the horns of a dilemma.

    4) Since he gave the law originally, are you saying that he "trusted men back then," but not anymore?

    5) The what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander argument:

    Mark 7:9-13

    9 And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.' 11 But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban"' (that is, given to God)— 12then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."

    And so by parity of reasoning, is Jesus then *not* setting aside the death penalty for our disrespectful deliquent children?

    Furthermore, I'm don't affirm the theonomic position (ask Brian Lanier). But I do agree that much of the arguments against it are weak.
     
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    ^^what he said. The only reason I get involved is that I learned from Dr Bahnsen's ministry and if anyone is going to critique him--and I do on some areas of philosophy/apologetics--then they need to be balanced, learned critiques.
     
  12. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    I don't know. I think it was a sham.
    Of course not. I don't think 10 women were ever stoned for adultery in Israel. But that doesn't mean that only 9 women ever committed adultery. I think that thousands of women committed adultery. If I'm correct, this would show the huge margin between the standard and the actual enforcement. The purpose of the law was to condemn those committing it and enforcing it. Which by the way, is the reason they were evicted from the land: the king did not enforce.

    There was no stipulation that only sinless people could do the stoning. So where does that leave us? Probably back to the sermon on the mount where even thinking evil in our heart is sin and we are left hopeless before God's standards, which is the purpose of the law in the first place. We cannot keep it neither can we enforce it.
    No. It is not a pre-requisite. Jesus is teaching us about perfect law. The law was not made for the righteous,
    so He is teaching us, the unrighteous, about ourselves and about Him. We should punish all law breakers because it is good to do so.
    No, not only adultery but all ten commandments are finished. Because, while the moral principle behind them remain, the original context of them is completed and therefore null. The principle is carried forward in Christ Who is the incarnation of the law and gives no quarter in the outward keeping of it, but condemns the very thought of sin.
    Yes. Christ, I assume, was as usual probing a deeper issue than the proclivities of men and women. Given His mission, I guess He was pointing to the looming reformation that would revolutionize Israel beyond recognition in the new covenant, along with the coming of the kingdom in glory.
    I think that He knew what was in man from the beginning.
    No. May it never be that Christ would set aside the law. I think Jesus is building an argument as Paul does in Rm 2:13. The standard is terrific, terrible, horrible to me the sinner. But it is not the final word, thank God. What comes after, what is built on it's foundation is that Christ honors father and mother in our place and is subsequently damned.
    That I have weak arguments is no mystery.
    Thanks for the challenge, I hope my response was worth your time.
     
  13. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    David,

    Know that when I use the word "weak" I mean that in the *logical* sense. That is, the premises are not strong enough to support the conclusuion. "Weak" just seems a quicker way to say that. :)

    If it was a sham, then that appears to undercut your argument that "Jesus was against the death penalty for adultary." You can't conclude that from a "sham" case.

    I don't see the relevance in your comments about adultary. Now doubt we make mistakes. But you even said we should enforce laws and punish criminals here on earth. I'm trying to see how you think Jesus "removed the death penalty for adultary" (and I don't think it was the punishment in *every* case, anyway). No doubt we cannot keep the commandments, perfectly. I don't see why these means we shouldn't punish, say, murderers. How do your comments follow?

    (Let me also point out that many states have laws where the wives of men who have committed adultary can *sue* the women who cheated with their husbands! Do you agree with this law? If so, why? If they changed the law to make the penalty death, would you disagree? If so, why?)

    I don't understand what it means to say "the ten commandments are finished" but that "the moral principle behind them stays."

    Lastly, I don't think you answered my sauce-gander argument. Why do you take the (disputed as to its authenticity) passage about the woman caught in adultary as a *removal* of the death penalty for adulterers but you do not take what Christ said in Mark 7 as affirming that we should put to death rebellious sons or daughters? I think your reasoning may be specious here.
     
  14. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks
    Well, I think the reason that case was enscripturated, to invent words, is because it was typical, that is, the norm. How often is it recorded that so and so was stoned for adultery? The law was a sham, so to speak, because it was in the hands of sinful law enforcers. "The Gentiles blaspheme because of you"
    That there was a huge gap in the record of stonings vs. the adultery that probably happened speaks volumns about how sinners coped with so alien a concept as God's righteousness. Jesus didn't demand prosecution of the woman because Israel didn't even have a beginning point to make a case against her. Jesus isn't trashing the law, he's trashing the system. Murderers and adulterers should be punished, but true justice demands true judges. The curse doesn't nullify the process but it does curse it.
    If they divorce they should have the liberty to sue. Why? Because those women were hostile to a covenant recognized by the community, and thus hostile to the community.
    Yes, I would disagree because the penalty would be too severe, outweighing the infraction.
    The whole Mosaic covenant is complete, done, fulfilled. However, the commandments are repromulgated not from Sinai, but from the mount where Christ's commentary on the law- "But I say unto you..." is more demanding, more severe, more strict in the interpretation of all that the law demands.
    I think what's good for the goose is also good for the gander. The standard does not change. But the law is impotent to save sinners. "What the law could not do...." The law is not set aside, it is turned upon Christ in its full fury. And certainly in the last day death will have its due. Christ spoke cryptically of the 'already and not yet' .
    And He was thinking redemptively, not creationally. Afterall that is why He came. I think that is the theme in His rhetoric of Mk 7 and Jn 8.
     
  15. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore

    1) I didn't know what you meant by sham. Now, I offered arguments (a) your text was most probably not in the autographa, (b) they were trying to pull a fast one - Jesus knew better. If she *really was* "caught in the act," then where was the man who she was having relations with? If you ignore (a) for a moment, I think the most plausible reading of the text is *not* that Jesus denied the death penalty for adultary, but that he called them out on their trap.

    2) A huge gap is a fallaciosu argument from silence. There's actually hardly any "recoding" of punishments in general. Jesus didn't demand prosecution because she probably wasn't guilty. And, he did demand it. He said that the one without sin (which doesn't mean sinless, as we agreed) *can* cast the first stone. They knew the penalty for false accusations, and so he called their bluff.

    3) The law is even if they don't get divorced. Anyway, where do you get the idea that they can sue because they were hostile to the community? Why is that not too severe? Who says?

    4) Why do you say the death penalty for adultary is too severe? Are you accusing God - the giver of the law - with injustice? Furthermore, let's remember that adulterers (those who have not trusted in Christ) will go to hell. If all they did was commit that sin they'd spend forever in hell. Why is that not too severe?

    5) Why do Klineans sound so NCT? Jesus didn't pit himself against Moses. He pitted himself against the *tradition.* And, futhermore, Mark 7 serves to contradict. There he said, "But you say...But Moses said."

    6) I still don't see how you've got around Mark 7. You used Jesus words in John 8 to say that Jesus *did away with* the death penalty for adulterey, but then when he *positively applied* a specific case law to people, you don't take that as him saying that that case law/penology is still in tact. Your position here seems arbitrary. You can't have your cake and eat it too. I know the law is impotent to save. That's not what theonomists are saying. they are saying that in a society we need laws and punishments for transgression of those laws. So, what should those laws and punishments be, and how can we try to acheive objectivity, justice, and non-arbitrairness in our judicial system.

    ********

    At the very least, i think have have presented reasons against you being able to dogmatically assert that "Jesus said the death penatly for adultary was no more," by appealing to Jn. 8. Wouldn't you agree that that case is not as strong as initially out forward?
     
  16. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Jacob,

    I don’t think it was my post #120 you referred to as either relativism or Dispensational, but you did ignore it. Now I am not learned in the theonomic and contra-theonomic arguments, though I do know the Gospel and the Scripture. My familiarity with these issues comes from withstanding certain forms of Messianic Judaism, which posits that all ethnic and proselyte Jews turned Messianic must obey the Mosaic ordinances, those that can still be obeyed.

    If you consider me ignorant (which is true to an extent), nonetheless please bear with me, and “be apt to teach, patient” if I err. The WCF says,

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

    Whatever general equity may be asserting concerning them, it does not obviate the preceding clauses.

    How does my argument in post #120 bear on your view of law-keeping? Do you consider what I said there valid?

    I see it that we are freed not only from the curse of the moral law, but also from the obligation to keep the ceremonial and judicial laws. I believe the WCF supports both clauses of the previous sentence.

    What was it that enabled Jew and Gentile to be reconciled, the enmity between the two slain, but that Christ “abolished in His flesh…the law of commandments contained in ordinances” (Eph 2:15), that is, the ceremonial and judicial. This refers to more than the curse of the law being set aside, for what separated the Jews and the nations were also the aforementioned ordinances. In the body of Christ both peoples found cleansing, justification and acceptance.

    In the light of my arguments (please stay with me), how do you assert OT law keeping besides the Moral Law?
     
  17. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    No, I wasn't saying you were sounding relativistic. I ignored it because I didn't see it dealing with the thread. I have no problem with WCF 19.4. I fully admit that many laws expired and there is no general equity on them.

    I do not try to live my life powered by the law. I have never tried to earn my salvation by law-keeping. I believe the ordinances set aside were obviously (though not exclusively) ceremonial. Many non-theonomic commentators on ephesians grant that.

    The civil law is a situational application of the underlying principles in the moral law. The moral law is not the ten commandments, but only a summary of the ten commandments. What are the summarizing, but other laws?

    So no, I don't go around advocating law-keeping in the sense you are arguing.
     
  18. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Paul,
    Thanks for helping me through this. This is very profitable.
    Yes, I think you are right that Jesus is calling their bluff. But if they are accusing her falsely, why isn't He upholding the law so that they be stoned for false witness? The whole thing sounds apocryphal as you pointed out.
    Why do think He didn't demand that the men be stoned for the ninth commandment violation?
    I get the idea that laws are for the good of the individual as a member of the community. If it's good for the individual but not for the community then that seems destructive to the community. The nature of the community would dictate how severe they wish to invest penalties. This way one may choose a community that fits them.
    No, I hope I'm not accusing God of evil. Am I? -if I advocate our present system? I know the wages of sin is death, and God is perfectly precise in His justice. And I'm for it, but is it pragmatic in a fallen world to execute for adultery and disobedience? Sometimes 'perfect' is the enemy of 'good' in a given situation.
    I thought Jesus was illuminating Moses, not destroying Moses.
    Perhaps the bad tradition is why He seemed to scrap the pursuit of justice in Jn 8.
    Yes, He's demolishing their tradition and giving a lesson about human nature, much the same as in Jn 8. The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 is ominously in the background here, which may be the reason He's not going around hauling people into court. I'm grasping for straws here. You are making me think.
    Yes, I can see I'm being inconsistent. Perhaps the Mosaic Law being typological, the severe punishments pointed up to the final judgment. So while Jesus is not lessening the severity of punishments, He is deferring it to 'the Highest Court' so to speak. Which is what non-theonomists perhaps are arguing for.
    I give a hearty amen there, Sir. I think what the non-theonomists are saying is that in the epoch we are now in, it might be better not to use the Mosaic covenant as a model since it was highly specialized for a certain time and place and is much too good for wretched sinners. How could a society avoid taking the Lord's name in vain and have a theonomic system? The term 'theonomic' is highly volatile!

    It's like children playing with fire. Fire is not evil. Children are.

    Yes, I agree. I am in your debt.
    :handshake:
     
  19. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    :ditto:

    That's one thing I can't figure out. Why are theonomists (and I know Jacob isn't one, nor am I), but why are they always accused of advocating law-keeping for justification?
     
  20. Jim Johnston

    Jim Johnston Puritan Board Sophomore


    David, thanks as well.

    Rather then continue on with theonomy - which wasn't my purpose. My purpose was to question the claim that "Jesus did away with the death penalty for adultary" as not so easy to prove.

    In regards to what you ask, I think he did just that! That's the allusion to "he who is without sin cast the first stone." False wittnesses, who ended up stoning the accused, would be stoned themselves. Jesus knew this.

    Further, remember that he can't just "call for" their stoning since he doesn't have two or three wittnesses saying that they lied. He's not very well going to go to the People and say, "I'm God, and I know everything, so I know these men are lying." He would have probably been stoned! So, we find Jesus actually *obeying* the law. He doesn't have the wittnesses, but he knows they're trying to trick him, so he brings to their attention what would happen if they stoned her falsley. He knew they wouldn't, because he knew they were trying to trap him.

    So, even though I don't think Jn. 8 was in the authographa, nothing contradicts the theonomic thesis in Jn 8, and Jn. 8 actually supports thonomic understandings.

    :handshake:
     
  21. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm convinced. Thanks for clarification on my question.
     
  22. Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace Puritan Board Junior

    Probably for the same reason anti theonomists are accused of antinomianism.
     
  23. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, there is some truth, historically, in the theonomic accusation. The first opponents of theonomy were old-school Dispensationalists who were antinomian (some of the even admitting it). Unfortunately, the charge was carried by some into the Reformed world.
     
  24. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Jacob, you say, “The moral law is not the ten commandments, but only a summary of the ten commandments. What are the[y] summarizing, but other laws?” Is it accurate to say the Ten are but “summaries” of the other commandments? WCF 19.2 says they are “a perfect rule of righteousness.” Are they not the moral law in essence?

    Ryan, I made no mention of Jacob’s “advocating law-keeping for justification”. But if you or he advocate keeping the terminated Theocracy’s judicial laws in our day as the will of God, it then follows that disobedience to the will of God is sin. This is what I am questioning.
     
  25. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    In WCF 19:1-3 the Divines specifically identify the moral law with the Decalogue. We are told that there is a law which "God gave to Adam" which law "after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness;... "was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai in ten commandments"....[and is] commonly called moral,"

    I would like to know why you think the decalogue is not the moral law when the Westminster Divines specifically identified the Decalogue as such. NB. Don't reply with WLC 98's references to the moral law being "summarily comprehended" in the decalogue. The only way that willl work is if you want to accuse the Divines of contradicting themselves (somethng very unlikely: as Bahnsen observed the WCF is the "the most cautiously worked out and carefully worded creed of the Evangelical Church"). So however we must take "summarily comprehended" iin WLC 98, we ought not to view it as contradicting WCF 19:1-3.
     
  26. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    Brother Steve,

    There is no one else on this board whom I have a greater respect for than you, so understand I don't ask this question of you in a challenging manner but rather I would like to glean from your response.

    Why did some of the NT authors (Paul, James) use OT case laws as guiding principles in their writings?
     
  27. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thanks for your kind response, Ryan. Would you narrow your question down a little by giving some examples you would like me to consider?
     
  28. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Puritan Board Junior

    I might be missing something here, but you are saying that a christian is lawless? The laws spoken of in Romans 13
    are no longer valid? What law is put in our hearts by God in the New Covenant? CL, could you clarify this
    and offer some more scripture in context- Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who
    believes. Law has not ended. Some ceremonial laws have been completed because of the cross.
    Moral law has not ended. The penalty of the law has been paid for for the sheep. the goats must still answer to the law.
     
  29. Barnpreacher

    Barnpreacher Puritan Board Junior

    Sure. A few examples would be that Paul used the case law of not muzzling your ox when applying the principle of paying your minister. James, when arguing that employers shouldn't oppress their laborers in James 5 seems to refer to the judicial law. On several occasions the NT writers refer to the judicial law of "at the mouth of two or three witnesses it shall be established." And Jesus and other NT writers use "love thy neighbor" on several different occasions, and this seems to be the principle applied from the case laws in Leviticus 19.
     
  30. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Ryan, sorry to keep you waiting, but I have had much to attend to.

    The term “case law” is not a Biblical term but a technical civil law designation meaning, “law established by legal precedent or by judicial decision in particular cases: judge-made law” (Webster’s 3rd New Int’l Dict.). A more extended definition, from The Free Online Law Dictionary is

    reported decisions of appeals courts and other courts which make new interpretations of the law and, therefore, can be cited as precedents. These interpretations are distinguished from "statutory law" which is the statutes and codes (laws) enacted by legislative bodies, "regulatory law" which is regulations required by agencies based on statutes, and in some states, the Common Law, which is the generally accepted law carried down from England.​
    Regarding not muzzling the ox (1 Cor 9:9), I would not put it in the category of “case law” but a simple Mosaic ordinance regarding the humane treatment of animals, which principle of humane treatment Paul says is meant to be extended to other creatures, especially humans – and especially ministers – who labor. In his commentary on this passage Charles Hodge says,

    [Paul]…means to say that the [OT] law had a higher reference. Although the proximate end of the command was that the laboring brute should be treated justly, yet its ultimate design was to teach men the moral truth involved in the precept. If God requires that even the ox, which spends his strength in our service, should not be defrauded of his reward, how much more strict will he be in enforcing the application of the same principle of justice to his rational creatures.​

    This then would be a precept with a broader moral application. This cannot be construed as a carrying over into the New Covenant era Mosaic law, but rather gleaning moral principles and wisdom from earlier statutes. The Book of Proverbs is full of such things: “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” (27:23) “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thy house.” (24:27) There are many things which are typical, having a spiritual application, as well as a concrete one.

    Regarding testimony at “the mouth of two or three witnesses” (2 Cor 13:1), in his commentary on 2 Corinthians, Hodge opines,

    …This principle of justice was transferred by our Lord to the New Dispensation.​

    So, although it was an old law regarding fair testimony in accusations and matters of justice, the Lord Jesus brought it over into His Torah (Matt 18:16), to be a practice continued in His government, particularly as regards entertaining accusations against elders.

    When Jesus reiterates particular OT laws as applicable to the church (not just His own perfect Law-observance) this is not to be seen as establishing the Mosaic code as law to be observed by Christians, but by royal (and divine) fiat establishing His kingdom law. This applies to the “love thy neighbor” sayings.

    Regarding James and his sayings against the rich and oppressors of the poor and laborers, are not the principles of justice which obtained in the theocratic kingdom valid for humankind in general, and the Messianic Community in particular? This does not involve imposition of Mosaic statute on society, but principles of justice gleaned therefrom – by inspiration and authority of the Holy Spirit – imposed upon the NT people of God. This is an apostolic application of the 2nd great commandment given by the King, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

    Here is an excellent article, "The Messianic Kingdom and Civil Government", in Protestant Reformed Theological Journal: April 2004, by David J. Engelsma, on this topic, defending the Reformed amil view. The first few paragraphs:

    The relation between the kingdom of Jesus Christ and the civil state is a vexed, controversial subject. Basically, the issue is this: Are the state and its officers mandated by God to promote the true church and the gospel by the physical, steel sword, or is it the duty of the state simply to keep outward order in the nation?

    Many Presbyterians have taken and still do take the position that the state is called to promote the true church by establishing and supporting it as the official church of the realm. This position is known as the “Establishment Principle.” These Presbyterians vehemently condemn the position that denies that the state has any duty to establish a church, promote the gospel with physical force, or punish heretics. For some obscure reason these Presbyterians call this position “voluntaryism.” According to William Cunningham, voluntaryism, or the voluntary principle, which he rejected, holds “entire separation” of state and church. “Nations, as such, and civil rulers in the official capacity, not only are not bound, but are not at liberty, to interfere in any religious matters, or to seek to promote the welfare of the church of Christ, as such.” The alternative, which Cunningham espoused, is “the doctrine of national establishment of religion.”

    In recent years, the issue has come to the attention of Reformed Christians in North America through the movement known as Christian Reconstruction. As an aspect of its postmillennial eschatology, Christian Reconstruction teaches that in the future a majority of people will become Christians. Civil government then will be in the hands of Christians, indeed, Presbyterian Christians. It will be the duty of civil government to establish the Presbyterian church as the one church of the realm, to throw the whole weight of the government behind the true church, to decree the political laws of the Old Testament (“theonomy”), and to punish idolaters, vocal heretics, and other transgressors of the Old Testament statutes with physical punishments, including death.

    In this article, I contend that Scripture teaches the duty of the state and its magistrates to be only the maintenance of outward order and external peace in the nation. I deny that God calls civil government to promote the gospel with its steel sword. Whether and in how far the position set forth in this article may agree with traditional voluntaryism is of no concern to me. I am not defending voluntaryism. I intend to demonstrate the calling of civil government from Scripture. In light of the calling of civil government, I will indicate the right relation between the kingdom of Jesus Christ and civil government.

    It must frankly be acknowledged at the outset that the position I hold was not that of most of the Reformers. Calvin strongly affirmed that the state is called to recognize, support, and promote the true church and the gospel. He insisted that the office of the magistrate “extends to both Tables of the Law.”​


    In footnote #16 of the article, Engelsma remarks on the punishment of heretics and blasphemers that Reconstructionists say should be meted out:

    16 It is amusing, how Christian Reconstructionist Greg Bahnsen shrewdly backed away in public debate from the stand of theonomic Christian Reconstruction, that the coming Christian, or “Christianized,” state must and will execute idolaters and heretics. The question to him was, “Should we execute idolaters?” Bahnsen answered: “The prima facie understanding of the biblical texts would seem to support the justice of punishing idolatry, even today. But I have not done sufficient homework and reflection on this question” (God and Politics: Four Views on the Reformation of Civil Government, ed. Gary Scott Smith, Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1989, p. 268). In fact, it is not difficult to imagine North, De Mar, Gentry, and the other disciples of Rushdoony stoning to death, among all the others, the few remaining uncompromising Reformed amillennialists as blasphemers. For Rousas J. Rushdoony’s charge that Reformed amillennialism is “blasphemy,” see his article “Postmillennialism versus Impotent Religion” in the Journal of Christian Reconstruction 3, no. 2 (Winter, 1976-77): 126, 127.​

    Engelsma also has a book on the topic, Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom: A Defense of Reformed Amillennialism, ISBN: 0971659206.

    You Baptists who have publicly stated your position, and you non-sabbatarians, and all you others who fail to toe the Westminster line as seen by the Theonomists, be prepared to die at their hands.

    Of course not all Reconstructionists and Theonomists are of this mind, but these seem to indeed be the logical consequences of this view.

    Ryan, I have answered more than you asked, but it is of a cloth.
     
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