Why is Antinomianism so rampant in broad evangelicism

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Blue Tick, Aug 4, 2009.

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  1. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    Why is Antinomianism so rampant in broad evangelicism?

    The reason why I bring this up is because often when I'm looking for Christian music on youtube such as hymns, psalms, or contemporary Christian songs the videos are saturated with graven images.

    Why is there such a low view of God's Law within broad evangelical circles?
  2. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    The broad use of images meaning to purport Christ is because they don't believe it is a sin to display them. Most of it is probably out of theological ignorance while others have studied the issue and sincerely believe that it is not sinful.
  3. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    True I agree.

    I suppose it stems from poor teaching such as the separation of the church and Israel. The lack of continuity of the OT into the NT, two plans of salvation, and just a general perception of any adherance to the law is considered legalistic.
  4. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Perhaps gnosticism? What goes on in the physical world doesn't matter as long as I've invited Jesus into my heart?
  5. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    There are definitely gnostic overtones with that view of the law.
  6. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Perhaps because the Reformed are antinomian?
  7. William Price

    William Price Puritan Board Freshman

    Or not. :worms:
  8. Southern Twang

    Southern Twang Puritan Board Freshman

    You read my mind. Broad evangelicals ain't the only ones with an antinomian bent.
  9. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    How many Presbyterian Churches follow the 2nd Commandment with regard to worship?

    How many Presbyterian Churches know what the WLC's teaching on the 10 Cmds entails, much less agree with it?

    How many Presbyterian Churches follow the 4th Commandment as spelled out in the WLC?

    How many Presbyterian Churches believe that both tables of the law must be enforced by the magistrates of all nations?

    How many Presbyterian Churches believe that rank heresy and incorrigible idolatry are captial offenses?

    Indeed, my friend, the Reformed of our day, in many ways, do little to check the antinomianism of the Church at large.
  10. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    Ok, let's ask this: What leads to antinomianism? Either in broad evangeliclism or within the reformed community. I agree there is the need to reform back to the Law of God within reformed churches.
  11. D. Paul

    D. Paul Puritan Board Sophomore

    Until I read Christusregnat's post, I was going to say the rise of, and pervasiveness of Dispen-sensational teaching which has overtaken evangelical churches.
    This took a nasty little turn on the Reformed, to my surprise, but no one is immune to antinomianism. Sometimes it's hard to pin down.

    -----Added 8/4/2009 at 07:18:31 EST-----

    Would this, then, give more weight to Theonomy?
  12. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Biblical Theology.

  13. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    Sorry, but I'm a little dense. Can you elaborate on what you mean by Biblical Theology? Are your referring to Biblical Theology in the Geerhardus Vos form?

  14. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Umm, perhaps we need to define some terms here? I'm not sure I'd agree that not fully buying into reconstructionist theonomy = antinomianism. Broad evangelicalism will often espouse a viewpoint that "we're not under law but under grace" and completely ignore the law's role in driving a person to Christ (justification) and making a person more like Christ (sanctification).

    In its worst form this broader antinomianism, and the form I think Paul was trying to address when he asked if we should continue to sin that grace might abound, says that it makes logical sense to sin because we get more and more grace, and it really doesn't matter what we do, we're just carnal. (I've found over the years that if you use the term antinomian, many assume this is what you mean.)

    What's only slightly better (and what is pushed in so many evangelical churches) recognizes that Christians need to be morally upright, but have no basis to define "moral" because they've abandoned what the WCF refers to as the moral law summarized in the 10 commandments. Those churches are left to make up their own legalistic systems -- no one should drink, men must have short hair, everyone should go to church Wednesday nite, etc., etc.
  15. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    So, does this mean that you think the Westminster Assembly taught reconstructionist theonomy? What I have outlined above is WA teaching.
  16. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

    Some would say the Law is not applicable today. Therefore, if it is not applicable then man is left to establish his "own law".

    The question comes down to is the Law of God applicable to us today? Some would say yes, but, others would say no, but... This raises the issue of subscribing to the confessions and then taking exceptions to the confessions.
  17. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Biblical Theology after the rise of German Criticism, imported to America by fools like Philip Schaff, is that arbitrary school of biblical interpretation which makes arguments from "metanarrative", "position in redemptive history" or "trajectory" more viable than simple systematic theology (as utilized by the 3 Forms of Unity and the Westminster Standards). It divides up the Bible into dispensations without subscribing to all of the details of dispensationalism. It divides up "Pauline Theology" from "Petrine" and a host of other fabulous inventions.

    Bottom line for this discussion: it allows the interpreter the arbitrary ability to say that something from the Old Testament (such as a portion of the Law of God that a man or a society may not have a predilection for) was for a certain point in "redemptive history" and that the "trajectory of the New Testament" is contrary to the spirit of such a law. Thus, he does not need to say "thus saith the Lord", one need merely assert "thus saith redemptive history". You may find a paper I did on Philip Schaff helpful in this regard.

    I think Vos sought to redeem this corrupted science, but the fruit in later generations seems to evince that he was not entirely successful. So, no, I’m not addressing Vos’s version in particular, just the science he was utilizing as a whole.

  18. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Genesis Chapter 3.
  19. DanMcCormack

    DanMcCormack Puritan Board Freshman


    Call me self-interested, but I'm glad they don't.

    Paul's severest punishment was to expel the offender from the church.

    I don't find any support for executing those guilty of "rank heresy and incorrigible idolatry" in the NT.

    Maybe I'm just ignorant. If so, please enlighten.
  20. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor


    You are addressing church government in your post above, not civil government. Further, your assumption is one of abrogation of the Mosaic Law unless repeated, which is a flawed anabaptist misconception.

    Do you believe that a man who curses his father or his mother should be put to death?

  21. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    This definition would defame a lot of very sound theologians. Biblical theology seeks to frame inquiries from within the boundaries of what the Bible teaches. Some would argue that the classic systematic theology takes man's questions and applies them to God's word rather than having God set the agenda. Men for who I have a tremendous respect see room for both approaches.

    -----Added 8/4/2009 at 08:53:01 EST-----

    So where exactly are these things found in the WCF? Particularly as it was adopted here in the US at the founding of our nation?
  22. Christusregnat

    Christusregnat Puritan Board Professor

    Arbitrariness and soundness are mutually exclusive. Also, being swayed by one's own predilections is not a sign of soundness. If you have men that you have tremendous respect for who employ such methods, you would do well to honor the good, and forsake the bad. One example of such method of reasoning I can think of (historically) was the Anabaptists.

    As for the charge of taking man's questions to God's word, do you think that this was the method of the Westminster Assembly, the Synod of Dort, and other Reformed judicial bodies?

    -----Added 8/4/2009 at 08:55:15 EST-----

    Now were's back to the OP: the 1788 revisions are part of the drift to Antinomianism as well.

  23. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Have you ever cursed your parents? I sure did when I was younger.

    And it isn't a anabaptist misconception. The ministration of death is fading away or done away. It isn't referring to the ten words but it is referring to the Mosaic in 2 Corinthians 3:11.
  24. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    At this point, this is simply a gentle reminder to us all of the short-term breather on either praising or condemning Theonomic/anti-Theonomic movements, just in case some people haven't seen it yet.

    Let's be sure to keep on the actual topic (causes of antinomianism -- which, let's face it, has existed before, after, in the mist of, apart from, outside of, etc. disputes over Theonomy), and not let it stray too far toward murky waters.

  25. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    As for the original OP I would say that much of it has to do with ignorance. Many who grew up in recent times have been overwhelmed with the media presence in their life. Movies, art, and other forms of teaching aids have been used to teach and indoctrinate. Many of us grew up in churches where flannel graphs were used to teach children the stories of the Bible.

    While pictures in and of themselves are not sinful there is great ignorance concerning making any representations of God and that it is forbidden in the church since the modern media age has infiltrated our lives. Danny Hyde spoke of this in his interview on Covenant Radio. Many try to separate the humanity of Christ from his diety when they are accepting of this modern practice. I remember that some of us on this board use to think it was okay to do this. I use to think it was. I didn't see any problem with depicting Christ and his physical work here on earth in picture form. It did teach and bring to remembrance the things he said and did. But as time goes I became a bit more knowledgeable and understanding of the Confessions and especially what the scriptures said because of those who understood the violation. Thanks for the grace of fellowship and patience of brothers. I have even posted a few beneficial blogs concerning the topic.

    I am not so sure it has to do with antinomianism as much as it does with ignorance or a matter of understanding. As far as I remember even Rushdoony didn't think pics of Christ were sinful.
  26. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Two Different Questions?

    I agree with several sentiments expressed above. First, it seems that the OP is asking two distinct questions.

    1) Why is antinomianism rampant?

    2) Why are there "graven images" (of Christ, I assume)?

    Violating the law of God does not make one an antinomian, or all people would be antinomian and the word would be useless. Antinomianism is a theological position which states that the category of "law" is not applicable to believers, usually because the believers are expected to walk by "Spirit" instead. So, while a person may violate the 2nd commandment because of antinomianism, violations of the 2nd commandment do not necessarily entail antinomianism.

    By the way, even most Dispensationalists view the 10 commandments (except the Sabbath) as presently binding, so Dispensationalist's violating the Reformed understanding of the 2nd commandment is not due to antinomianism, but due to a different understanding of the commandment.
  27. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I agree that the basic issue is Sin.

    There's one thing for certain: the Christian life takes a great deal of concentrated effort. In saying that, I'm not saying that we are justified by that effort but that our sanctification and battle with indwelling Sin is a constant battle.

    Having a proper view of the Law and Grace in our lives and the lives of others takes Prudence. It doesn't lend itself to sound bites to score points or sound clever. The one man will go to the Scriptures and become antinomian and his neighbor will try to correct him and tack him in the direction of becoming perfected by the Flesh.

    It takes time and grace to get the Gospel in your bloodstream to the point that Wisdom reveals the nature of obedience to the 3rd use of the Law that honors Christ. I know I am still, daily, working out my salvation with fear and trembling to include both properly hating my Sin and loving the Law as well as not assuming too much of my ability to keep the Law to God's glory.

    I would say, then, that the reason that antinomianism is so rampant is because real discipleship is so scarce. Large swaths of Evangelicalism are looking for drive-through solutions to problems that require the Death and Resurrection of Christ and men that are laying hold of Christ for their justification and sanctification.
  28. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Nor should we assume that antinomianism is a new problem; one needs only to look at Rom. 6, 1 Cor., James, 2 Peter, Jude and 1 John to see how quickly and easily the simple Pauline passages were distorted by sinful, human nature.

    While we confess the perspicuity of scripture, we also confess that the meaning is not beyond any who make due use of the ordinary means. Thus, as it has always been, without sound, spiritual men teaching, guiding, restraining, etc. (see Rich's post above), fallen man will constantly misunderstand the gospel message.
  29. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Don't forget the infiltration of the dispensationalists into the reformed churches.
  30. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Let me put in a vote for ignorance. In 30+ years of ministry and with an extensive library, I honestly did not know that anyone had problems with pictures of Jesus. Even some of my Reformed icons (pun intended) did not seem to object to paintings of "Christ" or the "Jesus Film." It was only when I took the time to read the WCF and LBCF and then some material on the Net that it began to dawn on me how misinformed I had been.

    So, when you believe what people tell you, never come across contrary views in your reading, and never hear friends discuss contrary views, it is pretty easy to "go with the flow" and not know that there is an issue.

    As to broad evangelicalism and Arminianism . . . hmmmm.

    Could it be the result of the Second Great Awakening?
    The popularity of Moody . . . Sunday . . . Graham?
    The advent of Pentecostalism?
    The pride of place of dispensational hermeneutics and traditions?
    The compatibility with American ideals and underlying mythologies about freedom?
    The Cambellite schools and their large "market share" among the numerically significant mega church movement?
    The anti-intellectualism among so many of the Bible school movement earlier in the last century?
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
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