God of the Mundane, my Heidelblog review

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MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
I think the issue for Jacob is less about the first table, than how it is enforced. (Jacob, correct me if I'm wrong on this) It seems like Jacob has consistently agreed that the first table is normative for civil government, but he disagrees that the first table looks like the establishment principle. The quotes below seem to demonstrate that the issue is specifically establishment.
He said in post 61 that first table laws are 'problematic'. He said he was on the same page as Clark.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
Do you believe that the state has this authority? If so, what in your mind qualifies as heresy that requires state punishment?

For example, if a child during a sermon discussion says that the persons of the Trinity are three gods, is that heresy? Should it be punished by the state? I ask not to draw away from the question about the state's authority, but to clarify just what that authority is. If it has the authority to suppress heresy, then it needs a definition of heresy. Where does it get this definition from? Or more specifically, where in Scripture do you see God providing the state the power to decide doctrine? It seems like if you agree that the state and church wield different authorities, the power of doctrine is an authority held by the church (ministerially) and not the state. So, the state not being competent to define heresy, how can it judge heresy?

There is a lot here. The entire OT example is that kings and rulers are to enforce God's law - both tables. Even pagan kings recognized this.

No, you don't punish a child that is learning - that's absurd. Obstinante and egregious heresy is to be punished, but again this is downstream of where we are at currently. The discussion is primarily around the legitimacy of first table laws, not the specifics.

The state doesn't decide doctrine. No one is suggesting that. Rather, the issue is if the state can establish laws in keeping with the religious beliefs of the nation. The primary issue here is the assumption that the church and state are like two ships passing in the night; rather the church should and must speak prophetically to the state and the state should use its proper power to ensure the peace and safety of the church.

WCF 23.3
The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.

Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition, (which is, Thy Kingdom come,) acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fulness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrates; that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up those that are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him for ever: and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.
 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
He said in post 61 that first table laws are 'problematic'. He said he was on the same page as Clark.

I think that based on the examples he gives, that he is referring to establishment. I happen to think that Sabbath is outside of establishment, and so I would disagree with Jacob there if he finds Sabbath laws specifically problematic.

Obstinante and egregious heresy is to be punished
Thanks, this helps characterize punishable heresy. But I still have the question: what is heresy?

Rather, the issue is if the state can establish laws in keeping with the religious beliefs of the nation.
This is a clearer question, thank you. I think it is a distinct question from "the legitimacy of first table laws" though. I agree with the legitimacy of first table laws for example, but first table laws certainly do not keep with the religious beliefs of the nation. I think that the state's first table duties are met in ways other than establishment.

the church
Which church? This becomes the epistemological question that I think hangs up establishment. How does the civil magistrate recognize (and thus listen to) the church? In order to recognize and distinguish the church which it should listen to from others, the civil magistrate must make a judgment about doctrine. But it can't make a judgment about doctrine without first listening to the church. So it's caught in an impossible situation. I think also that if we acknowledge that the church is both visible and invisible, and not constrained to any one denomination, then you face a worse difficulty. Is the PCA a false church or a true church which should be listened to? If true (I think it is, despite its sufferings), then you face the problem of the fact that the PCA says "don't punish heresy."

I think also that heresy and idolatry are distinct things. Heresy is within the church, and as such seems to fall outside of the state's purview. Idolatry is a separate question.

Even the RPCNA rejects the bolded part of the paragraph in their testimony, and other denominations I'm aware of have revisions to that paragraph. In fact, the RPCNA Testimony 23.19 and 23.20 are rather different than the bolded portion. Church and state maintain "their separate jurisdictions" and the state "should never attempt to convert men to Christ by the us of force or by persecution," but should "restrain and punish its subjects for those sinful actions which fall under its jurisdiction."

Here's my more specific question (affirming the legitimacy of first table laws): where in Scripture do you see the state given the jurisdiction over heresy?
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Jacob seems to think that Sabbath laws are always immoral and wrong as he has said first table laws are 'problematic'.

I didn't say that. I just want to know if the establishment types are going to enforce sabbath laws on over 100 million sabbath breakers.
Jacob has pretty much said he agrees with the Escondido view. He said he is on the same page as Clark.

I am on the same page as Clark, but to collapse it into an entire "Escondido" view goes beyond the evidence.

The issue in play is not what to do with Baptists - that is a red herring. The issue in play is if it is in the purview of the state to suppress heresy and idolatry. The specific punishment can come later.

Given that Baptists are the largest non-Catholic group in America, it's not a red herring. It's the elephant in the room.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Thanks, this helps characterize punishable heresy. But I still have the question: what is heresy?

That's the key question. This is where the distinction between church and state breaks down.

Note: I have not said this is immoral. I am simply pressing establishment types on ambiguities.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
I didn't say that. I just want to know if the establishment types are going to enforce sabbath laws on over 100 million sabbath breakers.


I am on the same page as Clark, but to collapse it into an entire "Escondido" view goes beyond the evidence.



Given that Baptists are the largest non-Catholic group in America, it's not a red herring. It's the elephant in the room.

I'm at a bit of a loss. You keep asking these questions which don't matter and act as if they are silver bullets against the establishment principle or first table laws. It is the same level of question as "what are you going to do with all of the adulterers that are put to death?"

I guess it is a bit much to collapse Clark into the Escondido view. Up until relatively recently Robert Godfrey was the president; he was far better than Van Drunen, Horton and Clark.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
Even the RPCNA rejects the bolded part of the paragraph in their testimony, and other denominations I'm aware of have revisions to that paragraph. In fact, the RPCNA Testimony 23.19 and 23.20 are rather different than the bolded portion. Church and state maintain "their separate jurisdictions" and the state "should never attempt to convert men to Christ by the us of force or by persecution," but should "restrain and punish its subjects for those sinful actions which fall under its jurisdiction."
The RPCNA is wrong on this. I am in the PRC and our officers hold to the original confession.
 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
The RPCNA is wrong on this. I am in the PRC and our officers hold to the original confession.
That's fine. I thought that was the case, which is why I asked specifically about where in Scripture you see such things, rather than just the confessional documents. Citing (versions of) confessional documents that I disagree with* isn't exactly convincing.

*note: I do subscribe the Westminster Standards in the version published by the OPC without exception, hence the parenthetical
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
That's fine. I thought that was the case, which is why I asked specifically about where in Scripture you see such things, rather than just the confessional documents. Citing (versions of) confessional documents that I disagree with* isn't exactly convincing.

*note: I do subscribe the Westminster Standards in the version published by the OPC without exception, hence the parenthetical

Hezekiah tore down the high places.

2 Kings 18.4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan

The pagan Nebuchadnezzar made blasphemy laws.

Dan. 3.29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
You keep asking these questions which don't matter and act as if they are silver bullets against the establishment principle or first table laws. It is the same level of question as "what are you going to do with all of the adulterers that are put to death?

It's not the same level of question: the latter is a natural law question. The first is a denominational/confessional question.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Hezekiah tore down the high places.

2 Kings 18.4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan

The pagan Nebuchadnezzar made blasphemy laws.

Dan. 3.29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

That's still not quite analogous to the American situation. Forbidding blasphemy in the Old Covenant doesn't really address denominational violations of the 2nd commandment in America today. If it does address it, then we have to figure out what to do with baptists.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
That's still not quite analogous to the American situation. Forbidding blasphemy in the Old Covenant doesn't really address denominational violations of the 2nd commandment in America today. If it does address it, then we have to figure out what to do with baptists.

True. America is still not quite as bad as Babylon, even if we are close. The Nebuchadnezzar example proves far more than it needs to.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Jeri. So if I can rephrase: many of the difficulties of 'mass punishment' are only hypothetical (and therefore possible), but you believe will not be actual during a reforming time. Is that accurate? And would it be accurate that you believe that should reformation occur within the government but not in the people at large, that more large-scale punishment would be biblical?
I didn't address or say anything about any of that, so... :)
I've noticed that when discussions veer into hypotheticals about what governments might or might not do, the spiritual aspect of reformation and revival seems to take a back seat (possibly way back on the 30th row).
It's a spiritual matter, is all I can say. We are to pant for and long to see God's glory fill the earth, as waters cover the sea. He has promised that kings and queens will be nursing fathers and mothers to the church. We have seen glimpses of that from the Scripture and from church history. It's a matter for prayer; what is impossible for man is possible with God. Christ prayed that his church would be one, even as he and the father are one. In that, the godly magistrate has a role. We should beseech the Lord that it comes to pass.
That's about all I've got. :)
 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
Hezekiah tore down the high places.

2 Kings 18.4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan

The pagan Nebuchadnezzar made blasphemy laws.

Dan. 3.219 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

Thank you. The former is idolatry. Do you see the latter as punishing heresy? It seems also to warrant more specifically religious war - do you think that we should go to war and destroy the nations of the Middle East which are Islamic?

How would you show that Nebuchadnezzar's decree is normative for us today? And if it is, how do you still deal with the epistemological questions that we face in the New Covenant situation, where there is no unified visible church?
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you. The former is idolatry. Do you see the latter as punishing heresy? It seems also to warrant more specifically religious war - do you think that we should go to war and destroy the nations of the Middle East which are Islamic?

How would you show that Nebuchadnezzar's decree is normative for us today? And if it is, how do you still deal with the epistemological questions that we face in the New Covenant situation, where there is no unified visible church?

It is a law to punish blasphemy, which shows first table laws ought to be published.

No, of course we should not do that.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
Difficulties in carrying duties out don't negate the duty. Kings are to kiss the Son lest he dash them in pieces. Kissing the Son logically necessitates not giving Christ the same footing as every other false religion. He deserves and demands more.

The fact is that all of these things will require a thoroughgoing reformation in the Church first and foremost. judgment begins in the house of Jehovah and the establishment principle in large part presupposes a Christian populace. No one is suggesting coercive force to convert a nation of Muslims to Christ. No one is suggesting drowning all the Baptists for that matter. For these things to take place a massive reformation needs to happen. Even if you are the most pessimistic amillennialist in the world, it doesn't make duties to Christ irrelevant.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
"Nero did not violate God’s law IF Nero executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do..."
This is of the devil.
 

83r17h

Puritan Board Freshman
first table laws ought to be published.
I think that you and I are in agreement there. My contention is that such state jurisdiction 1) does not extend to heresy, and 2) looks different in the New Covenant era.

Difficulties in carrying duties out don't negate the duty. Kings are to kiss the Son lest he dash them in pieces. Kissing the Son logically necessitates not giving Christ the same footing as every other false religion. He deserves and demands more.
Amen. I reference Psalm 2 often in discussions with broad evangelicals who think that the state is not held to acknowledge Christ. My contention is that this does not imply establishment, nor the state persecution of heresy.

The fact is that all of these things will require a thoroughgoing reformation in the Church first and foremost.
Again, Amen. I have made this point to friends in the PCA. If some of the most conservative PCA churches obstinately reject Psalm-singing entirely (which should be the easiest and most obvious command for NT worship), how can they reform either the progressive PCA churches, or the society at large?

No, of course we should not do that.
No one is suggesting coercive force to convert a nation of Muslims to Christ.
Here is where I will challenge your interpretation of the verse in Daniel. The clearest implication (actually stated: "every...nation") is that nations not confessing Christ should be destroyed. The less clear implication is that the state should persecute heresy. If you reject the clearer implication upon which the unclear one is founded, how can you sustain the unclear one?

But at this point, I need to bow out for dinner and then a Bible study. Thanks for the discussion!
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
I think that you and I are in agreement there. My contention is that such state jurisdiction 1) does not extend to heresy, and 2) looks different in the New Covenant era.


Amen. I reference Psalm 2 often in discussions with broad evangelicals who think that the state is not held to acknowledge Christ. My contention is that this does not imply establishment, nor the state persecution of heresy.


Again, Amen. I have made this point to friends in the PCA. If some of the most conservative PCA churches obstinately reject Psalm-singing entirely (which should be the easiest and most obvious command for NT worship), how can they reform either the progressive PCA churches, or the society at large?



Here is where I will challenge your interpretation of the verse in Daniel. The clearest implication (actually stated: "every...nation") is that nations not confessing Christ should be destroyed. The less clear implication is that the state should persecute heresy. If you reject the clearer implication upon which the unclear one is founded, how can you sustain the unclear one?

But at this point, I need to bow out for dinner and then a Bible study. Thanks for the discussion!

A magistrate doesn’t have authority outside of his domain. All of us have duties according to place and calling. The statement isn’t to be taken as a universal statement of a declaration of war against all other nations.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Still it is sort of side stepping the point. We can figure out the babdists once we agree that it is good to have sabbath, blasphemy, and idolatry laws.
I guess that’s somewhat reassuring, but what is a “babdist?”

Meanwhile, as we try to figure out how to do top-down legislation, I recall that my own bubble of sphere sovereignty has effects: after timely words, either gentle or harsh depending on circumstances, I’m finding overt blasphemy seems to decrease and respect for the Sabbath increases.

But that’s only in my little bubble. Maybe we can make more bubbles.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
Perhaps a review in his new book is in order?

Are you talking about What is Saving Faith? I'm listening to it right now. Harrison Perkins had a fairly critical review of it. I realize I am linking to the Gospel Coalition. I apologize for that. There's just no way around it.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
No, I am not an apologist for Hart. I was just reframing the context of his question (and Nero was wrong for what he did).

I hold to two kingdoms view, yet I do not see how demanding the magistrate enforce a particular confession/denomination is feasible or realistic today. Sure, we might hope for that, but it has zero practical relevance for tomorrow. And then there is the question, whether it was sufficiently answered or not, on what to do with our stubborn Baptist brethren.
Let me back up a bit here Jacob.

You stated the following in your last review, "Thank you, and I just want the HB to get more readers."

The origional question was, "Jacob, Have you become the apologist for Hart and those who hold to a deficient Radical Two Kingdom view?"

There were a lot of issues hammered out in the OPC report. Names were not named that should have probably been named in the report but I believe the reason for that was to give time for these deficiently informed Professors time to consider the report. My question to you since you have a closer relationship with Robert and his ilk is have they become confessionally Reformed concerning Covenant Theology? I ask that because Clark definitelty was not.
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
You stated the following in your last review, "Thank you, and I just want the HB to get more readers."

The origional question was, "Jacob, Have you become the apologist for Hart and those who hold to a deficient Radical Two Kingdom view?"

There were a lot of issues hammered out in the OPC report. Names were not named that should have probably been named in the report but I believe the reason for that was to give time for these deficiently informed Professors time to consider the report. My question to you since you have a closer relationship with Robert and his ilk is have they become confessionally Reformed concerning Covenant Theology? I ask that because Clark definitelty was not.

The way you phrased your question, "radical two kingdom" view, poisons the well. By answering that question I would be tacitly agreeing with the presupposition behind it. Whatever "radical deficient" means, I'm sure it's not me.

I think their views concerning covenant are within the bounds of the confessions. I realize that's a controversial statement, but I can find guys from Edwards to Boston to Vos affirming the republication of the covenant of works in one form or another.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
The way you phrased your question, "radical two kingdom" view, poisons the well. By answering that question I would be tacitly agreeing with the presupposition behind it. Whatever "radical deficient" means, I'm sure it's not me.

I think their views concerning covenant are within the bounds of the confessions. I realize that's a controversial statement, but I can find guys from Edwards to Boston to Vos affirming the republication of the covenant of works in one form or another.
Understood. Yes, the term was used and yes it has various definitions and applications. The report noted that. I specifically have pointed out where Robert fails for the past decade. Has his view become more in line with the confession? Even Strimple piped up.
 
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