Might not be a theonomist much longer...

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ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by ChristianTrader
It seems that where we disagree is that you are not a postmil and I am. However that disagreement cannot fairly be used against theonomy. The issue of theonomy is "what is justice" or "what does it look like" If we get that or not, is a related but secondary question. If answering the question of what justice looks like can possiblly lead to error, that is a risk, I am willing to take.

If that is all theonomy is, then I have no problems with it (see my post to Mark). But it seems to me that Theonomy as a movement does alot more than define justice. They are using the Church to advance this political form of justice, which to me, is not the mission of the Church. Again, I am open to correction in all this, especially if I am misunderstanding Theonomy. :2cents:

I guess we are on the same side then, for as you said before, as the gospel takes hold of people, they will act differently, vote differently etc. Theonomy basically says to a society, "If you think you so have it together, are you doing X, Y and Z?"

Lastly, concerning the gospel being the centerpiece, let me clarify. Expousing the Christian view of economics, math, history etc. is not expousing the gospel. The project is driven by the wish to apply the Bible to all of life, it is consistent with the gospel, but it is not the gospel. There are apologetic aspects, but again it is not the gospel. However I do not see the fact that it is not the gospel as any sort of real putdown of the project.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
I half way agree with you John. But I would say the only good government is a godly government. What we have now in America is close to tyranny. Our current administration is worse than England at the time of the War Of Independance is it not ?

If we should not seek godly magistrates then why does Paul tell us to pray for our leaders and those in authority. That the kingdom come by God's will from above, "On earth as it is in heaven", is even in the Lord's prayer.

Theonomy should not be our primary goal, but neither is preaching the gospel (per se), or being godly fathers, or any one aspect of the three offices prophet, priest, and king.
We should be living lives that exemplify the gospel in all aspects. I believe the christian life should be an exercise of the best moderation. Like Aristotle teaches, we should find the mean. We should strive to be great leaders, evangelists, fathers, prophets, priests and kings. Christ was so balanced that the antinomians would call Him a legalist, and the legalists would call Him an antinomian.



[Edited on 10-10-2005 by Saiph]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Mark:

I'm not disagreeing with this noble notion at all. Godly government is to be preferred far above ungodly government. And I agree that a culture and nation that embraces homosexuality and abortion, treats criminals not as criminals but as psychiatric patients, that such is tyrannical. We see it more in Canada, where you are now a member of a hate soceity be being a member of an orthodox and faithful church.

But what I am saying is that, if we want to effect changes, there is only one place to start. And I think that the tyranny in the churches is every bit as bad as in the civil government; we just don't want to admit it yet. If we want to exposit the law, it should begin here in the churches by reforming back to the true gospel, eliminating the imaginative precepts of men which stand alongside true doctrine, putting them back outside the church. As it is, they are not only in the church, but mixed in the rulings of the offices.

It is strange, but Theonomy has often enough been one of the problems rather than being the answer it could be. Divorce it from man's opinions and lean solely upon Scripture and it could be something. The potential is there, it just keeps getting bogged down by the perspectives of men, and too much grounded in the teachings of men rather than Scripture alone.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Amen John.

judgment begins in the household of God. And it is theonomists, with misguided zeal that give Theonomy a bad name.

Most critics I have met though, have not even read Bahnsen or Rushdoony.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Mark:

When you think about it, Bahnsen or Rushdoony have little to do with it. They are not up for question most times. It is not their teachings that I am concerned with. Either it can be backed up by Scripture and the light of nature (i.e. sound reasoning, that is, good and necessary consequence) or it cannot. It does not stand on the shoulders of any man if it is true; it stands on its own strength as truth. So it should be argued that way.

I don't need to be a reader of Bahnsen. I only need to be a recipient and heir of his acumen through the dissemination of his teachings in whatever way it is expounded, whether by his books or by the force of the arguments as put forward by others. If it had the force of Scripture, it would come out as such upon all the church, not just to the few who are disciples of Bahnsen. Bahnsen himself would not want us to be his disciples, but rather true disciples of the Word. So let it be argued that way.

I don't need to first be embracing precepts that the church has never resolved, such as Postmillennialism or Presuppositionalism, precepts that have never been established as doctrinal, but rather as opinion. If I build on shifting sand, the stucture will not remain through the storms of argumentation. If I begin a syllogism with presuppositions, I cannot logically end up with precepts, or things that are of a higher nature than presuppositions. That does not follow. Doctrine must stand upon revelation alone, of which we have the Word and necessary consequence. So let it be argued that way.

That's what I look for in things that are set forth to revolutionize either society or the church. It has to come from Christ through His official servants, and not be the whims of men.

So when I am talking about reformation in the church, it cannot include things that belong outside the church proper, such as opinions of men. Men in the church have the liberty of conscience to believe as best they can, but the importing of these upon the teaching of Scripture without good and necessary inference is foreign to the church proper. The Scripture prohibits it, as well as our supplemental standards.

(The elders, in order to rule well, must also be given authority to make rules for the peace and good order of the church, so as to facilitate a sound church with a good social environment. That is why we not only have forms for certain things such as rules for order, but also standards of faith to govern the limits of such things, as well as to fence the offices and the preaching of the Word. That is why I added "our supplemental standards". )
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Not sure I undertsood you John.

Bahnsen and Rushdoony just happen to be the ones who wrote excellent books on the subject. And you are right. You can do the homework yourself and figure all these things out biblically. For me, I do not have the time, so I rely on scholars that have done the studying to show me what they have found.

So when I am talking about reformation in the church, it cannot include things that belong outside the church proper, such as opinions of men. Men in the church have the liberty of conscience to believe as best they can, but the importing of these upon the teaching of Scripture without good and necessary inference is foreign to the church proper. The Scripture prohibits it, as well as our supplemental standards.

And Bahnsen would agree with you. Here is a quote:

Therefore our doctrinal convictions are not (should not) based upon human wisdom. The Christian faith is rather based upon God's own self-revelation rather than the conflicting opinions of men or the untrustworthy speculations of men. If you have your Bibles with you tonight, turn to I Corinthians 2:5, and notice the burden of the Apostle Paul as to how to control the beliefs of the Christians there in Corinth. I Corinthians 2:5, in verse 4 he says, "And my speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power..." Why?... Why is Paul making that point? Why is this necessary to emphasize? Verse 5: "...that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (ASV)

[Edited on 10-11-2005 by Saiph]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I can't clarify, Mark, if you don't point out where you lost me. I will be in danger of merley saying the same thing again, and completely miss where this is not plain to you.

Your comment seems to suggest to me that you need to rely upon men who understand things that are beyond your personal grasp, but yet which you want to understand. I am not disenfranchising good an solid leaders; that was not my point. What I was saying was that too often the arguments stand on those teachers and their views, as trusted, faithful leaders to be followed because they are so intelligent. What is missed is that the grounding of their theories is far too much weighted upon their surmises, not upon the solid revelation of God. It is subjective, in that we have to believe that God has revealed truth not only through Scripture and necessary consequence, but also through gifted men. In fact, revelation continues on even after the canons are closed. But what sign do they do in order to show us that their extra-Biblical teachings are of God? Is this how we are to take men such as Bahnsen? I think he himself would shiver at the thought.

If what Bahnsen and Rushdoony argued was true, then it should also be manifest from independent tests. It should not have to stand on them, even if for yourself you must depend on them for things that are beyond you.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Your comment seems to suggest to me that you need to rely upon men who understand things that are beyond your personal grasp, but yet which you want to understand.

Yes. I do.

I have to rely on those who knew greek to learn greek myself.

I had to rely on those who studied endless hours to grasp the Trinity to explain it to me in an understandable way from the scriptures.

And I relied upon Bahnsen to show me how Christ did not abolish the law, and we need to love it and meditate on it day and night if we are ever going to practice it by the power of the Spirit.

Maybe I am just not as gifted as you brother. It is great if you do not need these teachings. If the scripture is that lucid to you then you should be writing books of your own to share with us.

(I am not being sarcastic or angry)

[Edited on 10-11-2005 by Saiph]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Mark:

That's all OK. Just don't stop with Bahnsen. There are others too. Start wth the suggestion that he's not the first nor the only authority on that subject. But if you're going to choose between different notions, you should be up on the issues involved to make an informed decision. There is a difference between your reliance upon men of understanding and the teachings themselves depending upon them.

[Edited on 10-11-2005 by JohnV]
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Draught Horse
I am listening to Jim Jordan's theocratic critique of theonomy. I am becoming convinced of Jordan's position.

That being said, some things are still the same:

Pluralism is a logical and biblical joke. It cannot, by definition, be defended.

I love Greg Bahnsen. He is the most powerful communicator and teacher I have ever listened to. I am literally in tears at times listening to his lectures.

None of Bahnsen's critics ever answered him. Bahnsen/North/Gentry won the theonomy debate 4-0.


Tim comments-Bahnsen was great on apologetics, there is no doubt about that. But even though his critics did not provide a comprehensive answer to his theonomic views while he was alive, that does not mean that his version of theonomy is correct. John Frame, who agrees that Bahnsen's views were not fully answered while Bahnsen was with us, has also said that a comprehensive refutation of Bahnsen's Theonomy is possible. In his view, a book demonstrating that Bahnsen's exegesis of Matt. 5:17-20 contains serious errors in exegetical method, (including misquotation of sources and unwitting refutations of his own arguments that render a number of his conclusions impossible) and a demonstration that his attempt to use the WCF in support of his thesis is equally flawed, will come "pretty close" to "what is needed" to do that.

Those interested in following this further may find such my attempt to meet Frame's challenge online at the Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rtdisc/files/. My paper is called "How Firm a Foundation"

Tim
 
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