Trying to understand Theonomy and its critiques

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Bahnsen’s ethic—his view generally—requires the cooperation of the state to implement it, whatever the “general equity” of God's Law is deemed to require by the church. It appears to me that the phenomena of establishmentarianism (or any cooperation of the state with us) is far behind us, and I know of no state willing to enact a church’s moral judgments. “Theonomists” may say “what ought be should not be trumped by what merely is”—meaning the eternal should not be displaced by the temporal—yet when this happens just execution of God’s will but awaits the day of His Judgment.

What did you mean by "the phenomena of establishmentarianism (or any cooperation of the state with us) is far behind us?" Do you mean "far behind us" in history? Or "behind us" as a pie-in-the-sky false hope?

In the meanwhile, here in Time (and in our 21st century), in His wise providence, the states—indeed, the coalition of the nations—“rage, and the people imagine a vain thing….The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (Psa 2:1-2,3).

Do you think this present world is compatible with "Satan," being "bound," that he should "deceive the nations no more?" (Revelation 20:2-3)

An observation - You may have stopped too soon in your citing of Psalm 2. Doesn't the beginning of the Psalm set the stage for its conclusion?

It would seem, in such extremity of lawlessness, the church, on its own in a revolting and mad conglomeration of satanically-infiltrated deteriorating cultures, would enact such “general equities” as spiritually mirror the actual penalties of God’s Law, such that the offenders know God’s judicial hand upon them—from the severity of excommunication (the spiritual death-penalty) to the lesser yet serious and weighty forms of church discipline.

To think in terms of the state working with the church in our time is to indulge in abstractions and wishful thinking. We are an intact kingdom and governmental entity as it is, kept so by the King of Heaven and earth.

I plan to go through the whole Bible to record all the verses that express this "wishful thinking" you speak of. My estimate (and that's what I do for a living) is that it will be numbered somewhere between 500 and 1,000 times. This desire is expressed ubiquitously in all of Scripture. And, like Psalm 2, they are not usually thinking of the final judgment. Most of the hopes, prayers and songs are for time rather than eternity. Jesus, after all, "is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." (John 4:42) and many other places.

Psalm 33:8​
Let all the earth fear the LORD: Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.​
Psalm 96:1​
O Sing unto the LORD a new song: Sing unto the LORD, all the earth.​
Psalm 96:9​
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: Fear before him, all the earth.​

Afterthought: Following is the kind of thing I sometimes say unless my wife talked me out of it. But she's still asleep.

At the risk of totally discrediting myself, I will state the following regarding the binding of Satan such that he can "deceive the nations no more." And I know that the view that Satan is bound now is a sacred cow to modern amillennialists. But let me ask you, which of the approximately 200 nations of the World are undeceived?

Allow me to go on in my foolishness (for I am sure to get in hot water for what I say). If what we see today is the totality of the binding of Satan, then God has done a pretty shoddy job of it. I surely do not claim to grasp all that God will do, but I have stopped making excuses for God. He is full of surprises. And they are invariably "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." ( Ephesians 3:20)
 
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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
You "Theonomists" / brothers — we clearly have a different hermeneutic. Too bad there aren't more stand-up / assertive amil folks here at PB!
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
You "Theonomists" / brothers — we clearly have a different hermeneutic. Too bad there aren't more stand-up / assertive amil folks here at PB!
Just to be clear, Theonomy does not require postmillennialism. I'm not really even sure where I stand on the amil/postmil spectrum myself. You can even be premillennial and be a Theonomist:

"A common error of some theonomy opponents is to assume that theonomy entails postmillennialism. The two theological constructs, however, are distinct; in no way do they stand or fall together. Postmillennialism is concerned with 'what will be'; theonomy focuses on 'what should be.' Many theonomists are amillennialists; few postmillennialists are theonomists.​
—From "Preface to the Third Edition" by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., in Greg L. Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics, 3rd ed. (Nacogdoches, TX: Covenant Media Foundation, 2002), xv; emphasis original.​
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
What did you mean by "the phenomena of establishmentarianism (or any cooperation of the state with us) is far behind us?" Do you mean "far behind us" in history? Or "behind us" as a pie-in-the-sky false hope?

He probably means that the days where the magistrate would enforce orthodoxy are over. Granted, one can't know the future, but the structure of modern govts makes such an application near-impossible.
Psalm 33:8Let all the earth fear the LORD: Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.Psalm 96:1O Sing unto the LORD a new song: Sing unto the LORD, all the earth.Psalm 96:9O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: Fear before him, all the earth.

Those verses don't prove what theonomy wants it to. That's simply a command to worship the Lord. It by no means follows that such will happen.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Those verses don't prove what theonomy wants it to. That's simply a command to worship the Lord. It by no means follows that such will happen.
Yes, but that doesn't mean that the command isn't binding/required. Also, I agree it doesn't automatically mean such will happen, but at the same time, it doesn't mean it won't either. As you mentioned, we cannot know the future.

Classical Pre and Post (including the subset of Amill) have been around for a very long time. All can legitimately be arrived at through exegesis. I tend to fall in between A and Post, but at the same time, I don't dismiss the others completely (I do dismiss dispensationalism though).
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Yes, but that doesn't mean that the command isn't binding/required. Also, I agree it doesn't automatically mean such will happen, but at the same time, it doesn't mean it won't either. As you mentioned, we cannot know the future.

Right. My point is that you can't reason from the command "All earth worship the Lord" to the future fact "All the earth will worship the Lord." And even if that did obtain, it could simply be referring to the eternal state.
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
I personally have found Silversides lecture on the subject to be most enlightening, and well worth the hour and a half to cover all the major proponents and people who were historically involved in the controversy. It goes into the Westminster Minutes, Bahnsen, Gillespie, Rutherford, Rushdoony, etc.

 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Freshman
What did you mean by "the phenomena of establishmentarianism (or any cooperation of the state with us) is far behind us?" Do you mean "far behind us" in history? Or "behind us" as a pie-in-the-sky false hope?



Do you think this present world is compatible with "Satan," being "bound," that he should "deceive the nations no more?" (Revelation 20:2-3)

An observation - You may have stopped too soon in your citing of Psalm 2. Doesn't the beginning of the Psalm set the stage for its conclusion?



I plan to go through the whole Bible to record all the verses that express this "wishful thinking" you speak of. My estimate (and that's what I do for a living) is that it will be numbered somewhere between 500 and 1,000 times. This desire is expressed ubiquitously in all of Scripture. And, like Psalm 2, they are not usually thinking of the final judgment. Most of the hopes, prayers and songs are for time rather than eternity. Jesus, after all, "is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." (John 4:42) and many other places.

Psalm 33:8​
Let all the earth fear the LORD: Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.​
Psalm 96:1​
O Sing unto the LORD a new song: Sing unto the LORD, all the earth.​
Psalm 96:9​
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: Fear before him, all the earth.​

Afterthought: Following is the kind of thing I sometimes say unless my wife talked me out of it. But she's still asleep.

At the risk of totally discrediting myself, I will state the following regarding the binding of Satan such that he can "deceive the nations no more." And I know that the view that Satan is bound now is a sacred cow to modern amillennialists. But let me ask you, which of the approximately 200 nations of the World are undeceived?

Allow me to go on in my foolishness (for I am sure to get in hot water for what I say). If what we see today is the totality of the binding of Satan, then God has done a pretty shoddy job of it. I surely do not claim to grasp all that God will do, but I have stopped making excuses for God. He is full of surprises. And they are invariably "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." ( Ephesians 3:20)
Not to derail the thread into an eschatology discussion, but I think the question is what is Satan bound with respect to? I would think it is the rare premil or postmil who thinks all deception is vanquished during the binding. In other words, many of us view the binding/deception to be relative to certain things, not absolute in all respects. A postmil theonomist or establishmentarian could see the binding happening as the gospel goes forth with success and governments somewhat organically adopt more and more of the moral and/or civil laws.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I'll listen to Silversides later but from what I've heard so far, he agrees with theonomists on the law being useful, as an exposition of the moral law, and that we should be concerned with the same things the judicial law is concerned with. Where he differs (according to him) is whether the Westminster Confession supports the view that the punishments are continuing.

Offhand, it doesn't seem to me that it speaks to it one way or another, so it's not something you're going to find in the WCF, but I can find quotations where at least some of the punishments are endorsed by Reformed individuals as applicable today. E.g., Calvin on capital punishment for adultery, expositing Deuteronomy but Henry says in his commentary on Exodus 21 that the penalties are not binding on us, but are of great use in explaining the moral law. So even there it seems like there could be a good amount of disagreement between orthodox and confessional individuals.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Where he differs (according to him) is whether the Westminster Confession supports the view that the punishments are continuing.
In my experience, this seems to be the common hesitation among non-theonomists. It seems to me that all Reformed folk agree that the law is useful. Where the rubber meets the road is where "useful" becomes "binding."
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
Logan, make sure you don't forget to listen to the full lecture later when you have the time. Though he gives a brief overview to begin, he goes in much greater detail as to why the Westminster does not support the modern articulation of it, and what those differences are. He touches upon Calvin as well, showing the difference between his articulation and theonomy in modernity/Christian Reconstructionism.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Logan, make sure you don't forget to listen to the full lecture later when you have the time. Though he gives a brief overview to begin, he goes in much greater detail as to why the Westminster does not support the modern articulation of it, and what those differences are. He touches upon Calvin as well, showing the difference between his articulation and theonomy in modernity/Christian Reconstructionism.
Did Silversides deal with Rutherford's Pretended Liberty and Gillespie's Wholesome Severity?
 

Jerrod Hess

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't have time for 90 minutes of listening right now. That long ago folks were still dodging Gillespie's statements by denying his authorship; do you recall if he treats/presumes Wholesome Severity is by Gillespie?
He does indeed assume that authorship of Gillespie. If I remember correctly, he said Gillespie was the closest we have to an actual theonomist, yet he showed other quotes of his in later works of Gillespie, that he believed displayed his compassion for the position, yet he himself did not affirm it. My relay of the information does not do it justice, but if you have the time later, (agree or disagree) I'd highly recommend it. Silversides sermons are good, but I believe he is especially gifted when it comes to historical and theological lectures. Also, Beeke liked him, so that's a closed casket for me (tongue in cheek).
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
I do plan on listening to the rest of it (doing it now, actually) but while I agree that Silversides has some very good things to say, I have found in the past that he often presents evidence that supports his own thesis while ignoring evidence (some strikingly prominent) that would go against his thesis. Something I'm sure we are all guilty of at some time or another.

But it does make me wonder how much isn't being said.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I do plan on listening to the rest of it (doing it now, actually) but while I agree that Silversides has some very good things to say, I have found in the past that he often presents evidence that supports his own thesis while ignoring evidence (some strikingly prominent) that would go against his thesis. Something I'm sure we are all guilty of at some time or another.

But it does make me wonder how much isn't being said.

I was actually present at the lecture in question (not really knowing anything about theonomy at the time). You have accurately discerned the main problem with his method concerning historical theology. Everything that appears to support his case is seized upon, while what goes against it is largely ignored.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Around 24 minutes he says (I am more or less quoting):

"In the minutes of the Westminster Assembly they discussed the issue of whether judicial laws are abrogated, cancelled, or continue. The words chosen were very carefully chosen. There was much controversy in the country at large. One writer said it seems to be a matter of debate at every table in the country whether the judicial laws of Moses were to continue or not."

Several comments:
1) I'm not sure how this relates to the punishments of the judicial law specifically (which he is at this point trying to refute).
2) the fact that there was much controversy over it shows that whatever Silversides is trying to prove was not necessarily a super-majority position or universally agreed upon.
3) Therefore, it doesn't show at all that the WCF was trying to exclude one view or another, but seems more likely they came down to a consensus they could agree upon (like much of the WCF) that set out some common ground without excluding alternate views. To use this as an argument, one would have to show that they were specifically trying to exclude a view.

In general, to prove this thesis, I would think it would not be enough just to say there was an absence of discussion. One would have to have positive evidence (like the Henry quote I gave above) that would specifically say that the judicial punishments no longer apply (or should apply, for the opposing thesis).
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Another problem with this whole discussion is that proving that a theologian did not believe that that specific OT punishment was not binding today is insufficient to prove that theonomy is unconfessional, as many theonomists believe that specific OT punishments are not binding today.

This point goes back to what was said earlier about seeing Theonomy in Christian Ethics as a conversation starter rather than a silver bullet that is meant to solve every problem. It is not necessary to agree with every jot and tittle of that book to recognise that the judicial law has more relevance to modern societies than most of the modern Reformed are willing to admit.
 
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jw

Administrator
⬆️ Eggzactly. The only options being presented as “Big T” Theonomy (as it has been called) or modern “Reformed” antinomianism is a false dichotomy.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Gillespie (according to Silversides): Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty
"but things immutable and common to all nations are the the laws concerning moral trespass, sins against the moral law as murder, adultery, theft, enticing away from God, blasphemy, striking of parents. Now that the Christian magistrate is bound to observe these judicial laws of Moses which appoint the punishments of sins against the moral law...
"if God would have the moral law transmitted from the Jewish people to the Christian people, then he would also have the judicial laws transmitted from the Jewish magistrate to the Christian magistrate, there being the same reason of immutability in the punishments which is in the offenses."

Gillespie seems to be saying that the punishments are to carry over to the Christian people. However, Silversides then tries to make the case that Gillespie was "more cautious two years later":

Gillespie: Aaron's Rod Blossoming:
"I know some divines hold that the judicial law of Moses, so far as concerneth the punishments of sins against the moral law: idolatry, blasphemy, sabbath-breaking, theft, adultery, etc. ought to be a rule to the Christian magistrate. And for my part, I wish that more respect were had to it and that it were more consulted with.

I don't see how that is more cautious or not. It's merely an aside as Gillespie discusses the differences between the Jewish sanhedrin and the role of Christian minsters today, and if the previous quote was from Gillespie, it's perfectly possible he had not altered his views. He at the very least looked on it favorably, even if not wholeheartedly endorsed. Gillespie also said later in the same book "The presbyterial government meddleth with no civil nor temporal punishments." To discuss how the civil magistrate should mete punishment was not the purpose of the book. So not convinced on Gillespie.

With Rutherford I think the citations were more clear that Rutherford saw at least some punishments (example given of theft) as being punished equitably by whipping or by restitution and not necessarily one specific method of punishment. Both Gillespie and Rutherford clearly held to a "theonomic" view in the sense that the judicial law was still entirely useful, though.
 
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Logan

Puritan Board Senior
⬆️ Eggzactly. The only options being presented as “Big T” Theonomy (as it has been called) or modern “Reformed” antinomianism is a false dichotomy.

Agreed, although it does seem like some "reformed" these days want to get away from any tie to the law whatsover, including sabbath keeping!

It also appears to me (so far) to be a false dichotomy that the only options are "Confessional" and "Theonomist". I don't see yet why theonomic views cannot comfortably reside in a confessional framework. The two appear to go hand in hand very nicely, historically.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I cover Gillespie's apparent view change in the intros to the anonymous writings (soon to be available in new texts in The Shorter Writings of George Gillespie, volume 1). It's too speculative to pin some significant shift in his more cautious statement in Aaron's Rod (certainly not to question authorship of WS); he's got just as strong statements then to need to be reconciled in Miscellany Questions and Dialogue Between a Civilian and a Divine. Whether theonomy is unconfessional depends on what flavor it is (how the individual argues it); simple belief that some of the severe punishments remain equitable is not unconfessional, or an alignment in practice between modern theonomy and Gillespie, et al, which Ferguson said way back in 1990; in that sense it is as much an exaggeration to say it is contra confessional (again depending) as it is to say from the other angle, the Westminster Assembly was an assembly of theonomists (which it was not; the WCF does not "teach" theonomy, which is Ferguson's conclusion).
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Around 50 minutes, Silversides tries to make the case that since the death penalty wasn't applied in the Corinthian church, that the punishment is not binding. I think one alternative explanation however, is that the church cannot issue the same punishments as the civil magistrate, so this passage has no bearing on the civil magistrate's responsibility.

I finished it. Not convinced that Silversides made the case he purported to, and the last ten minutes or so are a bit of a waste as he spends it lumping all theonomists together and says they stretch the regulative principle and don't keep the sabbath (clearly not true of Bahnsen and clearly not a necessary consequence of theonomy)

I agree with Chris's assessment above in his last sentence. "It depends" on what flavor of theonomy, but it's not necessary un-confessional, nor is the confession explicitly teaching how the law should be applied. So like Daniel rightly keeps saying: that was a good starting point, and the application of the law now is where the discussion should take place.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Here are the pertinent statements by Sinclair Ferguson:
“It may be that the Confession’s teaching on the Mosaic judicials extends as far as to include certain applications of the Mosaic law consistent with those sought by theonomists; but to argue that its teaching bears an exclusively theonomic interpretation is to read its intention backward and to confuse a legitimate specific application with the fundamental governing principle.” “It should be noted that in many instances the practical implications of theonomy may not necessarily be a denial of the teaching of the Westminster Confession. The words of Chapter XIX, iv can be understood to include the view that the Mosaic penalties may be applied by the Christian magistrate (if “general equity” so dictates). We have already noted that such views were widespread among the Divines in relation to specific crimes. But this is simply to recognize that there may be common ground in practice between the Confession’s teaching and theonomy…. I conclude that the Confession does not expound, nor does it prescribe, a theonomic viewpoint. It may be that some members of the Assembly were prepared to stretch the meaning of “general equity” as far as contemporary theonomists do…. The strongest position a theonomist could adopt on the basis of the Confession would be that it did not a priori reject the application of the Mosaic judicial punishments for crimes considered seriatim. But theoretical theonomy as such is not the teaching of the Westminster Confession of Faith.” Sinclair Ferguson, “An Assembly of Theonomists? The Teaching of the Westminster Divines on the Law of God,” in Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, ed. William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey (Grand Rapids, Mich: Academie Books, 1990). Even after 30 years from the beginning of the formal controversy, I think that remains the proper conclusion.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Here are the pertinent statements by Sinclair Ferguson:
“It may be that the Confession’s teaching on the Mosaic judicials extends as far as to include certain applications of the Mosaic law consistent with those sought by theonomists; but to argue that its teaching bears an exclusively theonomic interpretation is to read its intention backward and to confuse a legitimate specific application with the fundamental governing principle.” “It should be noted that in many instances the practical implications of theonomy may not necessarily be a denial of the teaching of the Westminster Confession. The words of Chapter XIX, iv can be understood to include the view that the Mosaic penalties may be applied by the Christian magistrate (if “general equity” so dictates). We have already noted that such views were widespread among the Divines in relation to specific crimes. But this is simply to recognize that there may be common ground in practice between the Confession’s teaching and theonomy…. I conclude that the Confession does not expound, nor does it prescribe, a theonomic viewpoint. It may be that some members of the Assembly were prepared to stretch the meaning of “general equity” as far as contemporary theonomists do…. The strongest position a theonomist could adopt on the basis of the Confession would be that it did not a priori reject the application of the Mosaic judicial punishments for crimes considered seriatim. But theoretical theonomy as such is not the teaching of the Westminster Confession of Faith.” Sinclair Ferguson, “An Assembly of Theonomists? The Teaching of the Westminster Divines on the Law of God,” in Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, ed. William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey (Grand Rapids, Mich: Academie Books, 1990). Even after 30 years from the beginning of the formal controversy, I think that remains the proper conclusion.
If some Christians didn't think it was incumbent on them, or Christians generally, or the church, or one denomination, to guide necessary and specific changes unto the formation/reconstruction of a "godly society"--because they think the Bible has to be for that--it wouldn't even be an issue.

But the Bible is for the world to come. Its prescriptions for this age are limited to commonalities that are true no matter what providential circumstances this or that Christian or church happens to live under. Thus making any argument respecting details of general social organization a case of bending others to someone's will, and justifying it on the basis that "I have a Bible verse, and you don't, or you have the wrong one."

Christians and the church should just hope for positive influence, rather than offering up their specific ideas delineating "divine preference" as correct policy prescriptions, to be added to the laundry list of legislative agenda items. Scrying Scripture for alleged culture-molding rules and directions also makes Christians and the church more "responsible" for when society doesn't do what "it's s'posed to." Because, those Christian acvtivists who don't like the direction things are going get to blame their co-religionists for insufficient zeal for social maintenance/reform, as the real culprit for the "downturn."

This bent is why both establishmentarianism and postmillenialism are the default position for T/theonomy. A society or nation needs an authoritative source for the "true and accurate" biblical policy prescription, the best option; because without concern for that there's reasonable concern for sin in the policy, and a further need to either prevent any future change (can't undo the reformation without sinning) or else an open-ended need for increased fidelity to societal perfection. This makes whichever interpreter/rabbi, church, or ecclesiastical council that gets that job--in law or unofficially--the de facto established religious authority. And makes them another target for takeover by present-oriented wolves.

The reason for defaulting to postmillenialism, is that the T/theonomic view of "social responsibility" (collective sin) needs it. As long as the general godly culture is only wistful hope, the question can be deferred to a later generation. But as soon as it is widely agreed that the ideal has been substantially achieved, declension becomes a serious matter of responsibility; either individuals, or the collective church must be assigned culpability for losing, and then after 40yrs or so, for not returning to that point of social sanctification. In line with this train of thought, Christians in the West generally, and in the USA are regularly shamed for "losing" their cultural clout. Postmillenialism teaches that social regression equals failure and sin.

It is routine to hear that the "Christian founding" of the USA has been a heritage squandered by insouciant Christians and church. That is, certain spokesmen have declared that a good, godly, holy thing was made in the settling of colonies, declaration of independence, creation of a confederation, and finally a new constitutional convention--indeed, that it was guided in practically "inspirational" manner by God himself. If one agrees with that interpretation of the past (and arguments go on from there about whether to include the CivilWar outcome, and the victories of the WorldWar era) then there is not only one, but several "high-point" achievements one may look back at, all which reinforce the idea that Christians and the church are responsible for losing, and for not-regaining those advances. Postmillenialism calls for the sustained expression (global extent and 1000yrs) of culturally-Christian progress.

But if the Bible only contains general counsels for natural-man and his organization, and specific prescriptions for the "social maintenance/reformation" ONLY of the CHURCH, of church-culture, which exists as the outpost of the world-to-come situated inside this one, bearing witness against this world, calling men out of it--then the church and the Christians within it (in quite different ways, I might add) simply do their thing, and have their influence according to providential allowance. At times it is a greater influence, maybe even making the generality of a particular time and place more ideal than it would otherwise be; and at other times it has far less influence for reasons that will vary: internal and external and driven by divine election. The letters to the Seven Churches (Rev.2-3) explain.

The Bible is for the world to come. The Bible is for organizing and strengthening the institution of the church. The Bible is for guiding Christians living in a hostile age, in a world that is passing away. It is incidentally, accidentally helpful for correcting/guiding men's natural understanding about what makes good (variable according to circumstances) for social life under common-life rule or conventions.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
I plan to go through the whole Bible to record all the verses that express this "wishful thinking" you speak of. My estimate (and that's what I do for a living) is that it will be numbered somewhere between 500 and 1,000 times. This desire is expressed ubiquitously in all of Scripture. And, like Psalm 2, they are not usually thinking of the final judgment.
I would very much like to have a copy of your work when you are finished, please. Interestingly the thought of doing exactly this occurred to me a week or so ago (not in the context of any particular discussion), but I dont know when or if I'll ever have the time to do it. Also I'm sure I would not be able to do it as thoroughly or well as you would.
 
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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
I would very much like to have a copy of your work when you are finished, please. Interestingly the thought of doing exactly this occurred to me a week or so ago (not in the context of any particular discussion), but I dont know when or if I'll ever have the time to do it. Also I'm sure I would not be able to do it as thoroughly or well as you would.

Several respondents to my post said that just because the saints wanted to see the whole world worship the one true God, that doesn't mean it will happen. Agreed.

But I have a higher authority than the saints. I mentioned the ten spies who did NOT believe what I like to call the Great Commission of the Old Testament.

Consider this word from the Lord. In the very midst of God passing judgment on about 6,000,000 of those over twenty rears old, and immediately before God killed those ten spies, He says this in chapter 14 of Numbers.

Numbers 14:20-24; 26-36
21 but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
23 surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
24 but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

26 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
29 your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
30 doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness, they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,
37 even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.


A couple of clarifications.
  1. It is assumed that I am a Theonomist. I do not claim any such thing.
  2. Neither do I claim any particular eschatological view as they now stand. I think that Revelation is still a pretty closed book. Here's something I said in another thread:
    I think Revelation is still a closed book for the most part. Parts for the Revelation remind me of Daniel 11 (and 12) which were totally hidden from Daniel's contemporaries in 6th-century bc. Until that is, history revealed the meaning to the faithful and wise Jews during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanies after 175± BC.
  3. I just think we haven't seen anything yet of what God will do in this world before He returns.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Several respondents to my post said that just because the saints wanted to see the whole world worship the one true God, that doesn't mean it will happen. Agreed.

But I have a higher authority than the saints. I mentioned the ten spies who did NOT believe what I like to call the Great Commission of the Old Testament.

Consider this word from the Lord. In the very midst of God passing judgment on about 6,000,000 of those over twenty rears old, and immediately before God killed those ten spies, He says this in chapter 14 of Numbers.

Numbers 14:20-24; 26-36
21 but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
23 surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
24 but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

26 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
29 your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
30 doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness, they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,
37 even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.


A couple of clarifications.
  1. It is assumed that I am a Theonomist. I do not claim any such thing.
  2. Neither do I claim any particular eschatological view as they now stand. I think that Revelation is still a pretty closed book. Here's something I said in another thread:
    I think Revelation is still a closed book for the most part. Parts for the Revelation remind me of Daniel 11 (and 12) which were totally hidden from Daniel's contemporaries in 6th-century bc. Until that is, history revealed the meaning to the faithful and wise Jews during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanies after 175± BC.
  3. I just think we haven't seen anything yet of what God will do in this world before He returns.
There is no reason to believe that the spies in their situation is analogous to what the Psalms mean for the future. In any case, I have pointed out how the Psalms can have a future fulfillment in the New Earth that in no way entails theonomy and/or postmillennialism.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
There is no reason to believe that the spies in their situation is analogous to what the Psalms mean for the future.

In view of 1 Corinthians 10:11, how did you come to know that the story of the spies has nothing to teach us about our response to, let's say, the Great Commission.
 
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