That's interesting. Weren't some of the theonomists known for not being exceptionally strict in their observance of the Sabbath?As I skim the literature, the common thread seems to be that the Sabbath, while still in force, and while still one of the ten commandments and thus part of the moral law of God, yet has a particular relation to Christ's fulfilling of the Law that the other commandments do not have.
If personal disgust is a good reason, then sure.
That's interesting. Weren't some of the theonomists known for not being exceptionally strict in their observance of the Sabbath?
On this point it might be worth remembering that when Nehemiah acted as civil magistrate, he punished for Sabbath breaking but not with the death penalty.
You literally said here the law in question is "repugnant." I find no other reason you've given. And (since you bring up dodging questions) you wouldn't even answer me when I asked you if you would resist such a law even if you could be convinced that it should be enforced. (Also, I dodged no question. I answered all of them. Saying, "I don't know right now, I'm still learning," is not dodging a question, but being honest.)That wasn't the reason...
I read Gary North on the Sabbath, and I find him on that issue to be wildly inconsistent and, frankly, annoying.That's interesting. Weren't some of the theonomists known for not being exceptionally strict in their observance of the Sabbath?
I think it should. I'll never use it, but I can't find any biblical reason why someone should receive civil sanctions for smoking a joint, unless of course their abuse of it causes another harm or loss.Should weed be legalized (this had a bad application in Wilson's New St. Andrews school)?
Honestly, I don't know. I'm sure it's been written about somewhere. It is, after all, a very new issue. I'll do some digging, because now I'm curious.If cloning is a crime (and Morecraft would be hard-pressed to demonstrate such), what is the biblical punishment?
I've heard several expositions of this. What's your opinion?What is the general equity of punishment for boiling a goat in its mother's milk?
Sure, but it's nonetheless an entirely legitimate means to get one to really consider their position (cf. Matt. 7:1-2, 12). Do we have any indication that the apostles or the apostolic church killed or advocated killing adulterers and homosexuals as commanded in the OT? Quite the contrary (e.g. 1 Cor. 6:9-11; cf. John 8:3-11; James 2:13). Why is this? Morecraft's 3 points, of which you seemed to approve, are in themselves, at least as represented, far too simplistic.Of course, I'm sure you recognize that this is an appeal to emotion.
Exactly. Gal. 5:3, James 2:10But we conceive, the whole bulk of the judicial law, as judicial, and as it concerned the Republic of the Jews only, is abolished, though the moral equity of all those be not abolished; also some punishments were merely symbolical, to teach the detestation of such a vice, as the boring with an aul the ear of him that loved his master, and desired still to serve him, and the making of him his perpetual servant. ... So I Argue, a pari, from the like, He that will keep one judicial Law, because judicial and given by Moses becometh debter to keep the whole judicial Law, under pain of God’s eternal wrath. Samuel Rutherford,
I've heard several expositions of this. What's your opinion?
Honestly, I don't know. I'm sure it's been written about somewhere. It is, after all, a very new issue. I'll do some digging, because now I'm curious.
These are all things to consider. As I've said a couple times now, I'm still learning. At the end of this thread, though, here is where I'm at. On the one hand, I am even more convinced of the theonomic thesis. Though I am still learning, one does not need to wait until they have every possible facet of a position figured out in order to see its biblical validity. Faith seeking understanding. On the other hand, one place I think I'm actually backing off on is how strongly I previously thought WCF 19.4 necessitated Theonomy. I can now see that, at the very least, WCF 19.4 makes perfect room for it. I still think Theonomy is the best and the biblical option, but I can accept that the WCF, as a fallible human document, gives latitude for the various view that were clearly present among the Divines.
That's all I've got for now. I'm thankful to all you brothers for engaging (even you, Jacob).
Serious question: Do you then think all Sabbath breakers should still be put to death (Ex. 35:2)? Have you or a loved one ever broken the Sabbath?
That's literally the whole point of casuistry. As I've suggested earlier. Torah wasn't meant to be applied like the US Tax Code (find law here, apply there). That's why these modern difficulties are arising.
I've heard it argued (can't remember where, sorry) that the general equity principle behind "boiling a kid in its mother's milk" is that we ought not to kill with that which is designed to nourish life. An example that comes to mind is the seven woes to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23. Jesus castigates the Pharisees for their use of the Law; He does not criticize the Law itself. The Pharisees have turned the Law into a "heavy burden, hard to bear" (Matt. 23:4), instead of obedience to the Law being an outworking of its weightier matters ("justice, mercy and faith"). Take the example of tithing. That which was supposed to be a blessing (Mal. 3:10) is turned into a "heavy burden, hard to bear." The problem is not with the tithe itself, but rather with the manner in which a life-giving command is turned into a soul-crushing burden, as well as, of course, the Pharisees own failure to measure up to the standards which they set forth.3) What is the general equity of punishment for boiling a goat in its mother's milk?
Most of these authors have a distaste for the common evangelical tactic of speaking out against something but offering nothing better to take its place, so I think they have. Some good resources I can think of are of course Bahnsen’s Theonomy in Christian Ethics, Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law, and North’s Tools of Dominion. These are not perfect, obviously. But at least they are trying to wrestle with the Law of God as it relates to modern society, which is far more than I can say for the vast majority anti-theonomists, frankly.Has any of the authors discussed published a model law or other specific product of the theory?
Thanks. I just bought a few of those recommendations online.Most of these authors have a distaste for the common evangelical tactic of speaking out against something but offering nothing better to take its place, so I think they have. Some good resources I can think of are of course Bahnsen’s Theonomy in Christian Ethics, Rushdoony’s Institutes of Biblical Law, and North’s Tools of Dominion. These are not perfect, obviously. But at least they are trying to wrestle with the Law of God as it relates to modern society, which is far more than I can say for the vast majority anti-theonomists, frankly.
While those topics you mentioned are obviously not addressed specifically, the Book speaks to all of life in principal.While I believe the word of God is sufficient for all things it addresses, it is simply not the case that all the questions in our society are already answered in the Old Testament. I can think of a number that aren't: transhumanism, artificial intelligence, parliamentary democracy, cloning, in vitro/utero fertilization, water rights, etc.
This has been a very enjoyable thread to go through, and thank God for His providence that The Bahnsen Project has liberated the incredible scholarship of Greg Bahnsen, and that theonomy is once again trending in the evangelical community.Edit: I meant to note in the title that this is specifically about Bahnsen's writing on theonomy, no one else.
Since the Bahnsen Project liberated Bahnsen's recorded material from CMF, I've been listening to a good bit and got into one of Bahnsen's series on ethics.
Now background: I would consider myself Establishmentarian and certainly Confessional. I've always been a bit wary of Theonomy just because of the cult that seems to surround Rushdoony, although I admit my personal knowledge is very slim. For this reason I was wary of Bahnsen when he started talking about theonomy.
However, in listening to it, it seems to me to be more of a logical extension of the WLC's exposition of the decalogue. Example: how do we know that "thou shalt not murder" means preserving life, protecting the weak, if not from the OT case law which expounds the decalogue? Bahnsen seems to be arguing for a philosophical foundation for ethics and law as being what God has revealed and himself expounded, although those laws might be applied in different ways today (about which I'm sure wise and godly individuals will disagree as to the specifics).
This is contrasted to a purely "natural law" view, which leads people like the humanists to form erroneous conclusions and leads to seeming arbitrariness. It's hard for me to see how natural law, without divine revelation to interpret it, can be a standard.
Regardless of one's definition of "theonomy" (which seems to be fluid), is Bahnsen saying more than this? And what was the controversy, historically, with this view? Is Bahnsen at odds with Confessionalism? Or is it primarily Americanism or American Presbyterianism that has an issue with this view?
I'm hoping to get a better grasp and understanding on a topic that apparently has a lot of history and baggage for a lot of people.
I really have to suggest that if you think Bahnsen didn’t deal with natural law, you aren’t very familiar with him. Bahnsen discusses natural law many times, but doesn’t consider it any different than general revelation.Per the National Covenanting link:
1) Bahnsen saw (1) as a nice idea but not necessary to theonomy.
2) If (2) implies a specific denomination, Bahnsen rejected that.
3) Bahnsen agreed with (3). Most recons reject (3). North is very, very clear on the Sabbath.
(5) That's a given. Most Theonomists are preterists. Rushdoony was an idealist. All reject historicism.
(7) The whole point of Reconstructionism is to get our man elected to office. McDurmon literally wrote a book on that topic.
8) North mocks natural law. Rushdoony rejected it. Bahnsen didn't deal with it.
It’s important to remember too that the Church and its offices are called to judge ethical matters based on the principles of scripture (transhumanism, artificial intelligence, etc…). It’s not within the purview of the magistrate to do anything apart from what God has explicitly told it to do as God understands that natural man is sinful and would rule sinfully if not equipped with the proper tools.While those topics you mentioned are obviously not addressed specifically, the Book speaks to all of life in principal.