Theonomy or autonomy?

 When it comes to the political arena, theonomists argue that we are either ruled by God’s laws from Scripture, or sinful man’s autonomous laws. They also argue that Christians who refuse to press for God’s laws concerning politics and crime are public square antinomians and compromisers.

Instead of the health of society, let’s apply this logic to the health of the body. “Radical two-kingdomers are afraid to press the crown rights of Jesus into the medical sphere. Some say radiation therapy is the best cure for cancer, others are using more natural cures and ideas. And what about dieting? Does no one care about what God says in Scripture about whether Atkins is proper or not? And what about homeopathy? Surely we must take a prophetic role over the nations and declare what God says about homeopathy and dieting. We even have some men in our churches getting vasectomies after bearing a number of children. Surely there is a clear word from God on whether this is sinful or not. It’s time we stopped this medical antinomianism and declare God’s word over all of life, including dieting, cancer treatment, etc… The argument for freedom in these areas is simply a weak-kneed attempt to capitulate to autonomous man.”

It doesn’t really work, does it? Theonomists usually admit freedom in these areas. So here is the question. If in the matter of the body’s health, we admit there is freedom to figure out what works best for us while also admitting the Bible does not address these questions particularly; and that we can use -dare I say- natural laws of science to help us decide these issues, why, when it comes to society’s health, Christians who also admit freedom to disagree on politics and social policy, who suggest God has not spoken to these issues particularly, are assumed to be antinomians and compromisers? In other words, why do politics need a manifesto from the Bible but not health?

(I have an answer but I’ll wait to see yours first).

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183 Responses to Theonomy or autonomy?

  1. Carter says:

    Hmm…first, a disclaimer. I have not yet engaged any theonomic writings seriously, so my knowledge of the ins-and-outs and the complexities involved is rather low. I do have an instinctive aversion to theonomy, however, so I am biased (in an ignorant way!). That being said, let me take a crack at it anyway.

    Politics have a farther reaching corporate effect, whereas health is highly individual. Law and leadership will interact with the Church as a body, influencing not only it but society in general. A person’s health choices do not really effect the corporate body of believers or society. On top of that, you can’t really regulate personal health decisions anyway, unless the church starts asking for medical records!

    Or maybe theonomists are just inconsistent!

    My humble thoughts.

  2. RubeRad says:

    The difference is that, while the Bible has little/nothing to say about medicine, there is quite a bit in there about government — Israel’s government. So the big question is whether/how all that is applicable outside of Israel.

  3. todd says:

    Rube,

    The Old Testament has lots to say about dieting and food. Of course we relegate all that to typology, nevertheless some have argued that following the kosher laws of the OP is the best way to health. Books have been written on the subject. But the bigger question is; why would God care for us so much to give us a political manifesto, but not enough to give us a health manifesto?

  4. Zrim says:

    Todd,

    Your example helps show how theonomy is a form of prosperity gospel. When 2K challenges it, the theonomic response is like when Pentecostals call Protestants defeatists in the health department. The parallels are stunning.

  5. RubeRad says:

    The Old Testament has lots to say about dieting and food

    It’s not just about food. The Mosaic Code hands out a whole bunch of death (civil) penalties, as well as a pretty good-sized pile of non-capital penalties for theft, rape, etc.

  6. todd says:

    Rube,

    Right – both are there, but the question remains.

  7. RubeRad says:

    To be clear, I guess I am giving the theonomists’ answer to the question, “why do you try to apply the bible to civil order, but not to health?” and the question Z asked is “why does the Bible address civil order, but not health?”

  8. Zrim says:

    Actually, instead of asking that question I was just making the point that theonomy suffers from the same inability to distinguish between the temporal and eternal that so-called “health and wealth gospels” do. Want better health (or more stuff, or better relationships, etc.)? Cull the scriptures for healthy principles. Want a better society? Do the same thing.

    Some correctly point out that theonomy is the flip side of Dispensationalism–Dispys’ make too much of a distinction between the church and Israel and theonomists draw virtually no distinction at all. The theonomic response is something like, “Hey, we don’t sacrifice animals and we don’t call our pastors ‘rabboni.'” So when it is suggested that theonomy is propserity gospel, the response is, “Hey, we have as much ire for the quest for bling and health as the next Reformed believer.” Not sacrificing animals and resisting the quest for bling and health are certainly good things, but it is mysterious how one can use the same principles as another but also be critical of how he is applying them.

    One interesting thing is that the Benny Hinn’s of the world embrace theonomic ideas of a Christian nation, but theonomists don’t return the favor and buy the vitamins. Could it be that Benny Hinn and Pat Robertson are way more consistent than Gary North et al?

  9. todd says:

    In actuality, the Old Testament has a lot to say about health. Here are only a few examples:

    “He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all of His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’ ” Exodus 15:26

    “These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth” Lev.11:2

    “And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness…” Deuteronomy 7:15

    “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like an eagle.” Psalm 103:1-5

    Praise the Lord, my soul, and never forget all the good he has done: He is the one who forgives all your sins, the one who heals all your diseases.” Psalm 103:2-3

    “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear and respect the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8

    “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold. …Long life is in her right hand.” Proverbs 3:13-14

    “They will turn to the Lord, and He will respond to their pleas and heal them.” Isaiah 19:22

    “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.”
    Isaiah 65:20

    So the question – why is it okay to explain these health prescriptions and promises away – these are typological, they typify spiritual blessings in Christ in the newcovenant age, they are only fulfilled in the consummated kingdom, etc… but if we say the same types of things about the civil laws and OT kingdom prophecies, we are antinomians? What is at the bottom of this apparent inconsistency?

  10. Vern Crisler says:

    I think, Zrim, that theonomists wouldn’t see your reductio as compelling. They believe the Bible SHOULD be applied to all these areas. They would call it reconstructionism.

    Theonomy in itself is a strong form of covenant theology — stronger than most covenant theologians want to go, of course. It sees moral laws in the Bible — including penal sanctions — and believes these are binding on all, shorn of temporary, cultic, or redemptive elements.

    One can agree with theonomists that the moral laws of the Bible are still valid today for everyone. Morality doesn’t change. The question is whether they do so as natural law (per St. Paul) or whether they do so as covenant law (as per, say Knox, Scots Presbyterians).

    Vern

  11. RubeRad says:

    All those things are not about man-mediated health-care, but about miraculous healing, usually as rewards for obedience; unlike government, which God told Israel how to do.

    (However, you left out the health-care instructions concerning this-colored or that-stage spots on your skin)

  12. todd says:

    “All those things are not about man-mediated health-care, but about miraculous healing, usually as rewards for obedience; unlike government, which God told Israel how to do.”

    Rube,
    I know you are playing devil’s advocate, but I don’t think your distinctions are as clear as you suggest.

    First, those verses are not all about miraculous healings. The OT kingdom promises include good health, the curse of barrenness lifted, long life, etc… These promise more than healing miracles after one gets sick.

    So as non-Pentecostals, we would argue that in this age the OT kingdom promises of physical health are types of spiritual blessings in Christ; blessings in this age that concern the soul, not the body. That is how OT prophecy is to be understood. Even theonomists do not suggest that diabetes should be disappearing in this age before the return of Christ.

    So if we can spiritualize the OT health promises, why is it so terrible (to the theonomist) if we use the same argumentation concerning the OT kingdom promises that speak of government blessings?

    When we divide the kingdoms, and teach that those OT prophecies of nations coming to Christ are fulfilled when individuals from nations are saved, regardless of government, (spiritual kingdom of Christ) we are accused of being gnostic antimonans.

    Yet this is no different than their division of body and soul as relating to how the OT health promises are fulfilled in this age. Both theonomists and Pentecostals would say the kingdom promises include the saving and sanctifying of souls, but move beyond that to either physical health and healing (Pentecostal) or social and political blessing (theonomists). But, as Zrim rightly noted, why can’t the Pentecostals level the same complaint against theonomists for not taking the kingdom health promises more literally? (Maybe we need a new term – body antinomians.)

    Also, the OT Law prescribes much more law than crime punishments, etc… What about the Levirate Marriage law? (Deut 25) Many societies still practice this. Where in the NT is this law rescinded? Why do we not need to take care of our brother’s childless widow anymore? Do you know any theonomists that follow this law?

    Now, I know how the argumentation goes; it is tied into the uniqueness of the Land of Israel and its purpose. So why when we non-theonomists suggest that the death penalty laws for homosexuals and idolaters should not be applied today because they were tied into the uniqueness of the land of Israel and its purpose, that is a denial of God’s law? Why do they get to pick and choose which laws to apply today, and why only certain laws and promises that deal with politics are applicable?

    So we are back to the original question.

  13. Zrim says:

    I think, Zrim, that theonomists wouldn’t see your reductio as compelling. They believe the Bible SHOULD be applied to all these areas. They would call it reconstructionism.

    Vern,

    Yes, I’m aware that our theonomist friends would remain quite unmoved. My point isn’t so much to compel them as it is to point out that if the Bible speaks to statecraft then it isn’t clear why it doesn’t speak to healthcare. Both of these concerns are temporal in nature, so why does one get eternal guidance and the other doesn’t? Is it because statecraft matters more than health?

    But if we see that both are temporal concerns that are categorically distinct from eternal concerns, the Bible isn’t a handbook for temporal living but a revelation for eternal rest.

  14. Von says:

    I am afraid that your original premise is flawed. As a theonomist, I believe that God’s laws concerning health care are just as applicable today as God’s laws concerning the stoning of Sodomites.

    It just so happens that God’s law concerning health care is much more widely adhered to in Christian communities than God’s law concerning stoning Sodomites; so we end up talking about it less.

  15. todd says:

    Von,

    What are God’s laws concerning health care?

  16. von says:

    Well, that question seems a bit backwards.

    The original post seems rather confused. It accuses Theonomy of pressing for God’s laws in one area (politics and crime) and then says that, in “in the matter of the body’s health, we admit there is freedom to figure out what works best for us.” And then, in a blow to the doctrine of sufficiency, it says, “also admitting the Bible does not address these questions particularly.”

    If the anti-theonomist is going to accuse us of the dichotomy he insists on, then it is incumbent on him to tell us what law we are ignoring. On the other hand, if he accuses us of denying the doctrine of sufficiency, it would be nice to have a quote. Bahnsen, or Rushdoony, for example.

    I, personally, don’t make the distinction that our poster makes, so I can’t say what laws he is referring to.

  17. todd says:

    Von,

    You wrote,

    “As a theonomist, I believe that God’s laws concerning health care are just as applicable today as God’s laws concerning the stoning of Sodomites”

    So I asked, what are God’s laws concerning health care? Seems a fairly straighforward question given your statement above.

  18. von says:

    It was not me but riorancho who said that theonomists followed laws on civil law and denied those on health care. I don’t make such a distinction. I believe that stoning sodomites is just as much a health care issue as a civil law one. So, if theonomy is accused of making a distinction that I, personally, have never heard a theonomist make, then let the person who claimed the distinction exists make the case, let him point out what law we ignore.

    Unless, of course, his denial of sufficiency is his case (which kind of ruins his dichotomy). In that case, let him make that case. Let him quote a theonomist denying sufficiency.

  19. RubeRad says:

    I’m with todd (=riorancho). In the post, he point is basically “There are no biblical laws about health care (and even the theonomist knows that)”. Then Von comes along and says “As a theonomist, I believe that God’s laws concerning health care are … applicable today.”

    So we say there ain’t any (so they can’t possibly be applicable), and you say there are some, and they are applicable, so it’s your move to tell us what are God’s laws in the arena of health care?

    I heard before that Rushdoony thought that eating Kosher was part of God’s plan for his people’s health care — is that what you’re talking about? Or maybe the rules for examining rashes?

  20. von says:

    Well, a couple of things settled. Tod=Riorancho (good to know that), and the issue is, then, sufficiency not theonomy.

    OK. The WCF says:

    “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.”

    “all things necessary for’… ‘man’s… life’.

    That is what I believe, and that is what theonomy teaches. So, again, I make no distinction, no classification of laws. So don’t look to me for a list of ‘health care related Scriptures’, except tangentially.

    For example. The law insising on the death penalty for sodomy, bestiality, and adultery have dramatic health care effects (as well as the regulation of fornication). Now, I would not class these as ‘health care’ laws, since I dont’ make that distinction. In my view these laws affect our life in several areas, and in the end most particuarly in the way they reflect God’s holiness and glory. However no one who knows anything about the subject can deny that they woudl have dramatic health care effects.

    I would agree that the Kosher and Rashes law, as well as the laws concerning disposal of waste, also have health care effects. But they, too, reflect God’s glory in several ways, not just health care.

  21. todd says:

    Von,

    Happy Easter – I’ll continue the conversation with you on Monday

  22. von says:

    Sleep well. I work nights, so will be up.

  23. RubeRad says:

    So if you don’t have any bible verses, what are the “good and necessary” deductions from scripture that tell us what is God’s law concerning whether to treat cancer with radiation vs. chemo? Dieting with low-fat or low-carb? Vasectomies vs. the pill vs. rhythm?

  24. von says:

    >>So if you don’t have any bible verses,

    Who said I didn’t have any Bible verses? I have a whole Scripture full!

    My quick off the cuff answer to your first one would be ‘in a multitude of counselours there is wisdom’.

    For number two I would quote something paul says about ‘bodily excercise’ 🙂

    And for the third I would quote Psalm 127.

    Starting with those verses, and many others, I would then move on to the ‘good and necessary’ deductions.

  25. RubeRad says:

    And what about the end of that same paragraph,

    there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

    Is that saying that worship and church government are to be ordered by the light of nature, but our lives Mon-Sat are to be ordered only by scripture? Or does “worship of God and government of the Church” cover the same scope as “faith and life”?

  26. RubeRad says:

    Who said I didn’t have any Bible verses?

    You’re the one that said “don’t look to me for a list of ‘health care related Scriptures’”, so I asked for your biblical deductions.

  27. RubeRad says:

    in a multitude of counselours there is wisdom

    So you would get a room full of theologians together to consult the bible about your cancer treatments (and whether to believe your doctor’s diagnosis of cancer)?

  28. RubeRad says:

    For number two I would quote something paul says about ‘bodily excercise

    So then I don’t have to watch what I eat, and/or the bible tells me nothing about how to watch what I eat?

  29. RubeRad says:

    And for the third I would quote Psalm 127.

    So every person is morally compelled to have as many children as possible, or at least do nothing which might prevent children?

  30. RubeRad says:

    Oh and by the way, in order to make good and necessary deductions from scripture, I have to be able to read the scriptures. Fortunately, thanks to our public school system, I already know how to read. But what about my kids? How should they be taught? What does God’s law have to say about the how to pronounce various combinations of letters from the english alphabet? Is Hop on Pop a good and necessary deduction from scripture so I can read it to my children? Does God’s law tell me to teach reading with phonics or with a whole-language method?

  31. von says:

    >>Is that saying that worship and church government are to be ordered by the light of nature, but our lives Mon-Sat are to be ordered only by scripture? Or does “worship of God and government of the Church” cover the same scope as “faith and life”?

    Neither. That clause is used for such trivial things as ‘should our service be at ten or ten thirty’, etc.

    >>You’re the one that said “don’t look to me for a list of ‘health care related Scriptures’”, so I asked for your biblical deductions.

    Again, and I am not sure why this is so difficult, this is because I don’t make *the distinction* between health care and civil law etc.

    Now, for your specfics:
    1) No, I don’t think theologians would be the best counselors for this problem. Indeed, Scripture never even speaks of theologians. I would suggest physicians for this kind of counseling.
    2) I was just refuting the ‘no verses’. I think there are hundreds of verses that guide us in our thinking about excercise, diet, and other such issues.
    3) I don’t think an effective case can be made for birth control. And, until recently, the entire church was in agreement.

  32. von says:

    >>What does God’s law have to say about the how to pronounce various combinations of letters from the english alphabet?

    You really don’t like the doctrine of sufficiency, do you? As for the subject of education, Scripture speaks a good deal, far to much to list here. Indeed, you bring out one such concept: The importance of God’s law implies our need to study diligently to be able to read it.

    Now, as to who should teach us, I think Deuteronomy makes that clear as well.

  33. RubeRad says:

    You really don’t like the doctrine of sufficiency, do you?

    No, I’m not terribly fond of false doctrine.

    As for the subject of education, Scripture speaks a good deal, far to much to list here

    Yes, scripture says many things about education, but not all things. Just tell me the parts that tell whether I should teach with a phonetic or whole-language method? Also, I want to know whether I should teach my kids all the way through calculus, or is algebra “sufficient”?

    Also, how is it that agriculture, music, and metallurgy were all invented by the seed of the serpent? Why wasn’t their knowledge recorded in scripture, so we can know from God’s law the best way to produce good tone from a saxophone?

    I would suggest physicians for this kind of counseling.

    Where did those physicians get the wisdom that grounds their counsel? Were they physicians trained by godly professors, from medical textbooks that were deduced from scripture?

    More generally, to get back to the end of WCF 1.6, if the life of the church is to be at least partly “ordered by the light of nature”, wouldn’t the rest of our life (outside of worship and church government) be even more so? And why do you call the decision whether to assemble for worship at 10 or 10:30 trivial? Whence this trivial/non-trivial distinction? WCF doesn’t say “non-trivial things”, it says “all things”.

  34. von says:

    >>No, I’m not terribly fond of false doctrine. (Referring to the doctrine of sufficiency)

    Well, this explains a good deal. From the general tone of this blog (not that I have read much) I had thought that in general people held to the WCF.

    So, do you hold to the doctrine of inerrancy? We will have to back this conversation back a good deal to deal with the foundation of sufficiency.

  35. RubeRad says:

    I do hold to a doctrine of sufficiency, just not yours. The bible is sufficient for, and inerrant in, what it addresses, which is not everything. Otherwise, it is a good and necessary deduction from scripture that pi=3

  36. von says:

    >>>You really don’t like the doctrine of sufficiency, do you?

    >No, I’m not terribly fond of false doctrine.

    >> I do hold to a doctrine of sufficiency, just not yours.

    >>The bible is sufficient for, and inerrant in, what it addresses, which is not everything.

    Well, let’s see. What the Bible *claims* it addresses is *all good works”, and claims that through it the man of God may be *perfect*.

    II Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    This seems to me to be what the WCF is exegiting, and I am, thus, not sure how you exegete your view. Oh, and I am not sure what pi=3 meant at the end of your post.

  37. von says:

    >>which is not everything.

    It seems to me that you deny that it covers even what it does address. Scripture is full of exhortations to have children, statements of how they are specific blessings from the Lord, and, in at least one story, a rather dramatic story about an individual who practiced birth control. Yet you would have it that Scripture doesn’t address the issue.

    Indeed, that seems the core of the anti-theonomic postion; to deny that Scripture still speaks to areas where it very clearly speaks. God clearly tells us to put murderers to death, and you wish to say that he is silent on the issue, and we are perfectly free to invent life in prison, or other such nonsense.

  38. RubeRad says:

    Scripture is full of exhortations to have children, statements of how they are specific blessings from the Lord

    Exhortation is different from commandment, and there is no commandment to have as many children as possible. Men are commanded, however, to provide for their families, and sometimes the natural order of things demonstrates that more children would not be able to be provided for.

    in at least one story, a rather dramatic story about an individual who practiced birth control

    So then, if your brother dies childless, you would bring his wife into your home, impregnate her and raise her children with yours (but legally as his)? I wonder what your wife might think about that.

    God clearly tells us to put murderers to death, and you wish to say that he is silent on the issue

    I never said he was silent on murder. I have merely been asserting that the bible is not exhaustive on everything. The bible may say at least something about everything, but it certainly doesn’t say everything about anything except for religious matters such as salvation, worship, church government, etc.

  39. RubeRad says:

    What the Bible *claims* it addresses is *all good works”

    Yes, and maybe there are many things in life that have a component which is not moral. It may be good to teach reading, and bad to withold teaching, and good to teach patiently, and bad to teach cruelly, but whether to teach reading with a phonetic or whole-language method is not good or bad in any moral sense, but only in a technical, pragmatic sense that one method is better than another, works better. And the Bible simply doesn’t care about that question.

    Oh, and I am not sure what pi=3 meant at the end of your post.

    pi is the ratio between the circumference and diameter of a circle, in fact every circle that ever was, great or small. Even the ancient (pre-biblical) Greeks knew that pi was not equal to 3, but somewhat larger. But the verse I linked to shows the bronze sea to have been 10 cubits in diameter, and 30 cubits in circumference, and if that’s infallibly true, then pi=30/10=3.

  40. von says:

    >>Exhortation is different from commandment,

    True. Irrelevant, but true.

    1) Christians should have as their desire to do the will of God.
    2) An exhortation is a way of revealing one’s will.
    Ergo: Christians should have a desire (and should act on that desire, obviously) to follow the will of God as revealed in the various Scriptural commands, exhortations, patterns, and other Scriptures concerning the bearing of children.

  41. von says:

    >>So then, if your brother dies childless, you would bring his wife into your home, impregnate her and raise her children with yours (but legally as his)? I wonder what your wife might think about that.

    Your knowledge of the Levirate law is a bit fuzzy here. It would only be the first child that would be his.

    And, regardless of my stance on the Levirate law (which I am perfectly willing to discuss), the issue here was birth control. And, as I point out, 100% of the men shown in Scripture as using birth control were executed for it. Not exactly a positive Scriptural exhortation, eh?

  42. todd says:

    Von,

    A question on sufficiency so I understand you better. If a mother in your church has a teen dying from cancer, and she expresses frustration that the Scripture does not provide a cure, how do you respond to her question on Scripture and it’s sufficiency to meet this medical need?

  43. von says:

    >>A question on sufficiency so I understand you better. If a mother in your church has a teen dying from cancer, and she expresses frustration that the Scripture does not provide a cure, how do you respond to her question on Scripture and it’s sufficiency to meet this medical need?

    Well, there are literally hundreds of verses, begining, for example, with the entire book of Job, that I would use in this circumstance.

    I would point out, for example, that Gen 1 makes it clear that God is the Creator. As such, he not only has power over His creation, to make of it what He will, but He is the one who created, and gave the gifts to, the very doctors and nurses (Disclaimer: I am a nurse) who are caring for her child. That He is the source of all wisdom and knowledge. That He is the one who provides an eternal home for those who trust in Him, etc., etc.

  44. von says:

    >>Yes, and maybe there are many things in life that have a component which is not moral.

    No, there are no ‘things’ in life which fail to have a moral ‘component’; as Scripture quite clearly points out.

  45. todd says:

    Von,

    Yes, that is common counsel – but not really an answer to the question I asked. The question was why Scripture was not sufficent to provide a cure for cancer.

  46. Anonymous says:

    >>Yes, that is common counsel – but not really an answer to the question I asked. The question was why Scripture was not sufficent to provide a cure for cancer.

    Do you still beat your wife?

    The question is at fault. Was Scripture sufficient for allowing Christ to escape death on the cross? Scripture is sufficient for what it is designed to do; namely to help us to live a Godly life. If a cure for cancer is part of the Godly life that we are supposed to have, then Scripture will be sufficient for that end; as has already been shown, for example, the fear of God (which we learn from Scripture) is the beginning of all knowledge.

    If, on the other hand, a cure for cancer is NOT in the will of God, then Scripture will not only not ‘suffice’ for it, it will be opposed to it.

  47. todd says:

    Von,

    I am going to ignore anon because I want to have an adult conversation, which he has a difficult time doing. It is not a trick question – If I see how you explain sufficiency in these situations it helps me to see better where you are coming from.

  48. von says:

    Todd, it was not anon, it was me from a funny computer 🙂

    And I did not see it as a ‘trick’ question, just one that carried the seeds of it’s own contradiction, like my statement about Christ. It is, indeed, a fault of modern churches that they seek things in Scripture that Scripture is actually opposed to.

    Lights on a freeway light the freeway… not the entire countryside. God’s Word is a light unto our path, so only those things that are on our path are lit by it. Elsewhere is darkness. But all of those things that are on the path ARE lit by it. All of them.

  49. Zrim says:

    Anon-Von,

    The only fault of the question is that it should probably be, “Is Scripture sufficient to provide a treatment for cancer?” since talk of “cures” could be unnecessarily distracting to the larger point.

    And the larger point is that special revelation is insufficient to address temporal concerns like health (or politics or personal happiness, etc.).

    The book for that is natural revelation, and it is perfectly sufficient to meet that end and needs no help from special revelation. Special revelation meets the eternal needs of sinners, and natural revelation helps creatures do earth.

    It may help to know where 2Kers are coming from:

    1. Because the civil and ceremonial laws were specifically and intentionally tied to the Old (Mosaic) covenant, they were fulfilled in the Kingly and Priestly work of Christ and are therefore no longer binding on the Christian.

    2. The Mosaic civil law, because it was specifically and intentionally tied to the temporary and typical Old (Mosaic) covenant, it was never intended to serve as norm for any other state than Mosaic-Davidic theocracy.

    3. Any attempt to re-impose the Mosaic civil laws or their penalties fails to understand the typological, temporary, national character of the Old (Mosaic) covenant.

    4. The moral law, to the degree it expresses the substance of God’s moral will and is not tied to the ceremonies of the Old covenant continues to bind all human beings.

    5. In the New Covenant, only the second table of the Law can be said to bind the state.

    6. There are two kingdoms: that of the right hand and that of the left.

    7. Both kingdoms are under the authority of Christ, but are administered in diverse ways.

    8. In each kingdom, Christians live under Christ’s lordship according to the nature of that kingdom.

    9. The kingdom of the Right hand describes the ministry of Word and sacrament.

    10. The kingdom of the left hand describes the exercise of power in the ecclesiastical and civil realms.

    11. Because of the distinction between the two kingdoms and because the Decalogue is substantially identical with natural law, Christians should advocate laws and policies in the civil realm on the basis of the universal, natural knowledge of the second table of the law

  50. todd says:

    Oh sorry, we had to deal with another anon recently, and I assumed he was back to use the Outhouse and leave his you know what.

    When you say Scripture is opposed to healing cancer, how is that different from affirming its insufficiency in that area, or are you just uncomforatble with the word?

  51. RubeRad says:

    Only if you can show that birth control, in and of itself, was the reason for the execution.

  52. von says:

    >>The only fault of the question is that it should probably be, “Is Scripture sufficient to provide a treatment for cancer?” since talk of “cures” could be unnecessarily distracting to the larger point.
    And the larger point is that special revelation is insufficient to address temporal concerns like health (or politics or personal happiness, etc.).

    1)Again, only if that treatement is in the will of God.
    2) Your second statement denies Scripture and the WCF (definitely in that order) and is thus false. It is probably built on a false premise of what ‘sufficiency’ means.

    Natural revelation, without Special Revelation and the Holy Spirit, is worthwhile only for confirming us in sin (see Romans 1) and/or pointing us toward God (see other verses in Romans); but is inusfficient for the Godly life that God wants us to live (see II Tim 3).

  53. RubeRad says:

    You maybe correct in that statement, but it does not contradict what I said. I didn’t say there are some things that have no moral component, I said there are some things which have a component which is not moral (which allows that they have a different component which is moral)

  54. von says:

    >>When you say Scripture is opposed to healing cancer, how is that different from affirming its insufficiency in that area, or are you just uncomfortable with the word?

    Wow, what a question.
    1) Yes, the word is uncomfortable, because it has a very specific, long term, history in the Christian church.
    2) To say that Scripture was insufficient in helping us oppose God’s will would be like saying that God is ‘insufficient’ to sin; technically true but not a very helpful way to state it.

    The term ‘sufficiency’ as we use it in the church has to do with following the will of God, which involves 100% of what a Christian’s life should be about.

    Your original post, then, when addressed to theonomy misses the mark of attacking theonomy because it actually attacks the other doctrine of sufficiency. I would be glad to defend theonomy when it is attacked, but right now am busy defending sufficiency 🙂

  55. von says:

    Zrims other responses deserve their own thread. They are typical two kingdom responses to theonomy. they are, as he points out, based on a denial of the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture, and thus cannot really be held by anyone who holds to the WCF.

  56. RubeRad says:

    worthwhile only for confirming us in sin

    ?? I think Natural Revelation has taken us a pretty good way towards curing cancer. And indoor plumbing, I like that too. And cars. Cars are fun to drive, and quite worthwhile I’d say.

    Von, your illustration of the sufficience of scripture for cancer says nothing. Yes, scripture is sufficient to focus her on Christ while she deals with cancer, so in that sense it may help her cope with the reality that she may triumph, or she may succumb, but it is not scripture that is involved in figuring out how to actually eliminate cancer cells from her body.

  57. Pingback: Something About Everything; Everything About Some Things « The Confessional Outhouse

  58. RubeRad says:

    right now am busy defending sufficiency

    How about you take that over here then?

  59. todd says:

    Von,

    The reason I’m going slow is because I am learning in these Internet discussions and debates I tend to assume too much about my opponent without first knowing what he really wants to argue and what he means by theonomy or such.

    I am curious for a clearer answer from you as to RubeRad’s question about the applicability of Levirate Marriage to new covenant believers.

  60. von says:

    >>?? I think Natural Revelation has taken us a pretty good way towards curing cancer. And indoor plumbing, I like that too. And cars. Cars are fun to drive, and quite worthwhile I’d say.

    Actually not. If you remember history you would realize that NR has been around for several thousand years without producing these results. That is because, as Scripture says, the fear of God is the beginning of Knowledge, and Scripture is the light to our path.

    For most of history mankind has believed a series of errors which has prevented them from being able to study God’s creation and develop the insights that you so correctly point to.

    Scripture is quite clear that all good gifts come from God. It is also clear that, apart from Gods’ revelation, all else that we do is useless and void.

    Indeed, the two kingdom theology contradicts itself in it’s very opposition to theonomy; since in order to deny the validity of theonomy, it must admit that God Himself gave Laws concerning politics. And, if it is at all honest to Scripture, it must admit that those laws were good. So, God gave good laws for politics… violating the two kingdom theology.

  61. von says:

    >>I am curious for a clearer answer from you as to RubeRad’s question about the applicability of Levirate Marriage to new covenant believers.

    I would love to answer this. However the discussion is dependent on reaching agreement on the issue of sufficiency. Else it is like discussing algebra while disagreeing that 2+2=4.

  62. von says:

    >>The reason I’m going slow is because I am learning in these Internet discussions and debates I tend to assume too much about my opponent without first knowing what he really wants to argue and what he means by theonomy or such.

    np. Now you just have to convince the others 🙂

    for more on what I believe, you can go to vonstakes.com

  63. von says:

    >>but it is not scripture that is involved in figuring out how to actually eliminate cancer cells from her body.

    Actually, it is. Suppose, for example, that you were to begin attacking cancer with African Spiritualist assumptions, as opposed to Christian ones. In that case, you would know that all disease is caused by broken relationships and curses. Thus, when someone was stricken with cancer, you would begin to search for the broken relationship, and the person that had performed the curse. Do you, with your presuppositions, think that this search would reveal how to treat the cancer?

  64. von says:

    >>How about you take that over here then?

    I can argue it anywhere. But it seems a pity to waste this whole thread. And the theonomy discussion here is dependent on the sufficiency discussion… and doubly dependent on the inerrancy discussion which lies behind your posts.

  65. RubeRad says:

    It is also clear that, apart from Gods’ revelation, all else that we do is useless and void.

    Is that why God needed to actively confound the efforts of the Babel-onians? Were the agriculture, metallurgy, and music devised by the seed of the serpent useless and void?

  66. RubeRad says:

    Well as you said, this thread has sidetracked on to biblical sufficiency, when the original issue was supposed to be theonomy. So I made a post that solves the question of Biblical sufficiency, so you should go over there, and when you’re all straightened out, you can come back here and talk about theonomy! 🙂

  67. RubeRad says:

    (a) OK, so you bring in the Bible, and learn that the disease is caused by the broken relationship between God and man, and that led to God’s curse, and this is the root cause of all disease.

    (b) Then you apply the biblical solution to the curse, which is faith in Christ’s redemption, which brings forgiveness of sins

    (c) and then you still have cancer. Now what does the Bible tell you to do?

  68. RubeRad says:

    If you remember history you would realize that NR has been around for several thousand years without producing these results.

    If you remember your bible, you would realize that SR was available in Israel for thousands of years without producing these results.

  69. todd says:

    “I would love to answer this. However…”

    Von,

    I did visit your website. (You definitely are a theonomist!)

    As to not answering my question, I have to admit this is a common response from theonomists. They argue for the modern applicability of OT laws, then when you ask them a specific question about how a certain challenging OT law applies, you get equivocation, platitudes about changes in culture so it’s not clear, insisting that the question is illegitimate to the discussion, etc… Why not just answer the question, if nothing else to demonstrate the consistency of your position. You don’t seem to have a problem with the state putting homosexuals to death, per Leviticus, so why not answer this one? Should Christians today be practicing Levirate marriage according to God’s OT law? Why or why not?

  70. Von says:

    >>They argue for the modern applicability of OT laws, then when you ask them a specific question about how a certain challenging OT law applies, you get equivocation, platitudes about changes in culture so it’s not clear, insisting that the question is illegitimate to the discussion, etc

    Well, they may. I don’t. I believe I have discussed the levirate law, and am perfectly willing to do so. Are you willing to accept the discussion with the FTSOA presupposition that sufficiency and inerrancy are true?

  71. Von says:

    response posted here:
    http://vonstakes.blogspot.com/2010/04/on-levirate-law.html

    Be aware that replies, here or there, will be considered to be fair game to be quoted and replied to, here or there, without warning; unless specifically forbidden.

  72. Von says:

    No, not sidetracked. Sufficiency is foundational to theonomy, as it is to all other Biblical doctrines.

  73. RubeRad says:

    Fair enough; if not sidetracked, how about held up?

  74. RubeRad says:

    What’s a “FTSOA”?

  75. Von says:

    For the sake of argument.

  76. Zrim says:

    Zrims other responses deserve their own thread. They are typical two kingdom responses to theonomy. they are, as he points out, based on a denial of the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture, and thus cannot really be held by anyone who holds to the WCF.

    Von,

    Obviously, when 2K says that special revelation is insufficient what is meant is that it is insufficient to do certain things, sufficient to do others. The theonomic argument, which seems fundamentally unable to make such a simple distinction, is like saying that just because I say a doctor is insufficient to defend me in court that I am saying he is insufficient full stop. That problem should seem obvious.

    Your point seems to be that this is a question of sufficiency, which is fair enough. And when someone says the Bible is insufficient you get queasy because you think what is happening is that Scripture is being somehow fundamentally undermined. I can see that. But the only point that is being made is that we must make important distinctions. It is not to fundamentally undermine our doctor friend when we say he is insufficient to defend us in court. All we mean is that he is trained to heal our injuries, not practice law. The same with holy writ. It was not designed to guide us through this life so much as get us into the next one. Natural revelation does the former, and God is as much its Author as he is special revelation. Why is this such a problem?

  77. Von says:

    Well, if you want to put it that way. But I am always ready to discuss any part of God’s Word, doctrine, etc.

  78. RubeRad says:

    We do want to put it that way. And here’s another way; to say that Scripture is insufficient to answer question X, is not to say that Scripture is deficient; it is to say that Scripture does not intend to answer question X, and it would be (sinfully) inappropriate to try to wrestle an answer to question X out of the Scriptures.

    So are you saying that, now that you understand what we mean by “insufficient”, you agree with us that Scripture is in this sense insufficient for addressing some questions (even though you certainly disagree with us on what those questions might be)?

  79. Von says:

    (Note, my ‘Well if you want to put it that way’ post above was meant as a reply to the ‘held up’ comment above)

    >>It was not designed to guide us through this life so much as get us into the next one.

    Are you serious? And how many hundreds of verses contradict this?

    To begin with:

    2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    as earlier pointed out, ‘perfect’ and ‘every good work’.

    Moving right along, your metaphor completely fails in that the person we are looking to is not a doctor, or a lawyer… but God. God, the Creator of everything. God, the sustainer of everything. God, the infinitely wise, infinitely knowledgeable, infinitely powerful.

    So, away with your doctors and lawyers. He who wrote Scripture is the doctor of doctors, and the lawyer of lawyers, and the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. He is the one we are to honor and glorify every minute of every day. It His word we are to meditate on every minute of every day.

  80. Von says:

    >>So are you saying that, now that you understand what we mean by “insufficient”, you agree with us that Scripture is in this sense insufficient for addressing some questions (even though you certainly disagree with us on what those questions might be)?

    Now that I understand what you mean, I disagree even more strongly with your use of the term. There are no questions that God’s Word does not answer, although we may disagree on what that answer might be 🙂

  81. RubeRad says:

    OK, so I’m quite anxious to hear what you think about how God’s Word answers the question “What number do you get when you divide the circumference of a circle by the diameter of a circle?”

    Oh yeah, and “what time should church start — 10:00 or 10:30?”

  82. Von says:

    >>OK, so I’m quite anxious to hear what you think about how God’s Word answers the question…

    Somehow I don’t think you are actually anxious to actually hear an answer to those questions. But, since you asked,

    For the first I would repeat the answer I gave some minutes ago… namely, in a multitude of counselors there is wisdom.

    For the second, I would advise you to go to those that God has appointed to that task… your Elders and Deacons and to obey them that have rule over you.

  83. RubeRad says:

    in a multitude of counselors there is wisdom.

    So those counselors will be able to tell me where the answer to my question can be found in, or deduced from, Scripture?

    go to those that God has appointed to that task… your Elders and Deacons and to obey them that have rule over you

    And they’re going to answer that question from Scripture, right?

  84. todd says:

    “Well, they may. I don’t. I believe I have discussed the levirate law, and am perfectly willing to do so.”

    And your answer?

  85. Von says:

    >>And your answer?

    posted here, as I said above:

    http://vonstakes.blogspot.com/2010/04/on-levirate-law.html

  86. Von says:

    Well, that would depend on the counselors you went to, no?

  87. todd says:

    Von,

    How do you explain the lack of any interest among all the church fathers to apply this law like you believe it should, even given your exceptions and difficulties?

  88. RubeRad says:

    I’ll take that as an evasion…

  89. RubeRad says:

    How/where does the Bible tell me which counselors to go to?

  90. Von says:

    “This” law? The levirate law? I dunno. I don’t do psychology well. Various other Laws seem quite popular for discussion.

    Does a law of God become invalid because of a lack of interest? Does truth stop being truth because people stop believing it it? Peter Pan theology anyone?

  91. RubeRad says:

    And I’ve posted a few comments there; for a guy who says “I like comments to come thick and fast”, you’re pretty slow to moderate…

    G’night for now, I’ll check back in tomorrow!

  92. Von says:

    The word ‘sufficient’ means ‘enough’, ‘not lacking’. I believe that he has given you enough intelligence to know that, His having told you to go to counselors, which counselors to go to. Always remembering the various other Scriptures on the subject, such as ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.’ Which will help you in not only choosing those counselors, but in evaluating their work.

  93. RubeRad says:

    I believe that he has given you enough intelligence to know

    You mean ‘common sense’ or ‘common grace’ or ‘general revelation’? So Scripture is not sufficient, but intelligence is also necessary?

  94. RubeRad says:

    The word ’sufficient’ means ‘enough’, ‘not lacking’

    If Scripture is ‘enough’, why would I have to resort to other counselors, or if I need to resort to counselors that understand Scripture better than me, why would they have to resort to anything but Scriptures?

  95. Von says:

    Sorry about the delayed moderation, email issues. Comments moderated now, and replies posted.

  96. todd says:

    Von,

    The basic problem is that for most theonomists, Moses is the central figure of the Bible. Jesus only comes to enable us to obey Moses. You do not understand how Jesus fulfills the Law, thus you do not really understand the gospel. If you start with basic covenant theology, that the Israeli theocracy typified the church, you would avoid seeking to put us all back under the Law. The state is never to be the fulfillment of Israel in the New Testament.

    The Laws of God are covenantal; they are conditioned by the covenant those laws are a part of. Noah’s covenant obedeince was to build an ark. We don’t build arks. Israel was to kill their enemies in Canaan. That is not our covenant. Our law as Christians in the New Covenant is to associate with homosexuals (I Cor 5) and reach them with the love of Christ. What the state does concerning homosexuality is not for the church to decide, just as the church does not instruct doctors how to cure cancer.

    Yes, through all the covenants the general rule of loving God and neighbor applies, but how that is to be done is conditioned by the unfolding of the covenants and redemptive history.

    The coming of Christ changed everything. That is what you don’t get. It was the Pharisees who wanted a Savior who would bring the whole world back under Moses. Jesus wasn’t interested. Still isn’t.

  97. Von says:

    >>If Scripture is ‘enough’, why would I have to resort to other counselors, or if I need to resort to counselors that understand Scripture better than me, why would they have to resort to anything but Scriptures?

    Because that is what Scripture says. If you wish to take up the details of how God run’s the world with Him.

  98. Von says:

    >>The basic problem is that for most theonomists, Moses is the central figure of the Bible

    Wrong. Never met a theonomist that said anything of the sort. In fact, it is more the opposite. A theonomist recognizes that God (ie Christ) is the author of all of Scripture.

    >>Jesus only comes to enable us to obey Moses.

    Again, false.

    >>The coming of Christ changed everything. That is what you don’t get. It was the Pharisees who wanted a Savior who would bring the whole world back under Moses. Jesus wasn’t interested. Still isn’t.

    The coming of Christ was what the entire Old Testament pointed toward. All of Scripture points to Christ. Christ is the author of all of Scripture. God’s law condeming Sodomites to Civil execution (along with adulterers, etc.) is as much a reflection of His holiness in the civil realm as baptism is a refelction of his death in the realm of the church.

    As it is written:

    Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
    Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: Rom 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Rom 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

    and

    1Ti 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 1Ti 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 1Ti 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

  99. todd says:

    Von,

    Both of these Scripture passages argue against theonomy. Paul in I Tim is not speaking of the civil use of the OT law, but its use in Rom 7, to reveal sin and drive one to Christ. And we won’t even start with theonomists misuse of Rom 13, enough has been written on that. Of course you would not see or admit that Moses is central. But you do have Christ coming to bring people willingly back unto Moses, so in essence it is. Christ being the author of the OT is not the point, that he fulfilled the OT is. That is what theonomists do not understand.

  100. Zrim says:

    Are you serious? And how many hundreds of verses contradict this?

    To begin with:
    2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    Von, I don’t see how those contradict my claim that Scripture is insufficient for temporal concerns but sufficient for eternal ones. Everything these verses cite in relation to the sufficiency of Scripture is about eternal concerns.

    Moving right along, your metaphor completely fails in that the person we are looking to is not a doctor, or a lawyer… but God. God, the Creator of everything. God, the sustainer of everything. God, the infinitely wise, infinitely knowledgeable, infinitely powerful.

    Von, it was an analogy. I guess I assumed you understood that all analogies, by definition, break down. The literal mechanism at play in your theonomy is also playing tricks with your ability to understand things like analogy and metaphor and simile. These are crucial devices in Scripture, and if one doesn’t know how to use them he might end up gouging out his own eyes. Or being a theonomist. It also helps explain why you don’t understand typology, shadow and fulfillment.

  101. Zrim says:

    Todd, as you have pointed out, it has always seemed to me that that is precisely what theonomy, in whatever degree, fundamentally misses: Christ fulfilled law. It would seem that if this were grasped there wouldn’t be so much obsession with law.

  102. RubeRad says:

    More theonomists need to read Vern Poythress’ excellent (and free online!) book: The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses

  103. RubeRad says:

    Everything these verses cite in relation to the sufficiency of Scripture is about eternal concerns.

    Z, you should already know that Von ignores the import of “wise unto salvation” and hangs his hat on “all good works”

  104. RubeRad says:

    Von, maybe you lost track, since you are so busy losing a war on three fronts, but on the other thread John Calvin accused you of insulting the Holy Spirit…

  105. todd says:

    Zrim,

    I like your 2k summary except for this statement:

    “In the New Covenant, only the second table of the Law can be said to bind the state.”

    Maybe this should be a new thread, but what do you mean and how do you support this idea?

    Thanks,

    Todd

  106. Zrim says:

    Todd,

    I lifted it from some of RSC’s on-line stuff at the link below (way down at the bottom under “Polemics”). The general topic is covenant theology, and here he is addressing Disp’ism and hints that Disp’im and theonomy are twin errors that classic covenant theology opposes.

    http://www.wscal.edu/clark/covtheses.php

    What is it you don’t like about the statement?

  107. todd says:

    It doesn’t make sense that the state is bound to enforce the second half of the Decologue. Where do you find that? Does that mean the state should make adultery and fornication illegal? What do you mean by the word “bind?”

  108. RubeRad says:

    I was more confused by “10. The kingdom of the left hand describes the exercise of power in the ecclesiastical and civil realms.”

    I thought the left hand was exclusively civil, and the right hand was exclusively ecclesiastical, i.e. sword of metal vs. sword of excommunication.

  109. Zrim says:

    It doesn’t make sense that the state is bound to enforce the second half of the Decologue. Where do you find that? Does that mean the state should make adultery and fornication illegal? What do you mean by the word “bind?”

    Todd,

    It seems to me the point follows from the preceding four (i.e. distinguishing between civil/ceremonial laws and the moral law). The state is ordained to reward good and punish evil (Romans 13). I’m not sure how it does that without the moral code to guide it. I don’t know what you’d have in mind that it means to criminalize those things. I think we have sanctions written into certain laws already that are unfavorable to marital deviancies, or at least reward martial virtue. I think legalizing/criminalizing things is a fairly complicated topic, but I don’t see what would be wrong with punishing/rewarding one or the other in some way. I can’t perjure myself on the stand (the ninth) without sanction. That seems wholesome to me.

    I was more confused by “10. The kingdom of the left hand describes the exercise of power in the ecclesiastical and civil realms.”

    I thought the left hand was exclusively civil, and the right hand was exclusively ecclesiastical, i.e. sword of metal vs. sword of excommunication.

    Rube, now that I look at it more closely, me too. Hmm.

  110. Von says:

    >>Z, you should already know that Von ignores the import of “wise unto salvation” and hangs his hat on “all good works”

    ::2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    I’m not wearing a hat right now, but I must admit your statement leaves me confused. We all, I would hope, agree that no ‘good work’ leads to our salvation. “Good works”, in all orthodox theologies, are earthly reactions to God’s work in our hearts; in a word, sanctification.

    The view of the Scriptures that I hold has them as helping us in several areas, which include both ‘wise unto salvation’ and ‘every good work’. I do not see them as either contradictory or exclusive. Surely the NT is full of instructions as to how the Godly man is to live his life, not merely how to be saved? Or is a woman wearing a headcovering necessary to her salvation?

  111. Von says:

    >>Paul in I Tim is not speaking of the civil use of the OT law, but its use in Rom 7, to reveal sin and drive one to Christ.

    This is a fascinating statement, and one I would like to explore. Are you saying that a law, say, commanding sodomites to be stoned, drives people to Christ. I would definitely agree, but it seems to go against much of what you have argued earlier.

  112. Von says:

    >>>The state is ordained to reward good and punish evil (Romans 13). I’m not sure how it does that without the moral code to guide it.

    ooooh. ooooh. What a wonderful theonomic point. Can a heathen states enforcement of immoral laws really be his way of ministering for God? If he rewards what is actually evil and punishes what is actually good?

  113. Von says:

    >>Von, it was an analogy. I guess I assumed you understood that all analogies, by definition, break down.

    Yes, they do. Unfortunately yours breaks down at the very point of trying to make it’s point. You compare a *limited* individual (and point out that he is, of necessity limited) with an *unlimited* God. By nature most of those trained in medicine are ignorant of law. By nature, God is ignorant of neither.

  114. Von says:

    and…

    A metaphor is an analogy between two objects or ideas, conveyed by the use of a word instead of another. The English metaphor derives from the 16th-century Old French métaphore, from the Latin metaphora “carrying over”, Greek (μεταφορά) metaphorá “transfer”, [1] from (μεταφέρω) metaphero “to carry over”, “to transfer” [2] and from (μετά) meta “between” [3] + (φέρω) phero, “to bear”, “to carry”.[4] Moreover, metaphor also denotes rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison, and resemblance, e.g. antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, and simile; all are species of metaphor. [5]

    I think this was a simile… but I could be wrong. Simile being a subspecies of metaphor which is a subspecies of of analogy.

  115. Von says:

    >>But you do have Christ coming to bring people willingly back unto Moses

    I do have Christ coming to write the Law of God on the hearts of His followers, yes. Indeed, I remember…

    Heb 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: Heb 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; Heb 10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. Heb 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Heb 10:15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, Heb 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; Heb 10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Heb 10:18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

  116. RubeRad says:

    I don’t see how Heb10/Jer31 bolsters Moses, especially as Heb8/Jer31 is followed immediately by calling the Mosaic covenant “obsolete”

  117. Von says:

    A Small Conundrum

    There is something I don’t understand about the anti-theonomic position, but perhaps someone can enlighten me. Let me propose a small conundrum and perhaps one of you can enlighten me.

    Suppose that the country you live in is facing an election , where there is a choice between the following:

    There is an act, let us call it ‘X’. The people of the country are of three opinions:

    a) A certain group believes that X should be a crime, and the punishment for it should be A.
    b) Another group thinks that X should be a crime, and the punishment for it should be B.
    c) Another group thinks that X shouldn’t be a crime.

    Now, the OT law agrees with one of these positions. (I won’t tell you which one.) The conundrum that I see is this:
    If you vote for the position that Scripture agrees with, then that is theonomy. But what do you use to choose between the others? And what if whatever you use actually ends up agreeing with with the theonomic position?

    After all, God’s law for Israel was ‘perfect’. So we know that the theonomic answer is, by definition, ‘perfect’. It is the answer that would make all the nations around Israel jealous. So how do you insure that you do not pick that one? Do you deliberately go to the law, figure out what that answer is, and then deliberately choose the other one?

  118. Von says:

    >>I don’t see how Heb10/Jer31 bolsters Moses,

    Moses? I don’t think I said anything about Moses. Hebrews ten, on the other hand, speaks of God’s Law being written on the hearts of the believers in Christ. Why is that law written there? If God’s Holy and Perfect Law no longer reflects His will, then why did he write it on our hearts?

  119. todd says:

    Von,

    The whole OT Law -with its strict demands, strict enforcement, and curse for breaking it, was given as a covenant of works to drive the Israelites to faith in Christ. It was for Israel, not Canada. It was given to a holy nation living in the Holy Land in covenant with God. God did not make such a coveant with the U.S.A. The OT laws to kill or severely punish rebellious children, adulterers, Sabbath breakers, etc… pictured final judgment. To desire these laws enforced today is to want our enemies cursed now instead of redeemed, it is to force judgment ahead of time, it is to ignore the age of outreach we are in, it is to miss the whole progression from Old Testament to New and how Christ fulfills (no, not confirms) the OT law.

    Yes, the state may enforce the death penalty to those who harm others, but that was not the reason the OT law was written for Israel, as a model of how all nations should enforce all laws at all time. The laws were religious for the theocracy of Israel. God told the Israelites to kill the Canaanites, women and children too – yes, right and just for the typology of the Conquest picturing final judgment, wrong and unjust for the New Covenant age before Christ returns.

    Related to this, you need to stop using derogatory names for homosexuals. It is beneath someone who claims the name of Christ. If you keep using it I will ask the other hosts to ban you from the site. Jesus befriended sinners, not by using such language. Maybe if you befriended some homosexuals instead of concerning yourself with their death you might find out they are real people with hearts as fragile as ours.

  120. todd says:

    “Now, the OT law agrees with one of these positions. (I won’t tell you which one.) The conundrum that I see is this:”

    False premise. The OT law does not agree with any of those positions, because the Law was for Israel the typological theocracy, not for China, etc…

  121. Von says:

    >>Related to this, you need to stop using derogatory names for homosexuals

    Derogatory terms? For Homosexuals?

    First of all, I am using Biblical language.

    1Ki 14:24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

    1Ki 15:12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

    1Ki 22:46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.

    2Ki 23:7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

    And second of all, neither the term nor the concept of ‘homosexual’ appears anywhere in Scripture. It is a modern invention which attempts to create a class of person out of a given sin; stripping them of their humanity, as if they lives were determined by a particular bessetting sin. As Paul says,

    1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 1Co 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    If you prefer the terms ‘effeminate’ and ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’, I will use those terms.

    I bring the gospel of hope to all sinners, as these same verses point out:

    1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God

    The hope for all those committing a given sin: beit Sodomy, adultery, murder, fornication… is to turn to Christ in repentance.

  122. Von says:

    >>False premise. The OT law does not agree with any of those positions, because the Law was for Israel the typological theocracy, not for China, etc…

    Not a premise, a statement. But if you prefer, I will restate.

    If the OT law would have called this a crime if it had happened during the time of the OT (there was no theocracy, but leaving that aside)… or if would NOT have been a crime. And if, during the time of the OT, this particular crime had called (during the OT) for a certain punishment (unless, of course, it had not been a crime) then… if you are still following me… if that was the situation concerning this particular activity, then, how would you deal with it?

    So, for example. Suppose that the OT law said that gum chewing was an abomination. And suppose that the penalty for gum chewing was to have your tounge ripped out out by the roots… and suppose your community was discussing the laws for gum chewing. Should it be illegal, what should be the penalty, etc.

    There, is that better?

  123. Von says:

    >>Yes, the state may enforce the death penalty to those who harm others, but that was not the reason the OT law was written for Israel, as a model of how all nations should enforce all laws at all time.

    Well, no, it wasn’t. Did I say it was? I think I said, earlier, that all of God’s Laws were designed to bring him glory. What I *did* say was that those laws were perfect, and righteous, and *would* cause the surrounding nations to be jealous because of their… well, I will post the verses:

    Deu 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. Deu 4:7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? Deu 4:8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

    Mic 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. Mic 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

  124. Von says:

    >>but that was not the reason the OT law was written for Israel, as a model of how all nations should enforce all laws at all time.

    Now, if by ‘model’ you mean that it would be less than perfect to enforce anything else; if you mean that those laws are the only prefect laws; if you mean that anything less would be obviously less beneficial… well, that’s true.

    Psa 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. Psa 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. Psa 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

  125. Von says:

    >>The whole OT Law -with its strict demands, strict enforcement, and curse for breaking it, was given as a covenant of works to drive the Israelites to faith in Christ.

    No, there never was a ‘covenant of works’. Everyone that has ever been saved has been saved by faith. As it is written:


    Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

    and, as you yourself point out, the law still drives people to Christ.

    Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

  126. Von says:

    >>It was for Israel, not Canada. It was given to a holy nation living in the Holy Land in covenant with God.

    So, ‘thou shalt not murder’ is not meant for Canada? Thou shalt not steal, is invalid in Ubekistan? Coveting is OK in the UK?

  127. Von says:

    Oh, and BTW:

    1Jn 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

  128. RubeRad says:

    Agreed. “God’s law for Israel was ‘perfect'”… for Israel. God’s law for Israel included exterminating the local population, which is not a perfect law for any nation which is not pre-A.D.70 Israel (although at this point, I suspect Von may somehow try to claim that this aspect of the law is still valid)

  129. RubeRad says:

    For once, I agree with Von here. What’s wrong with ‘sodomites’? I see that as an objective (and biblical) term. ‘fags’ on the other hand, would be heading in the direction of hateful. But really, let’s not waste any discussion on this topic when there are much larger issues at stake.

  130. RubeRad says:

    In Heb10, and Heb8, and Jer31, what is being written on our hearts is “not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt,” not the law of Moses.

  131. RubeRad says:

    A Small Conundrum

    You vote for the position that agrees with Natural Law, enscribed on your conscience by God. Sometimes your vote will align with Moses, sometimes not. Always your vote will be affected by some level of suppression of the truth in unrighteousness, but it can be “what the law requires” (Rom 2:14-15). Probably never will any such decision be “perfect”, because in reality, no vote is for a single, isolated, black&white issue (Prop 8 was rather exceptional), but an act, or a candidate, or a platform comprises a mixed bag of many political solutions which are striving to meet multiple, conflicting goals (that’s what “political” means), so to vote for one element which is “right” you’ll have to also vote for another element which your conscience tells you is wrong.

    So yes, we all agree that a non-theonomic, 2K theology does not give us a “perfect” government. But that doesn’t mean that theonomy is correct. It is not a logical to conclude “Man’s law is not perfect ==> God’s law for Israel is perfect for all other nations” Nor is it logical to conclude “Other nations would be jealous of Israel’s perfect law ==> Other nations can have perfect law”.

  132. RubeRad says:

    No, there never was a ‘covenant of works’. Everyone that has ever been saved has been saved by faith.

    I don’t think you understand what todd means by Covenant of Works. Adam was in a covenant of works, whereby he would never have needed to be ‘saved’, if he had earned heaven by his own obedience. And because the first Adam broke the covenant of works, Christ had to fulfil the covenant of works (Jn 17:4-5), and thus the rewards that His obedience earned can be ours through faith, in the covenant of grace.

    Before Christ came, Israelites were also saved by faith in Christ, as exhibited by their use of sacrifices which pointed forward to the cross. But the Mosaic covenant also included a works-based component, by which Israel in their Holy Land typified Adam in the garden, and Christ incarnate; obedience earns blessing (and keeping the land), disobedience earns cursing (and losing the land) (Deut 28, Neh 9:26-31). But the covenant-of-works status of Israel as a nation is a completely separate issue from the covnenant-of-grace status of individual Israelites who had faith in the messiah to come (1 Kings 19:18, Rom 2:28-29)

  133. von says:

    >>But the Mosaic covenant also included a works-based component, by which Israel in their Holy Land typified Adam in the garden, and Christ incarnate;

    If this is what you mean, then James contradicts your thesis on the other side:

    Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
    Jas 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
    Jas 1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
    Jas 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
    Jas 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
    Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    Jas 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
    Jas 2:11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
    Jas 2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
    Jas 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
    Jas 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
    Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
    Jas 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
    Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    Jas 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
    Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
    Jas 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
    Jas 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
    Jas 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

    We see here that James point out that our faith, just as much as the faith of our fathers, has what you wish to call a ‘component of works’.

    No, there is no distinction. Abraham was saved by faith, and his faith was then worked out in his life. Even so we are saved by faith, and our faith is worked out in our life.

    There is now, nor was there ever, a covenant of works. Even Adam was saved by Faith. Even his obedience to God in the garden, if he had obeyed, would have been an act of faith in God his creator.

  134. RubeRad says:

    Even Adam was saved by Faith. Even his obedience to God in the garden, if he had obeyed, would have been an act of faith in God his creator.

    You got a verse for that?

    Even if there is some semantic possibility that you are correct, the point is, Adam would have been “saved” by his own personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience/faithfulness. Likewise, Christ earned salvation for us with his own obedience. Contrariwise, we are obviously not saved by our own works; nor are we even saved by our own faith. Our faith is not a work that saves us (Rom 4:5 “To the one who does not work but believes…”, thus believing is not work); rather our (graciously God-granted) faith obtains for us the benefits of Christ’s (meritorious) work.

    Covenant of Works: you are rewarded/punished as a consequence of what you did. (Like Adam and the Fall, Israel and their land)

    Covenant of Grace: Christ is punished for what somebody else (you) did; you are rewarded for what somebody else (Christ) did.

  135. Von says:

    >>Covenant of Works: you are rewarded/punished as a consequence of what you did. (Like Adam and the Fall, Israel and their land)

    Does not exist. Never did. Not for Adam, not for Israel.

    >>Covenant of Grace: Christ is punished for what somebody else (you) did; you are rewarded for what somebody else (Christ) did.

    True. And anyone that is saved, is saved by Grace. Creation itself is Grace. You remember:

    Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
    Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
    Rom 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
    Rom 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: Rom 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
    Rom 9:24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

  136. RubeRad says:

    Does not exist. Never did. Not for Adam, not for Israel.

    Adam was not to be rewarded/punished based on his own obedience? Israel’s possession of the land was not contingent upon their own obedience? Then whose?

  137. Von says:

    >>You vote for the position that agrees with Natural Law, enscribed on your conscience by God. Sometimes your vote will align with Moses, sometimes not.

    So then you are saying that natural law, the law enscribed on our conscience, would, at times, disagree with revealed law.

    I guess the NT church should have told Paul that when he said such things as ‘even the law…’. His view seemed to be that our consciences went ‘beyond’ the written law. That, whereas the written law only condemned the act of adultery, our consciences condemned that AND lusting after a woman.

    So, again, now that Israel is no longer an issue, we have to examine wether murder is OK (the Nazi’s seemed to think so), suicide is OK (the Japanese), Effeminancy (the modern US). How… interesting. (and unBiblical)

  138. Von says:

    >>Adam was not to be rewarded/punished based on his own obedience? Israel’s possession of the land was not contingent upon their own obedience? Then whose?

    Adam and Israel were *no more* to be punished or rewarded for their own obedience *than we are*.

    Paul and James make it clear that the same rules that we operate under are the rules that the patriarchs operated under. That the role of faith (Paul) and works (James) are and were the same for both.

    So whatever the answer is for RubeRad, the same answer applies to Adam and Noah and Abraham and David. And me.

  139. Von says:

    >>You got a verse for that?

    Gal 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

  140. todd says:

    Rube,

    If your neighbor was gay would you invite him over for dinner and call him a Sodomite? If not, why in a public forum?

  141. RubeRad says:

    So then you are saying that natural law, the law enscribed on our conscience, would, at times, disagree with revealed law.

    No, natural law never disagrees with revealed law, but unrighteous suppression can interfere with our perception of natural law.

    Also, natural law is a subset of revealed law. For instance, God did not write onto the hearts of all men that they must be circumcised. And I’m pretty certain that natural law says we must eat bacon. How else can you make a BLT?

  142. todd says:

    Rube, It’s not only the term Sodomites, (though I’m wondering how lesbians are included in that term) but the use of the word word added with the desire to see them executed by the state. I just want to be careful that new readers would see that Von’s theonomy has more in common with Islam’s Sharia Law than true Christianity.

  143. Von says:

    >>You vote for the position that agrees with Natural Law, enscribed on your conscience by God.

    BTW, this is what theonomists mean by ‘autonomy’. As the society gets further and further from an understanding of God’s law, these consciences become more and more divorced from that law which he writes on our hearts.

  144. RubeRad says:

    Paul and James make it clear that the same rules that we operate under are the rules that the patriarchs operated under.

    Yes, the patriarchs were also born after the fall, born children of wrath, with no opportunity to fulfill the covenant of works. But before the Fall, Adam was obviously in a different state.

    So whatever the answer is for RubeRad…

    The answer for RubeRad is that, without Christ, I get punished for my own sins (also for original sin, which I and all men sinned in Adam). All the nonelect are damned for violating Adam’s covenant of works.

  145. RubeRad says:

    Fine, but I would put that at about #367 on the prioritized list of Von’s Problems That Need Dealing With.

  146. Von says:

    >>If your neighbor was gay would you invite him over for dinner and call him a Sodomite? If not, why in a public forum?

    I would not invite him over for dinner, but, when dealing with him at work I would no more call him a Sodomite then I would call my adulterous friends adulterers, my thieving friends thieves, etc. IE I would only during an appropriate conversation.

  147. todd says:

    Rube,

    Right, I wasn’t thinking of dealing with Von’s problems, but making sure the public doesn’t think this is okay.

    Von, you wouldn’t invite a gay man over for dinner? Are you holier than Jesus?

  148. RubeRad says:

    Jesus never invited anybody over for dinner. Where would he invite them to? I wouldn’t invite a gay couple over for dinner (unless my kids were not going to be there). A single gay man more likely, especially a repentant, Christian one. And I would have no problem going over to a gay couples’ house for dinner. I’m always up for a free meal!

  149. todd says:

    Rube and Von,

    Don’t over analyze about the invite. Why go the qualifications before affirming the general principle of I Cor 5?

  150. RubeRad says:

    1 Cor 5 doesn’t say go out and find a serial killer and bring him into your home; that would endanger yourself. Likewise, I wouldn’t invite a gay couple to have dinner with my whole family any more than I would invite a couple of heterosexual, open adulterers. There’s associate, and there’s associate. I would have no problems working with anybody, patronizing anybody’s business, being in civic organizations together (civic orchestra, …)

  151. todd says:

    Rube,

    I get the qualification of children, though I don’t share the fear, but Von did not qualify, simply said he would not do it, which prompted the question.

  152. von says:

    I have six children… and a wife, so bringing a dangerous person home is a violation of my responsibility to protect my family.

  153. von says:

    I Cor 5?

    9I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

    The word ‘altogether’ would still seem to allow for a great deal of latitude and judgement as to whether someone would be an appropriate dinner guest for the Christian family.

  154. Zrim says:

    Von (Rube?),

    Don’t you see a difference between dinner tables and Supper Tables? I have fornicators, adulterers and homosexuals in my family. It’s a relative question as to whether some would be welcome at our dinner table, though I cannot think of a single one who would be deemed dangerous to my family by virtue of their unrepentant sin. Which is to say, all things being equal, I cannot think of a single one who would be unwelcome.

    However, it’s an absolute answer as to whether any of them would welcome at the Supper Table (no). And that’s because the danger is to them, not to me and mine.

  155. von says:

    There are huge differences between these two things:

    1) There is a difference in jurisdiction. The Lord’s supper is under the jurisdiction of the elders, my table is under my jurisdiction as head of household.

    2) There is a difference in the sin involved, and who it is focused on: An unrepentant sinner taking the Lord’s supper fist of all blasphemes; and only secondarily insults and corrupts those he eats with.
    The one at my table insults and corrupts me and mine; as well as destroying my own witness.

    3) There are at least two very different dangers here. In the case of the Lord’s supper the sinner risks the Lords direct rebuke. However in both of the cases, with all due respect, the elder or father responsible risks exactly what you deny. They risk it being thought by one under their authority that there is somehow no danger in the invitation.

    Whereas the danger is real and extreme. Scripture, speaking specfically to churches in the NT and to everyone in the OT, speaks frequently of the danger of a failure to cast out or otherwise punish the unrepentant sinner.

  156. todd says:

    von,

    “However in both of the cases, with all due respect, the elder or father responsible risks exactly what you deny. They risk it being thought by one under their authority that there is somehow no danger in the invitation.”

    What does this mean?

  157. Zrim says:

    Von,

    However in both of the cases, with all due respect, the elder or father responsible risks exactly what you deny. They risk it being thought by one under their authority that there is somehow no danger in the invitation.

    You say there are huge differences between a table and the Table. So do I. But you seem to then suggest maybe there isn’t a very big difference, as in inviting my gay BIL to dinner is dangerous to my daughters and his nieces. How so? He lived with us for 8 months once, and both of them seem unharmed to me. A dinner invite at this point seems trifling.

  158. RubeRad says:

    This invite-a-gay-neighbor-over-to-dinner threadjack is so not worth pursuing!

  159. Zrim says:

    I don’t know, Rube, I think it could be a real-world concrete that helps illustrate how one distinguishes the kingdoms. What exactly sticks in your craw about it?

  160. RubeRad says:

    It’s not about what this thread is about, namely what “biblical sufficiency” means. It is not absurd (to me) that Von won’t automatically invite any gay couple into his house. What is absurd is that he claims the Bible is sufficient to understand pi. I.e. there’s no point niggling over what the Bible means when there is such a wide gulf between us over what the Bible even says.

  161. todd says:

    Rube,

    Sufficiency was another thread, though related. Since I began this thread, I think it is a very appropriate question to demonstrate the error of theonomy. Most often a man’s theology is better understood by his practice than by his theories.

  162. Von says:

    How odd. My response here has nothing to do with theonomy. Unless one considers obedience to NT precepts also theonomy.

    Anyway, the damage done to your family by your inviting unrepentant sinners (and I mean here primarily people unrelated to you) is that, in violating God’s precepts on the subject, you teach your wife and children to violate this precept, and by implication, all of God’s precepts.

  163. RubeRad says:

    Well that goes too far, because that would prevent you from ever inviting any non-Christians (unrepentant sinners) into your home, which you would probably affirm. I guess you are commanded to associate with the immoral, but not your family?

    Still though, I think this direction is pointless. I mean, todd & z & I might have a fruitful discussion, but Von is coming from out in left field, and does not have enough in common with us to have a meaningful discussion.

  164. Zrim says:

    Anyway, the damage done to your family by your inviting unrepentant sinners (and I mean here primarily people unrelated to you) is that, in violating God’s precepts on the subject, you teach your wife and children to violate this precept, and by implication, all of God’s precepts.

    Von,

    I can see how it is to violate God’s precepts to invite unrepentant sinners to the Table, but how is it to violate God’s precepts to invite unrepentant sinners to table? What precepts precisely are being violated by doing so? And how does the danger go away when the unrepentant are biological family who are invited to table? Indeed, when it comes to the Table, I don’t see that it matters if the unrepentant are biologically related or not—they mayn’t come.

  165. Von says:

    Todd, this issue deserves a full post, which I don’t have time for right this second. Perhaps tonight. If I don’t remember remind me.

  166. Von says:

    sorry, zrim, not Todd.

  167. Von says:

    …ever inviting any non-Christians (unrepentant sinners) into your home,

    Sorry for the shorthand. I meant unrepentant sinners of the kind we were discussing.

  168. Zrim says:

    Rube,

    If it helps, I don’t think we’re really talking about who we invite as dinner guests. The discussion really is about how believers negotiate their holy and profane activities; and 2Kers and theonomists see it very differently. In that sense, I think it can yield more meaning than you’re giving it credit for.

  169. blblblbl says:

    On your another blog, you state that levirate law is still valid. I don’t understand why you support it?? If my husband is died, I’m obliged to marry his brother, I have no choice?? if there are seven brothers, all of them should be my husbands??? Or we should maybe force rape victims to marry their assailants, or christian warriors have the right to abduct foreign women of another religion, assimilate them and make them against their will their wives?? in one word- make women again the property of men, like in pre-christian world, or we should re-introduce slavery?? or maybe stone prostitutes and adulterers, even justify death penalty by leviticus, only because it’s mentioned in Bible and justified?? How these “laws” are still valid?? how they should “help” me?? they’re NOT the laws of God in my eyes, I’ll NEVER EVER marry my brother-in-law, it’s my right and free will, I’ll NEVER EVER marry my rapist and seducer, I’ll NEVER EVER marry my abductor warrior, nor be his slave.
    Besides, do you consider yourselves holier than Jesus when you say that you won’t invite sinners in table? Jesus even let sinful woman approach her! Jesus went always to sinners, He prefers sinners over those who don’t need repentance, have you even heard parable about lost sheep?

  170. RubeRad says:

    Those are all good questions, but Von has not been around for a long time and will probably never see them. I can try though…

    On your another blog, you state that levirate law is still valid. I don’t understand why you support it??

    Because he’s very, very confused.

    If my husband is died, I’m obliged to marry his brother, I have no choice??

    To be fair, if you read his blog carefully, you can see that he makes exceptions for people who are otherwise committed by “monogamy vows”, and explains that “Unfortunately, in today’s society, there are several obstacles.” I don’t understand, however, how (as a Theonomist) he can let any obstacles stand in the way of moral duty to God’s Law, but then again I don’t understand most of the stuff he says. Must be that one of the two of us is really, really dumb.

    Rather than making this already-longer thread even longer, I recommend you drop a comment over on Von’s blog and see if you can get a sensible response out of him.

  171. >>On your another blog, you state that levirate law is still valid. I don’t understand why you support it??

    These are two different issues. You ask me if I think it is still valid and then you begin a series of questions and comments that seem to say it was never valid. Do you believe that God’s Law was perfect at least for Israel? Or was the levirate law simply always wrong?

    I support it because God commanded it.

  172. RubeRad says:

    Hey Von, that was fast!

    As I mentioned, I recommend going over to Von’s site to discuss, because the comment-thread there is shorter, and his post is actually “about” levirate marriage (and another about dining with unrepentant sinners). You two are welcome to use this space to discuss if you want, but I will be trying to resist participating. Been around this tree too may times already.

  173. yep, she’s welcome to comment there. I saw it because I have subscribed to comments.

  174. To be fair Von answered that, but let’s go through it again.

    The purpose of the law was that your dead husband’s name and inheritance be preserved. If he died too soon after marrying you for you to have conceived an heir for him then, in Biblical terms, his ‘name’ and his ‘inheritance’ risked dying with him.

    Your job, then, was to see to it that this didn’t happen: to bear and raise up a child by another man who would, legally, be the child or your dead husband: who would carry on his name, and receive his inheritance.

    The man God chooses for this task of taking you unto himself and enabling you to have his child is your dead husband’s brother: a Hebrew term of wide application which can mean literal brother, cousin, or male relative.

    We see the grace in the way that this law is applied in the book of Ruth where, even if the closest male relative was unwilling to perform this duty, another male relative could step in for him. This would obviously (at least to me, Rube seems to find it hard to grasp) apply even more to those who couldn’t step in… a closer brother who was dead, or a eunuch or… as in today’s society, had taken a monogamous vow which (according to Scripture) must be kept.

    So God, in his infinite love and mercy, provided by this law a new husband for the widow, and a continuance of the dead former husband’s name and inheritance.

  175. Rth 4:1 Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.
    Rth 4:2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.
    Rth 4:3 And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s:
    Rth 4:4 And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.
    Rth 4:5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.
    Rth 4:6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.
    Rth 4:7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.
    Rth 4:8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.
    Rth 4:9 And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.
    Rth 4:10 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.
    Rth 4:11 And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:
    Rth 4:12 And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.
    Rth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.
    Rth 4:14 And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.
    Rth 4:15 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.
    Rth 4:16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.
    Rth 4:17 And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
    Rth 4:18 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,
    Rth 4:19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab,
    Rth 4:20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,
    Rth 4:21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,
    Rth 4:22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

  176. RubeRad says:

    In other words, blblblbl, no, you are not forced to marry your brother-in-law, but if you want an heir, maybe you can force him to marry you. (Unless he chants the magic words “Monogamy Vow!” or doesn’t mind being publicly slapped with a sandal.)

  177. I’m not sure where you get either of these answers from my post.

    Here is the law:

    Deu 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.
    Deu 25:6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.
    Deu 25:7 And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.
    Deu 25:8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and if he stand to it, and say, I like not to take her;
    Deu 25:9 Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house.
    Deu 25:10 And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

    So she is required to marry one of her husband’s brothers. It may not be the closest brother if he is dead or otherwise unavailable, or if he is unwilling… in which case he is to be cursed.

    From the mocking way in which Rube treats this law I wonder at his assertion, which I believe I read, that this law WAS made by God to be applied to Israel. Even if it no longer applies to us today, is it to be mocked? Was it wrong even then, Rube?

  178. RubeRad says:

    What is laughable is your attempt to uphold a law that was intended to maintain land and line, when neither have any meaning in this age.

    But as I said, I have tired of going around this tree. Everything I have to say, has already been said.

  179. Except you don’t seem to be laughing at my attempt, but at the law itself. Do you confirm that the law was good for Israel… for Ruth and Boaz?

  180. >>maintain land and line

    inheritance and name… both of which have eternal meaning. Both are repeated often in the NT.

  181. RubeRad says:

    The law was good for Ruth and Boaz, but more importantly, the laws protecting line and land were great for us, because they were a means God used to bring the Lion of Judah from the City of David.

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