Tuesday, October 2, 2012

God's Law: Who Needs It? pt. 2

We continue the discussion concerning theonomy versus autonomy.

Is God’s Law only or exclusively for God’s people? Do theonomists encourage rebellion and/or revolution? Is theonomy little more than a pipe dream?

Many Christians allege: The only people with whom an appeal to the moral law works are the redeemed. I can appeal to the moral law with a believer but not with an unbeliever.

And yet the Bible is clear concerning the use of the moral Law as a guide for governing even the unregenerate:

But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. (1Timothy 1:8-10)

Thus, I think it is biblical and proper for the civil magistrate to constrain the sinful behavior of the unrighteous with God’s moral Law as his guide.

Some argue: Unless we're staging a coup, theonomy is little more than a thought experiment. Maybe it would be nice to live in such a country but it’s not happening this side of heaven.

Yet theonomists are not, in any sense, advocating a “coup.” We are saying that as Christ’s church grows in number and influence, a Christian populace can and should desire a truly Christian government with biblically-moral laws.

Undoubtedly, most contemporary Christians are in full agreement with the sentiment that no such county will or can exist before Christ’s physical return (to be sure, all Dispensationalists, historic Premillennialists, and Amillennialists share this pessimism).

Hence, most theonomists are Postmillennial in their eschatology. They see such tremendous growth in godliness as a gradual process analogous to the leaven spreading through the entire lump, c.f. Mtt 13:33. (Obviously, I do not consider Postmillennialism to be “little more than a thought experiment.”)

And also, I think most contemporary Christians agree that IF such a country ever does come into existence before Christ’s return, it will be a nice place to live—“MAYBE.”

This is a big maybe. I once asked a large group of believers this question: If you could choose to live under an ungodly democracy or a godly king, which would you choose? I realize the question is reductionistic, but some of the answers surprised me. Which would you choose, dear reader?

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