Tuesday, April 30, 2013

9 comments:

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    1. lol!

      As always, thanks for reading and thinking, Hone. Blessings to you and yours.

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  2. Having come from a Reformed and Theonomic background myself, my understanding of theonomy has shifted somewhat over the years. First I'll say that I love your heart Steve, and your thirst for the Word. We are both agreed on the centrality and importance of God's Law in the lives and ministries of God's people. Psalm 119 is as true and valid today as it was during David's time, and the Law is something believers should rejoice in, and not fear.

    I think you and I share that love for God's Law, and I thank God for it.

    One biblical truth that theonomists generally glide over, but which I find to be important in understanding who the Law applies to today, and how to apply it, regard the categories of moral/ceremonial/judicial law. Most theologians today, if pressed, will admit that these are clumsy, awkward categories -- but feel they are necessary, if one wants to reconcile Paul's writings with the rest of the Tanakh. I would argue that these categories are misleading for a number of reasons: one of which is that the Law of God itself repeatedly reiterates the fact that Israel pledged to do "all the words of this Law" (Deut. 27:26, 28:58, 29:29, etc.) Thus ALL of God's law is moral, per the Law's own definition of what God's people should do. It's true that many commands cannot be done today (the temple-laws being a good example), but I also would argue that there are commands that the church can and should still do today, but due to misunderstanding a few key verses in Paul's letters (Rom. 14, Col. 2, etc), we the church have missed part of God's original intent -- that his people should perpetually seek to do "all the words of [His] Law."

    Misunderstandings of this often lead to misapplications of the Law for today, IMHO.

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    1. You and I disagree on this issue, and yet we have much in common.

      As always, thanks for reading, thinking, and sharing.

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  4. "3. There is one—and only one—God-inspired standard which can serve as a basis and guide for governing (defining “good” and “evil” behavior and determining measures to encourage the one and restrain the other): God’s immutable moral Law which is specially revealed in the 10 Commandments and explicated and applied in certain biblical case laws.

    The 10 commandments were never meant to be civil law. Their purpose was strictly defined as a schoolmaster, leading us to Christ. They are impossible to enforce, literally, to any degree. That was the point, actually, to show how fallen we are. Everyone would be a criminal at all times.

    Secondly, the 10 commandments are impossible to practically enforce. As the Law deals with the heart, and we cannot judge intent reliably, there would be no means by which to maintain such laws. The 10th commandment, for instance. DO not covet. How do you enforce that?

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    1. The 10 Commandments certainly were meant to be foundational to civil law. Many of the case laws in the OT are the explication and application of the 10 Commandments.

      The Apostle Paul is abundantly clear: "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" (1Tim 1:9-10).

      ALL laws are moral. There's no such thing as an amoral law. The only question is: Upon whose morality will the civil magistrate legislate? God's Moral Law or man's autonomous "moral law"?

      Yes, the Law deals with the heart, but not only the heart. It also deals with BEHAVIOR. Thus, my point number three limits the civil magistrate to governing "good" and "evil" BEHAVIOR.

      Nobody is asking for mere men to judge the heart here. This we leave to God. Can the civil magistrate judge sexual lust? No, of course not. Can the civil magistrate punish rape? Yes, of course.

      Thus we are speaking of the civil magistrate and God's moral Law insofar as God's moral law touches upon or manifests itself in BEHAVIOR. The establishment and maintenance of civil justice is concerned with good/sinful BEHAVIOR not good/sinful thought (such as covetousness).

      True, the 10 Commandments have a pedagogical (evangelical) use. That is, the Law drives the elect to Christ. But this is certainly not the only use of the Law.

      The Reformers speak of two other uses of God's moral law. One is the normative use, viz. a guide to Christian living. The other is the civil use, viz. the deterance of evil, a guide for governing.

      I am speaking here only of the civil use.

      Thanks for reading and thinking. Blessings to you and yours.


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    2. Thought it's true that the law is meant to be a schoolmaster, it is myopic to think that is all that it's meant to be. Though regarding justification it is meant to point us to Christ, regarding civil order and the Christian life it is meant to be a standard.

      And though everyone sins everyone is not a civil criminal as the State is to judge only those public sins that it has authority to judge. Anything else would be an abuse of their God-given scope of authority.

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    3. Agreed! Thanks for reading and thinking, Larry.

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