Should Muslims Try to Legislate Their Morality?

For most residents of the United States, the idea of Sharia law establishing the standards for civil law at the state or federal level (even before 9-11) is unthinkable. But lots of Protestants and Roman Catholics in the U.S. hardly blush when someone puts the question the way the Allies recently did — Should Christians Try to Legislate Their Morality?

On the ordinary playing field of fairness and equality before the law, the notion that Muslims and Jews and Roman Catholics should not try to legislate their morality but evangelicals may is nonsensical. The only way the premise behind the Allies’ question makes sense is if you think either that only the true religion may be legislated (say hello to 1650 Europe and goodbye to 1776 Philadelphia), or that the United States belong to the people who first settled it (say hello to Peter Marshall and David Barton and goodbye to David Hackett Fischer).

To say that Christians should not try to legislate their morality (if the followers of other religions may not) is not to affirm that civil society without religion as the social glue will be easy. Current debates about marriage are indicative of the problems that the American founding set into motion. But neither was life in Christendom easy for Muslims, Jews, and Protestants. So Americans tried to separate religious considerations as much as possible from civil society in establishing a constitutional republic. That led to secular society, a novos ordo seclorum (new order for the ages). Does such a society imply disrespect for God? Perhaps. But its explicit aim was not to deny God’s dominion but to make room for people from diverse faiths (or no faith) to try to live together (and please remember that even the Puritans did not welcome Baptists or Presbyterians). Legislating one religious group’s morality upsets the original agreement. Why Christians still don’t see this hurts my head the way drinking a curry squishee too fast does.

To be fair, I did not watch the Allies’ video. I’m a text guy when it comes to blogging. But if the discussion did highlight “the question of final authority” or as the post puts it: “As Christians, how do we help people find an authority outside of themselves?”, then I’m not sure the Allies are doing justice to the diversity of the American people (or to the United States’ law for that matter). We the people are sovereign through our representatives. This constitutional republic was established as a rebuttal to “final authorities” who dominated people and abused power. I understand that finding an authority outside ourselves is a proper basis for a w-w, a good philosophical way to refute secularism, and a habitual response of Roman Catholics and neo-Calvinists to the French Revolution. But the way I read the United States, we were not a philosophical republic but a polity that adapts pragmatically for the sake of protecting the security, peace, and legal standing of all its citizens (no matter what their faith). As for those citizen’s morality, they needed to conform to the laws that their representatives enacted, and those legislators represented people of diverse faiths.

In which case, we have moral problems in the United States and advocates of Christian morality (from the Baylys to the Allies) are not helping.

Postscript: I understand that Apu is likely not a Muslim.

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490 thoughts on “Should Muslims Try to Legislate Their Morality?

  1. From the Des Moines Register:
    For the second time this month, the Daily Show is taking a shot at Iowa politics.
    Host John Oliver, filling in for Jon Stewart, on Monday night compared the Iowa caucuses to the Iranian system, where Muslim clerics approve candidates before they’re put on the ballot.
    “Can you imagine what it must be like to vote in an election where the candidates are pre-approved by a small handful of religious conservatives with vastly inflated power? That would be so frustrating,” Oliver said, an Iowa Caucuses logo over his shoulder.

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  2. DGH, in Egypt over 90% of girls born are mutilated, by what they call circumcision. They are deprived from every enjoying sex. We will either legislate morality or immorality. There is no such thing as neutral morality. As a nation we will either be transformed by God’s will, or the seed of the serpent.

    Just as in our personal lives we will either be transformed more and more in the image of Christ, or into the world. I don’t see another choice out there.

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  3. One of the questions that I think about in this regard is that there is no neutral civil society. Every society is going to tend towards what it’s legislation is (in America’s case – secularism). One might even ask the question, “is it ok for an agnostic to legislate his amorality?”. I believe in freedom of religion (because 2K makes it plausible), but it seems to me that there must be one majority voice which is speaking to the moral direction of a society, and to me it seems this is often this is going to be an explicitly religious voice (or else an explicitly a-religious voice, as modernized societies are seeing). I don’t know of any society that has ever been non-religious in is application. They are either one or the other.

    Maybe that’s part of the reason I don’t feel as big of an issue with Christians seeking to implement their moral code into government – somebody is going to rule society and if we have opportunity (as we do in America) to make our case heard. Granted it’s more nuanced than this (should police lock up kids who disobey their moms? Of course not) but there is a sense in which society is going to tend toward one extreme.

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  4. Right on Nate!

    And when I vote for theonomy, it’s not extreme. It’s simply God’s will. I am a very *nice*theonomist, I love my enemies, just like our Lord taught us. And I know full well, we can’t shove theonomy down societies throat. It will only happen when God transforms enough hearts, to see things, his way.

    Wanting God’s standards *should* be what we all yearn for as Christians. Because as Nate so eloquently pointed out, what’s the alternative? Sharia law? Shall we say the true and living God has no say in our laws?

    Can there be such a thing a neutral morality?

    I didn’t think so.

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  5. Right on Nate!

    And when I vote for theonomy, it’s not extreme. It’s simply God’s will. I am a very *nice*theonomist, I love my enemies, just like our Lord taught us. And I know full well, we can’t shove theonomy down societies throat. It will only happen when God transforms enough hearts, to see things, his way.

    Wanting God’s standards *should* be what we all yearn for as Christians. Because as Nate so eloquently pointed out, what’s the alternative? Sharia law? Shall we say the true and living God has no say in our laws?

    Can there be such a thing a neutral morality?

    I didn’t think so.

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  6. We don’t like the delicate nature of the structure. Our civilization is forever threatened and seemingly always in need of renewal with at least every new generation. There is an underlying stress and tension we want to address(the curse maybe). This seems to be the rub of life this side of glory; it’s easily unsatisfying and transitory and forever pursued by death. Heaven is a hope and object of faith that I’d rather preserve in it’s religious manifestation and not trade for trying to create the Kingdom of God here on earth.

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  7. False choice Erik!

    It’s not (if) a society is going to draw the line, it’s (where)!

    Who is to decide if mutilating little baby girls is moral or not?

    You have competing ideas out there brother! It’s either thenomy or autonomy take you pick.

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  8. Dr. Hart,
    Aren’t putting too big a distinction between 1650 and 1776. Isn’t the difference that 1776 allowed more religious diversity than 1650 as opposed to 1776 being a free for all while 1650 allowed only the true religion? Both time periods had lines that they did not allow crossing, no matter what one called one’s religion, with the difference being where that line was drawn.

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  9. What a bunch of empty platitudes Sean!

    Just so you know, it’s Christ who builds his kingdom here on earth as we walk with him in Spirit and truth. It’s not a matter of if we’re going to draw the moral line, it’s where!

    By what standard are we to say what is right or wrong?

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  10. As a minority within a minority we have to recognize that “Christian values” may not necessarily be conservative Presbyterian & Reformed Christian values. Machen & Prohibition, anyone? Like to watch shows on HBO & go to the movies? Many Fundamentalists do not? Like for your wife to show some leg in the summer or go to church without wearing a hat? Many patriarchal Christians do not. Like to listen to rock music? Many Christians do not. And on and on.

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  11. Erik says: Machen & Prohibition, anyone?

    Prohibition is not biblical! End of story. That’s why Machen opposed Prohibition, as do I. Remember, Jesus not only drank wine, he turned the water into wine!

    Boy Erik, you’re just walking right into them today with your chin sticking out!!!

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  12. Erik,
    Machen opposed Prohibition and was correct to do so, but do you think by doing so he was advocating a moral free for all where everyone would be allowed to do whatever is right in their own eyes. Do you think that he would have advocated no laws against abortion etc.?

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  13. Erik, no one says it’s easy japaneesie. Everyone admits there are some thorny questions. And even theonomits are unsure about many issues. BUT there are competing ideas in this world about what’s right and wrong.

    Real question Erik; by what standard should we make our laws for what’s right and wrong?

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  14. What did Jesus tell us was the summation of the Law, Doug?

    Or is Jesus not a useful source of wisdom in these rants?

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  15. Hermonta great question!

    Machen said that only the firm masonry of God’s law could keep any society from the raging seas of human passion. And when it came to punishing crime, Machen said we should look no further than God’s law.

    No wonder Greg Bahnsen’s favorite theologian was J. Gresham Machen!

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  16. Kent, we are to love the Lord with all our heart and love our neighbor like God loves them.

    Which is fully consistent with punishing crime in a God glorifying way. Since every society is going to punish crime, by what standard shall we punish the criminal?

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  17. Mercy is far better than judgment.

    Punishment is a part of the law, but constantly dwelling on it isn’t the best theme to me.

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  18. Erik, in retrospect, Bachmann made Pat Robertson seem lucid. Bachmann for President ended up feling a lot like Sowers for Secretary of State. But it seems the Iowa ethics investigation and lawsuit might have been factors in her decision not to seek re-election, so there’s always that.

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  19. (a partial transcript)

    HANSEN: I was in a seminary classroom on ethics and the room was almost entirely agreed abortion should be legal…

    WAX: And yet they would say it is wrong.

    HANSEN: Yeah… wrong; murder. Their argument was “law doesn’t change hearts, the Gospel changes hearts.” And in fact, the Christian pursuit of making abortion illegal makes us unpopular and makes it more difficult for us to be able to preach the Gospel and change lives.

    DEYOUNG: Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    —————–

    I don’t think they are fighting the same fight you are, Darryl.

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  20. Doug’s Song
    (sung to the tune of “Blowin’ in the Wind”)

    “How many men must we ex-e-cute
    Before we’re a god-ly na-tion?
    The answer is found
    In God’s word, my friend.
    The answer’s in Deuteronomy.”

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  21. That’s a tough one, Doug.

    A standard that takes into full account to treat others as we wish to be treated is a good start.

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  22. kent,
    Are you a postmodernist? If not, then shouldnt the standard take into full account to treat others how they should be treated (as in we can know what justice requires) as opposed to simply what each group wishes to happen?

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  23. Doug I love you. The hope of Heaven is an empty platitude. You are this caricature of a fundamentalist. Are you really Fred Phelps?

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  24. Erik pontificates: “As a minority within a minority we have to recognize that “Christian values” may not necessarily be conservative Presbyterian & Reformed Christian values. Machen & Prohibition, anyone? Like to watch shows on HBO & go to the movies? Many Fundamentalists do not? Like for your wife to show some leg in the summer or go to church without wearing a hat? Many patriarchal Christians do not. Like to listen to rock music? Many Christians do not. And on and on.”

    Me. Erik, you are confusing wisdom issues with ethical. As Paul said, “all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable”.

    Go ahead and watch your HBO shows. No theonomists wants to force your liberty on things like that. I will tell you between me and you, I don’t think watching that stuff is profitable, but I refuse to call watching HBO sin.

    Tell you what Erik, I’ll pray for you bro, and please keep me in yours.

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  25. I like pomo fiction, not sure that makes me pomo in my theology or politics… 😀

    I randomly work both sides of a prosecution or defense of alleged financial fraudsters eagerly. Even when there is an obvious guilt I do not want to see a punishment handed out that is not just.

    I also like to think about the words of Jesus in theological arguments, they are often ignored by all shades of views trying to mop up the earth of sin.

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  26. Doug, you theos sure have a lot of sex on the brain. I thought you were supposed to be counter-cultural. But it’s only either thenomy or autonomy? And you think you’re not a fundamentalist because you’re with Machen on the outlawing of drink? You have no toggle between a biblicist state and things running amok. Fundie alert.

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  27. Oops…. that was p-o-m-o, not p-o-r-n-o as a colleague jokingly noted from his reading of that response, and the way that the letters squish on the screen. 😀

    I wouldn’t boast about the use of the latter on here.

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  28. Sean, if you are in Christ, then we walk in Christ’s kingdom here on earth. As Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is within you”. Moreover, this world is being transformed into the image of Christ. slowly like leaven as we speak.

    Sean, do you believe that Jesus is the king of kings, right now?

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  29. Doug, I see 0.0% joy in your contributions to the board.

    That atheist captured it perfectly, credit where it is due.

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  30. What we have had as a society for the last 236 years is a conversation of how to arrive at someplace between those two extremes. We will continue to do so. Christians have a voice in that conversation. We will never have the only voice, however, and I think that’s healthy. We don’t want to be ruled by our extremists any more than we do by the “other side’s” extremists. Let’s just keep letting the 80% in the middle make the rules and we’ll be o.k.

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  31. Hermoto asks Kent,

    Are you a postmodernist? If not, then shouldn’t the standard take into full account to treat others how they should be treated (as in we can know what justice requires) as opposed to simply what each group wishes to happen?

    Me: Hermoto, Great question! You hit the nail right on the head!

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  32. Kent judgingly states: “Doug, I see 0.0% joy in your contributions to the board.”

    Thankfully, you are not my judge 😉 Since you don’t really know me, how about taking your own advice and show me some mercy? Put your theology to practice, brother!

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  33. Erik, try to focus; my question had nothing to do with me. I asked you if you believe it’s extreme to obey God’s Word?

    Erik did you miss-speak? Did you mean to say you agree with H. L. Mencken, or J. Gresham Machen?

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  34. Kent, I am no perfectionist. I sin everyday. I am totally dependent on God’s grace sourced in the completed work of Christ on my behalf.

    Since I have known you Kent, you haven’t said one kind word to me, you prickly pear, you. Disagree with me fine, but why not practice some of that mercy, you find so crucial?

    We are both brothers in Christ. Show me some of that love you say sums up God’s law.

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  35. Erik, it really is a delicate balance. Forever checking our sin against our neighbor’s in some sort of ethical detente. Do unto others………………….

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  36. Doug,

    Machen opposed Prohibition and was scorned by all kinds of Christians, including Presbyterians, for it.

    I’m sure Mencken was against Prohibition, too. He was basically a secular version of Machen. Neither suffered fools gladly.

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  37. Erik chides: “When you misunderstand a simple concept like me agreeing with Machen you look dumb. Read and absorb context. Slow down.”

    I agree with Machen too! How is that dumb?

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  38. Doug,

    Never mind on Machen. You misunderstood me, but I can understand how that happened. I wasn’t clear that I agreed with him. I would assume you would know that, however, after a year. Let’s move on.

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  39. Thanks Erik, let’s move on.

    Is God’s will extreme? That’s all I’m shooting for by the way, is to be faithful to God. How about the body of Christ coming together and deciding what God’s will is concerning socio political ethics on issues like abortion, kidnapping, homosexuality, stealing, and murder? Isn’t that the ideal?

    I honestly don’t understand what you mean by you saying there are two extremes. And I am praying that you aren’t suggesting that God’s will is extreme. Because I think we both agree that mutilating little baby girls is wrong.

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  40. Doug,

    My comment is more of apathy than of sympathy. Whether I’m living under Rome, Islam, Atheists or Theonomists, makes no difference to the practice of my faith. Maybe I’m approaching from a wrong angle and mis-applying 2K but if morality (or lack-there-of) is going to be legislated, I’d rather have Christian morality (not OT Law, mind you) than the rubbish of pagan amoralism (sorry Erik).

    I’d certainly like a society ruled by a “live-and-let-live” but I don’t think such a society is possible this side of heaven. The current post-modern ethos is not very tolerant of us Christians, even though they love waving the flag of tolerance. If push comes to shove, I believe Christian morality is whats best for everyone but I’m not going to make a political stink about it (contra Super Baylay Bros.). Christ suffered unjust treatment by political authorities – I’ll follow him on this one.

    Theonomists can’t apply their ethos consistently because this world is presently ruled by the prince of darkness. Though Christ rules over all, until Christ returns the attempt to establish a Christian Nation is absurd and impossible (not to mention offensive to God). I’d like it if Gay Marriage weren’t permitted, but do I think Christianity is somehow now jeopardized because it is? No. Are there going to be negative impacts to civil life? I think so. But legislating morality doesn’t make a man any more savable than if they live in Papua New Guinea and eat other humans. Ben Franklin is as damnable as the man in the jungle (myself included).

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  41. Do you think that the following passage from Acts 17 was meant to be a positive attribute?

    21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.)

    On here we have people not even bothering to grasp new ideas, just the same old same old until they die.

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  42. Muslims should try and do all that they can in this life.

    And I hope they enjoy their religious/political project.

    Because it’s all they’re going to get.

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  43. Nate, besides NL considerations, I think this is where localism comes into play. What’s good or even needful for California may not be either for Texas or Iowa, much less Papa New Guinea or Pakistan or Taiwan etc. Gnawing on a root in Somalia may be having such a deleterious effect on the Somali pop. they may need to eradicate it’s presence. An Island’s need to protect it’s sources of fresh water may be so urgent that they may need to enforce extreme measures of punishment that are inappropriate for a less challenged area. The need and even freedom for an area to govern itself uniquely, because it’s most capable and sensitive to the regions needs should be preeminent.

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  44. Sean, it is so patently obvious that we should be ruled by citizens of the US who fantasize that Scotland or New England of centuries past were the glory days of perfect righteousness for man.

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  45. There’s a necessary distinction to be made between ritual religious law and natural law. It’s fine and good to govern according to natural law [which often agrees with the scriptures anyway].

    The cliche that “you can’t legislate morality” is nonsense–we legislate morality all the time. You can’t be drunk in public, you can’t Michael Vick your dog, you can’t screw on the sidewalk.

    You can’t have more than one spouse–for the moment, anyway.

    There’s definitely a good point to be made here for the Christian theonomists–they should imagine if the shoe were on the other foot and it was shari’a and not the Mosaic code being legislated. And for the militant secularists, that our Biblical morality must be abandoned in favor of some “New Order” is a misreading of the Constitution, an idea that even Jefferson and Franklin would have found appalling, not to mention the vast majority of other Founders for whom the Bible was normative.

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  46. “The cliche that “you can’t legislate morality” is nonsense”

    Taken literally sure. But this is usually a shorthand way of saying that moral considerations are not sufficient for deciding whether or not something should be illegal. Hatred for someone may be morally equivalent to murder, but that doesn’t mean that we should try to outlaw hatred. Of course, no one thinks that you can outlaw all immoral behavior, and no one really thinks that moral considerations should never be considered (well almost no one). What is disputed is the propriety of laws based on sectarian moral principles (blue laws?).

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  47. And on visits to Cuba past and present there was the smuggling in of bottles of Aspirin, tennis balls, and Bibles.

    And the removal of Cohibas and bottles of rum.

    So much for the magistrate.

    Oh wait, your country won’t let you visit, why I can’t even order a large soda in NYC any more…. that’s progress…

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  48. Apu is now a citizen of the American empire. I’m still glad not to be. Who did the apostle Paul get to help him against the Roman beast?

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  49. Make of this what you will, culture warriors or COs — tweet from someone listening to the Ligon Keller /Tim Keller annual lovefest at PCA GA: “People are becoming more secular? Not true. Only white people, who will be only 30% of population by 2050. (Keller)”

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  50. “The cliche that “you can’t legislate morality” is nonsense”

    Taken literally sure. But this is usually a shorthand way of saying that moral considerations are not sufficient for deciding whether or not something should be illegal. Hatred for someone may be morally equivalent to murder, but that doesn’t mean that we should try to outlaw hatred. Of course, no one thinks that you can outlaw all immoral behavior, and no one really thinks that moral considerations should never be considered (well almost no one). What is disputed is the propriety of laws based on sectarian moral principles (blue laws?).

    Yes, that was the reference to “religious ritual law.” The Flying Spaghetti Monster decrees we should all wear our underwear on the outside.

    But when you start at the beginning, there’s still a lot of stuff we take for granted. Christmas is a federal holiday. Judeo-Christianity’s norm is monogamy. That spouses should be of the opposite sex was a given until recently. Cannibalism is illegal. You can’t have sex with corpses.

    The last two aren’t in the Bible*, but the question must be asked at what point do you pull the plug on law and morality? Where does the Constitution abolish “conventional” morality?

    By “conventional” we mean moral strictures that are more aesthetic or metaphysical**–cultural–than just the bare minimum required for public health and public order. We’re being forced down a dead end of minarchy, of radical libertarianism, where liberty is synonymous with license, and the concepts of ethos and culture are erased under the guise of constitutionalism.

    * Well, mebbe a little. http://www.gotquestions.org/cannibalism-Bible.html

    **That an unborn baby is a human being would be such an assertion. But are metaphysical assertions unconstitutional?

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  51. Nate pontificates: “Theonomists can’t apply their ethos consistently because this world is presently ruled by the prince of darkness.

    Nate, Jesus defeated Satan at the cross. Let me prove this:

    Colossians 2:13

    “And you who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him having forgiven us all our trespasses, (pay close attention) by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open same, by triumphing over them in him.”

    The prince of the air has been defeated Nate! Satan and his demons have been triumphed over. because Jesus beat him at the cross.

    I can provide you with plenty more Scripture if your not fully convinced.

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  52. Nate: Theonomists can’t apply their ethos consistently because this world is presently ruled by the prince of darkness. Though Christ rules over all, until Christ returns the attempt to establish a Christian Nation is absurd and impossible (not to mention offensive to God).

    And Theonomists go off to their little planet and can’t be bothered to read the second sentence of a paragraph.

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  53. What Nate said. This and more:

    If push comes to shove, I believe Christian morality is whats best for everyone but I’m not going to make a political stink about it (contra Super Baylay Bros.). Christ suffered unjust treatment by political authorities – I’ll follow him on this one.

    Works for me…

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  54. Guys Jesus said,

    “I have all authority in heaven and earth, therefore go and disciple every nation in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit teaching them all of my commandments, and I will be with you to the end.”

    Me: Satan has no authority! He has been humiliated and disarmed by Christ. Can anyone show me one verse that teaches Satan is still in charge?

    I didn’t think so.

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  55. Kent, you huff and puff, but you have nary one Scripture to support your bluster. Christ has inherited the world according to Hebrews. Jesus is the king of kings, right now! The church is in mop up mode. We are more than conquerors in Christ, amen?

    Who is the Victorious Warrior, the commanding king of kings? Is it not Christ Jesus? Who did Christ take the key of death from, if not Satan himself?

    BTW, this has nothing to do with theonomy per se, this is simply Christianity 101

    Jesus is the victor who has conquered sin and death! Amen and amen!

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  56. Doug, please read a book. Machen opposed abortion because it was unconstitutional, you know the Constitution that grants freedom of religion and tolerates idolatry?

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  57. H. Godwin, if you’re correct that 1776 was not a free for all, where do you draw the line once you make room for Quakers and Anabaptists? Plus, 1776 had no religious test. So it was likely freer than you think.

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  58. Doug, the phrase “the whole creation groaning” doesn’t trigger any Scripture in your mind?

    Seriously??

    Seriously???

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  59. Doug, the point isn’t that Jesus doesn’t rule over all things. It’s that this is the semi-eschatological age, the one between his first and second comings, the one where antichrist is afforded a measure of dominion. The way you speak it sounds like the eschaton has fully arrived and we live by sight. It hasn’t and we don’t. Add a prosperity alert to the previous fundie alert.

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  60. I know that Dispys like to hopscotch from the end of Romans 8 right to Romans 12:1, chapters 9 to 11 might cause them to think a little.

    But I guess Doug ignores Romans 8 as well.

    That’s a one string banjo sandwich-board corner loon for you…

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  61. Sometimes I get up in the morning and think about the good things I can do today, and how I can walk a perfect path on behalf of God, but I fail every day. I don’t do those good things that I want to do and even though I don’t want to sin I will.

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  62. Not one person has shown one verse that even remotely teaches us that the prince of darkness rules over the earth. no not one! Let’s not play a game of insulting each other, show me one verse that teaches that Satan is ruling anymore.

    Kent show me one verse in new testament that teaches the prince of darkness rules the earth.

    I haven’t seen it! Jesus took all of Satan’s authority and openly humiliated him at Calvary. If Satan had known what was going to happen, he never would have crucified Christ according to Paul. Jesus said he has ALL authority, that means Satan has none, right?

    I am really surprised that anyone is arguing this point.

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  63. I guess you missed it the first time, Doug.

    Nate: Theonomists can’t apply their ethos consistently because this world is presently ruled by the prince of darkness. Though Christ rules over all, until Christ returns the attempt to establish a Christian Nation is absurd and impossible (not to mention offensive to God).

    And Theonomists go off to their little planet and can’t be bothered to read the second sentence of a paragraph.

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  64. Doug, you are often funny and amusing on here.

    When you get abusive or type in filthy speech it is concerning.

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  65. Zrim, says: ” The way you speak it sounds like the eschaton has fully arrived and we live by sight.”

    Me: It’s exactly the opposite. Let me illustrate Hebrews 2:7

    “You made him for a little while lower than the angels
    you have crowned him with glory and honor
    putting everything in subjection under his feet

    Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet SEE everything in subjection to him.

    Me: You see Zrim? There is nothing outside of Christ’s control. Not the prince of darkness, NOTHING. But we don’t SEE that reality, so we walk by faith not sight. It’s the exact opposite of what you accused me off.

    I have yet to see a verse that teaches the prince of darkness rules anything.

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  66. Kent, disciplining every nation in the name of Christ is our Commission. It’s what Jesus commanded us to accomplish in his strength of course every nation is to bend the knee to Christ as prophesied by King David in Psalms 2:7

    I will tell of the decree:
    The LORD said to me, You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
    As of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
    You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

    Me: Does anyone *think* Christ has forgotten to ask?

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  67. Kent says: “Sometimes I get up in the morning and think about the good things I can do today, and how I can walk a perfect path on behalf of God, but I fail every day. I don’t do those good things that I want to do and even though I don’t want to sin I will.”

    Me: Kent that is a miss-reading of Romans 7. Paul certainly wasn’t using the personal “I” to refer to his present condition, lest he hopelessly contradict himself in chapter 8 verse one. Paul was using “I” as to referring to Israel and why they couldn’t please God.

    If you are taking personal solace in identifying with Romans 7 maybe you need to re-think the propitiation. Read Romans 8 one and identify with that. You aren’t in bondage anymore, so drop Romans 7 like a bad habit.

    Blessings

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  68. Nate, not only are we to pray for every nation to acknowledge Christ, it’s our mission! Read Psalms 2, read Hebrews the first two chapters very carefully. The read the Great Commission. Jesus has inherited the world at Calvary! Jesus soundly defeated Satan by openly humiliating him and his demons.

    Now it might not look*8 that way if we walk by *sight*, but it’s the truth nonetheless. We walk by faith, not sight. And the truth will slowly time play out in reality. Will we ever see utopia this side of the resurrection? Of course not! But you are downplaying the greatness of the great commission. Have you read the kingdom parables? Christ’s kingdom is to SLOWLY take root over time and establish dominion; like leaven. Let’s all pray the Lord’s prayer in faith, and watch Christ the king of kings provide the growth, until EVERY nation bends the knee to the rightful heir.

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  69. Doug:Me: Kent that is a miss-reading of Romans 7. Paul certainly wasn’t using the personal “I” to refer to his present condition, lest he hopelessly contradict himself in chapter 8 verse one. Paul was using “I” as to referring to Israel and why they couldn’t please God.

    You realize where you place yourself with that view….

    Why do you bother coming to this board? Nobody pays any serious attention to your theology, your history, or your horrendous basketball views….

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  70. So Kent, think about what your saying. are you in bondage to sin? Are you capable to doing anything pleasing to God? Chapter eight verse one says

    There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you *free* in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death!

    Kent this is true For?

    vs 4: in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, WHO WALK NOT ACCORDING TO THE FLESH BUT ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT.

    I think better of you, than you think of yourself!

    Quick question Kent, do you walk by the Spirit or do you walk in the flesh?

    To walk in the flesh is bondage brother, it’s death. To walk in the Spirit is life.

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  71. Doug, you’re quibbling over the word “rule” and managing to take it to those high decibel heights again. But what do you think it means to say that “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”? The antichrist does in some sense rule—it’s a provincial rule, which means that he’s not utterly vanquished. You still suffer, don’t you?

    And in the context of this post, what’s your point exactly? If even our spiritual lives are subject to his powers then what’s that mean for our temporal lives? You’re still sounding prosperous on both accounts.

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  72. Kent, I am not saying we can walk in sinless perfection, but we should be desiring to walk by the Spirit, no? That should be our goal, right?

    If confess our sin, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive our sins.

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  73. Zrim, I am simply saying that the kingdom of God is to slowly establish its dominion, just like all the kingdom parables teach. It’s like a women who puts leaven in the meal until it’s all leavened.

    “Let all the nations serve him”

    You seem to want to put this off until Christ comes back. But Zrim, when Christ comes back it will be the eternal state. Sin and death will be gone! You say I emanatize the eschaton, but you’re doing the opposite saying we can’t expect any victory until Christ returns. That is not the teaching of the kingdom parables. We are in a war Zrim, a war we are going to win, in Christ who has already triumphed over sin and death. We walk by faith, because if we look with our natural eyes, we will falter.

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  74. Zrim, Satan, the devil is still our enemy. But he is a defeated enemy. He was soundly beaten at the cross, when he was openly humiliated by Christ Jesus the Victorious Warrior. Even though we can’t see that spiritual reality with our natural eyes, it is, in fact the case. So we walk by faith, not sight lest we fall in the same sin as Israel when she was to fight the 7 nations.

    Israel who walked by sight, thought they were outmatched, they thought they looked like grasshoppers next to the sons of Aniken. It’s much the same today, we the church are embroiled in a war, that we will ultimately win, in Christ. Let’s march on you Christian warriors! Let’s praise the Lord and watch the walls come down! Just like Israel was to fight the 7 nations, the church is supposed to conquer the nations, with the sword of the Spirit. The analogy is stark, and beautiful.

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  75. This is for Kent:

    Nate says: “Though Christ rules over all, until Christ returns the attempt to establish a Christian Nation is absurd and impossible (not to mention offensive to God)”

    Me: Offensive? That IS the Great Commission! We are to conquer all the nations back to Christ. Our faith is to conquer the WORLD according to the Apostle John! Jesus has the title king of kings! We are ambassadors to Christ reconciling the world to back to Christ. Israel was a picture of what the church will ultimately accomplish. The 7 nations were a type of the world. We have victory in Jesus who is our victory. And just where Israel failed, the church will not ultimately fail. we will overcome!

    Let all the nations serve him!

    It’s to God’s good pleasure to watch his people in adversity, as we remain faithful, God will give the increase. The goal?

    Let all the nations serve him!

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  76. Doug, and that’s why optimistic postmillennialism seems like prosperity eschatology. But the opposite of that isn’t a realistic amillennialism. It’s a pessimistic premillennialism. More flip sides of skewed coins (i.e theonomy and Dispensationalism).

    Realistic amillennialism affirms Christian victory, but it’s spiritual, and even then more partial than complete. The way neo-Calvinist posties like you speak, it’s spiritual and political, as well as more complete than partial.

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  77. What other Reformed board can I get pitchforked with extreme prejudice for simply mumbling basic basic Reformed theology precepts. Good thing I sit here and LOL at all of that nonsense.

    Sorry hater, but my only comfort is that I belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ…

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  78. Let’s be honest. If the theonomic post-mil view of gospel victory is correct, God has been doing a pretty poor job of it all; almost pathetic. Like health and wealth gospel. If God’s gospel promises grant physical and financial victory, he stinks at giving promises. Why am I trusting him again?

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  79. Let me make another point: While Satan is still roaming around seeking whom he may devour, he has been stripped on his former authority. God has always been Sovereign, amen and amen. But Satan did have authority over the nations, prior to Calvary. He offered Jesus the nations if he would fall down and worship him.

    Little did Satan know, that Christ would take his former authority by going to the cross and taking on death once for all. So when Jesus told his disciples “I have all authority in heaven and earth” that means Satan doesn’t anymore. He’s a toothless lion. All we need do, is humble ourselves before God, resist the devil and he will flee. It’s in the Bible. This can only be done in Christ, by faith, in his strength of course.

    So while I’m certainly not denying that Satan is still our enemy, we are more than conquerors in Christ. We are in the drivers seat, when we die daily to our flesh, pick up our cross and follow him. Why? Because greater is he, that is in us, than he that is in the world!

    Blessings to all who call on the name of the Lord!!!

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  80. I think Doug’s position is a sham, just contradicting whatever we say and being terribly snotty at the same time.

    There is no way to combine all these minority views on theonomy, perfectionism, and Federal Vision in a big pony loaf topped with such a frightful eisegesis of half the NT,

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  81. Huh, He has conquered all sin and misery in the here and now?

    And I have to read Doug’s posts?

    Doesn’t add up…

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  82. Todd, who are you to judge God? Are you saying, “God you’re doing it fast enough for me”, “God your pace is pathetic”? What part about “in my time” don’t you understand? Moreover, you are in no position to evaluate the pace of God’s kingdom coming to fruition. Calling the pace pathetic is very disrespectful not to mention foolish.

    My hope rests in the promises of God, not what my natural eyes tell me. You are making the exact same mistake Israel made. They, much like you walked by sight, not faith.

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  83. Kent, I assure you I am not being snotty. I can say this with no guile.

    I am very serious, and have yet to see one Old life man explain how I am miss-reading the Scriptures I have quoted. If you have a leg to stand on, then please show me the error of my way.

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  84. Yes Kent! Christ conquered sin and death once for all.

    Death where is your sting? Remember that verse? What is our hope? Is in not that Jesus was raised from the dead?

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  85. “the primary purpose of salvation is cultural renewal, to make the world a better place.” Who said it?

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  86. Doug just told someone that they are making the exact same mistake Israel made.

    No words, just let it linger in the ether, hang in the air, levitate above the ground, touch the envelope of space, curl up like smoke rising from a spent round, expand and contract with the breathing of the earth, float like a germ on the draft from under the door, squeal like an animal caught in a trap, hiss like a cat displaced from it’s spot, chuff like a dog having defended it’s ground. You got some clanging brass there Sowers.

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  87. Kent (and Todd), as you may know, today is not only the first day of summer but also National Cuckoo Warning Day. Not to belabor common knowledge, but remember: if you hear the call of a cuckoo bird today, it means there’s a wet summer ahead. Get out your umbrella.

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  88. Todd – Let’s be honest. If the theonomic post-mil view of gospel victory is correct, God has been doing a pretty poor job of it all; almost pathetic. Like health and wealth gospel. If God’s gospel promises grant physical and financial victory, he stinks at giving promises. Why am I trusting him again?

    Erik – I’ve always found that health and wealth gospel to be quite persuasive. Until you keel over, that is.

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  89. sean: No words, just let it linger in the ether,

    Like the night my friend’s bulldog got into the garbage and ate half a cooked cabbage?

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  90. primary purpose of salvation is cultural renewal, to make the world a better place.”

    Keller?

    Tim, not Helen

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  91. Chortles asks: ““the primary purpose of salvation is cultural renewal, to make the world a better place.” Who said it?”

    I sure didn’t, but to think salvation doesn’t effect culture is to walk around with ones head in the sand. What does being the salt and light of the world mean to you? Salt holds back the rot, it’s a preservative. Therefore while the primary purpose of salvation may not cultural renewal, it’s certainly a very important component. God so loved the world………….that the world through him might be saved…..does that include culture? Duh!

    “Let all the nations serve him”

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  92. [the guys are talking about the hardest wood to cut through]

    Cliff: Hey Doc, what do you think the toughest thing to cut through is?

    Frasier: Your unending bull.

    Like

  93. Darryl, I’m working hard on my catharsis. Got to be proud of a group who makes the self-appointed, self-righteous media rethink their value-system and doubt their microwave analysis. Pop’s my hero.

    Like

  94. Sean,

    Israel was told to conquer the 7 nations but they wavered when they saw the size of there enemies. The church has been told to conquer the world, and guys like you say, let’s wait until Jesus comes back. This is the exact sin Israel committed, they walked by sight, not trusting in the promises of God. We are to walk by faith, not sight!

    If you ever accuse someone of emenatizing the escahton again, spank yourself. The church has been called to conquer every nation in the name of Jesus Christ. You say, (in a sissy girly voice) “we could never do that” or “we’ll get our ass whipped” or better yet, “that’s emenatizing the eschaton, lol, lol! lol!

    To compound your folly, you mock faithful men who trust in our marching orders given by the Lord Jesus. The weapons of our warfare are mighty! We can move mountains when we pray. We pray in the only name that can save the world. If you had the faith of a tiny seed, you would be able to move mountains. You can’t even find the courage to watch your team play a basketball game; you big sissy!

    With your current attitude, you would have sided with the ten spies.

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  95. Kent, yes – TKNY. One of my favorite wonks called his love-in with Lig Duncan at the PCA GA yesterday a “tickle fight”. I chortled heartily between weepy spells.

    I fear that much of this cultural renewal (and is theonomy not just another species) is meant primarily to make the renewer feel good about themselves, less ashamed of their square church, superior to TRs and other deviants, and more….saved?

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  96. And someone please define “culture” and what “renewal” looks like. We deserve fair warning.

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  97. “Maybe something like urban renewal and the Great Society?”

    Like, change the city? What are we talking about, symphonies on street corners? Or are you talking about more sculptures we don’t understand? I’m guessing Great Society means they want to change people.Those do-gooders are worse than the neighborhood gossip. Just let me listen to my preacher and leave me alone.

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  98. Doug, spank myself? I think my neighbor’s eyebrows even went up on that one. I know Zrim has queried you before, but you, you really might have some ‘splaining to start doing.

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  99. “I fear that much of this cultural renewal (and is theonomy not just another species) is meant primarily to make the renewer feel good about themselves, less ashamed of their square church, superior to TRs and other deviants, and more….saved?”

    Charles, I think you are on to something. I’m not a Lutheran, but I could listen to this Lutheran minister any day. Go to about 7:50 in this sermon and he makes a similar point about what the ELCA’s spend their money on.

    [audio src="http://theoldadam.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/are-you-doing-enough-full-sermon.mp3" /]

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  100. Just let me listen to my preacher and leave me alone….

    And good counsel from those who can give it on this board. 😀

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  101. Chortles, the PCA is not my denom, there is much there that has been and will be helpful, and a lot to face palm over.

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  102. Todd, you’ve got it so wrong. I strongly desire that the body of Christ would come together in Unity towards the true knowlege of Christ in maturity. If one can send a thousand to flight and two can send ten thousand to flight, think what will happen when the body of Christ comes into agreement? That’s where my hearts at.

    The battle metaphores are repleat thourghout the new testament. But no one at Old life ever mentions war analogies. You all want to wait until Jesus returns, of course by then it will be too late. Sin will have been eraticated. If you want to know what Christ expects of us, then wake up the sleeping giant. We are more than conquers in Christ.

    What does that verse mean to you?

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  103. Sean, at lest I am mature enough to watch my team play `a basketball game, without hiding in the bedroom checking updates. Come on brother! How can you be a warrior for Christ, if you can’t even watch your team play a game? Self control is a fruit of the Spirit.

    You can’t handle the truth!

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  104. Todd, de rien — my noms de guerre are legion. PCA TRs without a sense of humor and an affinity for misery are in big trouble. The GA (via video feed) hurt so good. Is that would Doug meant by “spank”?

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  105. Hey Chortles, why is it, that no one here at Old Life deals with the Scriptures I use to prove my theology? Sean seems fixated on getting a spanking, probably because he never got one growing up. I should have said, “slap yourself”.

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  106. Kent, you’re the (bright?) guy who asked, “how can you possible know if someone is gay”?

    In my best Jack Nicholson voice:

    “You can’t handle the truth”!!!

    I just hope the truth will set you free!

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  107. Sean, on another quick point, you sure don’t help matters when you imply kinky meanings to something as innocent as a good spanking. My Mom spanked me when I was growing up, and I assure you there was nothing funny or sexual about it. Yet you disgrace yourself by making off handed “gay” inuendo’s when we both know that’s not what was intended. Here you’re a church officer and your mind falls straight into the gutter when I mention the word spank. Lean to fight like a church offficer should. You should be above reproach, yet you often throw gas on the fire.

    Like I told Chortles the clown, I should have said, “slap yourself”.

    P.S. Excuse me for my poor spelling, I don’t have spell check on this computer.

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  108. Kent I am a layman, who only speaks English. But I have studied the Bible for many years. And I have leaned very hard on RC Sproul Greg Bahnsen, and many, many, many others.

    I know I haven’t got it all figured out, but why can’t anyone, “someone” deal with the Scriptures I have posted?

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  109. C-dubs (because I like saying that), I picture city renewal being Heineken’s at Arthur Ashe less than $7. How white is that?

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  110. Doug, admonished the guy with the truck stop mouth. But your sense of humor is pretty gay, as in lame-o.

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  111. Zrimster, a local PCA church of the Keller model has an organic community kitchen (run by an ordained teaching elder) and they publish a street paper hawked by homeless street people, which I assume is full of social justice pablum. On the other hand I can see where your call for affordable bevvies might further Keller’s fave concept — “human flourishing”. Feels gay just to say that.

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  112. Muddy – Maybe something like urban renewal and the Great Society?”

    Like, change the city? What are we talking about, symphonies on street corners? Or are you talking about more sculptures we don’t understand?

    Erik – Yes, like the rabbit riding the bicycle in the Des Moines Sculpture Park. We’ll have to have D.G. explain that one to us.

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  113. On the other hand I can see where your call for affordable bevvies might further Keller’s fave concept — “human flourishing”. Feels gay just to say that.

    It comes from Aristotle, who called it eudaimonia. It’s a good thing, Mr. Weakly, a very good thing.

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  114. TVD, I am aware of the Aristotlean origin/use of the term. TKNY uses it as a convenient, kindler and gentler dodge when he doesn’t want to offend his hipster base. Google his weasel words on homosexuality as sin/not a sin. It means anything you want it to mean.

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  115. TVD, but please don’t call Aristotle the forerunner to Christ (I get the feeling it’s coming any moment now). That was John the Baptizer.

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  116. TVD, say hello to my little friend, Rants Robustly. I’m not taking the bait on homosexuality. The point is that the redeemers/renewers/culture warriors can’t define their lofty task and end up using non-biblical terms and concepts — the NT writers don’t use the word eudaimonia and they certainly could have since it is a GREEK word. So we’re supposed do all these ill-defined things to, with, and in the culture (in the name of the church) and still have time to make a living, raise a family, and mow the yard. I believe the Bible is pretty clear on the simple, boring things like preaching, worship, and the sacraments. Echoing earlier comments, can’t we focus on that?

    The burnout rate for these redeemerites and culture warriors will be very high. Like the old evangelical church from the 70’s, a few people will do everything for a while then fade away. They’ll be told every week what they ought to do but because it’s unreasonable or unbiblical they’ll either fade away or keep coming for the snacks and drinks, but give little credence to anything said from the pulpit.

    This culture renewal/redeemer model is predicated on constant change and adaptability — fine if you’re in charge of the staff, not so good if you’re a sheep. Run sheep all over the hill, feed them something different every day, and try to get them to do un-sheeplike things and you will soon have a bunch of dead or weak sheep. Sheep are meant to be fed, not run ragged. The fact that the shepherd wears a perfectly fitting black turtleneck and smiles beatifically all the time will make little difference in the end.

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  117. CW: “still have time to make a living, raise a family, and mow the yard. I believe the Bible is pretty clear on the simple, boring things like preaching, worship, and the sacraments. Echoing earlier comments, can’t we focus on that?”

    Those are activities for adults.

    It was the greatest blessing to find a local church that catered to adults.

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  118. It seems that this discussion has veered off topic a bit.

    Theonomists aver that the civil magistrate should enact and enforce certain laws merely on the basis of special revelation and without any reference whatsoever to general revelation. In practical terms, this means that evangelical Christians should use their majority status in certain parts of the country to pass laws that evangelical Christian mores on the culture as a whole. Theonomists (along with the Baylys and the revivalists) claim that this is ok under our Constitution, so long as we stop short of formally establishing an official state religion.

    But if our Constitution permits that, then on what basis could one object to the imposition of Sharia law? Our Constitution, after all, makes no reference to any particular religion. So, if it permits evangelicals to use their majority status to enact and enforce laws based merely on sectarian religious values, then the same benefits ought to be available to practitioners of other religions.

    The theonomists seem to have no answer. It seems that they either have to agree that it’s ok for Muslims to try to enact and enforce Sharia law, or they have to admit that theonomy opposes the Constitution. If theonomy opposes the Constitution, then those who promote it ought to be criminally prosecuted for engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow the government and imprisoned for the rest of their natural lives. So, which is it, Doug?

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  119. Bobby, mea culpa. But there are certainly similarities between the theos,neos and redeemos, and the last two groups are probably more comfortable working with the government or trying to influence policy than they ought to be.

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  120. Chortles,

    That’s a blog post (8:17 comment).

    Bobby,

    Their answer is that the Founders meant to favor Christianity over Islam, just not one Christian denomination over another. Good luck finding that in the Declaration or the Constitution, though.

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  121. Doug, actually I have no good reason to understand you any particular way other than what you write. Any number of us has buckled down at different times, and earnestly tried to walk with you through your concerns. For their efforts, to a one, including Jeff C and Todd, you’ve either directly said or implied they are stupid, silly and possibly not of Christ. So, when no one particularly wants to regard you seriously anymore, who’s that really on?

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  122. Sean, regardless of your inability to understand me, what gives you the right to insinuate that I may be a (latent?) homosexual (whatever that means) because I used the word spank? Are you still in Jr. High? Do you tell “fart” jokes to your Pastor? Would your Pastor approve of your lurid insinuations? Is that how a church officer should comport himself? I thought church officers were supposed to be above that kind of language, not the ring leader! How did your insinuation promote real discussion?

    Ironically I get castigated by Kent, when I share a real life account of how brazen homosexuals have become using the word “cock”. Why is it, when I repeat what that homosexual man said, Kent goes apoplectic? Erik even gets his panties in a wad. Yet Kent turns right around and insinuates I’m a latent homosexual, but that’s (a-okay) snicker, snicker, ha, ha. Worse yet Sean the (Elder?) follows suite. Who’s the hypocrite? Who’s acting more like sophomores in a Porky movie? That *sadly* would be you and Kent.

    FWIW, I still say your interpretation of 1 Cor. 5 is horrendous, in that you use it to nullify the whole old and new testament body of work, that teaches God’s people are to be separate from the world. You’ve never given a reasonable account of: “Bad company corrupts good morals” or the MANY verses that teach separation using believer, and unbeliever, designations instead of Jew and Gentile, yet using the exact same old testament citations, but applying it to the church. Now there is a huge hole in your theology. Sadly, no explanation is forth coming.

    You have never given a reasonable account of the temporal blessings and curses found in Revelations, nor have you been able to explain, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. You acted like you didn’t know that verse was in the Bible! Perhaps you could give it a second try? If at first you don’t succeed try, try, again?

    Finally, you refuse to acknowledge that David Gordon’s exegesis of Galatians 3 is a novel (provocative) minority view that cuts against the traditional “reformed” understanding of the Mosaic law. Moreover you use that *one* verse to say the law was a different covenant because of a “working principle”, which as Dr. Venama points out is incoherent. Can God be double minded? Just on the surface Gordon is teaching a nonsense. For you to admit the law contains the gospel, is to cut your R2K theology off at the knees. Say bye bye to your favorite non-word Golawspel!

    My opposition with R2K is theological first and foremost, but your wiseacre comments tends to cause things to get personal very fast. Once again, one of the qualifications for church officers is that they are humble servants, TEACHABLE, not given to dirty jokes, or dirty insinuations. From where I sit, you are guilty on all counts!

    This doesn’t mean you are hopeless, or that you are not a believer, but it does mean you should repent and think about what’s being said to you. Plus your slang is deplorable and downright offensive, far worse than my poor spelling, because you (apparently?) do this on purpose? Can you speak English? Read your last sentence you wrote to me above, and then “slap yourself”! Did Westminster West let you write like that?!

    I think you need to step down from being an Elder for at least a few years so you can read the Bible, and allow God to cause you to grow into a mature man. Maybe one day you will be qualified to actually be an Elder. Right now? You come off as proud, boastful and everything BUT a humble servant. And that is the worst insult anyone could lay on a church officer. Pride goes before destruction.

    Rest in his completed work

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  123. “Google [Tim Keller’s] weasel words on homosexuality as sin/not a sin. It means anything you want it to mean.”

    I dunno. Show me a non-weasely money quote from hereabouts to give me an idea of what you mean.

    *search results of Old Life blog for “homosexuality”

    D. G. Hart
    Posted June 22, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink
    Tom, you’re such a mensch. Now Oldlife is the standard by which to judge statements about life? You’re so kind and I’m flattered.

    Well, actually, that seems to be Tim Keller, Darryl, since your book is about him and not vice-versa.

    😉

    http://www.amazon.com/Engaging-Keller-Iain-D-Campbell/dp/0852349289/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371889483&sr=8-1&keywords=Engaging+with+Keller

    _________

    Chortles Weakly
    Posted June 22, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink
    TVD, say hello to my little friend, Rants Robustly. I’m not taking the bait on homosexuality.

    You brought it up, not me. You got busted, bro, not baited.

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  124. Back to the non-comedy portion of our program

    The point is that the redeemers/renewers/culture warriors can’t define their lofty task and end up using non-biblical terms and concepts — the NT writers don’t use the word eudaimonia and they certainly could have since it is a GREEK word. So we’re supposed do all these ill-defined things to, with, and in the culture (in the name of the church) and still have time to make a living, raise a family, and mow the yard. I believe the Bible is pretty clear on the simple, boring things like preaching, worship, and the sacraments. Echoing earlier comments, can’t we focus on that?

    Well, you seem to be arguing contrary to the foundations of the 2K theology, starting with the Bible first and ignoring right reason. I see nothing wrong with using our God-given reason and then double-checking with the Bible, rather than using the Bible as the sole and primary source and disregarding sound philosophical/natural law concepts such as eudaimonia. That the word isn’t in the New Testament is hardly an argument for anything but fundamentalism of the sort you [rightfully] snort at.

    Further, Robert T.Miller argues here [successfully, I think] that Romans 13 is in pursuit of eudamonia

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2013/03/eudaimonia-in-america

    and in fact, his arguments are congenial to your 2K thing.

    To protect citizens’ ability to pursue the final end and to band together to do so, the prudent eudaimonist should support, as pragmatic political compromises, the tenets of a liberal political order. The state will not generally be making men moral as the eudaimonist understands morality and thus will not be helping men achieve their final end, but if the state had the power to make men moral, it would likely make men moral as someone else understands morality, and thus, rather than merely failing to help people become good, it would actually impede people from achieving the final end as the eudaimonist understands it.

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  125. Sean, let me follow up on this gospel issue. Let’s examine Hebrews 4:1

    “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of your should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news (gospel) came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.”

    Sean this verse backs up the view, that the law did contain the gospel ie good news. What was the problem with the Jews? Was the law tricking them as Gordon would have us believe? Did the law contain a working principle? Was the law not of faith? Is that what the author of Hebrews is teaching us?

    No! A thousand times no!!! The problem was the people lacked faith! This verse fits in quite nicely with Paul in Romans 9:31-32

    “but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law.”

    Me: Notice Sean, Paul is saying the law would lead to righteousness! The law was holy! So what was the problem?

    Why did Israel fail? “Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works.”

    Sean with two or three witnesses let it be established! The problem wasn’t that the law was not of faith. The law could only point to Christ, it took *faith* to apprehend Christ, just as it does today when someone hears the good news.

    So here is a question for you Sean. How did they receive the gospel just like us? Hmmmm?

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  126. Tom, I’m talking about church activity which is (or should be) only ordered by the Word, except for indifferent things like the color of the carpet and where we set the thermostat. Keller and others have to pull stuff from everywhere to order and justify what they do.

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  127. Tom, that’s quite a reach, since Romans 13 has nothing to do with human flourishing (or limited government, in case that’s forthcoming) and everything to do with Christian submission and obedience to the civil powers that be, whatever kind they are.

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  128. Zrim, why are you ignoring Calvin, Beza, Turrentin, Cotton, Bucer, and a whole host of our reformers on how they understood Romans 13. They all believed there was a time and place for civil disobedience!

    Have you ever heard the term, “white knuckle wooden”? That is an apt term for how you interpret Romans 13

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  129. Zrim
    Posted June 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
    Tom, that’s quite a reach, since Romans 13 has nothing to do with human flourishing (or limited government, in case that’s forthcoming) and everything to do with Christian submission and obedience to the civil powers that be, whatever kind they are.

    Actually, Miller made a far more intelligent and appealing argument than you do. What it does is attempt to reconcile the Bible with natural law–when you can manage that, your argument is on more solid ground than when based merely on the Biblical interpretation game.

    I watch you guys play dueling Bible verses and there is never a clear winner. [If there were you’d not continue to disagree.] Neither am I a fundamentalist, the literalism/legalism that marked the Pharisee regime of the Mosaic Law and valued the letter of the law over the spirit of the law. When you guys start arguing slavish readings of the Bible–like the heavy lifting you put on “give to Caesar what’s Caesar” and “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers,” you’re no different than the Baylys and such whom you deride.

    And BTW, your derision of Mr. Sowers hereabouts is of the same stripe–he’s quite getting the better of you in the sola scriptura arguments, and it’s only by massing against him do you create the illusion you’re winning.

    You really should re-evaluate the Miller essay–by presenting an affirmative argument instead of polemics against Baylys, Kellers and Catholics, he does a deeper and more comprehensive job on your own theology than you do.

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  130. Doug, and have you ever heard of the term eisegesis?

    Here is Calvin:

    “If we keep firmly in mind that even the worst kings are appointed by this same decree which establishes the authority of kings, then we will never permit ourselves the seditious idea that a king is to be treated according to his deserts, or that we need not obey a king who does not conduct himself towards us like a king….we must honour the worst tyrant in the office in which the Lord has seen fit to set him…if you go on to infer that only just governments are to be repaid by obedience, your reasoning is stupid.”

    “…with ready minds prove our obedience to them, whether in complying with edicts, or in paying tribute, or in undertaking public offices and burdens, which relate to the common defense, or in executing any other orders.” [ICR 4.20.23]. “But if we have respect to the Word of God, it will lead us farther, and make us subject not only to the authority of those princes who honestly and faithfully perform their duty toward us, but all princes, by whatever means they have so become, although there is nothing they less perform than the duty of princes.” [ICR 4.20.25]. “The only thing remaining for you will be to receive their commands, and be obedient to their words.” [ICR 4.20.26].

    Here is Westminster:

    WCF 20.4: “And because the powers which God has ordained, and the liberty which Christ has purchased are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God.”

    WCF 23.4: “It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to honor their persons, to pay them tribute or other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted, much less has the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever.”

    How do you get an affirmation of civil disobedience out of any of that? I thought theos were all about obeying God?

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  131. Chortles Weakly
    Posted June 22, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
    Tom, I’m talking about church activity which is (or should be) only ordered by the Word, except for indifferent things like the color of the carpet and where we set the thermostat. Keller and others have to pull stuff from everywhere to order and justify what they do.

    I’d have to see specific examples that could be tested and discussed, not blanket condemnations. And neither is there anything wrong with using the entire Bible and deriving its principles–the spirit of the law–over banging on the literal [and often surface] meaning of a few verses.

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  132. Here is Westminster:

    WCF 20.4: “And because the powers which God has ordained, and the liberty which Christ has purchased are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God.”

    WCF 23.4: “It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to honor their persons, to pay them tribute or other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, does not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted, much less has the Pope any power and jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever.”

    How do you get an affirmation of civil disobedience out of any of that? I thought theos were all about obeying God?

    BTW, do you claim these various Confessions are the word of God? I’ve never quite understood their provenance.

    Further, are there differences among their adherents in interpreting these various Confession texts? If so, whose is correct?

    Thx in advance for any honest, direct, un-weasely replies. As for any other kinds, please don’t trouble yourselves.

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  133. “your wiseacre comments tends to cause things to get personal very fast.”

    Doug’s right. We can do better. Humor is one thing but there is room for improvement on the kind of humor that is starting to proliferate here .

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  134. Tom, Westminster larger catechism questions 3 and 4 make it clear that the holy Scripture of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God. No, our constitution, which is made up of more than just our confession, are surely not the Word of God.

    “The constitution of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, subordinate to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, consists of its standards of doctrine, government, discipline, and worship, namely, its Confession of Faith, Larger and Shorter Catechisms, Form of Government, Book of Discipline, and Directory for the Public Worship of God. When the latter three documents are published together, the combined document shall be entitled The Book of Church Order of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (FG XXXII.1).”

    http://www.opc.org/order.html

    As for your question about whose interpretation is correct, this is the hard work of being a presbyter, meaning, applying our constitution in the day to day life of the church, including dealing with doctrinal disputes, credentialing and licensing of ministers. I speak as one who is not a presbyter. I suppose the “majority rules,” (whether by 50%, 2/3, whatever is needed in the circumstance) is who, “is correct,” but do recall that we believe synods and councils of the church do err. It seems common that there is a majority and minority report on given issues of importance before the church.

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  135. TVD, no, the confessional forms are not the Word of God. Briefly, they are the summaries of the Bible, and while they are understood to be completely uninspired and fallible, they are also binding and authoritative on those who subscribe them to the extent that they truly reflect what the Bible teaches. That said, my point to Doug is to wonder how a Presbyterian like him can possibly see any affirmation of civil disobedience or rebellion when they clearly emphasize the exact opposite. One option is to say one takes exception to the forms and thinks that the Bible does in fact make plenty of room for disobedience. But neos and theos never seem to do that. They just seem to plod along as if a unifying and binding confessional document is more American-made than biblically derived. Then you come along and say that Doug is way ahead on sola scriptura. Huh?

    You may want to impugn and call something like Westminster a slavish reading of the Bible, but some of us actually believe and confess that the former and the latter are as harmonious as any fallible and infallible text can be on earth. That’s the point of being confessionally Protestant. But I don’t expect someone who remains religiously unattached to grasp that.

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  136. Sean, I just re-read my post, and I I came down too hard. I take back my step down comment. I’m not saying you’re not Elder material in real life. Maybe in person, or at church you’re great. It’s just that on line you get very snarky with me without offering a critique from Scripture. You wax eloquent at my experience without showing any Scriptural framework.

    Just pray about how you come off, to someone like me. Because I am sincere in my beliefs and for you to mock them, 24/7 doesn’t promote good discussion.

    Like M&M said, we can all do better, “me included”.

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  137. Zrim says: ” That said, my point to Doug is to wonder how a Presbyterian like him can possibly see any affirmation of civil disobedience or rebellion when they clearly emphasize the exact opposite.”

    Zrim, think about what you’re saying! When the Westminster Confession of faith was written in 1646 there were revolutions all over the place by Presbyterians! What are you talking about? You sound like you’re from planet Mars. I thought we all admitted that Calvin had developed a resistance theory with careful clarifications. Zrim, don’t print some of his clarifications and attempt to say Calvin didn’t believe is lesser Magistrates. Just don’t do it.

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  138. zrim: the confessional forms are not the Word of God. Briefly, they are the summaries of the Bible, and while they are understood to be completely uninspired and fallible, they are also binding and authoritative on those who subscribe them to the extent that they truly reflect what the Bible teaches.

    Very correct. And there is no salvation outside of the church and membership and regular attendance, acceptance of the means of grace in Word and Sacrament, and submission to the discipline of elders.

    All are essential to having a real faith through which one can work out their salvation in fear and trembling.

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  139. Doug, deal with what Presbyterians confess, not with what they’ve done. You’re being narcissistic: they call themselves Reformed, they rebel, therefore rebellion is Reformed. Not according to the confession.

    And nobody is ignoring Calvin’s teaching on lesser magistrates. But if it’s clarifications you want, it bears noting that when elucidating on the topic of civil disobedience and resistance Calvin qualifies his words by saying, “I speak only of private men.” He made some interesting stipulations about the less private and more extraordinary men known as lesser magistrates, typically the doctrine invoked to justify rebelling against a magistrate who says some people can’t sit at lunch counters or on certain sides of buses. Not only may “lesser magistrates curb tyrants,” but “only magistrates who have already been appointed for such a task.” Not much help for those with an allergy to authority.

    So it would seem that the ordinary citizen who acts contrary to his magistrate’s laws (laws that don’t require any personal violation of God’s clear moral law) is acting contrary to true Christian piety. That might not go down very easily for those of us raised to think of certain rebellious actions as more heroic and inspiring than ignoble. But it could be that there is in fact more dignity in living with certain political and legal imperfections than in fighting against them.

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  140. Kent “finally” concedes: “All are essential to having a real faith through which one can work out their salvation in fear and trembling.”

    Yea! Kent you are the first Old life man to voluntarily say you are working our your salvation with fear and trembling in the history of Old Life! You should get an award!

    Maybe I am starting to be a good influence….eh?

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  141. Zrim advice’s, “Doug, deal with what Presbyterians confess, not with what they’ve done. You’re being narcissistic:

    Huh?! Do as I say, not as I do? So there is no connection to what we say verses what we do? Are you serious?

    Moreover, I don’t have a dog in this fight. But it looks like you want to say our Confession said one thing, and the Presbyterians did the opposite? Don’t look at the laws they passed to reflect how our reformers really thought?

    Does that sound wise?

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  142. MM – Doug’s right. We can do better. Humor is one thing but there is room for improvement on the kind of humor that is starting to proliferate here .

    Erik – (Making fart sounds with his armpit)

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  143. Doug, ok, so no cognizance for the confession and its emphasis on obedience and eschewing of rebellion. But my guess is that once the theos reign you’ll all of sudden turn Presbyterian on civil obedience. Until then, Paul had his fingers crossed on Romans 13 (never mind his magistrate was Nero). More narcissism.

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  144. Zrim, submission is the general rule to be sure but there are exceptions, how about checking out “covenant media foundation”. Dr.Greg Bahnsen has college and layman lectures on the boundaries of civil disobedience you can purchase for cheep. You need to start with some beginner courses wink, wink, lol! Bahnen felt laying in front of abortion clinics is not the best way to oppose abortion, as I recall.

    In some extreme cases civil disobedience is necessary. We see this taught in the Bible with Rahab the harlot. She deceived the guards and told them to go the wrong way because she believed in the true God.

    She went into the faith hall of fame for her deception, which was proof of her faith in God. Granted these situations are not the norm, but there is precedence for civil disobedience. Look what happened when God freed Peter from jail in the new testament. Did the Apostles say, “we need to submit to Rome, let’s take Peter back to jail? No! They kept Peter out of sight! They were in high defiance with the Magistrate

    So we see situations in both testaments where it’s being faithful to God means we should disobey and even deceive the authorities if necessary.

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  145. “To say that Christians should not try to legislate their morality (if the followers of other religions may not) is not to affirm that civil society without religion as the social glue will be easy.”

    It is not that it will not be easy, but rather we should say it will be impossible. Morality that can sustain civil life requires religion. With the rejection of Christian morality and the failure of Christians to defend such morality in the public square, both in deed and by word we have come to the point, to quote Gertrude Himmelfarb, where we now have “a demoralised society” and it is not a pretty thing.

    In a pluralistic society, it is open to any group of people to seek to have their “morality” enshrined in law.

    Why would Christians vacate the field to their religious and secular opponents given: a) the deep impact Christianity has made on the culture and institutions of the West, and b) the damage sustained to the culture and institutions as a result of the 1960s sexual revolution?

    If Christians care about their nation’s culture and their children growing with that culture impacting at every turn, why wouldn’t they seek to engage politically?

    We seem to have been around this circle before, though I note the discussion usually wanders off topic.

    Further, Muslims, Jews, and Christians of every hue are more or less on the same page on a variety of social issues – not all of course, but we shouldn’t sharpen the differences w/o acknowledging commonalities.

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  146. TVD, no, the confessional forms are not the Word of God. Briefly, they are the summaries of the Bible, and while they are understood to be completely uninspired and fallible, they are also binding and authoritative on those who subscribe them to the extent that they truly reflect what the Bible teaches.

    Thx for the frank answer, Mr. Zrim. Theology alert, Darryl. It’s like the Bible except it isn’t.

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  147. As for your question about whose interpretation is correct, this is the hard work of being a presbyter, meaning, applying our constitution in the day to day life of the church, including dealing with doctrinal disputes, credentialing and licensing of ministers.

    Is Darryl a “presbyter” then, with him always telling everybody what’s what and all? It sure does seem like hard work, which would explain why he’s so crabby all the time.

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  148. D.G.- Erik, it is hardly my book. I am a contributor, merely.

    Erik – But surely you’re aware of the long shadow that you cast over the other contributors…

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  149. Tom, I include the entire exchange below, for context. Note Dr. Fesko saying, he was asked, when he said he was going to seminary to become a pastor, “have you started drinking?” Lecture 7&8 transcript at this link: http://www.pncnopc.org/audio/audio-presbytery/2009-animus-imponentis-conference/

    QUESTION: I feel compelled to follow up on that because I didn’t quite understand that last answer and I was going to ask a very similar question anyway. Something was said here about the animus of the church being a protection against the animus of the private individual and it was said mostly against, you know, the candidate holding a position contrary to the church. Is there an application against the individual commissioner who as a matter of conscience, you know, clearly goes against the animus of the church? And, even it if is not as extreme as this case, if someone holds a position that is within the pale of the animus but it’s one of many divergent positions, and they consider that it’s the only position; if somebody was a premillennialist and decides in his heart that anybody who doesn’t agree with me can’t be a competent exegete and should not have his theology exam sustained, and says based on that I am going to, you know, not sustain anybody who holds such a position. Is that a legitimate use of conscience and I would be interested, you know, if it’s not a legitimate use of conscience but it happens, you know, does the church whether the rest of the presbytery or the church as a whole have any recourse if, say, you know, a small minority of people, you know, behave that way, say, five men in a presbytery that has only 20 votes and pretty much says no amillennialists or postmillennialists need apply – practically speaking, how do you reconcile that kind of understanding of conscience with the protection of the animus of the church, both in the question of whether that’s permissible use of conscience and if it’s not, what recourse does the church have?

    DR. KNIGHT: May I answer that question? Because I, myself, am a historic premillennialist, so I know what the nature and the intent of the church has meant for me. The catechism question has not been used against me, and I have not tried to get it amended, either. So, when we deal with the doctrines that are before us, it seems to me rather odd, if I may begin by stating it that way, that someone who is a historic premillennialist should take a confessional statement which has been recognized as in one point being against the premil position and in other places being unspecific about the millennial position, voting against those persons who could uphold the catechetical question and would be altogether in sympathy with the rest of the confession. That seems to me something that should not be done out of honest to what the church’s doctrinal standards are, and honest about how one acts with people who adhere to that standard. That would be my response, but I would welcome anyone else to respond.

    DR. FESKO: I would just say – this is my own personal thought on the matter and I actually acted on this in this sense – is that I think there is a double responsibility in this type of scenario. There is a responsibility on the individual whose conscience burden to think that the church is wrong, well that individual has the courses of action of either overturing the assembly you know through session, presbytery and general assembly, pursuing discipline charges, and when I say that don’t just think, okay, I’m going to lay down the gauntlet and charge you, you disagree with me – obviously, discussion and working long and being patient and longsuffering working through that process or peaceable withdrawal. On the other hand, I also think it’s incumbent upon the church, whether it be the session, whether it be the presbytery, that if they believe someone is being disruptive to the peace of the church because they are being obstructionist for whatever reason on whatever issue it might be- say the premillennialists, the five men who want to vote down anybody else that doesn’t hold to the premil view, well then again I think the same pattern would unfold and in our particular presbytery there was an issue
    where I discussed with a number of men, I said, look, if this continues, and we had a long discussion about it, and I said I’m going to have to bring charges against you to several of the men because I think you’re disrupting the peace and purity of the church and you’re not conducting yourself according to the Form of Government and our Presbyterian standards and the whole idea that, you know, you can’t just create a pocket of belief and be a hold-out. And, so, in that sense, I think it is incumbent upon the individual as well as the church to do such things. Now, I say all that to say I don’t go looking for fights. Trouble has always (Dr. Strange: They come to you!). That’s right. So, I’m not saying, you know, with this steely glint in my eye: “Go ahead! Make my day!” You know. I’m not saying that, but we do have that responsibility because the peace of the church is not something that just automatically exists. Sometimes the peace of the church has to be fought for. Sometimes there is no peace apart from difficult conflict, and that is the sad but nevertheless true nature of living in a sin-fallen word as the redeemed community of God. So, in that sense I think there are those double responsibilities. And, everybody knows discipline is long, it’s arduous, it’s difficult – and then there is always the practical fear of oh, I hope we are dotting every “i” and crossing every “t’ and that GA doesn’t kick it back and then it’s another year. Yeah, there are all of those realities, but in the end we didn’t sign up because we wanted an easy job. It’s like – you know – I had a friend who after seminary said, so, what are you doing? And, I said, oh, you know, I’m a pastor. He said, “oh, have you started drinking?” He says, “Because God bless you if you haven’t you will soon.” I mean, you know, all of you have your war stories. You know how difficult of a calling it is to be a minister, ruling elder or a minister in the church, and praise God we have those moments of joy and excitement and happiness and of knowing what it means to be able to minister the means of Grace and see people changed and conformed to the image of Christ. But, we also know that sometimes that change, that transformation has to come through trial, circumstances and bearing the cross. So, I think there is a double responsibility.

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  150. @David Palmer, brilliant! I couldn’t have said it better.

    Full disclosure: I live in the beautiful San Francisco bay Area, and just last Lord’s day I saw a NEW TV commercial depicting two expectant parents and the Doctor comes in saying, “Congratulations, you have a lesbian!” The parents receive the news with joy.

    This is teach our society that being “quote” gay or lesbian is not a choice, it’s just like being born a boy or a girl and should be received with love and joy. It would seem the Politically correct crowd wants there (morality?) taught over against what God says regarding sexual ethics.

    Only two nights ago I saw another Bay area TV commercial on prime time, with high profile players form the Raiders, 49ers, Giants, Sharks, Warriors and A’s, all saying “if you can play we want you on our team, regardless if you are gay or straight”.

    Once again the message is that engaging in homosexuality is perfectly fine. Our sports hero’s all say it’s fine! They are begging for a high profile sports (stud?) to come out of the proverbial closet. This would have been unthinkable when I was in high school. But now? Where is the Christian opposition? If we tell the truth, will we be called a “hater” guilty of a hate crime?

    I have listened to Old Lifer men on how they feel about same sex marriage, and nobody seems to care what God thinks about this behavior in the Bible, and how God has judged nations in days past for depravity. Yet apart from how God views this action, who cares what anyone else *thinks*?

    Let God be true, though every mans liar.

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  151. David, I’ll try not to veer off topic, but your logic requires a few questions: 1) what about the first table of the law? Should Christians try to have the magistrate blasphemy laws, and Sabbath prescriptions? If not, why? If so, then how can society be pluralistic?

    If you are correct, that civil society needs morality and it can only come from religion, where is that in the Bible? This isn’t a gotcha line. It is simply to imply that Christ and the apostles did not show any agreement with that logic by the way they ministered. It is also true that they did not directly argue against it (except for render unto Caesar). But my point is that they didn’t seem to care about society. So should we care more than they did?

    This doesn’t mean we should be indifferent. Nor should you conclude by inference that I am indifferent. But using the church and her ministry for social ends is not the only option for caring about society. Joseph cared about Egypt and Daniel care about Babylonia. Neither society conformed to the true religion. Why isn’t our situation analogous?

    In other words, you seem to be starting not from the Israelites in exile or the Christians under Roman rule but with European Christians running the world. That did not work out so well for most of the world. Secular society was one resonse to the mess that Christendom made. Now we’re supposed to ignore the Israelites, the first Christians, and (the woes) of Christendom?

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  152. David, didn’t the Pharisees (and Protestant liberals) also think of triune religion as essential social and political glue? As I recall, Jesus wasn’t convinced.

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  153. Doug, careful, 2kers may have very different ideas about the function of the law than theos, but we’re also the law-gospel people which gives us sol fide and say the Christian life can be summed up in one word—obedience. Which means we’re not the antinomians you and Rome like to believe.

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  154. DGH asks: “David, I’ll try not to veer off topic, but your logic requires a few questions: 1) what about the first table of the law? Should Christians try to have the magistrate blasphemy laws, and Sabbath prescriptions? If not, why?”

    Let me jump in Darryl. This is easy, the church is not in any sort of agreement on what public blasphemy entails, nor is the church in agreement with how we would go about enforcing Sabbath laws. Some if not most Christians think the Sabbath laws lost all there force, and are no longer apply to this age. Even as a theonomist I am not sure as to how we would enforce public blasphemy. It’s going to take the church coming together in unity praying that God would give us wisdom in those areas.

    This ploy of yours, is to ask the sticky questions, that no one is sure about, to nullify the many areas of agreement, like: “Is homosexuality immoral”? Which all Christians resoundingly say “yes it is”. Or, should society acknowledge depraved acts like sodomy, and call it good or morally neutral, possibly on par with marriage? Virtually all Christians, except for Zrim, think that laws condoning wicked behavior have a very negative effect on our culture.

    We will either legislate morality, or we will legislate wickedness.

    I will take the former…….

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  155. Zrim recoils: “Doug, careful, 2kers may have very different ideas about the function of the law than theos, but we’re also the law-gospel people which gives us sol fide and say the Christian life can be summed up in one word—obedience. Which means we’re not the antinomians you and Rome like to believe.”

    Zrim you are a (common?) square antinomian. You nullify God’s law for general society. You poo poo Christian sexual ethics for our culture. You are antinominian on questions like “should we legalize same sex unions”. Should we legalize abortion?

    Zrim you have said, “laws don’t change things”, which is absurd. Why not legalize murder? Let’s legalize theft! Beasiality? Fine and dandy! After all, If laws don’t change things lets make everything legal. Steven,you aren’t thinking clearly, nor do you make a bit of sense.

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  156. Zrim bellows: “David, didn’t the Pharisees (and Protestant liberals) also think of triune religion as essential social and political glue? As I recall, Jesus wasn’t convinced.”

    Once again your ignorance is showing. Jesus said that within his generation Israel would be destroyed! The end of the age was coming to an end, and came crashing down in 70AD. What good what it have done to stave off the end of the age? Zrim, if you don’t have a partial preterist perspective, you will continue to walk in a confused, muddled, world view.

    Been there done that!

    If you continue to read the Bible out of context, you will continue to misunderstand life in general. Weren’t you the (man?) who once told me you would “probably” vote *for* same sex marriage?

    Shame, shame, shame, shame, on you. Why would anyone take anything you say seriously after that bone headed comment?

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  157. we do have that responsibility because the peace of the church is not something that just automatically exists. Sometimes the peace of the church has to be fought for. Sometimes there is no peace apart from difficult conflict, and that is the sad but nevertheless true nature of living in a sin-fallen word as the redeemed community of God. So, in that sense I think there are those double responsibilities. And, everybody knows discipline is long, it’s arduous, it’s difficult – and then there is always the practical fear of oh, I hope we are dotting every “i” and crossing every “t’…

    Thanks for the answer, AB, but of course it’s still a magisterium. And there I was thinking Catholicism is a tough town. This does explain Darryl’s crabbiness, though. ;-P

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  158. Doug, so when Christians are in agreement they need to politicize? Most Christians don’t agree with theonomy. Does that make you go away?

    Your argument is entirely pragmatic and I am disappointed a balderdash-shouting theonomist like you is prone to it.

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  159. Doug, you miss the point about legislation. It isn’t to lend moral excuse to licentiousness. It’s to dial down the expectations of what politics and legislation can yield. It’s also to question the implicit notion that society is a top-down instead of a bottom-up thing, which is to say that homes and communities make people, not courts and senates. My daughter’s school might one day remove sanctions for plagiarism. It’s not that I’d approve of that political move, but I’d like to think her mother and I have instilled enough ethical sense in her to not be much moved by whether or not the authorities sanction bad behavior–cheating is wrong and to be avoided no matter who approves of it.

    How you get from this anything remotely antinomian is baffling. Must be the same way you read the Bible and the confessions on affirming obedience and get affirmations of disobedience.

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  160. DGH: writes: David, I’ll try not to veer off topic, but your logic requires a few questions: 1) what about the first table of the law?

    Why obliterate the distinction, the difference in nature between the first tablet and the second? They have essential differences and to ignore them sets up a false premise.

    The first table is the realationship between man and God, which no earthly law can affect. However, the second tablet is about the relationships between men, of this world. That can certainly be the province of the magistrate. In fact the human relations in this world are precisely his concern!

    Should Christians try to have the magistrate blasphemy laws, and Sabbath prescriptions? If not, why? If so, then how can society be pluralistic?

    FTR, they are enforcing blasphemy laws in other post-Christian societies such as Canada–except on behalf of Islam. And in Egypt on behalf of Christianity. But the logic is that such blasphemies are disturbances of the peace, and the social order.

    Should Christians try to have the magistrate blasphemy laws, and Sabbath prescriptions? If not, why? If so, then how can society be pluralistic?

    Christmas is a federal holiday. All Sundays are federal holidays, if you think about it–no federal gov’t business is conducted. And indeed the Constitution excepts Sundays in counting government business days*.

    So as a matter of a cultural ethos, yes we do observe Sundays. There are many Biblical conventions we take for granted without thinking about them–the Christian bias for monogamy being another.

    But soon modernity will triumph over all of them, I’m sure.

    ________
    **Article I, Section 7

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  161. Doug, my better judgment tells me to shut up (like you), but you know what bad judgment I have anyway. But for the umpteenth time, what I have said on gay marriage is that while on the one hand I don’t believe homosexuality should enjoy the sanction of marriage, on the other I am just as opposed to culture war and the efforts of some to politically disenfranchise a particular class of sinners, thus abstention might be an option. But why a political vote is viewed as a moral behavior makes as much sense to me as I do to you.

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  162. Darryl, do you think before you write? What entailed public blasphemy in New England? Do you know Mr. Historian? When a carpenter hit his finger with his hammer and bellowd “God damn it!” Did that mean he was to be executed?

    I honestly don’t think you have the foggiest idea of how public blasphemy was defined in either Israel, Geneva, or New England.

    Go back to the drawing board!

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  163. Tom, just imagine how crabby you would be if you were an elder an I never submitted to you.

    I hear that, D. Makes you wonder how the popes stay so mellow. If they were Reformationists, they’d have to throw most everybody out. There’s a lesson in there somewheres.

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  164. Tom, you write: “The first table is the realationship between man and God, which no earthly law can affect. However, the second tablet is about the relationships between men, of this world. That can certainly be the province of the magistrate. In fact the human relations in this world are precisely his concern!”

    Are you doing theology or history here? If the latter, you have complete ignorance of the way that the Israelites, Christendom, Protestant states, and (as you remind us) the feds’ interpret the first table. You fail on historical and theological grounds.

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  165. Tom, I know what you mean. If only we had more Reformationists who threw everyone out but also let everyone in, just like the Calvinists who supported the Revolution.

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  166. Doug, now I understand why you fault me so much as a historian. You think historians go to drawing boards and make it up. You know, I actually think that’s the way Bahnsen did history.

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  167. Zrim, everything you do has a moral component to it. Even when you eat or drink, you are to do it for the glory of God. Everything that is not of faith is sin. Yet only God can judge the heart, perfectly.

    So yes, every-time you vote, it’s a moral issue. This is why we pray for wisdom.

    Ahhhh Zrim, why do you feel the need to disenfranchise murderers? Why get political about murder? Why not just let them go?

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  168. You poo poo Christian sexual ethics

    FTR, Mr. Sowers, it’s “pooh-pooh.” It’s not a preference to excretion, although your coinage here does have a certain raw charm to it.

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  169. Are you doing theology or history here? If the latter, you have complete ignorance of the way that the Israelites, Christendom, Protestant states, and (as you remind us) the feds’ interpret the first table. You fail on historical and theological grounds.

    No. Your question has been answered, its argument refuted. You’re tap dancing now.

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  170. Nice non-answer Darryl! What were the parameters on how public blasphemy was defined in New England? How many people were executed?

    Please tell me, historian, if you really know.

    I’m suspecting you have no idea, but you love to mock the law.

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  171. Tom, I know what you mean. If only we had more Reformationists who threw everyone out but also let everyone in, just like the Calvinists who supported the Revolution.

    ¿Huh?

    Even your supporters will labor to make sense of this one. Now you’re trying to refight other battles you’ve already lost. Quit while you’re behind.

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  172. Thanks Tom! You’re English is excellent, even better than our own DGH!

    Now I can pooh pooh Zrims next fallacy with the proper term. And you’re right, his argument stinks, as in pee-you!

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  173. Doug, apparently they knew it when they saw it:

    1.

    (Deut. 13. 6, 10. Deut. 17. 2, 6. Ex. 22.20)
    If any man after legall conviction shall have or worship any other god, but the lord god, he shall be put to death.

    2.
    (Ex. 22. 18. Lev. 20. 27. Dut. 18. 10.)
    If any man or woeman be a witch, (that is hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit,) They shall be put to death.

    3.
    (Lev. 24. 15,16.)
    If any person shall Blaspheme the name of god, the father, Sonne or Holie Ghost, with direct, expresse, presumptuous or high handed blasphemie, or shall curse god in the like manner, he shall be put to death.

    So this is what you and your friend Tom are advocating, right?

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  174. Tom, you would make a good pope since you do shoot from the cathedra a lot, but often in equivocating ways.

    Still, here at Oldlife where ruling elder rule (!!), the question stands. If you are doing history, you have not accounted for the way that you yourself have shown that federal law still upholds a law that you say is only between God and man. And if you’re doing theology, stop! You as pope banned it, remember?

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  175. Tom, you made enough sense of it to see that your interpretation of the American Revolution and Calvinism fails. Calvinism is simply whatever you make it out to be. I don’t think even the producers of Joker’s Wild would allow that.

    BTW, this is an R-rated blog. No lap dancing.

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  176. Doug, speaking of non-answers, what exactly is yours to your assertions that Calvinism is responsible for political developments like the American Revolution and that Calvinism does not permit religious freedom (which the Revolutionaries did)?

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  177. you yourself have shown that federal law still upholds a law that you say is only between God and man.

    So how does that affect your argument? That’s the key question. You’re really hooked on polemics, D., totally obsessed with finding fault with the other fellow’s argument and blind to those of your own.

    Your basic thesis doesn’t hold, and I question whether it’s even honest, that because enforcing the first tablet of the 10 Commandments led to bad results, we shouldn’t enforce the second tablet either.

    But the rebuttal is that the 2 tablets should not be lumped together, and it’s sloppy and sophistic to erase the distinction between them: The second tablet is the natural law, and the natural law is a solid foundation for positive law, that is, man’s law. In fact, most all theories of law from Aquinas to Blackstone to Wilson hold this philosophy of law.

    As for doing theology, I have no standing to ban anything here. I just point out when we’re doing theology under the guise of doing something else. In this case, 2K theology claims it’s sola scriptura, but I think it leads to a radical libertarianism that’s in conflict with natural law, and therefore must be re-examined, since scripture and natural law–special and general revelation–cannot be in conflict because both are truths of divine origin.

    And if that observation is theological, so be it. To surrender Christian theology to the literalists, legalists and dogmatists is to lose it. And you feel exactly the same way about your theological inferiors, the fundies.

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  178. BTW, this is an R-rated blog. No lap dancing.

    No, that’s what you keep Mr. Charter around for. ;-P

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  179. Doug, nobody is trying to particularly disenfranchise murderers and murderers aren’t organizing and trying to get anybody to drop their ethics against murder. In the words of Jesse Jackson, your question is moot. Here’s one for you: why are you wanting the world to set the church’s agenda?

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  180. Tom, I never said we in the OPC don’t have our version of ecclesiastical authority (your word: magisterium). Read about the doctrine of justification on Wikipedia and how it divides prots and cats, if that’s what your after. I’m not big on the whole council of Trent, call me a stickler…

    And yes, ruling elders rule this roost, fyi.

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  181. Tom, if the federal government wants mailmen and mailwomen to deliver on Sundays, I am willing to hear it. In case you didn’t notice, I think it is inconsistent to insist on enforcing Christian morality (whether the first or second tables) and then get huffy if Muslim, Jews or Roman Catholics push for their morality. I have no idea what this does to you since you have yet to identify yourself as a believer of any kind, except in the Calvinism of Beza and Witherspoon, both of whom would reject your notion that the first table is only between God and the individual.

    And where in the Bible would you ever get the sense that for those who received the Ten Commandments, the first table was a private matter. Tell that to the Israelites in exile who were guilty of worshiping idols. Banning idolatry was part of the social fabric. Don’t let your fan, Doug, tell you otherwise.

    And if you want to do theology, fine. Just don’t have a hissy fit if someone here does it, Pope Thomas.

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  182. Read about the doctrine of justification on Wikipedia and how it divides prots and cats, if that’s what your after.

    Not me, AB! I find this centuries-old quibble fairly ridiculous. Whatever the cosmic truth turns out to be, whoever goes to heaven or doesn’t is up to God, not theology. Fortunately.

    And yes, ruling elders rule this roost, fyi.

    Considering the pope is elected by the college of cardinals, and is seldom the leading theologian [if he’s one atall] but more the CEO, the difference between the ecclesiastical regimes is more cosmetic than actual. In fact, looking at the theological trials y’all put each other through, I’m unconvinced that a junta is superior to a monarchy.

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  183. Tom writes: “Whatever the cosmic truth turns out to be, whoever goes to heaven or doesn’t is up to God, not theology. Fortunately.” Doug, chew on that.

    In the words of Walter Lippmann, confessionalists (and Romanists), smile and commit suicide.

    And Tom thinks he upholds the second table of the law.

    Tom, stay confident, my friend.

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  184. Tom, that’s why Erik is around? Why are you so personally polemical?

    Anyone who knows you both got a chuckle. As for “since you have yet to identify yourself as a believer of any kind,” the polemical bent of this blog makes any self-disclosure suicidal, because anything one says can and will be used against him. That’s how you roll.

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  185. Tom – No, that’s what you keep Mr. Charter around for

    Erik – I do have “Magic Mike” out from Netflix, so you may be onto something. Doug, can I watch a movie based on Channing Tatum’s time working as a male stripper?

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  186. Tom, call me when the pope holds with our GA moderator. If justification ain’t the theological fault line (per wikipedia), then lets get those guys golfing to figure out the way forward. Or do we just combox our way to peace? I’m outta here, dudes.

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  187. Being that he is from So Cal my guess is that Tom may be either Bahai or a Scientologist. Here’s a trivia question: Who were the best 70s soft-rockers who were also Bahai?

    Answer: Tie between “(Jim) Seals & Crofts” and “England Dan (Seals) & John Ford Coley”.

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  188. But seriously, Tom does raise and ask a lot of good questions. I think he is a decent guy who wants a decent world for himself, his kids, and others to live in. This is admirable and is a shared desire of many people, both religious & irreligious. The question is, why is decency required or even necessarily desirable apart from God and an afterlife? An atheist will tell you that the best we can shoot for in this one (and only) life is good relationships, to which the rational response is, says who? Why is Ben Sanders’ (Nicholas Cage) despair in “Leaving Las Vegas” not an equally valid response to the abyss?

    If you are willing to do theology you may be wrong, but at least you’re giving it a shot. Apart from that, the next guy’s answers are just as good as yours because you all end up in the same place.

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  189. Erik – I do have “Magic Mike” out from Netflix, so you may be onto something. Doug, can I watch a movie based on Channing Tatum’s time working as a male stripper?

    Erik all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. It’s a wisdom or *heart*, question that you must answer for yourself. Just remember Paul has exhorted you, to work out your own salvation, with fear and trembling, because it’s God who works in and through you.

    Rest in his completed work,

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  190. DG derides: “Doug, apparently they knew it when they saw it:

    1.

    (Deut. 13. 6, 10. Deut. 17. 2, 6. Ex. 22.20)
    If any man after legall conviction shall have or worship any other god, but the lord god, he shall be put to death.

    2.
    (Ex. 22. 18. Lev. 20. 27. Dut. 18. 10.)
    If any man or woeman be a witch, (that is hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit,) They shall be put to death.

    3.
    (Lev. 24. 15,16.)
    If any person shall Blaspheme the name of god, the father, Sonne or Holie Ghost, with direct, expresse, presumptuous or high handed blasphemie, or shall curse god in the like manner, he shall be put to death.

    So this is what you and your friend Tom are advocating, right?

    Me: Darryl, are you mocking God’s penal sanctions as ridiculous, or patently absurd? By the way, way the question should be; is what does justice require? And by justice I mean justice in the socio political sense. When does the punishment fit the crime? These are theoretical questions the presuppose we live in a sanctified nation desiring such precepts.

    God’s word provides his own inscrutable wisdom on how society should look at ethical boundaries for right and wrong, and when God thinks a sin a crime. So I am not ashamed of God’s law, like you seem to be. Plus, I don’t think you have considered God’s case law which teaches how Israel was to apply the commandments. The “spirit” of the law, put in practice.

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  191. But seriously, Tom does raise and ask a lot of good questions. I think he is a decent guy who wants a decent world for himself, his kids, and others to live in.

    Why thank you, Erik, and yes, if there were no such thing as children, my bleatings about this mortal coil would be quite different. In fact, where libertarianism breaks down–and I think it’s a necessary consequence of 2Kism, hence its relevance here–is on the question of our families and children. Your own WCF reads

    The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children

    And of their children. This has haunted me.

    The question is, why is decency required or even necessarily desirable apart from God and an afterlife?

    According to your TULIP theology, of course your children are no more or less damned than the next fellow’s children are. Yet much of what we do on this earth is on behalf of our children, at least I believe we agree that’s what the decent man does. Perhaps this brings my reservations about all this into sharper relief. No, I’m not saying we can “save” our children: nobody can “save” anybody else. Still, only the brute or the theologue can be indifferent to the world his children grow up in.

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  192. Tom says: “According to your TULIP theology, of course your children are no more or less damned than the next fellow’s children are.”

    Not really Tom, we apprehend all the promises of God by faith. God makes promises to us and our children; and we believe them. We presume our children are of the elect, until further evidence. We walk by faith, not sight. We also know that in this kingdom age, (or church age) God will save the many, not the few. We feel that the percentage of our children that God saves is a majority, unlike the minority he promised to save in national Israel. We can not walk in faith with a Pagan child. So while no man can say we *know* who’s in the “Lambs book of life” like God knows, we can still trust in His promises.

    Faith and obedience are two sides of the same coin.

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  193. Doug, you questioned my historical knowledge. I produce an excerpt from the Capital Laws and ask if this is what you advocate. You accuse me of mocking God’s law. For you, nothing I do is right. Boo hoo.

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  194. Erik, referring to one’s wife that way is less Reformed metrosexual and more southern Baptist NASCAR:

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  195. “The question is, why is decency required or even necessarily desirable apart from God and an afterlife? ”

    I think there are three lines of response one will hear from atheists:

    1) It isn’t required and its desirability is a matter of choice. Most of us desire it and choose to imprison those who dissent. There is no need for a metaphysical justification.

    2) We are hardwired to cooperate with our “pack” – this manifests itself as decency. It is a brute fact of human nature. If it weren’t so, we wouldn’t be here having this conversation as we would have gone the way of the neanderthals. I think this is more or less true. As Jesus noted, even the pagans love their own. No one has to incentivize a mother to love her child with threats of hell or rewards of heaven. But what about scaling this up to more than just mother and child?

    3) Cultures that have evolved to reward altruism, reciprocity, love for neighbor, rule of law, etc… create more peaceful, powerful societies that most people like to live in. These traits enable the formation of cities which are far more powerful than tribes. The truth of the “myths” that have powered this evolution are besides the point. As society evolves the myths it needs to sustain itself may change as well. And it isn’t clear that there is one best myth – different societies may develop mutually exclusive myths that create the same levels of stability and environment for human thriving (was 18th century Japan, France, or Scotland clearly superior?).

    It seems to me that Christianity assumes we know the right thing to do – there isn’t much unique moral instruction in the NT after all. Christianity doesn’t have much to say about how to create a better society or teach us a new morality. Rather, its focus is on what to do when we’ve made a hash of things and to puncture the self regard of those that think they haven’t. The focus of the NT seems to be what do we do when we sin rather than how do we know what is sinful.

    This is why TVD’s and Doug’s approaches/uses of Christianity are so off base. TVD seems to want to use Christianity to make the world safe for his family – loving your enemy and doing good to those who hate you doesn’t always make the world a safer place (an issue Augustine had to confront). Doug on the other hand seems to think that by using the power of the state we can usher in the kingdom of God. But that is the church and the church hasn’t been given the authority (and doesn’t have the power anyway) to rule those outside of her. Our job is to worship God the way he wants to be worshiped, proclaim the gospel, mind our business, try to live at peace with our neighbors, and obey our rulers. It is frustrating for social activists but thems the breaks or something like that…

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  196. Zrim, that’s horrible. Now, if we could find a way to make the jump from that to Brain Lee praying before congress and make it seem even somewhat resemblant, well, at least it would be funny.

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  197. Erik, re: the new book. I heard Bill Schweitzer had 20 copies to give away at the PCA GA and my pastor just missed getting one. You’ll want yours to be autographed (and pawprinted?) I’m sure.

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  198. Doug,

    As I’ve pointed out before, you (and theonomists, generally) err because you tend to believe that special revelation and general revelation are mutually exclusive. It’s probably more fair to say that you believe that general revelation is of no value and can’t be relied upon for making determinations of justice, etc. None of the Reformers, including Calvin, held to such a view.

    One can certainly make arguments drawn from general revelation to support the argument that certain crimes should be punished with death. That doesn’t make one a theonomist. To the contrary, it simply reflects the fact that special revelation and general revelation are consistent with each other, and that certain principles drawn from one may be reflected in the other.

    Thus, the fact that Calvin believed that certain crimes should be punished by death does not imply that Calvin is a theonomist.

    After interacting with you for the past 1-2 months, it’s not clear to me that you even understand what you believe. You don’t seem to understand what theonomy is, or the strengths and weaknesses of the theonomic thesis. Further, you don’t seem to be able to distinguish theonomy from other opposing views. You’re a constantly moving target with whom it’s impossible to carry on a discussion.

    Which makes me wonder…why are you here? It strikes me that there’s a simple answer: Culture Wars. It strikes me that you, like the Baylys, have made the Culture Wars your Gospel, and are looking for any theology that seems to give cover to those who are more interested in relitigating the 1970s than in preaching Christ today. It seems like things would be better for you if you just admitted that.

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  199. Bobby, the answer is simple.

    How many topics and variations could you discuss about God, Jesus, your faith?

    Say…. 2,000?

    Well then… wait for someone to type their little blurb on here about one of them and then attack because they didn’t address one of the other 1,999, especially if one has an idiosyncratic jones about something that nobody seems to want to bother sharing…

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  200. Bobby, read Martin Bucer (Calvins mentor) rational for theses death penalty statutes, and then please apologize to me.

    Speaking of Calvin,

    “For there are some who deny that a commonwealth is duly framed which neglects the political system of Moses, and is ruled by the common laws of nations. Let other men consider how perilous and seditious this notion is; it will be enough for me to have proved it false and foolish.”

    John Calvin

    This is a quote from Calvin that is repeatedly cited as proof that Calvin would have had no truck with Theonomy. However, this assertion needs to be examined in light of historical context. First, we need to keep in mind that if Calvin is really citing this against the abiding validity of the law then he is citing it against his friend and mentor Martin Bucer who wrote,

    “But since no one can desire an approach more equitable and wholesome to the commonwealth than that which God describes in His law, it is certainly the duty of all kings and princes who recognize that God has put them over His people that follow most studiously his own method of punishing evildoers. For inasmuch as we have been freed from the teaching of Moses through Christ the Lord so that it is no longer necessary for us to observe the civil decrees of the law of Moses, namely, in terms of the way and the circumstances in which they described, nevertheless, insofar as the substance and proper end of these commandments are concerned, and especially those which enjoin the discipline that is necessary for the whole commonwealth, whoever does not reckon that such commandments are to be conscientiously observed is not attributing to God either supreme wisdom or a righteous care for our salvation.

    Accordingly, in every state sanctified to God capital punishment must be ordered for all who have dared to injure religion, either by introducing a false and impious doctrine about the Worship of God or by calling people away from the true worship of God (Dt. 13:6-10, and 17:2-5); for all who blaspheme the name of God and his solemn services (Lv. 24:15-16); who violate the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14-15, and 35:2; Num. 15:32-36); who rebelliously despise authority of parents and live their own life wickedly (Dt. 21:18-21); who are unwilling to submit to the sentence of supreme tribunal (Dt. 17:8-12); who have committed bloodshed (Ex. 21:12; Lv. 24:17, Dt. 19:11-13), adultery (Lv. 20:10), rape (Dt. 22:20-25), kidnapping (Dt. 24:17); who have given false testimony in a capital case (Dt. 19:16-21).”

    Martin Bucer
    16th century Magisterial Reformer
    The Fourteenth Law: The Modification of Penalties

    It kind of strains credulity that Calvin would have referred to Bucer’s position as “perilous and seditious.”

    So, if Calvin is not aiming at Bucer’s position that the Mosaic judicials have contemporary application for Commonwealths who might Calvin’s comments be aimed at? The answer to that doubtless are the Ana-Baptists. Calvin had a ongoing quarrel with the Ana-Baptists (who doesn’t?) as seen in his Institutes. The Ana-baptists likewise advocated for the Mosaic judicials but in a revolutionary manner. When you consider all the positives Calvin penned touching the judicials and the magistrate,

    …“But this was sayde to the people of olde time. Yea, and God’s honour must not be diminished by us at this day: the reasons that I have alleadged alreadie doe serve as well for us as for them. Then lette us not thinke that this lawe is a speciall lawe for the Jewes; but let us understand that God intended to deliver to us a generall rule, to which we must tye ourselves…Sith it is so, it is to be concluded, not onely that is lawefull for all kinges and magistrates, to punish heretikes and such as have perverted the pure trueth; but also that they be bounde to doe it, and that they misbehave themselves towardes God, if they suffer errours to roust without redresse, and employ not their whole power to shewe a greater zeale in that behalfe than in all other things.”

    Calvin, Sermons upon Deuteronomie, p. 541-542

    Calvin’s pen seems pointed at the seditious and perilous Ana-baptists whose application of the judicials gave not Godly commonwealths but anarchistic Münsters. The initial quote by Calvin must not be taken out of context to prove something that puts it in contradiction w/ other things that Calvin wrote. What Calvin is doing, especially when one considers what he said elsewhere on this issue,

    “And for proof thereof, what is the cause that the heathen are so hardened in their own dotages? It is for that they never knew God’s Law, and therefore they never compared the truth with the untruth. But when God’s law come in place, then doth it appear that all the rest is but smoke insomuch that they which took themselves to be marvelous witty, are found to have been no better than besotted in their own beastliness.. This is apparent. Wherefore let us mark well, that to discern that there is nothing but vanity in all worldly devices, we must know the Laws and ordinances of God. But if we rest upon men’s laws, surely it is not possible for us to judge rightly. Then must we need to first go to God’s school, and that will show us that when we have once profited under Him, it will be enough. That is all our perfection. And on the other side, we may despise all that is ever invented by man, seeing there is nothing but *fondness and uncertainty in them. And that is the cause why Moses terms them rightful ordinances. As if he should say, it is true indeed that other people have store of Laws: but there is no right all all in them, all is awry, all is crooked.”

    * fondness = foolishness, weakness, want of sense and judgment

    John Calvin
    Sermons on Deuteronomy, sermon 21 on Deut. 4:6-9

    “The let us not think that this Law is a special Law for the Jews; but let us understand that God intended to deliver us a general rule, to which we must yield ourselves … Since, it is so, it is to be concluded, not only that it is lawful for all kings and magistrates, to punish heretics and such as have perverted the pure truth; but also that they be bound to do it, and that they misbehave themselves towards God, if they suffer errors to rest without redress, and employ not their whole power to shew greater zeal in their behalf than in all other things.”

    John Calvin, Sermon on Deuteronomy, sermon 87 on Deuteronomy 13:5

    In a treatise against pacifistic Anabaptists who maintained a doctrine of the spirituality of the Church which abrogated the binding authority of the case law Calvin wrote,

    “They (the Anabaptists) will reply, possibly, that the civil government of the people of Israel was a figure of the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ and lasted only until his coming, I will admit to them that in part, it was a figure, but I deny that it was nothing more than this, and not without reason. For in itself it was a political government, which is a requirement among all people. That such is the case, it is written of the Levitical priesthood that it had to come to an end and be abolished at the coming of our Lord Jesus (Heb. 7:12ff) Where is it written that the same is true of the external order? It is true that the scepter and government were to come from the tribe of Judah and the house of David, but that the government was to cease is manifestly contrary to Scripture.”

    John Calvin
    Treatise against the Anabaptists and against the Libertines, pp. 78-79

    “But it is questioned whether the law pertains to the kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual and distinct from all earthly dominion; and there are some men, not otherwise ill-disposed, to whom it appears that our condition under the Gospel is different from that of the ancient people under the law; not only because the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, but because Christ was unwilling that the beginnings of His kingdom should be aided by the sword. But, when human judges consecrate their work to the promotion of Christ’s kingdom, I deny that on that account its nature is changed. For, although it was Christ’s will that His Gospel should be proclaimed by His disciples in opposition to the power of the whole world, and He exposed them armed with the Word alone like sheep amongst the wolves, He did not impose on Himself an eternal law that He should never bring kings under His subjection, nor tame their violence, nor change them from being cruel persecutors into the patrons and guardians of His Church.”

    John Calvin
    Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses – p. 77.

    So, given the context of his times what Calvin seems to be doing in his literary methodological approach is that he writes against the Anabaptists who stressed the necessity to adopt the Mosaic judicials as a whole without making the necessary distinctions between the Mosaic judicials in toto and the general equity of the judicials. Once having done that Calvin embraces, for nations, what we would call the abiding “general equity” and insists that magistrates must have to do with the case law in their considerations.

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  201. Bobby, what is Martin Bucer’s reason or rational for carrying out the death penalty? He gives you chapter and verse! Pssssst, that’s theonomy 101. You can disagree with Bucer and Calvin, but you aren’t allowed to make up your own history.

    Read it again!

    But since no one can desire an approach more equitable and wholesome to the commonwealth than that which God describes in His law, it is certainly the duty of all kings and princes who recognize that God has put them over His people that follow most studiously his own method of punishing evildoers. For inasmuch as we have been freed from the teaching of Moses through Christ the Lord so that it is no longer necessary for us to observe the civil decrees of the law of Moses, namely, in terms of the way and the circumstances in which they described, nevertheless, insofar as the substance and proper end of these commandments are concerned, and especially those which enjoin the discipline that is necessary for the whole commonwealth, whoever does not reckon that such commandments are to be conscientiously observed is not attributing to God either supreme wisdom or a righteous care for our salvation.

    Accordingly, in every state sanctified to God capital punishment must be ordered for all who have dared to injure religion, either by introducing a false and impious doctrine about the Worship of God or by calling people away from the true worship of God (Dt. 13:6-10, and 17:2-5); for all who blaspheme the name of God and his solemn services (Lv. 24:15-16); who violate the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14-15, and 35:2; Num. 15:32-36); who rebelliously despise authority of parents and live their own life wickedly (Dt. 21:18-21); who are unwilling to submit to the sentence of supreme tribunal (Dt. 17:8-12); who have committed bloodshed (Ex. 21:12; Lv. 24:17, Dt. 19:11-13), adultery (Lv. 20:10), rape (Dt. 22:20-25), kidnapping (Dt. 24:17); who have given false testimony in a capital case (Dt. 19:16-21).”

    Martin Bucer
    16th century Magisterial Reformer
    The Fourteenth Law: The Modification of Penalties

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  202. SDB: TVD seems to want to use Christianity to make the world safe for his family – loving your enemy and doing good to those who hate you doesn’t always make the world a safer place

    Well, you asserted your point, but you haven’t argued it. Without God, all things are possible, and indeed someone pointed out that it was the “secular” Ataturk who was promptly responsible for the Armenian genocide after he gained power. Say what we must about its use of the sword but Islam doesn’t do genocide: it sees itself as just. You’d be safer with bin Laden than Mao; that’s just a fact.

    And I meself was referring to social cohesion at that libertarianism as “radical individualism” [the current variety] offers nothing to societal cohesion or the “little platoons” of family; in fact radical individualism is downright entropic, liberty taken to destructive ends.

    [You did, however, do well with “I think there are three lines of response one will hear from atheists:,” although again, polemics against other positions is not as good as an affirmative argument of your own.]

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  203. DG, very true, I have met and known over 100 people who very thoroughly disagree with Reformed theology but still could hold a respectful discussion on the faith.

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  204. Not really Tom, we apprehend all the promises of God by faith. God makes promises to us and our children; and we believe them. We presume our children are of the elect, until further evidence. We walk by faith, not sight. We also know that in this kingdom age, (or church age) God will save the many, not the few. We feel that the percentage of our children that God saves is a majority, unlike the minority he promised to save in national Israel.

    Now this is interesting, although something I expect your co-religionists aren’t especially anxious to touch even with a barge-pole.

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  205. @TVD
    I don’t understand your comment. Which point haven’t I argued? My response to Erik was just an outline of how an atheist would probably justify a god-less morality. I’m not defending that response, but I think it is worth taking seriously – god of gaps arguments aren’t likely to be anymore effective in sociology than they have been in geology.

    Or is it that I haven’t demonstrated that you seem to want to use Christianity to make the world safe for your family? If so, fair enough. That was the impression I got from your comment about children and family.

    Is it that I haven’t demonstrated that Christianity isn’t always so helpful for the peace and prosperity of one’s family, I’m surprised that needs argument. I would think my reference to Augustine would be sufficient.

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  206. I don’t understand your comment. Which point haven’t I argued? My response to Erik was just an outline of how an atheist would probably justify a god-less morality. I’m not defending that response, but I think it is worth taking seriously

    That part was good. The rest, not so much. For a gentleman of your obvious erudition, treating Christianity as one belief system among many, as though one size fits all, requires more than pointing in the general direction of the Augustine curtain.

    Then again there’s a certain gnosticism that prevails hereabouts, truths that are self-evidently good and necessary to those in the know. 😉

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  207. “And I meself was referring to social cohesion at that libertarianism as “radical individualism” [the current variety] offers nothing to societal cohesion or the “little platoons” of family; in fact radical individualism is downright entropic, liberty taken to destructive ends.”

    While I wouldn’t call myself libertarian, your critique tells more about you than libertarianism, which leaves plenty of space for local cohesion in families and other subgroups. Centralized, statutory control and its resulting uniformity shaped by political tactics is not the be-all and end-all of cohesion, and its expansion isn’t synonymous with it. It can be quite the contrary.

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  208. TVD, Gnosticism? First Tuininga for highlighting the anthropocentric aspect of Christianity (over against the broad redemption of all of creation), and now you for simply sharing an outlook.

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  209. If you’re going to jump into conversations, Mike, kindly read with care. The locution was “libertarianism as ‘radical individualism,'” which is not quite the same as the libertarianism-as-localism you seem to subscribe to–Roman Catholic social science calls it “subsidiarity”–which is quite at odds with both Leviathan on one hand and Ayn Rand on the other. On this we might even have common ground if you think about it.

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  210. @TVD I don’t follow you. How am I treating Christianity as one belief system among many? My point was specific to Christianity. I was not referring to other religions when I wrote, “TVD seems to want to use Christianity to make the world safe for his family – loving your enemy and doing good to those who hate you doesn’t always make the world a safer place (an issue Augustine had to confront).”

    When Rome fell, many blamed the christianization of the empire – Augustine wrote “The City of God” in response. Not sure what Gnosticism has to do with anything. Arguably the most important extra-biblical work in Christianity isn’t exactly a secret for those interested in the intersection of Christianity and politics.

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  211. @TVD “…kindly read with care.” Speaking of which, what do your mean by

    And I meself was referring to social cohesion at that libertarianism as “radical individualism” [the current variety] offers nothing to societal cohesion or the “little platoons” of family; in fact radical individualism is downright entropic, liberty taken to destructive ends.

    I thought it might be an errant cut and paste, but maybe not. Is it relevant to our conversation?

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  212. TVD, Gnosticism? First Tuininga for highlighting the anthropocentric aspect of Christianity (over against the broad redemption of all of creation), and now you for simply sharing an outlook.

    Far closer to a gnosticism than a catholicism, I think. Say what you want about them, but the Called to Communion dudes don’t hold private conversations in foreign languages in front of others, or furtively exchange knowing winks. They’re happy–even excited–to explain their POV to anyone who’ll listen [and even to those who don’t!]. They don’t circle their wagons and huddle among themselves, or as one of them put it, “broadcasting from the bunker.”

    But further, I think it’s more than just a matter of style. Where the Mormons are out there with their “vicarious baptism,” fulfilling the Biblical ritual in hopes that everyone will be saved*, there are those whose theology would really bum out those who are damned through no doing of their own. Sorry, Charlie, or more precisely, Sanjeev, Omar, whoever, born in the slums of Calcutta with pretty bad odds of being one of the lucky ones. I suppose the bunker is the best place for such a message, kept just between the fortunate.

    *Per John 3:5, etc.
    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=19&num=2&id=530

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  213. “And I meself was referring to social cohesion at that libertarianism as “radical individualism” [the current variety] offers nothing to societal cohesion or the “little platoons” of family; in fact radical individualism is downright entropic, liberty taken to destructive ends.”

    I thought it might be an errant cut and paste, but maybe not. Is it relevant to our conversation?

    Essential. The difference between liberty and license. The discussion is centuries old but as relevant as ever.

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  214. Doug,

    You have proved my point. Neither quote supports the theonomic thesis. In fact, both Bucer and Calvin expressly recognize an overlap between ethical principles drawn from general revelation and special revelation, which is expressly denied by theonomists. In fact, Calvin acknowledges that the civil magistrate is to rule by light of general revelation, and that any reference to special revelation is to be secondary. Bucer seems to envision less of a back-seat role for special revelation, but comes nowhere near to embracing the theonomic thesis.

    That being said, neither Calvin nor Bucer advocate for a 2K position. Calvin is far closer to 2K than theonomy, and Bucer seems to be somewhere in the middle.

    You seem to think that if you can show that someone’s not 2K, then that makes the person a theonomist. There are any variety of other positions, although Reformed thinkers have generally trended in a 2K direction, even if not fully embracing it.

    Again, you prove that you don’t even understand the theology to which you claim adherence. Again, I suspect that your attraction has more to do with a zeal to play in the Culture War sandbox than in any merits of the thesis.

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  215. Tom, try these comments on for vernacular exchanges:

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/03/jason-stellman-tells-his-conversion-story/comment-page-1/#comment-48768

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/03/jason-stellman-tells-his-conversion-story/comment-page-1/#comment-48781

    http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2013/03/jason-stellman-tells-his-conversion-story/comment-page-1/#comment-48783

    Why don’t you swim the Tiber?

    They seem very polite and sincere, but right now I’m studying you and yours in your natural habitat, Darryl. After all, it’s your contention that all roads lead to Geneva, not Rome.

    Act naturally. Don’t mind me. ;-}

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  216. In fact, Calvin acknowledges that the civil magistrate is to rule by light of general revelation, and that any reference to special revelation is to be secondary. Bucer seems to envision less of a back-seat role for special revelation, but comes nowhere near to embracing the theonomic thesis.

    This seems to be getting somewhere, Bobby. Props.

    Thing is, in the current crisis, general revelation [natural law] is being rejected as the legitimate foundation for “positive” law, that is, for man’s laws*. Outside of stealing and murder [and property rights are even on the ropes since Kelo], positive law is whatever the legislature or the judges say it is, untethered to and unrestrained by the natural law.

    Mr. Sowers, when theonomy was the rule–and Calvin’s Geneva was little different than the Roman Catholic tradition it replaced–its limits soon became apparent, especially in the heresy and blasphemy area–the multiplication of Protestant sects meant that one man’s truth was another man’s heresy was another man’s blasphemy.

    But in swinging the pendulum away from theonomy in the direction of “reason”–we lost general revelation, the natural law, in the process. So here we are.

    Alexander Hamilton, writing to Anglican bishop Samuel Seabury [obviously an “Enlightenment” type] in 1775:

    “There is so strong a similitude between your political principles and those maintained by Mr. Hobb[e]s, that, in judging from them, a person might very easily mistake you for a disciple of his. His opinion was, exactly, coincident with yours, relative to man in a state of nature. He held, as you do, that he was, then, perfectly free from all restraint of law and government. Moral obligation, according to him, is derived from the introduction of civil society; and there is no virtue, but what is purely artificial, the mere contrivance of politicians, for the maintenance of social intercourse. But the reason he run into this absurd and impious doctrine, was, that he disbelieved the existence of an intelligent superintending principle, who is the governor, and will be the final judge of the universe.

    Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced a very dissimilar theory. They have supposed, that the deity, from the relations, we stand in, to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is, indispensibly, obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever.

    This is what is called the law of nature,

    “which, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid, derive all their authority, mediately, or immediately, from this original.” Blackstone.

    [English jurist William Blackstone was perhaps the leading authority on law at the time, but this view represented the philosophy of law at the time of the American Founding.]

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  217. Bobby, did you see the biblical citations Bucer used to justify each death penalty sanction? He had Scripture for each penal sanction. That is theonomy!

    Do you know what theonomy means? It simply means God’s law!

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  218. TVD: Then again there’s a certain gnosticism that prevails hereabouts, truths that are self-evidently good and necessary to those in the know. 😉

    DUH

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  219. Tom, sorry, but you’re the universalist. How could you ever say that a person who defends a 30k communion (insert laugh here) believes that all roads lead to Geneva. Why, I believe someone mocked conservative Calvinists for being so narrow.

    You really should get your story straight.

    And if you believe in politeness and sincerity, what happened?

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  220. Tom: there are dues to pay to join the Reformed faith.

    If one is not born into a family that raises the child in this knowledge, one has a lot of study and work to get through in order to join.

    So the question would be… why would someone convert to this strain of the Evangelical Protestant faith? What makes this attractive to an Evangelical? How does this faith keep someone in its folds?

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  221. You really should get your story straight.

    You set the story straight, Darryl–I can’t tell you anything. You’re the Holy Grail of my studies of the Reformation, that last church at the end of the road that has the Reformation right. That’s why J. Gresham Machen started your own church, which has but 30,000 in it.

    You’re it, brother.

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  222. Tom, during my apprenticeship to join a Reformed church, the pastor frequently made comments that if I had my heart set on something that I needed for worship (a rock band for half the service, the right to argue non-stop with those who had higher knowledge, the refusal to submit to the elders for discipline) that I would probably be a lot happier elsewhere, and he would gladly help me find a better place to worship.

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  223. kent
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink
    Tom: there are dues to pay to join the Reformed faith.

    If one is not born into a family that raises the child in this knowledge, one has a lot of study and work to get through in order to join.

    How do you “join” the Elect?

    See, I let the Mormons slide b/c they have their own book of God’s revelation to Joseph Smith. Or the Muslims with God revealing Himself to Muhammad and the result is the Qur’an. I don’t argue truth claims about contact with the divine, man.

    You don’t get me yet, bro.

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  224. TVD: You don’t get me yet, bro.

    I don’t see any particular reason why I should care to get you. Makes no difference to me.

    But I do care that a person is searching and has found something worth sticking around for at this site.

    It is a matter between you and God.

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  225. So the question would be… why would someone convert to this strain of the Evangelical Protestant faith? What makes this attractive to an Evangelical? How does this faith keep someone in its folds?

    Kent, that has a ring of sincerity to it, thank you. I would like to pick it up at a sincere time. And I’m actually sincere in telling Darryl that my studies of the Reformation led me here to Old Life, which I’ve been monitoring for years and only recently have learned enough of the vocabulary to participate.

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  226. kent
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink
    TVD: You don’t get me yet, bro.

    I don’t see any particular reason why I should care to get you. Makes no difference to me.

    Sure it does. Manifestly.

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  227. Far closer to a gnosticism than a catholicism, I think. Say what you want about them, but the Called to Communion dudes don’t hold private conversations in foreign languages in front of others, or furtively exchange knowing winks. They’re happy–even excited–to explain their POV to anyone who’ll listen [and even to those who don’t!]. They don’t circle their wagons and huddle among themselves, or as one of them put it, “broadcasting from the bunker.”

    TVD, one of the complaints among the CtC crowd is how internally divisive and self-defeating Calvinists tend to be (i.e. the 3ok canard), which is actually the opposite of your observations. To some extent they have a point, but what they mistake for and impugn as mere divisiveness and pettiness is actually what happens in a system that is more Presbyterian than authoritarian, that is to say, the former allows for checks and balances (even while esteeming authority in ways evangelicals find appalling), the latter doesn’t because to do would be to undermine infallibility inherently.

    So while you may observe lots of happiness—even excitement—to explain their POV to anyone who will listen, try sometime to see how often there is any disagreement or dissension in the ranks. It may be that their understanding of how believers are to relate to each other parallels Pollyanna notions of family where spouses never butt heads and the children are always obedient. It’s attractive to be sure, just not very realistic. And it’s why confessional Prots think of CtC Catholicism as yet another manifestation of trying to have heaven on earth. The religious version of Leave It To Beaver.

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  228. “Far closer to a gnosticism than a catholicism, I think. Say what you want about them, but the Called to Communion dudes don’t hold private conversations in foreign languages in front of others, or furtively exchange knowing winks. They’re happy–even excited–to explain their POV to anyone who’ll listen [and even to those who don’t!]. They don’t circle their wagons and huddle among themselves, or as one of them put it, “broadcasting from the bunker.”’

    Mr Zrim: TVD, one of the complaints among the CtC crowd is how internally divisive and self-defeating Calvinists tend to be (i.e. the 3ok canard), which is actually the opposite of your observations.

    I speak for myself. Don’t know those guys, don’t vouch for them. [“Fargo,” Mr. Charter. Find the YouTube.]

    To some extent they have a point, but what they mistake for and impugn as mere divisiveness and pettiness

    I don’t really make any great hay of that, except to note that what is offered as self-evident scripture is often “good and necessary” theologizing. Although what is “good and necessary” is a matter of great dispute among Protestants, let alone vs. the Vatican.

    is actually what happens in a system that is more Presbyterian than authoritarian, that is to say, the former allows for checks and balances (even while esteeming authority in ways evangelicals find appalling), the latter doesn’t because to do would be to undermine infallibility inherently.

    So while you may observe lots of happiness—even excitement—to explain their POV to anyone who will listen, try sometime to see how often there is any disagreement or dissension in the ranks. It may be that their understanding of how believers are to relate to each other parallels Pollyanna notions of family where spouses never butt heads and the children are always obedient. It’s attractive to be sure, just not very realistic. And it’s why confessional Prots think of CtC Catholicism as yet another manifestation of trying to have heaven on earth. The religious version of Leave It To Beaver.

    It’s not that judge you any less than I judge them. Don’t “judge” any of you atall. These have been my observations. My observation of history is that the Roman church learned the hard way that God gave man a free will—living under a theocracy where one cannot choose right over wrong defeats the whole purpose of giving us free will in the first place.

    And thx for the temperate and sincere reply, Z. I take the C2C argument as a simple reduction–everybody’s doing theology, so just go with the longest-running show. God didn’t put us on earth to be at each others’ throats about the best way to love Him back, and if he started a church, he’d want it accessible to every one of his children. And so I struggle with the exclusivity of “true religion” and

    2. The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

    This isn’t to say Rome has historically done any better–indeed, I think if you asked most Catholics back in the day, they’d have rated their children’s chances of going to heaven and not hell as 50-50 at best and probably worse. The theology is that although you can’t win heaven by good works, you can sure sin your way to hell.

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  229. kent
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink
    Tom, during my apprenticeship to join a Reformed church, the pastor frequently made comments that if I had my heart set on something that I needed for worship (a rock band for half the service, the right to argue non-stop with those who had higher knowledge, the refusal to submit to the elders for discipline) that I would probably be a lot happier elsewhere, and he would gladly help me find a better place to worship.

    Oh, I dunno about all that, Kent, but thx again for a sincere reply. I quite agree that the church should not remake itself to your druthers, but translating the Bible into English in the first place was part of this controversy, to speak God’s word in a language you or I can understand.

    OTOH, ever talk Bible with a crazy fundie or a secular PhD with a hate for Christianity? There was a righteous reason they tried to slow the flow back in the day. On the whole the Bible has been a great force for good in human history—the best*—but it’s also been hijacked for evil, as we’re well aware.
    _________________________
    *”Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!” But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean Hell.”—John Adams

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  230. You can hide behind a million words and all kinds of fake concerns, but eventually effluvia has to get real.

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  231. kent
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink
    You can hide behind a million words and all kinds of fake concerns, but eventually effluvia has to get real.

    Exactly. I’m quite easy to find, I sign my real name to everything I write, I’m so easily googlable even Erik Charter can find me. But who is “Kent?”

    Your call.

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  232. I take the C2C argument as a simple reduction–everybody’s doing theology, so just go with the longest-running show.

    TVD, no, more like as long as you go with the longest running show then you may do theology. But if you don’t end up in Rome then you’re not doing theology, you’re doing autonomy. That’s why it’s rigged (like theonomy, as in there is only the Bible to explain all of life or autonomy, if you make room for general revelation you’re being autonomous).

    But when it is said that Protestants begin with scriptura (then do ecclesia) and Catholics begin with ecclesia (then do scriptura), it’s dinged for some logical fallacy or another. But read all of the CtC conversion narratives and notice how everything is “I concluded that the RCC is the church that Jesus Christ founded.” Even Cross says that everything reduced to ecclesia. And when their own words are pointed out, we’re the schismatics.

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  233. TVD,

    When did the internet become a religious practice’s ‘natural habitat’? Or even an exhaustive or thorough theological treatment? Yikes. You get snippets here, I wouldn’t even say they’re pictures. This blog has a particular personality(satirical), that may or may not be reflective of the respective participants religious communion. It’s not a condition of participation that one has sworn an oath to uphold the peace and purity of reformed piety and practice in all they say or do here. This isn’t church. In fact, part of 2k theology is to make sure we don’t assign to non-cultic activities(this blog or any blog) cultic conditionalities. This is, for lack of a better analogy, a virtual neighborhood bar. There’s a real effort to NOT make this interaction cultically binding. We aren’t even taking our lead from a Magisterium’s directive for ecumenical and evangelical efforts; CtC. We’re generally like-minded, but even that like-mindedness varies from theological agreement to merely a stylistic or affinity of personality. We don’t attempt, contra CtC, to practice our cultic identity(word and sacrament) on the interweb. For all of lifery adherents this is scandalous, for the rest of us this is acknowledgement of the commonality of the human condition. If you want a more concerted and true treatment, read the bible, read a book and attend church. Otherwise it’s likely your analysis is just an analysis of this blog. I guess that’s fair if your making a determination of which restaurant or bar to patronize, I would say it’s inadequate for the committing of your soul and conscience, and patently unfair to judge the participants here on that standard. CtC may be trying to do an extension of cultic fidelity on the net, we purposely make distinction that we are not. This isn’t church.

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  234. I’m just a plain old former Dispy/Reformed Baptist/Evangelical who is a member of a URC church.

    I’d sign up for a monastic existence but have another decade or two in the world of law and finance and I enjoy it and think something good gets done.

    My dance card is full, I have the quota filled for the 3 or 4 close people with whom I get a beer and chat at any given moment.

    Quips on threads are fun, I just want to make sure people are honest in their views.

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  235. Sean, While I agree with everything in your latest comment here, the header of the website we combox on does say, “reformed faith and practice.” Fortunately or unfortunately, someone like TVD can glean things over time about us, evaluating the substance of what we say, when it comes out, and also how we conduct ourselves in a loosely regulated forum like this.

    That he’s stayed this long, says something about the blogmeister here (who, lest we forget, is a policeman of this little corner of the world wide web(keep up your global policing DG – you are doing great!)) and the value of this website.

    Lest I get too serious in a combox, the blog post by DG about blogs from 2011 was definetely a good read for one, such as me, who found theology blogs and had the same kind of frustration as TVD (albeit my rants and ravings are not in the catacombs of this particular place, they are somewhere else).

    To conclude my flourish, I could not agree more, Sean, that we get people to read their Bibles, pray, and go to church. Speaking of which, what am I doing posting on a blog? Gotta run!

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  236. AB and Sean, I’ll pursue a path down the middle (moderate me — yowza!). The blog is about Reformed faith and practice but like Sean says, the Reformed faith is not all encompassing (as neo-Cals and CTCers have it). So part of being Reformed (a la OL) is not having to be Reformed all the way down.

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  237. Actually I’m good with both Darryl’s and AB’s modifications. To continue the thought, we also don’t appoint OL offices, thus in these environs Darryl plays ‘pope'(singular authority and not even conciliar as far as I know) and in that service the blog doubles as a vehicle to promote the aforementioned’s books, which come highly recommended, Doug and Tom. All good things but not necessarily holy, in fact the minute it goes holy/cultic we’ve betrayed our reformed faith and practice. Finally, it’s not particularly fair to hold everyone here to the same understanding of 2k or church history as everyone’s grasp and understanding to say nothing of application may and does vary. IOW, 2k broadens the field of ‘charity’ while at the same time bounding the pitch. This is what I would call adult religious expression, or maybe scripture might assign it maturity.

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  238. Sean, the OL papacy is like Avignon. Mr. Muether is co-pope. I do my best to channel him (call it charism). But OL has never been all about me. (talk about a softball)

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  239. Doug,

    It is clear from the context that Bucer believes that general revelation and special revelation are complementary. In fact, that’s the purpose of his cites to Scripture, i.e., to demonstrate the complementarity. Theonomy, in contrast, rejects complementarity.

    You’re correct in recognizing that Bucer is clearly not positing a 2K view. But that doesn’t make him a theonomist.

    Also, shame on you for just cutting and pasting from other people’s blogs and repasting here. Do theonomists have jobs? Or do they just sit around on blogs all day railing about the culture…when their not exposing themselves.

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  240. Bobby says: “It is clear from the context that Bucer believes that general revelation and special revelation are complementary. In fact, that’s the purpose of his cites to Scripture, i.e., to demonstrate the complementarity. Theonomy, in contrast, rejects complementarity.”

    Not true Bobby! I strongly believe that general revelation and special revelation are identical as did Bahanen. They both come from God, amen? Therefore it’s inconceivable that they could contradict each other. That’s the main point!!!

    I pulled those quotes of Bucer and Calvin from Greenbaggins blog on theonomy from a few years ago written by Franklin Hardy, because they illustrate a common misconception many people have of Calvin. Let me be blunt, Calvin never contradicted his friend and mentor Martin Bucer. They were of one mind on the validity of God’s moral law. I have re-posted that post more than a few times. At least five! I normally have posted Frankin Hardy’s name, I humbly apologize for not posting it this time. I was not trying to be deceptive.. And I have yet to see one man at Old LIfe take the time to actually read and understand the the power of this post.

    Let’s be honest, Calvin and Bucer would be lock step with Greg Bahnsen in the main.

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  241. Bobby, furthermore if you’re going to feign outrage, you should be outraged at Zrim, the most confused man on planet earth. He *should* know better, yet he continues to regurgitate Calvin railing against the Ana-baptists, to make it appear as if he would be against theonomy, when nothing could be further from the truth.

    . David VanDrunen is a demigod of extraordinary proportions, because as a professor he MUST know better. What can I say other than VanDurnen is a sophist of the worst kind? He uses quotes of Calvin that mislead the weak minded like Zrim who repeat his folly.

    Do not allow yourself to be deceived, if Calvin felt the first table should be enforced by the Magistrate, (and he did) then he was theonomic. No if and buts about it.

    Nuff said!

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  242. Doug, you forget that this side of the table has always acknowledged Calvin was a theocrat, and that when it comes to the magistrate enforcing true religion we’re with Kuyper when he said that “we do not at all hide the fact that we disagree with Calvin, our Confessions, and our Reformed theologians” and the confessional revisions that reflect a 2k theology.

    What you never seem able to do is recognize the complexities throughout Reformed history and seem to think it’s a zero sum game when it comes to certain stalwarts. You want Calvin on the magistrate? Fine, I’ll take Kuyper. That’s not so hard, is it?

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  243. That’s fine Zrim! Please quit quoting Calvin out of context, and I won’t say a word. As for David VanDurnen, what’s his excuse? DELETED

    Moreover, I fully recognize complexities. I have shared that I am not sure *how* to apply some of God’s law in an appropriate new testament context. I am on the record saying that over and over again. You can have Kuyper when it comes to executing heretics, I have said I don’t know what public heresy entails, so we are on the same side, “in a sense”.

    Finally, I *think* I know what the rub is; most reformed types (this includes me and you) call ourselves “Calvinists”. So when I point out that Calvin was theonomic, it pains you to the point where you feel the need to put a stick in my eye, by quoting his opposition to the Ana-baptists.

    Just admit that Calvin had theonomoic leanings and we will move on in harmony. Actually Zrim, we aren’t that far apart on 90% of our theology.

    Blessings

    I’m with you on the complex part!

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  244. I’m a Christian who attends a Reformed church. And yes, Calvin does play somewhat useful role in defining the Reformed faith.

    The only people calling me a Calvinist are about the same mentality as unbelievers asking if I’m “religious.”

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  245. Doug, your utter lack of charity and decorum toward a duly ordained teacher in the church suggests that grasping complexities isn’t exactly the long suit over there.

    To boot, you don’t seem to grasp the distinction between theocracy (i.e. the civil enforcement of the first table of the Decalogue) and theonomy (i.e. the civil government should enforce every detail of the biblical civil law). Calvin was a theocrat but he was no theonomist.

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  246. Zrim pontificates: “To boot, you don’t seem to grasp the distinction between theocracy (i.e. the civil enforcement of the first table of the Decalogue) and theonomy (i.e. the civil government should enforce every detail of the biblical civil law). Calvin was a theocrat but he was no theonomist.”

    Zrim, once again you prove you’re out of step. Bahnsen never taught that civil government should enforce every detail of the law. So now its official, you don’t understand theonomy. But why should that surprise anyone? You’ve never read “Theonomy In Christian Ethics”! You are attacking a straw man of your own imagination.

    I will give VanDrunen and Gordon some charity, after they apologize for calling anyone who holds a theonomic perspective, a fool. Ironically, the jokes on them.

    Kent, you missed my point, if someone asked you, “are you a Calvinist”? What would you say? Usually this is asked by someone who really means, “do you believe in the five points of Calvinism? Or TULIP”?

    Without going into a huge amount of minutia by qualifying this and that, I just say yes.

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  247. Doug, nobody in my circles runs around talking about being a Calvinist.

    Again, it is what a clueless believer would ask, much like a non-believer would ask if I was “religious.”

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  248. TVD, no, more like as long as you go with the longest running show then you may do theology. But if you don’t end up in Rome then you’re not doing theology, you’re doing autonomy. That’s why it’s rigged (like theonomy, as in there is only the Bible to explain all of life or autonomy, if you make room for general revelation you’re being autonomous).

    But when it is said that Protestants begin with scriptura (then do ecclesia) and Catholics begin with ecclesia (then do scriptura)

    that’s your claim. But judging by the wilde and wild disparity of Protestant interpretations of the Bible, you’re clearly all doing theology, duelling Bible verses. Heck, just within Calvinism you’re at such loggerheads there are over 100 sects.

    As for the callrd 2 Communion people, din’t know anything about them until i saw them attacked hereabouts. But I believe I’ve stated their argument accurately–it’s pretty much the one Thomas More used vs. William Tyndale, that it seemed illogical that Christ would leave his church in great error for 1000 years until the Reformers showed up.

    http://extra.shu.ac.uk/emls/moretyndale.pdf

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  249. And after going through Book I of the Institutes in depth recently, I conclude the product is mired in its time, that we have improved in a lot of areas, expanded on several, and a lot still is helpful for guidance.

    I don’t have a 6 foot totem pole of Calvin to bow in front of an offer tangerines, if that is what you are implying in your umm…… methodology.

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  250. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 6:21 am | Permalink
    Tom, you wrote, “you’re it, brother.”

    From your processor to your mind.</i.

    Oh, I take you quite seriously because you take yourselves so seriously, and your theology. I believe your church believes you're the the truest church of all Protestantism, of all Christianity. You're "Orthodox," not some Barney the Christosaur club that gets together on Sundays for insipid praise music and potlucks. You're hardcore, bro–I didn't pick you just by accident, you self-selected.

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  251. TVD, there’s disparity and then there’s disparity. We have the three forms of UNITY (and WCF). That only a few of those who claim Protestant won’t subscribe them hardly gives the 30K canard credence. It just means the Radical Reformation is alive and well and more influential than the descendants of the Protestant Reformation would like.

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  252. @Zrim, the things you have said regarding theonomy and those who hold to a theonomic perspective are beyond insulting. Do you realize that you are saying in so many words, that Dr. Greg Bahnsen was a fool? Every insult you’ve laid at the feet of theonomy, can be said of him. This is ironic since it’s you, chastising me for “not showing charity” to officers in Christ’s church.

    Earth to Zrim! Bahnsen was a church officer long before that wet behind the ears scrub, VanDrunen came onto the scene. The derision and lack of Christian charity from VanDrunen and Gordon was SOP for Bahnsen’s opponents. No one had the guts to debate him man to man. They merely took cheap shots, usually resorting to ridicule, or misguided caricatures like your feeble attempts today.

    And Zrim, you still miss-characterize Bahnsen! Why not have the decency to read TICE, or “By This Standard”, and his answer to his best critiques “”No Other Standard”, before you continue to make such foolish comments? It’s frustrating hearing you pop off like a know-it-all; when you know next to nothing.

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  253. Doug, I’ve made pointed criticisms about theonomy, and ones I’m sure wind up theonomists, but I’ve never impugned anybody’s character even by implication.

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  254. Zrim, why make pointed criticisms of something you’ve never read? Why not break down and read “By This Standard”? I will send you a copy on my own dime!

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  255. “Bahnsen never taught that civil government should enforce every detail of the law.”

    So how does one decide which laws civil government should enforce? The NT doesn’t offer much guidance. Indeed, since the NT doesn’t prescribe a particular political order, it seems to me the church does not have the authority to prescribe one. Your concession that civil govt shoulnt enforce every detail of the law is more significant than you may realize. Once you have to turn to extrabiblical sources to determine what parts should be enforced (natural law, tradition, expediency?) that becomes the fundamental standard(s) upon which civil govts role is determined. Now church members are bound by scripture+… This is a problem.

    However, if you allow that believers have wide lattitude to advocate for various political arrangements, this problem recedes. Now there is no problem that the apostle Paul did not appeal to Caesar to outlaw infanticide (it wouldn’t have been a judicious use of his time). Similarly, one might argue that fighting for theonomy in a pluralist society in which you are a decided minority is not an effective use of one’s resources. Of course if those factors are acceptable it really isn’t theonomy any more…chance alignments don’t count.

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  256. TVD, there’s disparity and then there’s disparity. We have the three forms of UNITY (and WCF).

    Yah, I can smell the unity. This blog absolutely reeks of it.

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  257. So how does one decide which laws civil government should enforce? The NT doesn’t offer much guidance.

    Sure it does–the natural law, “Which shew[s] the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another).”

    Why does this R2K think always ignore Square One, as though it doesn’t exist? Disingenuous–especially when the clear alternative is a Pilate-like inertness.

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  258. TVD “Sure it does–the natural law”. Really? Does your heart tell you how far the government should go in enforcing natural law? Mine doesn’t. What is the government’s responsibility to the orphans and widows? Should the state provide public housing and food assistance, leave private organizations to take care of them, or provide vouchers so they can get their own place and job training? As far as I can tell, the Bible doesn’t say. The fact that I don’t think the church should excommunicate members based on differing opinions on this issue does not mean that I don’t have strong opinions myself. I’m not being disingenuous nor am I inert. I don’t understand why you insist on mischaracterizing 2K this way.

    2K simply says that the church shouldn’t be in the business of advocating for a particular political program nor should the church discipline members who hold various political opinions. Others disagree (e.g. the Baylys, Joe Carter, Doug Sowers). 2K is not about arguing the merits of particular political programs nor does it suggest what individual Christians may do. I may be a socon republican, but I can go to church and worship with a liberal democrat, a green socialist, and wooly libertarian. Joe Carter thinks that Christians who support libertarian causes are equivalent to Wiccans. The Baylys think that you are complicit in murder if you aren’t out actively protesting abortion clinics. 2K says this is nonsense. It may frustrate you that 2K stands in the way of rallying church members to your cause, but it is simply wrong to suggest that it is disingenuous or or a tool for inertness (even if the inert are drawn to it).

    But maybe I’m missing something. How does one go from Paul’s statement that we have a common conscience congruent with his revealed moral law to Aristotelian Natural Law Theory? And once you do this, how does one convert this into a coherent political program? Finally, does this provide some guidance for deciding how much dissent is acceptable before one is sinning? You may not care about ecclesiology, but then you are in the wrong conversation as that is what 2K is all about.

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  259. sdb:How does one go from Paul’s statement that we have a common conscience congruent with his revealed moral law to Aristotelian Natural Law Theory?

    You don’t. You just make it up. Waste everyone’s time with nonsense and cry out…

    LOOK AT ME!!
    LOOK AT ME!!
    LOOK AT ME!!

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  260. TVD “Sure it does–the natural law”. Really? Does your heart tell you how far the government should go in enforcing natural law? Mine doesn’t. What is the government’s responsibility to the orphans and widows? Should the state provide public housing and food assistance, leave private organizations to take care of them, or provide vouchers so they can get their own place and job training? As far as I can tell, the Bible doesn’t say. The fact that I don’t think the church should excommunicate members based on differing opinions on this issue does not mean that I don’t have strong opinions myself. I’m not being disingenuous nor am I inert. I don’t understand why you insist on mischaracterizing 2K this way.

    2K simply says that the church shouldn’t be in the business of advocating for a particular political program nor should the church discipline members who hold various political opinions. Others disagree (e.g. the Baylys, Joe Carter, Doug Sowers). 2K is not about arguing the merits of particular political programs nor does it suggest what individual Christians may do. I may be a socon republican, but I can go to church and worship with a liberal democrat, a green socialist, and wooly libertarian. Joe Carter thinks that Christians who support libertarian causes are equivalent to Wiccans. The Baylys think that you are complicit in murder if you aren’t out actively protesting abortion clinics. 2K says this is nonsense. It may frustrate you that 2K stands in the way of rallying church members to your cause, but it is simply wrong to suggest that it is disingenuous or or a tool for inertness (even if the inert are drawn to it).

    But maybe I’m missing something.

    Yes. Everything. Natural law tells the “what,” prudence must dictate the “how.” For instance, see Aquinas on prostitution–reason dictates that to ruthlessly snuff it out would create more evil than it cured.

    Your argument–and Daryl’s–is continually”B-b-b-b-but the Inquisition! Servetus! Witch trials!” But they are not arguments against natural law, they are arguments against imprudence.

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  261. @tvd
    The question on the table is not “what is moral?” We all, 2k, theonomists, transformationalists, and other various and sundry Christian right activists more or less agree on the basics. Perhaps there’s an interesting conversation to have about how to ground our belief that abortion is wrong (for example), and NLT might even figure prominently in such a discussion. But that is not what the 2k debate is all about (nor is it just a parochial skirmish between micro-presbyerian sects).

    The Gospel Coalition represents a broad swath of conservative evangelicalism. Its leaders include pastors from some of the largest and most influential megachurches in america and the president of several prominent seminaries (including the flagship of the largest protestant denomination-the SBC). The TGC tells us that failure to support their political program is sinful. In other words, if we don’t repent and get with the program, we should be excommunicated from our chuch. Again, the debate isn’t over whether something like gay marriage is wrong. The question is whether failure to oppise state recognition of gay unions is grounds for excommunication. 2k says nope. The others I’ve mentioned disagree. NLT isn’t relevant to adjudicating ecclesiastical questions as far as I can tell, and your response seems to confirm that.

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  262. sdb says: ” Again, the debate isn’t over whether something like gay marriage is wrong. The question is whether failure to oppise state recognition of gay unions is grounds for excommunication.”

    Balderdash! That is a false way of framing the issue. Number one, where are the strong christian voices standing up, and saying homosexuality is wrong? Where are you on this issue in public? I haven’t heard anyone! Every time I turn on my TV in the “gay” Bay area I am being preached too, that being gay is okay. The pressure is on like never before! Stand up and be counted sdb! If you do, you will be called a “hater” or worse.

    Why are you stuck on calling this a church discipline issue? Where are our leaders? Where are the powerful voices in the OPC speaking out (in public) with a “Clarion call”? Where are any christian leaders speaking the truth? Cause I don’t hear them! We need wise men able to speak directly to our nation. Men willing to suffer ridicule. Men willing to go on CNN, Fox, and PMSNBC. Men willing to gather the body of Christ in unity? Forget church discipline, people will follow, if they see a leader. Where are the leaders? Who’s willing to speak the truth?

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  263. Tom, you will notice that neither Zrim nor sdb have never read theonomy. This whole brouhaha called Escondido 2K is a weak response to theonomy even if they don’t fully know it yet. The question is still front and center, “what does justice require”?

    The tough are hard questions still need to be addressed, *how* must society apply God’s law? Prudence and diligence and the fruit of the Spirit will be required at the outset. Anyone who tries to morally bail out a hold to a “that’s the common area” will be swept aside.

    We, “the body of Christ” need to start speaking the truth in love in unity. A truth that has Christ Jesus at the center. A truth the stands up for God’s law! A truth that is not ashamed of calling homosexuality what it really is, evil, and not a gender issue. Whoa to those who call evil good, amen? Yet that is exactly what is being *preached* and taught as fact in our schools, and broadcast on TV.

    If we aren’t willing to join the fight, the fight will look for us. In fact, it already has.

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  264. sdb, I have a copy of “By This Standard” by Greg Bahnsen, I will be happy to send you a copy, on my dime. Just give me an address, even your church address and I will get it to you. This will clear up a whole host of misconceptions you have, and help us to communicate much better.

    You will notice that Zrim hasn’t as of yet read thoenomy or Bahnsen’s other books on theonomy, which is why he constantly makes straw man arguments.

    Blessings

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  265. Doug, homosexuality is immoral and contrary to nature. But this really isn’t what you’re looking for. You want a certain level of moral indignation and outrage, just like the Baylys, and when you don’t get it you blow even harder. The Baylys ban those who don’t sufficiently hyperventilate, you just keep showing up and harassing.

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  266. Zrim, where are the leaders in our church standing up in public? Why can’t our church leaders go on CNN or Fox news? I see the christian perspective of homosexuality being mocked, and getting steam rolled in the media, as if it’s outdated pap, that no one subscribes to anymore.

    I see conservatives like Ann Coulter treating the “gay” issue as if it were a hot potato. Well guess what; it is a hot potato, and it needs to be dealt with by a strong unified christian voice. Someone capable of speaking the truth without mincing his words. Someone who is willing to be ridiculed by the media. someone who is willing to tell the truth!

    I still waiting………..

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  267. The question is still front and center, “what does justice require”?

    The tough are hard questions still need to be addressed, *how* must society apply God’s law?

    Or the natural law, which is thought to be divine as well. That’s a good, basic place to start, without the jargon.

    The Gospel Coalition represents a broad swath of conservative evangelicalism. Its leaders include pastors from some of the largest and most influential megachurches in america and the president of several prominent seminaries (including the flagship of the largest protestant denomination-the SBC). The TGC tells us that failure to support their political program is sinful.

    I don’t know who they are. As a pan-ecclessial entity, they have no power over anybody. As for me, I’m an arm’s length from the whole deal–I’m fine with conservative politics, or social gospel politics, or Turkey choosing a shari’a-style model instead of it’s current western-secular one. As for the Catholics, I would not be scandalized if they started bouncing the Nancy Pelosi’s, etc., for actively furthering abortion.

    If we aren’t willing to join the fight, the fight will look for us. In fact, it already has.

    Now, that’s a fact. I respect the right of Amish or 2Kers to be conscientious objectors, but I have to admit I consider them freeloaders in the religious freedom department. Fortunately, 2Kers don’t ask for much–just a hole to hide in on Sundays to do their worship thing.

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  268. Kent, J. Gresham Machen was no fundamentalist, but he was concerned enough about what he saw going on in America, that he went before both houses of Congress to tell them his uniquely “Christian” perspective on how government should operate in 1932.

    Darryl Hart forgot to record that important moment in his biography of Machen. Why? Ask Darryl, I don’t know.

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  269. Doug Sowers
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
    Kent, J. Gresham Machen was no fundamentalist, but he was concerned enough about what he saw going on in America, that he went before both houses of Congress to tell them his uniquely “Christian” perspective on how government should operate in 1932.

    Darryl Hart forgot to record that important moment in his biography of Machen. Why? Ask Darryl, I don’t know.

    Is this true?

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  270. @Tom Van Dyke, I heard some of Machen’s speech to both houses of Congress. As it turns out, Greg Bahnsen, greatly admired Machen and quoted some of the excepts, in one of his lectures on theonomy.

    So yes, it’s true.

    Why did DGH omit this in his bio of Machen? That I don’t know, but it seems, kind of like omitting the Revolution was the Presbyterian revolt, eh?

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  271. “Where are any christian leaders speaking the truth? Cause I don’t hear them!”
    Well then, you haven’t been listening (or reading) very broadly:
    1) Billy Graham
    2) Manhattan Declaration – signed by what, 500,000 so far?
    3) For all the good it did, the late Jerry Falwell was a regular on the talking head circuit decrying the advance of gay rights.
    4) Joe Carter isn’t exactly a nobody. He states that taking a libertarian approach to political questions surrounding sexual ethics is a form of idolatry.
    5) Indeed, The Gospel Coalition has had quite a bit to say about homosexuality.
    6) Then there are the writings from Al Mohler – perhaps the most influential leader of conservative evangelicals as president of Southern Seminary, the flagship seminary of the largest protestant body in the country. He’s written a bit about homosexuality.
    7) What does ChristianityToday, evangelicalism’s flagship mag, have to say about gay marriage? Take a look.

    The assertion that conservative christians have been silent on gay marriage is absurd. It was a huge factor behind get out the vote efforts in 2004, it has been prominently put forward by all kinds of pastors, parachurch leaders, and Christian media. The idea that gay rights are marching forward because of silence on the part of believers is a dangerous misreading of the landscape. Indeed, the only conservative support I’ve found for gay marriage has come from Misty Irons – she hasn’t exactly been embraced by the reformed community with open arms.

    “neither Zrim nor sdb have never read theonomy” That is true. As hard as this may be for you to get your head around, I’ve read it and don’t find the arguments compelling.

    “I don’t know who they are. As a pan-ecclessial entity, they have no power over anybody.” Really!?!?! Then what are we doing here? This whole debate is over the question of whether or not a Christian must advocate for a particular political program. While teh TGC doesn’t have authority, it does have quite a bit of power in the form of influence. So when my pastor reprints Stedman’s article that it is sinful to support public policies that enable ssm in our church newsletter, it matters. This is where the debate is. Am I sinning by voting for democrat who will confirm a SC justice that supports ssm? Some say yes. Indeed a guy in my SS class suggested that putting up a sign for a democrat should be grounds for church discipline. This is what 2K is battling…2K is not anabaptist – the anabaptist says that it is wrong for the Christian to get involved, the Doug Sowers of the world say that it is wrong not to get involved. The 2Ker says that your degree of involvement is matter of conscience that the church doesn’t have the authority to bind. If you decide that political involvement will compromise your ministry, then avoid it. If you feel the need to protest a clinic, go for it. If you want to run for office and try to implement biblical laws, by all means have at it. You can be a socialist, libertarian, green, or republican and still be a member in good standing. A not so negligible share of the commentariat in the conservative protestant world disagrees.

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  272. Doug Sowersd
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink
    @Tom Van Dyke, I heard some of Machen’s speech to both houses of Congress. As it turns out, Greg Bahnsen, greatly admired Machen and quoted some of the excepts, in one of his lectures on theonomy.

    So yes, it’s true.

    Why did DGH omit this in his bio of Machen? That I don’t know, but it seems, kind of like omitting the Revolution was the Presbyterian revolt, eh?

    True, in Darryl’s new book “Calvinism: a History” a search of keywords such as “revolution,” “resistance,” Knox, “tyrannos,”–even “Cromwell”–turns up quite little if anything of “Reformed resistance theory,” the American revolution, that stuff.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=KJbIAxqVa_8C&pg=PA1504&dq=darryl+hart+calvinism&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wp7MUaCPK9DsigL9zICoDQ&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAQ

    Clearly it’s intended to be an ecclesiastical history, not a history history. Although “Servetus*” gets no hits either, which is curious [is the index malfunctioning?]–I wouldn’t expect Darryl to write of Roman Catholicism without the word “Inquisition.” He seldom does, anyway. ;-P

    As for J. Gresham Machen speaking to the US Congress on civil or cultural matters, I’d be very interested to hear more about that, see some links and quotes, that sort of thing.
    __________

    *Michael Servetus, burned up for heresy in Geneva in 1553. Jean Calvin was lead theological advisor.

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  273. DGH, how can you write a “bio” on J. Gresham Machen, and omit that he spoke before both houses of Congress in 32? Was that just an aside? An Ooops? Did that slip your (historians?) notice?

    (Full disclosure) To let everyone at Old life know, when I first met Darryl Hart at Greenbaggins (a few short years ago), he attempted to sell everyone a load of crap, that (Machen!) (of all people) taught him R2K. Huh?!!

    Hey Darryl, is it possible for someone to stand before both houses of Congress with a “Christian” outlook on life based on the Holy Scriptures, and still be R2K?

    I didn’t think so!

    Hmmmm, sounds like Darryl’s got some “splaining” to do, eh? If Hart was *really* trying to write a *real* biography about Machen, why would *he* omit that Machen spoke before both houses of Congress?

    Machen read Congress the riot act! So much for Hart’s attempt at an historical biography! He looks more like a R2K hack, than a real historian. Hart says; the Revolution was NOT a Presbyterian revolt.

    Whatever Darryl………

    Why should anyone take you seriously anymore?????????

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  274. Machen spoke to government self-consciously as private citizen and a public intellectual; and not (very definitely not) as a churchman. Christians can do that (still) in these United States. And, in fact, OLTS is just fine with such speech–it’s about being a good citizen.

    The thing OLTS, Machen, the spirituality of the church, and 2K theology opposes is the Church (or some bozo with or without a pointy hat who thinks he speaks for the church) supposing it has authority to judge the laws and policies of a state toward its citizenry, as if it were a vested body coequal to a state’s Supreme Court. The Church has leave from God to rule its own citizens within its limits of competence, and to shepherd them by moral counsel. There are limits to the Church’s authority.

    Machen loved his native soil. He was bred of southern gentility, and he knew his US Constitution. His politics were aligned with classic liberalism, and line up (anachronistically) with paleo-conservatism or Libertarian philosophy. Machen would probably have voted for legalizing the Chronic, just as he boldly opposed “the dry Jihad” (HT, Mencken), and angered all the pietists and proto-theonomists from back in the day.

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  275. Easy, fella. Are you referring to Machen testifying to a joint Congressional committee in 1926 about the education system?

    http://web.archive.org/web/20030502161945/http://homepage.mac.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/jgmcongress.htm

    If so, it’s a little more complicated and a bit more congenial to 2K/libertarianism. A little bile at a time, por favor.

    “I believe that in the sphere of the mind we should have absolutely unlimited competition. There are certain spheres where competition may have to be checked, but not when it comes to the sphere of the mind; and it seems to me that we ought to have this state of affairs: That every State should be faced by the unlimited competition in this sphere of other States; that each one should try to provide the best for its children that it possibly can; and, above all, that all public education should be kept healthy at every moment by the absolutely free competition of private schools and church schools.

    A public education that is faced by such competition is a beneficent result of modern life; but a public education that is not faced by such competition of private schools is one of the deadliest enemies to liberty that has ever been devised.

    Bold mine. I’d submit that’s precisely what has happened between Machen’s day and our own. IMO, judging by our most recent elections and judicial decisions, I think we’re irretrievably screwed–and although Machen saw the whole thing like a slow train coming, his “radical” 2Kism left him impotent to prevent it.

    DR. MACHEN: I think that the solution lies not in a theoretic teaching in the public schools as to the basis of morality, because I do not think you can keep that free from religious questions; but I do hold that a teacher who himself or herself is imbued with the absolute distinction between right and wrong can maintain the moral standing, the moral temper of a public school.

    SENATOR FERRIS: Is the ethical culturist ruled out from the consideration of morality in his views and conduct?

    DR. MACHEN: I am not ruling out anybody at all, sir — the ethical culturist or anyone else.

    SENATOR FERRIS: No; but if religion is the basic element in all morality, then can we have a morality that is not founded on a religious idea?

    DR. MACHEN: I myself do not believe that you can have such a morality permanently, and that is exactly what I am interested in trying to get other people to believe; but I am not at all interested in trying to proclaim that view of mine by any measures that involve compulsion, and I am not interested in making the public school an agency for the proclamation of such a view; but I am interested in diminishing rather than increasing the function of the public school, in order to leave room for the opportunity of a propagation of the view that I hold in free conflict with all other views which may be held, in order that in that way the truth finally may prevail.

    SENATOR PHIPPS: Thank you, Doctor. [Applause.]

    And Doug, unless you have more ammo than this affair, you’re being terribly unfair to Darryl.

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  276. Doug, you asked, “where are the leaders in our church standing up in public?” Every Sunday. It’s called PUBLIC worship. Be careful how you respond — balderdash? Paul was familiar with folks who claimed that preaching was folly.

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  277. Tom, I recommend you read a book of history. (I’d also be very interested in the difference between history history and ecclesiastical history from a guy who doesn’t like the secular drift of the U.S.) In this case, because the Reformation of which Reformed Protestants were part was a magisterial reformation, there’s plenty of politics. In fact, there may be more politics in the book than church history.

    But if you persist in judging books by their indexes, time’s yours.

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  278. Bruce, and Machen didn’t testify in 1932. The Sentinels of the Republic were the group that brought him to Congress in 1926 to argue against establishing the Federal Dept. of Education. Eee gads. What would the fourth season of The Wire be like without No Child Left Behind.

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  279. Bruce bellows: ” Machen would probably have voted for legalizing the Chronic, just as he boldly opposed “the dry Jihad” (HT, Mencken), and angered all the pietists and proto-theonomists from back in the day.”

    Nonsense!!! Greg Bahnsen was against prohibition. Do you know why? Because Jesus drank wine, you ninny hammer! Forbidding something that God’s word does not forbid, is asceticism. It goes beyond God’s word.

    How Machen would have voted on marijuana is completely speculative.

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  280. Darryl, I hope your Pastor does a better job of refuting the homosexual agenda than you. You never bring up Scriptural arguments, as if God’s will is moot. Which is like entering the fight ring, with both hands tied behind your back. Apart from how God feels about homosexuality; who cares what anyone else thinks?

    BTW, where are the Christian voices (your Pastor?) on CNN, Fox news and PMSMBC or the big three networks? Or must one go to church on Sunday, to hear the truth?

    Is your Pastor forbidden from speaking the truth on TV? Is prime time a no no?

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  281. @Tom Van Dyke: Perhaps I got the date wrong, but I assure you I wasn’t trying to be unfair to Mr. Hart. Moreover, as a man who holds to a theoretical theonomic perspective, I, like Greg Bahnsen, don’t believe the State has the right to enforce laws on how a man believes.

    Neither did God! We don’t enforce penal sanctions on men who are not believers. Moreover God’s law demanded that Israel treat unbelievers and Sojourners with kindness. They were to love there enemies, exactly like Christians are to love our enemies today.

    Blessings!

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  282. Darryl, the Apostle Paul was as public as one can be. He went out and publicly debated any and all comers in the Roman empire. He spoke the most offensive words one could speak in his day. Paul had the nerve to tell the Romans that Jesus was Lord! Not Cesar, but Christ Jesus!

    Does your Pastor go out and engage the public at large? Or must one show up to your local OPC to hear an argument against the homosexual agenda?

    When is the last time your Pastor went on CNN? When was the last time he told the truth on Fox news? When was the last time he told the truth of how God feels about homosexuality on NBC, ABC, or CBS? Why hide it under a bushel? Why not let the whole world know?

    I’m willing to bet this weeks pay check that *they* (the networks) would love to hear his point of view. Where have all the Christians gone, when it comes to engaging the talking heads on TV? I have yet to hear one Godly man stand up and tell the truth, found in Scripture.

    When I turn on “primetime” it’s a landslide. I have yet to hear one Godly Pastor stand up and tell the truth. Why is that? Why should Christians sit be the side lines, and let the pro-homosexual agenda folks hog the limelight?

    Or is Sunday the only day we can speak the truth?

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  283. Darryl, we probably both disagree with *some* of Jerry Falwell’s theology, but I think we can both agree he was a brother in Christ. He was ridiculed like no other Christian leader, that I can think of in recent history. Beguiled is a better word for it.

    What I want to know, is where are the Godly men with better theology, telling the truth of God’s Word? Why are *we* (the body of Christ) so impotent in the public sphere? Who is willing to stand and deliver? Who is willing to say that homosexuality is death? Where are the next generation of Warriors willing to engage the Politically Correct crowd? I have yet to see one!

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  284. Not sure where you get the opinion that going on CNN is the highest form of godliness.

    Is CNN still on TV? Haven’t tuned in for about 12 years.

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  285. Doug you ask, “I have yet to hear one Godly Pastor stand up and tell the truth. Why is that?” Because OL is part of the homosexual agenda and Muether and I have proxys at Fox, CNN, and MSNBC.

    Impressed?

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  286. Douglas, the dictionary called. It thinks you meant “reviled” instead of “beguiled.” Or maybe Falwell ws beguiled — by fame, publicity, the thrill of throwing bones to a certain crowd. Remember the water slide?

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  287. Doug,

    Unless you just finished an Evelyn Wood course on spelling, grammar and writing, why not reveal who has been writing your latest posts for you.

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  288. Must be rough when the only thing that gets you going is hate for all those gay ads on local TV.

    Maybe mankind could come up with a filter that keeps this out of a man’s life? Like an OFF button on the remote or TV itself.

    Kind of surprised he watches that much TV based on his holiness attacks here, but on the other hand not surprised at all.

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  289. Kent wonders: Not sure where you get the opinion that going on CNN is the highest form of godliness.

    Me: Kent, I am talking about taking the *fight* to PC crowd. Not that being on CNN is Gody.

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  290. Todd, while we normally disagree on R?2K theology, you are usually polite. What happened? I don’t hear a peep out of you for weeks, and now you accuse me of plagiarism? Or was that your attempt at humor? I thought Pastors were supposed to be good at telling jokes. I’m still wondering what the heck you meant.

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  291. Doug, it’s over.

    The hope that our society continues to hold on to fake small-c christian respectability is dead.

    Time to gird up the loins of your mind and tend to your own piety and witness.

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  292. Oh men at Old LIfe! I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Pastor Douglas Wilson and give him a big hearty at a boy! Now there is a man willing to engage the Public square with a good dose of God’s Word. A man who is not ashamed of being called a “Bible thumper”. A man willing to stand up for the truth; and not just on Sunday’s behind the Pulpit. We need both!

    We need a million more just like him! Men who love their neighbor enough to take a public stand against the PC crowd. Wilson is an example of loving your neighbor, like Christ said we should, in my humble opinion.

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  293. Kent, this isn’t about me. I’m 55 and am not about to let public opinion change me views. But I am concerned about the next generation getting pounded with lies. Damnable lies, at that! When we have “sports” hero’s on Primetime TV, saying that being gay, straight, or lesbian, does not matter, the only thing that matters is “can you play”? I cringe for our youth. We need some straight talk about sex, no pun intended. Some Bible based straight talk.

    Kent it might not affect to old codgers like you and me, but don’t you care about the next generation? I personally don’t like hearing lies spewed to our society. It’s akin to listening to Nazi propaganda, and just doing nothing or worse yet, saying ‘I’m not my brothers keeper.

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  294. Doug, we aren’t THAT old (you are almost a decade older than me…)

    The world is ruined by the billions and rescued one by one.

    Time to get very local and personal, the best way is through service at your neighbourhood church.

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  295. @Doug
    My comment got held up (likely because of all the links), so you might have missed it. Take a look if you missed it. One might ask what the fruit of all of this high profile politicking has accomplished. I’m not seeing much positive fruit. Maybe if the energy expended by the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition had been spent on boring stuff like building the church by faithfully preaching the Word, we would be in a different place today.

    “We need a million more just like him! ”
    And you are going to get it from the 30,000 thousand OPC? All of the conservatish Pres denominations number less that 500k (I’m counting the PCA and EPC). OL and 2K theology isn’t putting a dent political activism by churches, though political activism is destroying conservative protestantism. Present day evangelicals are making all the same mistakes that mainliners did in the 50’s. Once you become a useful political tool, you will be co-opted and then cast aside when you aren’t useful anymore. In the meantime, the thing that made you what you are will be lost. But hey, I guess as long as you feel better when you have someone from your team to cheer for on CNN, it is all worth it.

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  296. DGH queries: “Doug, correct me if I’m wrong (talk about calling the kettle black), but Bahnsen never appeared in the mainstream media.”

    Darryl, Bahnsen didn’t get the name; “the man atheists fear the most” by preaching on Sunday’s only.He engaged the PC crowd with the truth of God’s word in a powerful way.. He was involved in great debate with Gordon Stein, the man who said he could easily defeat any theist. I have that debate on CD, and Bahnsen took Stein apart in a God glorifying manner. He intellectually made Stein look foolish, using the TAG argument he perfected from Van Til.

    I am simply am praying for more like him to come into the foray. As believers, if Christ is for us, who can stand against us? We need more Davids, willing to say, “how dare this uncircumcised Philistine attack the armies of the living God”? We have the truth of God’s Word. They only spew lies.

    Let’s go get them!!!

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  297. The influence of even 30,000 godly citizens is immense in the world.

    Several men at my church own businesses which employ workers.

    Getting out of bed to go and do your best at work and school, and hiring people so they can put food on the table is a better influence than mouthing off on TV.

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  298. Doug, What’s with your preoccupation of wanting to see Christian leaders marginalized by the media for their beliefs? Aren’t they better off teaching and preaching to their flocks (and the next generation in their fold)? Do you see how the media frames the social debate? It really seems to be a waste of time.
    We have seen “celebrity” pastors and evangelists lambasted for anything they have spoken that is not in step with the prevailing liberal bias of the media! They would be better off strengthening the things that remain. (Again, building up the household of faith.) As for Doug Wilson, did you see the Hitchens debates? Any objective viewer would say that Hitchens won hands down and in an environment that was seeningly stacked against him. I always thought Wilson is a better writer than a debater, even though I don’t agree with everything he writes. Now Bahnsen on the other hand, I would have loved to see him debate Hitchens!

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  299. “the man atheists fear the most”

    No, he got it from cheerleaders. None of my philosopher of religion friends ever heard of him. What evidence is there that he was effective? Getting goosebumps while listening to him “demolition” a d-list “skeptic” isn’t much. If he was so effective, why have TAG arguments continually been refined (the best known being Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism). Skeptics didn’t find it convincing when CS Lewis made it Miracles, evidently Stein didn’t find it convincing as he died an atheist, and non-theist philosophers haven’t exactly been enamored by Plantinga’s latest version of it. One might conclude that such arguments are a very effective way of transforming culture (if you are into that kind of thing). But hey, it makes you feel better, so let’s drop what we are doing and jump into the public arena! It’s all just sport right?

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  300. sdb, I believe Dr. Greg Bahnsen was OPC, no?

    Now there is a great example of what one man can accomplish, “in Christ”!

    When I first attended an OPC in 98 in South San Francisco everyone there knew Dr. Bahnsen, and spoke admiringly of him. Since he went to be with the Lord in 95, what’s happened? Who has picked up his mantel in the OPC? Where are the powerful apologists in OPC? They might be around, and maybe I just haven’t heard of them?

    Have you read Bahnsen’s book, “Always Ready”?

    BTW sdb, my offer still stands if you would life a copy of “By This Standard”. I would be happy to send you a copy.

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  301. @John Sizer: Do you think the Apostle Paul was marginalized for speaking out in the public square? Yea, your right, the media would probably try to paint it that way, but I believe in the truth.

    And this isn’t an either, or. I want to see strong preaching on Sunday’s, and Godly men, silencing the fools in the public square. Aren’t we supposed to always be ready?

    Why is it, Godless men today say things, that would be inconceivable just a few decades ago? Even when I was young back in the sixties, you couldn’t say that being homosexual was okay. Even non-christian baseball players knew better than that! Can you imagine what Micky Mantle would say regarding homosexuality? He was no Christian as far as I could tell. Why the sea change in public thought?

    Do you have an answer?

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  302. Doug, the last 4 decades have taught us to keep our mouths shut, be grateful that disaster hasn’t hit our families over the last month, and try to preserve godliness in our personal life.

    Everybody has been torpedoed by something that the culture imposes on us.

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  303. Doug,

    Can you just switch it up every once in awhile? Let’s drop the ‘no’? for a bit. Do something else besides your Fred Phelps impersonation for a week. Try on contemplative. Read someone with whom you really disagree. I’ve read three Doug Wilson books. My wife read me something from Blog & Mablog last night that she thought was beneficial. I beat her for it, and walked her through all the unspoken faulty premises of the article, but she at least reads the other side and I had to hear it. Actually read TLINOF, and then rail on it all you want(maybe not here) but read it anyway. Read Van Drunnen’s Living in Two Kingdoms, it’ll take all of an hour or two. I attended a theonomic church for a year where Bahnsen was the associate pastor, it was a good church, faithful pastor, wrong about theonomy, but I listened, heard it, and interacted with it substantially. You need to broaden your perspective, even for just the rest of us who read you from time to time.

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  304. Kent observes: “Doug, the last 4 decades have taught us to keep our mouths shut, be grateful that disaster hasn’t hit our families over the last month, and try to preserve godliness in our personal life.”

    Me: Well, that is one way of viewing things. But would that stop Paul? You see, you are right Kent; that first and foremost we need to pull the beam out of our own eye, before we concentrate on other peoples splinters. But can’t we do both? Is it just me, my family and the local church? Or can we pray for God’s victory in all spheres?

    Paul sure seemed concerned with both. Instead of wanting to be like Mike, (TV commercial) how about wanting to be like Paul?

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  305. “sdb, I believe Dr. Greg Bahnsen was OPC, no?”
    He was indeed OPC. I read him (along with Dooyeweerd, Vos, and others) when I was on a van Til bender back in my undergrad days. I’m not OPC. I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a town with an OPC congregation, so it has been PCA since I left the SBC (with a brief spell in the CRC).

    “Now there is a great example of what one man can accomplish, “in Christ”!”
    And what was that? A legacy of CDs for you to cheer on? Really, what was accomplished in San Francisco – was the tide of sexual debauchery turned back? Now Falwell, Dobson, and Kennedy – there is a threesome that really accomplished something – they got on the networks defending traditional family, pro-life causes, etc… They had reach and influence like none other. And what do we have to show for it? Nada. Other than that conservative protestantism has been inextricably linked to the GOP. Perhaps an unfair perception, but a serious stumbling block nonetheless. Those who have sought to co-opt the church to achieve their political ends and the churchmen who have acquiesced have done serious damage to the church. Rousing debate performances notwithstanding.

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  306. Doug, I’m not Paul.

    If you coached children would you tell them they are a failure because they aren’t as good as LeBron?

    Just living a day at a time, often breaking it down to a minute at a time, trying to live a sanctified life, no time for makeup or Hollywood theatrics or snake handling.

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  307. Doug, they are now trying to erase what he did and pretend it wasn’t a big deal.

    To what level will they sink to chase a $ in the name of their lies.

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  308. Doug says: “Now there is a great example of what one man can accomplish, “in Christ”!”

    sdb says: “And what was that? A legacy of CDs for you to cheer on?”

    Me: That pretty cynical isn’t it? Couldn’t you have said much the same about Paul in 62 when he was executed? When he was beheaded, 5 out of the 7 churches he planted in Asia Minor, were on the verge of coming under judgment from God.

    Christians were being burned alive at Nero’s dinner parties. And anyone who was a known Christian could not buy or sell in public. Paul wrote a few letters that his fellow church men cheered about. But his ministry looked like an abject failure if you viewed things with your natural eyes.

    But let’s not judge by sight, let’s look at things by faith.

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  309. “Me: That pretty cynical isn’t it?…But let’s not judge by sight, let’s look at things by faith.”

    Bahnsen planted seven churches before facing martyrdom? I don’t recall Paul saying much about the state’s failure to enforce a biblical morality when we had audience with Felix. I guess he was sidetracked by sharing the gospel and preaching the word. If only you had had a chance to set him straight.

    Look, I don’t know what Bahnsen’s legacy is – I’m in no place to judge it. You are the one who seems to think that if we aren’t CNN we are neglecting our duty as Christians. God has ordained the means for building his church, and last I checked inserting one’s self into partisan debates wasn’t one of those means. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with someone who wants to engage in political advocacy, but… it isn’t essential that every Christian do so. Choosing to do so is a matter of prudence and should be left to the conscience of the individual believer. This is 2K. If DGH got the hankering, he could run for office and serve in the Congress, and guess what? He wouldn’t fall foul of any 2K principle. He could even vote to amend the constitution to define marriage property and personhood at conception, and argue vigorously for it on the floor. All of that is just fine with 2k. But it isn’t required. That’s the difference….

    Frankly, I’m not all that concerned about the future of the USA (nations come and go). I am very concerned for the health and future of the church, and when pastors neglect their calling by expending their energy on politics rather than the church I worry. When congregants let partisan concerns distract them from their Christian duty, I worry – when people get so caught up in the horserace of politics that they make the sort of intemperate remarks you’re known for, I worry. When a pastor projects clips of fighter planes taking off from aircraft carriers while reading “Its the Soldier”, I think of how Israel chose to trust in Egyptian chariots rather than follow what God had ordained for them. I see many Christians trusting in the GOP and turning what should be houses of prayer into political action committees. The fact that you find yourself aligned with an unbeliever who thinks concern about one’s justification is a useless abstraction because of political affinity should give you pause.

    I’m not Baptist nor am I an evangelical, but I have a lot of respect for both. Listening to Alistair Begg still warms my heart. I think they are wrong about many things, but I appreciate what they have to offer to the church. So it makes me very said to see them sacrifice their legacy on the alter of politics. You watch, in a decade, evangelicals will be mere shadow of what they are now and a big part of that is due to them listening to voices like your own.

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  310. Darryl, she told me the other day she thought that one of the benefits of getting married would be always having someone to talk to. I feel bad. I thought mothers told the truth to their daughters about such things. She is easy on the eyes and just vicious at spades.

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  311. sdb concedes: “Look, I don’t know what Bahnsen’s legacy is – I’m in no place to judge it.”

    Me: Good, then perhaps you shouldn’t have relegated his ministry to few CD’s some like to cheer about. That was judgmental, I’ll take your back track as true repentance.

    sdb says: “The fact that you find yourself aligned with an unbeliever who thinks concern about one’s justification is a useless abstraction because of political affinity should give you pause.”

    Me: Are you referring to Tom Van Dyke? How do you *know* he’s an unbeliever? He’s referred to a few of us, and “brother” ________. Sounds like he thinks he’s in the body of Christ, no?

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  312. By which I mean a moderate measure of honesty. People seem happier that way. Plus there could be a wife reading this. Heh heh, right.

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  313. “Good, then perhaps you shouldn’t have relegated his ministry to few CD’s some like to cheer about. That was judgmental, I’ll take your back track as true repentance.”

    You really don’t get it do you. My criticism was of you and your argument style: Bahnsen is the greatest and if only you would listen to him, you’d agree with me. Why, he’s the guy that atheists fear the most. If only every pastor was like Bahnsen, there would be no more abortion, homosexuality, and and it would rain gum drops.

    The Christ and culture (transform culture at the ballot box) approach has been a disaster for conservative protestants just as it was for mainliners a generation before. If you can point to positive fruit that have come from the MoralMajority/ChristianCoalition/Theonomist movements over the past 40yrs, I’ll happily stand corrected. Until then, arguing for more of the same strikes me as foolhardy.

    “Sounds like he thinks he’s in the body of Christ, no?”
    In the thread “In the Peace of Bryan”, he wrote, “[justification] is a meaningless abstraction”. Doesn’t sound like something a believer would say, but who knows. The intertubes are a wild place.

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  314. My humility levels are such that I can approach the teachings of Moses, Paul, and Jesus.

    Not sure if I could be brave enough to read the musings of such a superpower as Bahnsen.

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  315. MM, I already banned my wife from reading OL(she’s the one who insists on reading me Wilson), unless she relents and let’s me talk to her gay FB friends using her profile. So, having guaranteed that result, I plan to use OL to make ‘suggestions’ to my wife that aren’t working out as well one on one. ‘Cuz you can’t just beat your wife ALL the time, that would be wrong. If that doesn’t work, were going full patriarchalism(sort of like full monty, I suppose). I’ve got the Vision Forum catalog on the table and she can get her some of those full length khaki skirts and white bib blouses, but then not when I’m around, ‘cuz that’s not what I like and it’s a man’s world according to the Doug’s(Phillips, Wilson and Sowers). I like it.

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  316. Sean, what leaps off the page is not Wilson, patriarchalism, or American Vision, but that it was necessary to ban your wife from these premises. I think my wife checked my blog just once, and mostly to confirm that whatever I was doing was of no interest to her. Plus one time when I was interacting with her and the family too much she told me to go blog.

    Patriarchalism had a faint appeal to me at one time but now I’m glad I dodged that bullet. It’s just way too much work around the house and emotional bonding with the kids. Give Wilson credit for calling the wife the “despot” of the household. I’ll just supervise her supervision with an occasional “how’s it going?”

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  317. MM, you’ve been married too long or something. I told my wife what she could NOT do. Otherwise, how would she ‘hear’ my suggestions. The whole ruse would be pointless. My stuff doesn’t work as well if I’ve got to be always catching you up.

    I do actually threaten the Vision Forum wardrobe on occasion, seeing as Phillip’s church meets right down the road and I can utilize real life visual cues if she keeps it up. Whatever ‘it’ is at the time. See I don’t even have to read Wilson, I got this.

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  318. “MM, you’ve been married too long or something.”

    It’s all a blur after a while. And I refrain from wearing my glasses so I can synchronize my physical and metaphorical vision.

    Not “go to the light” but “go to the blur.”

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  319. In the thread “In the Peace of Bryan”, he wrote, “[justification] is a meaningless abstraction”.

    Do you really misunderstand me so, SDB, or are you being a big Richard?

    Further, no one was able to answer what difference it makes except attending a church that teaches it. If it turns out you’re wrong about this, what difference will it make–in this world or in the next?

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  320. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink
    Tom, I recommend you read a book of history. (I’d also be very interested in the difference between history history and ecclesiastical history from a guy who doesn’t like the secular drift of the U.S.) In this case, because the Reformation of which Reformed Protestants were part was a magisterial reformation, there’s plenty of politics. In fact, there may be more politics in the book than church history.

    But if you persist in judging books by their indexes, time’s yours.

    Darryl, did you put the story of the burning of Michael Servetus in your book Calvinism: A History or didn’t you?

    Seems a rather straightforward point. If you did omit it, it’s a questionable choice.

    In the rest of the discussion, I defended you from an unfair charge. Thank me very much.

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  321. sdb is quoted saying: “I’m not Baptist nor am I an evangelical, but I have a lot of respect for both.”

    Correction, the word “evangelical” was coined by the reformers. It simply means all Protestant groups that share in the historic doctrine of sola Scriptura and sola fide.

    That’s on page 31 of Dr. RC Sproul’s book, “What Is Reformed Theology?”

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  322. Well if it is on page 31 of RC’s book, what else is there to say? Surprisingly the meanings of words evolve over the span of 500yrs (heck they change in 50). Or maybe you think we have the right to be gay because the Declaration of Independence says we have the unalienable right to pursue happiness. So I’m shutting it down for the weekend. I’m going home to have a gay time with my wife and kids.

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  323. TeeVeeDee, you can go to Amazon and search the book by by mousing over the “look inside” image at the upper left corner of the page. “Servetus” (oh, the humanity!) appears on p. 19.

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  324. “In the thread “In the Peace of Bryan”, he wrote, “[justification] is a meaningless abstraction”.

    Do you really misunderstand me so, SDB, or are you being a big Richard?

    Further, no one was able to answer what difference it makes except attending a church that teaches it. If it turns out you’re wrong about this, what difference will it make–in this world or in the next?”

    1)Theologically (in the next…) Paul tells us that to believe a different Gospel (deny the doctrine of justification) is to imperil your soul. Trust in your own works (or that of another god) for your salvation and you’ll be eternally separated from God.

    2) Sociologically (in this world) Theology is more than just abstractions – it is glue that binds a community of believers. It informs our music, how we worship, what we teach, and our language. That shared understanding creates a shared identity. This is a big part of why religious bodies that shed their theological distinctives shrivel.Other interests just are sufficient to hold a diverse group together week after week.

    3) Theologically (in this world) I can’t say it better than the Heidelberg catechism:

    My only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own but belong body and soul, in life and death, to my faithful savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in Heaven; in fact all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his holy spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready to live for him.

    Of course this isn’t justification, but that doctrine is an essential element of the hope I confess and teach my children. So I don’t go through life worrying about the next terrorist attack, losing my job, or getting cancer. Because I have been justified (not based on any merit of my own) I know that everything in my life is working towards my salvation (…no fear in life, no fear in death – this is power of Christ in me/ from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny…) I don’ walk out my faith in servile fear hoping not to offend an angry master and lose place. Rather I walking in a loving filial fear not wanting to offend my Father in Heaven. The doctrine of justification undergirds all of this. If this comfort depends on me being good enough to earn (or keep) God’s favor, keeping up with complicated rites and liturgies, having sufficient faith, or anything else other than God’s faithfulness I really don’t like my odds.

    4) Ecclesiastically: Our evangelism is informed by this doctrine. It isn’t up to me to trick someone into the kingdom, cajole them, or dazzle them brilliance. When I share the gospel with my coworker in the national academy, I do so with the confidence that while they are far more brilliant than I could ever hope to be, if God calls them (and only if), they will respond. God doesn’t just save a certain kind of respectable person. He doesn’t put conditions on it, he just does it and we thank him when he does. A firm understanding of justification, would save a lot of evangelicals (of the arminian stripe anyway) from a lot of fruitless (and frankly embarrassing) outreach efforts (down with chick tracts and hell houses!).

    5) Spiritually: In my justification I was saved from the penalties of my sins, in my sanctification, I am being saved from the power of sin, and some day in my glorification I’ll be saved from the presence of sin. I look forward to that day.

    Can one get justification all wrong and get to heaven. I suspect so. But does that mean it didn’t make a difference? Absolutely not. Justification just a useless abstraction? I really don’t see how one could claim to be a believer (an (o)rthodox Christian) and ask that. If we all just aren’t getting it, maybe the problem isn’t all of us. Maybe you just aren’t as clear as you could be and should reconsider your elliptical approach.

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  325. Chortles Weakly
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
    TeeVeeDee, you can go to Amazon and search the book by by mousing over the “look inside” image at the upper left corner of the page. “Servetus” (oh, the humanity!) appears on p. 19.

    Y’all could have just said so. I gave every benefit of the doubt and even looked it up for myself at GoogleBooks.

    As it stands, it’s a passing mention with no detail, but at least it’s mentioned in passing. The index at Amazon indicates that mention is the only one in the book. I also see a one-sentence reference to the Puritan Revolution of 1640s. Perhaps there’s more, but like, whatever. J. Gresham Machen is amply represented and that’s what counts.

    By the time of Machen’s trial the spirituality of the church had no plausibility thanks to the overwhelming identification of US Protestants, both modernist and fundamentalist, of Christ’s cause with the nation’s wellbeing.[p. 266]

    I’m like wow, really. Wow. I know it’s the modern fashion for the historian to slip in his own judgments and opinions, but this is a pure 2K polemic.

    Nice work if you can get it, I reckon. Well done.

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  326. 1)Theologically (in the next…) Paul tells us that to believe a different Gospel (deny the doctrine of justification) is to imperil your soul. Trust in your own works (or that of another god) for your salvation and you’ll be eternally separated from God.

    Who’s arguing works? There you go again, Mr. SDB. And if you’re going to argue that guessing wrong about this doctrine or that is going to land you in hell [“imperil your soul”] a) most of your co-religionists are screwed and b) you’re contradicting this “Elect” business anyway–unless you’re arguing you can UNelect yourself by believing the wrong doctrine.

    Can one get justification all wrong and get to heaven. I suspect so. But does that mean it didn’t make a difference? Absolutely not.

    Keep trying–you’re still stuck in the starting blocks. You had one good point in there about not “tricking” people into faith, but again, although the Roman church might have attempted that stuff 500 years ago, it’s an attack against the Catlicks, not an affirmative argument of your own.

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  327. “Who’s arguing works?” I dunno, Nazarenes? Wesleyans? Various pentecostal/holiness sects?

    a) that may be true – you didn’t ask me to defend the implications for the belief, only whether there were any. Say what you want, but if the reformers were right, it matters.

    b) You obviously don’t understand election. I’m not asking you to agree with it, but you should at least understand what you are criticizing. Here is one explanation of the order of salvation: only the elect will be given a new heart by the holy spirit and all of those will hear and respond to the gospel in faith and be justified and all of those will persevere to the end. Can you figure out who the elect are a priori? Nope. So we share the gospel with all in the confidence that those whom God elects will respond.

    “Keep trying–you’re still stuck in the starting blocks.” You asked for the implications and I gave you the implications in my life. You may not like them, they may not matter to you, but they put to lie your assertion that the doctrine of justification was a useless abstraction.

    “it’s an attack against the Catlicks” No, you just don’t know what you are talking about. This, this, and this are what I had in mind. A more solid grounding in the doctrine of justification would put much of this to rest I think.

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  328. Tom, so let’s get this straight. Historians have ignored the influence of Calvinism on the Am. Rev. (not). Historians have a bias that excludes Calvinism. Horrors, historians exert their opinions into history.

    Tom saves (from Doug) and he condemns. What a pope/god.

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  329. You still didn’t thank me for getting your back on the Machen-before-congress thing. Ingrate.

    As for the rest of your foggy emission, yes, you glossed over Servetus and the Puritan revolution and injected 2K polemic into a “history.” Hey, I dig Ann Coulter. Her books are history, sort of. But more op-ed. But hey, whatever they let you get away with.

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  330. Yeesh, talk about your sour grapes. Hey Darryl you really have made it, people outside the reformed world bother to diss you. Congrats. I’ve seen wanna be athletes and wanna be actors and wanna be musicians whine about how they were overlooked and jilted, but this is the first time I’ve seen a wanna be historian.

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  331. Sorry, sean

    By the time of Machen’s trial the spirituality of the church had no plausibility thanks to the overwhelming identification of US Protestants, both modernist and fundamentalist, of Christ’s cause with the nation’s wellbeing.[p. 266]

    is opinion, not fact. But whatever, bro. These days anything goes.

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  332. TVD, you would know oh church of one. Bro, sincerely you might wanna come out of the stands. Granted, living above the fray gives the illusion of cleverness but it betrays a lack of courage or sincerity, even betrayal. I don’t imagine to know which may afflict.

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  333. A bit ironic for someone to point out that people share opinions on internet chatrooms designed for people to express religious beliefs.

    Sean, it seems pretty kosher 2k doctrine to let those who use these secular interwebs to come out on their own time table. Of course point out the fact anytime you need to.

    This has been a pretty active blog for a while. Makes for interesting reading at times, eh folks?

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  334. Maybe not ironic, but the proper response is, like we used to say in high school, “my, you have a keen perception of the obvious.”

    In the peace of TVD,
    AB

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  335. Tom, are you serious. First you bitch at me for inserting my opinion and then you quote my opinion about spirituality of the church? Are you sure you weren’t the guy who inspired Captain Renault?

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  336. Sean, your words are full of sarcasm, that did nothing to advance the conversation.

    And you wonder why the heat escalates?

    If I were Tom Van Dyke, a man sdb just accused of being an unbeliever, why would I want to fellowship with you? How are you being helpful in any sense of the word? Even if Tom is wrong, (which I believe he is) how about showing him the truth with kindness? It’s one thing to spar (hard!) with fellow believers like me, (I enjoy debate, and eat if like candy) but with a (quote unquote) ,unbeliever?

    If Tom blasts you, and I won’t blame him if he does, ask yourself why you constantly throw gas on the fire. Does your Pastor read your inflammatory invective’s? In summery, your post did nothing to advance dialog, you merely wrote a post insulting Tom in the smarmiest way.

    P.S. How would you like to be called a wanna be Elder? It might happen sooner rather than you can imagine.

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  337. Clarity over agreement, as my hero Dennis Prager maintains. To get there a) don’t condemn straw men and b) face up to the ramifications of your own ideologies.

    After that, what remains comes down to matters of faith, and in those believe what you will, or what you must. I’m interested in understanding what you believe, not beating a straw man of my own construction. As for what I believe, precious few are genuinely interested–personal details are used as weapons, not tools, for the bent of this forum is toward polemics, not apologetics.

    But we work around it: the clarity slips out in fits and starts. Rock on.

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  338. Dudes, I say we treat him how we would want to be treated. He’s mostly harmless, as Doug Adams might have said. I don’t have time to meaningfully opine here, since I can’t follow it all. I just think it’s cool when we get an outsider. That’s all.

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  339. Darryl, I consider you my brother in Christ, even though I want to slap you more days than not. Family often fights hard, but when it comes to unbelievers who are asking honest questions about justification and salvation, I think we need to bend over backwards to show true love. Snark should be put of the back self.

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  340. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink
    Tom, I did thank you in an OL way, anti-intellecual.

    Oh. Decent of you. You’re welcome.

    BTW, you lost this argument

    http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2013/06/do-protestants-belong/

    to yourself. The DGH of the first half kicked the butt of the DGH of the second. The predicament of the latter’s answer is that your principles don’t necessarily lead to who and where you are. In fact those principles aren’t a “consistent outworking of conservatism,” they’re entropic, which is why your orthodox church is indeed “pint-sized.”

    I’d quite be willing to stipulate, even argue, that the OPC is exactly where normative Calvinism should be. That’s why I picked you to study. But as the Tiber-crosser Richard John Neuhaus observed,

    “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.”

    So here you are. The Reformation itself was a rejection of orthodoxy, so your own orthodoxy leaves you an outcast from the larger church that goes its entropic way.

    Perhaps there will be a Reformation of the Reformation, but for many, it seems easier to try to reform Rome than what has become of Geneva.

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  341. Wow, who called in the Rodney King brigade. I was being sincere. The Internet is a flat medium and this is an emoticon free zone. I don’t see any women or children in the vicinity. I get called on my crap all the time, see MM. Everyone keep their big boy pants on.

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  342. Sean takes a jab: “Yeesh, talk about your sour grapes. Hey Darryl you really have made it, people outside the reformed world bother to diss you. Congrats. I’ve seen wanna be athletes and wanna be actors and wanna be musicians whine about how they were overlooked and jilted, but this is the first time I’ve seen a wanna be historian.”

    Me: So that was you being sincere? Sounds more like a sarcastic, derisive slap in the face to TVD, that doesn’t advance discussion. Written by a wiseacre extraordinaire.

    Did someone else write that and put Sean’s name on it?

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  343. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink
    TVD, where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will be prescribed. That describes you pretty well.

    I doubt a single one of your supporters has any idea what you’re saying. Sean’s quite right about the TZ dimension of your blog, although for the wrong reasons.

    Whether you meant “proscribed” or “prescribed,” it’s your problem either way, not mine. I was trying to give you some well-deserved pity. Presbyterianism is a tough town.

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  344. “Did someone else write that and put Sean’s name on it?”

    Doug, nothing wrong with good, rigorous debate. But for there to be real debate there has to be sincerity on both sides. Your Jekyll and Hyde posts are coming across like you are a scam artist. You still haven’t affirmed that you are writing all your own posts.

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  345. todd
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink
    “Did someone else write that and put Sean’s name on it?”

    Doug, nothing wrong with good, rigorous debate. But for there to be real debate there has to be sincerity on both sides. Your Jekyll and Hyde posts are coming across like you are a scam artist. You still haven’t affirmed that you are writing all your own posts.

    Say whatever to or about him, but the dude’s sincere. Allow him that much. Dunno if it’s right for 3rd parties to jump in on the personal level either, bro. In hockey, that’s a game misconduct. 😉

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  346. Tom,

    Right, I am not questioning the sincerity of his passion for theonomy, etc…but I was speaking of the latter you mentioned. That would be time out in the debate penalty box.

    .

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  347. Todd, I’m not following Brother Doug’s adventures that closely. If he was 3rd man in, whistle him for it. Frankly, management seems to encourage that offense more than call it, because it works to management’s home field advantage.

    I spend a lot of time defending fundies on the intertubes–in the abstract. You have no idea. The only thing worse than fundies in this world are fundie-haters, and the worst of those are the ex-fundies.

    But I respect fundies more than the mealy-mouths. It’s so easy to mealy mouth.

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  348. Todd, I have written all my posts. It’s really me. Sometimes I don’t have spell check and am in a big hurry and don’t proof read what I have written. Lately, I am taking a little more time to gather myself, and make more sense.

    There was *one* post where I copied salient quotes from Calvin and Martin Bucer, to refute that they could possibly against theonomy, and I didn’t give credit to Franklin Harding. He posted that at Greenbaggins a few years ago.

    But I have posted that exact post, many, many, many, times here at Old Life *with* his name. So one time I was careless. But I assure you I wasn’t trying to be deceptive. Everything else I’ve posted is *me*, some I’m not proud of, some I write better than others. But lately I have been trying to make an effort to show my heart and love for Christ first and foremost, because it’s my hearts desire to see the greater body come together in the true knowledge of Christ in unity.

    And that does not preclude sound doctrine, which is very important.

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  349. TVD, where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will be prescribed. That describes you pretty well.

    I doubt a single one of your supporters has any idea what you’re saying.

    Isn’t this just Neuhaus’s law?

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  350. “Todd, I have written all my posts.”

    Then I apologize. I should have simply asked the question instead of assuming the worst.

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  351. Doug, fine, but all your slander is also all yours and is never retracted. Your “heart’s desire” language comes off as duplicitous, shallow, and merely sentimental. You want ties straightened when it comes to unbelievers but when it comes to family you seem to think gloves may come off and low blows are acceptable. You are not credible at all. Do us a favor and lose the pious emoting and simply behave better.

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  352. TVD:Presbyterianism is a tough town.

    Tried to warn you.

    Born into it is a huge advantage.

    Converting from a prior Evangelical stream requires hundreds of hours of reading or listening to instructional podcasts.

    I honestly don’t know how someone would join a P&R church if it were their first step in faith.

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  353. Thanks Todd! 🙂

    By the way, your accusation was a left handed complement of sorts, because the inference was some of my recent posts, were well written. I hope to continue in that same spirit.

    Zrim, leave it to you to pick the scab. Let’s not talk about credibility, lest I re-post some of the most inane comments known to mankind that happen to have your name attached to them.

    Quit while you’re still ahead!

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  354. Doug lest I re-post some of the most inane comments known to mankind that happen to have your name attached to them.

    The world thanks you for sparing us that…

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  355. Zrim confesses: “Doug, I’ve made pointed criticisms about theonomy, and ones I’m sure wind up theonomists.”

    Me: Yet you have also admitted to never having read “Theonomy In Christian Ethics”. Why should anyone care what you think? Your ignorance is documented on a daily basis. You fight straw men you’ve erected in your own mind, proving nothing. It’s beyond annoying, is obnoxious!

    Stop it!!!

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  356. Doug, and what’s your excuse. You do know this is a pro-2k site. And yet you haven’t read a book by a 2ker. Worse. You say things about books that are untrue. Talk about stopping it.

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  357. I like that “this is an emoticon free zone.” I saw that on some other website. It should be a law.

    When I don’t want my neighbor talking to me I don’t talk to my neighbor. That’s my own proverb, hope you like it.

    When guys come to blues clubs I figure they like blues. I’ve never seen a guy come all the time and say he hates the blues. So I gon’t get some of the guys here.

    Also, if someone talks about the blues I figure he’s listened to the blues. But guys here talk about things they’ve never read. Blogs do strange things to people, I guess.

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  358. Saw Los Lobos (for free) last night at the Des Moines Art festival. Nice crowd. They played some blues. I couldn’t remember what their hit song(s) were. It was “La Bamba” (#1 in 1987). For some reason I thought of Carl Showalter taking a date to see Jose Feliciano in “Fargo”:

    With Jose Feliciano you’ve got no complaints.

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  359. Sean, you’re a staight-shooter and that kind is always welcome in my house. And if things get a lttle out of hand, well I know the cop who would come and we’re on good terms.

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  360. Doug, post away. I’ve got no regrets. But I’ve never claimed to criticize theonomy proper, just its adherents and their assumptions.

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  361. Erik, I’d be on dish if OTA from San Francisco etc. stations wasn’t so good. It worked great when I had it, just get them to put the dish over the garage if you can, and in a place where future leaks wouldn’t be the end of the world. They usually think that through. My garage doesn’t leak yet.

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  362. Zrim, I have no bitterness towards you either; keep pressing on!. While you get my goat on occasion, I (so!) wish you would interact with my basic arguments. I just re-read some of my posts on this thread back on six or seven, which was some of my best writing! imho of course.

    Todd, even felt I *might* have asked someone to write it for me. No such luck. That was pure me. Moreover? I don’t feel anyone really answered my questions, although sdb hit me with a couple sucker punch redirects. And Kent fired out a quip, once or twice; but the *real* answers weren’t forth coming.

    What does justice require?

    And by what standard shall we judge political ethics?

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  363. Doug, I know this is like writing on the surface of a lake, but over time and with various folks you have been engaged on the points and your questions have been answered. When you keep suggesting the contrary, you make it pretty clear that either you haven’t been listening or your point really is just to harangue or both. What you haven’t done is converted any 2ker to theonomy, but that doesn’t mean none of us have been engaging your points.

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  364. Zrim, just because someone responds, does not a good argument make. It’s more like sidestepping foundational principles, like morality is universal. Socio political morality by definition may not change, in its essence.

    When I first met you I asked, “does Natural revelation contradict God’s law”?

    You said, “no”.

    Then I asked, well how does one *know* if he has arrived at natural law, verses the opposite? Many nations have laws the contradict each other. How can someone be sure that he is reading natural law aright?

    I haven’t heard a rational reply from anyone at Old Life. Just a bunch of shucking and jiving! By what standard *ought* I determine who was more pleasing to God? How about between Adolph Hitler and Ronald Wilson Reagan? R2K says I can’t use Scripture to determine the justice of our laws. They’re pluralist mind set won’t allow them. Therefore, they have no unified coherent response to Queer nation, or the Gay and lesbian alliance.

    I’m the type of 2K that can answer that simple question. Reagan was a “christian” leader who had a postmill worldview and christian ethics because he believed all 66 books of Scripture! He was heads and shoulders ahead of Hitler. Hitler was a sadistic anti-Christ who killed three Christians for every Jew.. Most at Old life R2K couldn’t give a coherent explanation why one is better than the other. Or what a correct christian response would be. No peeking at God’s Word! For whatever reason, Old life radical 2K can not look to Scripture to norm all norms. They cringe at a nation that bends its collective knee to Christ. In a real sense they oppose the great commission.

    imho of course.

    Houston, we have a problem………

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  365. Doug, this is where the theo reasons in the common realm the way the Catholic reasons in the ecclesiastical: how do we know with absolute certainty that the book that rules the respective realm (general revelation for common, special for ecclesiastical) is being interpreted in such a way that is consonant with God’s will? The hard answer is that we don’t have that kind of absolute certainty. So, pining to have what each cannot, the theo reaches for the Bible in civil life and the Catholic for a magisterium in the ecclesiastical.

    The point is that natural law is just as clear, dependable, and sufficient for civil life as the Bible is for ecclesiastical. That there is diversity in both realms as to what each book teaches does nothing to undermine the clarity and sufficiently of either to do what each was ordained to do. Instead of the insufficiency of the books, it reveals the deficiency of sinners to read. So you can clamor all you want about the diversity and contradictions in civil life when all we work with is natural law, but the Bible won’t clear anything up any better in civil life than it does in ecclesiastical life because sinners still have to interpret it. Or do you really imagine that even Protestant Christianity, with all the sola scriptura, is a shining model of absolute consistency? Until the church militant agrees about every single thing revealed in the Bible, your ploy that natural law is insufficient for civil life and the Bible will solve it all is pure religious fantasy at best. At worst, you end up impugning God’s natural revelation when you should be impugning human ability, which furthermore undermines any credible claim you have to being a Calvinist.

    I think this is the part where you bluster about incoherency, irrationality, and cowardice. If you disagree, fine. But maybe you can manage to tame your tongue and engage the points made above.

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  366. Zrim says: “The point is that natural law is just as clear, dependable, and sufficient for civil life as the Bible is for ecclesiastical.”

    Oh really? Try being coherent Zrim! America is on he verge of seeing same sex unions on par with marriage between a man and a women. Some nations still have the death penalty for homosexuality. Which nation is reading natural law aright?

    Or is everything natural law? Are you attempting to say that black is white?

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  367. Yeah Zrim! Mr. black is white and blue is red and chartreuse is fuchsia. What are you trying to do here?! America, she’s on he verge. Everything is he and he instead of he and she. And the nation can’t read naturalness anymore. Come on man! Or is everything ecclesiastical for civil life! Do you read your bible Zremlen?! Do you? Or do you just wait for the levy to break?

    Or is Adam and Steve just all right with you! You’re all dazed and confused man

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  368. Sorry man. I overloaded the station let me help this out.

    Yeah Zrim! Mr. black is white and blue is red and chartreuse is fuchsia. What are you trying to do here?! America, she’s on he verge. Everything is he and he instead of he and she. And the nation can’t read naturalness anymore. Come on man! Or is everything ecclesiastical for civil life! Do you read your bible Zremlen?! Do you? Or do you just wait for the levy to break?

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  369. Zrim, when you claim that natural law is just as clear and dependable for civil life as the Bible is for ecclesiatical, how can you be so sure?

    By what standard can you make such an assertion?

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  370. Sean, and you wonder why people get so upset with R2K? You can’t answer a direct question, without snark. Especially the questions that go straight to the heart of radical two kingdom folly.

    How can anyone be sure that natural law is clear? We have nations who’s laws contradict each other. Which nation is reading natural law aright?

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  371. Whadda ya mean Doug? I’m with you. Zrim’s been running around so long and when it finally breaks his crying won’t help, his prayer’s won’t do know good. You and I, every day we work so hard and bring home our hard earned pay, and Zrim wants to whizz it away. Zrim, he’s been dazed and confused so long that even though he married a woman he doesn’t realize that this he verge comes from below. Man it’s enough to make a mountain men like us leave our home. Doug, Zrim doesn’t even know where Chicago is man. Can you believe that stuff? Sorry but I can’t take it anymore it’s going down, it’s going down NOW, it’s all going down.

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  372. Doug, the Third Reich eliminated gays. But wait, the Third Reich is what happens when a cowardly 2k takes hold and nobody takes a stand for civil righteousness.

    But why so weak-kneed about God’s natural revelation? Where’s that robust faith you’re always going on about?

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  373. But I was just in Chicago Friday and Saturday, Sean. The hotel lobby wouldn’t let me view the Bayly Blog. Said something about questionable content.

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  374. Zrim, are you sure that was the Bayly Blog and not the PCA GA? At least down south they do it with a smile on their face. Bless their pee pickin’ heart, it makes it all better.

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  375. Zrim
    Posted July 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink
    Doug, the Third Reich eliminated gays. But wait, the Third Reich is what happens when a cowardly 2k takes hold and nobody takes a stand for civil righteousness.

    Now you’re getting it. Pace Brother Sowers, the little historical precedent for the ancient Hebrews or later Christians exterminating gays is nil. Not so the Nazis.

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  376. TVD, I was being facetious. Doug seems to suggest that outlawing homosexuality is a test for civil orthodoxy, which the Third Reich did, which would suggest it was on the upward bound in ways that the US is on the downward spiral (hide the women and children, the sky is falling!). Yet, the Third Reich is routinely cited by anti-2kers as what happens when churches mind their own ecclesiastical business and don’t intermeddle. Well, which is it? Or is it the case that human affairs are a bit more complicated than the Rousers think?

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  377. TVD, I was being facetious.

    Oh, I know. But you accidentally told the truth.

    Yet, the Third Reich is routinely cited by anti-2kers as what happens when churches mind their own ecclesiastical business and don’t intermeddle. Well, which is it? Or is it the case that human affairs are a bit more complicated than the Rousers think?

    Or less “either/or” than 2Kers think they can cleverly get away with–creating a false choice between allowing gay marriage or killing gays. [As we’ve acknowledged, Hebrews under Deuteronomy and Leviticus never actually killed gays or drunk and disobedient children, despite whatever the Reconstructionists say.]

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  378. Tom – Hebrews under Deuteronomy and Leviticus never actually killed gays or drunk and disobedient children

    Erik – Do you have evidence to support this?

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  379. TVD, no 2ker here is citing current American jurisprudence on gay marriage as absolute evidence of a healthy republic, contrary to the resident theocrat who would likely cite Nigeria that way. The point is that natural law may be hard to do (because sinners are so deficient), but that’s no reason whatsoever to toss it in favor of biblical law to rule society. I understand you’re trying to navigate the via media (and channel Jeff Cagle?), but it’s putting you quite in the corner of some special brand of crazy.

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  380. Tom – Hebrews under Deuteronomy and Leviticus never actually killed gays or drunk and disobedient children

    Erik – Do you have evidence to support this?

    I’ve read it numerous times. Have you any evidence the other way?

    I’m not debating, I’m discussing, mind you. There are no stories to my knowledge in either Testament showing such sentences carried out, nor to my knowledge in other sources either. Further, if Jesus saved the adulteress in John 8, we might reasonably conclude he’d do the same for a gay or a drunk, so we end up in the same Christian place anyway.

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  381. it’s putting you quite in the corner of some special brand of crazy.

    I’m unconcerned. I’m not interested in arguing people. Small minds do that; sound minds argue ideas. To yr point:

    natural law may be hard to do (because sinners are so deficient), but t