Is Donald Trump Mainstreaming Apostasy?

While Mike Horton zeroes in on the personalities associated with Word of Faith who will be speaking or praying (or speaking in tongues) and the presidential inaugural, not to be missed is the rest of the clergy assembled. Among them, Cardinal Timothy Dolan:

Dolan will be the first Catholic to take part in a presidential inauguration in 40 years, since President Jimmy Carter’s in 1977, the Religion News Service reports. Rabbi Marvin Hier will be the first Jewish clergy involved since Ronald Reagan’s in 1985.

His inclusion “may reflect, in part, homage to the Jewish faith of Trump’s daughter and son-in-law,” Black said. Eldest daughter Ivanka Trump, a convert to Orthodox Judaism, is moving to Washington and expected to serve as a stand-in to the First Lady.

The broad faith representation may also reveal a desire to please the American electorate, more pessimistic about the president-elect than any of his recent predecessors. According to the Pew Research Center, Trump’s overall campaign grade is the lowest among any presidential candidate—winning or losing—since it began collecting data in 1988.

White is the only pastor from Trump’s group of evangelical faith advisors scheduled to speak at the inauguration. The Mormon Tabernacle choir is slated to perform. Trump has downplayed the celebrity factor in his confirmed guest list. So far, Carter is the only former president expected to attend.

Horton puts his objection this way:

Thanks to the First Amendment, Christian orthodoxy has never been a test for public office. But it is striking that Trump has surrounded himself with cadre of prosperity evangelists who cheerfully attack basic Christian doctrines. The focus of this unity is a gospel that is about as diametrically opposed to the biblical one as you can imagine.

But is it fair to say “surrounded”? Kevin Kruse, who teaches at Princeton puts it this way:

“The traditional tasks of an inaugural—bringing the country together and setting an uplifting and unifying agenda for the future—are even more pressing for president-elect Trump,” said Kruse. “And that, I suspect, is why he’s enlisted a much larger lineup of clergy to speak at the inauguration than his predecessors. He knows he needs their help in elevating the tone and, in turn, elevating his presidency as well.”

Either way, a confessional Protestant could object to every religious figure scheduled for the inauguration. Especially in the year that Protestants commemorate the Reformation, shouldn’t Calvinists be up in arms about a Roman Catholic bishop at the event? Why single out Paula White? Looks too much like Megyn Kelly?

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562 thoughts on “Is Donald Trump Mainstreaming Apostasy?

  1. Mike Horton–“To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong?”

    Does Mike Horton need the help and influence of those who read the Washington Post to guard the true visible church against triumphalism?

    Would you expect a “theology of the cross” when it’s (not Andy Stanley but) Franklin Graham who’s to be “the pastor in chief”? https://hellochristian.com/5113-franklin-graham-the-lord-saved-us-from-a-godless-atheistic-agenda

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  2. “Where were Horton’s pieces on O pals Sharpton and Wright?”
    “Don’t you remember Horton warning evangelicals about black liberationist Rev. Joseph (“all whites going to hell”) Lowery at Obama’s inauguration?”

    What we have here is a classic case of the Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations. But this is a natural consequence of the Gospel Industrial Complex creating the Racial Reconciliation Racket as their outreach to black Evangelicals. Black Christians are placed into the Urban Issues Ghetto – Racism, Over Incarceration, Social Justice, Police Misconduct, Poverty, the War on Drugs.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, White Evangelicals get to talk about Deep Stuff like Calvin, Luther, Jonathan Edwards, Augustine, the Early Church Fathers, the Trinity and Eternal Sonship. And to take a break there’s nothing quite like muching on sweet delicacies like Intelligent Design, Creationism, The Nephilim, The Rapture, and Noah’s Flood: Global or Local?

    But if you’re still stuck on #BlackLivesMatter then TGC has a special section for you.

    Give me back my Ol’ Timey Religion, Please!

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  3. Andrew, what exactly is your rule for upper casing? I’ve never been able to parse it out. It looks as selective as Horton on inaugural praymeisters.

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  4. Polite and friendly rhetorical questions to a cohort is stepping up? Pretty low-T. (there’s treatment for that too, aside from meds for the recurrent prurient tic).

    A more direct approach would be to just tell Mike he’s not the guy to complain about *any* heretic praying at the inaugural given the “secular faith” he shares with you.

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  5. Don’t look now, but you just slipped Darryl into the pea pod with Wilson, who asked similar questions:

    Horton cannot complain about who is praying at the Inauguration unless and until he is prepared to tell us who should be praying there, and why. ..

    At this late stage you cannot suddenly discover a difference between heresy and Heresy. What beliefs ought not to be mainstreamed at a presidential inauguration, and which ones should be?

    Oops!

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  6. Mark, for different reasons (rake alert). Wilson wants to show the foibles of no religious tests on political office because he favors such tests–don’t want the test, then this is what you get, deal with it. The point here, seems to me, is if there is no such test then why so selective–let it go.

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  7. if there is no such test then why so selective
    Which simply points out that Doug Wilson & Darryl agree that Mike really shouldn’t be complaining at all. Thanks for the link (and the laugh).

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  8. vdm, m, no gadget I use has a call button. I am familiar with Office Depot’s Help button. But you know that’s fake. So maybe you have in mind some medical emergency gadget. Wow! You’re older than I thought.

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  9. If a vote for Trump was a vote against Hillary, is a rejection of Paula White an embrace of Franklin Graham (or Timothy Dolan)?

    The real reason for concern is the fact that White’s brand of Christianity is a manifestation of the psyche of modern America in a religious idiom, and thoroughly continuous with the last eight years. As Horton points out, White’s Christianity is all about meeting needs, felt needs. It is a form of therapy—and rather materialist therapy—in skimpy religious garb. Where America was once pragmatic—and gloriously so, in that the “can-do” mentality of Americans was part of what made the country great—that pragmatism has become tied to psychological needs. Old-style pragmatism had a social purpose, in that it sought to work towards the common good. Now that the common good has been replaced with the well-being of the psychological self, that which works is that which makes me happy in the here and now.

    Much punditry since the election has located the triumph of Trump in a backlash among poor, white voters against liberal urban elites. These were once the natural supporters of the old Left. But the Left has long since abandoned the poor through its transformation of the concept of oppression from an economic category into one of psychology. The Left is now therapeutic to its core. But Psychological Man is not by necessity the client of any particular political ideology, and the fact that, as Horton points out, Trump has surrounded himself with prosperity gospelers—the Christian equivalent of snake oil salesmen—bodes ill for the country. What America needs is not therapy for a poor white version of Psychological Man but a renewed vision of the common good built on a renewed understanding of a common human nature.

    Maybe a cigar is really a cigar (sometimes).

    But what if Paula is a sister of Vanna?

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  10. Mark, for.different.reasons. Rewind button. You and the Bishop want the powers that be to oversee religion. America doesn’t. The Bishop writes as if WCSAL had something to do with that. D-U-M-B.

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  11. Sure, let’s rewind.
    Horton’s theology doesn’t give a rat’s a_ _ if a heretic prays at the inaugural.
    Horton writes piece a MSM troll piece whining about a heretic praying at the inaugural.
    Darryl points out Horton’s inconsistency.
    You link to a Wilson piece pointing out Horton’s inconsistency.
    That Darryl and Doug have different positions re: prayers at the inaugural is beside the point. They both see HORTON’S inconsistency.
    You not following the first rule about holes and digging is what’s D-U-M-B.

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  12. Mark, as long as you keep putting key points aside then you win. Maybe you should run for President (willful dumb seems to be a winning trait these days).

    But for those still interested in key points, Wilson wants to use the inconsistency to blame Horton for White. Others would simply prefer that unless he’s willing to call Catholicism (or even Mormonism) a problem for civil society that he back off the tackier Christian sectarians.

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  13. DG, trying to boil down one simple point so that even Zrim can understand usually takes time. You’ll notice he’s still digging, so maybe you can do better.

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  14. Would Mike approve?

    First, the blessing for the government is an integral part of Jewish liturgy and practice.

    Remember that moment in Fiddler on the Roof:

    Rabbi, is there a proper blessing for the Czar?”

    Of course. “May God bless and keep the Czar — far away from us.”

    Second, Rabbi Hier represents an organization — the Simon Wiesenthal Center — that stands for values and ideas that are critical for American society today.

    Maybe — just maybe — he will give those values their voice on the steps of the capital.

    Rabbi Hier has said that his offering would have “a 21st century ring to it.”

    With all due respect, we don’t need 21st century right now.

    We need 8th century BCE — the tone of the prophets Amos and Isaiah.

    What should Rabbi Hier say? After all the usual niceties….

    O God of all humanity, O God who calls us into relationship through the divine call for justice and compassion:

    We ask that you bless this new president with the ability to perceive the power of his own presence — that he embody David and Solomon, and never Pharaoh and Ahasuerus.

    We ask that you bless this new president with the ability to discern the great voices of the American spirit.

    We pray that the American presidency will ever be a moral voice, its own light to the nations.

    We ask that you bless this new president with the ability to speak out against injustice; against the new wave of hatred against Muslims, immigrants, Jews, LGBT Americans, and others who suffer the sting of Otherness.

    Remind him of the covenant that George Washington made with the Jews of Newport: “the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

    Does America have a prayer?

    Let’s hope so.

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  15. Apparently you can’t do better, smart guy. But Clozapine does take time to get working in the system, so you got that going for you.

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  16. Mark, if your simple point is that Wilson and Hart overlap, duh and yawn. What pill can help you be more interesting (and less oblivious)?

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  17. so drugs are better than sanctification
    Memory problems too?- On top of the psychological projection and prurient tic? As I told you before, Darryl, embrace all of God’s good gifts, down to every Kuyperian square inch of a Clozapine tablet.

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  18. if your simple point is that Wilson and Hart overlap, duh
    Yep, “duh” indeed. Took about 4 combox entries for you to admit it.

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  19. Don’t look now, but you just slipped Darryl into the pea pod with Wilson, who asked similar questions…

    “For different reasons.”

    One. Either you’re inference-challenged or you can’t count. Either way, get thee to a shoe store and that right quick.

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  20. That needs to be fleshed out, Bam Bam.
    Does this so-called “secular” society hate God?
    Does it promote juvenile Dutch-o-phobe ethno bigotry?
    Is it operated like Old Life?

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  21. vdm,m, it includes Nero, who wasn’t wild about God and hated Christians:

    13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,b whether it be to the emperorc as supreme, 14or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servantsd of God. 17Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Pet. 2)

    What? Abraham Kuyper was running things when Jesus and Paul were ministering? Are you for real?

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  22. A God-hating, Christian burning Nero is a “good gift” from God. Got it. And you want folks to think you are for real.

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  23. living as servants of God

    Honor everyone.

    Love the brotherhood.

    Fear God.

    (1 Pet. 2)

    Wow. I had to check for a sec to see that I was really at OL 🙂 

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  24. There are two criticisms being leveled against Horton’s article, the first is inconsistency, and the second, hypocrisy. I think the first has some validity. Whether the half -deism of the Founders, to the general, civil religion of Lincoln, Bush, Reagan, etc., the liberation theology of Obama, etc., American presidents have almost always used and endorsed some brand of false religion for political use. So why pick on Trump, and why only single out White? These are valid questions.

    The accusation of hypocrisy, seen in Wilson’s response, is nonsensical. It suggest that unless one believes governments should endorse true religion, one has no right to criticize their endorsement of false religion. Why not criticize both, as I think Horton has consistently done? This would be like saying a Christian who waits tables in a restaurant cannot criticize if the manager plays religious Muslim programming over the radio unless he believes the manager should be playing Christian religious content over the radio. Why can’t he simply suggest the manager play the oldies station, or classical music? The only way this would be hypocritical is if one expands the definition of religion (as some theonomists tend to do) to include everything, so then it is either a choice between true religious content or false religious content. But Horton is working with more classical definition of religion, so the charge of being a hypocrite has no legs.

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  25. Is Franklin Graham a bargain?

    After Nixon’s downfall Billy has always been careful to keep a little distance between himself and overt politicking. He came out of Watergate looking pretty bad and (it would seem) he wanted to be careful in terms of political alliances that might harm his overall project.

    His son has been equally careful in terms of formal alliances though certainly more outspoken and has openly supported the Iraq invasion and has been embroiled in various controversies over Islam. He’s been a vocal opponent of Obama and an open supporter of Donald Trump. His presence at the inauguration dispels any doubts concerning his endorsement of the 45th president.

    Reprehensible and egregious on so many levels, Graham’s conduct during the election and now the inauguration is a mark of shame on the Evangelical community. But one must wonder if his style and perhaps even substance is laying the groundwork for the dissolution of his father Billy Graham’s international work?

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  26. Zrim, try to have an independent thought and learn from Machen, who loved the Dutch. Parroting DG’s bitter Dutchophobia is embarrassing.

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  27. DG, when do you have Christ to Nero: ‘Well Done Thou Good and Faithful Servant” coming out on Amazon?

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  28. Granted, Ursinus did not have the benefit of reading “A Secular Faith”:

    There are two extremes in opposition to the duties of magistrates: the first is remissness, or a want of proper attention to their duties… The other extreme is tyranny, which consists either in demanding from their subjects what is unjust; or in not punishing those who sin; or in punishing them more severely than the offense which they have committed calls for. Commentary on the 5th Commandment

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  29. Mark, you’re BLMing again (and the Dutch are even less oppressed than the African-Americans, sheesh). I love the Dutch, too. But even Cornel Venema called for a “burning of the wooden shoes.” But thin skin is another winning trait these days though, so…Van Der Molen 2020?

    So America never happened is what you’re saying?

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  30. Mark Van Der Molen,

    Help me out, since I often get lost in the comment threads. I’m just smart enough to get that you’re not 2K. Who/what best states your view? Thanks.

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  31. vdm, m, and this from a guy who “practices” (what an appropriate verb) law in the United States. He acts like he’s still living in 1560. Fine if you want to live there. But then don’t bend the knee to the power — and accept a pay check along the way — that refuses its “proper duties.”

    You’re the Dutch-American equivalent of Al Sharpton. Posing as a follower of Ursinus, and then going off to practice secular law.

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  32. zrim, but JFK is in that photo and he advocated a wall between church and state.

    Doesn’t matter. Quote Ursinus. walk over to hole (and hope to avoid rakes). stick head in.

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  33. mboss, I find Ridderbos’ lengthy work “The Coming of the Kingdom” quite illuminating. I follow the 1958 revised Belgic 36 on the relationship of the church, the Christian, the State, and God’s law. The Synodical affirmations that accompanied the Belgic revisions are helpful explanations of the article. And Machen always provides some good nuggets that DG wishes remained hidden:

    “In the political and social discussions of the day, God’s law has ceased to be regarded as a factor that deserves to be reckoned with at all…[But] of one thing we can be sure—a nation that tramples thus upon the law of God…is headed for destruction.”
    J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)
    Education, Christianity, and the State — pp. 140, 141

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  34. vdm, m, not to mention the difference between Geneva and USA.

    Can you tell the difference between the execution of Christ, and the execution of the Rosenbergs?

    I doubt it since you think you live in the Canton of Geneva? Or is it Friesland (circ 1590 of course)?

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  35. How can Christianity continue to gain ground in Japan (or Geneva) is you say that apostates from Rome need a John the Baptist experience?

    Calvin—4:15; 16: When a letter has been sent, if the hand and seal is recognized, it is not of the least consequence who or what the messenger was; so it ought to be sufficient for us to recognize the hand and seal of our Lord in his sacraments, let the administrator be who he may. …. Be it that those who baptized us were most ignorant of God and all piety, or were despisers, still they did not baptize us into a fellowship with their ignorance or sacrilege, but into the faith of Jesus Christ, because the name which they invoked was not their own but God’s, nor did they baptize into any other name….When we show what ought to be done to keep baptism pure and free from every taint, we do not abolish the institution of God though idolaters may corrupt it. Circumcision was anciently vitiated by many superstitions, and yet ceased not to be regarded as a symbol of grace; nor did Josiah and Hezekiah, when they assembled out of all Israel those who had revolted from God, call them to be circumcised anew.

    http://www.biblestudytools.com/history/calvin-institutes-christianity/book4/chapter-15.html

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  36. vdm, m has no room for the crucifixion in his Christianity. Nero bad. Crucifixion bad.

    So you think Christ crucified was good means Christians crucified by Nero was good?

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  37. Ah, ok, so this is the whole: “progressively better and better, so, the first century church is no longer prescriptive for our christian piety and outlook” postmillenialism. I remember this.

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  38. Does Mark read his Bible? How does he make sense of God’s approval being on those crucified and martyred (not spared and flourishing).

    Sean, right. That’s how you get female ordination, too. The apostles didn’t have the benefits of modernity. Why is Mark URC? Shouldn’t he be CRC?

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  39. zrim, the neo-Calvinists really have no room for suffering. Probably can’t really deal with the fall. Victorious and innocent through Abraham (Kuyper that is).

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  40. vdm, m, gaining heaven is good. Paul thought so. You’re clinging awfully tightly to planet earth. That explains why you don’t seem to have a clue why Paul could write: “If in Christ we have hope2 in this life only, ewe are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Cor 15:29. All that every square inch has made you very worldly minded. You are confirming all of a 2kers’ fears.

    Thanks.

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  41. You refuse to distinguish between the authority established by God and the perversion of that authority by a particular ruler. Tyrants are not a terror to evil but to good. They are not a power but a “licentious deviation of a power” (Rutherford). The moral law binds all men everywhere, including the magistrate. You once subscribed to that.

    But that you can good that which is evil should confirm any Reformed Christian’s fear about your R2k.

    No thanks.

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  42. D. G. Hart says: vdm, m, gaining heaven is good. Paul thought so. You’re clinging awfully tightly to planet earth.

    -Paul (being not all about meeee and all): 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith Phil 1
    -Paul and anyway re:dying: 1 Cor 15 31 I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily

    D. G. Hart says: All that every square inch has made you very worldly minded. You are confirming all of a 2kers’ fears.

    -Paul: 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
    [Paul: Every square inch – Christ will be exalted)

    D. G. Hart says: That explains why you don’t seem to have a clue why Paul could write: “If in Christ we have hope2 in this life only, ewe are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Cor 15:29.

    -Paul : 1 Cor 15 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.32 If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE. 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 34 Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
    -57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

    D. G. Hart says: not that the Christians were turning the world upside down

    -Paul: 5 the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, Col 1
    .

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  43. vdm, m, get a grip. The moral law says thou shalt not kill. Paul says the magistrate wields the sword and kills legitimately. Moral law does not apply to government in the same way it applies to persons. You know and experience this. You serve a secular state that violates the moral law all the time. What do you do? Bitch about 2kers.

    Such courage.

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  44. Mark,

    Please be reasonable. No-one is calling evil, good.

    The issue is jurisdiction. Nero did horrible things. He did not by virtue of his horribleness fall under the jurisdiction of the church.

    To the church is given the ministry of the word and the interpretation thereof.

    To say that the magistrate must uphold biblical law is implicitly but necessaroly saying that the church has interpretive authority to review the magistrate’s decisions. The magistrate falls under the jurisdiction (literally! The “speaking of the law”) of the church.

    The Bible doesn’t teach or even hint at that structure.

    Hence: 2k. Two jurisdictions, each with its own authority to get it right or mess it up.

    Nero got it really wrong. But it doesn’t require a consistory to make that declaration.

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  45. Jeff, seriously? The issue is not jurisdiction. We’re talking about the ethical question within one jurisdiction.

    You (individually, not a consistory) measured Nero’s killing of Christians and concluded that “Nero got it wrong” and that what he did was “horrible”. Indeed, it was evil.

    DG says Nero’s killing of Christians was good and legitimate.

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  46. Yes, Mark, seriously.

    I defy you to identify a place where DGH said that Nero’s killing of Christians was a good thing.

    You aren’t reading carefully, and I’m sure that as an attorney, you are capable of it. So what’s up with that?

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  47. You aren’t reading things at all, let alone together or carefully:
    Q. So you think Christ crucified was good means Christians crucified by Nero was good?
    A. vdm, m, ever heard of “to die is gain”?
    Q: “you affirm Nero killing Christians was good because they gained heaven?”
    A “.vdm, m, gaining heaven is good. Paul thought so.”
    A. “The moral law says thou shalt not kill. Paul says the magistrate wields the sword and kills legitimately… You serve a secular state that violates the moral law all the time.”

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  48. Jeff Cagle says: Yes, Mark, seriously.I defy you to identify a place where DGH said that Nero’s killing of Christians was a good thing. You aren’t reading carefully, and I’m sure that as an attorney, you are capable of it. So what’s up with that?

    Good luck Mark. It’s like trying to call Trump on something he actually did say the whole while Kellyanne Conway is always right there defending him to the death…… Oh wait I forgot death is good ergo those who cause death are good

    -MVDM says: So you think Christ crucified was good means Christians crucified by Nero was good?
    -DGH says: vdm, m, ever heard of “to die is gain”? Are you so postmill that you think like a materialist? Wait. take drugs.
    -MVDM says: So you think Nero killing Christians was good because they gained heaven.
    -DGH says: vdm, m, your biblical illiteracy is staggering. I guess it’s because you work so hard at Indiana’s secular laws. Bam bam thwack!
    -MVDM says: So Dr. Brilliant Exegete, you affirm Nero killing Christians was good because they gained heaven?
    -DGH says: vdm, m, gaining heaven is good. Paul thought so. You’re clinging awfully tightly to planet earth. That explains why you don’t seem to have a clue why Paul could write: “If in Christ we have hope2 in this life only, ewe are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Cor 15:29. All that every square inch has made you very worldly minded. You are confirming all of a 2kers’ fears.Thanks.
    -MVDM says: You refuse to distinguish between the authority established by God and the perversion of that authority by a particular ruler. Tyrants are not a terror to evil but to good. They are not a power but a “licentious deviation of a power” (Rutherford). The moral law binds all men everywhere, including the magistrate. You once subscribed to that.But that you can call good that which is evil should confirm any Reformed Christian’s fear about your R2k. No thanks.
    -DGH says: vdm, m, get a grip. The moral law says thou shalt not kill. Paul says the magistrate wields the sword and kills legitimately. Moral law does not apply to government in the same way it applies to persons. You know and experience this. You serve a secular state that violates the moral law all the time. What do you do? Bitch about 2kers. Such courage.
    Mark Van Der Molen says: DG says Nero’s killing of Christians was good and legitimate.

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  49. Robert, the role of the governing authorities is to commend what is right and punish what is evil. Of course, that’s just a broad brush description of the role since Romans 13 is more a prescription for believers.

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  50. Mark,

    There’s probably a legal term for this, but you are glossing DGH’s statements in such a way as to make them say what you want them to say.

    DGH says that it was good for Christians to die and go to heaven.

    You gloss to make him say that Nero was doing a good thing to kill them.

    He doesn’t say that. Maybe he thinks that, but I suspect that what he’s doing is winding you up for fun.

    Surely you have experience with witnesses who don’t answer the question you asked?

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  51. vdm, m, way to cut and paste. That’s not an argument.

    So far you’ve denied the teaching of Scripture. You think Jesus’ death shouldn’t have happened. You deny the value of suffering. You think that the magistrate should use the sword and so contradict Christ’s command to turn the other cheek.

    Or do you actually have a brain? (too many rake handles to the head)

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  52. Robert, are you serious? The state’s job is to make America great.

    Why do you ask? Where does 2k deny the role of the state? And how do you justify the taking of human life (sixth commandment)? Funny how the state can do that but I can’t. That’s moral relativism!

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  53. Darryl and Zrim,

    I’m asking because as I read you all and the various comments, it’s hard to tell. SDB on one thread said the Bible doesn’t give us any prescriptions for the state. Some of you lean more toward what natural law says (which of course you know what is natural law and what is supernatural law from the Bible). Just trying to figure it out.

    If the job of the state is to commend what is right and punish what is evil, and God defines both of those, why so squeamish about saying the job of the state is to uphold God’s moral law?

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  54. Jeff, juries reach conclusions based on repeated answers like that all the time, *especially* when the witness has opportunity to deny the clear inference and does not do so. It’s possible he’s much duller than I give him credit for and he doesn’t see the clear import of his answers, but I don’t think so.

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  55. You think Jesus’ death shouldn’t have happened

    Jeff, what do you think? DG’s charge of heresy against me stand up under your standard of proof?

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  56. why so squeamish about saying the job of the state is to uphold God’s moral law?

    Now, now, Robert, you mean you drew that conclusion from this discussion? The nerve! LOL….

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  57. Mark: Jeff, what do you think? DG’s charge of heresy against me stand up under your standard of proof?

    No, I don’t.

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  58. Robert, where do Christ or the apostles say the state’s job is to uphold the moral law of God? I understand that for 1500 years the West (Protestant and RC) thought that. But what about before Constantine?

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  59. Jeff, please show me where I charged vdm, m with heresy. I said he denied Scripture. You seemed to agree.

    If vdm, m only hopes in Christ for this life, then he is most to be pitied.

    Don’t tell me you now believe in the immortality of the body.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. vdm, m, the classic neo-Calvinist passive-aggressive.

    Doesn’t prevent the rakes to the head. Like your thinking the death of Christ is a bad thing. I guess you really do trust your obedience (despite lessons to be learned from Dr. Kloosterman).

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  61. Robert: I’m asking because as I read you all and the various comments, it’s hard to tell. SDB on one thread said the Bible doesn’t give us any prescriptions for the state. Some of you lean more toward what natural law says (which of course you know what is natural law and what is supernatural law from the Bible). Just trying to figure it out.

    There’s not a single answer for all folk. Zrim very strongly believes that natural law (moral law written on the heart) is sufficient. DGH also appears to hold this, and I think van Drunen is there.

    SDB appears to be skeptical of natural law as a legitimate category. But also he says that the Bible doesn’t give prescriptions for the state. So we haven’t yet explored what he does believe.

    For my part, I would say that the magistrate is obligated to enforce the second table of the Law, as being identical in content to the moral law written on the heart. But the magistrate should not enforce the first table, because that falls squarely under the jurisdiction of the church.

    Robert: If the job of the state is to commend what is right and punish what is evil, and God defines both of those, why so squeamish about saying the job of the state is to uphold God’s moral law?

    It’s not just a question of content, but also of form. So notice that Zrim (assuming I’m representing him correctly) says that the job of the state is to uphold the moral law … but that the form of the moral law is “that which is written on the conscience” rather than that which was written on tablets of stone.

    Why does the form matter? In part, because the church has jurisdiction over the interpretation of Scripture. In part because the form in which the moral law is delivered to all people (not just God’s people) is through the conscience. And in part, because appealing to the Scripture immediately leads to a paucity of information, requiring either interpretation by authorized body (hello, consistory/session!) OR the addition of extra-biblical information as a control over exegesis.

    The first outcome is undesirable because it undermines the jurisdiction of the magistrate; the second is undesirable because it undermines sola scriptura, as well the jurisdiction of the church.

    E.g.: Scripture says that murder is wrong. Does (unjustified) abortion count as murder?

    Scripture itself does not answer that question directly. So does the church? There goes the authority of the magistrate. Does the magistrate, using the Scripture? There goes the authority of the church over interpretation of Scripture.

    So 2k answers this conundrum by saying that the magistrate’s job is to sort out right and wrong, which is certainly God’s moral law, but to do so on the basis of conscience and not exegesis proper. In this way, he keeps to his proper place.

    In my own formulation, where the magistrate is obligated to the second table, I would still want the magistrate to make secular arguments for the propriety of laws. So for example, when I argue against abortion on demand, I do so on the basis that everyone agrees that murder is wrong. Then I pound the table really hard with “living human organism.”

    You might have noticed that church members have taken a lot of their cues about what is right and wrong from their culture rather than from Scripture? 2K analyzes that situation thus: Because Christians in the USA fail to have a bright line between jurisdictions, church members have become confused about which voice to listen to in which context. Homespun wisdom and Scriptural teaching are blended into one confused mess.

    Hence, restore the bright line and everyone’s moral vision clears up. Wisdom is common grace, and belongs to all people; Scriptural exegesis testifies to God’s saving grace, and belongs to God’s people.

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  62. You think Jesus’ death shouldn’t have happened
    Like your thinking the death of Christ is a bad thing.

    Prove it.

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  63. DGH: Jeff, please show me where I charged vdm, m with heresy. I said he denied Scripture. You seemed to agree. If vdm, m only hopes in Christ for this life, then he is most to be pitied. Don’t tell me you now believe in the immortality of the body.

    Hm. Well, do you think he genuinely denies Scripture, as in, disavows 1 Cor 15?

    Or do you think he’s inconsistent in his views? That’s really where I see the whole 1K project.

    See, if I were charged with denying Scripture, I would take that as a heresy charge. (But then, I can be thin-skinned, so there’s that). I could see where Mark was getting that from your words, and replied to his reading, not your intent.

    Am I correct that you are enjoying winding him up? Don’t answer that.

    But the immortality of the body? My ever-increasing progressive lenses say otherwise.

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  64. Mark: Jeff, juries reach conclusions based on repeated answers like that all the time, *especially* when the witness has opportunity to deny the clear inference and does not do so. It’s possible he’s much duller than I give him credit for and he doesn’t see the clear import of his answers, but I don’t think so.

    Silliness. That’s one of the reasons that lawyers can have a bad reputation.

    I see the clear import of his answers, and it’s not what you’re making it out to be.

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  65. If the job of the state is to commend what is right and punish what is evil, and God defines both of those, why so squeamish about saying the job of the state is to uphold God’s moral law?

    Robert, so you’re good with the state enforcing true religion and punishing false religion with the sword? Somehow I doubt it. If you can doubt it, why am I squeamish? I said broad strokes for a reason–I was answering your general question with a general answer, So, yes, the state enforces God’s moral law. Easy peasy. The controversy is in the details, and if you don’t want the state to interfere with Mormons, Muslims, Baptists and Catholics then welcome to squeamish-ville.

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  66. vdm, m, why would you ask these questions if you thought Jesus death a good thing?

    So you think Christ crucified was good means Christians crucified by Nero was good?

    So you think Nero killing Christians was good because they gained heaven.

    that’s more “proof” than you ever produce.

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  67. Jeff, thanks.

    No one needs to wind vdm, m up. Too many rakes.

    I’d say he denies the paradoxes of Scripture at least to make 2k look bad (which is not exactly charitable).

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  68. D. G. Hart says: If vdm, m only hopes in Christ for this life, then he is most to be pitied.

    interesting. ironic.
    Though there is the repeating of – 1 Corinthians 15: 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied- there doesn’t seem to be acknowledgement of a major principle here – Why would we of all men most to be pitied – because believers make sacrifices in this life in light of the hope of the life to come [e.g. some include honoring everyone, loving the brotherhood, honest discourse, not slandering, etc. etc. etc].

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  69. thanks and these (from MacArthur sermons)

    “Verse 19, and I’ll read it to you the way it should be in the original, “If in this life we have hope in Christ only…and the word mononis the key word, only…If in this life we have hope in Christ only, we are of all men the most pitiful.” There’s one thing about Christianity. It’s a total thing. When you come to Christ, you don’t take Christ plus some other system. It is Christ all in all and nothing else, right? We are committed absolutely and totally to Him. So we have hope in Christ only. That’s the strength of the text. We, as Christians, have hope in Christ only. If that doesn’t pan out, we have missed it.
    You can’t say, “I’m telling you something now. I have embraced Buddhism, Shintoism, Islam, Christianity, and just to be sure, I’m a Moonie. One of those five I figure is right.” Can’t do that, can you? To say yes to Christ is to say no to everything else. True? To embrace Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is to set aside every other religious system in the world; and I’ll tell you something, people, you have hope in Christ only. Period. Paragraph. And if it doesn’t pan out, you lose; and if Christ didn’t rise, we’re the most pitiful bunch in the world, because that’s the only thing we have banked our time and eternity on. That’s Paul’s concluding statement. Christians are tragic, pitiful fools. Like people on a party on a ship headed for a disaster…”

    “ And lastly, summing it all up, that means Christians are the world’s most pitiful people, verse 19.The Christians are the world’s most pitiful people. “If in this life we have hope in Christ only.” The Greek has the only right at the end of it’s clause. “If in this life we have hope in Christ only, we are of all men the most to be pitied.” The only goes at the end of the clause and what it means is if in this life we have put our trust totally in Christ. In other words, that’s it, we’ve put all our eggs in one basket and if it isn’t true what we’ve hoped about Christ, we are a pitiful bunch.
    Because can you believe what we’ve been through for the last 2,000 years. Pretty dumb. If in this life we have hope in Christ only, we’ve got nothing else going and believe me anybody who’s a Christian knows that you become a Christian when you’ve got nothing else going but Christ, right? When you commit totally to His Lordship. No other Gods, no other tolerance.
    So ever Christian has Christ only and our whole hope is in Christ. Hey folks, if Christ doesn’t work, I haven’t got anything to fall on, how about you? This is it. I’m a one horse shea, I’m telling you. And if it isn’t in Jesus, we are a pitiful bunch. And believe me it isn’t he says if dead don’t rise, and Christ didn’t rise. We wasted our lives. What a pitiful bunch. All those people. Imagine, all these people have been fighting against temptation, struggling with sin, seeking to please Christ, obeying the Scripture, having Bible studies, bearing the cross, suffering reproach, trying to witness, all…and it’s all a bunch of bologna. What a bunch of dumb-dumbs. This is not easy folks.We are to be pitied, what a waste.”

    “Verse 19, he sums it up, the implications. “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only.” If this is it, folks, if we have put all our eggs in this one Easter basket, if we have put all our hope in Christ, and it’s only gonna work in this life, it’s only for this life, of all the people in the world, we are the most pitiful. That is…that is pitiful. We should be pitied above everybody. We put all our hope in Christ, thinking that it secured our eternal future when, in fact, it’s only for this life, that’s all.
    So when we were repenting of our sin and going through the heart wrenching conviction of the Holy Spirit and feeling guilty and feeling hammered and beaten by our own iniquities, and we came crawling, as it were, to Calvary, and we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and we denied ourselves, and we took up our cross, and we followed Christ, and all these years, we’ve been battling temptation and fighting against sin and disciplining ourselves and reading the Bible and praying and fellowshipping and…and sitting under the teaching of the Word of God and endeavoring to live lives that…that honor the Lord, and we have made sacrifice after sacrifice. We’ve waged war against temptation. Struggled against sin. Sought to please Christ. Obeyed the Scripture. Borne the cross. Suffered reproach. Taken the Gospel. Been rejected by the Gospel. Made sacrifices for the sake of evangelism. We’ve done all this, and this life, we find out, this is it. That is pitiful.
    I mean, look, if all I am as a Christian ends with this life, I don’t know if I can carry this thing off…I live my Christian life under the promise that there’s a life to come in which all the sacrifices, all the endeavors, all the disciplines, all the work that Christ has done in my life, all the effort that’s been made is gonna reap an eternal reward, right? If that’s not there, I…I don’t know if I can do this.
    I could understand the man who said, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we”…What?…Hey, if it’s over tomorrow, you gotta reevaluate whether you wanna do it this way, right? Certainly, you don’t wanna sit very much longer and hear any more boring sermons about a future that isn’t gonna exist. You don’t wanna make anymore unnecessary sacrifices. You want your money back from the mission field. From the church plate. You’ve been a fool. You’ve played the fool from start to finish.
    If Christ didn’t rise, then this Christian life is only for here. It’s all been pointless. If you think that’s a stretch, just think of this. Every other religion in the world is living out that very reality. Every other one, ’cause they all believe a lie. But we would be, of all people, most to be pitied, because we think someone has atoned for our sins when He hasn’t if He didn’t rise.
    Jesus said in John 8:21 to the Jewish leaders, “You’ll die in your sins. You’ll die in your sins.” That would be true of us. We are a miserable group.”

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  70. why would you ask these questions if you thought Jesus death a good thing?

    Oh, let’s see. Because YOU introduced Christ’s crucifixion into the question about whether Nero killing Christians was good.

    So knowing that Christ’s crucifixion was good and necessary, the question remains: Nero killing Christians: good or evil? (saying Christians get heaven is not an answer on Nero’s culpability). Cue the crickets.

    that’s more “proof” than you ever produce.

    So in your mind, questions about YOUR statements become proof of MY belief. Yikes. The psych projection is getting pretty bad when you try to turn me into you.

    Mommy!

    Your mommy can’t help you on this one. Xanax, maybe.

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  71. Silliness. That’s one of the reasons that lawyers can have a bad reputation.
    Pretty standard and necessary actually. Inferences leading to necessary conclusions are routinely used not just in civil courts, but in ecclesiastical courts. Check out Lee Irons’ trial transcript.

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  72. Psst…don’t need Kuyper to see a friend in need of help. Being an enabler typically exacerbates the problem.

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  73. So, yes, the state enforces God’s moral law
    So Zrim, maybe you can do better: did Nero enforce God’s moral law when he killed Christians?

    Liked by 1 person

  74. Mark, no he didn’t. He violated it. But so? You seem to think that somehow disproves 2k, but only if that willfulness of yours is still at work. Being ordained to enforce God’s moral law is one thing, doing it is another altogether. Moreover, you’ve yet to demonstrate you grasp how God uses temporal evil for eternal good (paradox alert). You likely affirm it in a rote sense, but your actual reasoning is getting in the way. Like a rake.

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  75. vdm, m, attorneys defending persons they know committed crimes, good or evil?

    You only ask questions that admit black or white answers, just like Black Lives Matter.

    And I thought Kuyperians were supposed to be smart.

    Nero killing Christians is complicated. Did they break the law? Is he maintaining social order? Do they go to heaven? Is the church called to suffer (that’s easy, neo-Calvinists only see God winning when life gets better; Calvinist prosperity gospellers).

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  76. Zrim, Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do. Christians don’t get a pass from civil law just because they follow a higher law. John Brown is no Christian hero.

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  77. Darryl, which are fair enough points, but when I think martyrdom I think crucifixion, which is to say to execute believers corresponds to executing Christ himself and executing Christ himself was a violation. But still so? Salvation depended on a miscarriage of law, we’d be dead in our trespasses without it, therefore it’s both a violation and a good thing at once.

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  78. Mark, no he didn’t. He violated it. But so? Being ordained to enforce God’s moral law is one thing, doing it is another altogether. Moreover, you’ve yet to demonstrate you grasp how God uses temporal evil for eternal good (paradox alert).

    Thank you, Zrim for the clear answer. And yes, I do understand God uses temporal evil for eternal good. And of course, Christians suffer under evil actions. But there would be no paradox if we couldn’t agree the temporal action was evil. in the first place. Which was the sole point I was seeking to get an answer on.

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  79. Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do. Christians don’t get a pass from civil law just because they follow a higher law.

    Jeff, things any clearer for you now?

    Liked by 1 person

  80. It would seem a helpful distinction would be to distinguish the man/woman from the office they inhabit. So, in terms of Nero, the man could be wrong and lawless and deserving of removal but that doesn’t render the office he occupies as illegitimate. Now, that’s a more complex or different opportunity in the Roman situation than our modern democracies but it’s still a question, ultimately, as to the legitimacy of civil office, even when executed illicity/illegaly/poorly. The emperor’s cult makes it doubly difficult to adjudicate but does it render the Roman Emperor an illegitimate public office? I don’t see Paul or Jesus putting forth that argument. Now, Liberation theology and any number of similar politicizing of Jesus would beg to differ, but I don’t see the exegesis requiring their interpretation of things.

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  81. @ Mark:

    DGH: Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do. Christians don’t get a pass from civil law just because they follow a higher law.

    MvdM: Jeff, things any clearer for you now?

    Yes, they are. Zrim gave an answer that fell right in line with what I expected.

    DGH gave a response that I did not expect, and that I disagree with, but that I also understand and can engage with. See below.

    Now here’s the point: Couldn’t we have gotten here a lot more efficiently, to the point of engaging substantively over a disagreed point, if you weren’t always in prosecutorial mode?

    As Jack says, this isn’t a court trial.

    Liked by 1 person

  82. @DGH: Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do. Christians don’t get a pass from civil law just because they follow a higher law.

    I want to dissent here.

    Your point, if I understand, is that God permits the magistrate the power of the sword; Nero was exercising the power of the sword; ergo, Nero was not violating God’s law.

    But this argument, while valid, rests on the premise that God permits the power of the sword for any reason whatsoever. This is not the case. The magistrate is to bring terror to the wrongdoer and to bring God’s wrath upon the wrongdoer per Rom 13. The Christians were not wrongdoers, and Nero had no particular reason to believe them so; in fact, if we take Tacitus at his word, Nero scapegoated them.

    So it would appear that Nero’s actions were an abuse of office.

    Liked by 4 people

  83. Besides the question of legitimate civil rule is the christian principle of suffering unjustly as an example of following Jesus, various versions of liberation theology would object and deny but where is the contrary exegesis? It’s the difficulty of trying to extricate ‘principles’ from scripture without regard to the redemptive historical context. You run the very real hazard of making scripture answer questions it doesn’t give itself to particularly.

    1 Peter 2:20-25
    20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

    22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[a]
    23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[b] but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

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  84. So, the state has played a dual role of bearing the sword in service of the moral law, which includes christians in this life, and antagonist to the church, including martyrdom, in service of God(utilized by God) as commending his saints and His Son.

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  85. So, Mark, with that established what is it you hope to say about that part of the paradox, i.e. that putting saints to death is a violation?

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  86. In re: Nero and the limits of the legitimacy of the sword.

    5 “Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger,
    in whose hand is the club of my wrath!
    6 I send him against a godless nation,
    I dispatch him against a people who anger me,
    to seize loot and snatch plunder,
    and to trample them down like mud in the streets.
    7 But this is not what he intends,
    this is not what he has in mind;
    his purpose is to destroy,
    to put an end to many nations.
    8 ‘Are not my commanders all kings?’ he says.
    9 ‘Has not Kalno fared like Carchemish?
    Is not Hamath like Arpad,
    and Samaria like Damascus?
    10 As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols,
    kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria—
    11 shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images
    as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?’”
    12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes.

    — Is 10

    Liked by 1 person

  87. Zrim, I was satisfied to finally see the basic point established, but if I were to add, it’s hard to improve on the WLC’s wonderful explanation of the duties of inferiors to superiors, superiors to inferiors, and the sins of superiors:

    Q. 126. What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?
    A. The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we
    mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors, or equals.657

    Q. 127. What is the honour that inferiors owe to their superiors?
    A. The honour which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence in heart,658 word, 659
    and behaviour;660 prayer and thanksgiving for them;661 imitation of their virtues and graces;662
    willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels;663 due submission to their
    corrections;664 fidelity to,665 defence,666 and maintenance of their persons and authority,
    according to their several ranks, and the nature of their places;667 bearing with their
    infirmities, and covering them in love,668 that so they may be an honour to them and to their
    government.669

    Q. 128. What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?
    A. The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward
    them;670 envying at,671 contempt of,672 and rebellion673 against, their persons674 and places,675
    in their lawful counsels,676 commands, and corrections;677 cursing, mocking678 and all such
    refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonour to them and their
    government.679

    Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
    A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that
    relation wherein they stand, to love,680 pray for,681 and bless their inferiors;682 to instruct,683
    counsel, and admonish them;684 countenancing,685 commending,686 and rewarding such as do
    well;687 and discountenancing,688 reproving, and chastising such as do ill;689 protecting,690 and
    providing for them all things necessary for soul691 and body:692 and by grave, wise, holy, and
    exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God,693 honour to themselves,694 and so to preserve
    that authority which God hath put upon them.695

    Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?
    A. The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them,696 and
    inordinate seeking of themselves,697 their own glory,698 ease, profit, or pleasure;699
    commanding things unlawful,700 or not in the power of inferiors to perform;701 counseling,702
    encouraging,703 or favouring them in that which is evil;704 dissuading, discouraging, or
    discountenancing them in that which is good;705 correcting them unduly;706 careless exposing,
    or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger;707 provoking them to wrath;708 or any way
    dishonouring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or
    remiss behaviour..

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  88. Jeff, I understand how that worked in the unique theocratic situation of OT Israel. How to make application outside that context and ground it in scriptural mandate would seem to be a whole separate consideration. The abstraction isn’t of any particular benefit or assistance(in terms of statecraft), it’s the devilish details and the concurrent mandate that are going to be difficult/impossible to come by, which would seem to be why Paul bypasses it in 1 Cor 5 and says, who am I to judge, God judges those outside.

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  89. Sean,

    Yes, I agree that context matters. What I find interesting about this passage, as well Nahum and Jonah, is that it gives insight into how God views governments and rulers outside the theocracy, which was limited both in time and spatially.

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  90. Jeff, God has right to do as he wills but we seem to be relegated to mere observers of His providence. We know that God judges, but I still don’t see mandate or detailed prescription(for statecraft). So, not dissimilar to Paul, we’re left with trusting God to sort those ‘outside’. God may strain the heart of the King, but I’ve no idea how the church or individual christians are to pull that off. So, the insight is that God resists the proud? Ok. Still not the church’s purview. Which would take us back to competence and jurisdiction and affirm 2k. Not that you’re resisting that.

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  91. Jesus’s statement to Pilate indicates that secular magistrates can sin in the course of faithfully executing their duties even if the sin isn’t as bad as those within the covenant.

    Liked by 1 person

  92. Jeff, you think Nero was up to discerning Trinitarian theology 275 years before Nicea? Rulers and legislators make laws all the time that uphold social order. Having guys who think they are followers of a god-man is a bit of a challenge, no? We didn’t do so well with apostles of Joseph Smith.

    I agree that Nero likely acted arbitrarily. I don’t think Pilate did so necessarily.

    Which makes it all the more important to lower expectations about rulers. Make them like dog catchers. A notch above attorneys.

    Liked by 1 person

  93. vdm, m, since you think you are superior to me, why do you break the 5th commandment?

    The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them,696 and
    inordinate seeking of themselves,697 their own glory,698 ease, profit, or pleasure;699
    commanding things unlawful,700 or not in the power of inferiors to perform;701 counseling,702
    encouraging,703 or favouring them in that which is evil;704 dissuading, discouraging, or
    discountenancing them in that which is good;705 correcting them unduly;706 careless exposing,
    or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger;707 provoking them to wrath;708 or any way
    dishonouring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or
    remiss behaviour..

    WHY!!??!!

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  94. vdm, m, since you think you are superior to me,

    Ok, Darryl, I see your point and stand corrected. You’re far superior to me:

    Make them like dog catchers. A notch above attorneys.

    rakes to the head.

    I thought Kuyperians were supposed to be smart.

    too many Queen Wilhelmina mints.

    vdm, m, your biblical illiteracy is staggering.

    do you actually have a brain?

    Neo-Calvinists think they are wives to 2kers.

    you’re the one defending law breakers

    you’re not friend.

    You’re the Dutch-American equivalent of Al Sharpton

    then he is most to be pitied.

    You follow yourself more than God’s word.

    you really do trust your obedience

    such a materialist

    he denied Scripture

    he denies the paradoxes of Scripture

    vdm, m has no room for the crucifixion in his Christianity.

    your thinking the death of Christ is a bad thing.

    You think Jesus’ death shouldn’t have happened

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  95. Jeff Cagle says Now here’s the point: Couldn’t we have gotten here a lot more efficiently, to the point of engaging substantively over a disagreed point

    …..seeking to justify themselves; anyway, don’t think so, no evidence for that

    Anyway 2, in summary, the point of anything (not being at all about meeee and all) -the exaltation of the Lord
    Great and marvelous are Your works,O Lord God, the Almighty;Righteous and true are Your ways,King of the nations! “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?”

    -Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
    -Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good
    -1 Peter 4:13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

    Liked by 1 person

  96. Darryl,

    Jeff, you think Nero was up to discerning Trinitarian theology 275 years before Nicea? Rulers and legislators make laws all the time that uphold social order. Having guys who think they are followers of a god-man is a bit of a challenge, no? We didn’t do so well with apostles of Joseph Smith.

    Why would Nero need to be up to discerning Trinitarian theology in order to know that you shouldn’t light your gardens with people who haven’t done anything violent? It might be one thing if the early Christians were calling for the overthrow of Rome and the replacement of Caesar, but they weren’t.

    Not to defend everything the U.S. did with the Mormons, but Smith was also a known huckster and Young a violent man in many ways. We’re talking Apples and Oranges here.

    I agree that Nero likely acted arbitrarily. I don’t think Pilate did so necessarily.

    So is the 2K position you espouse that when God grants responsibilities to the state, it’s legitimate to protect social order by any means necessary even when that involves killing an innocent man who the ruler professes and knows to be innocent?

    This just all seems very muddled. Can we not grant that it is possible for leaders to sin when carrying out an office without illegitimating that office like Jeff has suggested? That seems far more reasonable and biblical.

    Which makes it all the more important to lower expectations about rulers. Make them like dog catchers. A notch above attorneys.

    But that’s an argument for limited government, not an argument against the government having a job to uphold God’s moral law, at least insofar as it is revealed in nature.

    If 2K means the church and state have distinct responsibilities I’m for it. Even if it means that the state is bound only to natural law/natural revelation in the exercise of its duties, I support it. But the way you are applying it in this thread is very strange.

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  97. Darryl, Pilate may not have acted arbitrarily (I don’t think he did), but isn’t true that he still executed a miscarriage of justice? If so, that seems to have useful implications, from the limits of human law and politics (so quit over-realizing their powers) to the undiluted innocence of Christ and the stark guilt of man.

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  98. Robert: I’m asking because as I read you all and the various comments, it’s hard to tell. SDB on one thread said the Bible doesn’t give us any prescriptions for the state. Some of you lean more toward what natural law says (which of course you know what is natural law and what is supernatural law from the Bible). Just trying to figure it out.

    There’s not a single answer for all folk. Zrim very strongly believes that natural law (moral law written on the heart) is sufficient. DGH also appears to hold this, and I think van Drunen is there.

    SDB appears to be skeptical of natural law as a legitimate category. But also he says that the Bible doesn’t give prescriptions for the state. So we haven’t yet explored what he does believe.

    Robert – I do reject NaturalLawTheory(tm) along with metaphysics and ideology more generally. I don’t deny their polemic utility, but I don’t see that they make a coherent case with any moral force. I realize that I’m outlier around here, and I fully concede that there may be something I’m missing. While I’m pretty sure that my view here is compatible with 2K, I don’t think it is required by 2k. I might go a step further and suggest that no theory of government or origin of morality is necessary for 2k. Rather 2k is simply the statement that the church’s proclamation should be restricted to the authority she has been given in scripture. If Scripture is silent on a a particular matter, then the church should be as well. Since scripture does not lay out the role of the state, the church should not opine on that matter or discipline members for views that other members find mistaken.

    That is not to say that there isn’t a right answer or that a right answer isn’t knowable. Imagine a physicist who denies conservation of energy. Such a physicist would be wrong and should be fired from his job as a Physics Professor (say). That person should not be disciplined by his church, and the church shouldn’t opine on the conservation of energy. Indeed, churchmen who hold this 2K position do not need to have any view about whether or how energy is conserved or how are to arrive at that conclusion. I think this distinction is important as we can get side tracked about ancillary question that while interesting do not really bear on the legitimacy of the 2K position.

    I think most 2K’ers would admit that *IF* the Bible taught that the state should do X, then believers would have the responsibility to advocate for that. So the question become exegetical. What exactly does the Bible say prescriptively about the role of the secular nation state?

    For my part, I would say that the magistrate is obligated to enforce the second table of the Law, as being identical in content to the moral law written on the heart. But the magistrate should not enforce the first table, because that falls squarely under the jurisdiction of the church.

    This is dicey. The second table tells us that we should not covet – WSC80: The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his. How does the magistrate enforce a commandment to have the right frame of mind? Indeed, we see in the other four that these commandments also bear strongly on one’s frame of mind. Further, there are things the magistrate does that aren’t dealt with in scripture (or the moral law): setting the voting age, determining the length of the school year, building codes, occupational licensing requirements, tourism advertising campaigns, spending on parks and rec, and on and on… It seems to me that appeals to a moral code for describing what the magistrate should do is neither necessary or sufficient to define the proper role of the state.

    A sort of Kirkian appeal to tradition, custom, and prudence makes more and more sense.

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  99. Luke clearly believes that Pontius Pilate acted wrongly in what he did, as we see in Acts 4:

    ‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
    The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers were gathered together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed’—
    for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
    (Acts 4:25b-27)

    Pilate is grouped with the kings and men who are “setting themselves up against the Lord”. If you think that’s not the epitome of wickedness I don’t know precisely what to say. For further context, that same Psalm later admonishes the rulers of the earth (with whom Pilate is numbered) by commanding them:

    “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” (Psalm 2:11)

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  100. “A sort of Kirkian appeal to tradition, custom, and prudence makes more and more sense.”
    This is where I am at as well. What do you think of saying that the magistrate has the *authority* to enforce any aspect of the second table, but ought to do so with prudence towards the aim of punishing wickedness and praising righteousness laid out in Romans 13? I.e. the magistrate is not in sin by not punishing adultery with legal sanction, but they are empowered to and ought to if it would be beneficial practically in the cultural context.

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  101. @ SDB: “intent” and “motive” (legal terms) are all about frame of mind.

    Which doesn’t fully answer your question, I recognize. But my point is that frame of mind is not beyond the realm of the magistrate.

    Consider also parents. We would agree, I hope, that parents certainly have an obligation to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and to teach them to obey God’s commands (both tables, even!). And it is also very true that parents have a hard time dealing with childrens’ frame of mind. Exhibit A: Teen-ish Caglets.

    Usually, we have to deal with frame of mind in more relational and less punitive ways.

    So this points to two things:

    (1) The difficulty of “frame of mind” does not take frame of mind off the magistrate’s plate, and
    (2) It is entirely possible for the magistrate to deal with “frame of mind” by non-judicial means.

    SDB: Further, there are things the magistrate does that aren’t dealt with in scripture (or the moral law): setting the voting age, determining the length of the school year, building codes, occupational licensing requirements, tourism advertising campaigns, spending on parks and rec, and on and on…

    Multiple responsibilities.

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  102. @Jeff Good points. Can you think of cases where “frame of mind” is itself the problem rather than the way an outward action is interpreted? Hate crimes legislation is what comes to mind, but even there the crime has to be committed and then the hate is treated as an aggravating factor – hate without the crime is not prosecuted. Do you have other examples in mind?

    I fully agree with your point about parents, but I’m not sure what that has to do with the magistrate. The relationship between parents and children is different in kind than the relationship between the individual and the state isn’t it? Or do you think the magistrate should be more paternalistic?

    If the job of the magistrate is to punish evil doers (and thereby enforce the second table of the law), how does the magistrate do so by non-judicial means? What does the legal authority to punish covetousness look like?

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  103. “If Jesus Christ died justly, the atonement is null and void.”

    Greg, can you explain a little bit more what you mean by this? Do you mean “justly” before God or before the Roman legal system? How exactly do you think His death, had it been just (which I don’t think it was in terms of Roman or Jewish law), would nullify the atonement? I’ve never really heard this addressed before, so I’m interested in hearing more.

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  104. Robert, the question wasn’t whether Nero should light up his gardens with Christians. It was whether Nero executed Christians.

    That is what God ordained the magistrate to do, right? Just because a believer has a special relationship with God doesn’t let the believer disobey the magistrate’s laws. Christianity is not a license for civil disobedience.

    That’s why the debates about resisting a tyrant were so intricate. The best the Reformers could come up with was the doctrine of a lesser magistrate. A citizen could not disobey. But a magistrate might be able to.

    If a law is unjust or if we must obey God rather than men, then we suffer the consequences of disobedience. That’s what the apostles did. They didn’t form political action committees to overturn Roman laws.

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  105. Zrim, yes, Jesus did not sin. But Jesus did claim to be God and in Israel that’s blasphemy, and in Rome’s province, Pilate deferred to local authorities. Anyway, Peter (Acts 2) doesn’t blame Pilate. He blames the Jews.

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  106. Greg, imagine. Imagine that a man who claims to be God and who claims to be in the line of King David might be a political and legal threat to the existing authorities. Doesn’t mean Jesus broke the law. But he did upset expectations (and a lot more).

    When he said to the Pharisees, “Hypocrite,” was he showing love?

    Think more about how complicated Jesus’ sinlessness is.

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  107. John, you left out verse 28: “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”

    Does that make God the author of injustice?

    Can’t we say that Jesus’ ministry poses a host of paradoxes that are not all that useful for understanding civil rule?

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  108. Tracking along with the dog catcher sentiment, why would I WANT to invest the magistrate with ferreting out my intents and feelings any more than they already insert themselves? Most likely the greatest threat most people will encounter in their lives isn’t going to be the criminal or terrorist or Russians, but instead, one of the many unwieldy bureaucratic arms of an overly intrusive government. That’s no sharp scalpel they’re brandishing, it’s a club. I’ve spent most of my life fending off the gov on one side and priests and pastors on the other, I’m not looking for reasons to hand over more control or assigning a greater competency to either group.

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  109. Darryl,

    Robert, the question wasn’t whether Nero should light up his gardens with Christians. It was whether Nero executed Christians.

    That’s a distinction without a difference because that’s how Nero executed at least some Christians.

    That is what God ordained the magistrate to do, right?

    You mean ordained according to God’s secret/hidden/unrevealed will, right? Surely you don’t mean it was God’s revealed will that leaders were duty bound to execute his people.

    Just because a believer has a special relationship with God doesn’t let the believer disobey the magistrate’s laws.

    I really hope you are missing some words here. I think you mean:

    Just because a believer has a special relationship with God doesn’t let the believer disobey the magistrate’s laws and always escape earthly consequences.

    Christianity is not a license for civil disobedience.

    But in those cases where a law is unjust or we must obey God rather than men, we do have a license for disobedience. We don’t have a license for disobedience with no consequences. If that’s what you’re saying, I don’t think that’s terribly controversial.

    That’s why the debates about resisting a tyrant were so intricate. The best the Reformers could come up with was the doctrine of a lesser magistrate. A citizen could not disobey. But a magistrate might be able to.

    Sure.

    If a law is unjust or if we must obey God rather than men, then we suffer the consequences of disobedience. That’s what the apostles did. They didn’t form political action committees to overturn Roman laws.

    The Apostles had no such recourse available to them at the time. What happens when they get them? That’s a question that the NT doesn’t answer. It doesn’t even seem to ask the question. Maybe its because the Apostles never anticipated it. Given the sufficiency of Scripture, it would seem more likely to me that they don’t ask or answer the question because they expect us to look to revelation God had already given, ie, the OT.

    Paul also said that if a slave had potential recourse to get himself freed, he should take full advantage of it if he could and it was wise to do so. Seems like there should be a broader application of that principle to the state-individual relationship.

    If you want to say its complex, sure. If you want to say Nero and Pilate were in the right because they were “just doing their job,” that’s awfully strange.

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  110. Darryl, you said:

    “John, you left out verse 28: “They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. Does that make God the author of injustice?”

    As a Reformed Christian I’m sure you’d agree that God’s will of decree does not render mankind less than fully accountable for their actions, nor does God’s will of decree render him culpable for the sins of His creatures.

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  111. Darryl, so there is an earthly authority to blame for Jesus’ death (the Jews).

    Robert, we do not have license for disobedience. We are only charged to obey, whether God or his civil servants. When the latter compels us to disobey the former, we are to obey the former. The Bible never gives warrant for any sort of disobedience. You may think that trifling, but given the way our time and place esteems civil disobedience (as if it’s a virtue), it’s worth noting that believers have no warrant.

    Also, taking advantage of a potential recourse around persecution is one thing, creating or even promoting a recourse seems to be another. Much of the talk that attends the esteeming of civil disobedience always has the tinge of undermining the virtues of martyrdom. The Bible seems clear that martyrdom is preferred over its escape. A jagged pill for American Christians to swallow. That’s not to be Pollyanna, but often times American Christians seems woefully unable to at least contemplate it–we’d rather rehearse the virtues of religious liberty and flourishing (and let’s be honest, the flourishing of Christian liberty mostly).

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  112. “Also, taking advantage of a potential recourse around persecution is one thing, creating or even promoting a recourse seems to be another. Much of the talk that attends the esteeming of civil disobedience always has the tinge of undermining the virtues of martyrdom. The Bible seems clear that martyrdom is preferred over its escape. A jagged pill for American Christians to swallow. That’s not to be Pollyanna, but often times American Christians seems woefully unable to at least contemplate it–we’d rather rehearse the virtues of religious liberty and flourishing (and let’s be honest, the flourishing of Christian liberty mostly).”
    This is potentially a valid critique.

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  113. “If a law is unjust or if we must obey God rather than men, then we suffer the consequences of disobedience. That’s what the apostles did. They didn’t form political action committees to overturn Roman laws”

    The Apostles had no such recourse available to them at the time. What happens when they get them? That’s a question that the NT doesn’t answer. It doesn’t even seem to ask the question.

    Is that right? Wasn’t Paul’s appeal to Caesar as a roman citizen an example of an apostle looking to get our of persecution by the local authorities? Anyway, in the US, it is strange to suggest that we Christians shouldn’t work to overturn bad laws – for better or worse, we have the legal right to do so. Given that this is a common realm activity, we should have strong biblical warrant against doing so before saying this isn’t a matter of conscience.

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  114. @ DGH:

    The situation is additionally complicated because not everyone agrees that Tacitus got Nero right. And it may not matter much; we’re discussing Nero as an exemplar for magistrates (“don’t let this happen to you”), so we might as well discuss Tacitus’s Nero.

    My point is this: it is not necessary to appeal to Scripture to see that Nero was wrong in the exercise of his office.

    He wasn’t sorting out a Trinitarian controversy, nor even was he putting down disturbers of the peace (a justification that might work for Trajan).

    He was literally finding a group to blame for a fire that he (per Tacitus) started himself.

    There’s not a whole lot of wiggle room to defend that kind of behavior.

    Now if we start disputing Tacitus’ account, things do get murkier. But that’s beside the point.

    Now, you raise the interesting point: Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do. Christians don’t get a pass from civil law just because they follow a higher law.

    I get where you’re coming from — that the emperor’s job is to enforce order, and it is not his job to sort out who may be engaging in legitimate following of a higher law.

    In other words, you’re saying that we can’t create a system that checks itself for permissible violations of itself. Sure.

    But as a counter, it is also the case that the emperor himself is obligated to that same higher law: “The law doth bind all, justified and unjustified alike…”

    And in the case of a Trajan, who keeps order by persecuting Christians who do not worship the gods or the emperor, he’s culpable for trying to compel someone to sin under cover of law.

    In other words, Nero and Trajan had consciences, and they are accountable for the moral law in the performance of their duties.

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  115. Bryan Morey asks:”Greg, can you explain a little bit more what you mean by THIS?? Do you mean “justly” before God or before the Roman legal system? How exactly do you think His death, had it been just (which I don’t think it was in terms of Roman or Jewish law), would nullify the atonement? I’ve never really heard this addressed before, so I’m interested in hearing more.”

    The only law God cares about is his own. Do you think the virtues of the Romans 13 magistrate exist apart from God and His law? Where there is morality involved, can you imagine Paul using the words “good” and “evil” to indicate pagan standards? The magistrate is as good or evil as he is in conformity to God’s remaining image and common grace, in and under which he inescapably lives.

    There is no such thing as a just law that is not derived from God’s nature and will reflected in His own law. Unless somebody can find me some autonomous creaturely righteousness among Adam’s children in the bible.

    If Jesus Christ was justly executed according to biblical standard, then he is not the spotless Lamb and is therefore unfit to bear anyone’s sins, but His own. Defying the secular state, save only for when said state commands defiance of God (Romans 13 and Titus 2) is sin.

    He was however, thank God, Himself just and hence qualified to die for the unjust. (1 Peter 3:18) All this quibbling about whether the Crucifixion was just according to some unbelieving gentile standard is rather meaningless as far as I’m concerned to be honest.

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  116. Robert, strange too is a reading of history that expect Pilate and Nero to act like POTUS, as if Christianity had been around for 2000 years and was so much more respectable than Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    What do you expect them to know? And do you really think Christians should get a pass if they break the law?

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  117. John, I agree. But what do you do with the Bible when it says the rulers did God’s will? This isn’t just, they did God’s providential will by sending troops to Europe. This is doing God’s will in crucifying Christ and paying for the sins of God’s people.

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  118. Jeff, I think I agree. But if Trajan was wrong to persecute Christians, what about Christian magistrates who persecute non-Christians. Henry IV and the persecution of Huguenots? Geneva’s City Council and Servetus?

    I’m not sure how much your point about conscience, I’m wondering, is really a modern understanding of politics, a post 1789 one. Which goes back to one of my points that we can’t use the present to judge the past, or expect Roman emperors to behave like POTUS. It’s not only anachronistic. According to some Reformed types, it’s perfectly fine for the government to enforce the first table of the law. In which case, Roman emperors were enforcing religious orthodoxy (worship of the emperor), just the wrong religion.

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  119. this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God,
    you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Acts 2:23

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  120. Overcome evil with good is not “non-resistance”. Do not resist in kind means we can submit without obeying them. But of course if we are “them”, it’s submitting or not submitting to ourselves.

    Dgh–Gaining heaven is good. Paul thought so. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, ewe are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Cor 15:29

    mcmark—In context in the verse you quote, the apostle Paul was inspired by God to write that without God the Son coming again to earth and RAISING THE DEAD, we have no hope. But perhaps you think it’s Zwinglian heresy to teach that the humanity of God the Son is now seated in heaven.

    I Corinthians 15: 14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is without foundation, and so is your faith. 15 In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified about God that He raised up Christ—whom He did not raise up if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Therefore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished.

    23 But each in his own order: Christ, the first–fruits; afterward, at His coming, those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when He abolishes all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet.

    53 For this corruptible must be clothed
    with incorruptibility,
    and this mortal must be clothed
    with immortality.
    54 When this corruptible is clothed
    with incorruptibility,
    and this mortal is clothed
    with immortality,
    then the saying that is written will take place:
    Death has been swallowed up in victory

    https://mikewittmer.blog/2015/02/17/going-to-heaven/

    Gain for whom? Gain for you or gain for Christ’s kingdom?

    Philippians 1: 22 Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. 23 I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

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  121. Trump was elected and you broke your leg and Adam ate from the tree The stuff that happens was all predestined and that means it’s all good? No, God ordains even the evil events for the good of those God loves.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2017/01/09/go-learn-means-bad-faith-biblical-defense-injustice-part-1/

    Bozeman, “Old School contributions to social analysis may be viewed as a sustained attempt to defend the inherited social structure…”

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  122. I agree that the Jews had no “right” to try to replace the Roman occupation with their own magistrates. It’s like John Witherspoon and King George.

    Instead of teaching resurrection at the Second Coming (which is possibly a long time away from now, no matter what is happening now in Palestine), most professing Christians teach an inherent immortality for all those created in God’s image. Instead of obeying the King who was standing among the disciples (and baptizzing babies with water) , we can say that the Sermon on the Mount is only for after we die, and now go out and buy our guns to protet ourselves from tyrants. All we need to do is be careful not to buy those guns as a church but as individuals

    Isiah 61: For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation
    and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness,
    as a groom wears a turban
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
    11 For as the earth produces its growth,
    and as a garden enables what is sown to spring up,
    so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
    to spring up before all the nations.

    When Jesus came to his own, his own received Him not. Instead almost all of them were offended. The conservatives who liked the status quo thought Jesus was being too “political”. And those who wanted to overcome the Roman occupation thought that Jesus was being too “spiritual” (instead of political).

    Hauerwas–We say that the Psalm Sunday crowd got it wrong because they were wanting freedom in this world and in this age, and then we who either love the status quo or think nothing will change say that Jesus was offering only spiritual freedom, a kingdom after we die …If Jesus is all about getting us to love one another, then why did everyone reject him? They did so, I think, because when Jesus was told by the devil that he would be given the power to turn stones to bread, he refused; when Jesus was offered authority over all the kingdoms of this world, he refused; when he was offered the possibility he would not die, he refused. Jesus refused these goods because God’s kingdom cannot be forced into existence using the means of the devil.

    Hauerwas—Jesus’s refusal to play the devil’s game does not mean that the kingdom he proclaims is not political. Jesus refuses to use the violence of the world to achieve “peace.” But that does not mean he is any less political or that he is not about the securing of peace. His arrest is often thought to represent the apolitical character of Jesus because he commands Peter to put away the sword Peter had used to cut off the ear of the priest’s slave. Jesus rebukes Peter, but he does so because that is not the “cup” the Father has given him. But the cup from which Jesus must drink is no less political for being nonviolent.

    Hauerwas—The character of Jesus’s politics is manifest in his response to the high priest who questions Jesus about his teachings in John 18.19-24. That he is questioned by the high priest may suggest that his mission was “religious” rather than political, but such an account cannot be sustained for no other reason than Jesus’s answer: “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in the synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.”

    Hauerwas—They tell me that you are the King of Jews. Is that true?” Pilate’s question is meant to see if Jesus is “political.” Jesus responds by asking if Pilate came up with such a view on his own or did others tell him such was the case. “I am not a Jew, am I?” replies Pilate.. “If my kingdom were FROM this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over. ” This is a response used often to deny that Jesus was political. But Pilate rightly saw that Jesus’ denial that his kingship was not of this world is not the denial that Jesus is king. Jesus denied that his kingdom was just another form of Rome http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2015/04/03/4210472.htm

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  123. @ Greg: was the crucifixion just in God’s eyes?

    You argue No on the grounds that Jesus was the spotless Lamb. But what of imputation? Did God lay on Him the sins of us all? Did He make Him who knew no sin to be sin for us?

    I’m not completely rejecting your argument, but asking for the nuance provided by Rom 3.25-26: the atonement demonstrated God’s righteousness.

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  124. Hauerwas via Mark:

    We say that the Psalm Sunday crowd got it wrong because they were wanting freedom in this world and in this age, and then we who either love the status quo or think nothing will change say that Jesus was offering only spiritual freedom

    And what of those who think that offering spiritual freedom is actually offering something, and that the status quo will change in God’s own time uet unrevealed to us?

    Hauerwas is off in the weeds.

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  125. @ Jeff @ Greg
    I’m not completely rejecting your argument, but asking for the nuance provided by Rom 3.25-26: the atonement demonstrated God’s righteousness.
    And… “God is the just and the justifier.” Christ was justly crucified because he legally was guilty having become the Surety of elect sinners.

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  126. @JEFF

    Imputation only works because Jesus had no sin of His own. He was justly treated as sin on our behalf by the father because he was unjustly murdered at the hands of wicked men. Jewish and Roman. (Both of whom, Jews and gentiles remember, were promised justification going all the way back to the covenant with Abraham and reiterated in Galatians 3 for instance)) Even if He had been guilty of noncompliance with a non-sinful Roman law, He would have been guilty of sin. We know that because the apostle later writing TO THE ROMANS, commands this very compliance.

    Having no guilt of His own He died for ours. Like Joseph son of Jacob told His brothers. Man meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. (Genesis 50:20) This discussion is about the magistrate. If the Roman magistrate had actually just cause to execute Jesus of Nazareth, the atonement is null and void.

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  127. I think what you’re saying is that if Jesus failed to obey the civil magistrate in a just law, He would have been guilty of transgressing the 5th commandment, whose penumbra extends to obeying civil authorities per Rom 13?

    Yes, agreed.

    And I would also say in your favor that Luke 23 presents the trial of Jesus before Pilate as an unjust outcome driven by expediency.

    I am uncomfortable with the sentence “If the Roman magistrate had actually just cause to execute Jesus of Nazareth, the atonement is null and void.”

    It seems to give Pilate a veto over the validity of the atonement.

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  128. Mark vdM: Ok, Darryl, I see your point and stand corrected. You’re far superior to me:

    [DGH]: Make them like dog catchers. A notch above attorneys.

    rakes to the head.

    I thought Kuyperians were supposed to be smart.

    too many Queen Wilhelmina mints.

    vdm, m, your biblical illiteracy is staggering…

    Yes, there’s a lot of personal digs aimed at you, and you don’t like it any more than I would. If you’re willing to be honest, you could probably admit that you do that in return.

    It’s uninteresting to consider who started it or who is the worst offender. We could go back years and look at offenses not directly related to you or DGH per se (“Machen’s Warrior Children”, “Merit or Entitlement” review, etc.) to see that bad blood has long been brewing.

    The question is, what would it take to reset the clock so that you and DGH could engage substantively? How do you learn how to fight fair?

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  129. Darryl, I’m still trying to understand your position because I’ve never heard that before, at least put that way. Are you suggesting that because government is from God to maintain peace and order, the Emperors who persecuted Christians were simply keeping the order as best as they knew? If so, that seems to run in the face of the writers like Luke whose goal among many was to demonstrate that the Christian faith was not a threat to civil government. Seems like you are making an argument that theonomists tend to make, that Christianity is a direct threat and confrontation to secular government. What about The City of God, where Augustine demonstrates that the state has no need to persecute or blame Christians for Rome’s troubles?

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  130. Interesting verse – weighing and parsing the first sentence against the second:

    John 19:11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

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  131. Jeff, in other words, what would it take for neo-Calvinists to treat 2kers like they are part of the Reformed Protestant tradition? It would also help for neo-Calvinists not to assume that 2k is wrong and encourages wickedness.

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  132. Todd, I do think we overestimate the emperors and think of them as modern statesmen. I also think that it would be possible to defend the emperor (as Paul does) as someone ordained to preserve order.

    So did Christianity threaten that order? By not worshiping the emperor Christians did. Daniel went to the lions’ den for not worshiping. Why are the apostles different? (notice, that is not, Christianity is a threat because Christians are going to institute a rival emperor.)

    Then there’s Jesus, king of the Jews. That’s a pretty complicated descriptor. Jesus’ kingship, which even his disciples did not understand, was plausible a rival to King Herod and to the emperor. That doesn’t mean that Jesus broke the law. But it does that we might understand why the empire and Jewish leaders didn’t welcome Christians.

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  133. DGH: …what would it take for neo-Calvinists to treat 2kers like they are part of the Reformed Protestant tradition? It would also help for neo-Calvinists not to assume that 2k is wrong and encourages wickedness.

    Yes. Maybe some other things also?

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  134. I mean, the 2k take on neo-Cal is that it embraces the weapons of the world to wage spiritual warfare.

    Yet you would probably conceded that this is not the intent?

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  135. @ JEFF
    Romans 13 declares that the Roman magistrate (and by extensions all others), existed to wield the sword against evil.

    The sword (cross) was wielded against Jesus of Nazareth.

    This leaves us two possibilities.

    1)This wielding of the sword was indeed against evil and hence according to God’s revealed will and therefore just. This option would attribute actual legitimate evil to Jesus of Nazareth observable by the Roman state.

    2) Jesus of Nazareth committed no actual evil against the Roman state, but the Roman state executed Him anyway in an unjust manner.

    In the second option, despite the heinous and unjust nature of the civil case, indeed BECAUSE of the unjust nature of the civil case, in the all wise decree of God, this evil injustice is the means by which this holy and innocent God-man would be be the once for all sacrifice for the sins of the elect. The just for the unjust.

    In hindsight, due to the fact that we now have God’s inerrant and infallible word on it, option 1 was never a possibility because it was not the eternal decree of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own holy will.

    This is “God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; (1 Cor. 2)

    Pilate thought He was a harmless crackpot. Like others before Him with seemingly similar delusions of messianic grandeur. He ordered His execution for socio-political expediency, even after he himself had declared him innocent.

    Speaking of Luke 23, the thief on the cross even understood that Jesus was crucified for no just reason, saying to the other one: ” …Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41“And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

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  136. Darryl, but Daniel was not threatening that order. He was an able administrator in Babylon. He was a good citizen. It was only the king’s megalomania that caused him to want Daniel dead. In persecuting Christians who actually are good citizens kings are simply committing idolatry, among other sins, the idolatry of self and wanting to be worshipped. I can’t understand how that can be called obeying God’s law for the magistrate in any sense, unless you are only trying to be ironic in a way I am missing.

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  137. Greg: [DGH] has it occurred to you that maybe your idiosyncratic formulation of 2K might be the problem and not 2K itself? That really is a possibility ya know.

    That is a possibility. It’s also possible that critics are operating without a sense of the big picture.

    I’m in the middle of reading the OPC report on Republication. The committee was weighted strongly on the anti-Kline side, that is, against the “idiosyncratic formulation of 2K” that you are inveighing against.

    Yet as you read the report, Kline’s central points are being affirmed by the committee as points of Reformed consensus. Eg.:

    Consequently, two requirements must be satisfied for our rescue from sin: someone must obey the law and he must receive the curse of the law. What sinful man could not do, Christ Jesus has done as our probation keeper and penalty payer.[10] We know that Christ was obedient to the law as the last Adam, in fulfillment of the covenant of works.

    — OPC “Mandate” II

    Another concept of merit, especially relevant with respect to Adam’s probation, is the notion of ex pacto merit.[13] In other words, it has to do with “the notion that the merit (or demerit) of Adam’s act was determined not by inherent value but by God’s promise of reward (or punishment).”[14] In other words, Adam could merit eternal life because God said so.

    Since the relationship of the covenant of works to the Mosaic covenant is such a significant part of our mandate, this is one issue that we will address in light of the subject of merit. It seems to the committee that Chapter 7 of the WCF permits one to use the language of grace to describe the pre-fall situation; not redemptive grace, but in a more general manner or for other reasons—even as it was commonplace in the seventeenth century to do. Nevertheless, the Westminster Confession does not invoke the category of grace to explain Adam’s pre-fall state, but God’s voluntary condescension (WCF 7.1).

    — ibid

    Broadly defined, a works principle is merely communicating obligations with sanctions. Such a principle is seen clearly in the covenant of works (Gen 2:16–17). This principle, or something like it, has also been observed in the Mosaic covenant. As Geerhardus Vos stated, “The covenant with Israel served in an emphatic manner to recall the strict demands of the covenant of works.”[17] This law really did carry the content of the covenant of works “as made serviceable for a particular period of the covenant of Grace.”[18] Although obeying such a demand was unattainable for Israelites since they (like all humans after the fall) were only able to sin, it does not negate that there was a real operative works principle in the old covenant.[19] Indeed, such a broadly defined works principle is introduced in many places in the law, in many of the cultic rituals, and in the cultic precepts that God gave Israel to perform.

    If the Mosaic law does introduce a works principle, it has direct application to the merit and ministry of Christ our Savior. We can say with confidence that the law was necessary for introducing a works principle that Christ would fulfill.

    — ibid.

    Just these three concessions alone are monumental. They all take a position in favor of Kline’s arguments and over against Murray’s and especially Shepherd’s.

    So maybe you think that DGH’s 2k swings the pendulum too far? OK. But first, consider the place whence it swung.

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  138. Jeff,

    More like 2k and N-C differ over what the spiritual battle truly is. Teaching math with a Christian w-w just doesn’t seem that high on the priorities of biblical authors.

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  139. Todd, Daniel was challenging the order by not obeying the king. Come on. That’s the way monarchies work.

    Why can’t you understanding Rome when today’s Christian patriots regard challenging U.S. military or foreign policy as a threat to Christian America? Doesn’t mean I agree with either. Just saying that all sorts of people, even regenerate ones, infuse the civil polity with divine or sacral qualities.. It’s not that far between civil religion and divine right monarchy.

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  140. Darryl, governments do not persecute Christians who are good citizens because of civil reasons, but ultimately religious ones. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” They kill out of hatred for Christ, according to the Lord himself. Refusing to bow down to a statute is no threat to the social order, but to a monarch’s ego. Nebuchadnezzar’s anger did not rage against Daniel’s three friends because of an altruistic concern for his country’s peace and security, but because his incredible ego was bruised. But we can leave it at a disagreement.

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  141. Jeff, a re-set would require sticking to the issues. Experienced a good example of such:

    So Zrim, maybe you can do better: did Nero enforce God’s moral law when he killed Christians?

    Zrim says:
    January 12, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Mark, no he didn’t. He violated it.

    A non-evasive answer. No ad hominem. No accusation of heresy. A straight answer and one for which I thanked Zrim.

    Would be a good pattern, it seems to me.

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  142. Zrim,

    Robert, we do not have license for disobedience. We are only charged to obey, whether God or his civil servants. When the latter compels us to disobey the former, we are to obey the former. The Bible never gives warrant for any sort of disobedience. You may think that trifling, but given the way our time and place esteems civil disobedience (as if it’s a virtue), it’s worth noting that believers have no warrant.

    Yes on the esteeming of civil disobedience as a bad thing. But its a warrant for us to disobey the state if in fact there are points where we must obey God rather than man. And throughout Scripture we find people rewarded for disobeying the state because that was the only way to obey God.

    So if you want to encourage believers to respect the civil authorities, I’m with you. But don’t pretend that disobeying the state isn’t disobeying the state.

    Also, taking advantage of a potential recourse around persecution is one thing, creating or even promoting a recourse seems to be another. Much of the talk that attends the esteeming of civil disobedience always has the tinge of undermining the virtues of martyrdom. The Bible seems clear that martyrdom is preferred over its escape. A jagged pill for American Christians to swallow. That’s not to be Pollyanna, but often times American Christians seems woefully unable to at least contemplate it–we’d rather rehearse the virtues of religious liberty and flourishing (and let’s be honest, the flourishing of Christian liberty mostly).

    To a point I agree, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that martyrdom is to be preferred over its escape. What’s esteemed is obedience to God. If martyrdom is to be preferred, Jesus made a big mistake running away from the authorities at various times in his ministry.

    It’s contextual. Sometimes you’re a martyr. Sometimes you flee. Never do you deny Christ.

    I’m incredibly sympathetic to getting Christians to not equate American patriotism with service to the kingdom. But it’s also possible to overreact, and nobody’s going to actually listen to the needed things they need to hear from you guys as long as you guys come across as more concerned about not looking like the Moral Majority than anything else.

    Personally, I think Neo-Cals need a huge dose of 2K in their thinking. I’ve learned a lot from the discussions here, and I appreciate them. But right now, the way some of these discussions go and the rather extreme positions that are taken mean you’re never going to reach the people that need to hear it most.

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  143. So Mark, your answer is that DGH needs to change. And his answer is that you need to change.

    Why do I feel like this is a Rob Reiner movie?

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  144. vdm, m, have you happened to notice that the blog author sets the topics and you don’t have a blog? You want to stick to the issues? Try writing something substantial rather than asking leading questions. The blogosphere is wide open for your outlook. Dr. K. . . .

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  145. So Mark, your answer is that DGH needs to change. And his answer is that you need to change.

    Huh? I said we should stick to the issues. No ad hom and evasion. I did not limit that to him. Applies both ways.

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  146. the blog author sets the topics and you don’t have a blog?

    You introduced the topic (by way of a leading question) of whether secular society is a “good gift” of God.

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  147. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, 2k is not a 12 point plan for a happy life or a Christian society.”
    If you intend to convey by this that I have in any way implied such a thing, I would challenge you to please copy and paste it here. When nobody sees it (because it doesn’t exist) I will then humbly counsel you to refrain from misrepresenting your guests in the interest of higher dialog and your own credibility.

    Dr. Hart says: “It is a coping mechanism, until Christ returns, how to make sense of living in a world with unbelievers.”
    You’re doing it wrong. Seriously.

    let me ask you this. Do you not believe that there are versions of 2K other than your own?

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  148. Robert, thanks. But you may have noticed that the posture in these parts isn’t terribly evangelistic–nobody’s trying to reach anybody with some special 2k message. It’s a place for discussion, such as it is, not out reach. You complain some worry about not coming across Moral Majority (not really), but you also seem to worry about what you think are “extreme positions” getting in the way of the alleged outreach. Sorry, but you seem the one worried about appearances. And I’m not even sure what these “extreme positions” might even be. That more Christians doesn’t necessarily mean a better world? That the west is a product more of pagan thought than Christian theology? That a sober doctrine of abiding sin should always trump an intoxicating fever for sanctification? If that’s extreme then color me rrrrrrrrradical, but I fail to see what’s so breath taking or gasp-worthy.

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  149. Well, I’m late to this party. Robert, what exactly is extreme? 2k? r2k(slur)? I live and move among membered up reformed folk who’ve bought into recasting the covenant, re-ordering the ordo, dabble around with final salvation, are pretty sure FV is okey dokey by them and are speeding their way down the SJW highway to mainline prot liberalism. I’ve been offended for some time by those on the other side of these discussions and for a lot more doctrinally aberrant formulations than any discussion of 2k ever engendered. They haven’t seem too worried about me.

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  150. DG Hart say Greg, 2k is not a 12 point plan for a happy life or a Christian society. It is a coping mechanism, until Christ returns, how to make sense of living in a world with unbelievers.

    that’s why Jesus leaves us here after saving us – to merely ‘cope’?

    DG Hart says More like 2k and N-C differ over what the spiritual battle truly is. Teaching math with a Christian w-w just doesn’t seem that high on the priorities of biblical authors.

    sometimes it hard to see understanding of the true spiritual battle here, there being such willing cooperation with the flesh, devil, world in discourse

    Jesus:
    1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may GROW in respect to salvation

    2 Corinthians 4:17 For momentary, light affliction is PRODUCING FOR US for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison

    2 Timothy 3:16 TRAINING in righteousness

    1 Peter 2: 11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles….

    1 Peter 3::21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
    so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

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  151. How To Get Along With Christians From Other Denominations

    In the book of Ephesians, Paul wrote that God has equipped believers “to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith.”While we may all come from various denominational backgrounds, God wants us to be united together in Christ.Unfortunately, that can be hard to accomplish, especially when everyone else’s denomination is so clearly wrong about everything. So we at The Bee have decided to do something to help Christians get along.
    Here are a few simple ways that you can agree to disagree with Christians from outside your theological tradition or denomination:
    1.) Immediately question their salvation. The best way to begin opening the lines of communication between you and a believer from a different background is to instantly and vocally doubt their justification before the Lord. This shows right off the bat that you care about their eternal soul.
    2.) Try to find extremely minor points of disagreement. Don’t get hung up on major areas of agreement like justification by faith or the necessity of the atonement. Rather, hone in on the extremely unimportant things you disagree on, like your preferred pew color and the kind of shirt the pastor wears in their denomination.
    3.) Punch them in the face. The Greeks had several different words for love, one of which was philia, literally translated as “punching another believer in the face because you disagree.” As they’re howling in pain on the floor trying to hold their teeth in their mouth, you’ll rest secure in the fact that you effectively showed them the love of Christ.
    4.) Use air-quotes every time you call them a “Christian.” Believers from other denominations will know that you truly count them as brothers and sisters in Christ when you give a big, sarcastic eye-roll and exaggerated air quotes every time you use the word “Christian” to refer to them or their denomination. Like so: “Hey Carl, I’m really glad you’re a ‘Christian’ [dramatic air-quotes here] too!”
    5.) Intentionally misunderstand all their theological statements. If a believer from a different tradition tweets something like, “Praise the Lord for sending His Son to die for us!” make sure you immediately reply with a series of three or four dozen tweets demonstrating how their statement is suspect and doesn’t even display a remotely biblical understanding of the gospel.
    6.) Make sure you loudly proclaim how much better you are. Finally, make sure all your conversations are laced with a refined sense of superiority. If you’re ready for the more advanced form of this technique, just start shouting at the other Christian’s face at the top of your lungs, screaming about how much more worthy of Christ’s love your denominational background is than theirs, and how dumb they are for believing whatever nonsense they believe. You’ll be bosom buddies in no time!

    http://babylonbee.com/news/get-along-christians-denominations/

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  152. Ali,

    I so wanted to be sarcastic here.

    Let me suggest that accusing people of enabling sin should be #7 on your list.

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  153. “Simon Peter therefore having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. Now the servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus therefore said unto Peter, Put up the sword into the sheath: the cup which the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? So the band and the chief captain, and the officers of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him, and led him to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was he that gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.”

    We’d have all been with the concealed carrier Peter, right? It’s easy to take potshots, but maybe try grappling with what it really means to submit to God-ordained (for his own good purposes which may be utterly confounding to us and which are at this time unknowable) authorities.

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  154. Greg, you think I’m wrong. Never would have guessed.

    BTW, you don’t have any idea how I live my 2k life. You object to my ideas. It’s a free country. But you need to watch out how you judge me from afar.

    Sure, Christ was 2k, Aquinas was, Calvin, Witherspoon, Scott Clark. It’s part of the DNA of Christianity. But when you (me) start to think about the implications of Christ’s kingdom not being of this world, it’s like we violated the second commandment or something.

    Wait.

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  155. Ali, are you serious? Where else do you find a perspective that doesn’t take the bait of the moralistic politics that dominate “conservative” Protestantism in the U.S.?

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  156. Oh, and Darryl — have you stopped beating your wife, and are you now or have you ever been a member of the American Communist Party or any of its affiliated organizations?

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  157. Darryl,

    Robert, at a time when evangelicals across the land are melting down over Trump, you think 2k looks extreme?

    What is extreme is statements such as Zrim saying the Bible never exhorts believers to disobey anyone and your saying that Nero was doing the will of God when he killed Christ in any sense other than the hidden will of God.

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  158. Sean,

    Well, I’m late to this party. Robert, what exactly is extreme? 2k? r2k(slur)?

    What is extreme is statements such as Zrim saying the Bible never exhorts believers to disobey anyone and your saying that Nero was doing the will of God when he killed Christ in any sense other than the hidden will of God.

    I live and move among membered up reformed folk who’ve bought into recasting the covenant, re-ordering the ordo, dabble around with final salvation, are pretty sure FV is okey dokey by them and are speeding their way down the SJW highway to mainline prot liberalism. I’ve been offended for some time by those on the other side of these discussions and for a lot more doctrinally aberrant formulations than any discussion of 2k ever engendered. They haven’t seem too worried about me.

    That’s because as long as 2K means things like I just quoted from Zrim and Darryl, nobody is going to take it seriously. And that’s a very sad thing because like I said, the American church could use a healthy dose of it these days.

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  159. Darryl, but with flag burning American Christians get worked up for patriotic reasons, however misplaced the zeal. This is not the case with Nebuchadnezzar. How was Nebuchadnezzar protecting the peace and order of the nation when he did this…?

    “The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. (Dan 5:10-12)

    And it’s fairly clear that God punished the king because of his great pride,

    (5:19&20) “And because of the greatness that he (God) gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him.”

    And it is clear from the gospels that Pilate knew Jesus was innocent of sedition, yet delivered him over for political expediency, for his own benefit, not for the benefit of the realm he was supposed to be serving.

    Again, are you only trying to say, “in an ironic sense, some rulers who charge Christians with crimes because they see them as a danger to the social order are still fulfilling God’s general purpose for government by attempting to keep peace and order in their nation.” Or are you suggesting more than this?

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  160. Zrim,

    Robert, thanks. But you may have noticed that the posture in these parts isn’t terribly evangelistic–nobody’s trying to reach anybody with some special 2k message. It’s a place for discussion, such as it is, not out reach.

    So you don’t want the broader Reformed church to become more 2K and less Neo-Calvinistic? No one would have guessed that. The site may not be “evangelistic,” but you all aren’t trying to convince anyone except the already converted?

    You complain some worry about not coming across Moral Majority (not really), but you also seem to worry about what you think are “extreme positions” getting in the way of the alleged outreach. Sorry, but you seem the one worried about appearances. And I’m not even sure what these “extreme positions” might even be. That more Christians doesn’t necessarily mean a better world? That the west is a product more of pagan thought than Christian theology? That a sober doctrine of abiding sin should always trump an intoxicating fever for sanctification? If that’s extreme then color me rrrrrrrrradical, but I fail to see what’s so breath taking or gasp-worthy.

    What is extreme is a version of 2K that leads to you saying the Bible never exhorts believers to disobey anyone and your saying that Nero was doing the will of God when he killed Christ in any sense other than the hidden will of God. With all due respect, those statements are nonsense, and they make me fear that the kind of 2K you all are promoting is as like to lead to idealogues as is any alternative.

    If you want to debate about the number of Christians, the influence of pagans vs. the influence of Christians, etc., then great! They are debates that need to be had, and you have all but convinced me that at the very least neo-Cals have overstated things. Believe it or not, I probably agree with you and Darryl on a lot of these issues more than I disagree, and I have found myself in more agreement as time has worn on. And like I said, the modern church, particularly the PCA, could use a very healthy dose of 2K thinking shaping its approach, but that’s never going to happen as long as 2K means things like those statements I referenced above.

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  161. Robert, what is so extreme about recognizing that Paul said the magistrate punishes evil and rewards good, that unbelieving magistrates might fail to see what’s going on with a new faith that looks like a sect of Judaism, or that the sword takes lives? Nero was a tyrant. Lots of Christians had a hard time coming up with a rationale to resist a tyrant. Not even David would take the life of Saul.

    If you want history in neat and reassuring categories, is it extreme to say that even the history of Christianity doesn’t come in such delectable bon mots?

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  162. Robert, “That’s because as long as 2K means things like I just quoted from Zrim and Darryl, nobody is going to take it seriously”

    That’s not true. Lots of people say stupid stuff all the time and get taken seriously. Think Gospel Coalition.

    If you mean that you don’t take 2k seriously, fine. Then why do you keep coming back?

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  163. Todd, your points confirm mine. Politics is not simply administering justice. It’s also keeping your advisers on board, on managing expectations. So I could argue that Neb. was in fact trying to preserve order by not pissing off some of his top brass. That happens all the time. See West Wing.

    Now throw God’s people into the mix and you don’t expect believers to get abstract “justice.” It always comes mediated through sinful situations.

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  164. Jeff Cagle says: Ali, I so wanted to be sarcastic here. Let me suggest that accusing people of enabling sin should be #7 on your list.

    Ok. Thanks. It’s meant for all of us so maybe it could be a living article -so something like this then?:
    7. If there are any exhortations made, make sure that are partial and directed at only certain people.
    Also, thinking the title should be revised to say “How To Get Along With Christians From Other Denominations” ….adding “And Even Your Own Denomination”

    D. G. Hart says: Ali, are you serious?
    Hmm, well, yes. As Dr. Phil says “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge” , or as Jesus says “repent.”

    Robert says That’s because as long as 2K means things like I just quoted from Zrim and Darryl, nobody is going to take it seriously.

    Oh, people might take it seriously Robert, maybe even believe and receive it.
    We love the Lord, we love His truth, and we love the brotherhood.

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  165. Todd summarized the question well:

    In persecuting Christians who actually are good citizens kings are simply committing idolatry, among other sins, the idolatry of self and wanting to be worshipped. I can’t understand how that can be called obeying God’s law for the magistrate in any sense,

    The distinction that Darryl is avoiding is this:

    Sean: It would seem a helpful distinction would be to distinguish the man/woman from the office they inhabit. So, in terms of Nero, the man could be wrong and lawless and deserving of removal but that doesn’t render the office he occupies as illegitimate.

    Jeff: But this argument, while valid, rests on the premise that God permits the power of the sword for any reason whatsoever. This is not the case. The magistrate is to bring terror to the wrongdoer and to bring God’s wrath upon the wrongdoer per Rom 13. The Christians were not wrongdoers, and Nero had no particular reason to believe them so; in fact, if we take Tacitus at his word, Nero scapegoated them.

    So it would appear that Nero’s actions were an abuse of office.

    Which was exactly the point I made earlier on:

    You refuse to distinguish between the authority established by God and the perversion of that authority by a particular ruler.

    If one’s system does not make that distinction, and the magistrate has blanket use of the sword, then Nebuchadnezzar tossing Daniel to the lion was not violating God’s moral law. (Or we could insert any tyrant, e.g., Herod slaughtering the children, etc.). The sword is simply given to be used, without that use being subjected to the limits of God’s law.

    If that is the case, the related, but distinct, matter of resistance theory is an unnecessary discussion, since there is nothing immoral to resist. God gives the sword to the ruler, the ruler uses it, end of discussion.

    Thus, the earlier resistance (pardon the pun) to my Belgic 36 piece explaining the magistrate’s rule as “subject to God’s law” makes more sense now.

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  166. Robert, I merely copy and pasted from 1 Peter. Are you implying that Peter was incorrect in his counsel? That the translation is bad? Peter even doubles down on slavery, ‘submit to your masters, including the ones who are unduly(unjust, sinful, prideful) harsh. What those unfamiliar object to and what they don’t among the different currents in the reformed churches, likely says much more about them and the teaching they’ve been subjected to and gravitate towards-christian ‘murica, christian W-Ws, than it does about the discussions here. Plus, I don’t see much of a monolith among the political conclusions of those who are rrrrr2k, it’s pretty nuanced and particular to region, background, areas of interest and competence, etc. Iow, it looks pretty ‘murican and diverse.

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  167. Sean says teaching they’ve been subjected to – christian W-Ws,

    huh?

    Sproul: “I like to talk about a Christian worldview and how it differs from a pagan worldview.”

    The Origin and Function of Government Under God from R.C. Sproul Jan 16, 2017 Category:
    Obeying authority is hard. We bristle anytime we hear someone say: “You must do this. You ought to do that.” We want to be able to say: “Don’t tell me what to do. I want to do what I want to do.” We want people to empower and entitle us. We hate receiving mandates. That’s our nature. In light of this, I like to talk about a Christian worldview and how it differs from a pagan worldview. One way to differentiate the two would be to consider each worldview’s understanding of responsibility toward authority. If I were not a Christian, I certainly wouldn’t embrace submission to authority. But being a Christian makes me hesitate before I live in active disobedience to those whom God has put in authority over me. To understand why, we must look at the New Testament’s explanation of the origin and function of government under God. This issue is clearly dealt with by the Apostle Paul in the thirteenth chapter of his epistle to the Romans.

    Romans 13 begins: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment”(vv. 1–2). Paul begins this study of the government with an Apostolic command for everyone to submit to governing authorities. This lays a framework for Christian civil disobedience.

    Paul’s teaching in Romans 13:1–2 is not an isolated instance in the New Testament. Paul is simply reiterating here what he teaches elsewhere, what is also taught by Peter in his epistles—and by our Lord Himself—that there is a fundamental obligation of the Christian to be a model of civil obedience. We as the people of God are called upon to be as obedient as we possibly can in good conscience to the powers that be. Remember that Paul is writing this to people who are under the oppression of the Roman government. He’s telling people to be submissive to a government that would eventually execute him. But he doesn’t do so in a blind sense that precludes any possibility of civil disobedience.

    For now, I want us to see that Paul is setting the stage in Romans 13 for explaining why the Christian is supposed to be particularly scrupulous and sensitive in civil obedience. Paul begins to set forth his case by saying, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” Why? “For there is no authority except from God.” Peter puts it another way. He tells us to submit ourselves to the earthly authorities for the Lord’s sake (1 Peter2:13). That means that if I show no respect to a person whom God has set in authority between Himself and me, my disrespect carries beyond that person and ultimately lands on God as the giver of the authority. The biblical concept of authority is hierarchical. At the top of the hierarchy is God. All authority rests ultimately in God, and there is no authority invested in any institution or in any person except through the delegation of that authority from God. Any authority that I have in any area of my life is a derived, appointed, and delegated authority. It is not intrinsic but extrinsic. It is given ultimately by the One who has inherent authority. Within this hierarchy structure, God the Father gives all authority on heaven and earth to Christ, His Son (Matt. 28:18). God has enthroned Christ as the King of kings. So if Christ is the prime minister of the universe, it means that all the kings of this world have a King who reigns over them and that all the earthly lords have a superior Lord to whom they are accountable. We know that there are vast multitudes of people in this world who do not recognize Christ as their King, and because His kingdom is invisible right now, they say, “Where is this king? I don’t see any reigning king.” In light of this, the task of the church is of cosmic political proportions.

    In Acts 1:8, Jesus gave a mandate to His disciples: “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). They were to be witnesses, but witnesses to what? The immediate context of this verse is a discussion about the kingdom. Jesus was going to heaven, but He said, “In my absence you are to bear witness to the transcendent, supernatural truth of my ascension.” That’s why our first loyalty as Christians must be to our heavenly King. We are called to respect, honor, pray for, and be in subjection to our earthly authorities, but the minute we exalt the earthly authority over the authority of Christ, we have betrayed Him, and we have committed treason against the King of kings. His authority is higher than the authority of the president of the United States or Congress or the king of Spain or any ruler anywhere else.

    If you don’t like the president of the United States, remember that the One who cast the deciding ballot in his election was almighty God. Of course, God doesn’t sanction or endorse everything that the president does; neither is it the case that God turns the authority over to the president and says, “Go ahead and rule these people however you want.” Every king is subject to the laws of God and will be judged accordingly. It may be that the president is completely ungodly, but for reasons known to God alone, God has placed him in that seat of authority.
    http://www.ligonier.org/blog/origin-and-function-government-under-god/

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  168. @ Robert:

    I believe that what Zrim said is that a Christian must obey the magistrate *or* God; in either case, he is obeying *someone*.

    He didn’t say we never disobey anyone.

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  169. Darryl,

    Robert, what is so extreme about recognizing that Paul said the magistrate punishes evil and rewards good, that unbelieving magistrates might fail to see what’s going on with a new faith that looks like a sect of Judaism, or that the sword takes lives? Nero was a tyrant. Lots of Christians had a hard time coming up with a rationale to resist a tyrant. Not even David would take the life of Saul.

    It’s not extreme to recognize what Paul said. It’s not hard to recognize that unbelieving magistrates might fail to see what’s going on. It’s another thing to believe that Nero and especially Pilate were doing God’s will if that means anything more than that they were doing God’s secret/hidden will.

    If you want history in neat and reassuring categories, is it extreme to say that even the history of Christianity doesn’t come in such delectable bon mots?

    Where have I said otherwise? I’m simply saying it is absurd to say that killing an innocent many is a fulfillment of God’s revealed law in nature for the magistrate, no matter how “appropriate” it may seem at the time.

    That’s not true. Lots of people say stupid stuff all the time and get taken seriously. Think Gospel Coalition.

    That’s hilarious.

    If you mean that you don’t take 2k seriously, fine. Then why do you keep coming back?

    I do take 2K seriously. I’m talking about people who wrap the cross the American flag. They’re the people that most need to hear what you are saying; not those of us who aren’t wrapping the cross with the flag. We already agree with many of your fundamental concerns.

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  170. Ali, Sproul is not quite the sounding board for w-w in the reformed world but I’ll give you credit for putting it up, though portraying this as framework for civil disobedience is a misnomer. And I’ll throw in some more confusion, I don’t live under an emperor or a divine right of kings policy, my submission comes with a lot of democratic, polemic and even contrarian contribution. How I shoehorn all that in with quiet submission is fair game, and really it’s fair discussion for anyone in the american situation trying to comply with Paul or Peter’s admonitions-see the dog catcher designation. What I don’t get to do is slough off the pilgrim motif of the church, suffering for Christ even at the hands of the gubmint, or imagining a political contrariness under the name of christian triumphalism, of either theonomic and/or postmillenial persuasion that allows me to not submit.

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  171. Jeff,

    Zrim said Christians never have a warrant for disobedience:

    Robert, we do not have license for disobedience. We are only charged to obey, whether God or his civil servants. When the latter compels us to disobey the former, we are to obey the former. The Bible never gives warrant for any sort of disobedience. You may think that trifling, but given the way our time and place esteems civil disobedience (as if it’s a virtue), it’s worth noting that believers have no warrant.

    If there are points where we must obey God rather than man, then we have a warrant for disobeying man at those points. That’s what I’m saying and that’s what Zrim seems to not want to say even though to obey God when Caesar commands you to sin is to disobey Caesar.

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  172. vdm, m, what doesn’t make sense is the political figures who are part of salvation history. To make that the standard for our politics is like using Jesus as the standard for my piety — which allows me to throw around the epithet “hypocrite” a lot.

    If Pilate committed an injustice — which in real time politics he did — then Christians should have been lobbying to get Christ cleared of charges. And where does that leave Christians? You see the rub?

    Now, about Dr. Kloosterman. Remember, no avoiding questions.

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  173. Sean,

    Robert, I merely copy and pasted from 1 Peter. Are you implying that Peter was incorrect in his counsel? That the translation is bad?

    I was responding to this. I’m missing your copying and pasting from 1 Peter:

    Sean said: Well, I’m late to this party. Robert, what exactly is extreme? 2k? r2k(slur)? I live and move among membered up reformed folk who’ve bought into recasting the covenant, re-ordering the ordo, dabble around with final salvation, are pretty sure FV is okey dokey by them and are speeding their way down the SJW highway to mainline prot liberalism. I’ve been offended for some time by those on the other side of these discussions and for a lot more doctrinally aberrant formulations than any discussion of 2k ever engendered. They haven’t seem too worried about me.

    Peter even doubles down on slavery, ‘submit to your masters, including the ones who are unduly(unjust, sinful, prideful) harsh.

    Sure he does. I’m not quite sure how it’s relevant to the discussion at hand. 1st century slavery was not American slavery, and I also don’t believe that the Bible says that all forms of slavery/indentured servitude are inherently unjust, so again I’m not sure the relevance in this discussion.

    What those unfamiliar object to and what they don’t among the different currents in the reformed churches, likely says much more about them and the teaching they’ve been subjected to and gravitate towards-christian ‘murica, christian W-Ws, than it does about the discussions here.

    Does it really not strike you as odd that in this thread at least, Zrim said we never have a warrant for disobeying anyone even though there are points at which we must obey God rather than man?

    Does it really not strike you as odd that Darryl said Pilate was doing God’s will by killing a man whom he proclaimed innocent in a sense other than Pilate doing God’s secret will?

    That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about—taking the understanding that we are to submit to the civil authorities to absurd conclusions. It’s an overreaction to the failures of Neo-Calvinism.

    Plus, I don’t see much of a monolith among the political conclusions of those who are rrrrr2k, it’s pretty nuanced and particular to region, background, areas of interest and competence, etc. Iow, it looks pretty ‘murican and diverse.

    Sure, and that’s as it should be. But again, I’ve also seen people on these boards say that the church should have no opinion on whether murder should be legal or illegal. Really? That’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about.

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  174. Robert, do you think more people would listen to 2k if it didn’t ask or assert uncomfortable questions/positions? How do you tell someone to stop wrapping the cross in the flag in a moderate way?

    BTW, when you read the gospels, are you really rooting for Pilate to let Jesus go? Where would you and I be without Christ crucified? That political circumstance is off the charts compared to Henry VI in 1540.

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  175. Darryl,

    If Pilate committed an injustice — which in real time politics he did — then Christians should have been lobbying to get Christ cleared of charges. And where does that leave Christians? You see the rub?

    But there weren’t any Christians at the time. And the NT says that the crucifixion of Christ was a sin. And the NT also says that by handing over Jesus to death, Judas sinned. Does this mean Judas all of a sudden did a righteous act?

    Sure it’s hard to make application, but there are clearly unwarranted applications, like when we say because Jesus had to die for atonement, Pilate and the Jews were doing God’s revealed moral will, which is kind of where some of these thoughts ultimately have to end up.

    And it seems to me that if lobbying for Christ to get cleared was even possible, that the disciples would have been doing something morally right, particularly given their utter cluelessness about God’s plans for the death of the Messiah.

    Why is it so hard to say that Pilate had been given authority by God but not unlimited authority and that in this case Pilate was certainly breaking God’s moral will even if He was doing exactly what He had been ordained to do? Seems like pretty standard Calvinism to me.

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  176. Darryl,

    Robert, do you think more people would listen to 2k if it didn’t ask or assert uncomfortable questions/positions? How do you tell someone to stop wrapping the cross in the flag in a moderate way?

    Not asking for “moderation” or to not ask uncomfortable questions/positions. At your best, you do it well. I’m just asking for non-absurdities.

    BTW, when you read the gospels, are you really rooting for Pilate to let Jesus go? Where would you and I be without Christ crucified? That political circumstance is off the charts compared to Henry VI in 1540.

    I’m not exactly rooting for Pilate to let Jesus go. I am astonished at the injustice of the act even though I’m grateful for my sin being atoned, just like the Apostles. Which is why they can hold the authorities guilty of sin even while saying what happened was ordained for the good of God’s people. Again, standard Calvinism. (And the book of Acts and the Epistles, not to mention all of the OT statements about God saying the pagans sinned in going after Israel even though he was the one who sent them.)

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  177. What is extreme is a version of 2K that leads to you saying the Bible never exhorts believers to disobey anyone and your saying that Nero was doing the will of God when he killed Christ in any sense other than the hidden will of God. With all due respect, those statements are nonsense, and they make me fear that the kind of 2K you all are promoting is as like to lead to idealogues as is any alternative.

    Robert, so the suggestion that the Bible never condones any kind of disobedience is what you find extreme and off-putting? Maybe I missed somehow and you can show me where the Bible condones disobedience, but all I ever see are charges to obey civil authorities unless doing so compels believers to disobey God, in which case they are to obey God. Obedience all around.

    And i assume you mean Pilate (instead of Nero); I never said Pilate was doing the will of God when he killed Christ. I said he violated the moral law of God. Darryl takes some issue with that, and while I think his points are worth noting, I disagree and find no problem maintaining the point. Whatever else, it underscores the futility of human ability to exact righteousness through law and politics, i.e. there’s good reason the Bible says not to put any trust in princes.

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  178. Why is it so hard to say that Pilate had been given authority by God but not unlimited authority and that in this case Pilate was certainly breaking God’s moral will even if He was doing exactly what He had been ordained to do? Seems like pretty standard Calvinism to me.

    Indeed, Robert, the straightforward answer found in our confessions. Confessions built upon the testimony of Scripture. Which scripture includes God’s testimony regarding various situations and magistrates found in the history of redemption.

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  179. And it seems to me that if lobbying for Christ to get cleared was even possible, that the disciples would have been doing something morally right, particularly given their utter cluelessness about God’s plans for the death of the Messiah.

    Robert, when Jesus is going up to Jerusalem to be delivered up, Peter tries to stop him. Jesus’ answer would seem to suggest that lobbying for him is clueless even if morally right: “Get behind me, Satan.” Ouch.

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  180. Robert, it’s not over whether they should have an opinion, it’s a discussion over how the argument should be framed, what are the scriptural admonitions, what are the differences in political structure(kings, emperor’s cult, western democratic institutions) that factor in to the nature of our obedience. This discussion has also waded into the motivations of the heart of the king, and what seems to be at least an insinuation/possibility that if the motivations are not ‘pure’ without sin, I could justify practice of some civil disobedience under the auspice of being obedient to God. I don’t, in the final evaluation, get to make a call on the ‘king'(which I don’t have, let’s keep layering on the complexity) as regards to the motivations of his heart, and could, potentially, render civil obedience impossible in a fallen world. I continue to find the idea of lowering the bar of regard and jurisdiction for civil office an attractive one. I’ve heard reports of slavery under roman rule as being undesirable and in many ways not dissimilar as regards rights, treatment and punishment with the american situation. It’s relevant as it comes within the same context as direction for how we are to posture ourselves in regard to those God has granted authority over us and Peter has correlated those postures. You can then play that out as regards the WCF’s direction in the relationship of superiors/inferiors.

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  181. Zrim, you said: all I ever see are charges to obey civil authorities unless doing so compels believers to disobey God, in which case they are to obey God. Obedience all around.

    Not sure where you get “obedience all around” in that scenario. It looks like you allow for the exception with the word “unless”. In other words, Daniel *disobeyed* the king’s order in order to obey God.

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  182. Mark, it’s a matter of language and the importance of its use. The Bible speaks of “obeying God rather than men.” That’s a statement of obedience, not disobedience; the emphasis is on obedience to God. It seems an important point, but for those looking for ways to give disobedience credence maybe trifling.

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  183. @ Robert: Yes, the language is hard to parse, but the intent is clear enough:

    (1) Obey man UNLESS
    (2) You must obey God.

    In either case, obedience obtains.

    The point is to undercut those who wish to simply obey man, UNLESS they must disobey man.

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  184. Of course the *emphasis* is on obedience to God, but it shouldn’t be controversial to say that such obedience to God may on occasion require disobedience to man. Acknowledging that does not give credence for some sort of blanket disobedience.

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  185. @ DGH:

    Sure, politics is messy. But are you saying that if Nero were in your congregation (!) and had just burned to death some Christians on patently false grounds, that you would not support bringing charges against him, for the reason that it would interfere with the magistrate?

    That’s a massive bullet to bite.

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  186. Mark, I’ll grant you it’s uncontroversial to say that the formulation implies a disobedience to man (because it does) if some will stop hyperventilating that to emphasize obedience is extreme (because it isn’t).

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  187. Mark, I’ll grant you it’s uncontroversial to say that the formulation implies a disobedience to man (because it does) if some will stop hyperventilating that to emphasize obedience is extreme (because it isn’t).

    Thank you (again), Zrim. We are agreed then.
    But not sure anyone is hyperventilating about obedience as a general rule. The concern (or at least my concern) is over the idea that a tyrant’s tyrannical actions are not a violation of God’s law.

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  188. Mark, in case you’ve missed it, Robert seems to think an emphasis on obedience is extreme (and even a cause for some to dismiss other 2k points).

    But why is that concerning? It may not be you, but from what I gather from plenty of 2k critics is that what seems to drive at least some of heartburn is more American than Christian–wanting reserve space for getting up in a magistrate’s face about something they don’t like like or to prove a point about who’s on the right side of righteousness.

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  189. vdm, m, our confessions say that magistrates never err in executing justice? If Peter and John had such trouble understanding Jesus was God, why would Pilate figure it out and then pivot to Jesus is the real king of the Jews?

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  190. Jeff, I’m not saying that. How would you get that out of what I said — which was that Nero (in sane moments) if he thought Christians had violated capital laws would have been justified in executing them? Isn’t that what Paul writes in Rom 13? He knows it’s possible that Christians will break the law and will need to suffer the consequences.

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  191. Letmesplainsean says: Ali, Sproul is not quite the sounding board for w-w in the reformed world
    D. G. Hart says: Ali, “Dr. Phil”? Dr. Phil. Dr. frigging Phil.

    Ok, two peas in a pod.
    Are you saying 1) They are wrong. Period. Outside your pea pod. 2) They are right; but outside your pea pod, so, wrong 3) You don’t know if they are right or wrong -being outside of your pea pod- they don’t even get a listen.

    btw, I believe Dr. Phil says he is a Christian. I don’t know whether he would say he is a Christian pyschologist or a pscychologist who happens to be Christian, so I’m sure that complicates further whether he could have any credibility if he were to happen to speak a truth.

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  192. Darryl, I’m agreeing with you that the execution of Jesus could be on some provisional sense legit, i.e. it made some reasonable sense from a human perspective he be crucified. It wasn’t a mob justice (as some zealous to push back seem to imply. Do critics see how this helps to make the case that our sin was justly punished in him?). But ultimately, it also doesn’t make sense to put a full stop here. Jesus was innocent, human justice has its sobering limits, etc.

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  193. Dr. Hart says: “That happens all the time. See West Wing.”

    YEAH!!!

    THEN you’ll be properly equipped to proclaim all the glorious godly wisdom you see here!! Brilliant!!! 😀

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  194. Plus, if the execution of Jesus was illicit, do those who maintain that full stop understand they *weren’t* in the crowd demanding his blood? Talk about gasps.

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  195. I’m still going with ‘just above dog catcher’. Do christians not realize that the more you demand of the officer to adjudicate, the more you empower him? Who wants to redo the Lord Protector? I object on behalf of my ancestors.

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  196. Darryl, right, as in forgive them. Who pleads forgiveness for those who aren’t in violation? It would seem Jesus’ own words settle the question. Or am I misunderstanding you?

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  197. zrim,

    Mark, it’s a matter of language and the importance of its use. The Bible speaks of “obeying God rather than men.” That’s a statement of obedience, not disobedience; the emphasis is on obedience to God. It seems an important point, but for those looking for ways to give disobedience credence maybe trifling.

    Repeat after me: The good and necessary consequence of obeying God rather than men is disobeying men.

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  198. vdm, m, our confessions say that magistrates never err in executing justice?

    No. They say magistrates can err, violate the law of God, and commit injustice. Like Nero.

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  199. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, but W. Wing is PG!”
    Lord Jesus help me with this man. That’s not the point Daryl. The point is your being pickled in worldly amusements.

    What Roman law did Pilate execute Jesus for violating btw? I don’t think that’s been directly asked.

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  200. I have to admit to not having read through the whole thread; I think I skimmed about half of it. However I cannot possibly understand how Darryl can get to the point that a civil magistrate is to be obeyed at every point (if he says don’t preach, don’t preach, and magistrate is perfectly justified to punish you if you do). Surely everyone knows that “we ought to obey God rather than man” – not that we ought not to be very careful about setting ourselves up to judge that kind of thing, but there will be times when many Christians worldwide must.

    And the whole idea of confusing God authorising the result of an action with God approving the action (in any more than a general way) seems bizarre. I’m amazed no-one mentions Isaiah 10 here. God sent the Assyrian to judge his people. “Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so.” All he is thinking about is his own personal and national pride and aggrandisement. “For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: ” “Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.” “Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.”

    And Acts 2: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:” – God had a plan for Christ to be crucified, but those who arranged it were wicked (just like the Devil who was behind all that was).

    Acts 4: “25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

    26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.

    27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,

    28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

    29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

    30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.”

    It is so clear from here and Psalm 2 here quoted that the rulers were evil, doing evil things, trying to cast off God’s law and God’s anointed king Jesus, yet what they did accomplished God’s purpose. But the apostles pray that God would give them boldness to, as it happens, disobey the wicked rulers because God’s command to preach about Jesus is more important.

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  201. @PETER This is because our beloved host does not think things through well enough before he speaks and then when he gets in trouble, instead of just saying:

    Ya know what? I didn’t think this through well enough before I spoke.”

    …he goes on a campaign like this that just gets himself deeper and deeper in trouble. I wish he’d stop that.

    Isaiah 10 is a magnificent point btw. Don’t forget Ezekiel 14 too.

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  202. “…the true liberty of human society does not consist in every man doing what he pleases, for this would simply end in turmoil and confusion, and bring on the overthrow of the State; but rather in this, that through the injunctions of the civil law all may more easily conform to the prescriptions of the eternal law. Likewise, the liberty of those who are in authority does not consist in the power to lay unreasonable and capricious commands upon their subjects, which would equally be criminal and would lead to the ruin of the commonwealth; but the binding force of human laws is in this, that they are to be regarded as applications of the eternal law, and incapable of sanctioning anything which is not contained in the eternal law, as in the principle of all law. Thus, St. Augustine most wisely says: “I think that you can see, at the same time, that there is nothing just and lawful in that temporal law, unless what men have gathered from this eternal law.”(5) If, then, by anyone in authority, something be sanctioned out of conformity with the principles of right reason, and consequently hurtful to the commonwealth, such an enactment can have no binding force of law, as being no rule of justice, but certain to lead men away from that good which is the very end of civil society.

    11. Therefore, the nature of human liberty, however it be considered, whether in individuals or in society, whether in those who command or in those who obey, supposes the necessity of obedience to some supreme and eternal law, which is no other than the authority of God, commanding good and forbidding evil. And, so far from this most just authority of God over men diminishing, or even destroying their liberty, it protects and perfects it, for the real perfection of all creatures is found in the prosecution and attainment of their respective ends; but the supreme end to which human liberty must aspire is God.

    12. These precepts of the truest and highest teaching, made known to us by the light of reason itself, the Church, instructed by the example and doctrine of her divine Author, has ever propagated and asserted; for she has ever made them the measure of her office and of her teaching to the Christian nations. As to morals, the laws of the Gospel not only immeasurably surpass the wisdom of the heathen, but are an invitation and an introduction to a state of holiness unknown to the ancients; and, bringing man nearer to God, they make him at once the possessor of a more perfect liberty. Thus, the powerful influence of the Church has ever been manifested in the custody and protection of the civil and political liberty of the people. The enumeration of its merits in this respect does not belong to our present purpose. It is sufficient to recall the fact that slavery, that old reproach of the heathen nations, was mainly abolished by the beneficent efforts of the Church. The impartiality of law and the true brotherhood of man were first asserted by Jesus Christ; and His apostles re-echoed His voice when they declared that in future there was to be neither Jew, nor Gentile, nor barbarian, nor Scythian, but all were brothers in Christ. So powerful, so conspicuous, in this respect is the influence of the Church that experience abundantly testifies how savage customs are no longer possible in any land where she has once set her foot; but that gentleness speedily takes the place of cruelty, and the light of truth quickly dispels the darkness of barbarism. Nor has the Church been less lavish in the benefits she has conferred on civilized nations in every age, either by resisting the tyranny of the wicked, or by protecting the innocent and helpless from injury, or, finally, by using her influence in the support of any form of government which commended itself to the citizens at home, because of its justice, or was feared by their enemies without, because of its power.

    13. Moreover, the highest duty is to respect authority, and obediently to submit to just law; and by this the members of a community are effectually protected from the wrong-doing of evil men. Lawful power is from God, “and whosoever resisteth authority resisteth the ordinance of God’ ;(6) wherefore, obedience is greatly ennobled when subjected to an authority which is the most just and supreme of all. But where the power to command is wanting, or where a law is enacted contrary to reason, or to the eternal law, or to some ordinance of God, obedience is unlawful, lest, while obeying man, we become disobedient to God. Thus, an effectual barrier being opposed to tyranny, the authority in the State will not have all its own way, but the interests and rights of all will be safeguarded – the rights of individuals, of domestic society, and of all the members of the commonwealth; all being free to live according to law and right reason; and in this, as We have shown, true liberty really consists.”
    https://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_20061888_libertas.html

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  203. Greg, the people in Pilate’s precinct wanted a man perceived as a rabble rouser executed. Superior pols do favors for inferiors all the time.

    Doesn’t make it right. But try imagining that these people weren’t regenerated by the Holy Spirit and didn’t know Jesus was the Christ. Heck, not all the apostles did.

    Why are you making a big deal of this? I’m not saying Jesus was guilty of sin. I’m saying never trust politicians. That’s even biblical. Somewhere in the Psalms (a la the author of Hebrews), “put no trust in princes.”

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  204. Peter in Scotland, from Paul writing under Nero’s reign:

    1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

    Whatever happened to letting the clear passages interpret the obscure. We have an evil emperor and what does Paul teach? “Well, I’ll exegete Ps. 2.”

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  205. Dr. Hart says: “Greg, the people in Pilate’s precinct wanted a man perceived as a rabble rouser executed. Superior pols do favors for inferiors all the time.

    Doesn’t make it right. But try imagining that these people weren’t regenerated by the Holy Spirit and didn’t know Jesus was the Christ. Heck, not all the apostles did. “?

    It sounds to me like you’re saying that Jesus of Nazareth didn’t die justly after all. He broke no righteous civil law, nor did He violate His own, which none but the most monstrous of heretics would suggest. (of course I know you wouldn’t say that)

    Lemme tell ya a quick story. There’s a fitness and nutrition site called T-Nation. I am well known there. At one time it was home to some of the most capable and formidable God hating atheists you ever heard of. (I’m not there that much anymore). There was a guy there who was raised in the LDS church, did his 2 year mission and was married in the temple. Long story short, he forsook his Mormon faith, his belief in god, left his wife and three daughters and took up with his boyfriend. You can imagine that we were fierce adversaries.

    He is also one sharp dude and a superb debater for whom I have much intellectual respect. Truly.

    One day he caught me in a grave error. It was an honest mistake, but it made me look very very bad. I was wrong and everybody saw it. In those days, these threads would get 800 or 1000 views overnight. Over a million members on that site. He and his crew were sharpening their swords, just waiting to publicly impale me with glee.

    It was no fun, (You have no idea), but by the Spirit”s grace and wisdom I typed these three words on the screen in Jesus name:.

    “I stand corrected”

    Clanga langa lang. All their swords fell to the ground. I never regretted that decision, painful though it was for the moment. For whatever it’s worth.

    I now return you to your regular scheduled worldly amusements.

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  206. Greg, our Lord himself said that his executioners did not know what they were doing. That could mean:

    They thought they were acting justly but weren’t

    They thought they were killing the king of the Jews but weren’t

    They were merely following unjust orders

    Roman rulers were caught in a larger divine plan to save a people from their sins

    Greg, you make it seem that any normal person, someone who is moral and just, would never have executed Jesus. Where would that get us?

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  207. Darryl, I can’t tell by now but I think we’re more or less on the same page.

    Greg, I’m a trust-but-verify guy. I believe your last anecdote but could you provide evidence of it through one of those spiritual achievement awards you get? But Darryl’s last question to you is fitting. I wonder if you ever get a sinking feeling in your chest when you hear cocks crow thrice.

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  208. Greg, you make it seem that any normal person, someone who is moral and just, would never have executed Jesus. Where would that get us?

    please. 1) you’re still calling the players were ‘moral and just’ ? and 2) putting words in Greg’s mouth and (3)as usual, Zrim, the accuser of the brethren)

    Mark 15 Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

    Luke 23:11 And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate. 12 Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other.

    Luke 22:2 The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people ; Matt 26:59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death.

    Matt 27: 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd (that same crowd who had come to hail Him as King) to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

    Matt 27:.governor’s soldiers ..knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

    Matt 27 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him

    Matt27: 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

    As Jesus says “repent” ; also same thing – as Dr. Phil says “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge”

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  209. Dr. Hart says::Greg, our Lord himself said that his executioners did not know what they were doing. That could mean:

    They thought they were acting justly but weren’t

    They thought they were killing the king of the Jews but weren’t

    They were merely following unjust orders

    Roman rulers were caught in a larger divine plan to save a people from their sins

    OR… the actual answer, which Jeff and I have both given ABOVE

    Pilate thought He was a harmless crackpot. Like others before Him with seemingly similar delusions of messianic grandeur. He ordered His execution for socio-political expediency, even after he himself had declared him innocent. “

    “Greg, you make it seem that any normal person, someone who is moral and just, would never have executed Jesus. Where would that get us?”
    Yes Darryl, a moral and just person, by definition, would never have executed an innocent man. (are we really having this conversation?) Unless you’re going to maintain that He wasn’t innocent and around we go again. This is basic reformed theology now man, seriously.

    God’s secret providence being accomplished through the decreed violation of His revealed will. Isaiah 10 as advanced by our friend Peter from Scotland up there is the perfect example.

    Here lemme help ya out.

    Highlight these words by dragging your cursor over them, then ctrl+c (copy)

    “Ya know what? I didn’t think this through well enough before I spoke.”

    …and then paste them in you combox: (ctrl+v) and click “post comment”. If you really can’t bring yourself to type this sentence, maybe copying and pasting will work.

    Clanga langa lang… everybody’s sword falls to the ground.

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  210. No naked people, but plenty scantily clad. That’s what the image block extension for Firefox is for. Also, I spent all of my time in the forums. Mostly “Politics and World Issues” . You can go over there right now and mention Tiribulus” and see what the remaining old timers say. Go ahead, start a thread (hey that rhymes 😀 )15,000 posts and my name is above reproach by biblical standards on that site. I am hated by all the right people for all the right reasons. Go ahead.

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  211. Can’t a minister be personally immoral and yet the office valid/just and the acts (sacraments) valid/just? Same for a magistrate?

    Calvin:

    Now to end it and come to the conclusion, it is said, “Our Lord Jesus having been led before Pilate answered nothing. Pilate asked him, saying, ‘Do you not speak at all? Do you not see the witnesses they have brought here against you?’ And he held his peace, so that the judge marveled greatly.” In the first place we have to keep in memory, when our Lord Jesus Christ is judged before, an earthly judge, that it was in order that we might be exempt and absolved from the condemnation which we deserved before the heavenly Judge…

    We even know that Jesus Christ acquired authority and power and sovereign dominion to be Judge of the world. And when He is thus condemned by Pilate, it is in order that today we may come boldly to Him, indeed, knowing that power is given to Him to judge us. Since He stood there, may we know that He wished to bear our condemnation and that He did not intend a trial to justify Himself, also knowing well that He had to be condemned, indeed, in our person. For although He was without spot or blemish, He bore all our sins upon Himself. We need not be astonished, then, that He stood there as if He had been convicted. For otherwise He could not have performed the office of Mediator except by accepting sentence and confessing that in our persons He had deserved to be condemned. That, then, is what the silence of our Lord Jesus Christ implies, in order that today we can call upon God with full voice, and that we can ask Him for pardon for all vices and offenses.

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  212. Of course that’s true Jack, but the overall uprightness of the executionERS of Christ is not the question here. Whether or not this specific act of executioN was just or not is the question.

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  213. I’m sorry, all, but I’m just really curious about what’s at stake in all of this. I’m working from a completely different soteriology here, so I’m not quite getting what’s going on theologically. If we could cut out the rancor and the cheap shots and just lay out the repercussions of each position, I’d be grateful.

    I’ll lay out what I see as the various understandings, but I’m unclear as to how it all plays out in terms of, well, I’m not too clear on that either. Please correct my misunderstandings and then explain the theological significance of my sketches. I’ll do an either/or here, though I realize there are nuances within both positions.
    Option 1: the execution was ordered by a civil authority, and Scripture commands believers to follow civil authorities. What they command may seem to be unjust in temporal terms, but one never knows providentially. In performing what one believes is earthly justice, one could find oneself contra God. Darryl’s position keeps the two realms distinct and errs on the side of abiding by the commandment that’s explicit–to obey earthly authority.
    Option 2: Scripture commands not doing obvious evil (injustice), so it’s impossible to do God’s will by performing evil. Good may come out of the civil authority’s evil action (Christ’s crucifixion), God, however, meant it for good, though Pilate was in fact evil in doing the injustice. Therefore, there are times in which one would disobey civil authorities in obeying God’s various commands not to do evil, even if that were to mean (seemingly, but who knows?) thwarting God’s will (but how could that be?)

    Surface-level observations (please don’t follow any rabbit trail these introduce): Classic case of God’s commands being pitted against one another and how one creates an appropriate ordo for figuring out what to do. Here, I’d just probably rely on Kierkegaard’s _Fear and Trembling_. I don’t buy his argument, and I’m not really advocating this position, but it seems fitting. The paradox of conflicting commands brings us to the abyss in which we must act authentically.
    Option two seems predicated upon a belief in the difference between primary and secondary causality. It’s my understanding that classic Calvinism collapses these two. God’s allowing things to happen is his willing things to happen. I’m probably incorrect here. If there’s grey area in Calvin’s understanding of primary and secondary causality, that may account for the difference.

    All this aside, I still don’t understand what this has to do with soteriology. I get what it means for practical applications of living in this world, just not what it has to do with salvation.

    And just ignore if it’s all too involved or the questions here are too ignorant.

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  214. Greg, so you don’t need a savior for your sins? You refuse to have Jesus executed? Did you think that through?

    Someone’s gonna kill an innocent man, or else we all die.

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  215. @ Justin:

    At minimum there is a difference in Calvin between God’s decrees and His prescriptions. That’s probably at play here.

    I confess to not understanding DGHs position fully.

    Greg’s soteric concern appears to be that *if* we declare the crucifixion just, by clear implication Jesus deserved it, which could have only come from lawbreaking, hence sin.

    While DGHs argument is getting a lot of pushback, Greg’s concern isn’t gaining traction either. It appears to trade on a flattening of “justified action.”

    Was Pilate acting justly? No — from the perspective of Luke 23.
    Was God just in permitting Jesus to be crucified? Here, Prots and EO agree “yes”, but for different reasons.
    Could a different person in Pilate’s shoes act justly in crucifying a messiah figure? Erm. This is really DGHs question, I think.

    I don’t think that focusing on the justice of the crucifixion is helpful. We have to focus on the particular actors.

    In Pilate’s case and the Sanhedrin’s, we know enough of motives to say No.

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  216. Thanks, Justin. I think I’m arguing more for Option 1 (not knowing entirely where it leads except to the abyss). The reason for that abyss is the enormous — YUGE — conundrum of needing someone to execute Jesus. Who wants to be that person? But who doesn’t need that person (vicarious atonement and all).

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  217. Jeff, what your explanation of my position (as if it’s all that solid) leaves out is that Pilate and the Sanhedrin really had no way of discerning that Jesus was the Christ — especially if they were unregenerate. So to get all huffy about what they did, as if they should have known, is anachronistic and not very theological. The apostles weren’t all that clear who Jesus was. So the authorities saw a trouble maker. Governments get rid of trouble makers all the time. That doesn’t make it just. But it doesn’t amount either — in the world of human politics — to a huge miscarriage.

    And the Romans and Hebrews didn’t even know the Constitution of the United States or Magna Carta. If only they had, we’d still be lost in our trespasses and sins. That’s where the politics get salvific and don’t really teach us about civic duties.

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  218. Dr. Hart: “Greg, so you don’t need a savior for your sins? You refuse to have Jesus executed? Did you think that through?
    Someone’s gonna kill an innocent man, or else we all die.”

    You know how sometimes I’ll say something like “No sarcasm now” to make sure you realize at that moment that I’m being dead serious?

    Can I get you to do that with me this time so I can tell whether I should take the above question at face value or as some kind of joke? No sarcasm now. (THERE, I just did it again)

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  219. Justin J., my contention is as follows.

    Only a sinless Christ can pay for anybody’s sins, but His own.

    If Jesus unrighteously disobeyed the Roman authorities then He sinned, both disqualifying Him as savior and making His execution just and warranted.

    Therefore if His crucifixion was on any righteous level just, the gospel is not good news after all because there has mot actually been an atonement for sin made by the Lamb of God without spot or wrinkle.

    I say that the motivations of both the Jews and the Romans were unrighteous and unjust. Both wanted Him dead for reasons of some kind of selfish expeciancy. We also know this exactly because we have in Holy Writ, the Gospel, (Christ came to save sinners, in short) and this could not be if Christ were killed justly. That is, for some actually legitimate crime. Against either Rome or His own law because either case would require sin.

    As this is everywhere proclaimed throughout scripture, how it is in any way controversial has been a bit disquieting to me.

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  220. Dr. Hart says: “… So to get all huffy about what [the Romans] did, as if they should have known [Jesus was the Christ]…”
    I hope this is not including me, because I have not said anything that could even be accidentally mistaken for this sentiment.

    The Jews (Sanhedrin) are a different story. Hopefully we can agree that any learned God fearing Jew at least SHOULD have known.

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  221. Greg, you said, “a moral and just person, by definition, would never have executed an innocent man.”

    If you did not know that Jesus is the Christ, would you look at him differently? He was critical of the Jewish authorities, he had a large following, and he seemed to have ties to the Davidic monarchy. It was natural for Herod to feel a potential threat, irrespective of his morality or sense of justice. No one know what kind of order the messiah would establish (lots of folks today still think it’s going to be the Hebrew monarchy).

    Then there were the apostles who didn’t always know what was going on.

    Then there is the need to have an innocent man executed for sinners like me.

    Then there is the shadiness of politics.

    Stop acting like the circumstances surround Christ’s death are black and white. None of this denies Jesus’ innocence. But you are still in denial about “they know not what they do.”

    Too much w-w.

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  222. DGH: Jeff, what your explanation of my position (as if it’s all that solid)…

    Right, I would agree that I don’t understand fully what you’re saying. Let’s keep talking…

    DGH: … leaves out is that Pilate and the Sanhedrin really had no way of discerning that Jesus was the Christ — especially if they were unregenerate.

    I think this is where we differ. You seem to be saying that Pilate and the Sanhedrin had no way of knowing that Jesus was special.

    Yet the Gospel writers present them as callous and malicious, respectively.

    We could fill in that gap by saying that Pilate and the Sanhedrin both had opportunity to know and chose not to. Luke’s discourse with Pilate gives him at least two opportunities (“Are you a king?” “Have nothing to do with this righteous man…”). And John is replete with opportunities for the Jewish leaders to know that Jesus was the Christ, leaving aside their covenantal obligations.

    But I’m arguing for a lesser plea: That Pilate should have known not to kill someone just because the crowd wants it; and that the Sanhedrin should have known not to kill a man out of jealousy and on the testimony of false witnesses.

    You respond that leaders do this all the time, it’s not right, but it happens.

    OK. So don’t we agree that “it wasn’t right”? And that Pilate is not a model for good governance here?

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  223. Jeff, Luke did write after the fact, no? And Jesus was not exactly forthcoming about his status. This was not Perry Mason which is the way I think some here are treating Jesus and Pilate. (Millennials go to Imdb)

    But how did I suggest that what Pilate did was right? When have I embraced any politician as executing God’s standards? When have I not taken flack for The Wire, which is about as eye-opening about politics (even the modern version) as any we have.

    Pilate screwed up. Most politicians do. Good governance is on short supply everywhere. If it fails a modern constitutional republic, why would it not also in the Roman Empire?

    At the same time, God ordains such rulers to preserve social order. And Paul tells Christians to submit to Nero (imagine telling Christian Republicans to submit to President Obama).

    What drives me batty is the call for magistrates to execute the entire decalogue existing cheek by jowl with defenses of civil disobedience. How do you defend the magistrate’s authority to enforce God’s law and then tell Christians they have a duty to disobey the magistrate? Only when he doesn’t enforce God’s law? You mean the way Nero didn’t enforce God’s law even while Paul taught submission?

    And then there’s the execution of Christ that we all need. Do you root for Pilate to preserve Christ’s innocence?

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  224. Justin J says…. what it has to do with salvation.

    So, also to be clear, with regard to salvation – those whom Jesus was talking about when He said Luke 23: 34, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
    because of His work and mercy and grace – are these ones:

    Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”

    -Peter:38 “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    -Paul: Acts 20:21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
    -Jesus: Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    The rest of mankind did not repent of the works of their hands; they blasphemed the name of God ;they did not repent so as to give Him glory. Rev

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  225. Contradictions abound in all of this, no? Moses’ mother didn’t obey Pharoah, nor did the midwives, nor did his own daughter. That worked out well. Moses killed the Egyptian (rabbinic tradition has God admonishing him for this). Mary and Elizabeth knew of Herod’s plan to slaughter the innocents and got out of Dodge. Like Camus (in La Chute), I’ve always wondered how Jesus saw his own role in their slaughter; he had to have heard of it (I’m assuming for the sake of discussion that the event happened). It’s a good thing these women (gosh what is it with women not obeying authorities and not slaughtering children) didn’t let the ruler do what he desired, right (by the same logic employed in Pilate allowing for Christ’s crucifixion)? In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ would have let the cup pass from him, and one assumes that meant He knew He was going to His crucifixion. But He did God’s will (hello monothelite controversy!!!). We can keep going, of course, and pile up examples on each side. But, ultimately, I think this may be Darryl’s point: his battiness is located precisely is the attitude that believers can only see themselves on the right side of history and doing God’s bidding, when it’s a hell of a lot messier than that (hello theodicy!!!). And yet, ultimately, others are made nervous to Darryl’s (perhaps) overstated fidelity to civil authority, most especially when said authority prescribes an evil be done.

    All of this gets back to, for me, the difference between primary and secondary causality and keeping those differences distinct. David Bentley Hart: “There are those for whom saying this leaves behind an intolerable remainder, a kind of irrational surd. For them, unless one believes that every event has a substantial and organic (not merely accidental or occasional) place in the plot of universal history, and a specific function in the final synthesis of history at the end of time, then somehow the logical coherence of the universe begins to disintegrate, and God’s final resolution of the story of the world is little more than a vulgar deus ex machina. But, of course, nothing is lost: the coherence of the universe is preserved by God acting to save what he has made–what is real, what has substance–not by providing a divine rationale for every dimension of every event in which his creatures are involved, no matter how much those events might reflect that ultimate privation, evil. There is, of course, some comfort to be derived from the thought that everything that occurs at the level of secondary causality–in nature or history–is governed not only by a transcendent providence but by a universal teleology that makes every instance of pain and loss an indispensable moment in a grand scheme whose ultimate synthesis will justify all things. But one should consider the price at which that comfort is purchased: it requires us to believe in and love a God whose good ends will be realized not only in spite of–but entirely by way of–every cruelty, every fortuitous misery, every catastrophe, every betrayal, every sin the world has ever known; it requires us to believe in the eternal spiritual necessity of a child dying an agonizing death from diphtheria, of a young mother ravaged by cancer, of tens of thousands of Asians swallowed in an instant by the sea, of millions murdered in death camps and gulags and forced famines (and so on). It is a strange thing indeed to seek peace in the universe rendered morally intelligible at the cost of a God rendered morally loathsome” (The Doors of the Sea, 98-99).

    In some ways, a lot of this conversation has been about navigating between primary and secondary causality. But I may just be projecting that onto the discussion because I don’t collapse the two and get anxious when there aren’t clear distinctions. Sorry for such a long post.

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  226. Indeed, disturbing one’s cognitive dissonance could account for the difficulty in understanding:
    *Governing authority is appointed of God to reward the good and be a terror to evil; yet a particular evil ruler can be disobedient to that appointment and be a terror to the good and reward evil.
    *Christians are to submit to governing authority; yet when confronted with a wicked command, we are to “obey God, not man”.
    *Pilate committed the most immoral act in history in condemning the spotless Lamb to death; yet God ordained and used such to make “Him who had no sin to be sin for us”.

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  227. Greg, Darryl may be joking with those questions (but I don’t think so), but let me help out and repeat them with all seriousness: You don’t need a savior for your sins? You refuse to have Jesus executed? Did you think that through?

    Because much of what you keep saying doesn’t take those kinds of questions into account. You seem much too busy defending Jesus and crucifying his killers. I don’t know where that posture is modeled in the NT, and it’s a bit of a gorilla in the living room for you–how are we finally saved if the crucifixion doesn’t happen? And how does it happen without bad guys? You sure make it sound like you’d be the one guy who could’ve figured it out and then stopped the whole thing from happening. But then what?

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  228. @DARRYL
    Yes, Jeff beat me to it. Even on the concept of being born again, Jesus chided Nicodemus for not understanding, when as a teacher in Israel he should have (John 3) How much more should those who “sit in the seat of Moses” have recognized their own long prophesied messiah? It can also be argue that when Paul says “the rulers of this age” didn’t know who He was that he wasn’t referring to the Jews, who weren’t exactly ruling anybody under Roman occupation.

    “… It was natural for Herod to feel a potential threat, irrespective of his morality or sense of justice….”

    Except that Pontious Pilate, the man deemed by Caesar qualified and trusted to make such determinations, himself declared this not to be the case. He saw no threat in Jesus at all and was prepared to let Him go. That’s not why he ordered his crucifixion. It was out of pure political expediency. “I find no fault in this man, but we’ll kill him anyway if it’ll shut you people up and let me get back to my lunch please.”

    The Jews took Him to Pilate in the first place because they weren’t allowed to execute anybody without Roman authorization and they knew that if they took Him before the procurator on Jewish charges only, he’d dismiss it outright. Even when they TRIED to paint Him as a threat to Rome he didn’t buy it.

    God used the mundane daily machinations of the pagan state to accomplish the purpose for His creation. The Jews were under occupation and their gentile occupiers weren’t too concerned about personal justice for their subjects. They did whatever was in the interest of Rome, not justice and truth and this episode with Pilate and Jesus is a prime example.

    The reason why you are so hell bent on standing by the idea of Jesus death being just is simply because you already said it and you refuse to acknowledge that it was a careless statement made in haste without proper consideration and you were therefore just wrong. You think that it would greatly damage your credibility if you conceded this point. It’s far worse you continuing to try to defend it.

    Everybody is wrong sometimes for Petr’s sake. Jesus death can be the greatest crime in history and 2K still be true. If formulated and understood correctly, which is where your problem is. 2K is true. The dualistic way you construct it is not. You can fix that ya know. We’re never too old to find out how wrong we’ve been on some things and to revise accordingly. Anybody who wouldn’t respect that you don’t need as friends anyway.

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  229. Greg, does this mean you’ll own being interested in more than politics and evangelism at T-Nation? Can we talk about your ‘mostly’ qualifier? I can’t promise I’ll respect you in the morn….errr… more, but that’s beside the point. You need to come clean about all things, to everyone, on the webs, for my entertain….errrr…….your sanctification.

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  230. @ DGH:

    I had to go back and re-read the thread to see where we are.

    Your first point: Secular society is one of God’s good gifts, even if it includes Nero, who wasn’t wild about God and hated Christians.

    Agreed.

    Your second point: You [MvdM] serve a secular state that violates the moral law all the time.

    Agreed.

    Your third: Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man.

    I think that needs some nuance. If Nero executed them *because* they served God, seems like he’s culpable (yet remaining the valid authority). Likewise, if he executes people cruelly, seems like he’s culpable.

    If I’m still misunderstanding you, I’m content to remain.

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  231. “So far, Carter is the only former president expected to attend.”???????????????????????????????

    They are all attending the inauguration, except for the health-stricken Papa Bush.

    There wasn’t even a picosecond of doubt that they would be attending.

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  232. Greg, which laws, exactly(in detail, complete with case studies), and how does he know them? Let’s take the decalogue, both tables? What charter does he have to do so? What if he gets it wrong? Isn’t he assuredly going to get it wrong? What if his ‘heart’ isn’t right? Is ANY law ever executed without blemish? I understand scripture’s judgements upon a situation are without error, but what about now? What about in the historical moment? Are you sure?

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  233. Sean. God executes judgement upon gentiles all throughout scripture. Gentiles without His written law. Romans 2 details how death reigned from Adam until Moses before there was any explicit codified revelation of law at all.

    It makes no difference whether a particular magistrate has any direct knowledge of God”s written law or not. All men are responsible for it by virtue of their creation in His image and natural revelation. in Romans 1, we are told this specifically.

    To abuse the power of the magistrate for unrighteous ends by killing a defendant that you have yourself just declared innocent is an unjust act. Are you actually saying it is not? Getting it wrong by accident is not the same as not caring that you get it wrong as long as your desired ends are achieved.

    Romans 13, written to Romans under Roman rule certainly assumes the imperfect nature of ANY magistrate. Even those who do fear God. We know that from other crystal clear principles of scripture. How does this at all impact this discussion?

    The logical conclusion of what you just said is that no justice is possible under any circumstances in this age. If not, then please do explain.

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  234. Greg, I’m asking you for detail on which laws and how you would evaluate their enacting and enforcement. So, according to your prior flourish, it’s actually your logical conclusion that *justice* is not possible. I’d actually agree with that, nobody gets absolute justice in this life. God always gets it right, man not so much. So, again, how do you know you have what you have? I need detailed specification of your biblical statecraft. Trying hard or ‘doing the best you can'(very RC btw) is not compliance with ‘God’s Law as the standard of Justice’. So, I’m still waiting for more than rhetoric and sloganeering. Don’t worry about it too much, even the Bahnsenian theonomists bogged down in the details and they were pushing for bring the mosaic civil code forward as template for ‘every’ nation.

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  235. I just an emergency call from my church. An urgent computer issue. I have to take care of that.

    No, that’s not my logical conclusion. That’s the logical conclusion of your biblically illogical premise. Be back later. I have to fix this.

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  236. Greg, don’t be a Martha, be a Mary. There’s always an emergency somewhere, something is always needing doing. Trust God. Choose the better option. Justice in this life is on the line…………. Are you sure you HAVE to? How do you know? Maybe your heart is unable to adequately sort your feelings and renders your judgement less than true/pure. You could be wrong, right? Wait, don’t go. What about the tyranny of the urgent?! Isn’t this more of the devil just playing you? Distracting you from greater pursuits? You did 15k posts at the nakedy fitness model place, where’d that focus go?

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  237. See?

    Never is Psalm 2 interpreted to mean that the state is illegitimate unless and until it recognizes Jesus as King. When the Apostle Paul wrote Romans 13, which teaches Christians to submit to, pay taxes to, and to pray for the civil magistrate, Caesar was a young pagan who began and increasingly disgusting (even to other pagans) old pagan. Under the new covenant and New Testament, there is no state-church. There is the state and there is the church.

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  238. vdm, m, Pilate didn’t know Jesus was the spotless Lamb. You need the work of the Holy Spirit to see lamb in man.

    And yet you want unregenerate magistrates to enforce God’s law. Huh?

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  239. Greg, if you’re going to vent, get my position right. The execution of Jesus was not black and white. I didn’t say it was “just.”

    You don’t have a historical sense. You think Pilate is just like Trump, as if Christianity had been around for 2,000 years.

    Complicate up.

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  240. Jeff, think the fifth commandment. Were Christians obligated to honor their superiors (Nero)? Yes.

    But were they called to preach the gospel? Yes.

    So if Nero executes them for disobeying state law, Nero is justified because of the fifth commandment.

    But the apostles were not guilty of sin for violating state law IF they obeyed God’s higher law.

    And notice, they did not think they should be exempt from laws because they followed a higher law.

    My critics seem to want the magistrate to enforce all of God’s laws but then let Christians pick and choose which laws they will obey depending on how they interpret God’s law.

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  241. vdm, m, Pilate didn’t know Jesus was the spotless Lamb. You need the work of the Holy Spirit to see lamb in man.

    True, he did not know the singular magnitude of the evil he was committing. Doesn’t change the fact that Pilate violated God’s law in knowingly condemning an innocent man to death.

    And yet you want unregenerate magistrates to enforce God’s law. Huh?

    Of course I want magistrates to recognize they are bound to God’s law– including the command not to murder innocent people.

    Liked by 1 person

  242. @dgh
    I don’t follow your logic here:

    Were Christians obligated to honor their superiors (Nero)? Yes.
    But were they called to preach the gospel? Yes.
    So if Nero executes them for disobeying state law, Nero is justified because of the fifth commandment.

    Isn’t the point of Peter’s admonition that we are to submit even when earthly rulers are unjust? I agree that the answers to the two questions you pose here are yes & yes. Nero still may have been acting unjustly. That’s irrelevant to the question of whether we should submit to the government though. I don’t see the 5th commandment telling us that whatever the king does is right, rather I think it tells us that we should submit even when the king is wrong (unless he’s a democrat).

    Perhaps Christ’s example of suffering in silence is a better model than treating the Christian faith as yet another competing special interest group? On the other hand, we do have Paul’s legal appeals in Acts…perhaps working the system is OK?

    My critics seem to want the magistrate to enforce all of God’s laws but then let Christians pick and choose which laws they will obey depending on how they interpret God’s law.

    I want the magistrate to enforce the laws I think are important the way I think they should be enforced. ‘Merica!

    Liked by 1 person

  243. Letmesplainsean says: Greg, don’t be a Martha, be a Mary. There’s always an emergency somewhere, something is always needing doing. Trust God. Choose the better option. Justice in this life is on the line…………. Are you sure you HAVE to? How do you know? Maybe your heart is unable to adequately sort your feelings and renders your judgement less than true/pure. You could be wrong, right? Wait, don’t go. What about the tyranny of the urgent?! Isn’t this more of the devil just playing you? Distracting you from greater pursuits? You did 15k posts at the nakedy fitness model place, where’d that focus go?

    Dear sean, you ‘re a mocker. In this mystery of lawlessness at work on our earth, we might have to start calling you a man of lawlessness. 

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  244. vdm, m, do you think Joseph Smith should have been executed for adding to God’s word?

    And didn’t the Jewish authorities have a point in denying son of God status to someone who claimed it? They were monotheists after all. If Peter had trouble understanding Trinitarian theology (300 years before Nicea), why would you expect Herod or Pilate to figure it out?

    Can’t you at least admit they were in a tight spot? Could you have done better (oh, caster of stones)?

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  245. Could you have done better (oh, caster of stones)?
    Thus ends Jeff’s noble effort at a mediated re-set.

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  246. Sean, I am the IT guy for our church. I installed and configured our network, AD domain controller, 13 client machine’s and a Ubiquiti Unifi 5 WAP wireless environment. I am the only person who knows how all that stuff works. It’s my job to fix it when it doesn’t. Our church is “open” all week. We can’t have our stuff down. If you can’t understand that, that’s gonna have be like too bad.

    You’re an angry bitter man. I don’t say that out of condemnation, at all. I say it out of experience and grief. And prayerful hope. It doesn’t have to be like this. It really doesn’t. (I say that out of experience too btw.)
    ——————————————————————–
    Dr. Hart says: “Greg, if you’re going to vent, get my position right. The execution of Jesus was not black and white. I didn’t say it was “just.” “
    Another serious question. If the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not “black and white,” can I ask you, what, if anything then is?

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  247. “So if Nero executes them for disobeying state law, Nero is justified because of the fifth commandment.”

    Any manmade law that does not conform to God’s Law is inherently unjust because God in His sovereignty is the ultimate lawgiver. Therefore, any state law that is not based upon God’s Law is unjust, and Nero’s actions against Christians are not justified. God defines what is just, not the state.

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  248. Bryan, said like a good theonomist. But what if a Christian murders someone? Are you with Pat Robertson in wanting Karla Faye Tucker pardoned? What about capital punishments for treason? Is there a biblical blueprint for that? If so, what if a Christian is treasonous? If not, what to do with a traitor (Christian or not) if the Bible doesn’t say?

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  249. Greg was that an answer? Just sloganeering and no deets? And I’ve checked with me, myself and I, and this IS how it has to be. But keep doing psychoanalysis over the web, it’s always a winner. Btw, is that some of the sanctified intuition that you want the magistrate to utilize to get to the ‘god-sanctioned’ execution of ‘god’s law’ for the state?

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  250. Zrim,

    Bryan, said like a good theonomist.

    I’d qualify what Bryan said somewhat, but there’s nothing inherently theonomist about wanting the laws of the state to be based on God’s law. If there is, then goodbye natural law. Further, it seems to me traditionally that theonomy is associated more with those who want to impose all the judicial sentences of the Mosaic code and not simply that the law should be based on God’s law. If that’s the case, then virtually every Christian tradition from all of history is theonomic or at least until the American Revolution or so.

    But what if a Christian murders someone? Are you with Pat Robertson in wanting Karla Faye Tucker pardoned? What about capital punishments for treason? Is there a biblical blueprint for that? If so, what if a Christian is treasonous? If not, what to do with a traitor (Christian or not) if the Bible doesn’t say?

    Seems to me that the answer should be that a consistent approach to Christian ethics that would be more theonomic than yours would say there should never be anything but the death penalty for first-degree murder since that’s the only crime with the sentence of death in the Pentateuch where a substitute recompense couldn’t be offered.

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  251. Greg, you still don’t get it. It was black and white that Jesus was perfect. So how are you going to get him executed? Then when you do you’re going to complain about someone executing Jesus? And then on Sunday you go to church and thank God they executed Jesus?

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  252. Robert, how many parents base all of their rules and restrictions on God’s law? When the fifth commandment says, obey your parents, do children get to check which rule is based on God’s law? No smart phone? Only 1 hour of television? West Wing yes, but no The Wire?

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  253. Robert, there is natural law (general revelation, which has some overlap with the decalogue), theocratic (NL and decalogue), theonomic (theocratic and judicial). When people say something like “the laws of the state should be based on God’s law,” they usually mean either theocratic or theonomic. But then when pressed about whether Mormons and Muslims (and even coveters) should be jailed, they flinch. The point of the line of questioning is to wonder what such a speaker really means. Sounds high and pious until you ask a few follow up questions.

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  254. @ Bryan, Robert:

    Any manmade law that does not conform to God’s Law is inherently unjust because God in His sovereignty is the ultimate lawgiver. Therefore, any state law that is not based upon God’s Law is unjust…

    Two related problems with this.

    (1) beware the linguistic sleight of hand.

    A law to stop at red lights conforms to (is consistent with) God’s Law but is not derived from God’s Law.

    When we jump from “conforms to” to “is derived from”, we are making a Grand Canyon-sized leap.

    (2) Beware of adding to the Law.

    To say that a civil code must be derived from the Law means that the civil code is derived from good and necessary consequence from the Law.

    Whence, your civil code is doctrine (defn of doctrine: teachings derived from good and necessary consequence from Scripture).

    But the civil code requires a large number of minutia. Do you wish to make all of those a matter of doctrine?

    The theonomic core (“only God defines what is just!”) sounds noble, but in reality it is Galatianal.

    A better route is to acknowledge that only God can define what is right, but he has provided two sources of knowledge of right and wrong. The first is in Scripture, and pertains to life and godliness for God’s people, to be interepreted via sola scriptura and binding on the conscience. The second is in the conscience, and pertains to civil society, and is to be interpreted via wisdom, and is not binding on the conscience.

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  255. Dr. Hart asks: “… Jesus was perfect. So how are you going to get him executed?”
    An unjust illegitimate execution? An innocent redeemer dying for the guilty?

    Hey, wait a minute. That’s exactly what happened.
    =======================================
    “Then when you do you’re going to complain about someone executing Jesus? And then on Sunday you go to church and thank God they executed Jesus?

    I challenge you sir, to demonstrate this complaining that you have here alleged of me.

    I can both denounce Pilate and the Jews for their wickedness, AND rejoice that they both did what they did. See that?. There’s some “nuance” for ya. Once again.

    “God’s secret providence being accomplished through the decreed violation of His revealed will. Isaiah 10, as advanced by our friend Peter from Scotland up there is the perfect example. “

    What do you figure Pilate meant when he said:

    “I find no fault in this man”

    Did he actually mean:

    “This man is a dangerous seditious criminal who I’m going to put to death for his treason”

    Don’t you think that’s taking a bit of liberty with the text?

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  256. Jeff, whatever the magistrate commands, that is not a violation of God’s revealed will is to be obeyed.Even the definition of what is and is not neutral or indifferent comes from God Himself. Traffic laws, lawfully enacted, are for the safety and “good” of the public, just like Paul says. Even traffic laws therefore derive their authority from God.

    Here’s where you and I have crossed swords in the past. Civil minutia, like traffic laws, (or moving picture technology) are in themselves morally neutral and are therefore not spelled out in scripture. Whatever is not morally neutral, like the taking of human life,(or the pornographic and blasphemous use of moving picture technology) IS governed by clear scriptural principle.

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  257. Darryl,

    Whatever law forbids you from doing something God commands and commands you to do something God forbids, that law is unjust. It’s not a hard principle.

    Applying it can be difficult, but that’s what I’m arguing for.

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  258. And I’m again lost with regards to the actual political/social/theological significance. Is it about how one lives one’s life politically? Is it about salvation? Is it just a Reformed pissing contest? For a moment, I thought something crucial was at stake theologically, but now I’m not so sure.

    Say I’m in a community that has anti-panhandling laws. Say I think (perhaps incorrectly, but let’s not worry about this) the Gospel commands that I give to the poor. Say I give to the poor and come up against the law. Say I’m honestly giving to the poor and not virtue signalling or just trying to stick it to the man. Say I really do want to give to said panhandler to fulfill the Gospel. Where am I in this discussion? Am I both fulfilling Christ’s command (giving to the poor) and disobeying it (going up against a civil authority)?

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  259. Greg, “I can both denounce Pilate and the Jews for their wickedness, AND rejoice that they both did what they did. See that?.”

    So you can be inconsistent but I have to be consistent.

    Nuance up.

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  260. Justin, you’re Eastern Orthodox. We don’t care.

    Kidding.

    In the world of Reformed Protestantism and w-w, everything is neat and tidy. Godliness right there next to cleanliness. Mess things up? You’re gonna pay (even though God commands 70 time 7).

    Doh!

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  261. @ Justin:

    One way to answer your question is to observe how the theonomic principles start being expressed. One practical import is whether we ought to hold Nero’s feet to the fire in re: his obedience to God’s law.

    As in (speaking here of the RCs), should the church tell the magistrate to pass the ACA or enact climate legislation as a matter of Biblical ethics?

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  262. Greg: Civil minutia, like traffic laws, (or moving picture technology) are in themselves morally neutral and are therefore not spelled out in scripture.

    Agreed. Hence, it is false to say that they must be derived from Scripture, yes?

    Greg: Whatever is not morally neutral, like the taking of human life,(or the pornographic and blasphemous use of moving picture technology) IS governed by clear scriptural principle.

    Pretty much. But is The Little Mermaid pornographic? She shows a lot of skin. Kidding-not-kidding; 100 years ago, TLM would have been scandalous.

    Liked by 1 person

  263. Darryl,

    Thanks. So it is a bit of a pissing contest. Everything here is about living one’s life–either virtue signaling or not. There’s nothing neat and tidy about America or post-neo-liberal (whatever) politics. Kinda makes Constantinian rule seem quaint.

    Jeff,
    It seems that those have simply become matters of conscience. And who would listen anyway? And if one listened, who would speak infallibly in the immediate context? We’d know eventually the infallible teaching, but not now. And Orthodoxy is probably in an even worse position, so I’m not criticizing . I’m just not sure what the hell any of this has to do with salvation or theology–i.e., union with Christ. That was my original question. All of this Reformed discussion is like angels dancing on the head of a pin. I’ll take the Coens’ worst movie over this stuff (Darryl, care to say what the Coens’ worst is?). Orthodox argue over whether to prostrate or stand on Sundays, so we’re light years ahead of you on the petty.

    Thanks for responding. I really do enjoy getting a better grasp on this stuff. It all really looks very different from, and far more real than, Calvin’s Institutes.

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  264. Greg, have you come up with a charter, yet? Anybody? Governed by ‘clear scriptural principle’ means you have to be a recipient/object of God’s covenantal intentions. We got ethnic Israel and the church. Everybody else is left to ‘light of nature’, common sense, remnant of Imago dei, whatever phraseology you want to put to it. If you want to argue scriptural warrant, particularly in any sort of specificity you need charter. I want to see it. Any overlap is incidental to humanness(the everybody else), NOT to being the object of God’s covenantal intentions which we find in redemptive/salvation history, which we find, wait for it, in scripture. In two testaments even, helping the simple among us to understand transition from one salvation era to the next, among other continuities and discontinuities. The common state has no right to that which God has given solely to the objects of his salvific intent. Rom 13:1-7 is giving the covenant community direction for how it is to behave toward the state NOT inscripturated direction for the state on how it is to conduct itself.

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  265. Dr. Hart: “Bryan, not what Paul said. He knew Rome was unjust. He still taught obedience to the state.”

    He taught obedience, but he didn’t say the law was just or that the emperor would be justified in killing Christians for being Christian.

    Jeff Cagle: “A law to stop at red lights conforms to (is consistent with) God’s Law but is not derived from God’s Law. When we jump from ‘conforms to’ to ‘is derived from’, we are making a Grand Canyon-sized leap.”

    Agreed. By “based upon,” I didn’t specifically mean “derived from.” A brick is laid upon a foundation, but that brick may not derive its substance from that foundation. A civil law can be based upon God’s general revelation and still be based upon God’s Law. The law to stop at red lights is consistent with God’s Law because it involves safety for others and respect of human life – we would kill ourselves or others if we all ran stoplights, which goes against God’s Natural and written Law.

    Zrim: “there is natural law (general revelation, which has some overlap with the decalogue), theocratic (NL and decalogue), theonomic (theocratic and judicial). When people say something like “the laws of the state should be based on God’s law,” they usually mean either theocratic or theonomic.”

    The theonomists I’ve known in my life have wholeheartedly supported the idea that there are 3 types of revelation: general (i.e., natural law, the law written on man’s heart – Romans 2:14-15), natural (we see God’s hand in His Creation), and special (the Bible, Holy Spirit). To suggest that theonomists only support the law in some judicial “kill everyone” sense is just wrong. Some theonomists might ascribe to that view, but I don’t think many of the key figures behind the movement did or do.

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  266. Dr. Hart says: “Robert, God commands Christians to turn the other cheek. Is that what the magistrate should do?

    THINK”
    =====================
    The turn the other cheek command is to individuals Daryl.

    Not the civil magistrate, upholding the corporate community public common good.

    Our internet is down and posting on this phone is murder. I won’t be able to help you out very much more tonight.

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  267. Bryan, right. Paul doesn’t mention justice. So why do you?

    Any manmade law that does not conform to God’s Law is inherently unjust

    Why not simply be biblical?

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  268. Greg, Jesus and the apostles didn’t say much to individual magistrates. They did tell Christian individuals to obey.

    Why does your standard, so righteous, so holy, so total, move?

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  269. Bryan, that’s what I said. Theos affirms all three expressions (general, theocratic, and judicial law). Actual Protestants, however, affirm two forms of revelation and when it comes to the judicial law affirm WCF 19.4:

    To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require.

    And 2k Prots are satisfied with only general revelation when it comes to civil arrangements (no theocracy or theonomy).

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  270. Dr. Hart – I mentioned justice because you said Nero was justified under the fifth commandment.

    Sorry, Zrim. I misunderstood what you were saying – I thought you were implying that theonomists deny natural law. Good to see you’re still hogging the “Protestant” designation all to yourself. Don’t forget to lock your church doors after you walk into the service on Sunday – wouldn’t want anybody that disagrees with you to come in.

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  271. vdm, m, I’m just doing what Jesus did.

    Why not answer the question?

    Calling ME a “caster of stones” is not following Jesus. It’s not even following Jeff.

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  272. Zrim, I’m a really really bad theonomist. I like some of what Christian Reconstruction has to offer (particularly their emphasis on God’s sovereignty), but I don’t think their solutions are viable for the real world. They also don’t leave nearly enough room for mercy. Should we follow God’s Law in our daily lives? Absolutely. However, where modern evangelicalism goes too far in abandoning God’s Law, theonomists often go too far in arguing for enforcement of God’s Law.

    So, no, I wouldn’t advocate stoning a non-believer. I would advocate civil authorities executing murderers and rapists, but we shouldn’t take the law into our own hands. That’s the purpose of civil authority. Even the hardcore theonomists understand that.

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  273. He was escorted to the local proconsul, Statius Quadratus, who interrogated him in front of a crowd of curious onlookers. Polycarp seemed unfazed by the interrogation; he carried on a witty dialogue with Quadratus until Quadratus lost his temper and threatened Polycarp: he’d be thrown to wild beasts, he’d be burned at the stake, and so on. Polycarp just told Quadratus that while the proconsul’s fire lasts but a little while, the fires of judgment (“reserved for the ungodly,” he slyly added) cannot be quenched. Polycarp concluded, “But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.”

    A lot closer to DGH’s view than others attacking him….

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  274. vdm, m, sorry. I understood your antagonism as antagonism. Jesus did say something about the heart, and since you hang with the obedience boys, I thought it might make sense. Again, sorry. I’ll now interpret your growling as love.

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  275. sorry
    your antagonism as antagonism
    you hang with the obedience boys
    your growling

    One of these is not like the others.

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  276. Darryl,

    Robert, God commands Christians to turn the other cheek. Is that what the magistrate should do?

    THINK.

    Greg already said it but I’ll say it again. The Sermon on the Mount is addressed to Christians, not the state.

    What I’m ultimately talking about is the state’s law conforming to the moral law of God revealed on the conscience. I’m not sure why this should be objectionable. Seems like at least some of the 2Kers hold this position or one very close to it.

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  277. Robert, or He was just addressing the disciples only on the SOtM. So many ways to go with it, so much nuance, and irony and humility, and mystery….

    unless one won’t include it in their tiny little iron soul and heart.

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  278. Quadratus lost his temper and threatened Polycarp: he’d be thrown to wild beasts, he’d be burned at the stake, and so on
    The primary question (at least for me) is not about Polycarp’s actions, but the Roman proconsul’s: did the Roman proconsul violate God’s moral law by executing Polycarp?

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  279. (just finally got our internet back up and have to run now)
    Dr. Hart: “Greg, Jesus and the apostles didn’t say much to individual magistrates. They did tell Christian individuals to obey.”

    Why does your standard, so righteous, so holy, so total, move?

    The scriptures do set forth the functions of the magistrate under which believers are required to render them due obedience. We can therefore deduce that when the magistrate is not fulfilling those functions, said magistrate is not wielding God recognized righteous authority.

    Even Westminster declared differing standards according to differing functions for public officers and private Christians. A Christian may not individually wage war or bear the sword for the punishment of crime for instance. Not even for just cause.

    You are not a dummy. The trouble you have is due to a fragmented and fractured post modern intellectual framework that has reduced you to the inconsistent inanities we see speckled about this page.

    You ARE better than this. At least I very much want to believe that. (that was another honest statement btw)

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  280. Greg, where’s your charter for statecraft? Scripture isn’t given to the magistrate. How do you know what you know about when the state is fulfilling it’s ‘recognized’ authority and when it is not? And never mind the broad strokes, I need a detailed legislative program born of God’s unique charter to the state as the state.

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  281. Bryan, so a little theonomy but not all of it. There’s that cafeteria Protestantism again, aka eeeevangelicalism.

    ps capital punishment for rape? Even God was satisfied with just murder in his post-flood covenant with Noah (i.e. mankind generally). You’re improving on that? More cafeteria.

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  282. Zrim, you call it cafeteria protestantism, but the sad thing is you think your one group has it all perfectly right. If one group has it all perfectly right, then why the heck are there so many different groups all claiming to be Christian? Since we are all fallen, any particular theologian may get something right while simultaneously getting something wrong. Why would I adhere to the whole of any particular system when there are clear flaws in it? That’s why I consider myself non-denom, just not in the traditional evangelical sense.

    You should really differentiate between theonomy, which simply means “God’s Law” (as opposed to autonomy), and Christian Reconstruction as a movement. Not all theonomists are necessarily Reconstructionists.

    “Even God was satisfied with just murder in his post-flood covenant with Noah (i.e. mankind generally).”

    You need to reread the Torah.

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  283. Bryan, you need to re-read history. You’re thinking of Rome who makes infallible claims of itself, not Geneva. That’s the question Prots ask RC converts: if so infallible, why still so much fracture? You’re probably doing that eeeevangelical thing of mistaking confessional confidence with perfectionism.

    Theonomy, resconstruction–a distinction without any difference. Right, there’s only theonomy and autonomy. Fundamentalism alert. Probably what attracts.

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  284. Sean says: “Greg, where’s your charter for statecraft? Scripture isn’t given to the magistrate.”
    This is an illegitimate demand that does not address, nor is relevant to anything I’ve actually said Sean.

    No such “charter” is required, as the full force of my argument stands without it. The general principles of scripture more than uphold what myself and some others have been saying.

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  285. Zrim, Your (yoooouuuuuu) confessional confidence, perfectionism – a distinction without any difference.

    I don’t really understand how you can say theonomy and reconstruction are the same thing. Theonomy is a term, whereas Reconstruction was a movement. That’s like saying that civil law and the judges who enforce it are the same thing, when they aren’t (I know that isn’t a direct comparison).

    “Right, there’s only theonomy and autonomy. Fundamentalism alert.”

    In your sarcasm, are you implying there is more than God’s Law and man’s law in the world? If you have some sort of holy knowledge that the rest of us aren’t privy to, please share.

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  286. Bryan, I give you Abraham Kuyper (“The Ordinances of God”) who articulated that in-between realm. You only need to be (a non-fundamentalist) human to get it.

    Does it follow, therefore, that the sooner we stop our observation of life the better, so that we can seek the rules of state polity outside life in Holy Scripture? This is how some mistakenly think that we reason…However, the opposite is true. Calvinism has never supported this untenable position but has always opposed it with might and main. A state polity that dismisses and scorns the observation of life and simply wishes to duplicate the situation of Israel, taking Holy Scripture as a complete code of Christian law for the state, would, according to the spiritual fathers of Calvinism, be the epitome of absurdity. Accordingly, in their opposition to Anabaptism as well as the Quakers, they expressed unreservedly their repugnance for this extremely dangerous and impractical theory.

    If we considered the political life of the nations as something unholy, unclean and wrong in itself, it would lie outside of human nature. Then the state would have to be seen as a purely external means of compulsion, and every attempt to discover even a trace of God’s ordinances in our own nature would be absurd. Only special revelation would then be capable of imparting to us the standards for that external means of discipline.

    Wherever, thus, this special revelation is absent, as in the heathen worlds, nothing but sin and distortion would prevail, which would therefore not even be worth the trouble of our observation…However, if we open the works of Calvin, Bullinger, Beza and Marnix van St. Aldegonde, it becomes obvious that Calvinism consciously chooses sides against this viewpoint. The experience of the states of antiquity, the practical wisdom of their laws, and the deep insight of their statesmen and philosophers is held in esteem by these men, and these are cited in support of their own affirmations and consciously related to the ordinances of God. The earnest intent of the political life of many nations can be explained in terms of the principles of justice and morality that spoke in their consciences. They cannot be explained simply as blindness brought on by the Evil One; on the contrary, in the excellence of their political efforts we encounter a divine ray of light…

    …with proper rights we contradict the argument that Holy Scripture should be seen as the source from which a knowledge of the best civil laws flow. The supporters of this potion talk as though after the Fall nature, human life, and history have ceased being a revelation of God and as though, with the closing of this book, another book, called Holy Scriptures, as opened for us. Calvinism has never defended this untenable position and will never acknowledge it as its own…We have refuted the notion that we entertain the foolish effort to patch together civil laws from Bible texts, and we have declared unconditionally that psychology, ethnology, history and statistics are also for us given which, by the light of God’s Word, must determine the standards for the state polity.

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  287. Jeff asks: “…But is The Little Mermaid pornographic? She shows a lot of skin. Kidding-not-kidding; 100 years ago, TLM would have been scandalous.”

    Neither the culture, nor the whoring world loving church who has rebelliously followed it, has improved morally in the last hundred years. I’ll go with the Westminster standard. (no pun). We are not talking about the little mermaid though and you know it.

    I took the long way home and it wasn’t fun, but I no longer try to find loopholes for worldliness and carnality. They do not impress God.

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  288. Greg, you’re wrong. Scripture is the unique covenant word to His, get this, ‘chosen people’. The scriptures themselves are TREATY DOCUMENTS or Testaments, if you like. There are very specific recipients/objects of the treaty/testament. This is why Paul says the Jews were privileged to be given the oracles of God. This is why in the first chapter of the confession it delineates that the CHURCH is whom God is PLEASED to reveal himself to and declare his will unto. It’s privileged status. You don’t get to take it unto yourself or give it to another. So, again, I require your charter from God for the specificity of your statecrafting ‘grounded in scripture’ or ‘deduced’ from biblical(privileged) principles. You don’t have squat.

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  289. Zrim, you’re essentially arguing that natural law is inherently separate from God’s Law. Fine – go ahead and argue that, but I respectfully disagree. I believe theonomy encompasses both the written Law and natural law.

    “we have declared unconditionally that psychology, ethnology, history and statistics are also for us given which, by the light of God’s Word, must determine the standards for the state polity.”

    Any truth deduced from these disciplines that aligns with God’s Law is coming from natural law – the law is written on our hearts. If natural law is a part of God’s Law, then there isn’t an “in-between” realm.

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  290. Zrim says: “(Greg, unlike signed spiritual achievement awards, which are very impressive.)”
    One is necessarily sinful and one is not.
    ==============================================
    Sean, as is very often the case, you are once again attributing to me, VIEWS that are not even close to anything I’ve ever said here.

    Where is this “specificity of state crafting” please? To say that even the pagan magistrate is required by God to act justly and is in specific sin when specific cases of injustice are observed, is not to advance a “specificity of state crafting.”

    It is to declare with the apostle, general principles of God’s governance of His highest creatures. Whether covenant breakers in Adam or keepers in Christ. They are all His.

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  291. Bryan, to what law of God does 2+2=4 conform? And there’s more where that came from. So much of life so hard to align with revealed knowledge, and yet you trust it so deeply.

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  292. Greg, if you want to deduce scriptural principles of common state governance I want to see your charter/justification/treaty document naming the common state as intended object of instruction of the scriptures of either testament. The APOSTLE(not Duvall) has told you he has no judgement for those outside the cult(1 Cor 5) and then has given prescription for cult members(Rom 13) how they’re to behave as regards the state. In neither case is prescription being given or principles deduced for the state to incorporate. The common state is not the object of scriptural prescription.

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  293. “The common state is not the object of scriptural prescription.”

    It is however under the prescription of general revelation, and the apostle tells us it’s purpose accordingly. So on that level it actually is under scriptural prescription after all. When a man commissioned and anointed by the Holy Spirit to write at least 13 books of the new testament says “this is what the magistrate is for”, we can safely deduce that when the magistrate strays from that description, which IS also a PREscription in this case, that the magistrate is then operating outside of God’s prescription. With concepts such as “good”, “evil”, “just” and “unjust” being defined by God Himself, as no other being is either authorized or qualified to define them.

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  294. Greg, it’s not at all what he said. He said, to xian, this is how you are to conduct yourself as regards the state. It’s not a prescription-WRITTEN FOR/INTENDED AUDIENCE OF the common magistrate.

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  295. Zrim, 2+2=4 is as much a law of God as the laws of thermodynamics, gravity, or any other scientific law that can be empirically observed. Who do you think made those laws? Do you think mankind simply invented mathematics? God is sovereign over all, and He created everything. If you acknowledged God’s sovereignty you wouldn’t have to ask such pointless questions.

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  296. Ya jist gotta be kiddin me with THIS already.

    Are you actually telling me with a straight face that there is no principle in that passage indicating God’s generally prescribed conduct for government Sean. Are you incapable of grasping that when one party is told the function of another party, BY a third party having authority over both, that a prescription for the the one so described has been given?

    If the president of a company tells an employee how and why a manager is to obeyed, both of whom the president has authority over, the employee (and the manager) understand that the manager has been given an order by the president, even if the president doesn’t address the manager directly in that conversation.

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  297. Guys,

    Jeremiah clearly expected the non-Israel governments to have some knowledge of natural law and that they were accountable to it, otherwise his oracles of judgment to them don’t make sense.

    Jonah’s preaching presupposes it as well, that they would know what sin was and that repentance was needed.

    If the state doesn’t have some inkling of what God’s standards are, then God would be unjust to ever hold it accountable for everything.

    Now if you want to say the Bible does not lay out a comprehensive plan for statecraft for non-covenant-community nations, then I’m pretty sure all of us agree on that. But it’s one thing to say that and another to say that the state doesn’t have any guidelines given to it by God Himself.

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  298. Greg, I’ve come to cure you of your attempts at philosophical and utilitarian abstractions of sacred scripture to meet some imagined need of satisfying the Kuyperian impulse of claiming every square inch so that you can sleep at night. You don’t get to decovenantalize or even just decontextualize passages of scripture to satisfy your itch. The scriptures are covenantal documents preserved for the sole purpose of providing a record of God’s covenantal dealings with his people and building them up in the faith-per the Holy spirit, officers/offices and gifting through ordinary means. Full Stop. The Holy Spirit isn’t attaching himself to the word for the common magistrate to figure out/deduce/imagine/illegitimately co-opt sacred scripture to craft legislation or direct conduct of the magistrate for the common state. I’m not sure how to be more clear.

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  299. Robert, so when a Christian is emperor he turns the other cheek? You know, this is why Anabaptists don’t do the sword.

    Or when you become a magistrate, then parts of the Bible don’t apply?

    When a 2ker says that, it’s extreme. Yo.

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  300. Greg, so when Nero isn’t fulfilling his functions, when he’s using Christians as torches, then Christians are’re required to obey.

    Wait.

    Paul says obey and he’s writing while Nero rules.

    I could say something along the lines of why don’t you admit that you made a mistake. But I won’t.

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  301. Bryan, who said God isn’t the author of those truths? You’re talking to a Calvinist, he is. That’s not the point. The point is you want to measure all implicitly known truths to the explicitly revealed “law of God.” You can’t. More often than not all’s you have is the implicitly known, e.g. 2+2=4. There is absolutely nothing in the revealed law of God which affirms that (and a raft-and-a-half of other truths). So why go around talking about “as long as a principle conforms to the law of God it’s a-ok” when you can never do that? Talk about pointless.

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  302. Robert, God doesn’t hold states accountable. He holds persons accountable. Big difference. You’re sounding like Curt (who still hasn’t shown how state’s can be baptized and communed in a local church the way only persons can).

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  303. Dr Hart asks: “Greg, so when Nero isn’t fulfilling his functions, when he’s using Christians as torches, then Christians are required to obey.”
    Yes Darryl. Christians are required to obey the unjust and unrighteous magistrate unless said magistrate is demanding disobedience to God.

    See that? The question is not the Christian’s obedience. The question is the justice or no of the magistrate.
    This is the statement that got this all rolling:

    Zrim, Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do. Christians don’t get a pass from civil law just because they follow a higher law. John Brown is no Christian hero.

    If Nero didn’t violate God’s law then he was acting justly. Unless you are prepared to maintain that the magistrate can unjustly uphold God’s law? Not secret providence, but revealed law? Do you really want to say that?

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  304. Sean says:”…The scriptures are covenantal documents preserved for the sole purpose of providing a record of God’s covenantal dealings with his people…”
    Is that so? The sole purpose? Well Robert happens to be correct.There are judgments galore of pagan nations all over the very overtly covenantal old testament. His examples are good ones. Jonah was sent to Nineveh. A pagan nation, and I’ll add that the book of Obadiah is the enscripturated judgement of YHWH against the heathen nation of Edom. (another for instance)

    Not to mention Judgements against other gentile nations, like Egypt, yet another for instance, even in the midst of the prophets delivering judgement upon Israel. What in the name of all that’s holy is the King of the universe doing writing scripture to all these non covenantal nations when Sean says He doesn’t?

    Sean falsely alleges for the 1000th time despite my numerous explicit denials: “…some imagined need of satisfying the Kuyperian impulse of claiming every square inch…”
    I do hereby fully and finally and hopefully for the very last time, declare that I am NO Kuyperian transformationalist. I am at odds with people in my own church over this. Kuyper’s Amsterdam is a sewer today and was well on it’s way barely a generation and change after his passing.

    The angel told Joseph that he shall call His name Jesus for He will “SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS”
    Not bring social justice and make the world a groovy art museum. I expect never again to see this charge from you Sean. I am taking a screenshot of this comment and it will be at the ready if you do.

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  305. Zrim says: “Robert, God doesn’t hold states accountable. He holds persons accountable.”
    What about persons who represent the state and have unilateral power of life and death on their lips? Does God hold them accountable for injustice for condemning a man that they themselves have declared innocent? Does God consider that to be sin or not? Or does somebody relinquish their moral agency upon taking public office because the office itself baptizes everything they do into into non-violations of God’s law?

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  306. Greg: I’ll go with the Westminster standard [of sin]. (no pun).

    Sure, we agree there. To wit, WLC 99, 137-139, and 149 are relevant here.

    Greg: We are not talking about the little mermaid though and you know it.

    I believe the perennial topic is The Wire, which I haven’t seen. I have seen The Sting, which is immoral not so much because it briefly shows a strip show, but because it tries for the entire movie to get you to root for theft, fraud, and revenge. Can’t beat Scott Joplin for a soundtrack, though.

    Greg: I took the long way home and it wasn’t fun, but I no longer try to find loopholes for worldliness and carnality. They do not impress God.

    You and Ali have a serious misunderstanding here. My point has never been to make loopholes for worldliness. Granted, my sin nature certainly desires to do so. But consciously and theologically, my point has been that your view of God’s Law is too small. I’ve been trying to nudge you to take more seriously that “we sin daily in thought, word, and deed.”

    Here’s one example. You rail against The Wire because it shows (I seem to understand) people engaged in sexual intercourse, most likely outside of marriage. And, you say, this is particularly egregious because the actors involved are actually engaged in intercourse themselves. Hence, you reason, this is porn and should be eschewed, and you are heartily appalled that DGH would watch much less recommend that show.

    At some level, I understand this. Since indeed you “took the long way home”, it makes sense (wisdom) for you to avoid that which tempts you. Per WLC 139, you wish to avoid “lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.”

    In all seriousness, keep doing that.

    But has it occurred to you that many of us who have been burned by Hollywood watch shows with one hand on the remote? That we can actually watch a show and skip the bits that don’t edify? Surely that thought hasn’t slipped your mind.

    So then we have to ask, “When you use God’s Law as an occasion to judge others for watching The Wire, are you using the Law lawfully?” James 4.11 – 12 says No.

    I see a zeal in you to protect your brothers who might stumble over sexual content. That’s a worthwhile concern, and you can fulfill that concern by making public service announcements as needed.

    Just beware of the dark side of zeal, which is to turn the Law into a cudgel. God’s Law to love Him and love neighbor is much larger than just refraining from naughty shows.

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  307. Actually Jeff, you’ve missed my main point almost entirely. I have to confess that it is a bit disheartening to see that you have paid attention to almost literally nothing I’ve said in this regard, but this is not the discussion in which to pursue it. I have not abandoned the other one either. I just haven’t had a chance to respond properly.

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  308. Greg, why is it impossible to say that a law restricting speech that upsets social order is just. You think this all the time. You just don’t like it if it is applied to Christians. But sometimes Christian speech upsets social order. The confession is all about magistrates upholding social order. And if that order is not a Christian one, the logic still applies. Uphold the social order. That’s why Paul says submit to the unjust emperor.

    And Paul proceeds, as Christians who are called to proclaim the gospel, to disobey the emperor when fulfilling his obligations as a preacher.

    But seriously, social order does not depend on whether Christians are free to talk and practice what they believe. It’s great if it does. But in lots of human history, government hasn’t protected Christian speech and worship. And what do you know, Christianity teaches submission.

    You though seem to think that if Christians are restricted, the social order is unjust. Laws passed by legitimate legislators are just in some proximate sense, just as law abiders are virtuous not in an ultimate but a proximate sense. If Christian endeavor for ultimate ends conflicts with social order for proximate ends, Christianity is a threat to justice.

    It’s a fallen world. Deal.

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  309. Greg, “here are judgments galore of pagan nations all over the very overtly covenantal old testament.”

    Let’s be accurate here. The wife and I just finished Jeremiah. The judgments galore is of God’s people. Hello.

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  310. Jeff Cagle says: I’ve been trying to nudge you and Ali to take more seriously that “we sin daily in thought, word, and deed.”

    I’m pretty sure you know we do Jeff. And also we ought convey the great remorse we ought have for such

    Justin J says: And I’m again lost with regards to the actual political/social/theological significance.

    You keep asking that as if truth doesn’t matter that much?
    1 Thess 2 13 the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

    Greg the Terrible says: I took the long way home and it wasn’t fun, but I no longer try to find loopholes for worldliness and carnality. They do not impress God.

    loopholes impress? Don’t you mean God is not fooled or mocked, Greg.

    Greg the Terrible says: The question is not the Christian’s obedience. The question is the justice or no of the magistrate.This is the statement that got this all rolling:
    Zrim, Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man.

    D. G. Hart says: Greg, “here are judgments galore of pagan nations all over the very overtly covenantal old testament.”Let’s be accurate here. The wife and I just finished Jeremiah. The judgments galore is of God’s people. Hello.

    Nero violated God’s law. All are judged galore.

    1 Thess 4 6 the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.
    2 Thess 1 perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.
    12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

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  311. Greg, I know you really want and need to be able to read the scriptures in an acovenantal manner, so you can abstract principles and imagine that God intended the ‘principles’, a highly dubious enterprise even when we keep the proper subjects, for use and implementation by non covenant members but it’s an illegitimate application of scripture. It’s a really basic first step that’s making it unavailable for that use, God didn’t covenant with them and provide them the scriptures for their use. Now, God has established offices and gifted officers for the covenant community for this very purpose but that’s for the equipping and building up of the Church. Any overlap is incidental to humanness not a key or interpretive grid that signals or grants permission for expanded use to the common state.

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  312. Greg, I’ll help you some more, let’s say a christian becomes a civil magistrate, he/she has an obligation to NOT make application of scriptural truths/norms for the covenant community to the common state. A common example of this around here is we don’t want the state taking to itself adjudication of heresy of either those within the covenant community or without. In a very broad stroke this is what the american revision of the WCF was distinguishing.

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  313. Greg, every person holds an office of some kind, from milkmaids and moms to magistrates and dads and no office gives any moral cover to those persons. But it’s not obvious how that translates into saying that God holds whole states accountable. I can go so far as to see how Pilate could be held personally accountable for having such a direct hand in an unwarranted death. But how Rome is somehow accountable isn’t clear.

    Still, even with such a concession I don’t see what’s gained by it because that’s not really even the point of the biblical witness. The point is actually that through an unjust death a just condemnation is circumvented. Feel free to blather on about how evil Christ’s state killers were (why, so you can apply the same outrage to your state about stuff you don’t like and feel justly pious in doing so?), but you’re not really emulating the biblical posture.

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  314. abstract principles and imagine that God intended the ‘principles’, a highly dubious enterprise even when we keep the proper subjects, for use and implementation by non covenant members but it’s an illegitimate application of scripture.

    160 The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.
    89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
    155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Your statutes.
    118 You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes, for their deceitfulness is useless. et more Psalm 119

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  315. Try this please DARRYL

    The following was a response I gave in a Facebook group a few weeks ago when asked if I looked forward to the judgement/fall of this nation. This addressee is a local Detroit Pastor who IS what you accuse me of. I don’t know what I have to do to disabuse you people here of the greatly mistaken notion that I am out to take the culture for Jesus. Try this please.
    —————————————————–

    “God’s discipline by purifying pagan persecution, His most preferred and long standing method, IS IS IS already well underway.

    WHOEVER wins the whitehouse IS God’s judgment. Our being reduced to these candidates IS God’s judgment.

    I could practically translate “United States of America” into Romans 1 (a bit too dynamic I know  :) ) without doing violence to the intent of the text.

    God does not love America. God is not blessing America. God has no special place in His heart for America. That is extra-biblical self delusion and deception on the grandest scale ever.

    I don’t actually care who wins this ultimately meaningless election. Either way it IS judgement and discipline. It’s Christ’s glory I’m concerned about, which is always brightest in His bride when she is most fiercely persecuted.

    It’s a whoring, world loving, backslidden, dark and rotting harlot church that has failed this nation by her life under the sheets with a culture she is commanded, not to engage, but to confront and call people out of. Has anybody taken a look at Kuyper’s Holland lately? It was inevitable.

    Do not misunderstand. I am learning all this the very VERY hard way. I am not setting myself up as some paragon of virtue and wisdom. God has the biggest paddle of all.

    And see, here’s the thang.. It requires no particular prophetic revelation to see any of this. It only requires honesty with the text and it’s application to what is CLEARLY before our eyes, no matter what it costs.

    It can’t cost me anything else, because He’s already taken EVERYthing. (Chris Brooks knows that whole story). Best thing that ever to happened to me, although it took a while to see it that way. He is a flawlessly faithful and wise Father indeed.

    Yes. I LOOOONG for a pure and powerful (two sides of the same coin) church where yes, even evangelism will be far more effective and stripped of all the crippling convenience and ease that she once held so dear, her priorities will be eternally adjusted.

    Most professing American Christians care far more about movies, television and sports than they do the things of God. You can tell by what they spend their time and money on.

    That is over no matter who is elected. God is going to grab His church by the ankle and drag her out of the world’s bed.

    I hasten to reiterate. It requires no particular prophetic revelation to see any of this. It only requires honesty with the text and it’s application to what is CLEARLY before our eyes, no matter what it costs.

    I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to see the worst/best of it, but some reading this certainly will. Your children will be far better off without the “American Dream” to seduce them like it has us ____[Local Well Known Pastor’s Name Withheld]____ .

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  316. Sean, I am outta ways to attempt to communicate with you. At least for now. Call it my fault if you must.

    Zrim says: “I can go so far as to see how Pilate could be held personally accountable for having such a direct hand in an unwarranted death. But how Rome is somehow accountable isn’t clear. “
    How bout Nero? Once yet again.
    This is the statement that got this all rolling:

    Zrim, Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do. Christians don’t get a pass from civil law just because they follow a higher law. John Brown is no Christian hero.

    Dr. Hart, who has on this very page accused me of INCONSISTENCY, has just told us that Nero, who was burning Christians for being Christians, AND the Christians he was burning were both obeying God’s law.

    Do you, or do you not concur with our beloved host?

    And, where have I said anything about the state being held corporately accountable in this exchange please?

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  317. Greg, I understand what Darryl is saying even if I wouldn’t say it in just that way. My sense is that his critics are looking for ways to get huffy, even to interpret his words to say things he really isn’t. At most, I think he’s simply posing questions to get 2k critics to think a little harder about some of their assumptions. Do any of you ever see how you come across like the OWS/BLM of Reformed Protestantism?

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  318. Zrim,

    Robert, God doesn’t hold states accountable. He holds persons accountable.

    Often the prophets aren’t preaching to specific individuals but generic groups. Assyrians, Babylonians, etc. Even Jesus and the Apostles can speak generally and against groups (“the Jews”).

    Do they mean every individual in those groups. Of course not. But if you can speak to groups, then there can be collective sin.

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  319. ZRIM, I promise you I am not trying to find fault for the sake of it. That is never my intention.

    As for what you think? I’d like to think that he is perfectly capable of articulating what he thinks. If his next post were to either clarify all this (a tall task, but I suppose possible) or simply say “ya know what? I didn’t think this through well enough and I’m revising my position in the following orthodox manner. ______________”

    Fine 🙂 Speaking for myself, nothing would overjoy me more. I’m not gonna tattoo this muddled unfortunate statement on his forehead for the rest of his natural. Lord knows, I wouldn’t want that done to me with some of the things I’ve said in the past.

    The problem is, he thinks it’ll mean an irreparable hit to his credibility if he does that. I say it’s just the opposite.

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  320. Greg, what if Christians disobey the magistrate who doesn’t use God’s law for the magistrate’s law? Paul says submit to the emperor. The emperor at the time was Nero.

    You never factor this into your “political theology.” The emperor burning Christians is the one Paul told Christian to obey.

    You don’t follow Paul.

    And he’s in the Bible (not on tv).

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  321. Greg, at some point your credibility will rise if you look at the biblical witness to believers submitting to unjust rulers. Nowhere does the Bible tell believers to calculate which rulers are just and which aren’t — and then obey accordingly.

    LESSER MAGISTRATES!

    THINK X 2!

    THINK X 100!!!

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  322. Dr. Hart asks: “Greg, what if Christians disobey the magistrate who doesn’t use God’s law for the magistrate’s law?”
    All just laws are derived from God’s law. As I said already ABOVE:

    “There is no such thing as a just law that is not derived from God’s nature and will reflected in His own law. Unless somebody can find me some autonomous creaturely righteousness among Adam’s children in the bible. “

    Therefore, all obedience to the just laws of the secular magistrate are by extension obedience to God Himself.

    All UNjust laws are NOT derived from God’s nature and will reflected in His own law. Nonetheless, the unjust magistrate and his unjust laws are to be obeyed, save only for when such obedience constitutes disobedience to God. This also is by extension obedience to God Himself.

    If the magistrate says I must drive 55 miles an hour, then I must. Driving 55 miles an hour is not sin. If he says I must teach my children that the sexual union of two men or women is a marriage, then I must not. This would be a grotesque dereliction of parental duty according to the opening verses of Ephesians 6.

    If a particular magistrate is just in some areas of jurisprudence, but demands sin in others, I am to obey him in all things wherein I am not required to sin and be prepared to bear the consequences of disobedience when I am. Call me crazy, but I’ll take those consequences over the consequences of defying God to His face.

    “You never factor this into your “political theology.” The emperor burning Christians is the one Paul told Christian to obey. “
    See the immediately above please.

    “Greg, at some point your credibility will rise if you look at the biblical witness to believers submitting to unjust rulers. Nowhere does the Bible tell believers to calculate which rulers are just and which aren’t — and then obey accordingly. “
    Darryl, are you actually saying that when the magistrates commands a Christian to disregard God’s revealed will, that God does not expect His people to calculate that He is to be obeyed rather than men in that case? Before I waste a bunch of time and screen-space positively devastating this incredibly unbiblical view, I’d like to make sure I’m understanding you.

    Are you proposing that there is never a time when a Christian is scripturally justified in defying the magistrate? Such as when the magistrate requires what would surely be sin were not the magistrate requiring it? Is that what you’re saying?

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  323. Greg, when are you going to admit that all of your comments about this matter skirt any mention of Romans 13:

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

    What I am saying is closer to that. What you are arguing would never allow Paul to write that with Nero in office.

    When will you admit that you haven’t THOUGHT this through? Paul doesn’t mention justice. He doesn’t mention God’s law. He doesn’t qualify the magistrate’s authority. They are God’s ministers – period.

    Think. Why would David, who was God’s anointed, refuse to take Saul’s life even while Saul was trying to kill him?

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  324. Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
    like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.

    I Peter 2: 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
    23 When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross so that, free from sins, we would live for righteousness

    William T Cavanaugh—“Killing in the name of God is the ONLY type of killing that could be legitimate….Locke enshrined the limits of human understanding in a political theory—and concluded that the claims of religion should not be allowed to interfere with the political….Lighten up, you fundamentalists. Taking God’s commandments too seriously causes violence. Learn to privatize your faith If you don’t, we will have to kill you.

    Martin Marty wanted to “allow” a public political presence for religion, but only after it is chastened by evidence of its divisiveness. Thus the dubious distinctions between the religious and the secular. …There is no reason to suppose that so-called secular ideologies such as nationalism and patriotism are any less prone to be absolutist, divisive and irrational than belief in the biblical God.

    After Noah with family was in the ark, Franklin Graham explained how the rain was a blessing from God for brothers baptized in the name of the Trinity living together in unity. This is why the prosperity preachers should be replaced by Arminian evangelicals who teach the law of what we must keep doing in order to accept what Jesus did and get the blessing.

    Mike Horton–“Covenant membership has caused us to share in God’s common grace, but if we respond in unbelief, we will bear the curses of the new covenant…To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. How can we fall under the curses of a covenant to which we didn’t belong? ” https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/kingdom-through-covenant-a-review-by-michael-horton

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  325. Darryl, I am saying this with no sarcasm and no joy actually at all. In fact, if I had a way, this is one of those things I would contact you about privately. This is becoming an embarrassment. A thing that I do not intend to capitalize upon, but with no way to do this privately, because you’ve never given me one despite numerous requests, I must still address what you’ve said here.
    ————————————————————————————
    “Greg, when are you going to admit that all of your comments about this matter skirt any mention of Romans 13:”
    It took me 60 seconds to find at least 4 times on this very page where I specifically mention Romans 13:
    January 14, 2017 at 10:42 am
    January 14, 2017 at 12:25 am x2
    January 14, 2017 at 4:22 pm
    January 18, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I also cited the Titus passage on January 14, 2017 at 12:25 am
    I would link them except this blog is set to trigger moderation after I believe one comment link. Which there’s nothing wrong with, I’m just explaining why I don’t link them. That’s number one. Number 2 is that this entire dialog has had Romans 13 as it’s perpetually presupposed backdrop. The conceptual environment without which it’s very existence would be meaningless. I cannot believe that you would deny that.

    “When will you admit that you haven’t THOUGHT this through? Paul doesn’t mention justice. He doesn’t mention God’s law. He doesn’t qualify the magistrate’s authority. They are God’s ministers – period. “
    This then forces me to re-ask my question just above that you did not answer:

    Darryl, are you actually saying that when the magistrates commands a Christian to disregard God’s revealed will, that God does not expect His people to calculate that He is to be obeyed rather than men in that case? …

    Are you proposing that there is never a time when a Christian is scripturally justified in defying the magistrate? Such as when the magistrate requires what would surely be sin were not the magistrate requiring it? Is that what you’re saying?

    If you’re not saying that then we agree and you’ll need to retract this line of reasoning. If you are saying that, then I will refute it, but before I waste a bunch of time and screen-space doing that, I’d like to make sure I’m understanding you correctly. Could I prevail upon you to answer that question please?

    “Think. Why would David, who was God’s anointed, refuse to take Saul’s life even while Saul was trying to kill him?”
    No sir, YOU think. This is a fatal confusion of categories here Darryl.. David and Saul were both members of God’s covenant community. Saul was the Lord’s anointed King and this was a theocracy where the King WAS the magistrate and the law of the land WAS the law of God.

    This in no wise analogous to 1000 years later when the occupying pagan Emperor was king and Roman law was the law of the land. The former is reporting the honorable esteem of one within the old covenant to a God ordained superior within that same covenant, and the latter is prescribing God pleasing interaction between the new covenant church and the unbelieving worldly authorities that she would be living under.

    I say again. It’s not that you’re a moron. It’s that you are stubbornly persisting in attempting to do what no man can do, which is to defend the indefensible. There is no dishonor in acknowledging that Darryl and I won’t throw it in your face if you do.

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  326. Just in case you are not now just trollin me, reread THIS please.

    In fact lemme just ask you directly. Is this a serious question…

    Greg, so you disobey God’s word. You refuse to do what Paul says. Submit to the unjust emperor.

    …or are you just eggin me on? Come on, tell the truth now 🙂 Seriously.

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  327. Submitting to the empire’s kingdom (a second kingdom other than the kingdom of Christ) does not mean that humans are approved sometimes in becoming the emperor or in killing for the empire by the command and standards of the empire. To the extent that you defend the right of the secular kingdom to refuse Christ’s commands, to that extent you exclude your right to be loyal to or to collaborate with the empire to which you submit.

    William T Cavanaugh—“Human life itself has no absolute value, but is always to be measured in relation to the will of God. The examples of the martyrs suffice to show that there are circumstances under which the preservation of life is not the highest value. The recognition that life is a gift of God sometimes require under certain conditions that a free gift of one’s life be made.The authors of the Old Testament taught also that obedience to the will of God sometimes requires one not merely to surrender one’s life but to kill. The Decalogue’s ‘‘You shall not kill’’ means that killing may be done only when God commands it. If it is ever justified for a human to kill a fellow human, it can only be out of obedience to the word of God”

    does the Roman death penalty get some sinners to “hell” quicker than other sinners, with no time for God’s forensic hearing?

    did the Roman murder of Jesus carry Jesus directly to “hell”?

    God’s decree that the Assyrians would kill many in Israel is not grace for those killed or for their killers.

    http://brandon.multics.org/library/Bill%20Cavanaugh/cavanaugh2004killing.pdf

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  328. Just in case you are not now just trollin me, reread THIS THIS please.

    In fact lemme just ask you directly. Is this a serious question…

    Greg, so you disobey God’s word. You refuse to do what Paul says. Submit to the unjust emperor.

    …or are you just eggin me on? Come on, tell the truth now 🙂 Seriously.
    ——————————————————
    (sorry, must’ve messed up the tags the first time)

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  329. I think the question is whether a Christian is ever justified in disobeying the government *and* the government is justified in punishing the Christian. This seems like it ought to be simple to answer, but thinking carefully about it the answer is perhaps more subtle than one would expect.

    First there are the (conceptually!) easy cases we can set aside so they don’t distract us:

    1) a ruler passes a just law (e.g., we have to drive less than 25mph in a school zone). Believers are obligated to pay.

    2) a ruler enacts an unjust law that does not require a believer to sin (e.g., Christians must pay an infidel tax). It seems to me that even though the law is unjust, we are still obligated to obey because paying the tax is forbidden by scripture.

    3) a ruler enacts an unjust law that does require a believer to sin (e.g., you may not teach your children about Jesus). Here the believe must disobey and be ready to suffer the consequences.

    Now here is the hard case. There are matters of conscience for believers that the individual must obey even if they are not universal. Let’s say I’m a believer and my faith is weak. My conscience forbids me from eating meat sacrificed to idols, so to do so would be sinful. Now let’s say a king decided to push national unity by having a mandatory feast day. Those who refuse will be imprisoned as enemies of the state. So in every precinct all must gather and join a feast where meat that was sacrificed to an idol is served. Obviously the Christian whose conscience accuses him must obey God rather than men. But what about a believer who works for the state? Does he sin by arresting his fellow believer?

    Perhaps this seems more than a bit farfetched. Maybe a more contemporary case might be a believer who cannotin good conscience serve in the military. During WWI, many American anabaptist were jailed for following God rather than men (if your conscience accuses you….). Were believers working as MPs sinning by throwing other believers in jail? Were the disobedient citizens sinning by following their conscience? It seems to me that the answer could be “no” to both. But I don’t see that the answer is simple or obvious. Not *everything* is black and white….

    It seems to me that Darryl’s point is that we are obligated to obey unjust rulers. When their unjust laws require us to disobey because we must obey God rather than men, perhaps the right models are Jesus before his accusers, David & Saul rather than Thoreau or Jay Sekelow. That seems like a good corrective given the current litigious (and combative) zeitgeist we find ourselves in. On the other hand we have examples from Paul (hey! I’m a Roman citizen…I appeal to Caesar) and Daniel (let me eat veggies & water instead). Not so simple….

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  330. I’d like to know if Darryl agrees that your easy cases are in fact easy SDB. Because they are roughly the same points I’ve made myself several times.

    “Not *everything* is black and white….”
    That may be true. Let’s say that your clever, statistically microscopic (if they exist at all) hypotheticals are valid for the moment. The question is whether Nero violated God’s law by burning Christians? The thrust of this whole dialog for days has been what amounts to the validity or no of your easy cases.

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  331. @greg I guess Im reading Darryl very differently. I read you to be imputing ideas to dgh and then demanding he submit tobyour interrogation. I remain

    As far as far fetched examples holywood just put out a widely acclaimed movie (hacksaw ridge) celebrating a sda who was a WWII conscientious objector (my grandad was as well and spent the better part of a year in POW camp for his trouble). They were fortunate in that they were allowed to serve unarmed. During the previous war they would have been imprisoned and in some cases executed. Strangely enough it is possible that no one in the situation was wrong.

    But we can consider other cases… state says you must by health insurance, but a believer’s conscience forbids her. State says you must provide birth control coverage to your employees, but a believer’s conscience won’t allow it. These are flashpoint issues now…not farfetched hypotheticals.

    Instead of posing as the grand inqisitor and getting exasperated that none of can get what your saying, perhaps you can engage on the interesting topic…

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  332. So was Nero ever right to execute Christians? Possibly if the capital offense did not require the believer to violate God’s law.

    But it doesn’t really matter. Nero was lost so nothing he did was from faith. Thus everything he did compounded his guilt. But he was only in power because it was God’s will, so believers were obligated to honor him and submit to his leadership. It was only OK to disobey if obedience required the believer to sin. Punishment for that disobedience or may not have been justified. Even when unjustified it seems the proper response has little in common with the spirit of this age…

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  333. Is this:

    “… Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do. Christians don’t get a pass from civil law just because they follow a higher law. John Brown is no Christian hero.”

    :a true statement or not?

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  334. Greg, I don’t see anything in your reflections that takes Paul in Rom 13 into account. And yet when I say I’m reading Paul, you tell me I’m watching too much television.

    And I thought I was the host here.

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  335. Dr. Hart asks: “Why don’t you admit you’re wrong. “
    I have no problem being corrected for a wrong view Darryl. In fact you will have my sincere and public thanks for being an instrument of the Lord in bringing me into more truth.

    “Where exactly did you not read P-I-L-A-T-E or J-E-S-U-S.”

    “VI. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: …”
    WCF I:IV


    What’s the second number? You can’t read it so there’s no way to know? There are inescapable implications from what you do have that make what isn’t explicitly there… well… inescapable. Same thing here. Yes, it absolutely is.

    “Greg, that wasn’t the question all along. “
    Ok, what is the question? Take your time, I know it’s Saturday night and there’s church tomorrow. Even days if needed. I WANT to understand you. I am willing to entertain the possibility that I’ve missed your point this whole time.

    I’m kicking myself now for not grabbing it when I had the chance, but I was in a hurry to get somewhere and now I can’t find it. It was a friend of a friend and it came up in my feed. A screenshot of that statement to Zrim is making some rounds on Facebook with the charge of being a non-christian view attached. People are watching this conversation and reaching the exact same conclusion that many of us here have Darryl.

    There’s no way I can blame you for not believing this, but that actually bummed me out. 😦 Of all the reasons for you to be scoffed at, a dopey easily rehabilitated statement like this is not a good one. It’s klillin me not being able to get an adjustment outta you. Even Steve, who lives in your pocket, cannot get fully onboard.

    I’m asking you please. Explain what you are trying to say here plainly. If I have misunderstood you, it will be my pleasure to say so. Honestly.

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  336. Greg, I am saying that I follow what Paul said in Rom 13. God wants his people to submit to those in authority, those whom he has established. When Paul wrote that Nero was in charge. Paul didn’t qualify his teaching with “but figure out if the guy in charge is just or moral.” He said submit.

    And I also know that sometimes Paul did not obey. He preached when told not to preach. So disobedience is sometimes possible.

    But Christians don’t get a pass from the law if they disobey. They don’t have a get out of jail free card because they have God’s word. Paul took his punishment just like his Lord.

    What’s so hard or shocking about that?

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  337. DG Harts says Paul doesn’t mention God’s law.

    doesn’t mention of God’s law? It’s Paul’s law then? Or Paul’s helpful suggestion?

    Christian worldview (from Romans 13):
    v2 resist authority = oppose God’s ordinance
    v1 there is no authority except from God
    v2 authorities that exist are established by God
    v6 rulers are God’s servants;v4 ministers of God for good
    v1every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities
    v7 render to all rulers what is due them: tax, custom, fear, honor
    (PS : Acts 5: 29 We must obey God rather than men.)

    btw, Romans 13 also does has verses 8-14
    v9 God’s commandment summed: Love neighbor as self (v10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor) 8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another

    v5 be in subjection, for wrath & for conscience sake
    v14 put on Jesus and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts

    Greg the Terrible says the question was:“… Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. :a true statement or not?

    Greg, I’m pretty sure those following know this was the question you were trying not to make sure not to be dodged

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  338. <