Sunday, July 24, 2005

Juvenile delinquency

One of the demagogic objections to God’s law is the Mosaic penalty for juvenile delinquency (Exod 21:15-17; Lev 20:19; Deut 21:18-21; 27:16). Those who hate the Bible deliberately misrepresent this penalty as though it meant that parents should execute a five-year-old who throws a temper tantrum.

That, of course, is not what is in view. What’s in view are young men. Don’t think preschoolers--think marauding street gangs who commit murder and mayhem.

And their particular crime takes the form of a direct assault on the institution the family. No doubt the severity of the divine penalty says a lot about the Biblical position on parental authority and the sanctity of the family in contrast to our own time and place.

The family was and is the fundamental unit of society. God took preventative measures to safeguard the integrity of the family. It is no accident that our own society is in a state of moral implosion because we, and especially the liberal elite, have disempowered parents.

Since I affirm the plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture, I do not distance myself from God’s word. What God once commanded cannot now be intrinsically evil or unjust. Indeed, the fact that he once commanded it shows it to be intrinsically right rather than wrong.

Speaking for myself, I regard the Mosaic penalty for juvenile delinquency as a logical extension of the creation mandates regarding marriage and family (Gen 1:28; 2:23-24). But I grant that godly men can differ over the degree of detailed continuity or discontinuity between the Testaments.

What, however, the church cannot allow are false teachers who simply rebel against God-given authority, and incite others to join them in their seditious ways (cf. Jude 4, 8),

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