Monday, August 01, 2005

We're from Venus, they're from Marcion

The good and godly Frank Turk, of CenturiOn fame, has taken issue with my humble post on “Covenantal cobelligerence.” His remarks are directed, both against the post itself and JD’s comments on the same. JD can answer for himself, and no doubt do so better than I. But since I posted it, I might as well explain my own intentions.

***QUOTE***

So in Genesis, Pharoah makes Joseph Prime Minister for being a prophet and we are going to equate that with what exactly in our current political affairs?

Nehemiah was a slave -- a cup-bearer -- to Artaxerxes, and because he served well (rather than what, I ask?) the King was pleased to give Nehemiah some freedom. This is analogical to what in our current state of political affairs?

Daniel undoubtedly prospered in exile, under God's punishment under the reign of Darius -- no question. In what way does Daniel's situation line up with the political situation we find ourselves in today?

***END-QUOTE***

Do these examples “equate” with our “exact” political situation? No. You’d be hard pressed to find an absolutely exacting moral application of Scripture to our current situation. If that’s the criterion, then the Bible is a museum piece, to be kept sealed away under a polished pane of glass.

No, rather, this is an argument from analogy—just as Frank’s Joseph typology is an argument from analogy, right? After all, he doesn’t suppose that the situation of Joseph is identical with the circumstances of Christ, does he?

So, what’s the argument from analogy? Well, at a rather obvious level, we have three Jewish statesmen serving in pagan regimes. All three rose to the very highest ranks of gov’t, just under the monarch. This is clear in the cases of Joseph and Daniel, who function in a prime ministerial capacity. It is also true in the case of the Persian cupbearers. As Yamauchi remarks:

***QUOTE***

Nehemiah would have been a man of great influence as one with the closest access to the king, and one who could well determine who got to see the king (Xenophon, Cyropaedia 1.3.8-9). Above all Nehemiah would have enjoyed the unreserved confidence of the king. The great need for trustworthy attendants is underscored by the intrigues that were endemic to the Achaemenid court. According to Ilya Gershevitch: “5 of the 13 kings seem to have been murdered, and at least half a dozen of them to have reached the throne through intrigues of their own or of others.”

Persia and the Bible (Baker 1990), 259-60.

***END-QUOTE***

Indeed, Xerxes, father of Artaxerxes, was murdered in his own bed by a royal courtier.

In addition, they managed to serve under heathen monarchs without hint of moral compromise on their part. Indeed, they were promoted and/or kept in office precisely because of their personal integrity.

Finally, the subjects of the realm undoubtedly benefited from their wise and upright policies. The citizens were better off for having observant Jews in gov’t than if the heathen had had the run of the show.

***QUOTE***

It's pretty hard to say that what any of these men did was "political cooperation" when all of them were essentially slaves -- even if they were finally high-ranking in government. Not one of them "chose" their lot as you or I would choose, for example, to work for this person or that company. The correspondence with what we can do and what we actually do today is loose at best.

***END-QUOTE***

This greatly oversimplifies the options. Isn’t a leading theme in the Book of Daniel that he and his friends were thrust into morally compromising and coercive situations where they were forced to choose between the path of least resistance and social promotion or defy their masters at the risk of their lives?

Is that not also the point with Joseph when he resisted the advances of Potipher’s wife and paid for it with imprisonment?

And Nehemiah was no doubt confronted with the same moral quandaries. No, they didn’t choose slavery, but that is precisely what sets these ethical dilemmas in motion: they would have to pay a very high price—or so it seemed—for doing the right thing.

They had no choice over their enslavement, but they did have a choice over the terms of their promotion. They were free to refuse preferment—at a cost—had they felt it to be morally compromising. And, in the end, they were promoted precisely because they were so honorable and uncompromising.

It’s seems to me that this is highly relevant to the debate over political activism and cobelligerence.

***QUOTE***

What is interesting is that they are examples that do not demonstrate the norm in the life of faith.

***END-QUOTE***

This makes the argument from analogy that much stronger rather that weaker. Anyone can be a saint surrounded by fellow saints. The acid test is how to conduct yourself without taint of moral complicity when the peer pressure is all against you.

***QUOTE***

Joseph was cut off from his family in order to save them…

***END-QUOTE***

Sounds like a perfect argument for ECB to me! Both believers (Jews) and unbelievers (Egyptians) were beneficiaries of Joseph’s far-sighted conservation policies.

***QUOTE***

…and were placed by God into positions that God would use to work out his plan.

***END-QUOTE***

Abraham Kuyper would agree—and universalize that very principle. We are all divine vessels—some fitted for honor, others for dishonor.

***QUOTE***

And because we are not in exile, we cannot behave as if we are in exile -- that is to say, subject to the ways and means of earthly powers.

***END-QUOTE***

I don’t know where Frank is going with this. How does saying that we’re not subject to the ways and means of earthly powers relate to, say, Rom 13?

***QUOTE***

That is why the promulgation of the Gospel comes first: because it is the power for salvation to everyone who believes.

***END-QUOTE***

Yes, and by the very same logic the gospel is not the power of salvation for unbelievers. So what do we do with unbelievers? Paul has an answer in 1 Tim 1:8-10.

***QUOTE***

In that, politics must be a result of the Gospel, not a method by which we are trying to get others to accept the (practical) truths of the Gospel.

***END-QUOTE***

A very confused statement. To begin with, who is arguing that politics is the way to make others accept the Gospel? Does Frank have any verbatim quotes from Land or Mohler or Dobson or Colson to that effect? The point of having laws is to protect the innocent.

In addition, where does the Bible ever teach that politics must be the result of the Gospel? This is nothing more than a pietistic piece of utopian bubblegum that has, for some strange reason, has gotten stuck on the soles—or should I say, souls?--of a lot of Evangelicals who ought to know better. It glues them to a warm, gooey state of moral paralysis in the face of evil. Time to get unstuck!

***QUOTE***

There is a political result of the Gospel; there is an earthly politic we can and should exercise as men in our right spirit and right minds. But it comes after the Gospel, not before it.

***END-QUOTE***

Really? Do men in their right mind and spirit need laws to restrain them from child rape and kiddy porn?

Why is it that otherwise intelligent Christians continue to blink in the face of reality?

11 comments:

  1. I want to thank Steve in advance for the time and energy he's spent here. FWIW, Steve: the title of your post is catchy, but I don't see your point. Nobody's rejecting the OT or the eternally-patented Trinitarian formula here.

    | The good and godly Frank Turk, of CenturiOn fame,
    | has taken issue with my humble post on "Covenantal
    | cobelligerence." His remarks are directed, both
    | against the post itself and JD's comments on the
    | same. JD can answer for himself, and no doubt do so
    | better than I. But since I posted it, I might as well
    | explain my own intentions.

    I'm sure he can and will. I was hoping you'd flesh this out some more so that I could deal with your own position than with a surrogate's thoughts on this matter.

    | Do these examples "equate" with our "exact"
    | political situation? No. You'd be hard pressed to find
    | an absolutely exacting moral application of Scripture
    | to our current situation.

    That is a very great place to start this discussion, btw: we agree on this point.

    | If that's the criterion, then the
    | Bible is a museum piece, to be kept sealed away
    | under a polished pane of glass.

    I agree with you in theory here. The criterion is not "if it's not line-for-line then it's useless": the criterion is "is it a sufficiently-correlating analogy or does it try to say more than it is able?" If we use the wrong standard of evidence, we will wind up putting the Bible in the stacks with other ancient texts.

    | No, rather, this is an argument from analogy-just as
    | Frank's Joseph typology is an argument from
    | analogy, right? After all, he doesn't suppose that the
    | situation of Joseph is identical with the circumstances
    | of Christ, does he?

    Of course not - but since you brought it up, why didn't I say the other two were topologically like Christ? I'm sure you wouldn't speak for me in this matter, so the answer is that the other two would be lousy analogies to Christ because they have almost no points of contact.

    When we reason by analogy, analogy has its limits because it is not the thing we are reasoning about - it is actually something different. But we can reason by analogy when two things are sufficiently-similar to make a correspondence between them.

    Robert Reymond, in his Systematic Theology, has said, "the success of any analogy turns on the strength of the univocal element in it. Or as Edward John Carnell has stated, the basis for any analogy is the nonagalogical, that is, the univocal."(97) I don’t think that Steve would disagree with that, but I say that to emphasize that analogy rests on the non-analogical correspondence between the thing itself and the object analogy used to describe it.

    I would propose that saying Joseph is a type of Christ is completely non-controversial – it is an opinion common in the study of Genesis. Does that mean that Joseph did all the things Christ came to do? Of course not. Does it say that Joseph’s work points to Christ’s work analogically? Yes.

    In that, we can discover what it takes to make an analogy sufficient. Do you want to talk about the univocal correspondence matter, or can we stick to this topic? :-)

    | So, what's the argument from analogy? Well, at a
    | rather obvious level, we have three Jewish statesmen
    | serving in pagan regimes. All three rose to the very
    | highest ranks of gov't, just under the monarch. This
    | is clear in the cases of Joseph and Daniel, who
    | function in a prime ministerial capacity. It is also true
    | in the case of the Persian cupbearers. As Yamauchi
    | remarks:
    | ***QUOTE***
    | Nehemiah would have been a man of great influence
    | as one with the closest access to the king, and one
    | who could well determine who got to see the king
    | (Xenophon, Cyropaedia 1.3.8-9). Above all
    | Nehemiah would have enjoyed the unreserved
    | confidence of the king. The great need for
    | trustworthy attendants is underscored by the intrigues
    | that were endemic to the Achaemenid court.
    | According to Ilya Gershevitch: "5 of the 13 kings
    | seem to have been murdered, and at least half a dozen
    | of them to have reached the throne through intrigues
    | of their own or of others."
    | Persia and the Bible (Baker 1990), 259-60.
    | ***END-QUOTE***
    | Indeed, Xerxes, father of Artaxerxes, was murdered
    | in his own bed by a royal courtier.
    | In addition, they managed to serve under heathen
    | monarchs without hint of moral compromise on their
    | part. Indeed, they were promoted and/or kept in
    | office precisely because of their personal integrity.
    | Finally, the subjects of the realm undoubtedly
    | benefited from their wise and upright policies. The
    | citizens were better off for having observant Jews in
    | gov't than if the heathen had had the run of the show.

    Let’s make sure we are clear what my concern is: I’m not denying that these men were in the highest circles of influence in their pagan cultures. I’m also not denying the historical facts surrounding the positions they held.

    I’m contending that their positions were not a result of their faithfulness to God but were "in spite of" their faithfulness to God. That is to say, for example, Daniel’s faithfulness to God got him thrown in the lion’s den – and Joseph's got him sent to prison. But God delivered them out of that suffering and into positions of power for His purpose. They were not contending to obtain political power but to honor God first.

    In that, these analogies do not correspond sufficiently to the topic of ECBs sufficiently to make a strong case in favor of. In saying that, however, I would also say that they make a starting place that demonstrates what kind of influence Godliness can have in a society.

    | ***QUOTE***
    | It's pretty hard to say that what any of these men did
    | was "political cooperation" when all of them were
    | essentially slaves -- even if they were finally high-
    | ranking in government. Not one of them "chose" their
    | lot as you or I would choose, for example, to work
    | for this person or that company. The correspondence
    | with what we can do and what we actually do today
    | is loose at best.
    | ***END-QUOTE***
    | This greatly oversimplifies the options. Isn't a
    | leading theme in the Book of Daniel that he and his
    | friends were thrust into morally compromising and
    | coercive situations where they were forced to choose
    | between the path of least resistance and social
    | promotion or defy their masters at the risk of their
    | lives?
    | Is that not also the point with Joseph when he resisted
    | the advances of Potipher's wife and paid for it with
    | imprisonment?
    | And Nehemiah was no doubt confronted with the
    | same moral quandaries. No, they didn't choose
    | slavery, but that is precisely what sets these ethical
    | dilemmas in motion: they would have to pay a very
    | high price-or so it seemed-for doing the right
    | thing.

    We agree in that much. There’s no way to say otherwise as far as I’m concerned.

    | They had no choice over their enslavement, but they
    | did have a choice over the terms of their promotion.
    | They were free to refuse preferment-at a cost-had
    | they felt it to be morally compromising. And, in the
    | end, they were promoted precisely because they were
    | so honorable and uncompromising.
    | It's seems to me that this is highly relevant to the
    | debate over political activism and cobelligerence.

    Ironically, I agree – but I think we reach a different conclusion. Please correct me if I misrepresent your position, but the question is not whether they were given the opportunity to have political power – because I’m not sure that I have advocated that Christians should never have political power (I have no idea what Steve Camp would say about that). The question is what these men did which obtained for them political power – and we would agree that it was living first by God’s law with integrity.

    Rather than seeking earthly power they sought God’s righteousness. That is my argument in a nutshell, Steve: seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and then all "these things" shall be added unto you.

    | ***QUOTE***
    | What is interesting is that they are examples that do
    | not demonstrate the norm in the life of faith.
    | ***END-QUOTE***
    | This makes the argument from analogy that much
    | stronger rather that weaker. Anyone can be a saint
    | surrounded by fellow saints. The acid test is how to
    | conduct yourself without taint of moral complicity
    | when the peer pressure is all against you.

    It makes the analogy weaker because it does not correspond to category. For example, Paul had the power to cast out demons and heal the sick, right? By analogy, can we say that Paul typifies the believer in this respect? No, we cannot: the analogy fails because Paul was an apostle – a man in an historically-special position in God’s plan.

    In the same way, Joseph was in a historically-special position; Daniel was as well. I do not see it as compelling to compare them to James Dobson – who, I think, you can admit cannot carry a theological bucket (I would argue that I have never heard him competently expound the Gospel) – or Fr. Frank Pavone (cf. he’s a Catholic Priest). If you want to make the comparison to Colson, I’m not sure I can argue with you about him. His blind ecumenicism is somewhat challenging, but his advocation of the Gospel in word and deed otherwise seems pretty sound. My point here is that there’s not enough categorical similarity to apply it to the ECBs. We might debate that on its own merits.

    | ***QUOTE***
    | Joseph was cut off from his family in order to save
    | them...
    | ***END-QUOTE***
    |
    | Sounds like a perfect argument for ECB to me! Both
    | believers (Jews) and unbelievers (Egyptians) were
    | beneficiaries of Joseph's far-sighted conservation
    | policies.

    It was not Joseph’s enacting of moral law which saved anybody: it was Joseph’s receipt of a vision from God, Joseph’s willingness to obey, and his ability (by position) to act out that vision which saved many. I am certain you’re not advocating that ECBs have gotten a plan from God to save the USA.

    | ***QUOTE***
    | ...and were placed by God into positions that God
    | would use to work out his plan.
    | ***END-QUOTE***
    | Abraham Kuyper would agree-and universalize that
    | very principle. We are all divine vessels-some fitted
    | for honor, others for dishonor.

    And I would agree with Kuyper – and the question is whether ECBs are for honor or dishonor. :-)

    | ***QUOTE***
    | And because we are not in exile, we cannot behave as
    | if we are in exile -- that is to say, subject to the ways
    | and means of earthly powers.
    | ***END-QUOTE***
    | I don't know where Frank is going with this. How
    | does saying that we're not subject to the ways and
    | means of earthly powers relate to, say, Rom 13?

    It relates in this way: Paul’s point in Rom 13 is that the Christian has nothing to fear from the earthly governor because the Christian, by calling, should live by a higher standard than the earthly power. In that, this passage reiterates Christ’s own message that we should not fear those who can punish the body and take life, but first we should fear the one who can destroy both body and soul (Mt 10).

    That’s not a license to do whatever you please and to disrespect authority: it is a call to live by a standard which meets the earthly standard by surpassing the earthly standard.

    | ***QUOTE***
    | That is why the promulgation of the Gospel comes
    | first: because it is the power for salvation to everyone
    | who believes.
    | ***END-QUOTE***
    | Yes, and by the very same logic the gospel is not the
    | power of salvation for unbelievers. So what do we do
    | with unbelievers? Paul has an answer in 1 Tim 1:8-
    | 10.

    I agree that the law is made for the purpose of the lawless – that is, that it is to curb their lawlessness. But when you were a lawless man, not touched by the Gospel, what did the law matter to you? I know it didn’t matter to me. In the end, what changed my behavior was not law but the Gospel, not punishment but grace.

    Undoubtedly, the Law pointed me to the Gospel – but we must maintain the distinction between God’s moral law and civil law which may or may not be based on those principles.

    | ***QUOTE***
    | In that, politics must be a result of the Gospel, not a
    | method by which we are trying to get others to accept
    | the (practical) truths of the Gospel.
    | ***END-QUOTE***
    | A very confused statement. To begin with, who is
    | arguing that politics is the way to make others accept
    | the Gospel? Does Frank have any verbatim quotes
    | from Land or Mohler or Dobson or Colson to that
    | effect? The point of having laws is to protect the
    | innocent.

    The confusion is in your representation of what I wrote. By disjoining the previous statement – "the promulgation of the Gospel comes first" – from the second statement – "politics must be a result of the Gospel" – you confront something other than what I was attempting to say.

    Maybe I said it poorly.

    | In addition, where does the Bible ever teach that
    | politics must be the result of the Gospel? This is
    | nothing more than a pietistic piece of utopian
    | bubblegum that has, for some strange reason, has
    | gotten stuck on the soles-or should I say, souls?--of
    | a lot of Evangelicals who ought to know better. It
    | glues them to a warm, gooey state of moral paralysis
    | in the face of evil. Time to get unstuck!

    What? I don’t think that John MacArthur is in a gooey state of moral paralysis, do you, Steve? I don’t think I am personally in a gooey state of moral paralysis, but you might disagree. I don’t think that Paige Patterson (such as he is) is in a gooey state of moral paralysis.

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about here, Steve. My view might be abused by some to do nothing but watch and pray, but that’s not at all what I’m talking about when I say "Gospel first, politics second".

    | ***QUOTE***
    | There is a political result of the Gospel; there is an
    | earthly politic we can and should exercise as men in
    | our right spirit and right minds. But it comes after the
    | Gospel, not before it.
    | ***END-QUOTE***
    | Really? Do men in their right mind and spirit need
    | laws to restrain them from child rape and kiddy porn?
    | Why is it that otherwise intelligent Christians
    | continue to blink in the face of reality?

    Well, I appreciate you saying that I am "otherwise intelligent". I’m pretty sure I haven’t been arguing for categorical libertarianism where the State has not right to invade "my privacy". And I’m pretty sure that I think that there are laws we ought to have that we don’t have. My point is that both of those political motivations are based on the Gospel first, and not as "and btw, I have a fish pin on my lapel".

    ReplyDelete
  2. Steve, would you consider yourself a reconstructionist? What is your eschatological viewpoint?

    ReplyDelete
  3. ***QUOTE***

    I want to thank Steve in advance for the time and energy he's spent here.

    ***END-QUOTE***

    And I want to thank Frank in advance for the time and energy he’s spent here.

    ***QUOTE***

    FWIW, Steve: the title of your post is catchy, but I don't see your point. Nobody's rejecting the OT…

    ***END-QUOTE***

    Aren’t they? One strand in the objection to ECB seems to treat OT law as entirely ceremonial, as if it were all typological and therefore fulfilled in the NT—in the sense that a shadow has fulfilled its function and vanishes from view once the sun it foreshadowed has risen above the horizon.

    The disclaimer would be a whole lot more convincing if critics of ECB spelled out, broadly speaking, what part of OT ethics carries over, in their opinion, into the New
    Covenant, and how, if at all, they think that should figure as a point of reference for the Christian magistrate.

    ***QUOTE***

    I’m contending that their positions were not a result of their faithfulness to God but were "in spite of" their faithfulness to God.

    ***END-QUOTE***

    Critics of ECB contend that ECB entails fatal moral and spiritual compromise. Now the fact that these OT saints could work with and under outright heathens without moral or spiritual compromise on their part goes to show that this is possible. So the analogy is pretty direct.

    ***QUOTE***

    They were not contending to obtain political power but to honor God first.

    ***END-QUOTE***

    True, but a false antithesis. The former can be a means to the latter.

    Irrelevant in any case. I’m more concerned with the effect than the cause. However they got there, once there they were able to do good without moral or spiritual compromise.

    In addition, their fidelity before they got there was a necessary, albeit insufficient condition, of their promotion.

    ***QUOTE***

    It makes the analogy weaker because it does not correspond to category. For example, Paul had the power to cast out demons and heal the sick, right? By analogy, can we say that Paul typifies the believer in this respect? No, we cannot: the analogy fails because Paul was an apostle – a man in an historically-special position in God’s plan.

    In the same way, Joseph was in a historically-special position; Daniel was as well. I do not see it as compelling to compare them to James Dobson – who, I think, you can admit cannot carry a theological bucket (I would argue that I have never heard him competently expound the Gospel) – or Fr. Frank Pavone (cf. he’s a Catholic Priest). If you want to make the comparison to Colson, I’m not sure I can argue with you about him. His blind ecumenicism is somewhat challenging, but his advocation of the Gospel in word and deed otherwise seems pretty sound. My point here is that there’s not enough categorical similarity to apply it to the ECBs. We might debate that on its own merits.

    ***END-QUOTE***

    I’m arguing for the principle, not any particular individual—although there are better personal examples, such as Kuyper.

    One might as well say that we shouldn’t preach the gospel because of bad examples like Copeland and T. J. Jakes and Benny Hinn.

    The source of the problem with Dobson and Colson is theological, not political.

    ***QUOTE***

    It was not Joseph’s enacting of moral law which saved anybody: it was Joseph’s receipt of a vision from God, Joseph’s willingness to obey, and his ability (by position) to act out that vision which saved many.

    ***END-QUOTE***

    How did Joseph act out that vision? By force of law. By the coercive authority and apparatus of the state.

    And he was acting in the common good—ultimately for the benefit of the elect, but with a spillover effect for the reprobate as well. And since the elect live among the reprobate, that’s necessary up-to-a-point.

    We also have a revelation from God. A revelation of God’s moral norms for personal and social ethics.

    ***QUOTE***

    It relates in this way: Paul’s point in Rom 13 is that the Christian has nothing to fear from the earthly governor…

    ***END-QUOTE***

    That’s one point but not the only point. You are confining your remarks to the role of a 1C Christian subject under the magistrate. What about the role of the magistrate over his subjects? And what about the role of a Christian magistrate?

    ***QUOTE***

    But when you were a lawless man, not touched by the Gospel, what did the law matter to you?

    ***END-QUOTE***

    This is an obvious overstatement. Not all sins are crimes—not even under the Mosaic Law. There are things that you and I would have done had we thought we could get away with it. But because they were illegal, it wasn’t worth the risk.

    And for those whom the law doesn’t deter the first time, it can deter the second time by taking them off the streets for the first offense.

    ***QUOTE***

    What? I don’t think that John MacArthur is in a gooey state of moral paralysis, do you, Steve? I don’t think I am personally in a gooey state of moral paralysis, but you might disagree. I don’t think that Paige Patterson (such as he is) is in a gooey state of moral paralysis.

    ***END-QUOTE***

    I’m not in a position to comment on MacArthur or Patterson. But, yes, I stand by my general allegation:

    i) It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to preach sermons against abortion or pedophilia or euthanasia or no-fault divorce only to immediately turn around and tell your flock: don’t you dare go out and actually do something about this social problem! Don’t you dare, as Christian citizens of a democratic republic, make full use of your Constitutional rights under the democratic process to pass laws that will deter this behavior!

    So we end up with a hortatory sermon devoid of application.

    ii) I don’t see that the critics of ECB are offering a positive, constructive alternative. They only have a negative position, a negative identity. Whatever else they may or may not be, they don’t want to come anywhere near “theonomy.”

    So I don’t see them explaining, at any particular level of either theoretical or practical specification, what part, if any part, of OT ethics carries over into the New Covenant, or how, if at all, Christians should seek to implement the moral law in state and federal law.

    When you ask them, you draw a blank. They simply change the subject and rail against theonomy and hypocrisy.

    So, yes, this is moral paralysis to a T. They stare into the approaching whirlwind, but are frozen in place because they’re terrified to have anything to do with “theonomy.” They don’t know what do with the OT, so they do nothing. They don’t believe in anarchy, yet they deploy arguments against the ECBers which would apply with equal force of logic to all criminal legislation and political activism.

    It’s all reactionary, not pro-active. Naysayers and gainsayers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Steve, I just noticed your "About Me" section on your profile (I'm very impressed). My question is answered.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jonathan,

    Due to the death of its pioneering leaders (Rush, Bahnsen) and splintering within its ranks, I’m not sure how to identify contemporary Xrecon. Originally, a Xrecon was a Van Tilian, postmil, Calvinist, and theonomist.

    I’m a Calvinist. I’m quite sympathetic to CVT, although I disagree with him on some things. I’m quite sympathetic to postmillennialism, but I’m a default amil. This would be in contrast to a doctrinaire amil like Kline or O.P. Robertson. Postmillennialism would be my fallback position. Premillennialism is not in the cards for me.

    As a matter of theological method, I prefer Murray’s point of departure in the creation mandates. But I believe that these can be mapped onto the Decalogue and, in some measure, the case law. I believe that the case law, except in obvious instances of culture-bound legislation, is still applicable, with suitable modernization, to the church age.

    In this I probably go further than someone like JD who subscribes to the general equity criterion found in the LBCF. That, in turn, goes back to Calvin’s grounding of the moral law in natural law theory and theology. But JD will have to speak for himself. He is simply reaffirming the classic Reformed Baptist position on the law and the magistrate, as over against the Anabaptist and Dispensational extremism.

    ReplyDelete
  6. See: I thought you wanted me to defend what I said, not to defend what every person with a criticism of ECBers has said. That's a pretty big boat, and I didn't build it or walk any of the animals into it, and I didn't see God shut the door. So I'm not really a great person to be the flashpoint of the controversy.

    Personally, I have criticized Camp's view here:
    http://centuri0n.blogspot.com/2005/07/campus-delecti.html
    It's a different approach than you have taken, but I think it's got a converging trajectory.

    I have to admit something: I have no idea whether I am a theonomist or not. I don't think the OT is reduced for us to types and shadows, I do think that the moral law has a bearing on all men -- believers and unbelievers included -- after the death/resurrection of Christ, and I don't think that Christians are to be political passivists.

    I'll do some brushing up on the matter of theonomy and get back to you on the rest.

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  7. How disappointing! Here I was hoping that you could play Noah to my Moses! All you have to do is to reconstrue the Noachian covenant Klinean-style while I reprise the role of Rutherford _Against the Pretended Liberty of Conscience_!

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  8. Thanks for the reply. It is interesting that most reconstructionists are Van Tillian, but CVT was never explicit about the issue.

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  9. centuri0n,

    I'm sorry I'm a lowly, inconsequential 'surrogate' :-)

    Anyway, I originally typed up a reply to your comments, but I see Mr. Hays has already done a superb job, and has made my efforts redundant. Perhaps he's _my_ surrogate ;-)

    Just to correct something Mr. Hays wrote, I'm a Three Forms of Unity man. I only cited the LBCF on Mr. Camp's blog because I assumed it would be relevant to _him_. I also cited it because of Breuss Wane's absurd idea that 'general equity' = theonomy. The idea that Reformed Baptists are theonomists because 'general equity' appears in their confession would come as a surprise to just about every RB I know. It would also come as a surprise to the Westminster faculty who coauthored a _critique_ of theonomy, since 'general equity' appears in the WCF as well.

    On the meaning of the 'general equity' clause in the Reformed confessions, here's an excellent historical overview by a _non-theonomist_:

    http://members.aol.com/RSICHURCH/expire1.html

    Of course, I'm already on record as saying that the theonomy issue is totally irrelevant to the ECB issue:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2005/07/christocracy.html#112292587158734654

    Any time you want to pick up the thread of our previous conversation is fine with me:

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2005/07/cursing-their-own.html#112241892565580772

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  10. JD:

    If using the term "surrogate" was out of line or came across the wrong way, I apologize. No offense was meant, but since it was made I ask for forgiveness.

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  11. centuri0n,

    No problem, and no forgiveness necessary. I just thought it was strange that you originally responded directly to me, as if you wanted my input, and then when Mr. Hays replied you expressed your satisfaction that you wouldn't have to deal "with a surrogate's thoughts on this matter" :-)

    In any event, I'm happy to sit on the sidelines and watch you two bat this one back and forth!

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