Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WHEN TWO REFORMED PEOPLE TALK

I hope that my fellow Reformed brethren will get a good laugh out of this, while at the same time I hope it will show us the vital importance of charity. -- Josh Brisby

Here is what it sounds like when two Reformed people talk:

Calvin: "Hello, my name is Calvin. What's your name?"

Knox: "My name is Knox. What is your confession?"

C: "Why, the London Baptist Confession of Faith."

K: "Mine too! But which edition?"

C: "Why, 1689, of course!"

K: "Mine too!"

C: "What eschatology do you hold to?"

K: "I'm postmillennial."

C: "Really? Me too!"

-Great! But what prophetic school do you hold to?

-I'm an idealist.

-Great! Me too! Are you Sabbatarian?

-No, I believe the Sabbath is a Christian liberty, fulfilled in Christ.

-Great! Me too! That is so rare in Reformed circles; it's so nice to find someone I agree with on the Sabbath issue.

-Exactly. But what is your view of the law?

-Well, I'm of course covenantal, so the moral law is still binding.

-I'm a covenant theologian too! I believe the moral law is binding too! But are you theonomic?

-No way! Theonomy is incorrect.

-I think it is incorrect too!

-But are you infralapsarian or supralapsarian?

-I'm infra.

-Me too! Besides, all the orthodox Calvinists are infra. The hyper ones are supra.

-Right!

-What about the ordinances? Do you mind calling them "sacraments"?

-Of course not. They are means of grace.

-So you agree that the sacraments are effectual means of salvation?

-Even as Keach's catechism says, yes, when blessed by the Spirit of God. In a manner of speaking, they are effectual.

-I agree in a manner of speaking too!

-But do you mind calling the Table the Eucharist?

-No, I think that is a good and helpful term.

-Great!

-So I assume then that you are not a Zwinglian memorialist, but a Calvinist suprasubstantiationist, right?

-Absolutely!

-Wow!

-WOW!!!

-Do you hold to the regulative principle?

-Of course!

-Great! But are you a cessationist?

-Yes, of course!

-Me too!

-But are you a strict subscriptionist or a moderate subscriptionist?

-Well, I'm still studying the issue . . . but I lean a bit toward the moderate subscription position.

-THEN YOU ARE A HERETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007

A CRITIQUE OF THEONOMY, part 3

As we close our critique of theonomy, let me say that, I of course do not claim to have the last word on the matter. Could I be wrong? Absolutely--I could be wrong. I also know that as human beings, we influence each other more easily than we even know. So, if I am wrong, may the Lord open my eyes to see that I am wrong. So where do I stand on this issue?

I BELIEVE IN GOD'S LAW

I believe in God's Law, and I think the best book demonstrating a theology of the state, and even more, is Vern Poythress' The Shadow of Christ In the Law of Moses. To be fair, Bahnsen responds to this in his book No Other Standard, in which he claims that Poythress is kind of a theonomist, but one with a severely weak view of theonomy. That may be, but the concerns remain that we avoid a flat type of hermeneutic.

Finally, I would refer the reader to not only the above book, but also to the brief article found at www.reformed.org by G.I. Williamson entitled "Some Thoughts On Theonomy", as well as John Frame's excellent article in Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, called "The One, The Many, And Theonomy". Frame (in his usual style) speaks of the benefits and problems of both theonomy and intrusion ethics.*

Until next time brothers and sisters, this is the unconvinced of theonomy non-theonomist Josh Brisby, signing off. :0)

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*Intrusion ethics is the popular view of Meredith Kline, which sees the Mosaic Covenant as a temporary intrusion into history of eschatological judgment. Since, Kline argues, it was a temporary intrusion, we should not model today's state after it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A CRITIQUE OF THEONOMY, part 2

Finally, I am back. So sorry this has taken so long. My family and I have been very busy moving, dealing with our sick children, etc. Finally, here is the long awaited part 2.

QUESTIONS FOR THEONOMISTS

I have decided that, instead of directly critiquing theonomy, I would be on the safer side to ask some questions of theonomists which, at this point, keep me as a non-theonomist.

*What sort of case would you make to prove that God desires that, in the New Covenant era, the civil magistrate enforce His Law, along with the Old Covenant penal sanctions? In other words, how do you know this is the case?

*How would a theonomic state not lead to a kind of outward formalism when it comes to religion? In other words, if the laws were based on the Old Covenant civil sanctions and crimes, then would one have to be a Christian? How would this relate to idolatry if you would say they would not have to be?

*In the Old Covenant, apostasy was punishable by death, as was idolatry. How would theonomy not be very similar to the kind of Muslim states that we have now? Would it be different? How?

*If you don't believe that apostasy or idolatry are applicable as civil and capital crimes in the New Covenant era, then why not?

*Would Christianity be considered the "state religion" in theonomy? Granted that most theonomic literature says this is not the case, how would it not be the case, or why not? If it should, then how would you guard against an outward formalism in religious matters?

*Granted that there is a difference between the theonomic thesis and the application of it, nonetheless, when all is said and done, and where the rubber meets the road, we must ask about application now. Having said that, can you tell me what a theonomic society would look like, with specific applications, and tell me why you think so? Can you tell me why you don't think certain other serious applications (particularly apostasy and idolatry) would not be upheld?
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The above questions I recognize are not a direct critique of theonomy, but perhaps they are indirect critiques, inasmuch as I do not think theonomists have yet adequately dealt with these important concerns. These are a few of my concerns, but we can see why, at this point, I remain unconvinced of theonomy.