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Opening Statement: WHAT IS THEONOMY? [part one of six]
Caledonian Fire.org ^ | Jay Rogers

Posted on 09/04/2006 7:37:23 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

Opening Statement

WHAT IS THEONOMY?
By Jay Rogers

My opening argument is shorter than the space allowed. Since one of the main problems with debates on theonomy is the distortion of the theonomic position, I want to eliminate any misconceptions from the outset. However, I can do this by being brief and succinct.

What is theonomy?

Theonomy means literally, "God's law," or the belief that the moral laws of the Old Testament are still binding today. This idea states that only Old Testament laws specifically fulfilled in the New Testament are non-binding (such as sacrificial laws, ceremonial laws and dietary laws). The moral Law of God is still the ethical standard for governing individuals and society.

In discussing theonomy, we should first explain clearly what we are not talking about. We are not talking about salvation, but merely government of individuals in society. Salvation cannot come through the Law, but only by grace through faith. A Christian is not under the Law as a means of obtaining salvation; nor are we under the curse of the Law since we were justified by faith. Yet when modern evangelicals claim, "I'm not under the Law," what they often mean is that they are not in favor of it or they are not keeping it. Such a view is called: antinomianism (anti-Law) -- a heresy.

We should next distinguish between justification and sanctification. It is grace alone through faith alone which is the means of our justification and our sanctification. But the moral Law of God remains the measure of sanctification for the believer. Thus, grace is not merely a "covering for our individual acts of sin" but it is "power over all sin."

The moral Law of God, when codified as a basis for civil law, restrains the passion of the sinner (i.e., capital punishment is a deterent to violent crime). It also acts as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Knowledge of the moral Law of God brings individuals knowledge of sin. Then more may be converted through faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. How can we be saved unless we first know that we are sinners?

Theonomy implies the systematic theology of covenantalism: the belief that God operates through covenants, or eternally binding legal agreements; that there is no division between the Old and New Testaments; that the New Covenant includes the moral Law of the Old Covenant; that the Old Covenant required grace through faith in Jesus Christ as a means of obtaining personal salvation.

The system of government resulting from theonomy is called a theocracy: literally, "God's government." When we speak of a theocracy, it should be clear that we are not talking about a state run by a national church, or an ecclessiocracy, such as the Holy Roman Empire, or the totalitarian military dictatorships in Muslim fundamentalist states. In a true theocracy, the state does not control the church, nor the church the state, but both spheres of society are under the government of God. There is implied a decentralization of power or a "Christian Republican" form of government.

Opposed to theonomy and covenantalism is the system of dispensational theology proposed by J.N. Darby. Dispensationalism has become popular in the last 150 years through the Scofield reference Bible, which systematized Darby's teachings. Although dispensationalism is currently in vogue, it was not the theology of the reformers Luther and Calvin, the Puritans, the revivalists of the Great Awakenings, nor of great theologians of the 19th century such as Charles Spurgeon and Charles Hodge. It was the Protestants of the Reformation and the Puritans who developed the theology of covenantalism in modern times.

How Theonomists Differ from the Christian Right

The Christian Right may be criticized for putting an undue emphasis on "political solutions" and for not relying strictly on biblical law. Simply put: either we will have man's law or God's law as a standard for civil legislation. We are not looking for a "voice a the table" nor are we seeking "equal time" with the godless promoters of pornography, abortion, safe-sodomy subsidies, socialism, etc. We want them silenced and punished according to God's Law-Word.

Here is a brief list intended for the defense against the usual distortions, misunderstandings and apprehensions regarding some of the goals of Christian Reconstruction.

1. We believe that civil government is only one sphere of government. In fact, it is not even the most important one. We advocate regeneration first and only then reconstruction. We do not advocate revolution.

We are postmillennialists and believe that in the long term the majority of society will be saved or will at least outwardly conform to God's Law. Therefore, our goal is not to capture the political realm, but to work for regeneration of individuals and families at the local level and to reform the church by teaching correct doctrine especially in the area of biblical law. A brief perusal of Reconstructionist books will prove that this is the case. A few deal with civil politics. Most deal with families, the church and Christian education. Most of the early materials for home schooling children were written by Reconstructionists.

A little known fact: R.J. Rushdoony, aside from being the founder of Christian Reconstruction, is also the founder of the modern home schooling movement. Most people who deride the Reconstructionist movement for being "too political" don't realize that.

2. We do not advocate the domination of the church over the state. Nor do we want the state to dominate the church. We want both church and state to conform to God's law. Thus we advocate a "theocracy" -- the rule of God in society through His law. We do not advocate an "ecclesiocracy" -- the rule of the state by the church. We want both church and state to independently conform to biblical law.

How will this be accomplished? From the bottom up, not from the top down. We do not want the state to rule in our private lives. We do not want the state to educate our children or otherwise intrude into our families.

You may ask, In a biblically reconstructed society: Who will be able to vote? Who will be able to rule? Elections will still be determined by popular vote of the people and legislation will still be voted on by representatives. Communities will have been reconstructed through personal regeneration so that the majority of the electorate will be Christian or will hold to a "Christian philosophy." Therefore, the only people qualified to rule will be professing Christians who will uphold the moral law of God. This may be called a "theonomic representative democracy" or a "theocratic republic."

3. We recognize that someone must rule. Either the ungodly or the godly will rule. Take your pick. In a biblically reconstructed society, Christians would have the choice of rulers. This choice might be between a Baptist or a Presbyterian, but both would stand for biblical law. An antinomian or an atheist may run for office, but his views would be so unpopular that he would stand no chance of being elected.

Differing theologies among Christian rulers affect their view of civil law. But under a theocratic system, with a godly decentralized balance of power, civil rulers would not be able to interfere with the affairs of the church. While we believe that theology cannot be divorced from a man's view of civil politics, we do not believe that church polity can in any way be regulated by the civil government.

4. We recognize that the only standard for civil law is biblical law. Civil law must has some standard: either it is human autonomy (what man sees as right in his own eyes) or it is biblical law (what God declares to be right in His Word).

Some have objected that this would lead to the mass stoning of homosexuals and incorrigible children. Reconstructionists must emphasize that what we want is not strong rule by the federal government in determining these matters, but the freedom for individual Christians, families, churches, and local community governments to rule without interference from a centralized state. We believe that Reconstruction is from the ground up. Mass regeneration must precede Reconstruction. As more are converted to Christ, more individuals become self-governing. This leads to stronger families and churches and the ability of local communities to govern their own affairs. Thus the total numbers of cases of sodomy or of uncontrollable children would grow less and less. The state would rule in fewer and fewer cases.

5. We do not want any one religious denomination to dominate political life in America. The is apparent from viewing the Reconstructionist movement. Some are Baptist, some are Presbyterian, others Charismatic, Episcopalian, Congregationalist, Methodist, etc.

We are united on our adherence to a Puritan Social Theory, Biblical Law, Eschatology of Victory, Christian Dominion in Society, and Presuppositional Apologetics. We are all Protestants, but we have very different ideas in terms of theology. No person in a biblically Reconstructed society would be forced to adhere to any one denominational belief.

6. We do not want to return to Old Testament Law in its entirety. The New Testament has rescinded certain aspects of the Mosaic Law, such as religious ceremonies, feasts, and dietary laws. There are moral laws given in the New Testament as well. We believe that all of Scripture is the basis for law, not merely the Old Testament.

7. We believe that there are two biblically prescribed punishments enforceable by the state: execution and restitution. We do not believe in jail sentences. We believe in only the biblically prescribed punishments for violations of the moral law.

We do not believe that the state is the final arbiter in all matters pertaining to the moral law. Most of these cases would be resolved within families or within churches. However, only the state may execute criminals for capital crimes; only the state "bears the sword" (see Romans 13).

8. We want civil government to punish evil doers according to biblical sanctions. We want all moral laws of the Old Testament to be enforced according to biblical standards.

Some may object: Isn't this harsh? Isn't this barbaric? No, in fact it will lead to greater liberty for the godly. We want the ungodly punished according to God's Law-Word because it is what God prescribes. We have been conditioned according to a humanistic worldview to reject Old Testament law as "barbaric" or "outdated." God's law is not harsh, barbaric nor antiquated, because God is neither harsh, barbaric nor antiquated!

Main Premises of Theonomy

The general principles used by Reconstructionists with regard to interpreting the Law of God can be enumerated as follows:

1. God's law is eternal. Jesus said that not one jot nor tittle would pass away before heaven and earth passed away. This includes the laws of Moses.

2. Not all law is "binding" on Christians under the New Covenant. For instance, the obligation of sacrifices was satisfied when Jesus died on the cross. When Christ said: "It is finished," he died once for all our sins. Therefore, sacrificial laws are still valid (they have not passed away) but they have been fulfilled once for all. Other laws not considered binding have to do with cleanness and uncleanness, dietary laws, feast days, and religious ceremonies. These are still valid and have meaning, but both the laws and their sanctions have been fulfilled through Christ's death on the cross.

3. Old Testament Laws are no longer binding only if addressed by the New Testament. If a law was specifically addressed by Jesus or one of the apostles in the New Covenant as having an altered New Covenant application, then that law or category of laws, is no longer considered binding. In Covenant Theology, this is known as a "Covenantal Shift."

4. All "moral" laws are still in effect. The principle here is if the New Testament is silent on a moral law, then the Old Testament law is still binding. For instance, the New Testament says nothing about bestialism. Surely, no one would claim that that is no longer valid because it is in the Old Covenant. Moral laws do not need to be specifically "renewed" by the New Covenant to be binding. Jesus, in fact, renewed all of the moral laws.

5. The sanctions of the moral laws are also still in effect. However, all the major Reconstructionist thinkers argue that there has been a "covenantal shift" in regard to sanctions dispensed by the church and sanctions dispensed by the state. Only the state may execute criminals under the New Covenant. For crimes that come under the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical government, the church may excommunicate its members and pronounce imprecations (curses) on sinners. But the church may never execute its members. Here, the way the law is enforced has changed.

6. All the sanctions of the law are still enforced, but some are enforced in a different manner. Under the New Covenant, crimes against God (blasphemy, idolatry, etc.) are punished in a way that seems less harsh in this life, but in reality, being delivered over to hell with the church as a witness is a far more serious punishment.

Reconstructionists differ and argue about how the law is to be applied in some cases. We do not understand how to apply it in every case. Sometimes it might be difficult for us to understand. But does that make the Old Testament law invalid? Does that make it wrong, because we don't understand it, or it may seem harsh to our modern sentimentality? Absolutely not! The enemies of God's law like to argue that laws that do not seem right in their own eyes, cannot be valid. They say, "I cannot see how this could be true," or, "I accept this law, but I cannot accept that law." We need to be careful that we do not become a law unto our own selves. The standard is always the Word of God.

Common Questions on Theonomy

The points outlined above, are a fair and accurate description of Christian Reconstruction. This is by no means comprehensive, but it represents the main premises of theonomy as agreed upon by all major Reconstructionist thinkers. I obviously cannot answer all questions that have been posed about Christian Reconstruction in so short a space. However, here I will briefly answer some of the more common questions about theonomy:

1. In what specific sense, and to what scope, does Christian Reconstruction see Old Testament Law as applicable to modern society?

In general, all the moral laws of the Old Testament are still binding, while dietary and ceremonial laws are non-binding.

2. What practical means does Christian Reconstruction advocate for applying Old Testament Law?

Mainly through regeneration. Reconstructionists do not advocate a strong civil government. We advocate self-government with liberty.

3. Would theological "orthodoxy" be an area enforced by civil government?

No, absolutely not. This is the domain of the church.

4. Who would determine what is orthodox and how would it be determined? What penalties would be prescribed for heresy?

The church has the power of excommunication. One of our goals is to reform the church so that it becomes more uniform in doctrine and practices church discipline. This would be accomplished by advocating creedal orthodoxy (i.e., the patristic creeds of the church: Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian, Chalcedon). Beyond this we would like to see every church voluntarily adopt a confessional statement which outlines their theological views; their form of government; and other beliefs. We stand for a great deal of liberty in this -- the freedom to disagree on the "non-essentials." However, we believe that Protestantism with its emphasis on the sovereignty of God and salvation by grace through faith, will become more widespread in the world as time goes on. The Holy Spirit accomplishes this in men's hearts. It is not imposed externally, but comes by internal revelation through the Word of God.

5. How would Christian Reconstructionism define "freedom of religion"? Is this an "inalienable right" to be protected by the government?

Any person -- Jew, Moslem, Catholic, Protestant -- would be free in a Biblically Reconstructed society under the civil law to worship. The civil government has no power to restrict religion. The civil government has an obligation to see that all people obey the moral law as it falls into civil jurisdiction. Thus religious expressions which contradict the Ten Commandments would not be publicly tolerated. The domain of the church is to preach truth. Because Reconstructionists are postmillennialists, we believe that eventually, organized false religions will become rare, if not extinct. This will be accomplished mainly through the efforts of the church, not the state.

Is Theonomy Exegetically Sound?

The exegetical proof for theonomy is the Law of God itself. Theonomists could be described as "Puritan" in exegetical approach to scripture. That is, nothing else is needed to interpret scripture other than scripture itself.

If a law of God is stated in the canon of scripture then it does not need any further proof. We are presuppositionalists in assuming that the Word of God is the starting point and the conclusion to any questions or controversies that may arise. The Word of God on all points is presupposed, or believed ahead of time, to be true. We are not neo-orthodox or liberal in our approach to scripture.

That does not mean that the Law of God has not been the topic of fierce debate among conservative theologians. Many people who claim to be conservative scholars of the Bible have attempted to do away with much of the Law. Jesus himself prophesied the confusion that would arise in the church over the viability of the Law of God.

"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven "(Mat. 5:19).

According to Jesus, people who teach that the Law has passed away or is not exegetically sound, are to be called "the least in the kingdom of heaven."

Grace in no way rescinds or changes the moral mandates of scripture. The Law, according to Jesus, was magnified by grace, not done away with by grace: "He said to them, 'Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old' (Matthew 13:52).

Most Christians when faced with these proofs would heartily agree that the moral laws of God are still a standard of behavior. We must obey the Ten Commandments and the moral requirements of the Laws of Moses. The Old Covenant command: "Thou shalt not kill" still means: "Thou shalt not kill" in the New Covenant." The meaning and application of the moral Law has not changed.

Neither does the New Covenant advocate a lighter punishment for law breaking: "He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" (Heb. 10:28,29).

This is the area where theonomy runs afoul of critics: the application of the sanctions of the Law. Proponents of the anti-theonomic view want law with no sanctions. But ironically, without sanctions or punishments, there is no law. The position of theonomy is that wherever the civil magistrate had authority in the Old Covenant to punish wickedness, that authority still stands in the New Testament. There have been some changes regarding ecclesiastical authority because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, but civil authority has remained mostly unchanged.

This position has caused concern among many Christians, because theonomists advocate that many of the capital crimes of the Old Covenant are to be punished by execution, as they were in the Old Covenant. For instance, Deuteronomy 21 prescribes the execution for an unrepentant, incorrigible child.

"Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear." (Deut. 21:19,21).

This law may seem harsh and even barbaric to our modern sentimentality. However, we must realize that Jesus himself referred to this law as binding when he confronted the Pharisees:

"But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death" (Mat. 15:3,4).

Jesus referred to this law as though it had abiding authority. He did not comment on or rescind the command: "Let him die the death." This indicates that Jesus considered capital punishment to be binding in places where the Law refers to capital punishment as the sanction for violation of the moral law.

As followers of Jesus, we do not have the authority to change or rescind the Law of God merely because it does not seem right in our own eyes. Only Christ himself had the authority to do this. There has been a change in how the Law is applied in some cases, especially in the areas governing ceremonial observances. This "covenantal shift" is made clear in the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of the New Testament. But beyond what scripture says, we must remain faithful to the Law of God as unchanging and eternal.


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This is part one of a six-part article series. Parts two through six will be posted on successive days.

No one ever argues that the Bible commands us to be righteous in general. This article series makes the argument that the Bible gets more specific than that. Some Presbyterians follow the Regulative Principle of Worship - theonomy sounds like the same idea, but applied to the rest of life.

1 posted on 09/04/2006 7:37:25 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

Ping for later.


2 posted on 09/04/2006 7:52:39 AM PDT by ConservativeMind
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To: Alex Murphy

Theonomy -- not something I, nor any rational person, would want to live under.


3 posted on 09/04/2006 10:33:31 AM PDT by Junior (Identical fecal matter, alternate diurnal period)
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To: Alex Murphy

I'll stick with Torah, thanks.


4 posted on 09/04/2006 10:51:28 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: Junior
8. We want civil government to punish evil doers according to biblical sanctions. We want all moral laws of the Old Testament to be enforced according to biblical standards.

Some may object: Isn't this harsh? Isn't this barbaric? No, in fact it will lead to greater liberty for the godly. We want the ungodly punished according to God's Law-Word because it is what God prescribes. We have been conditioned according to a humanistic worldview to reject Old Testament law as "barbaric" or "outdated." God's law is not harsh, barbaric nor antiquated, because God is neither harsh, barbaric nor antiquated!

hoooo boy!

5 posted on 09/04/2006 10:52:42 AM PDT by King Prout (many complain I am overly literal... this would not be a problem if fewer people were under-precise)
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To: Alex Murphy
WHAT IS THEONOMY?

Sounds like nothing more or less than a Christian-flavored Sharia Law.

This position has caused concern among many Christians, because theonomists advocate that many of the capital crimes of the Old Covenant are to be punished by execution, as they were in the Old Covenant. For instance, Deuteronomy 21 prescribes the execution for an unrepentant, incorrigible child.

Coming soon to a stadium near you:

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6 posted on 09/04/2006 11:37:28 AM PDT by Ichneumon (Ignorance is curable, but the afflicted has to want to be cured.)
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To: Ichneumon
For instance, Deuteronomy 21 prescribes the execution for an unrepentant, incorrigible child.

Such as students continually interrupting class in order to inject peculiar religious dogma into science.

7 posted on 09/04/2006 12:01:15 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Junior
Theonomy -- not something I, nor any rational person, would want to live under.

Unlucky you.

8 posted on 09/04/2006 12:33:59 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator ('Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li)
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To: Alex Murphy; King Prout; Ichneumon; Junior
8. We want civil government to punish evil doers according to biblical sanctions. We want all moral laws of the Old Testament to be enforced according to biblical standards.

Some may object: Isn't this harsh? Isn't this barbaric? No, in fact it will lead to greater liberty for the godly. We want the ungodly punished according to God's Law-Word because it is what God prescribes. We have been conditioned according to a humanistic worldview to reject Old Testament law as "barbaric" or "outdated." God's law is not harsh, barbaric nor antiquated, because God is neither harsh, barbaric nor antiquated!

Chr*stianity that has to fall back on "old testament law" is no longer chr*stianity, at least of any genuine historical kind. Such chr*stians are to be congratulated for seeing the weakness in their religion and encouraged to continue thinking along those lines.

One of life's greatest ironies is that the "old testament" is more associated with chr*stianity than with Judaism, which has been relegated to the "enlightenment's" "canary in the mine shaft." In fact "old testament law" (ie, the Torah) IS Judaism, not chr*stianity. It's amazing that people can look at the Jewish People living in the Land of Israel and not make the connection. But then, "enlightenment" types feel more comfortable attacking chr*stianity than Judaism (which they look on as some sort of pluralist religion), so branding Judaism "chr*stian" makes it safe to attack it.

I am extremely uncomfortable with attacks on islam based simply on the idea that there is a true religion which all are bound to acknowledge. Only a person who denies the possibility of objective religious certainty would object to the idea of the True Religion winning out in the end, but a lot of so-called "religious people" are so permeated with enlightenment thought that they haven't even noticed that they have drifted into the "nobody knows for sure" school of religion, ie, that all religion is based on human subjective speculation and G-d has never spoken to man.

In an earlier thread today I quoted a Noachide web site (http://www.noahide.com/newsletter/news76.htm) against the notion that there is no objectively knowable religious truth, and specifically against the notion that Judaism is opposed to religious certainty. I will repeat that quote here for the benefit of those reading this thread:

Since the word "evangelism" specifically refers to Christian missionizing, the proper term for recruitment of gentiles to Torah religion would be "proselytizing." And proselytize Judaism does, even though the vast majority of Jews today absolutely don't know that.

The Hebrew Scriptures (Deut. 20) refer to the Torah rules regarding conquest of gentile lands and cities by Jewish armies. In verses 10-11, the chapter commands Jews to negotiate the gentile city's surrender; if the gentiles accept, they are to be reduced to permanently subjugated status. As explained in the oral traditions that accompany the text, such surrender must include acceptance of the Noahide Laws as their new religion.

Then, in verses 12-15, the passage tells Jews what to do if the gentiles don't accept the terms of surrender (including dropping their religion for the Noahide Laws). It commands the Jews to conquer the city, kill all males, seize the women and children as perpetual slaves, and plunder the city's material possessions. And verse 15 explicitly declares this applies to gentile cities anywhere in the world, not just near Israel's borders. In other words, the Bible potentially applies this to Rome, London, New York, and Los Angeles.

That's proselytizing by the sword, quite literally. And it's a primary Scriptural basis for the rules of Jewish Law regarding forced proselytizing of gentiles (to be Hasidic Gentiles, not Jews) as stated in the comprehensive work of Jewish Law written by Maimonides, the Mishneh Torah:

* In the volume entitled "Laws of Kings and their Wars," Maimonides states (8:10): "But [a gentile] who does not wish [to become a Jew and accept the more complex Jewish Law], we do not force him to accept [the full] Torah and commandments. Thus was Moses our Teacher commanded from the Mouth of the Al-mighty to force all inhabitants of the world to accept [instead] the commandments commanded to the children of Noah; and anyone who will not accept is executed."

* In the next chapter (9:2), Maimonides continues by stating that we are commanded actively to prevent gentiles even from carrying out certain non-punishable actions connected with idolatry — such as erecting a pagan ritual tree. This would include any Christmas tree, in public or private.

* Maimonides also states (10:9) that gentiles are forbidden to observe the Sabbath or to establish non-Torah religious holidays. "We do not allow them to innovate religious practice or to invent commandments for themselves from their own opinions; rather, either [the gentile] should be a convert to Judaism and accept all the commandments, or he should stand in his own Torah [of the Noahide Laws] and neither add to nor subtract from it. And if he delved into [forbidden parts of] Torah, or rested on a 'Sabbath,' or innovated any religious matter, we beat him and we punish him…" This is the action required to prevent gentiles from celebrating Christmas or Easter, for example, or from establishing Sunday (or Saturday) as a day of rest, or from inventing and practicing such ceremonies as baptism or communion.

But how are Jews to carry out these rules in a place like the United States, where government authorities prevent us from shutting down Christian or Muslim practices? That answer was provided by the Tosafos Yom Tov in his commentary on the section of the Talmud (or Mishnah, to be precise) known as "Pirkei Avos" ("Chapters of the Forefathers"). There (3:14) he quotes the teachings of Rabbi Akiva on this issue, who showed that the Torah commands Jews to proselytize gentiles by force of persuasion, especially when proselytizing by the sword is not physically possible. We are commanded to teach gentiles the Noahide Laws and their implications — including not to erect Christmas trees or crosses, not to celebrate such holidays, etc. — and to use aggressive verbal persuasion and pressure to convert gentiles away from Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam to becoming Hasidic Gentiles.

In our own times, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, one of the great scholars of Torah of our generation, argued vociferously and constantly (from about 1980 until his stroke in 1992) for Jews to make this proselytizing of gentiles our top priority, literally.

And there's no question that such verbal persuasion is likewise a duty of Hasidic Gentiles, who must also go forth and pull other gentiles out of false religions.

Read it and weep. Oh, and "but that sounds like the muzzies!" is not a valid criticism.

9 posted on 09/04/2006 12:49:14 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator ('Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li)
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To: Zionist Conspirator

But how are Jews to carry out these rules in a place like the United States, where government authorities prevent us from shutting down Christian or Muslim practices? That answer was provided ... the Torah commands Jews to proselytize gentiles by force of persuasion, especially when proselytizing by the sword is not physically possible. We are commanded to teach gentiles the Noahide Laws and their implications — including not to erect Christmas trees or crosses, not to celebrate such holidays, etc. — and to use aggressive verbal persuasion and pressure to convert gentiles away from Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam to becoming Hasidic Gentiles.

In our own times, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, one of the great scholars of Torah of our generation, argued vociferously and constantly (from about 1980 until his stroke in 1992) for Jews to make this proselytizing of gentiles our top priority, literally.

And there's no question that such verbal persuasion is likewise a duty of Hasidic Gentiles, who must also go forth and pull other gentiles out of false religions.

Read it and weep. Oh, and "but that sounds like the muzzies!" is not a valid criticism.

Oh brother.
10 posted on 09/04/2006 1:04:55 PM PDT by jennyp (WHAT I'M READING NOW: your mind)
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To: jennyp
44:42 - I have tasted the darkness and ignorance of unbelief, and disobedience to my Creator... as well as the light and perception afforded by true faith in God, and obedience to him. And I assure you that there is no comparison. And that despite - or rather because of - the atmosphere of battle in which we live, and the continuing conflict with the forces of the crusaders and their hired hands, I thank God every day for guiding me to Islam. And guiding me to join its victorious army. Inshallah. For were it not for His grace, I could very easily have been one of those unfortunate souls, fighting the losing battle for the other side. Or blindly leading de life of debt, debauchery and doubt they call "the American dream." Ahendneiallahacumadindinadaadialoulaahahdannanoallah. All praise is due to God who guided us to this, and had God not guided us we would not have been guided.

I have discovered that true happiness is to be found in obedience to God's orders and prohibitions, and in the following of His prophet, peace be upon him. And not in western-style hedonism and immorality or amorality. Nor in eastern-style monasticism or cultist-like withdrawal from the world.

And I can state with a confidence born out of experience, and observation, that as long as a person persists in unbelief and atheism, his or her pursuit of happiness will be exactly that: a pursuit. A never-ending search which is guaranteed to bring him misery. If not in this life, then in the next.

By that, I mean to say that even if he does happen upon some degree of happiness today, it is guaranteed to be short-lived, ending at his death. And you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that eternal happiness is better than the fleeting delights of this world.
- Adam Gadahn, latest video


11 posted on 09/04/2006 1:12:25 PM PDT by jennyp (WHAT I'M READING NOW: your mind)
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To: Junior
Theonomy -- not something I, nor any rational person, would want to live under.

Yep. Sounds like just another totalitarian scheme for running other people's lives. Or should I say "ruining"?

12 posted on 09/04/2006 1:50:00 PM PDT by balrog666 (Ignorance is never better than knowledge. - Enrico Fermi)
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To: King Prout

Is it okay to call THESE people theocrats?


13 posted on 09/04/2006 3:14:34 PM PDT by stands2reason (ANAGRAM for the day: Socialist twaddle == Tact is disallowed)
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To: Alex Murphy; Jim Robinson
8. We want civil government to punish evil doers according to biblical sanctions. We want all moral laws of the Old Testament to be enforced according to biblical standards.

-snip-

This position has caused concern among many Christians, because theonomists advocate that many of the capital crimes of the Old Covenant are to be punished by execution, as they were in the Old Covenant. For instance, Deuteronomy 21 prescribes the execution for an unrepentant, incorrigible child.

So much for a Free Republic.

Jim, how is this more acceptable than advocating socialism, which would get a poster banned? Is this what you want from your website?

14 posted on 09/04/2006 3:30:08 PM PDT by stands2reason (ANAGRAM for the day: Socialist twaddle == Tact is disallowed)
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To: Alex Murphy
It's amazing that people reflexively denounce theonomy when it is a conservative worldview that simply says men should abide by the moral laws of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Theonomy simply acknowledges there is God's law...and then there's everything else. And this is the point where the debate ought to begin.

The people yelling the loudest here are those who see the world in shades of gray.
15 posted on 09/04/2006 3:48:50 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: King Prout

"With liberty and justice for some."


16 posted on 09/04/2006 3:52:18 PM PDT by Junior (Identical fecal matter, alternate diurnal period)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
Unlucky you.

If I have a say, no one will ever be forced to live under this Christian version of Sharia law.

17 posted on 09/04/2006 4:04:17 PM PDT by Junior (Identical fecal matter, alternate diurnal period)
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To: Junior; Alex Murphy
I doubt most of the people here have read the article.

3. Would theological "orthodoxy" be an area enforced by civil government?

No, absolutely not. This is the domain of the church.

Egads. Living by the word of God. What an affront to our humanism.
18 posted on 09/04/2006 4:07:25 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: stands2reason

not on weekends.


19 posted on 09/04/2006 4:28:47 PM PDT by King Prout (many complain I am overly literal... this would not be a problem if fewer people were under-precise)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Some have objected that this would lead to the mass stoning of homosexuals and incorrigible children. Reconstructionists must emphasize that what we want is not strong rule by the federal government in determining these matters, but the freedom for individual Christians, families, churches, and local community governments to rule without interference from a centralized state. We believe that Reconstruction is from the ground up. Mass regeneration must precede Reconstruction. As more are converted to Christ, more individuals become self-governing. This leads to stronger families and churches and the ability of local communities to govern their own affairs. Thus the total numbers of cases of sodomy or of uncontrollable children would grow less and less. The state would rule in fewer and fewer cases.
Nice way of sidestepping the question. The answer to "wouldn't this lead to mass stonings of homosexuals & incorrigible children?" is, "Um, er, well, there would be less and less of that as time went on."

Halleluiah!

20 posted on 09/04/2006 4:42:19 PM PDT by jennyp (WHAT I'M READING NOW: your mind)
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To: jennyp; Alex Murphy

His answer was accurate. The spread of the Good News of Christ risen has a positive effect on individuals, families, societies, nations and the world in general.

Theonomy simply says we must begin with the family to create strong and upright members of society in order to improve that society.

I don't think that's such a bad thing.

Theonomy presupposes there is a right and Scriptural method of living which is more "correct" than all others. Now we can debate what that "more correct" position is, but as a society it is good that we at least acknowledge that some "optimum method of living" does, in fact, exist.

It's the humanists and socialists who want us to think there are no absolutes. Certainly no absolutes given by God.



21 posted on 09/04/2006 4:50:53 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Considering it is demonstrably not the Word of God one could safely say that resort to this form of law would be living by the word of men. And the word of those men is antithetical to liberty and justice.


22 posted on 09/04/2006 4:52:09 PM PDT by Junior (Identical fecal matter, alternate diurnal period)
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To: Junior; Alex Murphy
What in this essay is not "the word of God?"

I think sometimes we fear theonomy because it is too much the word of God.

I sure can understand that. We all fall far short.

23 posted on 09/04/2006 4:54:56 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Junior
If I have a say, no one will ever be forced to live under this Christian Jewish version of Sharia law.

There. Fixed it. This would outlaw, not only Christmas Trees and Crucifixes, but Crosses and Sunday worship as well.

24 posted on 09/04/2006 5:07:33 PM PDT by NathanR (Après moi, le deluge.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
3. Would theological "orthodoxy" be an area enforced by civil government?
No, absolutely not. This is the domain of the church.

This still sounds like Sharia, where the church IS the civil government.

25 posted on 09/04/2006 5:11:29 PM PDT by NathanR (Après moi, le deluge.)
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To: jennyp
Thus the total numbers of cases of sodomy or of uncontrollable children would grow less and less.

It's called breeding out undesirable traits.

26 posted on 09/04/2006 5:11:39 PM PDT by js1138 (Well I say there are some things we don't want to know! Important things!")
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To: Junior
If I have a say, no one will ever be forced to live under this Christian version of Sharia law.

I'm not a chr*stian.

Can't you atheists ever get it through your heads that chr*stians didn't invent G-d, the Bible, the six-day creation, or the idea of a holy conquest? Are you really that ignorant?

You're obviously still rebelling against Mommy and Daddy for making you go to "sunday school."

And besides, I thought you evolutionist FReepers only objected to creationism and had no objections whatsoever to the other components of religion. Maybe you're just against religion period, and should admit it.

PS: The meaningless, random process that created the universe doesn't care about what kind of society you live under. You "atheist" idealists seem to have some latent "theistic" crusader in you.

27 posted on 09/04/2006 5:13:44 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator ('Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li)
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To: NathanR

Who cares what the definition of Sharia is? It's not theonomy.


28 posted on 09/04/2006 5:23:57 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Alex Murphy
Then more may be converted through faith in Christ as Lord and Savior

Um, no they can't. If there is "limited atonement," you can't have more conversions. There is a predetermined number of atonements and no more.

29 posted on 09/04/2006 5:54:29 PM PDT by Larry Lucido ("There's no problem so big that government intervention can't make it worse.")
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Is the reason, simply because you do not recognize "Allah" as the one true god? Or is there some other reason. It sure looks like a "theonomy", to me.


30 posted on 09/04/2006 5:58:05 PM PDT by NathanR (Après moi, le deluge.)
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To: Alex Murphy
but to work for regeneration of individuals and families at the local level and to reform the church by teaching correct doctrine especially in the area of biblical law

Work for regeneration???????????? Do I hear Spurgeon spinning in his grave?

31 posted on 09/04/2006 5:58:29 PM PDT by Larry Lucido ("There's no problem so big that government intervention can't make it worse.")
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To: Zionist Conspirator
Can't you atheists ever get it through your heads ...

T'ain't an atheist. If you can't even get the easy stuff right, why should we trust you on anything else?

32 posted on 09/04/2006 6:00:32 PM PDT by Junior (Identical fecal matter, alternate diurnal period)
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To: Alex Murphy
Communities will have been reconstructed through personal regeneration

Going to Amazon to get my copy of "The Complete How-To Guide To Personal Regeneration."

33 posted on 09/04/2006 6:02:07 PM PDT by Larry Lucido ("There's no problem so big that government intervention can't make it worse.")
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To: Junior
Theonomy -- not something I, nor any rational person, would want to live under.

Would be very very bad IMHO!

34 posted on 09/04/2006 6:02:30 PM PDT by RadioAstronomer (Senior member of Darwin Central)
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To: Alex Murphy
...reconstructed through personal regeneration so that the majority of the electorate will be Christian..."

Oh great, now we will have 'personal regeneration' camps in remote areas for all those who don't conform. How is this different from North Korea or Iran?

35 posted on 09/04/2006 6:11:16 PM PDT by Cruising Speed
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To: stands2reason
Under the New Covenant, crimes against God (blasphemy, idolatry, etc.) are punished in a way that seems less harsh in this life, but in reality, being delivered over to hell with the church as a witness is a far more serious punishment.

Oh, that will be of comfort to Catholics who are stoned for idolatry. And to blasphemers who watch South Park.

One more reason to take the Second Amendment seriously and to keep one's powder dry.

36 posted on 09/04/2006 6:12:29 PM PDT by Larry Lucido ("There's no problem so big that government intervention can't make it worse.")
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To: Cruising Speed

It's worse than that. With the possibility of "personal regeneration" (whatever the hell that is), apparently Calvinism is now down to only one or two points.


37 posted on 09/04/2006 6:15:23 PM PDT by Larry Lucido ("There's no problem so big that government intervention can't make it worse.")
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To: Zionist Conspirator

The quickness with which you resort to insults and intimidation belies your claim to care about others.


38 posted on 09/04/2006 6:18:29 PM PDT by Cruising Speed
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To: Zionist Conspirator

Really? The Catholics didn't create a definitive (if not unique) Bible by a deliberate act? So, what part of the Council of Nicea did I miss?


39 posted on 09/04/2006 6:20:25 PM PDT by balrog666 (Ignorance is never better than knowledge. - Enrico Fermi)
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To: RadioAstronomer

You just have to break a few eggs to make the omelet.


40 posted on 09/04/2006 6:43:04 PM PDT by js1138 (Well I say there are some things we don't want to know! Important things!")
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To: Elsie

A ping just for you.


41 posted on 09/05/2006 11:08:29 AM PDT by balrog666 (Ignorance is never better than knowledge. - Enrico Fermi)
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To: Junior
T'ain't an atheist. If you can't even get the easy stuff right, why should we trust you on anything else?

I notice you avoid like the plague my simple statement that Theocracy, the Bible, and holy wars predated chr*stianity (to which you wish to attribute all these things). But maybe you think the Book of Genesis was composed by a few rednecks in Louisiana?

42 posted on 09/05/2006 11:47:36 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator ('Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li)
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To: Cruising Speed
The quickness with which you resort to insults and intimidation belies your claim to care about others.

How in the world can you help being a bit insulting when faced with morons who think that the Bible is chr*stian, that Joshua was a Southern Baptist, that chr*stianity is a statutory religion while Judaism is not, and that the sole purpose of the Jewish people is to be the "enlightenment's" "canary in the coal mine?"

43 posted on 09/05/2006 11:52:06 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator ('Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li)
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To: Alex Murphy
Would-be tyrants like this are why we have the 2nd Amendment.

We advocate self-government with liberty.

Right. You are free to do exactly as I say.

44 posted on 09/05/2006 11:57:34 AM PDT by ThinkDifferent
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To: All

Discuss the issues, don't make it personal.


45 posted on 09/05/2006 12:00:46 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Larry Lucido
Oh, that will be of comfort to Catholics who are stoned for idolatry. And to blasphemers who watch South Park.

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but Catholicism has created many more "theocracies" than any form of Protestantism ever has. In fact, to this day ultra-rightwing Catholics insist that all mankind has a statutory obligation to observe "the true religion," though even then most people are going to fry in hell for all eternity anyway (since you have to work your own way in and most people aren't good enough to make it).

Any time chr*stianity, whether Protestant, Catholic, or any other kind, advocates "theocracy" or rule by "Biblical law" it is taking a step backwards from its original anti-Torah rebellion. What this all proves is that the anti-Torah rhetoric of all forms of chr*stianity eventually turn into hypocrisy.

Judaism (Noachidism for non-Jews) is a statutory religion based on Divine Law pure and simple, with no need to manufacture an antinomian argument (which would eventually have to be discarded anyway) in order to overthrow a previous revelation. The Messianic Era, the Kingdom of G-d on earth, will see all mankind governed by Divine Law. That's what messianism is all about.

I know you guys think that by treating Judaism as if it were never implicated in Biblical Theocracy, as if it were a purely liberal "enlightenment" religion, that you are paying it a compliment ("unlike chr*stians, Jews have never done any of that reactionary Theocratic stuff!"). Unfortunately, it isn't a compliment, and your stealing Jewish concepts and attributing them to chr*stianity is merely another form of theological anti-Semitism. Credit where credit is due, please.

46 posted on 09/05/2006 12:14:45 PM PDT by Zionist Conspirator ('Ani Ledodi Vedodi Li)
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To: Zionist Conspirator

What the hell are you yammering about? I don't want any religious nutcases in charge, period. I'll take a laissez-faire constitutional republic, and then worship the way I want.


47 posted on 09/05/2006 12:26:12 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: ThinkDifferent

Exactly. (See my #36).


48 posted on 09/05/2006 12:28:23 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Alex Murphy
 
Theonomy means literally, "God's law," or the belief that the moral laws of the Old Testament are still binding today.
 
Too bad.......

The law and the gospel
 

     The Law is the do’s and don’t’s of moral behavior. God gave the Law so that people would have a guide to live by and a standard by which they might recognize God’s purity and their sinfulness. There are 613 commandments in the OT They oversee moral, judicial, and religious behavior.
     The Law is a reflection of the character of God because the Law comes forth from the very heart of God. The Bible says out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt. 12:34).  When God gave the Law, He was speaking out of the abundance of His heart. He was speaking from what was in Him. Therefore, the Law is good, pure, right, and holy. It is wrong to lie, because it is against God’s nature to lie. It is wrong to steal because it is against God’s nature to steal.
     This Law, then, by its very nature of coming out of the heart of God, and being spoken to men, is a standard for human conduct, a perfect standard. Because it was perfect, and we are not, it is impossible for sinful people to keep. It was for this reason that the Law became a stumbling block. It became an obstacle to Man because it is an unattainable perfect standard. The Law, then, brings about the opposite of what it requires. The Law says to be perfect, but shows you where you are not. It says to be holy but condemns you when you are not. Since it is not possible for us to keep the Law and therefore earn our position with God, we then need the holiness of God given to us -- because there simply isn’t any way for us to attain to the standard of God. Therefore, "...the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith," (Gal. 3:24). That is, the Law shows us that we can’t get to God by what we do. We need the grace of God in Christ Jesus manifested in His sacrifice. 

  1. The Law reveals our sinfulness.
    1. "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin," (Rom. 3:20).
    2. "What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘Do not covet,’" (Rom. 7:7).
  2. The Law is for those who are not under grace.
    1. "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God," (Rom. 3:19).
    2. "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace," (Rom. 6:14).
  3. The Law justifies no one.
    1. "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law," (Rom. 3:20).
  4. The Law makes no concessions; it makes demands.
    1. "Cursed is every man who does not abide by everything written in the book of the law to perform them," (Gal. 3:10).
  5. The Law is spiritual: It works on the Spirit, not on the body.
    1. "For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh," (Rom. 7:14).
    2. "Thou shalt not..." applies to the heart, not the body.
  6. We are made righteous in God’s eyes by grace apart from the Law of God.
    1. "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law," (Rom. 3:28).
    2. "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
    3. "know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified," (Gal. 2:16).
  7. The Law brings judgment.
    1. "...because law brings wrath," (Rom. 4:15).
  8. The Law prepares us for the gospel
    1. The Law shows us that the free gift of the gospel is the only way to attain righteousness.
    2. "The law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith," (Gal. 3:24).
      1. Being saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8) is only found in the Christian religion. Only Christianity has the message of free, unearned, grace.
  9. The Law is for the ungodly.
    1. "But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God," (1 Tim. 1:8-11).
  • The Law differs from the gospel in:
    1. The manner of revelation.
      1. The Law is revealed in the hearts of man.
        1. "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts..." (Rom. 2:14-15).
        2. It would be impossible to convert anyone if the Law had not been written on their hearts because the Law reveals sin (Rom. 3:20).
      2. The gospel is by direct revelation; it is not written on the heart.
        1. "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand," (1 Cor. 15:1).
    2. Contents.
      1. The Law tells what people are to do (our works). It makes demands (Deut. 27:26).
      2. The Gospel reveals what God is doing (God’s work). Therefore, it makes no demands on us except faith (Rom. 6:23).
      3. The Law is the list of do’s and don’t’s (Exodus 20)
      4. The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
        1. It contains grace and truth (John 1:17) because the gospel is about Jesus.
    3. Promises
      1. The Law and the gospel both promise eternal life:
        1. The Law by complete obedience to all its commands (Lev. 18:5; Luke 10:26).
        2. The gospel by grace unconditionally (Rom. 3:22-24, Eph. 2:8-9). It demands nothing, makes no threats. It removes from sinners the desire to sin.
  • Effects of preaching the Law.
    1. It tells us what to do, but does not enable us to do it. This can frustrate us because we cannot keep it!
    2. Reveals to man his sins. It offers no help to get him out; hurls man into despair.
      1. "...I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet,’" (Rom. 7:7).
    3. It brings to our awareness damnation, hell, and hopelessness.
      1. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear," (Isaiah 59:2).
      2. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree,’" (Gal. 3:13).
  • Effects of preaching the gospel.
    1. It demands faith and gives it to us.
      1. "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ," (Rom. 10:17).
    2. It does not reprove the sinner.
      1. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," (Rom. 8:1).
    3. It does not require anything good for man to do either in heart, mind or body because it is a free gift.
      1. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Rom. 6:23).
  • Who the Law and the Gospel are preached to.
    1. The Law is preached to sinners, those secure in their sin.
      1. "But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching," (1 Tim. 1:8-10).
    2. The Gospel is preached to those who are alarmed, frightened, smitten by the law; to those who are made thirsty for the Gospel message.
      1. "...through the law we become conscious of sin," (Acts 4:20).
      2. "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith," (Gal. 3:24).

LC
 
Most of us would rather be ruined by praise,
 than saved by criticism.

49 posted on 09/05/2006 1:36:50 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going....)
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To: Ichneumon

Now this I can agree with you about! ;^)


50 posted on 09/05/2006 1:37:45 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going....)
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