Theonomy or Antinomianism?

Black or white. Right or wrong. Sin or giving glory to God. One theonomist recently said, “But one thing is certain — play (like the rest of life) is never neutral.” If there is one area of a Christian’s life that shouldn’t be neutral, it is one’s understanding of the Word of God. But does taking a firm stance on a point of doctrine necessarily mean that it is God’s stance? Or does it mean that all Christians who don’t agree with you are evil? Theonomists usually label every Christian who does not agree with their position on the Law of God as antinomian — without law. Are these the only two positions possible or, like the false dilemma of patriarchy vs. feminism, is a theonomy vs. antinomianism a false dichotomy as well?

One of the films that was shown at the recent San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF) is called “In Defense of God’s Law.” This doctrinal presentation by Scott Eash also features clips of other prominent theonomists teaching various aspects of theonomy. I have recently been made aware that many Christians don’t really know what theonomy is, so I have decided to critique the biblical teaching aspects of this DVD. First, we will look at the position of theonomy according to this movie. While we were at a Reformed church, our pastor never taught us directly his doctrinal beliefs such as reconstruction, dominion theology, and theonomy, but as I listened to the teachings on this movie, I realized that we had still been heavily indoctrinated in theonomy, to the point where I felt that all this material was so familiar it was second nature to me and I found it extremely easy to follow, often being able to predict exactly what they would say next.

Let’s begin with the movie’s main assumption that a Christian must be either a theonomist or antinomian. I will explain the theonomist’s position, according to the movie, and then we will look at God’s Word and see what it says. The structure of the movie was rather awkward, so I will be discussing it in an order that is easier to follow. This is intended to be an overview here and not an in-depth study.

Let’s start with a theonomist’s definitions. Theonomy is a combination of two words: God and law; therefore theonomy simply means God’s Law. Antinomianism has the same root (nomy = law) and anti means against, so antinomianism is simply against God’s Law. Theonomists believe that these are the only two possible positions one could take and the whole movie is defending the position of theonomy against what they believe is the position of the antinomian. Theonomy can take several different views, so we will deal with the position presented in this movie. This version of theonomy is that while the ceremonial laws have been abrogated, all the other laws of the whole Bible still apply to us, and not only to Christians, but to all people for all time, all civilizations, nations, and governments. They call this remaining portion of God’s Law, moral law.

They also state that there are five definitions of the word “law” in the Bible:

1. The 5 books of Moses (the Law and the Prophets)
2. The Mosaic Covenant
3. The moral law of God
4. Legalism (there is no Greek word for legalism, so Paul uses “law” when he means legalism)
5. Legal principles of action (i.e., the law of the spirit of life)

The Old Testament word for law was Torah which, in Hebrew, means “to give direction, to teach, to instruct.” Therefore, God’s Law gives direction to every area of our life.

This movie claims that the Biblical structure of the Law is divided into the moral section, which includes the civil or case laws, and the ceremonial, which was abolished. As proof for these two distinctions, they use the following verses:

Ps. 40:6-8 “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”

Prov. 21:3 “To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”

Are these verses proof that God’s Law is divided into two categories: moral and ceremonial? They go on to state that Scripture teaches that the moral law still applies but the ceremonial laws were for the Old Covenant, which is now passed, but they do not say where Scripture tells us that the moral laws still apply. The ceremonial laws, by their definition, include the priesthood, the sacrifices, their rituals (feasts, baptisms, saying certain prayers, wearing certain articles, etc.), and dietary laws, and were all illustrations that pointed to Christ. They gave several Scriptures to support that these laws no longer apply, such as Heb. 10:1, Eph. 2:13-15, and Heb. 9:10. Since the ceremonial laws were abolished, they claim that it logically follows that the moral laws should still be obeyed. (Do they stone their rebellious children?)

To further illustrate the division of Law in God’s Word, they gave a picture of a tree. The roots are the two greatest commandments. From those two commandments come the Ten Commandments, which are like the trunk of the tree. From there, all the case/civil laws “branch” off. To demonstrate that you can’t have the Ten Commandments without all the other laws (except ceremonial), they ask how we can subscribe to a summary of all the case laws, but not the case laws themselves.

How are we to use the case/civil laws in today’s world? By meditating on them day and night, we will be able to discern the underlying principles of each law which will give us direction for a particular decision. Our goal should be to discern moral principles from the moral laws and then extrapolate principles of justice, according to this movie. One teacher stated that this was the flexibility and glory of the principial approach of God’s Law to life. In other words, instead of looking at the plain teaching of the verse, we are to search for the underlying principle and, with much flexibility, apply it to our modern lives. Are you beginning to see how theonomists interpret Scripture now?

These civil laws also apply to all governments today because of Rom. 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

As proof that obedience to God’s Law is an essential part of the Christian life, they began this movie by appealing to the authority of people like Calvin and Webster, who states in his 1828 dictionary that “moral law is the law of God which prescribes the moral or social duties, and prohibits the transgression of them.” They go on to appeal to the tradition of our American heritage, saying that much of God’s moral law is written right in our own Constitution. They also quote several Old Testament passages showing various people who loved the Law of God.

Four reasons why the Law of God must be obeyed today:
1. God’s moral standards never change; they are based on God’s character.

Heb. 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

I’m sure we all agree that God never changes. Now notice how they put these two verses together:

Rev. 15:4 “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested.”

Rom. 7:12 “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.”

And their conclusion is that since God’s moral law is a reflection of His character (verse?), therefore God’s moral law cannot change, because God doesn’t change. In other words, in the above two verses, since God is holy, and God’s Law is holy, and since God doesn’t change, therefore God’s Law cannot change either. They say they cannot change because they reflect the transcendent, immutable, eternal character of God Himself that cannot go away. (With this reasoning, does it follow that since we are a holy nation, and we are to be holy even as He is holy, that we will never change either?)

These next few verses are intended to show another reason why the moral law hasn’t changed:

Jam. 4:12 “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.”

Is. 33:22 “For the LORD is our Judge,
The LORD is our Lawgiver,
The LORD is our King;
He will save us;”

So because the Lord is our Lawgiver, and He doesn’t change, therefore His Law wouldn’t change either, according to this reasoning. There was progress of revelation in the giving of the Law, but one unchanging Law.

Ps. 119:160 “The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”

Is this verse talking about God’s Law or His judgments?

They do agree that the ceremonial laws did change. I wonder if they were not a reflection of God’s character? They do rightly state that every law is eternal for all time unless God changes it.

Since the moral law of God is a reflection of God’s nature, they then conclude that the moral laws must also be universal, applying to all men, in all places, for all times.

2. The only alternative to theonomy is autonomy is the second reason why they say we must obey the Law of God today. Here we go again with only two options. Autonomy has the same root again (nomy — law) and auto means self, so autonomy is self law, or those who are a law unto themselves. Man decides for himself what is right or wrong. If we don’t follow every law in the whole Bible, except for the ceremonial, we have become our own lawgiver and create our own moral standards. Since God’s Law must be the only standard of right and wrong, and they claim that autonomy is the only alternative to God’s Law, and we would all agree that autonomy is wrong, therefore we must obey God’s Law.

3. The New Testament writers affirm the continuance of God’s Law according to the following verses:

Rom. 3:31 “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.”Rom. 8:3-4 “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

I Jn. 2:4 “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Rom. 7:7 “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.'”

Rom. 7:16 “If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.”

Rom. 8:7-9 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

I Tim. 1:8-11 “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”

I like this last one especially: “We know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully.” I think that’s what we need to determine.

4. Jesus affirms the continuance of God’s Law.

Jn. 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Matt. 5:17-19 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

They say that Jesus did not change God’s Law in the Sermon on the Mount; He was rather correcting misunderstandings in the Oral Law, as evidenced by His use of the words “You have heard that is was said” rather than “It is written.” Jesus was giving the authoritative interpretation of the Law as it was originally intended by God. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is not introducing any new moral standards, He is sweeping away the traditions of men, putting to rest the Oral Law, and restoring for His people the true meaning of that moral law.

The Purpose of the Law:

1. The Law of God reveals to us the righteous nature of God.
2. The Law convicts men of sin.
3. The Law teaches the Christian man the way of righteousness; it shows us how to walk as Christians.
4. The Law teaches the righteous standards for society.

I wonder what God’s Word says is the purpose of the Law? They state that from the very beginning, God’s Law was designed to be the standard of ethics, therefore the Law must continue to apply to all nations today.

Eight misconceptions they apply to “antinomians”:

1. Antinomians believe that the Law of God was designed for OT Israelites only.

Their reply: If the Law of God was not intended for Gentiles, why did God punish Gentiles for breaking His Law? See these examples:

Lev. 24:22 “You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the LORD your God.”

Deut. 4:6-8 “Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?”

Is. 51:4 “Listen to Me, My people;
And give ear to Me, O My nation:
For law will proceed from Me,
And I will make My justice rest
As a light of the peoples.”

Lev. 18:24-25 “Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants.”

And Sodom and Gomorrah. Why did God destroy them if not for breaking God’s law? They claim that Israel was to be an example for all other nations. “The moral law is not a local Hebraism. The Ten Commandments are not new revelation. Adultery did not become wrong on Mt. Sinai. Not even the Sabbath became law on Mt. Sinai. Honor your father and mother was not a new concept when the Ten Commandments came around. This is very important because the moral law of God has always existed.”

More proof that the Law of God was not given only to the Israelites:

Gen. 1:28 (The Dominion Mandate) “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”

Gen. 26:4-5 “And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”

It is implied in Gen. 6 in the account of why God destroyed the earth with a flood.

These verses logically imply, they claim, God’s moral standard always applied. Therefore God intended His Law to be obeyed by other nations and not only the Jews.

2. Antinomians believe that the Law was designed as a means to obtain salvation, but Christians are saved through faith, therefore the Law doesn’t apply to us.

Their correct response: God did not intend for His Law to be used as a means of salvation. No one has ever been saved by obedience to the Law. Justification is by faith alone.

3. Antinomians believe that Jesus did away with God’s Law.

Their reply:

Matt. 5:17-19 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus said He didn’t come to destroy the Law. He fulfilled the Law in three ways:
1. He kept the Law.
2. He set forth the true meaning of the Law.
3. He fulfilled the prophecies of the Law, both verbal and typological.

They interpret the above verse to mean that those who will be great are those who are committed to doing and teaching even the least of the Old Testament commands (like tithing their spices?).

4. Antinomians say that the Law restricts our freedom in Christ.

Gal. 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”

They claim that antinomians interpret this verse to say that the Law of God is the yoke of bondage, but their interpretation is that Paul is only referring to a corrupted view of the Law here.

Where do we get our liberty?

Ps. 119:44-45 “So shall I keep Your law continually,
Forever and ever.
And I will walk at liberty,
For I seek Your precepts.”

Jam. 1:25 “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

II Cor. 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

Gal. 3:13 “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),”

They noted that this verse says that we are free only from the curse of the Law and not from the Law itself. The other verses are intended to show that our liberty comes from keeping the Law.

5. Antinonmians say that strict obedience to the Law is legalism.

Their reply: Was David a legalist when he delighted in the Law of God? Was Jesus a legalist when He said to obey His commandments? Was Paul a legalist when he said he loved God’s Law?

I Tim. 1:8 “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,”

They say that if we use God’s Law lawfully, it is not legalism.

So what is legalism then? Legalism is not about law, it is using God’s Law in a way He never intended for man to use it. (Great definition!)

There are four facets of legalism:

1. Attempting to earn salvation
2. Emphasizing the letter of the Law without regard for the spirit of the Law, which results only in outward performance
3. Emphasizing human effort rather than obedience by the Spirit’s power
4. Adding human tradition to the Law of God

God doesn’t call us to legalism; He calls us to obedience. We need to obey because we love God.

6. Antinomians claim that we don’t need the Law which is written in the Scriptures because the Law is written on our hearts.

Their reply: God places His Law on our hearts. Does that mean that we should appeal to our hearts? God’s Law is flawless, but we are not flawless. We cannot depend on the Law written on our hearts because our hearts are wicked. Our conscience, given through general revelation, gives us only a very dim knowledge of the Law. Because of the sinful nature of mankind, we cannot be trusted to determine God’s standards. Therefore the Scriptures must be the only standard of infallible truth from God.

7. Antinomians say that the New Testament writers reject the Law of God.

They use Acts 15 to prove that the New Testament writers did not reject the Law of God.

Acts 15:1 “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.'”

They say that this verse shows that the context of Acts 15 was only about ceremonial Law, that they were asking if we were saved or justified by performing ceremonial laws, and that the council of Jerusalem came to the conclusion that ceremonial laws do not save.

Jn. 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

This verse shows that John said to obey the moral Law as well, supposedly.

8. Antinomians say that law and grace are contrary to each other.

Their reply: Law and grace work together in God’s plan, as evidenced by the following:

Ps. 78:36-38 “Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouth,
And they lied to Him with their tongue;
For their heart was not steadfast with Him,
Nor were they faithful in His covenant.
But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity,
And did not destroy them.
Yes, many a time He turned His anger away,
And did not stir up all His wrath;”

Ps. 145:8 “The LORD is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.”

Deut. 24:19 “When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.”

Deut. 13:13-15 “‘Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods”’—which you have not known— then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is and certain that such an abomination was committed among you, you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock—with the edge of the sword.”

Deut. 17:2-6 “If there is found among you, within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing His covenant, who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded, and it is told you, and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination has been committed in Israel, then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and shall stone to death that man or woman with stones. Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.”

Deut. 19:16-19 “If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, then both men in the controversy shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you.”

The above verses show that God designed His Law to protect us from evil, that God has always been a merciful God, and that He cared about people in the Old Testament also. Is that all that grace means to them?

Does the New Testament say we are not under Law but under grace? Yes.

Rom. 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

When this verse says that we are not under law, it actually means legalism because “law” here is used without the definite article “the” — we are not under legalism. When Paul speaks of law, he is often referring to legalism, not moral law. To be under law, therefore, is to be governed in your approach to sin. Paul is saying that we are not governed, as Christians, in our approach to sin by law. Our resources in our battle against sin are not simply limited to commands to “do” or not to “do.” The law can only command but it doesn’t supply the power to keep it. It’s up to you to obey it. To be under law is simply to be under commands and it’s up to you in your own strength to obey it. Paul says that we are now under grace and that means that as we battle with sin, we are governed by the principle of grace in that battle; we now have all the resources of God’s grace so that we can overcome sin in the flesh. Therefore, sin shall not have dominion over us.

Since the remainder of chapter 6 condemns sin, and sin is the transgression of the Law (I Jn. 3:4), therefore if we disobey God’s Law, we are sinning.

I Jn. 3:6 “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.”

This verse implies that we should keep God’s Law.

So, the bottom line of theonomy again: The whole Law (except ceremonial) applies to ALL people for ALL time.

I realize that there are readers here of many different persuasions on this issue. My objective in this particular article is merely to show not only what theonomists believe (and strongly advocate), but how they interpret Scripture as well. We have talked about improper use of Scripture several times here, and this will help us to understand where some Christians are coming from. Feel free to examine theonomy’s beliefs here, but please stick to proper interpretation of Scripture and don’t quote outside sources like the Westminster Confession.

Next, we will examine if theonomy’s views line up with Scripture or not. I gave a few clues here and there in this article. But this issue of theonomy is becoming prevalent in patriarchal conferences and materials and it is imperative to know if they are teaching God’s truths or false teachings.

So, where do you fall on this either/or argument: theonomy or antinomianism?

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123 Responses to “Theonomy or Antinomianism?”

  1. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Patty, where did you hear this teaching?
    As far as I remember, I was never taught this, in so many words — it just seems to sort of FIT, somehow.

  2. Patty Says:

    It is commonly taught in charismatic churches and also messianic.

  3. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Well, whaddaya know!
    I wish I could compare notes with some of the folks who teach that idea. I’m not so sure I believe that this idea is correct ( I’ve only just started exploring it), but I sure would like to hear those other folks’ thoughts on the matter.

  4. Patty Says:

    I may have some old tapes around I will look. I don’t think this should be confused with ‘ not forsaking the assembling together of ourselves’ etc..
    These thoughts also concur with how our very breath and life is an act of worship also.
    If you have a catholic background maybe some of the teaching on christian mysticism apply here to a degree. I don’t have that background but a favorite christian musician of mine is John Michael Talbot. He explores alot of these thoughts in his music.
    I think there is a place for it. ( I also don’t want to equate what I am trying to explain with emergent new age influences either)
    The Christian life is definitely supernatural and if we could really see what goes on around us with spiritual eyes we would be amazed. Most of our teaching in the church I would say is linear thinking so we miss these concepts.
    Sorry to digress Jen. ( but I like these topics )

  5. Patty Says:

    oops: linear thinking.

  6. Hutch Says:

    Hebrews Chapter 4 is the text that develops the fact that being in Christ is our Sabbath rest. The flow of thought in Hebrews 4 indicates that there is a promise of entering His rest. The Jews under the mosaic system failed to enter that rest because they heard without faith. Verse 6 says that some will indeed enter this rest, but many under the old covenant did not enter it due to disobedience. Verse 8 says that entering the Promised Land was a picture of the fuller spiritual truth of entering God’s rest. Christ is a believers Sabbath rest. Each day is to be lived resting in God and endeavoring to glorify Him. No day is superior to another in the new covenant. Paul was aghast that the Galatians started to observe “days” under the false gospel of the Judaizers. Paul called it another gospel.

  7. Mike Says:

    Hutch — along with HEB. 4, we should mention COL. 2 and ROM. 14. COL. 2 commands us to not let others judge us “over a sabbath day, or a new moon, or a feast day.” This is based on the fact that Christ “nailed the law to the cross.” If we are not to let others judge us over such things, then clearly, observing such things is voluntary.

    ROM. 14 is the other side of the coin. It tells us not to judge each other over these things. “The one who observes the day, to the Lord he observes it. The one who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. Let each one be convinced in his own mind.”

    It could not be any more clear that the observance of any special day — sabbath, new moon, feast day, Christmas, Easter, or whatever — is a voluntary activity, and is not required for Christians. ROM. 14 makes it clear that EITHER decision — to observe a day or not — is equally pleasing to the Lord.

    I long ago concluded that sabbatizing and “tithing” are the toughest weeds in the garden of legalism. People can understand just about everything else about the abolition of the old law, but they refuse to give up on these things, no matter how unbiblical their reasoning is.

    I love the Lord’s Day. I always have. The Lord’s Day is a day of great religious activity every week. But it is NOT a day that is subject to rules and restrictions. That ruins the whole point of it.

  8. Hutch Says:

    Mike-

    Excellent points as always.

    I did fail to qualify my comment regarding Paul being concerned about the Galatians observing “days”. His concern was that they were becoming convinced that observing days and being circumcised would commend them to God. They were beginning to trust in those external actions for their sanctification and perhaps salvation instead of the finished work of Christ. You are correct that a man or women must be fully convinced in his or her own mind what course of action to take regarding observing a day. And choosing to observe a day is not sin.

    I joking tell folks at my church that I show up at our service times because that is when everyone else is there! If I went up there on Tuesday not much would be happening!

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

  9. Jen Says:

    I like all the comments on the Sabbath. I am just listening quietly right now because I will cover that topic soon. Sorry it’s taken me so long to finish this series on theonomy. Life’s been busy lately.

    Mike: “I long ago concluded that sabbatizing and “tithing” are the toughest weeds in the garden of legalism. People can understand just about everything else about the abolition of the old law, but they refuse to give up on these things, no matter how unbiblical their reasoning is.”

    I realize that their reasoning is UNbiblical if they still hang on to the Sabbath and tithing, but I would imagine that most theonomists think their reasoning is actually BIBLICAL. 😉

    It seems to me that both the Sabbath and tithing would fall under the “ceremonial” category the way theonomists categorize them (NOT the way the Bible keeps them in one complete code of Law); I can’t for the life of me think how the Sabbath and tithing are MORAL. If they were moral, it seems to me that the average person would have it on their conscience, such as they do with murder, adultery, and stealing. But how many unbelievers do you know who have a strong inner feeling to keep the Sabbath and tithe? Strange categories indeed.

  10. Mike Says:

    “It seems to me that both the Sabbath and tithing would fall under the “ceremonial” category the way theonomists categorize them (NOT the way the Bible keeps them in one complete code of Law)”

    Well — they are clearly ceremonial, in different ways. The Sabbath is the chief ceremonial observance of the whole system. The Bible places it at the head of all the holy days of the year, again and again.

    And of course, the “tithes” were the funding mechanism for the whole sacrificial system. When the system ended, the taxes that funded it ended.

    Most Christians are completely ignorant of certain facts about the tithes:

    1) Not every Jew was subject to them.

    2) They were not taxes on all income — only on farm produce and animals.

    3) There were three of them — amounting to about 23-25% of income, not just 10%.

    4) The NT does not command Christians to tithe. Paul never said one single word about tithing, although he had plenty to say about giving. Seems pretty strange if tithing is so all-fired important.

  11. Jen Says:

    So tithes were actually a tax? Mike, could you explain what you mean by “3) There were three of them — amounting to about 23-25% of income, not just 10%”?

    And the purpose was to fund the ceremonial function of the Law? Even the Jews today list tithing as part of the “sacrificial” law. How does a “moral” law fund a “ceremonial” law? Strange.

    Now Paul didn’t say anything about tithing, but Jesus did. It wasn’t exactly very praiseworthy of tithing, though.

  12. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Speaking of notable antinomians,

    Anyone see the new website?

    Jen, Mark, Spunky, Cynthia Gee, thatmom, Corrie and I are all now infamous! (See, I told Spunky that she was infamous in some circles a few months ago over here on this website.) Oh yeah. Barbara Curtis is a wolf, too. ???

    http://patriospeak.wordpress.com/

  13. Cynthia Gee Says:

    I saw that site this evening, they were talking about it over at True Womanhood. I wonder who the owner is? The writing style is familiar, but I can’t quite place it.
    The site itself is a hoot– or should I say a “howl”? Anyhow, I’m honored to be included with such notable “wolves” as yourselves. 🙂

  14. Jen Says:

    That new site cracks me up! Things were getting boring waiting for Matt Chancey’s long-promised article (since January 22) and with the SFU boys finally resorting to posting movies of the Three Stooges.

    I don’t know, though. I don’t think I’m in the same camp as everyone else. I am only listed as being “outside the camp” of patriocentricity. He’s right. I really wouldn’t want to be known as having my whole life revolve around a mere man. I am patriocentric to the extent that my whole life revolves around the Father. Why would this man (who does sound very familiar 🙂 ) want to be known as having life revolve around him? And somehow he compares himself to Paul in this fashion? I can’t begin to imagine Paul wanting life to revolve around him. Maybe this “new” blogger doesn’t rightly understand the term “patriocentric.” Patrio = father. Centric = centered. Father centered. Life revolves around the father. It’s certainly not a term I would would be proud to own.

    Now Mrs. Binoculars, on the other hand, … 🙂

  15. Jen Says:

    Regarding the newest article at Patriospeak, I am banned from Carmon’s site and I don’t want to comment on this new site, so I will reply to Carmon’s article (reposted on Patriospeak) here.

    Carmon, I would be more than glad to sit down and talk with anyone — you, Doug, the McDonald’s, Matt and Jennie, Kevin Swanson, the SFU boys, you name them. I would like nothing better than to see all of this back and forth stuff come to an end and everyone embrace one another as brothers and sisters in Christ should do. I have seen elsewhere on the web that people like Karen Campbell and Corrie have also volunteered to sit down and talk with anyone. I am sure that nearly everyone speaking out on this issue of patriocentricity would love to talk to anyone on the patriarchy side. Let’s do it.

    You know what is so ironic? Most people on both sides of the issue live life almost the exact same way. We are not arguing against the biblical roles in the least. All we ask for is that we don’t elevate our own opinions to the level of commands of Scripture. The root of all this, Carmon, and Mr. Patriospeak, is that Scripture is being misused — and badly. And we are speaking out against violating God’s Word in that way. We are begging you to stop binding the consciences of godly Christians for things which God Himself does not command. If that is an area you choose for yourself, that is great! We will support you fully. But if others choose not to follow your own personal opinions, then please allow them the God-given freedom to choose in areas where God has not commanded.

    So. Let’s talk.

  16. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Who says that patriospeak site is hosted by a man?

    gossipocentric or whatever it was doesn’t strike me as masculine.

  17. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Cindy, you have a point there. Really, the site doesn’t strike me as masculine, but neither does it strike me as feminine — it’s kind of in between. It’s — how would you say that in patrio-speak — non-normative? 😀

  18. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen, Mark, Spunky, Cynthia Gee, thatmom, Corrie and I are all now infamous! (See, I told Spunky that she was infamous in some circles a few months ago over here on this website.) Oh yeah. Barbara Curtis is a wolf, too. ???

    http://patriospeak.wordpress.com/

    Morgan: I checked out the site and clicked on the watchmen.wordpress site link…be careful some of their links are nazi and xxxxxxxxxxxx rated. no kidding…..

  19. Mike Says:

    “So tithes were actually a tax?”

    Essentially. They were required payments for the support of the government of Israel. What is required is not voluntary, and what is voluntary is not required; they are mutually exclusive. What’s required is a tax. What’s voluntary is a gift.

    “Mike, could you explain what you mean by “3) There were three of them — amounting to about 23-25% of income, not just 10%”?”

    According to the Jewish rabbis, the OT required three separate tenth payments. Two of them were yearly, and one was once every three years. That amounts to 23-1/3% a year. However — if one wanted to pay the first tenth — the Levite’s tenth — in money instead of in produce and animals, he was required to pay 12%, not just 10%. That adds another 2% a year for those paying in money.

    “And the purpose was to fund the ceremonial function of the Law? Even the Jews today list tithing as part of the “sacrificial” law.”

    “Sacrificial” = ceremonial. The entire sacrificial system was ceremonial, and it was all done away at the cross. The three tenths were called the “Levite’s Tenth,” the “Festival Tenth,” and the “Poor Tenth.” The first one funded the system, the second one funded a yearly feast — sort of a national “pot luck” — and the third one funded help for the poor.

    There was also the gleaning law, the forgiveness of debts every seven years, and the reversion of land to its original owners every 50 years. Later on, there was even a “temple tax” that even Jesus paid! 10% is a far cry from what it cost to be a part of the OT theocracy. I would say that, conservatively, it cost well over 40%.

    “How does a “moral” law fund a “ceremonial” law? Strange.”

    Tithing was not a “moral law” in that sense. It was a tax for the maintenance of the ceremonial system, which even theonomists admit was done away at the cross. Giving to the Lord, even in the OT, even under the law, was voluntary — and that is the same pattern we find in the NT. Giving to God is voluntary, and there are no percentages or minimums required.

    I repeat: What is required is not voluntary, and what is voluntary is not required; they are mutually exclusive. 1 COR. 8-9 makes it clear that giving to the Lord is purely voluntary. “Let each one decide IN HIS OWN MIND how much to give — NOT UNDER COMPULSION.” That one verse eliminates the possibility of a required tenth — or any other required amount — for the Christian.

    “Now Paul didn’t say anything about tithing, but Jesus did. It wasn’t exactly very praiseworthy of tithing, though.”

    Jesus mentioned “tithes” — which is nothing more than a mathematical word — twice. Both times he was talking about the OT tenths in a discussion with Jews who were still under that old system. The temple was still standing, the sacrifices were still being offered, and the Levites still needed the animals and food. Things didn’t change till the cross.

    When he talked about giving, he never said one word about so-called “tithing.” He just said, “Give, and it will be given to you.” “Give cheerfully.” “Give sacrificially [in the story of the widow’s mite]” — etc. Paul adds, “Give regularly, proportionately [as you may prosper — which is different for different people], and to genuine needs.”

    Tithing is a tax. Giving is a grace. It’s all the difference in the world.

  20. Jen Says:

    And this is why I love having Mike teach me Scripture! Thanks, Mike.

    My point on the tithe being a moral law that essentially funds the ceremonial law was this: Theonomists divide the Law into moral, civil, and ceremonial, as you know. They say the ceremonial law is done away with, but they hang onto the Sabbath (which is very much a ceremonial law, if we divide it their way) and the tithe. They claim that they are only hanging on to the moral laws, so they must claim that the Sabbath and the tithe are moral laws. (Civil laws are only the case laws which are used to support the moral laws.) Under this reasoning, a moral law (the tithe) is used to support all the ceremonial laws, which no longer exist. In other words, the purpose of the tithe was to support the ceremonial system, but even the theonomists agree that that ceremonial system was abolished at the cross, so why do they hang on to the tithe, which was fully a part of the ceremonial system? Too funny!

  21. Mark Epstein Says:

    Jen, you wrote: “…even the theonomists agree that that ceremonial system was abolished at the cross, so why do they hang on to the tithe, which was fully a part of the ceremonial system?

    Perhaps it’s to fund their “control” of the sheep. Jesus made it very clear that the Pharisees were “whited sepulchres” for a reason — they were leading their sheep to Hell!

    However, whether BCA and some of its NCFIC pastors are heretics pales in comparison to a theonomic America (the aim of the Reconstructionists). Although Bahnsen and Rushdoony affirmed the accused had rights, I never heard that from the pulpit at BCA nor in my conversations with other men. It seems this new Reconstrucionist “pack” is rather wolfish in its application of the OT Law.

  22. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Morgan: “I checked out the site and clicked on the watchmen.wordpress site link…be careful some of their links are nazi and xxxxxxxxxxxx rated. no kidding…..”

    I checked and found the same thing.
    I now am inclined think that the site is being produced by a former denizen of Little Geneva. It has Badonicus writen all over it.

  23. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “However, whether BCA and some of its NCFIC pastors are heretics pales in comparison to a theonomic America (the aim of the Reconstructionists). Although Bahnsen and Rushdoony affirmed the accused had rights, I never heard that from the pulpit at BCA nor in my conversations with other men. It seems this new Reconstrucionist “pack” is rather wolfish in its application of the OT Law.”

    And how! I figured that out by looking at the Rivendell fiasco. ]
    The things some people will do just to make a buck…

  24. Jen Says:

    Cynthia, that site is not related to anyone from Little Geneva.

  25. Lin Says:

    As to the link to Mrs Patriospeak:

    Wow, the subtle hate employed in the links and names of links makes me weep for these partriarchal people. They really do have serious problems in their hearts.

    I think I will stay over here where there is Grace and Love for even those who disagree.

    Cynthia, it looked more like Matt Chancey to me. That is more his way to hide behind women.

  26. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “Cynthia, it looked more like Matt Chancey to me. That is more his way to hide behind women.”

    It could be. But the spelling errors and typos make me wonder. Now, I make a fair share of those myself, especially when I’m in a hurry, unless I go over my comments and vet them for errors, but this blog is full of such mistakes.
    And, it pokes fun at patriarchy — the writing style is very tongue in cheek — while at the same time snarking at patriarchy’s CRITICS. This is very like the style of Little Geneva, and it also reminds me of that nasty “Ministry Watchman” spoof, “Ministry Watchmen“.

  27. Jen Says:

    Now Mr. Patriospeak is trying to write his own dictionary. 🙂

    Nice try, but my definition still stands. Remember that Doug Phillips always says, “He who defines, wins.”

  28. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Mike I have been taught that the ‘tithe’ was the only way to go, even in the PCA as well as the OPC.

    Thanks for the ‘expository on tithing’ above. Those things are not taught in my group right now. Believe me I am breathing a sigh of relief now even though I had to make some changes about a month ago.

  29. Mike Says:

    “Mike I have been taught that the ‘tithe’ was the only way to go, even in the PCA as well as the OPC.”

    Forty years ago, when I was a young man in a Southern Baptist Church, I went around asking the pastors at my church about this. Several of them admitted that tithing is not taught in the NT, but they said, “It works, so I’m for it.” The senior pastor reacted more strongly. The next Sunday he preached a tithing sermon in which he stated, “If you don’t believe this, go somewhere else where they preach what you believe.”

    That was the end of my association with that church.

  30. Jen Says:

    Well, now I am banned from Mr. Patriospeak’s site. What an honor! Here is the comment I attempted to leave, the comment for which he banned me:

    Hi Mr. Patriospeak!

    I see you appear to be interested in dealing with the issues. I am certainly looking forward to your biblical presentations. Perhaps you will consider starting with the Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy and exegeting the Scriptures Doug and Phil and RC, Jr., have used to proof text what patriarchy is.

    Please do not confuse patriarchy with complementarianism. Complementarianism is the historical Protestant view of biblical roles, but patriarchy has added FAR MORE to what the Bible says. THAT is our main complaint. Probably everyone you have listed in a negative manner here holds to complementarianism and true biblical roles. Please show us WHY patriarchy is biblical.

    In essence, what we are saying is that while it is perfectly acceptable for Christians to CHOOSE not to send their daughters away to college, for instance, it is purely a matter of freedom and we should never elevate our opinion to that of a command from God. Do you see the difference? Much of patriarchy is ADDING to Scripture, and God calls that a no-no.

    I was wondering what “outside the camp” means. I guess it means that I am to be treated like a leper or something. 🙂

    Then he says this: “I haven’t assasinated [sic] anyone. I haven’t made anything out of whole cloth or spun and twisted people’s words to mean what they did not say.”

    Calling everyone who disagrees with you a feminist is not assassination? Insinuating that we don’t believe in what the Bible says about a wife being submissive to her own husband and then labeling us feminists for believing something we never believed, or advocated, in the first place, is not twisting words to mean something we never said? Labeling those who attempt to hold you accountable to Scripture as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” is “treating the other side the way you would want to be treated”?

    Oh, and thanks for clarifying exactly which of Dabney’s views you don’t agree with. That is quite telling!

  31. Lynn Says:

    Patriospeak, as well as some of the comments on the Amazon site for “Passionate Housewives” (no it’s not referring to sex), has really cheered me up in the past few days. I’m sure you are getting a kick out of it, too, Jen, at least, I hope you are.

    Did whatever dim bulb who started that site get Dabney’s name spelled correctly at last? 🙂

  32. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “Did whatever dim bulb who started that site get Dabney’s name spelled correctly at last? ”

    Hum, you noticed that too. 😀

  33. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Hey, that misspelling DOES prove one thing, though — the author of the site definitely isn’t Carmon Friedrich or Chris Ortiz!

  34. Lynn Says:

    I think this has got to be a spoof of some kind, which is why I said “dim bulb.” But I’m not sure.

    The reason I think it’s a spoof is because it links as a positive link to “ministrywatchmEn,” which makes a real big deal out of how cowardly the real Ministrywatchman was for having all the anonymous IDs, and here this site is just as anonymous, yet it names real people to bash, without giving any citation as to why they are being bashed (they are accused of believing lies, of lying, etc.). When I noted that about the site, I thought it might be a big spoof — a farce.

    It’s funny, though.

    If it was meant to be taken seriously, then it’s hypocritical to come out with a site yelling at specific people, naming them, telling them to stop lying, accusing them of slander, and not give any hints as to what it was these people said were lies. It’s hypocritical to endorse the MW spoof site when the patriospeak author is just as anonymous as MW, and anonymity was what the MW spoof site was bashing.

    It’s like shooting a gun at people you don’t like while simultaneously shooting yourself with the exact, same type of gun. It’s just plain foolish and silly.

  35. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen: I was wondering what “outside the camp” means. I guess it means that I am to be treated like a leper or something.

    Morgan: No it is a slur associating you/us with Marc Carpenter.

    http://www.outsidethecamp.org

  36. Mark Epstein Says:

    Lynn wrote: “…it’s hypocritical to come out with a site yelling at specific people, naming them, telling them to stop lying, accusing them of slander

    Lynn, it’s actually more than hypocrisy. It displays to the world the cowardice of Phillips and his supporters. For example, on one hand they sincerely believe Jen’s and my excommunication condemns us to Hell for ETERNITY. Yet, not one of these cowards is willing to face the world in writing.

    The overall dishonesty, lies, defamation, failure to take responsibility for their sites (“man up”), gossip (tale bearing/wagging tongues), eisegesis vice exegesis, mysogyny, false teaching, and historical revisionism are contemptible. Doug Phillips needs to disassociate himself with these sites (yeah, right) or proudly wear the label of “wolf” that he appears to be.

  37. Jen Says:

    Morgan: “No it is a slur associating you/us with Marc Carpenter.”

    Oh! I’ve never heard of him, so I went to that website. I quickly read over the “Christian Confession of Faith.” I think he needs Mike’s lessons on the Law and he needs to learn a little charity, but other than that, it appears that I am mostly in agreement with his confession at least.

    Perhaps Mr. Patriospeak is calling me a heretic and saying that I believe certain things that are outside the true doctrines of God. If so, I would be glad to hear those specifics. If it has to do with rejecting theonomy, then I hope to have my reply done by Monday!

  38. Kate Says:

    Maybe this is not even a patriarchy-type person. Maybe they are someone that NEEDS to be heard because of the inflated ego they have demands that they be heard on any subject. Maybe this person loves to play games and manipulate anyone — ANYONE — just to make themself feel better about their unyielded-to-Christ, perhaps, unregenerated state. Maybe this person cannot form real, lasting, authentic friendships with anyone in their life. Maybe they actually are a jealous, envious person of anyone that has something that they don’t have. Maybe this person is lonely at night because everyone they’ve ever interacted with only sees whatever facade they’re placing in front of themself, and they never see the real frightened person they really are.

    Maybe this person is someone that is so bound by something that has grabbed ahold of them spiritually and the rush they get from the “power” it temporally/temporarily gives them over situations, even though it is destructive and deadly, that for them to let go of that power would leave them “defenseless”.

    Maybe this person has been so hurt in the past by someone that they’ve snapped and can only interact with people if they are able to manipulate them. Maybe this person isn’t some big, bad authoritarian (or even a man!) with power to bring down the powers of Heaven itself, but a cowardly, trapped, fearful, manipulative, proud, but hopeless creature that refuses to acknowledge the cross of Jesus Christ as their only salvation from their misery. Maybe this person needs lots of prayer intercession.

  39. Lynn Says:

    Kate, I don’t believe any of us think this person is a “big, bad authoritarian.” And I agree this person could use prayer. Thanks for reminding me of that.

    Nevertheless, this is more than likely an adult who has posted some pretty strong accusations on that site — accusations of lying, believing in and teaching lies, and this person has not provided any details as to what the lies are. I can laugh at it and see it for what it is. I can be reminded that this is an unbalanced individual who needs prayer — but I can also see that if this blog makes serious accusations against named people without providing one example of why they are making such accusations — and that is pretty seriously wrong.

    It’s OK to point both things out — that the blog is doing very hypocritical things and making accusations with no argument, and this is wrong — AND that this person obviously needs prayer, too.

  40. Lindsey @ ETJ Says:

    Personally, I think the patriospeak blog is some sort of spoof, trying to be on the Patriarchy side, but really it is a person who is NOT, poking fun at them.

    That is just my take. All I know it has increased my traffic now that I’m officially “running ot mischief” or whatever 🙂

    Some people just have TOO much time on their hands!

  41. Lynn Says:

    Yes, right, it could also just be a spoof, which I tend to think it is as well.

  42. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen:…..but other than that, it appears that I am mostly in agreement with his confession at least.

    Morgan: I hope thats all ;). This group has a very bad habit of hacking other theology wesbites for email addresses and then sending out emails accusing them of being ‘under the influence’ of certain teachers, telling the email recipient that they are going to hell blah blah blah. My old email address was hijacked off of John Robbins’s site. I actually reported these people to their webhosting company received their version of an apology..that is I am still going to hell even though they are only trying to help.

    These people are the Westboro Baptist version of the “reformed faith”. As you will find out if and when you become a target. Their methods are brutal and mean.

    I canceled my membership in the Yahoo OPC groups when Andrew Bain wanted to be ‘my yahoo buddy’; and the fact that the OPC group is super contentious as well made it a no brainer.

    I do agree with the other posters here that think the site is some kind of a joke. I can’t even see DP & Co linking to some of the stuff thats linked there as well.

  43. Morgan Farmer Says:

    The ‘link’ I am most concerned about is ‘minstrywatchMEN.com’ thats where I found the really weird links.

    I tried to find some kind of a comment section so I could alert the blog owner to the problems with the site to no avail.

  44. Jen Says:

    You know, Morgan, I have no clue about this particular group, so thanks for sharing what they’re like. No, I would absolutely not agree with their tactics. You don’t show God’s love by attacking others. And even though I’m not under the Law, stealing is still wrong.

    I am so glad you told me about this because I had heard rumors about people thinking I hacked into something to get the email addresses for the letter I sent out to the homeschool leaders several months ago. I’m glad to tell everyone where I got those — they are posted publicly on the HSLDA website.

    No, the MinistryWatchMEN site doesn’t take comments. I am guessing that Mr. Patriospeak links to them because they take a stand against me. Look at the sites that take a public stand against me. I pray that others can see the love of Christ on my site.

  45. Lynn Says:

    I thought I’d start a Yahoo board where Patriarchy in general can be discussed, and that multiple ministries that call themselves “Patriarchal” would be on-topic for the discussion of their theology and teachings on practical Christian living. Here is the link and a partial group description for anyone interested:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Patriarchy_discussion/

    Although “Patriarchy” comes in many variations, this group is devoted to the theology, philosophy, and activities of Christian ministries, churches, publications, and individuals who adhere to the “Tenets of Biblical Patriarchy.”

  46. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen: I pray that others can see the love of Christ on my site.

    Morgan: Jen thats why I enjoy being here. Believe it or not, this is the ONLY site that I know of where ‘stuff’ is discussed in a manner worthy to be labeled christian discussion. Some of the theology blogs and the reformed ones are the worst and are nothing but mud slinging contests where each poster tries to outdo the previous one.

  47. Donald Says:

    The mudslinging concerns me, but what is really potentially concerning is some of the other doctrine of vision forum and its founder and leaders. I see theonomy commonly linked with post millenialism and recostructionism. I noticed that the vision forum statement of faith tells me little about their eschatology or worldview. I would like to know if Phillips has been confirmed or claimed himslef to be:
    1: Post millenial
    2. a reconstructionists
    I see websites making the claim, but I haven’t found any which cite quotations or statements from him that he believes this way. Is there anything that explicitely links him with post millenialism or reconstructionism as his fundamental belief?


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