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?

123 Responses to “Theonomy or Antinomianism?”

  1. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Why do I have to be either a theonomist or antinomian? The more these ‘theological conversations’ are discussed, it becomes clearer that there is going to be an inordinate number of unchurched christians. Those of us that cling to Gods grace and the cross of Christ are fast becoming an unnecessary blemish on the church as defined by theonomists and all of the other dominion minions.

  2. Jean Says:

    Jen,

    These kinds of discussions wear me out! Labels, labels and more labels. OT or NT, the gospel message hasn’t changed and neither has the standard by which all will be judged. The plan of salvation has ALWAYS been by faith.

    And his methods have never varied. God chooses some to be among his elect, He changes their hearts so that they can desire His ways, they are justified by His grace, He sanctifies them and will faithfully bring the chosen to glory.

    Regardless of earthly belief or lack thereof, all will be judged by the same standard…God’s perfect law…which not a one of us can possibly keep. Why can’t believers be gratefully content knowing that Christ has FINISHED the work at the cross? He paid the price, we share in the benefit.

    The gospel really isn’t complicated. A child can understand it. A grown-up can really distort it. And theonomists really muddy the water for so many folks. Methinks they spend too much time in the OT as your article reveals. Bible study really should be more balanced.

    Have a pleasant day,

    Jean

  3. charismania Says:

    Jen, I’m not sure how to answer the “Theonomy vs. Antinomianism” question you pose. But I do think that even theonomists themselves would have to say they’re antinomian, if they were going to be really honest. Because, Scripture tells us that nobody can keep the whole law.

    The scariest thing of all is how they use the Bible. It’s like they’ve got some concordance program where they type in key words, and if that word appears in a verse, they use the verse to prop up their point…whether or not that’s what the verse actually SAYS. Moreover, they pluck these verses out of context. If they quoted ALL of that section in Romans, their readers would gather a completely different sense of what Paul was actually saying about the law.

  4. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Charismania has it right, I believe.

    Certainly, if you are not Christian, you are antinomian. The grand distiction of “either/or” is absolutely true when you are discussing the very general application of the term by virtue of the definition of theonomy (the study of Scripture as sufficient for all matters concerning human ethics).

    Theory and abstraction and aspiration differ from practice, however. Rushdooney spoke of principle and not practice and was not a legalist. Greg Bahnsen was not either. Theonomy is about the destination. We are on a journey and have yet to arrive, with God working in us and bringing us to that destination.

    I postulate that the regenerate man is both a theonomist and an antinomian at once in practice. His heart and his spirit certainly determine to love and honor God, however his flesh is very much antinomian. If he is regenerate, he is a new creature in Christ and has certainly accepted the embodiment of the Law of Love in the Person of Christ. But we are caught in the dilemna of living out this life while still very subject to our flesh which is at enmity with God (like Paul speaks of in Romans chapters 6, 7 and 8). I believe that is naive to believe otherwise, and that influence of our mortal coil will always be at enmity with God. It is certainly a paradox but not necessarily a contradiction. We can still aspire and hold to the standard that theonomy raises while still working out our salvation (in fear and trembling).

    Christ certainly abolished the enmity. (Eph 2) And the carnal mind is at enmity with God which is death. (Rom 8 ) To be spiritually minded is life and peace, but are we not daily subject to death and disease? As long as we are, I assert that we are partially antinomian in nature. We are set on a destination, headed towards that City where we will be made perfect. But we are made. We are in process.

    When I was in these spiritually demanding groups that required rigid performance (or the Romanist earning of merit through my own efforts to facilitate my sanctification and through feigning the correct attitude), I was very troubled by how unworthy and seemingly incapable I was. This new generation of thenomists seem to be driven by this same legalism. They place too much emphasis on performance, calling it devotion when it is in fact piety and perfectionism. (These are always rooted in shame.) I found very little peace when I was constantly focused on all that I could do to facilitate my sanctification. Performance becomes a measuring rod.

    In abstraction theonomy is certainly true. In practice, they show their shame and and their arm of flesh.

    Psalm 4
    1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
    You have relieved me in my distress;
    Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

    2 How long, O you sons of men,
    Will you turn my glory to shame?
    How long will you love worthlessness
    And seek falsehood? Selah
    3 But know that the LORD has set apart[a] for Himself him who is godly;
    The LORD will hear when I call to Him.

    4 Be angry, and do not sin.
    Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
    5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
    And put your trust in the LORD.

  5. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    That smiley face was supposed to be Romans 8.

    Weird. I don’t even know how to insert those emoticons.

  6. Mark Epstein Says:

    Jen, you wrote: “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”

    All four of these facets apply to the “core” of Boerne Christian Assembly. The assembly was devoid of any real love and, like some priestly stories in the OT, only the most outwardly pious received Doug’s stamp of approval. Those struggling with sin were expected to suffer in silence with no real help or hope provided by Phillips and his so-called leadership. When a problem became so large Phillips had to become involved, “help” took the form of brow beating the needy individual into more suffering silence. After all, what is more important? The shepherding of the flock and the weaker sheep or the appearance of Doug’s church to a watching world?

    Charismania wrote: “The scariest thing of all is how DP uses the Bible. It’s like he’s got some concordance program where he types in key words, and if that word appears in a verse, he uses the verse to prop up his point…whether or not that’s what the verse actually SAYS. Moreover, he plucks these verses out of context.”

    EXACTLY, Charismania, and I think Jen did a very good job displaying this to the watching world in her critique of Phillips’ written support of Patriarchy.

  7. Lin Says:

    Yikes. One can look as though keeping the ‘moral law’ and not be saved. One of the most ethical, loving, compassionate, humble and moral man I know is an athiest.

    Do theonomists not understand that when we are born again (regenerated), the ‘moral’ law is part of our new creation and we are horrified by our sin with a godly sorrow? The greatest commandments: Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself.

    They keep forgetting about Grace and Faith. Actually, it is harder than keeping the ‘law’ because it is what is INSIDE of us now…not outward as the law was. It is no longer a checklist but the condition of our hearts. Total complete faith in Christ. And it manifests itself as, submission to Jesus Christ, servanthood, humility and love. Good Fruit. There is no room for earthly priests or lording it over others. The veil was torn in two.

    Do they read Hebrews? It has always been about FAITH even in the OT.

  8. Jonathan Says:

    The problem with discussing theonomy is that since theonomy is a world view you can’t compartmentalize its’ various doctrines. If you sat down with a theonomist and asked if salvation comes by following the law they would most assuredly say no. So then the question becomes,”What does following the law do for us as believers?” and to take it further, which you have to when dealing with theonomy, “What does following the law do for us a nation?”

    Jonathan

  9. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    BINGO, Jonathan!

    Theonomy was a study of the ethics of Christian Reconstruction. There is it’s primary application as intended by the authors (Rushdoony & Bahnsen) that revived theonomy for this purpose — civil law. Neither one of these men advocated for or lived legalism, as this was never intended to be a study of the law for a believer’s daily living. This new generation of “theonomists” has forgotten the purpose.

  10. Jonathan Says:

    “Neither one of these men advocated for or lived legalism, as this was never intended to be a study of the law for a believer’s daily living. ”

    I disagree with you on that point Cindy. Following the Law in daily living is a big point in Reformed theology. According to some, and not just theonomists, it’s the basis of my santification.

    What theonomy does is apply this works based sanctification to the nation as a whole. So this is why I believe that you can’t separate theonomy into individual components. You have to look at it as a whole system especially in it’s relation to eschatology. Ultimately Theonomy ends up becoming another social gospel.

    I don’t think that Rushdoony, Bahnsen, or these theonomists are heterodox. They are being completely consistent with basic reformed doctrine.

  11. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jonathan: I disagree with you on that point Cindy. Following the Law in daily living is a big point in Reformed theology. According to some, and not just theonomists, it’s the basis of my santification.

    Morgan: I am in the OPC, we do not teach that.

  12. Jen Says:

    Jonathan, I think this movie is taking an extreme position in theonomy, just as they do with most of their teachings. They take something good from Scripture, something most serious Christians would agree with and desire to live by, and gradually start adding on more and more and more. That is why it is so deceptive: it starts with the truth, but they add on some good sounding stuff. Unfortunately, that good sounding stuff is NOT biblically mandated.

    I hope to have my response to this article up by Monday. Let us examine what Scripture actually says.

  13. Farmer Says:

    I’m not Reformed but I was for a long time. One of the reasons I’m no longer Reformed is the overemphasis and abuse of theonomy and theonomic leaders.

    I was astounded at the claim that there is no Greek word for law. Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy and Aeschylus, Sophocles etc., etc., … all use the word law. They expressed legal, moral, civil uses of law. Anyone with a background in classics would know that this is wrong.

  14. Jen Says:

    My mistake, Farmer. That should be “There is no Greek word for LEGALISM, so Paul uses law instead.” I have corrected that in the article.

    However, I would be interested in knowing if there is any Greek word that might mean something like legalism.

  15. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Theonomy in general terms is the study of God’s law. (Every religion with a God technically has a theonomy.)

    I’m not arguing against the Bible as God’s law, but it is the Bible that is the law and not what men have written in the study of it. Consider that RJR and Bahnsen were not legalists. This new breed of theonomist is legalistic and judgemental. We are to live by the Bible, not the 30 odd books by RJR and Bahnsen on my bookshelf. I should hope that the basis of sanctification is Christ’s fulfilment of the law, not theonomy.

    The Word and the study of theonomy are certainly not mutually exclusive, so I don’t think that RJR and Bahnsen were herterodox (at least no more than most mature Christians). But they did not live out theonomy as rules. What I dont’ understand is why they are the very few Theonomists that did understand how to apply what they taught (as study helps, really) without being legalistic. I fear that their example died with them. It grieves me.

    My point is similar to Farmer’s, that there is an overemphasis and abuse of theonomy. The ones that do seem to be largely foundationalists which may account for some of the conflict regarding those who are more coherentists (or foundcoherentists). One’s preferred epistemology seems to play a significant role in all of this (eg. Clark and Bahnsen).

  16. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    And I forgot to say this…

    Do you believe that is the law that is the basis of your justification or Christ’s fulfillment of the law that is the basis? Do you have a reference in context? What would I have on hand that would describe what your saying?

  17. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Jonathan,

    I had to turn the computer back on. Rushdoony talked about the law-Word. Trying to live the Word in accordance to the law is exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. I can see that the second half of my statement as confusing and was not well written. They didn’t intend legalism to be what we lived out, just for the sake of the law alone. And I don’t think that’s what you mean. But the old guard lived in balance with grace and libery, following the law of love (which makes one desirous of the law-Word).

    I guess that when you say “BASIS of your sanctification,” I’m likewise troubled. Again, I think that in context, you’re not arguing that living the law-Word is the basis of your sanctification but probably an element of it.

    In isolation, if the basis of sanctification is living out the law, that is Romanism. It argues for the infusing of grace by works. Go to John Robbins site and search the archives for Romanism, and you’ll find a bunch of articles that will argue against sanctification as based in following the law. This is the point that Veinot and Henzel make in the book on Gothard.

    This is why this study gets so sticky. It’s interesting, but it’s all so litigious. Use one word indiscriminately, and you’re a Romanist or an antinomian. I tend to sound like an antinomian. Your comment sounded like a Romanist. I don’t think that this is what either of us intended to argue.

    Arrrggh. Can I blame it on being an American and if I really spoke English like the British, I wouldn’t have this problem? It can be my pet strawman.

  18. Jonathan Says:

    I didn’t mean to imply that following the law is the basis of my santification. I meant to say that the reformed believe that following the law is the basis of my santification. I can’t remember how many times I was told that I needed to tithe in order to be blessed by God. Of course there was still ongoing debate about whether the amount of my tithe should be based on my gross or net income.

    What I disagree with is the premise of this article. Namely that they took something biblical, theonomy, and added to it. What it should be is that they took something biblical, the proper use of the law of God, and added theonomy to it. That’s all.

    I believe that,”The Holy Spirit sanctifies me (makes me holy) by bringing me to faith in Christ, so that I might have the blessings of redemption and lead a godly life.” That should end any discussion of me being a Romanist, hopefully…;-)

  19. Jen Says:

    Jonathan, it is interesting that you would see the premise of this article as being that they took something biblical (whether it is theonomy or the proper use of the law of God) and added to it.

    Have we established that they even began with something biblical yet?

  20. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Jonathan,

    I hate to tell you this, but this is more Romanist than your previous statement.

    * First off, I think I missed something in your first two sentences. You don’t imply that the law is the basis of your sanctification, but that the reformed believe this. So is this a statement that you are not reformed? The reformed believe the opposite: that sanctification is apart from works. Once we are saved, the law is only a manual of instruction.

    * Financial blessing (or consequences that follow failure to follow the Biblical standard) is entirely apart from sanctification. If I walk around without shoes on in the winter and my feet get cold, it doesn’t mean that I’m not sanctified. The Reformers argued against all works for sanctification and justification.

    * BTW, Actually it was Wesley during the Great Awakening that argued for a separation of justification and sanctification, basing sanctification partially on works. He presented sermons in Q & A format. On the other hand, Luther called the Ten Commandments the “divine doctrine” from which all good works flow, but he argues that those who desire and work to effect sanctification by means of works “expel and sever” themselves from the church. That’s directly out of Luther’s Large Catechism. Luther says that it is by forgiveness of sins and faith in the Gospel only that merits or grants sanctification (and justification).

    * Sanctification occurs internally, and the outward manifestations (eventually) are a consequence of inward work. It works from the spirit outward to be later made manifest in the flesh. It is Romanist to suggest that anything that is done in the flesh or by the flesh in deed can enhance the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Faith without works is dead, because the faith is dead or displaced faith in something else.

    * The reformed believe that a man is dead in sin and is awakened by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit imparts faith necessary to receive justification and holiness. The blessings of redemption are bestowed upon the believer and he is instantly sanctified in Spirit. He is renewed in the inward man day by day, and the ongoing renewal in faith eventually manifests outwardly in the flesh. The spiritual sanctification flows into the life of the believer, and conforms his inward man into the image of Christ. In this life we have tribulation and agonia, but those are also inward processes that work patience in our inward man. The godly life stuff is a consequence, not a contributing factor. Desiring to be godly does not negate the process, but the desire only drives us to greater faith and compels/disposes our hearts to abide in Christ (so we confess our ongoing sins to remain in the fullness of His presence).

    * I can see that you’ve been taught that godly living brings blessing, but this is not always the case. We are guaranteed inward blessings, but we aren’t guaranteed to receive temporal blessing by virtue of the law. As my husband says, “No good deed goes unpunished.” We will always have sufficient grace, but that does not always mean that following the law regarding finances will bring financial blessing. In some seasons of life, it does, but it’s not a certainty. This is looking to circumstances and temporal things to prove or esteem the inward, and this is very problematic.

    Forgiveness of sins through faith in the Gospel of Christ is the only basis for justification and sanctification alike. To argue anything other than this is Romanist.

  21. Mark Epstein Says:

    Cindy, I find your comments on this thread particularly trenchant. What you wrote about Rushdoony and Bahnsen (“Theonomy was a study of the ethics of Christian Reconstruction. There is it’s primary application as intended by the authors (Rushdoony & Bahnsen) that revived theonomy for this purpose — civil law. Neither one of these men advocated for or lived legalism, as this was never intended to be a study of the law for a believer’s daily living. This new generation of “theonomists” has forgotten the purpose.”) is spot on and, yes, they have forgotten the real purpose of studying God’s law.

  22. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Mark,
    Thanks for the lovely compliment (trenchant). Don’t tell the Bayly brothers, though. OOpps! Too late.

    I gleaned a great deal from both Bahnsen and Robbins, despite the controversy between their postitions and the men themselves. (Many people fail to appreciate how I can read both???) I used to think that John Robbins was predisposed to find a follower of the Roman church-state in every pew. With my growing understanding of this undesirable transformation of that which represents Theonomy, I thank God for his insight!

    The desire of people to return to legalistic Judaism frustrated the Apostle Paul in his day. I wonder what he would think (or the Reformers) to observe people today, desiring and teaching this emphasis on law, steering the church back to Roman Catholicism? I never dreamed, listening to tapes of D. James Kennedy that my Christian highschool teacher often played in our morning devotions, that fellow Christians who listened to the same teachings during that same era would one day advocate sarcedotalism and tyranny! The ardent zeal of men like Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson seems to have survived in the hearts of some of our brethren, but their principles of freedom (which I believe blossomed from the Scriptures that washed society during the Reformation) didn’t survive. Now I hear that I’ve been poisoned with the evils of modernity and have become a feminist? Even if that’s true, I don’t think the answer for the church rests in becoming pre-modern.

    I was taught simple, reliable hermeneutics and grammatico-historical textual critique, and I bring those principles to everything in all areas of my life. Stated a different way, the Lord teaches us through the witness of the Word, our circumstances and the guiding of His Spirit (so that we know truth from error). I believe that healthy, effective Christian living requires the benefit that this balance of input and consideration brings. Theonomy has become too heavy of a focus for those who prefer legal study. I don’t believe for an instant that my hermeneutics are off, but something is amiss. If we need the teachings of “Theonomy” such as presented in this film that Jen presents here, we’re all in error. If we need lofty intercessors to glean these truths for us and spoon them in our mouths (because theonomy is so complicated), mankind and Christendom are doomed alike. (I wouldn’t be surprised if theonomists really believe this about themselves and about their distorted view of theonomy. That would explain a great deal.) But the Word teaches us that we do not need anyone to go up into heaven for us, for the Word of God is nigh us, even in our mouths!

    My dad who taught me to drive used the white line on the right side of the road to teach me about events in life. In thick fog (particularly that Hill Country pea soup variety in Texas), keeping your eyes atuned to that white line can save your life. But when conditions are clear, you keep your eyes on the road, focused on where you’re going. It seems to me that over the fear of the middle of the road and oncoming traffic, Doug seems focused on the illusive safety of white line, and many people have wound up in a ditch as a result. (Oddly, my husband had a second auto accident about a year after a first accident wherein he lost an eye. He overcompensated one night, caught the gravel at the side of the road, kicked the car up into the air and landed 50 feet off the road in a cattle pasture. It paints a vivid and telling picture.)

  23. wolfhound Says:

    From the Institutes of Biblical Law by Rushdoony.

    “The law is condemned by the New Testament as a means of justification, which it was never intended to be. The law is not our means of justification or salvation, but of sanctification.” Page 305

  24. Jen Says:

    Wolfhound, can you point us to a Scripture that tells us that the Law is our means of sanctification, please?

  25. wolfhound Says:

    No I can not and neither can the theonomists. The Scriptures do not teach that we are sanctified by the law, we are sanctified by grace.

    I agree perfectly with your article on Theonomy, it was very well written. I am glad that you see it for what it is.

    The point of the comment is that Rushdoony does teach that we are sanctified by the law.

    Also John Robbins (trinityreview.org) has written some good articles about Reconstructionism on his site. He is the only Reformed theologian that I have seen who has adequately refuted this unbiblical hermeneutic.

  26. Jonathan Says:

    Cindy

    “I hate to tell you this, but this is more Romanist than your previous statement.”

    Then we must be talking circles around eachother. That quote I used was taking directly from Luther’s shorter catachism(sp).

    I never for a moment ment to imply that my santification is conditioned upon how well I live according to the law or traditions of men. The holy spirit sanctifies me by bringing me closer to God thru faith.

    Yes, I did attend a reformed church for sometime. But after hearing my teaching elder ask God to bless Federal Visionist, after hearing my session deny the covenant of works, after hearing the same men tell me that only GA can determine controversies of faith, after hearing that my salvation was contingent upon an emotional assent to the gospel, and finally being told that I was going to hell if I didn’t believe in tithing I decided that it was time to leave.

    “The reformed believe the opposite: that sanctification is apart from works.”

    I can understand you saying this given that you are familiar with John Robbins. I admire what he’s trying to do……but when you consider that ‘holiness, or conformity to the divine law, is the indispensable condition for securing favor, attaining peace of conscience, and enjoying fellowship with God'” (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology). You have to wonder what being reformed is. Is it what John Robbins teaches or is it what Westminster Theological Seminary says it is?

    “Have we established that they even began with something biblical yet?”

    If you mean to ask if they understand the proper use of the law then no. Their starting point is theonomy and all the junk that is included with that world view. Theonomy can nowhere be found in the bible.

    Theonomist believe that they can secure blessing from God primarily due to the converted man’s ability to follow old testament laws. They extend this to include the nation as a whole. That is one reason why they want to establish a theocratic state. Another reason is due to their post-mil belief that since we are establishing the millennial kingdom on earth, the sooner we get it done the sooner Christ will return to collect his bride.

    I wish i had more time to spend on this right now but alas, I must make some money…..

    Jonathan

  27. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Wolfhound said: The point of the comment is that Rushdoony does teach that we are sanctified by the law.

    And Rushdoony, a flawed human being who made wonderful contributions to the body of Christ in ways such that I can never approach, was wrong in his teachings then. I’m not a bit intimidated to declare this, as I am not following Rushdooney or any other group. I follow the Word, continuing to develop my understanding of it, always coming into greater knowledge of the truth. This is to say that I understand from those who knew him well personally that RJR was one of the kindest, most compassionate and loving Christians that a person could hope to meet.

    Jonathan,
    I’m certain that we both want to elucidate the truth of the Scriptures here. I’m trying to get there, as I believe that we all are (otherwise we’d be looking at completely different websites).

    But you present a good case. The Presbyterian church is in a quandry, and the Baptist church is in one, too. (At least on the seminary level.) You mention Westminster. Which one? California’s got it’s issues and Philadelphia’s got its own as well. Is it as Robbins or Wright or Grudem or Berkhof or Hodges or Turretin says? (They didn’t teach systematics at the seminary that I attended for this reason. I always felt that I was a bit cheated as a result, but maybe I wasn’t. Kevin Giles points out that even Berkhof uses some indiscriminate language in regard to the Trinity, so can there be other areas where this happens? And Berkhof is a translation from the original langauge, so we have leaps in language to transcend.

    We do get blessing from following the law, but it’s a starting point, not a destination. RJR was completely against a theocracy, from my recall of the things I’ve read over the years. (Did I misread that through my own lenses of worldview? Help demonstrate to me that this RJR argued this. Did Bahnsen argue this? Where did they write this, or is this inferred by today’s version of Theonomy?) Do you argue for a theocracy?

    Make some money and come back! I’ve obviously spent time trying to put all these things into perspective and want to understand them well. So either keep posting, or send me an email via my website.

  28. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    I went back and found an email discussion some time ago that I had from someone who used to work for Chalcedon.

    I wrote: I also have a peripherally related question: I never interpreted theonomy to be taken as theocracy. D. James Kennedy (who encapulated my appeal to Christian Reconstruction) never argued against the Enlightenment thought that provided the environment for the growth of Christian liberty. I never took him to hate Locke and can’t imagine that he would likewise hate Sir Edmund Burke. With all this racism stuff from which patriarchy draws so much support, I started reading Dabney. In “A Defense of Virginia and the South,” Dabney voices distain for the Enlightenment (in entirety it seems) as well as distain for both distorted comments out of context from both Locke and Burke. In reading, I noticed also that Dabney argues for a theocracy, much like Christian Reconstruction (the non-Kennedy camp). Perhaps this is where this shift is coming from.

    Have I just been naive and idealistically deluded for 20 years, or has the debate changed from theonomy to THEOCRACY? If it has shifted over the past ten years, I believe that much of this comes from the advocates of the South and slavery. Anti-feminism makes for strange bedfellows?

    This theonomist wrote:
    Yes, theonomy has become to some people a freedom-hating theocracy. It wasn’t this for Greg Bahnsen, for example, but it was to some others.

  29. wolfhound Says:

    Another flawed statement on the Law by Rushdoony.

    Peace with God means warfare with the enemies of God. Christ made clear that allegiance to Him meant a sword of division (Matt. 10:34-36). In a sinful world, some warfare is inescapable. A man must therefore pick his enemies: God or sinful man? If a man is at peace with sinful men, he is at war with God. Peace in one sector means warfare in another. God alone, however, can give inner peace now, and, finally, world peace through His sovereign law (Micah 4:2).

    R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Nutley, NJ: Craig Press, 1973), p. 781.

    You can find lots of these statements at http://www.serve.com/thibodep/cr/cr.htm

  30. Jen Says:

    Thanks, Wolfhound. Theonomists are often big Rushdoony fan, so these are very appropriate.

  31. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    The only problem that I have with short quotes from Rushdoony is that his style does not lend itself well to isolated quotes. I’ve made that comment on this blog before, as RJR in particular, is very complex and complicated in his writing sometimes (or often). Is that what he argues in the full context of his statement on an issue? But these are quotes that Wolfhound presents here are pretty direct in the context presented here. Rushdoony is tricky this way.

    The other very telling issue is that of personal conduct and fruit. You might not like what someone has written, but in the full context of one’s life, are they legalistic or tyrannical? Are they aggressive? So a big and troublesome portion of this debate is what these men did with theonomy. Did they live in the full counsel of the Word, or did they balance theonomy (the Bible as a sufficient source of ethics) with grace and liberty? It seems that some did and that many now do not.

    There are also problems concerning foundationalism here. I think that foundationalists put the works of Bahnsen and Rushdoony into their basic belief category, and they pit anything that threatens or challenges those beliefs against theonomy (and themselves by extention). I’m a coherentist by nature, personality and experience, and I believe that neither approach is right or wrong. But aspects of this contemporary debate seems more of a foundationalism versus coherentism issue. There is a great reluctance to ever say “I don’t understand” which is generally more difficult for a foundationalist, in my experience. There’s a great deal that mere men (regenerate included) do not understand, and there seems to be a great deal of anxiety about the unknown or undetermined.

  32. Hutch Says:

    Cindy-

    You wrote:

    And Rushdoony, a flawed human being who made wonderful contributions to the body of Christ in ways such that I can never approach, was wrong in his teachings then.

    Please do not misinterpret what I am about to ask, this is an honest question as I do not know who Rushdoony is:

    What wonderful contributions has Rushdoony made to the body of Christ?

  33. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Hutch,
    I think that there’s a good Wikipedia entry on him. Rousas J. Rushdoony (yes, I’ve finally adapted to spelling his name correctly!). He was either an Arminean immigrant himself or his parents were — either way, I think this knowledge of the religious and other tyranny (in what was once Persia) gave him a great deal of appreciation for freedom. He founded the Chalcedon Foundation and wrote extensively about “theonomy” (Presbyterian study of the Bible as the sufficient source of all human ethics) which is now administered by his son Mark and Chris Ortiz is the editor of their magazine. Jen’s got a post on Chalcedon listed on the left. (Seems that I helped instigate that controversy.) I think that many hail him as the founder of the Christian homeschooling movement in the US.

    For whatever things that he got wrong (if these comments presented here are not taken out of context), he really got a great deal quite right. I don’t capitulate to any one source or person (save the Word), but I do refer to his books for information and perspective. I disagree with his perspective on the Holocaust, but coming out of the Word of Faith movement, I was edified by the balance that his writings gave me for a time. But I didn’t make a steady diet out of all things theonomic, however. His works, along with Bahnsen, helped fuel the Christian Reconstruction movement and aided that part of Dominionism with thoughtful ethical standards for society based on Biblical study.

    Again, I think that his writings need to be considered as study aids and not the foundational doctrines for one’s Christian worldview. And if you haven’t already figured it out, whatever passes for theonomy today was not what was lived out by Rushdoony and Bahnsen, so far as I am aware. As I’ve stated on this blog before, Rushdoony would be taking names and knocking heads if he knew of the things that have developed from theonomy since his passing. Greg Bahnsen, too — he died very young.

  34. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen, feel free to move this post to wherever it may belong.

    I was thinking this morning how ironic it is…the very institution that is charged with the protection and well being of women is the very instrument of her slavery and bondage. Is it really any wonder that we have the feminist movement, that women have rebelled at the inhuman treatment received from their men and society? Isn’t it amazing that NO well known theologians or denominational general assemblies have come out against the abuse that women have suffered at the hands of the church?

    Those of us who speak out against the legalism, bondage and emotinal as well as financial slavery in Christs Name will be more than likely relegated to the same staus that the feminists like Gloria Steinem endured during the early days of womens liberation movement. After all of the secular progress for womens rights…the church and those self appointed patriarchal heads stilll stand as judge, jury and executioner for those women who do not conform.

  35. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Morgan,
    I believe that for some of these people in the patriarchy movement — from my studies of additions — that they are responding to early rejection or enmeshment. (Granted, we are all subject to the Word of God, but doesn’t a Christian that gets addicted to alcohol go to rehab? The 12 Steps read much like Christian repentance, but they don’t dictate to you who God is…. They are given a framework that begs for evangelism.)

    Anyway, the men leading the patriarchy movement strike me as remarkably similar to the love avoidant model, suggesting that they were enmeshed with a female parent, causing them to obectify women in their adulthood. The relationships with women are duty oriented (and dead emotionally)– hence the hierarchy. They create intensity outside of their primary relationships (to make up for the lack of appropriate intensity in relationship). They are rescuers (also a way of objectifying others). They medicate with legalism instead of addictive substances.

    What’s ironic is that I see a degree of compensatory enmeshment with family (with all this “Return of the Daughters”). If it is enmeshment and this is truly at work in these father-daughter relationships, then these fathers will raise daughters that will objectify men (as they have with women). They will produce exactly what they do not want. As the love avoidant tend to be aggressive as well (like many male leaders in patriarchy), if they are enmeshing with daughters, they are training them to be aggressive. This may be what created them, with all the “Donna Reed” and “Harriet Nelson” mothering of the generation just proceding the boomers. (I think what Barna and others call the “Builders” — like my parents. My parents are the same age as Howard Phillips, and from what I understand, I am nearly the same age as Doug. My parents just preceded the ’60s free-love generation by a few months.)

    If this model applies and the followers of patriarchy are medicating with religion rather than substances, then they are grooming large numbers of their daughters for Gloria Stienem. It may lag and come in the next, but either way, the dysfunction perpetuates. If enmeshment is at work between fathers and daughters, they will be love avoidant, duty bound and eventually aggressive towards men.

    Time will tell.

  36. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Cindy, the dysfunction of the patriarch movement has already moved many women away from the church.

    I liked your psycho analysis of the situation….I have a family member who is a resucer….and will actually start trouble so she can resuce someone…however the movement medicates with religion…it is still up to someone in a position of leadership to stand up and say ‘this is wrong, our women deserve better’ regardless of the psychological underpinnings. We can examine and understand HOW these things come about, but understanding them does not mean we stop there.

    The church has abandoned us as females. There is no place of safety within her walls or gates for us. The church has become for many women a place of death and condemnation.

  37. Mike Says:

    “The church has abandoned us as females.”

    Oh, brother!

  38. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Ya know Mike, maybe you would not be so quick to ‘oh brother’ if you had seen and known some of the women that I have known that were literally tossed on the trash heap when they left abusive husbands; or appealed to sessions to protect them, or were promised help and assistance only to be later rejected and left to fend for themselves.

    Maybe you would not be so quick to ‘oh brother’ if you had seen the results of the so called counseling sessions that these supposedly well meaning leaders put these women through…urging them to return to whatever hell they were running from.

    Maybe you would not be so quick to ‘oh brother’ if you had been sitting at a hospital waiting for news of your just beaten friend while holding her screaming baby that needed to be nursed. The pastor was just too busy to be there as well…

    It is what it is Mike, like I said the MEN need to start standing up and saying the abuse of women at the hands of the church and the patriarchy movement must stop.

    I quote from my earlier post:
    “Isn’t it amazing that NO well known theologians or denominational general assemblies have come out against the abuse that women have suffered at the hands of the church? ”

    I have no desire to get into some sort of a whizzing contest here. My opinion is just that…your opinion is yours.

  39. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Morgan,
    I’ve done my share of sitting in emergency waiting rooms, too. I went with a woman (that I’ve aluded to here) who was falsely reported to child protective services too.

    The one that still grinds at me a bit was time I repeatedly answered the church’s office phone when a dear friend Karen kept calling — BECAUSE HER HUSBAND LOCKED HER IN THE BASEMENT and the pastor would not offer any help. The woman was too helpless and fearful to tell me what was going on when I answered the phone, and I believed that I must have misunderstood the pastor when he explained why she kept calling –because no one in their right mind would leave a woman alone after her husband had pushed her down the cellar steps and locked her in! I was sick when I found out that it was true, I was sick that I believed that I “misunderstood” the pastor, I was sick about it when I apologized to her months later and It grieves me today. I’d have been there with the police and an axe to break her free.

  40. Light Says:

    Much of the growth in Wicca is a direct backlash against Christian patriarchy. Catherine Sanders documents this phenomenon in her recent book, “Wicca’s Charm.”

  41. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Light,
    My husband bought me that book for Christmas a couple of years ago after hearing the author on “Mars Hill” audio with Ken Myers. You’re exactly right. It offers women a (seemingly) beautiful alternative to subjugation and then offers the “candy” of the power that they’ve been stripped of — that which Christ offers to ALL believers.

  42. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Light:
    Much of the growth in Wicca is a direct backlash against Christian patriarchy. Catherine Sanders documents this phenomenon in her recent book, “Wicca’s Charm.”

    Morgan: Absolutely, and the resurgence in the “womyns” movement is growing as well.

  43. Jen Says:

    Morgan, I can’t exactly “move” a comment from one article to another. 😉

    But I think that the direction of this conversation surpasses the theme of this blog. Yes, it is important to talk about patriarchy, but I have seen absolutely nothing of the kind of abuse that you ladies are speaking of here, and certainly nothing to do with Wicca or the womyn’s movement! In other words, if you have a specific example that has a direct bearing showing a pattern in patriarchy, then by all means bring it up. But the church has not abandoned women; that is a very broad generalization.

    While it may be true that there have been some specific instances where certain pastors/elders have not handled themselves in a biblical manner toward women who are being abused, it just does not follow that this has anything to do with patriarchy (or theonomy), that all pastors are negligent in their pastoral duties toward women, or that no churches in America care about women. I’m exaggerating for a purpose here, but let’s keep focused on what the real issues are, and there are plenty of real issues.

  44. Mike Says:

    “Ya know Mike, maybe you would not be so quick to ‘oh brother’ if you had seen and known some of the women that I have known that were literally tossed on the trash heap when they left abusive husbands; or appealed to sessions to protect them, or were promised help and assistance only to be later rejected and left to fend for themselves.”

    So — since you know of such women, you conclude that the entire Christian church has abandoned females. I call BS.

  45. Hutch Says:

    Before I was born again, I was involved in the occult and I cannot accept that women responding to patriarchy are fueling the growth of Wicca. To better phrase my position, I do not believe that women who are born again children of God are abandoning Christianity to find acceptance in Wicca.

    I think Jen is an excellent example of the response of a woman who is indwelt by the presence of the Holy Spirit to any degree of spiritual abuse both great and small. The situation forced her to take a hard look at scripture to learn what it really says and how it should govern our lives.

    When Christ’s claims became hard and demanded more than a casual relationship to Him, many who were following Him abandoned Him. He looked to the disciples (it is interesting that the ones who turned back are not referred to as disciples) and asked them if they wished to leave as well. They responded that they had no where else to go, Jesus was and had the very words of life.

    When one is hurt by a group or individual, a believer may leave that church, but they will not ultimately leave Christ.

    When I consider turning back from being part of a local church, I ask myself where else can I go?

    The new covenant makes it clear that being part of the local church is vital to my growth and the edification of others.

  46. Hutch Says:

    Morgan-

    You said: The church has abandoned us as females. There is no place of safety within her walls or gates for us. The church has become for many women a place of death and condemnation.

    I really believe that this is a severe overstatement. The church has not abandoned women.

    The leadership of some churches may have abandoned women, but I would use the term church loosely when referring to an organization that would abandon women.

    When a woman comes to our elders for help, they get it.

    I personally know of an instance were a women was being physically abused by her husband and our elders stepped in hard and fast. They sheltered this woman and her children in their homes for months and surrounded her and her family with members of the church. She was safely hidden and protected.

    Then all of the elders (seven of them) went to this mans house and confronted him giving him two choices. Attend heavily supervised counseling with his wife or go to jail.

    The couple received counseling and she did not return home with the children until it was clear this man had truly repented and dealt with his issues/sin.

    Observation #1: Not all organizations that call themselves a church function like one-or are one.

    Observation #2: Even with the limitations and weaknesses all churches have, a real church will not and have not abandoned women.

    Observation #3: The minute you or I join a church the possibility of it being perfect is ruined.

  47. Morgan Farmer Says:

    I believe I spoke in terms of a broad denominational statement as far as the abandonment of women. There are individual churches that have rallied around abused women. I have seen both sides of the coin.

    PLEASE Forgive me since my statement(s) were obviously misunderstood.

    However, where is the condemnation of the legalist patriarch theology from the general assemblies of the the major denominations? Thats my question..thats my focus….
    What is SO SCARY is that the patriarch lifestyle theology is now becoming mainstream….un churched people believe that this is HOW christians live….

    and I totally agree with all of Hutchs observations above…especially #3.

    (theres nothing like a public flogging 😉 )

  48. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Back to the ‘real’ issues.

  49. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Quick diversion:

    The new age and Wicca present potent competition for those who are figuring out their direction in their “search for transcendence.”

    The other issue raised is that there are many churches that one would never believe to be messed up from all standard appearances (as I had to get very involved before I knew of the stuff that went on in my wacko group). In those groups (seemingly indistinguishable from other legitimate churches), they have abandoned women. There’s not been a formal declaration or a “Resolution” or a concerted effort within Christendom at large to clean up our own house in this area. The same could be said for theonomy, as there is a great deal that occurs and that passes for theonomy nowdays that was never intended by those who spearheaded the movement in the 70’s.

    Its so ironic that a movement that spearheaded homeschooling in this country is now used to hang milstones around the necks of the women (and men and families). All this wimin folk stuff just highlights how the system has swallowed up the purpose and intent of those who saw it as a helpful tool. The means became the end somewhere along the way, eclipsing the end of following Christ in the most effective way.

  50. Jen Says:

    Hutch, thanks for those explanations. They were very helpful here.

    Morgan, thanks for clarifying your intentions as well. You said, “However, where is the condemnation of the legalist patriarch theology from the general assemblies of the the major denominations? Thats my question..thats my focus….
    What is SO SCARY is that the patriarch lifestyle theology is now becoming mainstream….un churched people believe that this is HOW christians live….”

    Morgan, I think that is the whole purpose of my blog — to identify these issues which were not very well known. Morgan, I am greatly encouraged to see how these issues are being addressed now and I am hopeful that this exposure will keep hyper-patriarchy from growing at all. As far as the mainstream denominations go, I really don’t think patriarchy has infiltrated them much, if at all. I’m not sure it’s necessary for them to speak out at this time, unless they see it being a potential threat to their own members.

    Your thoughts about women ARE real issues, but let’s stick to the patriarchy issues here.

  51. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen you are wayyyyyyyyy too kind.

  52. Patty Says:

    Religion News Service last week had a brief article about how suppossed professing ‘christian’ women are leaving christianity and are marrying muslim men because they want patriarchy. Ouch and yuck.
    Also on another blog I read a christian married couple were reading muslim works to get insight into patriarchy so they could consider and apply principles they were reading.
    This is scary stuff. I don’t understand it.

  53. justanothermom Says:

    “In other words, if you have a specific example that has a direct bearing showing a pattern in patriarchy, then by all means bring it up. But the church has not abandoned women; that is a very broad generalization.”

    I agree that I don’t think as a whole the Church has abandoned women. However, something has been on my mind for a while and I wanted to share a specific example where I think patriarchy/theonomy can lead to very bizarre and unloving actions all for the sake of holding to the “letter.”

    I was attending a NCFIC church in N.C. (before it split, in part over issues of theonomy and legalism) and in the congregation was a woman with 4 children – one of whom had special needs and needed lots of care. This woman’s husband had been emotionally abusive (at the least) and had abandonded his wife and children I think probably 6 or 7 years prior. At the time of the abandonment, the family was attending another local church (the same church that this NCFIC church eventually would break-off from – but in a more amicable manner that this normally implies). That prior church did the right thing by confronting the husband and walking through discipline with him and ultimately broke fellowship with him and made that break public because of his refusal to repent and return to his family. It was heartbreaking, but at the same time, the community rallied around the wife who was now forced to go back to work to care for her family.

    Fast forward to the NCFIC church. For the first couple of years, this church financially supported the family (and helped out in other areas) as even with her work, it was extremely hard to make ends meet.

    Then, the year that the church began to sink deeper and deeper into patriarchy/theonomy, the deacons began to discuss this support. One deacon, who works for Chalecedon, advocated that the church really had no business supporting her as she wasn’t truly a widow. And many of the other deacons were in agreement!

    The discussions got to the point that one of the deacons had privately decided he would no longer tithe to the church, but give his tithe directly to this family if the deacons actually decided to cut-off her support.

    I was thinking of this earlier in the week as I read in Matthew 23 where Jesus pronounces woe on the Pharisees and scribes – in particular the ones who would “tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. . . ”

    I also think of 1Tim. 1:6 & 7: “For some men, straying from these things [“love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” – v. 5], have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.”

    I feel great pity for those who are caught up in theonomy. In my thankfully limited experience, I have yet to see it lead to anything that bears beautiful fruit. And I can only pray that God that will remove the scales from their eyes.

  54. justanothermom Says:

    A follow-up question:
    What do theonomists do with 1 Corin. 6:12, “All things are lawful for me. . . “?

  55. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    justanothermom wrote: What do theonomists do with 1 Corin. 6:12, “All things are lawful for me. . . “?

    I’m going to answer to this rhetorical question as ‘the devil’s advocate,” even though it’s rhetorical….

    They would say that you are focusing on the wrong part of the verse. “Not all things are profitable” follows fast, and we must study the law to ascertain what the law teaches is profitable. You can’t have all lawful things without knowing about the profitable ones (reading the verse out of context), therefore the law is essential.

    This is a matter of presupposing a preference for law. Failing to do so makes you antinomian, just like the American Jezebel, Anne Hutchinson. Well, go ahead and call me Anne Hutchinson! I think that they are focusing on the law over grace, misunderstanding sanctification in the process.

  56. Lin Says:

    “However, where is the condemnation of the legalist patriarch theology from the general assemblies of the the major denominations? Thats my question..thats my focus….”

    thatmom made some great points about this but I do think quite a few churches and denominations are sliding toward Patriarchy even though they do not call it that. I have been in a position to see it happen. Some of it is a back lash to some of the liberal jibberish out there in seeker and emergent circles. Mostly it has been gaining ground for the last 20 years.

    And like thatmom, I have seen single moms take the brunt of this doctrine of devils.

    It started out with woman cannot preach, then women cannot teach men, ok…people can accept that but then it starts sliding toward woman cannot be in positions where they have men reporting to them. It also includes a lot of teaching that revolves around women’s roles not only in church but society and family that are detailed to the point of lacking grace. It puts them in a place of judging women not based on the fruit of their spirit but on their societal roles and how well they stay in that box.

    It is to the point where a professor teaching the Hebrew language at SWBTS was fired because she was teaching men in her class! The new president decided that was not right AFTER he told her the job was safe upon his inaugeration. So, the president had to sin to follow scripture? This woman had a very sick husband and was left with no health insurance and no job!

    It becomes a checklist. Much like Islam is a check list religion. But it always evolves into legalism because no one can say, well, this is the exact cut off age where women can teach boys/men. Or, is explaining how to run this computer program in the church office teaching men?

    I believe the whole problem is based on a misunderstanding of Biblical authority in the NT. Jesus turned everything on it’s head with servanthood, humility, the first will be last, etc. He was the opposite of the authority of the Pharisees. And they hated Him for it.

  57. Mark Epstein Says:

    Cindy, you wrote “I think that they are focusing on the law over grace, misunderstanding sanctification in the process.”

    You are 100% correct in your assessment. Theonomy forms the basis for Christian Reconstruction. I have heard many state that if America was operated according to theonomic principles, then stoning of homosexuals would be permissible. No where in the conversation were Bahnsen’s and Rushdoony’s beliefs of legal protection for the accused ever mentioned. It was if the men I heard speak these things looked forward to having a license to kill human beings.

    Thus, we come to your point: theonomy vs. grace. Since Christ’s New Covenant is a covenant of grace, then we must reject any theonomic principle that does not line up with the New Covenant. I think we can rapidly see (given this standard) how much of theonomy would stand scrutiny — slim to none.

  58. Mike Says:

    “I have heard many state that if America was operated according to theonomic principles, then stoning of homosexuals would be permissible.”

    These same people are sabbath-breakers, and that was punishable by death, too. Not one of them has volunteered to be executed as an example of “biblical law.” Hmmmmmm.

  59. Jen Says:

    Mike, my church was VERY strict about keeping the Sabbath holy. Could you please enlighten us (and them) as to how they are Sabbath-breakers?

  60. Mike Says:

    They did not “keep the sabbath holy.” They worked on Saturday. There is not one word in the NT about changing the sabbath to Sunday.

    If we are required to “keep the law” — then we are required to do so according to the rules God gave for doing so. A half-hearted attempt at “resting” on Sunday won’t cut it.

    There were at least ten rules for sabbath-keeping, including the requirement to stone to death anyone breaking the rules. These people who are so hot-to-trot about applying the letter of the law to modern society are just as much lawbreakers as everyone else is. They just don’t have the integrity to put their money where their mouths are.

  61. Cynthia Gee Says:

    Patty:
    “Also on another blog I read a christian married couple were reading muslim works to get insight into patriarchy so they could consider and apply principles they were reading.
    This is scary stuff. I don’t understand it.”

    Lin:
    ” Jesus turned everything on it’s head with servanthood, humility, the first will be last, etc. He was the opposite of the authority of the Pharisees. And they hated Him for it.”

    Has anyone ever noticed that most extremely patriarchal religions either deny Christ outright, (as do Islam and Orthodox Judaism, though admittedly not all Jewish groups are patriachal) , or they deny some aspect of Him (as does Mormonism, which denies certain aspects of Christ’s divinity, and classical 16th century Anabaptism, which in part denied Christ’s humanity, saying that he did not derive His flesh from Mary, but rather had “celestial flesh”); still others, in effect, deny His work on the Cross by claiming that we are still under the Law, as do many theonomist Dominionists.
    In fact, it is very hard to find a hyperP who is also a completely orthodox Christian; and, if you REALLY want to find a group who practices old fashioned Biblical patriarchy, you have to leave Christianity altogether, and go to Orthodox Judaism or Islam. The closer you get to “biblical patriarchy”, as it was practiced in Biblical times, the farther away you get from orthodox Christianity.
    Funny how that works.

  62. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Cynthia Gee wrote: Has anyone ever noticed that most extremely patriarchal religions either deny Christ outright, …., or they deny some aspect of Him….still others, in effect, deny His work on the Cross by claiming that we are still under the Law,

    I’m pretty amazed at the zeal with which they go after just the symbols of the Godhead. The most notable for me is the communion/Lord’s Supper/Eucharist stuff. They put so much emphasis on the symbols that they become easily distorted. I heard that in some FIC churches, it takes 20 minutes to set up the communion table, etc. Then they use it for an opportunity to drive home the gender issue in an object lesson.

    Rejection of Christmas celebrations are rejected in many groups — the coming of the Lord in the flesh, so wonderful that God hung a star in the sky and sent angels to sing to shepherds? Why is it that the groups that get all legalistic about denouncing the celebration of Christ’s first coming in the flesh all seem to be outright cults or cultic?

    Funny how that works? Yeah, it is. Telling, too.

    I spoke to a friend of mine (big into homeschooling) who got saved soon after she married a Muslim from Egypt. (Kids are raised Christian.) Her husband is not saved. She says that her husband insists that many of these things in Christian patriarchy are far above and beyond what would be expected in Egypt. (Now, on the other hand, he does think we’re all nuts for leaving women and men together alone then wonder why we have all these pregnancies out of wedlock in America….) But even he thinks some of this is ridiculous.

  63. Hutch Says:

    Mark said: I have heard many state that if America was operated according to theonomic principles, then stoning of homosexuals would be permissible.

    Mark-

    I guess these guys would have wound up and took a big swing at the women caught in adultery when Christ stated that those who are without sin should cast the first stone!

    Even the Pharisees had the sense to walk away.

    What spiritual bondage to have less spiritual perception than a legalistic Pharisee!

    I am prayerful that God will show His mercy to these guys and that they will get saved.

  64. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “I’m pretty amazed at the zeal with which they go after just the symbols of the Godhead. The most notable for me is the communion/Lord’s Supper/Eucharist stuff.”

    Yes, AND it is interesting to note that they do all that, but all the while deny what for Anglicans, Catholics, many Lutherans, and East Orthodox believers is the heart of the Eucharist: the real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament.

    “Why is it that the groups that get all legalistic about denouncing the celebration of Christ’s first coming in the flesh all seem to be outright cults or cultic?”

    Because from the 2nd century Gnostics, to the Cathars in the Middle Ages, and right up to the cults of today, all groups which deny that Jesus is come in the flesh are a manifestation of the same spirit which St. John warned us about:
    1Jo 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
    1Jo 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

  65. CD-Host Says:

    Mike, they were VERY strict about keeping the Sabbath holy. Could you please enlighten us (and them) as to how they are Sabbath-breakers?

    Wikipedia has good list.

  66. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Jen it all depends on the context. If a strict Saturday is the Sabbath and we are keeping all of the talmudic rules/law then we are ALL pretty much sabbath breakers…I know I am.

    The other Sabbatarian context would be Sunday and not going out to eat, shop etc., or otherwise participate in ‘secular activities’ like going to the Cowboys game.

  67. Mark Epstein Says:

    Mike, you wrote: ” There is not one word in the NT about changing the sabbath to Sunday.”

    I’ve been saying the exact same thing for years!

    The verses contemporary Christians use to label Sunday as the “new” Sabbath do not (1) use the Jewish calendar (they use the Julian calendar) and (2) they completely avoid the “church fathers” of the 2nd and 3rd Centuries, who made it very clear they were (1) from pagan backgrounds, (2) hated Jews, and (3) because of said hatred wanted to change the “sabbath” to Sunday so as not to be confused with the “hated Jews’ sabbath” of Saturday.

    Frankly, contemporary Christianity’s rationalization that Sunday is somehow the new “sabbath” is continuing evidence of a basic anti-Semitic influence — even in the Protestant denominations. Therefore, it is no wonder we have such a difficult time in witnessing to Jews. No Jew that I know (who professes Christ) ever placed their belief in Christ as Lord and Saviour based on witnessing — it was the result of Divine intervention (as was my case).

    Considering 77% of Americans opposed Jewish immigration during WWII (with the awareness of NAZI atrocities, as reported by the NY Times), is it any wonder Jews are distrustful of Christians?

    May God have mercy on all of us!

  68. Mike Says:

    Cowboys’ game? Secular? I THINK NOT!

  69. Lin Says:

    “Cowboys’ game? Secular? I THINK NOT!”

    Yeah, more like idolatry. :o)

  70. Jen Says:

    The one “Christian Sabbath” rule I remember most was that children were not allowed to play with balls. We had fellowship time for hours every Sunday afternoon, usually outside in a large grassy area, but no balls were allowed.

  71. Cindy Kunsman Says:

    Mike wrote: Cowboys’ game? Secular? I THINK NOT!

    In Texas, it is perfectly acceptable to list “High School Football” or “Cowboys Footbal” in the religion category on any application or official document!

  72. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “There is not one word in the NT about changing the sabbath to Sunday.”

    Actually, I have a theory about this, and I’m still thinking this idea out to the point where I can explain it more fully:

    I think that Jesus is the fufillment of the Sabbath, in the sense that He IS our Sabbath. We rest in Him now in this life through baptism, when by faith we believe that we will rest in Him after we die, and be raised in Him in the Resurrection — as Genesis says, the evening and the morning were the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth days. Then on the seventh day, “the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. ”

    The seventh day began, I think, when Jesus said, “It is finished” and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
    He finished His work on the cross, and rested in the tomb, then rose again; those of us who believe in Him will do likewise, and so the evening and the morning are the seventh day.

  73. Morgan Farmer Says:

    Good grief are we a confused bunch or what?

  74. Cynthia Gee Says:

    “Good grief are we a confused bunch or what?”

    Maybe, LOL… and I’m sorry if I’ve just added to the confusion. That Jesus-as-Sabbath idea is just an idea — maybe it’s correct, maybe it’s heretical as all get-out, but it is certainly interesting.

  75. Patty Says:

    Cindy G,
    I have been taught that before. I have no problem with it. Every day can be a sabbath because we are found in Him.


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