The Law as Social Pattern

I am indebted to Daniel R. for suggesting a number of differences between recent American Theonomists and the earlier Scottish theocrats.  One of the distinctives of American theonomy is a tendency towards a libertarian economic order.  In short, they see the government’s role as negative (e.g., we pay taxes so the government can kill evildoers, Rom. 13).  Supposedly, the Scottish theocrats (and Bucer) would see the government as positively prescribing righteousness.



5 comments on “The Law as Social Pattern

  1. Andreew says:

    On the distinction between American theonomy and Scottish theocrats, would it not be fair to say that theonomy qua theonomy does not entail a libertarian economic order? That is to say the difference between American theonomy and Scottish theocrats is not, in the first instance, a qualitative distinction.

    • You might be right. I really don’t know the answer. American theonomists exegete Romans 13 as negative: the state is to kill criminals and do little else. That’s a fairly libertarian reading. European reformers, as I read them, saw the state as positively prescribing righteousness, which is not a libertarian position.

  2. Andrew says:

    I can’t spell my own name! Don’t count that against me.

  3. SLIMJIM says:

    R…as in Ritchie? He’s quite a resource for historical Reformed contexts.

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