A Gillespian dialogue (repost)

I suppose I probably could have spared myself a lot of grief in seminary by not taking the theonomy route.  I mean, I’m not a theonomist now, so it wouldn’t have mattered right?  Well, it’s not so simple.   Let’s consider:

  1. Under no circumstances would I have countenanced any political movement that did not kiss the feet of King Jesus.  Even so, there remain alternatives to theonomy.
  2. I even quoted published critics of theonomy (Poythress) to professors and they still said it was unacceptable.

On the other hand, had I grounded my political ethic solely in Rutherford, Gillespie, and the covenanters, my argument–or at least my rhetorical presentation of it–would have been indestructible.  The conversation would have gone something like this:

Covenanter:  Professor/teaching assistant, is it acceptable to employ Old Testament laws in constructing a political ethic for today?

Professor/teaching assistant:  No, for theonomy is wrong/marxist/homosexual/terrorist*/we fired Bahnsen for that.

Covenanter:  Did I say anything about theonomy?

Professor/teaching assistant:  No, but you mentioned Old Testament laws and that’s theonomic.

Covenanter:  I am glad to see you admit that much of the Bible teaches theonomy, but that is not what I was advocating.  Have you read Rutherford?

Professor/teaching assistant:  No.

Covenanter:  Rutherford based much of his argument on the validity of Old Testament ethical norms for today.

Professor/teaching assistant:  Well, the Reformed faith has come a long way since then.

Covenanter: But Professor, Lex, Rex was specifically written in the context of forging a distinctively Presbyterian identity, especially if you combine his argument with Gillespie’s, both of which are to be read against the background of the National Covenant of Scotland and the Solemn League and Covenants, which they and their posterity believed to be binding on future Anglo generations.

Professor/teaching assistant:  But we live in a democracy.  You can’t just expect everyone to agree with those rules.  That’s a theocracy!

Covenanter: I am glad to see you concede the theocratic roots of Presbyterianism.  I agree that such expectations are unrealistic for current America.  That’s quite irrelevant, though.   What God commands is often not contingent on what’s possible.  Isn’t that the point of Calvinistic evangelism?

Professor/teaching assistant:  So, you just want to go kill everyone that disagrees with you?

Covenanter:  No, don’t be silly.  My point is that for us to be consistent with our Presbyterian identity, we must come to grips with the ecclesiastical and political issues of those Covenants.   If that means we need to abandon key modern American ideas and structures like the 1st Amendment (which has already been repealed in the Patriot Act), American Idol, and MTV, then so be it.

Professor/teaching assistant:  Why do you hate America?

Covenanter:  I don’t hate America.   I want what’s best for America.

Professor/teaching assistant: But many aren’t Christians.  Doesn’t this mean they will be executed for worshiping false gods?

Covenanter:  Your objection presupposes something that is impossible on my system:  the only way a state could systematically do such things on a large scale is to be a large state.  Yet this is the very thing I deny.  But to answer your question–it could be death, but more likely it will be exile.  And quite frankly, why would a Buddhist or a Romanist even want to live in a Covenanted state?  Secondly, the law punishes crimes, not private sins (which usually are quite unknowable to the outside world).  The OT law made provisions for how foreigners were to be treated, and it was likely understood that these foreigners had not necessarily converted to the worship of Jehovah.

The previous conversation never actually happened as stated, but it is a summary of a number of conversations I had with students and teachers.  After a while I stopped referencing Bahnsen and used the arguments of Rutherford, but to no avail.

*I was actually called this in class.


3 comments on “A Gillespian dialogue (repost)

  1. Fr. John+ says:

    “Professor/teaching assistant: But we live in a democracy. You can’t just expect everyone to agree with those rules. That’s a theocracy!”

    I see that you haven’t come as far as I have, in understanding the depth of the depravity of the modern mind. If your ‘orthodox Reformed’ seminary had this sort of BS going on in class, then NO WONDER you don’t understand either EO, or Theonomy, or the fact that (to quote Dr. North) ‘There is NO neutrality.’

    In any government,
    It’s either a christocracy, or satania.

    There are no other options, for either you are ‘with Christ,’ or ‘against him.’

    I, for one, confer apostolic benedictions on those who would reinstate public stoning of unrepentant homosexuals, and would work speedily for the repatriation of those who are not of ‘like ethnos’ to the Founding Race.

    For it will come to this, as it always has. Either you believe in the lies of what the EO called ‘the pan-heresy of Ecumenism’ or you will believe in the model of the Ecumene as it was delivered unto God by the Orthodox, Christian European rulers who governed it, prior to the Roman Schism.

    If the Former, you will eventually, inevitably advocate for miscegenation, fag marriage, bestiality, and pedophilia- it’s merely where you find yourself on the ‘slippery slope.’

    If you advocate for the latter, you Must adopt a ‘acribea’ mindset to the Law of God, how it operates in the Church, and, via extension, to the country at large. Lex orandi, lex credendi.

    I think you are trying to have your multicultural cake, with a dollop of Sovereign Grace on top. But that Grace is only sovereign when YOU are not the final decider of ‘who is saved.’ And clearly, only the “lost sheep of the House of Israel” and the ‘Ecumene’ are the only ones Christ ever came to save, in the first place, if Scripture be true, though every man be made a liar thereby.

  2. Are you talking to me or the imaginory interlocutor? I agree with most of what you are saying

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