Re: Fw: Shapes of a Wedge

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
Date: Mon May 31 2004 - 18:32:31 EDT

On Mon, 31 May 2004 11:23:07 -0600 Innovatia <dennis@innovatia.com>
writes:
> From: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
>
> > On Fri, 28 May 2004 13:38:12 -0600 Innovatia
> <dennis@innovatia.com>
> > writes:
> > > From: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
> > >
> > > > Dennis,
> > > > Your first paragraph runs into trouble with I Peter 2:13ff;
> Titus
> > > 3:1;
> > > > Romans 13:1ff. Only when the state directly demands
> disobedience
> > > to God's
> > > > command (where is the express command about marriage?) is one
> to
> > > reject
> > > > the state and take the penalty. I have not encountered a
> passage
> > > that
> > > > advocates anarchy, though there are some that describe near
> > > anarchy.
> > >
> > > Agreed about anarchy. The two govt texts you cited clearly
> affirm a
> > > certain
> > > kind of govt, one which upholds God's law - i.e., punishes
> evil,
> > > encourages
> > > good.
> > >
> > Yes, Brother, this good government was that of Nero, for all
> three
> > epistles were written during his reign. By your qualification, I'd
> say
> > that you are adding to scripture.
>
> Or was it Claudius? I wouldn't want choice of which emperor (for
> they were
> quite different) to be the critical fact in determining what Paul is
> saying.
>
> For both Paul and Peter, what constitutes authority established by
> God is
> qualified: "to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do
> right."
> Anyone with power who fails to act in this way also fails to qualify
> as an
> authority "which God has established" because "The authorities that
> exist
> have been established by God." Is anyone who holds a gun to your
> head an
> authority who is to be obeyed? What about a gang of criminals? What
> constitutes the hyperecho exousia?
>
> Consequently, a distinction must be maintained between authorities
> established by God and anyone who happens to wield power, but does
> not exist
> as an authority established by God nor is instituted by him among men
> as
> such. In other words, authorities not established by God are
> illegitimate
> pretenders to it, lacking a valid claim to authority, though they
> may be
> powerful. Neither Paul nor Peter say this explicitly, perhaps
> because
> letters to Roman Christians would almost certainly fall into the
> hands of
> government officials. But the conditions for who these huperecho
> exousia
> (higher powers) are is made explicit by both Paul and Peter. Roman
> officials
> could have assumed they met the criteria without being offended.
>
> When government laws or decrees contradict scripture, they are not
> binding
> upon the Christian. Consequently, when govt claims a jurisdiction
> denied it
> by scripture, such as being a thrid party to marriages, the
> requirement of a
> marriage license of the State is not binding, for it contradicts the
> order
> God has established in his law. It comes down to choosing whose law
> you are
> going to obey - i.e., who is your Lord.
>
> > > In going beyond its biblical bounds, the State conflicts
> directly
> > > with
> > > Deuteronomy 4:2:
> > >
> > > Deut. 4:2 (ESV)
> > > You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take
> from
> > > it, that
> > > you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I
> command
> > > you.
> > >
> > > and Deut. 12:32:
> > >
> > > Deut. 12:32 (ESV)
> > > "Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do.
> You
> > > shall
> > > not add to it or take from it.
> > >
> > > > This, with not "taking away from or adding to his law" means
> that
> > > you are
> > > > disobeying God if you do not stone adulterers or homosexuals.
> I
> > > expect
> > > > you, therefore, to stone to death the next individuals you
> know
> > > involved
> > > > in either of these sins and to accept the condemnation and
> legal
> > > penalty
> > > > for the first degree murder.
> > >
> > > Biblical law for Christians applies as it is understood in view
> of
> > > the
> > > gospel. There may be grounds for forgiveness. All the same, a
> truly
> > > biblical
> > > government would uphold the whole counsel of God, not
> selectively,
> > > as befits
> > > our contemporaneous moral sensibilities. As Paul says, the govt
> does
> > > not
> > > bear the sword in vain.
> > >
> > In other words, when things get sticky, revise. YOU MUST NOT TAKE
> ONE JOT
> > OR TITTLE FROM THE EXPRESS COMMANDS!
>
> I am affirming that both the OT law must be understood in the light
> of the
> gospel and NT teaching, and that the OT law is neither controverted
> or
> abolishing in the NT. Even the "ceremonial" law of the OT points Xns
> to its
> fulfillment. Christ himself affirmed the OT law. It is the civil
> norm for
> Christians, sticky situations or not. If it is not, what else is?
> Family
> values? Majority votes about ethics among contemporary Christians?
> Situation
> ethics? The leading of the Spirit? The law is the objective,
> divinely
> revealed alternative for right and wrong. I'll stand on it, as was
> the
> tradition of essentially all the non-papal early churches.
>
> If American govt were biblical, the offenses for which God
> sanctioned the
> death penalty would be considered as worse than many American
> Christians
> suppose. Whether homosexuals should be put to death is therefore a
> question
> of how, in light of the NT, God's law about it should be applied. I
> don't
> deny the place of case law, for jurisprudence of OT law results in
> legal
> commentaries, controlling decisions, etc. There is a place for
> arguing about
> how the law is to be applied. But if God's revealed word about what
> is right
> and wrong is set aside by us, we are probably trying to serve two or
> more
> masters.
>
> > > > Are you wrong in selectively citing scripture and twisting it
> to
> > > your
> > > > intent, deliberately disobedient, or it was nice to know you?
> > >
> > > I don't follow this, Dave. Where is the twisting? The scriptures
> do
> > > say, do
> > > they not, that we are to follow Christ, not the world-system as
> > > manifested
> > > in ungodly behavior of government instututions? And do we not
> do
> > > that by
> > > taking heed to God's revealed will in scripture? That is
> basically
> > > my
> > > intent.
> > >
> > I do not fault your intent. But I think I have made it clear that
> you are
> > altering what you claim scripture requires while also claiming
> that the
> > Mosaic code applies to us unconditionally. What you cite from
> Deuteronomy
> > clearly applies to the theocracy of Israel. But that fell apart
> almost
> > immediately, as evidenced by Judges. It was further eroded during
> the
> > early kngdom. Now you want it modified further, but accepted
> unchanged.
> > You can't have it both ways.
>
> I don't quite agree that the law is so limited, for if it were, then
> why
> would Christ affirm it so unabashedly in Roman-occupied Judea? Why
> does Paul
> say that it is good? The law was still normative for Israel during
> the
> Judges and also during the monarchy and after, as evidenced by the
> appeal of
> the prophets to it in bringing suit against Israel on God's behalf.
> Instead
> of wanting it modified, I want to take it more at face value, to
> take it
> rther in practice than most American Christians want to do. I
> recognize
> its basic principles as setting hard outer limits on godly behavior
> that
> Christ (for example, in the Sermon on the Mount) interprets to the
> point of
> including thoughts and intentions. The greater NT ethic is largely a
> matter
> of making explicit the implications of what is implicit in the OT
> law
> itself - including Sabbath observance and food issues. The general
> principles in the law illuminate the application of these particular
> laws.
>
> > > I have spent considerable time the last few years studying the
> > > various ways
> > > in which we as Christians are entangled with the institutions
> of
> > > American
> > > society, and my conclusion is that that these relationships are
> long
> > > overdue
> > > for a careful review - which is part 2 of XLM, by the way.
> > >
> > > Saludos,
> > >
> > > Dennis Feucht
> > >
> > On this I will agree. But the answer to the problem is not to try
> to
> > establish a theocracy but to obey Romans 12:1f.
>
> What are the alternatives to biblical government? Representative
> govt, where
> "we the people" decide what is right and wrong? An individual
> (fallen human
> king) who does instead? The kingdom of God IS a government. We give
> our
> unreserved loyalty as Christians to it, do we not? The implications
> of this
> are extensive and remain underdeveloped in the developed world of
> today.
> Obeying Rom 13/1 Peter 2 takes the larger context into account. In
> other
> words, I find that the handling of these biblical texts is sometimes
> too
> facile in American Christianity, especially in view of the fact that
> Paul,
> and possibly Peter, were put to death by worldly States because they
> failed
> to submit to them as some suppose these texts might require.
>
> > In other words, the
> > correction is personal and within the body of Christ.
>
> But is this not why the American church is so marginal today in
> American
> society? It has relegated application of biblical teaching to the
> mind or
> within church buildings and has not really considered it applicable
> to the
> institutions of American society.
>
> > You cannot even
> > modify the unbelieving church which reformulates scripture to meet
> their
> > attitudes, let alone the broader society which does not accept
> biblical
> > authority. I think of a couple groups which recognized that they
> could
> > not change the majority to their mores. So there was a Mennonite
> enclave
> > in Mexico, and one in Paraguay, where they did not have to
> interact with
> > the wicked world. But you're going to fix it for them by
> establishing a
> > theocracy. If you do it also in Canada, the Mennonite groups can
> go back
> > to where they lived before emigrating.
>
> Our job is not to make other people believe as we do (the papal
> approach)
> but to be a voice upholding biblical instruction and benefits in a
> fallen
> world. In the past, Christians who had this different attitude
> toward
> society made major inroads in influencing social institutions.
> Patrick of
> Ireland (not a papist) and his school was instrumental in the spread
> of
> Christianity throughout the Britons, Scotland, and Ireland. In our
> time,
> AmXns have opted out of being that kind of positive challenge and
> influence
> in American post-Christian society, falling back instead upon being
> sure we
> submit ourselves to the wicked in power as though that's all there
> is to
> God's will concerning govt. I'm not saying your position is this
> extreme,
> Dave, but it is the one I am responding to as I view AmXny.
>
> My point about the Mennonites is that they have, in their own way,
> exercised
> greater caution in avoiding ungodly entanglements with worldly
> governments
> than many other Christian traditions. They live together as a
> minisociety
> and, though human and fallen, do not have many of the problems of
> American
> society because they heed biblical instruction as having collective
> relevance.
>
> > Another small problem struck me. How do you apply the strict
> commandment
> > of Leviticus 20:10 in the light of Matthew 5:27f, 31f? I think
> your
> > principle is that you can't fudge on the Mosaic Law except as it
> is
> > modified by Christ.
>
> Leviticus 20:10 (ESV)
> "If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both
> the
> adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
>
> I see Christ in the Matt 5 Sermon as spelling out implications of
> the law.
> The OT law was, of course, not devoid of mental sins (10th
> Commandment), and
> all ofthese were to be judged by God. Few OT laws actually had
> social
> sanctions. Adultery was one. If we agree that the law is just (using
> Paul's
> words) then it is right that adulterers be stoned. However, Christ's
> death
> has made provision for the offended husband to forgive the
> offender.
> Otherwise, it is just that the penalty be carried out. For adultery
> of the
> mind, as for many OT violations of law, the matter can only be
> judged by
> God.
>
> > Que le vaya bien (which won't happen when you stone the first
> adulterer
> > or adulterous pair),
>
> No, I don't plan to do that which God's law calls for the offended,
> or civil
> govt, to do.
>
> Dennis
>
Dennis,
I have pointed out that you insist that the passages from Deuteronomy are
totally inflexible, requiring unconditional obedience to the whole. Then
you make note of modifications. But your claim for the passage precludes
even Christ modifying any of the provisions of the Mosaic Law. George has
made the same point. And you insert a fudge factor. Since there are
innumerable such factors, I see no point in continuing the discussion.
Adios,
David
Received on Mon May 31 20:48:08 2004

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