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Death Penalty

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by BrianEschen on Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:41 pm

YoungStonewall wrote:Which ones apply and which ones don't?

The shadows and types have been washed out by the light of the Son. For a good explanation of this see the book of Hebrews. All the rest remain.
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by BrianEschen on Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:44 pm

Question What about my other questions? Do you agree with that part of the WCF? What is theonomy? What is meant by general equity? Question
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by TheWylff on Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:06 pm

Which ones?

Well for one thing, where do you get a basis for punishments, other than the OT? I think the ideas should be applied. If you steal, you pay back. If you murder, you pay back life with life. If you kill lawfully (abortion) you should still be killed, because it should be illegal. I don't necessarily agree with all the laws, some of them wouldn't work in a society like today, only the kind of nomadic type people that the Israelites were. For instance, I don't think the cities of refuge should be in place, and other things similar to that. What I agree with is the means of punishment, basically the ideas expressed in the bible. With sin comes a punishment, but what kind? Get your ideas from the Bible, they are the best ones after all. If you commit a crime, the punishment should fit it. The laws in the OT don't necessarily have to be replicated for today's justice system, nor the means of killing. I don't agree with public murder, as I've stated before, and I think that some of the methods are "outdate", if you will. Don't misconstrue what I said, now. By outdated, I mean they wouldn't work the same way, wouldn't have the same effect today because of the changes in culture. We don't need an exact copy of the law, we need the ideas.
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by YoungStonewall on Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:35 am

You asked me "Do you agree with that part of the WCF?" The section you quoted from is from the original 1646 version, and was heavily modified by american presbyterians in 1787.

To answer your question, no I don't believe that section of the confession that you quoted is biblical., and it was removed by american presbyterians over two centuries ago.

Lets simplify our debate here. The nation of Israel had a unique status, they were both a sovereign nation, and the only visible church.

The purpose of this debate is to discuss the realm of civil justice, so lets seek to limit our discussion to the civil realm.

For the sake of discussion, let us assume for a moment that what you are saying is true, and you have the power to restore the civil code of Israel as the law of the land.

Please lay out for me how it would work.

Where are the Levite cities where accidental muderers can flee?

Where will should we build the new alter and its horns?

How many shekels should I sell my daughter for as a slave?

Would you buy her? Why/Why Not?

How many oxen and donkeys do you own?

What should we do during the year of Jubilee?

Why do you wear blended fabrics?

Why do you eat hybrid food?


Last edited by on Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:08 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by YoungStonewall on Fri Dec 21, 2007 11:55 am

Well for one thing, where do you get a basis for punishments, other than the OT? I think the ideas should be applied. If you steal, you pay back. If you murder, you pay back life with life. If you kill lawfully (abortion) you should still be killed, because it should be illegal.

This has been exactly what I have been saying from the start, GENERAL EQUITY.

About the confession. It seems clear to me from the confession's proof texts that it is talking about sacramental laws, and laws about not wearing

As for the confessions view of theonomy see this article. Here

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by BrianEschen on Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:23 pm

YoungStonewall wrote:You asked me "Do you agree with that part of the WCF?" The section you quoted from is from the original 1646 version, and was heavily modified by american presbyterians in 1787.

To answer your question, no I don't believe that section of the confession that you quoted is biblical., and it was removed by american presbyterians over two centuries ago.

Lets simplify our debate here. The nation of Israel had a unique status, they were both a sovereign nation, and the only visible church.

The purpose of this debate is to discuss the realm of civil justice, so lets seek to limit our discussion to the civil realm.

For the sake of discussion, let us assume for a moment that what you are saying is true, and you have the power to restore the civil code of Israel as the law of the land.

Please lay out for me how it would work.

Where are the Levite cities where accidental muderers can flee?

Where will should we build the new alter and its horns?

How many shekels should I sell my daughter for as a slave?

Would you buy her? Why/Why Not?

How many oxen and donkeys do you own?

What should we do during the year of Jubilee?

Why do you wear blended fabrics?

Why do you eat hybrid food?

I was merely quoting the WCF in response to your quote because I thought you were making it say what it wasn't. I do think you have a good grasp on the "general equity" phrase though. While the specifics may not apply, like oxen and donkeys, the principles carry over. In that sense the case laws are still in force. Is that your understanding?

Not all the laws mentioned in this last post are confined to the "civil justice" realm. There are for instance no civil penalties for sowing two different kinds of seeds in your ground or wearing blended fabrics. However I think I am understanding your basic argument. It seems that you are saying that unless you are able to explain how all the case laws apply today, they do not apply. That seems like quite a logical jump to me and unpersuasive. Before diving in to how the case laws apply today, a more basic argument needs to be addressed. Again, I would say that you should be able to find clear biblical grounds in the New Testament for saying that the civil laws laid down for the nation of Israel have been repealed under the New Covenant. I have not yet seen evidence of this.

You also seem to still be equating the civil and ecclesiastical governments in the nation of Israel. A claim I believe is unjustifiable as pointed out before. If this is true, on what biblical grounds do you see them as equal?
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by YoungStonewall on Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:07 pm

I believe you are drawing the wrong connection, from the old theocratic civil society of Israel to the new non-theocratic civil societies of today.

The physical nation (civil society) of Israel was replaced by the non-physical (spiritual society) of the New Israel, The Church.

Also I believe you fail to understand the true nature of the excommunication, the new death penalty, which is a far worse punishment than physical death.

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:20 am

You still don't get the point that Israel had a separation of church and state do you?
Just like today there was the "state" of Israel and there was the "church" of Israel.
Otherwise why were the king and priest 2 different people. Why was it wrong for the king to go into the temple and offer sacrifices?
I admit that they overlapped slightly. If you were a member of the "civil society" of Israel you were also a member of the "spiritual society" of Israel. If you were a citizen of Israel you were a member of the church of Israel.
That is were many people get confused. However if you examine it closely you can see they were two different things.

Basically I'm restating BrianEschen's point (and probably not doing as good a job).

Further more, I again ask do you understand the general principles of the mosaic law to be carried over?
I may have misled you in my early discussions. I believe that the general principles of the mosaic law apply today. No I don't believe that the year of jubilee applies the same today as in Israel's time, etc. I believe that the death penalties apply in principle. I don't see any cultural modifications that need to be made on them though. So I see no need to change them from how we find them in Exodus.

P.S.
How do you think we are failing to understand the true nature of excommunication? I don't see anything above that implies misunderstanding that. Please enlighten me.
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by YoungStonewall on Fri Jan 11, 2008 10:49 am

I may have misled you in my early discussions. I believe that the general principles of the mosaic law apply today. No I don't believe that the year of jubilee applies the same today as in Israel's time, etc. I believe that the death penalties apply in principle.

On what basis do you pick and choose what applies and what doesn't? On what scriptural basis do you say the year of jubilee does not apply but the death penalty does?

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by TheWylff on Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:45 pm

Case in point, the year of jubilee applied because of the land situation in Israel and the way the government was set up with different tribes. Besides anything dealing with sacrifices being abolished, also included are things that are tied to Israel culturally. Some things have changed with the modern day and age, some things don't work or have the same result because of the modern mindset.

Everything that dealt with Israel as a nation culturally, not specifically dealing with sins common to everyone, is now nullified. We aren't supposed to go out and kill the Canaanites, that's specific to Israel's culture. Give me a law and I'll explain to you whether or not it applies, and why.

The reason the death penalty still applies and the Year of Jubilee does not, is actually very very simple. We still are dealing with exactly the same sins, and exactly the same motives. Were we to live in Israel now, and be separated into different tribes, and retain the cultural laws of the OT, then the Year of Jubilee would be valid. Since we don't—it's not.
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:59 pm

YoungStonewall let me ask you a question first. You seem to keep sidestepping the issue. On what scriptural basis can you claim that "The physical nation (civil society) of Israel was replaced by the non-physical (spiritual society) of the New Israel, The Church."?

Let me ask the question BrianEcshen already asked, which has not been answered. Does your understanding of the WCF's "general equity" mean that while the specifics like oxen and donkeys don't apply, the principles do?
In other words how would you define "general equity?"
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:10 pm

*Edited Double Post*
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by YoungStonewall on Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:48 pm

I am not posting this as an answer, just so ya'll can see what Calvin thought of theonomy. I must say I agree with what he has to say

Calvin's Institutes, Book IV, chapter 20, sections 14, 15, and 16, in order.

"This I would rather have passed in silence, were I not aware that many dangerous errors are here committed. For there are some who deny that any commonwealth is rightly framed which neglects the law of Moses, and is ruled by the common law of nations. How perilous and seditious these views are, let others see: for me it is enough to demonstrate that they are stupid and false."

" . . . And as that exercise in ceremonies properly pertained to the doctrine of piety, inasmuch as it kept the Jewish Church in the worship and religion of God, yet was still distinguishable from piety itself, so the judicial form, though it looked only to the best method of preserving that charity which is enjoined by the eternal law of God, was still something distinct from the precept of love itself. Therefore, as ceremonies might be abrogated without at all interfering with piety, so also, when these judicial arrangements are removed, the duties and precepts of charity can still remain perpetual."

" . . . The allegation, that insult is offered to the law of God enacted by Moses, where it is abrogated and other new laws are preferred to it, is most absurd. Others are not preferred when they are more approved, not absolutely, but from regard to time and place, and the condition of the people, or when those things are abrogated which were never enacted for us. The Lord did not deliver it by the hand of Moses to be promulgated in all countries, and to be everywhere enforced; but having taken the Jewish nation under his special care, patronage, and guardianship, he was pleased to be specially its legislator, and as became a wise legislator, he had special regard to it in enacting laws."


As for the WCF supporting your view, I fear you are sadly mistaken. Below is a very clear rebuttal of that belief:

The Westminster Confession of Faith: A Theonomic Document? By Dr. Ligon Duncan

Excerpts:

2. WCF 19:3-5 clearly asserts a threefold division of the law

Second, WCF 19:3-5, clearly asserts a threefold division of the law following in the line of John Calvin and the church fathers, and contra Bahnsen.

It does so on the basis of inference from Scripture, taking into consideration both the nature of the laws themselves and the distinctive role of Israel in the redemptive economy. Moreover the WCF identifies the recipients of two of the three departments of law (ceremonial and judicial) as the people of Israel, while it extends the obligation of the moral law to all men. Accordingly, if Bahnsen is consistent in his criticism, the WCF must be classified as practicing "unwarranted compartmentalization" in its view of the law and therefore guilty of Bahnsen's charge of "latent antinomianism."24 It should be said that the WCF did not aim to say the final word on categories of the law of Moses or to rule out further discussion of the issue. But in regard to the issue of which laws are obligatory for New Covenant believers, its threefold division is definitive.


3. WCF 19:4 asserts that the judicial law has expired

Again, WCF 19:4 says that the judicial law has expired and is not binding ("obliging") on any nation-state now. It is entirely appropriate to ask two questions at this point. First, can a Theonomist really affirm that the civil law has "expired" and is "not obliging" any other nation-state now, and do justice to the plain sense, original intent and obvious emphasis of the statement? Second, if one were a Theonomist and writing a confession, is this how one would phrase a theonomic position which emphatically affirms the universally and perpetually binding character of the Mosaic civil code? The only rational answer to both these queries is an unequivocal "NO!" Bahnsen immediately counters, that in light of his interpretation of 23:3, "whatever 19.4 may mean, it cannot be understood as abrogating, say, the death penalty for blasphemers, and so forth."25 However, to interpret the confession in such a way that "general equity" cancels out the Assembly's declaration in the restrictive clause (which expired...) that modifies the direct object (sundry judicial laws) is to make a mockery of the English language. Indeed, Sinclair Ferguson comments:

it is difficult, to the point of impossibility—in this context in which the question of the continuation of the Mosaic judicial system had been long and heatedly discussed—to believe that the Westminster Divines would attempt to express a theonomic viewpoint by the wording we actually find in the Confession.26

The sentence structure of 19:4 yields a modern wording like this: "He [God] gave to them [the people of Israel] also, as a body politick, sundry judicial laws which expired together with the state of that people [Israel], not obliging any other [nation-state] now, further than the general equity thereof may require."27 To paraphrase and put in contemporary English: "God also gave to his people Israel, in their capacity as a nation-state, various civil laws. These laws terminated along with the extinction of the state of Israel and are not binding on any other nation-state now, further than the general equity (which lies behind them) may require."28

It is clear that there is no theonomic reading of WCF 19:4 which is capable of doing justice to its declaration of the judicial laws' termination. It may be asked in this context, what exactly the Divines meant by "further than the general equity may require?" This will be addressed shortly, but warrants one brief comment here. Undoubtedly, the WCF intended to allow for a broad range of opinion on the propriety of the application of various Mosaic judicial statutes in modern society.29 What it did not accommodate for, however, is the view that the judicials remain binding in principle.


5. WCF 19:4 meaning of "general equity" is at odds with theonomic interpretation.

Finally, as we have previously mentioned, Reconstructionists appeal to the phrase "further than the general equity thereof may require" as negating the force of the phrases "which expired" and "not obliging any other now." In that light, they interpret the statement as a whole as an indication that though the wording of the judicial law has expired, yet all its regulations and penology remain not only viable but obligatory for the modern nation-state. Now it goes without saying that this is a very dubious way of reading 19:4 indeed. Yet Bahnsen assures us:

The Puritans termed these case-law applications of the Decalogue "judicial laws," and they correctly held that we are not bound today to keep these judicial laws as they are worded (being couched in a language of an ancient culture that has passed away) but only required to heed their underlying principles (or "general equity," as they called it)[emphasis mine].32

Bahnsen's identification of "general equity" with "underlying principles" is accurate, but his implicit relegation of the concept to the wording of the laws is misleading and ahistorical. Calvin and his Puritan successors, to be sure, believed that there were underlying principles to be gleaned from the Mosaic civil code. But they also believed that not only the form but the content (including the penal sanctions) of the law could be altered by the modern legislator in the pursuit of an equitable law.33 In this light, Ferguson correctly remarks "that the theonomic interpretation of the principle of general equity is not identical with that adopted by the Puritan writers."34 At any rate, the theonomic exegesis of WCF 19:4 is hopeless since the preceding parts of the sentence are ignored and "general equity" is made to be the main thrust of the sentence's statement about the judicial law.

These five assertions make it quite clear that the Assembly was not committed in principle to the theonomic thesis. Of course, this was always very clear to the father of the Reconstructionist movement. Rushdoony himself, commenting on WCF 19:4, said: "...in paragraph IV, without any confirmation from Scripture, it is held that the `judicial laws' of the Bible `expired' with the Old Testament. ...At this point, the Confession is guilty of nonsense."35 Rushdoony seems to have managed an objectivity in his reckoning with the clear meaning of WCF 19:4 which has escaped most of the Presbyterian proponents of Theonomy.

The fact that the Confession does not assert a theonomic view of the role of the Mosiac law in current civil ethics, leaves us with two options in determining the relationship of the theonomic theory and the view presented in the Westminster Confession. Theonomy is either extra-confessional or anti-confessional. That is, Theonomy is either not addressed by the Westminster Confession (and hence, neither affirmed nor condemned by it) or is contradictory of the teaching of the Confession.

The case for it being extra-confessional has sometimes been made, but fails for the following reason. The Theonomist (because of his view that the civil law of God is universally and perpetually obligatory, the promotion of which is part of sanctification) must consider fellow ministers, who are in hearty agreement with the Confession's teaching on the law, to be latent antinomians at best. This indicates that the confessional position is, in fact, at odds with Theonomy. Which brings us to other option.

Reflection on this matter will show that Reconstructionism's view of the continuing obligation to the civil law is antithetical (rather than supplemental) to the Confession's view of the law. No man can unreservedly subscribe to the Westminster Confession (or the Second London Confession of 1689 [a Particular Baptist creed]) and hold a Reconstructionist view of the law, because the Reconstructionist position on the continuing normativity of the civil law on priniciple (cf. Bahnsen, By This Standard, 301) postivel y contradicts the WCF in at least four points: 1) the threefold division of the law, 2) the assertion that the civil law has expired, 3) the recognition of ad hoc principles in the civil law, and 4) in its definition of "general equity." Thus, if the Reconstructionists are right in their view, the Confession must of necessity be declared antinomian in its view of God's law. This alone ought to make clear the fact that Theonomy is not extra-confessional, but anti-confessional.

If you are interested in the entire article click here: The Westminster Confession of Faith:

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:32 am

All I can say is I agree with Bahnsen. I believe that the "general equity" means that although the judicial laws are not copy and pasted into today's society the principles apply. Another reason I have for believing that "general equity" means applies in principle. Is that none of the proof texts support the idea that the mosaic judicial system is done away with.

So I believe you are wrong....and I'm not mistaken.

If you don't believe that the mosaic laws apply AT LEAST in principle than it's up to the government to punish however they like. So although you like the death penalty, except for murder it's not biblical. There is nothing wrong with prisons, it's up to personal opinion.
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by YoungStonewall on Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:43 am

So I believe you are wrong....and I'm not mistaken.

This illustrates something very disturbing trend that I have noticed about those that hold to a theonomic view. They argue their position with a supreme arogance, without a shred of christian charity or love.

I fear Bahnsen would weep if he could see your attitude. I have heard him debate and he always did so with compassion and charity, NEVER with a "I'm right, your wrong, So there!" attitude.

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by TheWylff on Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:06 am

YoungStonewall:

I believe you took that statement a little too strongly. Not only did you say that he was "sadly mistaken" but he only said that he "believes you are wrong and that he is not mistaken." Obviously! If he thought you were right, why would he disagree? Same with any argument. You took what was a statement, probably meant in harmless banter, a jocular comment perhaps, and made it into what you wanted to hear: "I'm right, your wrong."

All Legolas was saying was that he thinks you're wrong and he's right. Do you not do the same? I was under the impression you believed what you were saying. If not, forgive me for being wrong, but you certainly make it sound as if you think he's wrong and you're right. In which case the statement you made is hypocritical and invalid.
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by YoungStonewall on Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:33 am

That's why there is this cool little button on your toolbar the says: Quote Laughing

Please Please Please USE IT USE IT USE IT lol!

So that we all know what you are replying to.

meant in harmless banter, a jocular comment perhaps

Then use smileys etc otherwise I will take it seriously, and reply accordingly.

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by TheWylff on Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:42 pm

The wording was obviously not meant in an "I'm right, you're wrong" manner. He said that's what he believes. Of course he thinks that. Read my previous post.
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by YoungStonewall on Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:24 pm

Which is why I am admonishing everyone to make liberal use of the Quote function. It was not clear to me that he was responding to what I has said earlier.

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by 89whiteandnerdy on Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:18 pm

***Mod Warning***

Stop your fussing and bickering and get back on the topic. Yes, you should use the "quote" feature so people know who you are replying to. But please, don't react/overreact to each other!

This is the last warning before this thread is locked.

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:55 pm

YoungStonewall wrote:
So I believe you are wrong....and I'm not mistaken.

This illustrates something very disturbing trend that I have noticed about those that hold to a theonomic view. They argue their position with a supreme arrogance, without a shred of christian charity or love.

I fear Bahnsen would weep if he could see your attitude. I have heard him debate and he always did so with compassion and charity, NEVER with a "I'm right, your wrong, So there!" attitude.

Here is a good example of something I'm finding very frustrating about this debate. Instead of trying to answer any of my questions you make some sort of condescending remark. If I can start getting some real answers than there is no point continuing this discussion. I get the impression from post such as quoted that you can't or don't want to answer my post and so dodge the thrust and go for a small insignificant phrase. I don't see any purpose or point to talk about someone weeping over my attitude on a debate. Does it matter about my attitude? Please let's try to keep it to the point. alien

(I'm not trying to sound mean. So don't take me wrongly I'm merely trying to keep us on topic. bounce)
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by 89whiteandnerdy on Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:57 pm

Nicely done. Back on topic please.

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by YoungStonewall on Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:08 pm

Before we can continue we need to clarify one point.

I believe in the three fold division of the law. The Moral, the Ceremonial, and the Judicial.

As the confession clearly states the Moral is still binding, the Judicial expired with the end of the nation of Israel, and the Ceremonial was abrogated with the coming of Christ.

What is your view?

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Re: Death Penalty

Post by Legolas Greenleaf on Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:54 pm

YoungStonewall wrote:Before we can continue we need to clarify one point.

I believe in the three fold division of the law. The Moral, the Ceremonial, and the Judicial.

As the confession clearly states the Moral is still binding, the Judicial expired with the end of the nation of Israel, and the Ceremonial was abrogated with the coming of Christ.

What is your view?

My view is that the Moral law is still binding today. I.E. the 10 commandments.

I believe that the Judicial law is binding today in principle. I believe that as specifics the laws applied only to Israel. However as principles they are binding upon all nations. Sorting out how those principles apply is another matter.....

The Ceremonial law was pointing to Christ and fulfilled and done away with in Christ's death.
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Re: Death Penalty

Post by 89whiteandnerdy on Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:05 pm

Legolas Greenleaf wrote:
YoungStonewall wrote:Before we can continue we need to clarify one point.

I believe in the three fold division of the law. The Moral, the Ceremonial, and the Judicial.

As the confession clearly states the Moral is still binding, the Judicial expired with the end of the nation of Israel, and the Ceremonial was abrogated with the coming of Christ.

What is your view?

My view is that the Moral law is still binding today. I.E. the 10 commandments.

I believe that the Judicial law is binding today in principle. I believe that as specifics the laws applied only to Israel. However as principles they are binding upon all nations. Sorting out how those principles apply is another matter.....

The Ceremonial law was pointing to Christ and fulfilled and done away with in Christ's death.

The Moral Laws are the principles behind the Judicial Laws! I think that's what you've been missing. The Judicial Laws were merely how the Moral Laws were enforced.

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Re: Death Penalty

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