The Divine Law of Political Israel Expired: General Equity

By Sherman Isbell - Posted at The Westminster Presbyterian:

General Equity

About 1970 claims began to be published that a perpetual obligation remains in many Old Testament ordinances which classical Reformed theologians had regarded as expired under the New Testament. The "Christian Reconstruction" movement seeks to conform modern society to this reassertion of certain laws given to Old Testament Israel. One of the tenets of Christian Reconstruction is theonomy, the belief that the Old Testament civil law is morally binding today. This essay will examine the diversity between theonomy and the classical Reformed tradition. Particular attention will be given to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms as representative of classical Reformed theology; our reference will be to the original text of the Confession (1646), without the eighteenth-century American revisions respecting the civil magistrate.

Important Issues at Stake

There are important practical implications in the question whether theonomy is consistent with the teaching of the Westminster standards. It is the intended function of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms to define both the system of doctrine and the ethics found in Scripture.


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