Posted in Uncategorized

Do Masks Work? | City Journal

A review of the evidence
— Read on www.city-journal.org/do-masks-work-a-review-of-the-evidence

As the hysteria continues to surge over a respiratory virus that will never go away, I wonder how long the average citizen in our society will allow bad reasoning to rule the day?

Courage begets courage, but ignorance begets ignorance. Far too many lack the courage to live freely, but a larger number by far seems to revel in their ignorance. Not only has this subject matter become a “taboo conversation piece,” but people would rather follow the tune of the Pied Piper elites than to weigh the evidence available. I know that some of this fault falls on the Big Tech companies censoring much of the counter assessment of the available evidence, but we have allowed them to have that power. We are continuing to march towards the sort of slavery that bends the spine and scrapes the knees. How long will it go on? As long as we allow it.

Fact is masks do a poor job of preventing access to microscopic materials. This was true of N-95 masks when I worked a decade in construction. They used to have a warning on the packages. Some still do. Although the number has shrunk. Why was it important for a construction worker to know that N-95 offered little to no protection against microscopic materials? One word…asbestos. You know the cancer causing agent that attaches itself to the lungs. The lungs try to remove it and protect the body. Scar tissue results when it cannot be removed and then years later cancer visits. Viruses are smaller than asbestos…but…hey, what do I know.

Stop buying crap and thinking your getting Coco Wheats. Stop covering your eyes and ears and shouting down the truth. Masks DO NOT work in stopping the spread of respiratory viruses. How long are you planning on living on your knees?

Posted in theonomy

Theonomic Outlook: From Generalities to Particulars–Part 2

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1John 5.3; ESV).1
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Eccl 12.13-14).
“For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Rom 13.4-5)
“The concern that when a religiously dominated society has control of the family, moral and governmental regulations, who is to govern the governors?” –Matt Slick2

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS…

What is it that is so troubling about the theonomic position? What is it about the Law of God enforced or applied beyond the individualistic sphere of governance that causes such a negative reaction? What earns the theonomist labels like legalist, radical, biblicist, or an extremist Christian sect? Is it because we teach an ethical norm derived directly from the fount of God’s law? Is the standard that God established, which serves as a reflection of His holy heart, not sufficient, defunct, or tyrannical? How can that possibly be the case when Moses’ proclamation to the children of Israel was the following:

See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people’” (Deut 4.5-6; emphasis added).

According to Matt Slick’s rhetorical question above, to seek to apply God’s law in this way to every area of life (starting from the individual, going to the family, and in the church and the greater society at large) is a seemingly dangerous notion. Who will “govern the governors?” Who will govern these religious leaders that have “dominated society [and] has control of the family, moral and governmental regulations?”

What is Slick concerned about? What sits beneath this question? In other words, what serves as the bedrock for Slick’s reasoning that a civil government led by God’s law seems a troublesome scenario?

First things first…

Keyboard warriors are a dime a dozen. Trolls that search the internet just to pick a fight and give you a headache are everywhere. Courage hidden is no courage at all.

That is not what I am doing. I’m not trying to pick a fight. I’m not trying to puff out my chest. The fact of the matter is that I don’t know Matt Slick personally from Adam (our forefather), though I do KNOW he is a son of Adam, like myself. That being said, I also know that Slick professes to be a son of the Last Adam—Jesus Christ. On these two things we share common footing. More importantly, confessing that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, we share a common heritage in God’s covenantal body.3 My interaction with his writing is not personal; although, I must confess that I personally hope that Slick (and others that share his thinking) would reevaluate their position in light of God’s Law-Word. What peaks my interest is the teeter-tottering occurring when one professes Christ as Lord of their heart and Savior of their being, but then they take a firm mental stand in opposition to His Law.

Peeling back the onion…

To look at the outside shell of an onion reveals little, but upon inspection we find that there are layers upon layers when we begin the peeling process. Some onions are sweet, others are a bit pungent with a hint of heat, and for most people the process of preparing an onion as a garnish for a meal will result in crying eyes. Despite the uncomfortable situation one often gets removing layers of the onion in order to prepare it for a dish, the effort is worthwhile. The same is true when we attempt to get to the underlying beliefs of those that hold differing positions from our own.

What is Slick’s underlying position in light of government? What is it that bothers him about applying God’s law (theonomic application) in civil government? It is because he sees civil government as a secular institution:

“A government is a political organization within a nation that exercises the control of military and judicial powers over its population. There are many different types of governments including communist, socialist, democracy, republic, etc. Though an argument can be made that some governments are religious in nature and that governments are overall instituted by God, CARM will classify governments as secular entities….”4

Notice that Slick claims that “some governments are religious in nature” but at the same time he asserts that “overall [governments] are instituted by God.” Raising the question as to whether “all” governments or just “some” are instituted by the Lord? If God institutes all, then why are only some religious? From where is Slick drawing such distinctions? He points to Romans 13:1-2 as to why he believes that God institutes civil governments:

...For there is no authority except from God, and those which exists are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God” (vv. 1b-2a; NASB).

But, what leads him to conclude that classifying all governments under the general heading “secular entities” is good and proper? Is this a biblical distinction that he provides his readers or an experiential one?

It would seem that the best policy at this point is to make sure that our definitions of “institute,” “religious” and “secular” are properly defined. The definitions shall be drawn from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary of 2008:

  • “institute—to establish in a position or office…to originate and…establish.
  • religious—relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity.
  • secular—of or relating to the worldly or temporal [concerns]…not overtly or specifically religious.”5

What are we to make of these definitions? We know from Romans 13, as well as other places (see Jer 18.7-10; Dan 2.21; 4.17; Prov 8.15-16), that God is the author of civil governments. He has established the institution and office. In fact, if we read a little further in Romans 13 we see that those that fill the office of leadership in the civil sector are called ministers of God three times (vv. 4 {2x}, 6). To what end? The institution and office of civil government is given two key roles in society: “1) They are “a minister of God to you for good”; 2) They are “a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” Thus, they do “not bear the sword [of judgment] for nothing” for the civil sector’s responsibility is to uphold justice, protecting the good from the evil, by purging the evil doer (if necessary) from the midst of civil society.

Again, Slick’s concern is that if God’s Law is enacted as the standard of justice, of righteous behavior, then who will “govern the governor’s;” who will limit their use of power? And so, he prefers to use “secular” (a.k.a. non-religious leaders or laws or morals) to define the role of civil government in general. Now, it is true that the use of secular does not necessitate non-religious, for the primary concern of secular is worldly concerns, but since the use of God’s law in the civil sphere of governance is what bothers Slick, what other conclusions are we supposed to draw from his writings?

A Question of Religion intent…

This leaves us with the question of religious intent (since that seems to be the actual heart of the issue). To be religious means to be faithfully devoted to what one supposes is true, ultimately, of reality. This can be a deity, but not necessarily so. The practice of faith is not in question, but the object of a person’s or societies faith is.

All people have faith everywhere you look. All people trust (entrust themselves) in, or to, something. They all possess an object of faith that leads them in their perception of reality (metaphysics), their source of knowledge (epistemology), from which they derive their moral norms (ethics).

Let’s look at Slick’s rhetorical question once more:

“The concern that when a religiously dominated society has control of the family, moral and governmental regulations, who is to govern the governors?”

Common but False…

His underlying assumption, which is common but nonetheless false, is that if we apply God’s Law then we are applying a religious standard that is not suitable. Meaning, that without applying God’s Law (theonomy) to the civil government then that government, as most governments are (at least, according to Slick’s view) are non-religious (secular in nature). Again, as I said, common but nonetheless false.

All of life is Ethical and therefore Religious…

Do secular (non-religious) civil governments have laws regarding right versus wrong behavior? Do they then punish what they view as bad behavior and in turn uphold or praise the good behavior of other citizens? We know that they do. We see it, regardless of the form of the established civil government. All nations, all cultures, and therefore all established civil governments have a religious view point that they adhere to and make prescriptions from.

The question is not “if” but “what.” It is not “if this nation has a religious belief that governs the presuppositional worldview of its people and therefore exercised in its civil institutions,” but “what is the religious viewpoint of the people that shapes the society and the civil institutions that govern it?” Again, not “if” but “what.”

Slick’s fear of a religiously dominated society is already realized. The question we must ask is what religious view of the world is being exercised versus what religious view of the world ought to be exercised in the governing of a civil society.

In other words, if God is the author of both the office and the institution of civil government, what should be the standard that governs both the officer and the institution? If God declares that they are to be “His minister for good” in order to pour out “His vengeance” by use of the “sword” of judgment against all who commit “evil,” then what standard of good is to be upheld, what definition of evil is to be used? Should such things be left to the whims of fallen man? Can those who declare evil good and good evil really be seen as fit to rule? Are they not established to image God’s goodness and to hate what He hates?

“The theonomist would contend that neither we as individuals nor our society as a whole has enough wisdom to improve upon that which God Himself has revealed in the pages of His holy law. Sinful creatures are in no position to question or correct the wisdom of God at any point where He has chosen to speak…We must not trade the objective standard of sola Scriptura in our Christian ethic for the subjective standard of personally perceived wisdom…”6

This applies not only to the individual in the home, in the work place, in the church, but the individual tasked with being a civil servant. Both the office and the institution of civil government are God ordained to reflect God’s holy standards, not the whims of personal subjectivism.

ENDNOTES:

1All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, shall be of the English Standard Version (ESV).

2Slick, Matt. “Christian Reconstructionism, Theonomy – CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry),” January 12, 2009, Accessed May 27, 2021. https://carm.org/christian-reconstructionism-theonomy/.

3For example, in an article entitled “Is Christianity a Cruel Religion?” Slick writes, “The truth is that many who claim to be Christians have violated what the Scriptures themselves teach. Christianity is not a religion that advocates cruelty. However, it does teach that all who reject Christ as Savior will face the ultimate punishment of eternal hell. If they want to say this is cruelty, then I would respond by saying it is justice.” October 21, 2013, https://carm.org/about-christianity/is-christianity-a-cruel-religion/. To this I would give a hearty amen.

4Matt Slick, “What is the Purpose of Government According to the Bible?” CARM (Christian Apologetcs & Research Ministry), accessed June 17, 2021. https://carm.org/government/what-is-the-purpose-of-government-according-to-the-bible/

5These are broad definitions missing, perhaps, many of the nuances that some may want to attribute to these terms. They are accurate insofar as they are intended to give a general or basic understanding of how the English language defined them. Given the current war on language here in the West, in light of the ongoing sexual revolution with the alphabet soup crowd, I chose to use a copy readily available in my personal library.

6Greg L. Bahnsen, No Other Standard: Theonomy and its Critics (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991), 32, 33, PDF e-book. Emphasis in original.

Posted in theonomy

Theonomic Outlook: From Generalities to Particulars–Part 1

The use of God’s Word is akin to a sharpened two-edged sword (cf. Heb 4.12). Either it will cut you to the quick in a temporal sense; or, it will cut you to the quick in an eternal sense. In other words, one will find, when confronted with God’s whetted blade, that they readily confess on bended knee that Jesus Christ is Lord over all life, admitting they have sinned against Him in the here and now, or before the final judgment seat of God Almighty. For it is appointed that all men shall die and then face judgment (Heb 9.27), that is never in question, but the question does remain, “will it happen now before the axe falls, or after it has severed the root?” (cf. Matt 3.10; Luke 3.9).

Law and order…

Over my last two posts I started speaking on the subject of theonomy—God’s Law. My reasons for this is rather simple. Our current culture is severely fragmented. The old guard which has been dying the death of a thousand cuts, due to Christians continual compromise with the unbelieving culture. There is a call for “law and order” by many, but from what standard shall that “law and order” be drawn?

As I noted in my first post (That Dirty Word Called Theonomy), theonomy is a dirty (i.e., taboo) word or idea in many Christian circles. A part of me is still amazed that such is the case. And so, I raised the question in my second post (Saved from What to What?) as to how we are supposed to live after we have been delivered from our previous life of sin? Not just as individuals, but as families, as congregations, and even in the sociopolitical spheres of life. You became a Christian…now what?

Anything but…

Anything but a theonomic outlook. Anything but that. That is the response you will get by those that have an aversion to God’s Law-Word. Take for example Matt Slick founder of CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry). Here is what he has to say about theonomy (although he equates Christian Reconstruction with Theonomy)1:

“Christian Reconstructionism (also known as theonomy) is a highly controversial movement within some conservative Christian circles. It maintains that the world should be brought under (reconstructed) the lordship of Jesus Christ in all areas: social, moral, political, judicial, military, family, art, education, music, etc. Christian Reconstructionism advocates the restoration of Old Testament civil and moral laws in order to reconstruct present American society into an Old Testament type Mosaic form and that the three main areas of society – family, church, government – should all be biblically modeled, the Bible being the sole standard. This would include severe punishments for lawbreakers. Some Christian reconstructionists would advocate death for adulterers, abortionists, idolaters, murderers, homosexuals, rapists, etc.”2

Controversial teachings…

There are a few more items in Slick’s short article that I would like to address, but for the moment let us bask in his insight in this paragraph under the heading, “Teachings.” Minus the error in equating Christian Reconstruction with Theonomy (see note 1 below), Slick is correct that in “some…Christian circles” theonomic teaching is “highly controversial.” He is also right in pointing out that the desire of the Christian Reconstructionist is to apply Christ’s lordship to all areas of life.3 Unfortunately, though, Slick’s disdain for theonomic thinking begins to seep through as he tries to muddy the waters a bit with his large audience.

He says that theonomy is about restoring the Old Testament Mosaic system and applying it to American society. While it is true that theonomists are concerned about properly applying God’s standard of righteousness to all areas of life, it is not true that we desire to use a cut-and-paste style format.4 We are not trying to recreate ancient Israel. Nor is it accurate to say that theonomists are only concerned about American society. For as the biblical worldview pertains to the entire globe (the entire created order where mankind has been placed by their Creator) so too does the theonomic outlook contain in its vision of the entire world. All countries not just America are under the authority of Jesus Christ whether they recognize so or not.

Slick rightly identifies three of the four main spheres of governance5 that Christian Reconstructionist who teach theonomy believe should have the same standard of holiness applied as the Bible teaches. And yet, he quickly adds that this will “…include severe punishments for lawbreakers” with some who share a theonomic outlook “advocat[ing] death for adulterers, abortionists, idolaters, murders, homosexuals, rapists, etc.” I’m not sure Slick has taken the time to clearly think through what he is saying before he sat down to write it. Severe punishments for lawbreakers, including the death penalty, were authorized by whom? Moses was merely a mouthpiece. He repeated what had been handed down to him. These were not Moses’ laws, they are God’s. These are not Moses’ punishments, they are God’s.

When kicking is preferred...

This is where the “kicking against the goads” to use a KJV expression for our stubborn, stiff-necked stupidity is a useless, though highly practiced venture by the children of Adam, is appropriate. The Lord God is the author of those laws and punishments, is Slick then calling Him severe? Is Slick troubled by the death penalty (a maximum not necessarily required for every violation of the law, and one that could not be enforced without two or three witnesses) that God said was a just punishment for violating His Law-Word?

Slick is not alone. These types of comments are normative for those who cannot stand the thought of holding all people, in all societies, by the same holy standard.6 This, in spite of the fact that God calls the application of differing standards of judgment an abomination (see: Prov 20.10; Lev 24.22). Rather than God’s objective law, man’s subjective law is preferred (cf. Prov 18.2; Mark 7.6-9). This has been a handicap since the beginning. For rather than stating, “It is written, man shall not live on bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt 4.4; cf. Deut 8.1-3), the preferred response is “Did God actually say…” (Gen 3.1). Better a man to declare what the law is, for him we will listen to, than the law be given from the mouth of God (cf. John 5.43).7

Throughout his article Slick’s apparent distaste for theonomy as a Christian branch of theology is clearly seen. Calling it “an extremist Christian movement, not held by very many people,” he then proposes the following rhetorical question:

“The concern is that when a religiously dominated society has control of the family, moral, and governmental regulations, who is to govern the governors?” (final par.).

Two things can be said about Slick’s closing thoughts (the comment about extremists and the rhetorical question of “who is to govern the governors?”). To follow Christ, to bring every thought captive to Him in every area of life, to take His Law as written, in context, deriving either its positive or negative application, or deriving the underlying principle behind it is what is required of all who profess a love of the Lord (John 14.15; 15.10; 1John 2.3-4; 5.3). This is not optional, although admittedly, it is considered radical by the world and those who are (perhaps unknowingly) influenced by it. As to the “who will govern the governors?” the answer is very simple—Jesus the Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords. Laws are holy and good when used properly (1 Tim 1.8).

More will be said on this, but this seems a sufficient place to stop.

ENDNOTES:

1Although there is no question that Christian Reconstruction and Theonomy are interrelated, they are not the same thing. This is a common misconception that I have noticed by the uninformed. Christian Reconstruction is related to the Dominion mandate (a.k.a., cultural mandate) of Genesis 1:26-28. Since mankind is God’s image bearers they are expected to exercise godly dominion over all the earth. The earth was made for mankind, just like the Sabbath (a day of rest) was given as a gift after six days of labor (coinciding with the biblical creation week; cf. Gen 1; Exod 20.11). It is an example of God’s delegated authority given to His earthly representatives. This command to “subdue the earth” has never been remitted. Rather we still see this delegated authority exercised in Scripture through God’s people. And, it is King Jesus who reaffirms it to His followers in Matthew 28:18-20. Theonomy on the other hand is the toolin the believer’s hand by which he/she has been enabled to exercise this godly dominion. First in their lives, and then in the lives around them. Therefore, Christian Reconstruction is the practice of reforming the world in which we live to properly image the Creator who made it all. Theonomy is one of the key tools that God has given so that we might be faithful to that end.

2 Slick, Matt. “Christian Reconstructionism, Theonomy – CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry),” January 12, 2009, Accessed May 27, 2021. https://carm.org/christian-reconstructionism-theonomy/.

3I’m not sure how Slick sees this application of Christ’s lordship over all things, but the way the rest of the article reads it would appear that he is not convinced that such thinking is right or to be put into practice. However, I would merely offer that since Christ is Lord over all, and since all things owe their being to Him, as all things were created by Him and for Him (ff. Col 1.15-18), that the only logical conclusion one might draw when applying the biblical worldview consistently is that, as Christians, our goal ought to be to shape this world (at least our little niches or areas of influence) in a way that conforms to Christ’s thinking.

4Greg L. Bahnsen answers many of these sort of objections in his work, “By This Standard.” In it he is quick to point out that “We need to be sensitive to the fact that interpreting the Old Testament law, properly categorizing its details…and making modern day applications of the authoritative standards of the Old Testament is not an easy or simple task. It is not always readily apparent to us how to understand an Old Testament commandment or use it properly today. So the position taken here does not make everything in Christian ethics [i.e., theonomic outlook] a simple matter of looking up obvious answers in a code-book. Much hard thinking—exegetical and theological homework—is entailed by a commitment to the position advocated in these studies” (7).

However, Bahnsen does offer a strong caveat to the Christian who thinks of sidestepping God’s Law-Word, “If something was sinful in the Old Testament, it is likewise sinful in the age of the New Testament. Moral standards… do not fluctuate…When the Lord makes a moral judgment, He is not unsure of Himself, or tentative, or fickle. Unlike human lawmakers, God does not change His mind or alter His standards of righteousness…When the Lord speaks, His word stands firm forever. His standards of right and wrong do no tchange from age to age: ‘All His precepts are trustworthy. They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness’ (Ps. 111:7-8).” Greg L. Bahnsen, By This Standard: The Authority of God’s Law Today (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985), 37-38, PDF e-book.

5The one that Slick misses is “personal or individual governance.” As creatures we are accountable to the Lord above. God blesses and curses not just nations for how they behave, but the individuals who live in them. If a person fails to self govern properly in light of God’s revealed Word, then they are cursed (e.g., Judas Iscariot). However, if a person does govern themselves properly in relationship to God’s commands, then they are blessed by Him (e.g., Jesus Christ).

6Paul Copan in his book entitled “Is God a Moral Monster?” seems in my mind to be an excellent example of this type of thinking intimated by Slick. Copan argues that “…we shouldn’t see the law as the ideal standard for all humanity” (86). A little later he adds, “the Mosaic law is not permanent, universal, and the standard for all nations” (89). Paul Copan, Is God a Moral Monster: Making Sense of the Old Testament God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011).

Kyle D. Fedler conveys a similar strain of thought in stating a warning of the danger in assuming that “…all the Torah laws are still valid.” Kyle D. Fedler, Exploring Christian Ethics: Biblical Foundations for Morality (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2006), 115.

This based on the premise that Christ removes the bondage one suffers under the law. But, we must not forget what that bondage was; it was the curse of sin. The bondage was not a righteous requirement, the righteous requirement that the law enforced upon humanity brought to bear our enslavement to sin, and so a curse was what we were held under until Christ set us free via our faith in Him. Fedler either fails to see this or allow this truth to shape his meaning.

7This is the problem that Jesus faced during His earthly ministry. It was not just what He did that offended the cultural elites (the supposed religious leaders/experts in the law), but what He said in regards to God’s Law. He gave the proper interpretation of it, showing it applicability over an above their own erroneous standards. If anything, Israel at the time of Jesus reveals what it looks like when man’s law is held on par with God’s own.