McAtee Contra J. D. Hall on the Ongoing Validity of the General Equity of God’s Case Law

Are the judicial laws a reflection of the moral law? Absolutely, given the culture and context in which they are given…. What is just for my son or daughter may be different given their unique circumstances. The reflection of the moral law that is found in the judicial code for the commonwealth of Israel is very much there. I think the error is saying therefore that is a reflection of the moral law in our culture and context…. How justice is administered can be changed in the exact same way that God’s covenant administration has changed.

J. D. Hall
Theonomy Debate with J. McDumbon

1.) Keep in mind here the implication of the above statement. While in the old and worse covenant God Himself graciously gave judicial laws by which Israel could be ruled. Ask an OT Hebrew what law code he was ruled by and he would have said with gratitude… “We as God’s people are ruled by God’s case law as it reflects His moral law.”  However, when we come to the superior covenant, what the book of Hebrews called “The new and better covenant,” God’s people, per Hall, are no longer ruled by the general equity of God’s explicit case law but rather we are ruled by case law that is established by sovereign man. Does that really sound like a new and better covenant?

2.) Note the relativism in J. D. Hall’s position. The judicial law of the Commonwealth of Israel was a reflection of God’s moral law for their time. However, other times may find that a new judicial law not explicitly given by God is a better reflection for those times than the reflection of the moral law in the case law in the time that God explicitly gave the case law to Israel. Now, J. D. tries to avoid this charge of relativism by comparing the alleged change in the case law between the Israel Commonwealth and other times after the ending of Israel to the change in the different administrations of the covenant. The problem here however is that God’s covenantal administration changes from the Mosaic to the New and Better covenant were changes that were wrought in connection to the previous reality that Christ had fulfilled bloody rites of both the Passover (now communion) and Circumcision (now Baptism). There is nothing in the New Testament that speaks directly to a change in the case law such as we find in a change in the signs and seals of the covenant of the new and better covenant. For Rev. Hall to suggest that God’s case law can change from people to people and from year to year depending on how they want to piece the case law together according to their imaginations finds Hall not only falling into the hole of relativism but it also finds him falling into the chasm of some kind of Marcionism where God’s character is no longer immutable.

3.) My charge against Hall that he is implicitly denying the immutability of God’s character is due to the fact that where ever a people change out their law order there is at the same time a changing out of their God since the law order is always a reflection of the character of God. If God can change per the way the Rev. Hall is saying that God can change via the ever sliding scale of the application of the moral law then God’s character is not immutable.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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