McAtee Interacts With J. D. Hall Statements Uttered in His 2015 Theonomy Debate

1.) “Do you need the civil code to tell you not to have sex with another man?”

Rev. J. D. Hall
Theonomy Debate vs. J. McDurmon

Well, in point of fact, yes we need the civil law to tell us that man is not to have sex with a man. J. D. Hall thinks this is so obvious that the Moral Law didn’t need to explicitly say that sodomy is sin in order for law orders to know that sodomy should be criminalized. But it is only obvious to J. D. Hall because J. D. Hall owns somewhat of a Christian world and life view. However, as fallen man suppresses the truth in unrighteousness, I would say that apart from the civil law instructing fallen man that sodomy is sin fallen man would not know that sodomy is sin since he suppresses that very knowledge.

2.) “You see under a Gentile regime Jesus did not expect Caesar to uphold the first table of the law.”

Rev. J. D. Hall
Theonomy Debate w/ McDurmon

J. D. Hall goes on to insist that the reason Jesus called the Scribes and the Pharisees Hypocrites in the context of whether to pay taxes to Caesar or not was that they didn’t want to pay taxes and yet they asked Jesus a question about the matter. But Jesus doesn’t call the Scribes and the Pharisees “hypocrites” for that reason. He calls them hypocrites because they came feigning having a real interest in Jesus solving their proposed dilemma. They were hypocrites because their interest was only in entrapping Jesus and not as they presented themselves as those who had a genuine interest in the question.

All of this is said in the context of Matthew 22 account of paying taxes to Caesar. In that pericope, we find the well-known verse,

“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Matthew 22:21

Hall makes the point that Caesar’s coinage was seen as blasphemy to Jews. Hall insists that as Jesus (in Hall’s interpretation) told the Jews to pay the tax therefore Jesus was saying the general equity of the civil law did not apply to pagan Gentile governments who use coinage that the Jews found to be a violation of the 1st and 2nd commandment.

The problem with Hall’s suggested exegesis is that it is just not so. Jesus never said in Matthew 22 that he did not expect Caesar to uphold the first table of the law. In point of fact Jesus never dealt with that issue at all. Indeed, Jesus never even conceded in that discussion that Caesar had anything that could be rightly considered Caesars. Remember, even Caesar belongs to God and so Christians have a responsibility to render Caesar unto God.

Jesus merely said that we are to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar and to render unto God the things that are Gods. Jesus never gave any explanation of what belongs to Caesar and that is likely because ultimately nothing belongs to Caesar since all belongs to God and so should be rendered up to Him.

The question that we are forced to ask here is, “what exactly belongs to God?”

Clearly, the answer is everything, including the State.

The next question then becomes, “what exactly belongs to Caesar?”

And the answer is only one thing and that is the authority to enforce God’s law, for His glory and the good of His church.

Romans 13 causes us to lean in this direction as it calls Caesar ‘God’s minister’ to do us good. As long as they ACT like God’s minister, by doing us good we are to obey them. When they begin to act like Satan’s minister, by doing us evil, then we must obey God rather than men.

3.)  “There really is in theonomy a tendency to put the law above the Gospel, and to put the law above the Gospel in a way that will challenge really an orthodox reading of the law.”

J.D. Hall
2015 Theonomy Debate with J. McDurmon

This is a damnable lie that has been demonstrated countless times to be a charge that has no roots in reality. No Theonomist who understands theonomy puts the law above the Gospel. No theonomist suggests that law-keeping is contributory to Justification. With this comment, Hall reveals either his dishonesty or his stupidity.

And Hall worries about an “orthodox reading of the law” and yet Hall is the one who has no law that can be applied consistently from generation to generation. Hall wants to say he esteems the moral law and yet Hall is the one who has a moral law that is a wax nose in terms of how it gets applied.
Does one really esteem the Moral law when the application of it can theoretically change from week to week?

We should insert here that Hall also insists that to be theonomic would put us back to a Talmudic – Mishna type reality what with all the interpretation of the civil law that would have to be done in order to follow the general equity of the civil law. However, Hall misses the fact that the humanist law order we now have already has the very thing he is afraid might arise if we took seriously the general equity of Gods’ judicial law. Indeed, what we have currently is a kind of Talmudic law that governs our social and law order.

4.)  J. D. Hall in his debate with McDumbon clearly believes that God by killing Ananias and Saphira did not operate consistent with his own civil law which never requires the death penalty for lying. Because of this Hall concludes that the general equity of God’s civil law is mutable. The reasoning is, “If God does not keep His own civil law therefore that means that the general equity of the civil law is not eternal.

The problem with Hall on this score is that God did not so much slay Ananias and Saphira for lying or theft as He did for blaspheming God. The text emphasizes their lying to the Holy Spirit.

3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit

9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test?

The OT civil law repeatedly calls for the death penalty for those who blaspheme God. Would Hall say that Ananias and Saphira did not blaspheme God by their lying?

Lev. 24:16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death.

Secondly, on this score all because God acts in His sovereignty to visit sin with punishment in a way that is contrary to how He informs his Magistrates to act in terms of penology for crimes committed does not mean that therefore God’s civil law in its general equity is not obligatory for magistrates. One of the perks of being a God who is sovereign is that as God you can adjudicate a case without going through the normal prescribed channels.

5.) Hall, in his opening statement in his debate w/ McDurmon on theonomy complains that theonomy is “mono-covenantal.” Right here we see that the difference between Baptists and Reformed on the subject of the abiding validity of God’s law goes even deeper. Hall demonstrates in his complaint about “mono-covenantalism,” that he is presupposing discontinuity between the covenants as it pertains to God’s law. Hall presupposes that God’s post-fall covenant administrations are not united by the theme of grace. Instead, Hall, reveals (typical for Baptists) his belief that the new and better covenant of grace is instead a completely different covenant unrelated to previous administrations of the one covenant of grace.

Hall fails to understand that the New Covenant is not like selling an old car and getting a new car of a different model and make with no continuity. It is more like upgrading to the iPhone 13 from the iPhone 10. There is LOTS of continuity, nothing of substance is lost-only improvements, and the architecture and rules are generally the same.

6.) In the McDumbon vs. Hall debate on theonomy Hall, in his opening statement, claims that while other nations were judged by God for violating God’s moral law no nation was ever recorded as being judged by God for violating the civil law.

This is yet another rather dull moment by Hall. Psst… J. D. … dude … it’s not possible to violate God’s moral law without at the same time violating God’s case law at some point. Therefore Dude, if God is judging the nations for violating His moral law (the Canaanites for example) He is at the same time judging them for violating his civil law at some point since the general equity of the civil law is the concretization of the Moral law.

7.) J. D. Hall in his debate w/ McDurmon on Theonomy insists that because only the ten Commandments were put in the Ark of the Covenant that therefore gives the moral law pride of place above the case (Civil) law. Hall intimates that this proves that all men of all times are beholden to the Moral law of but not all men of all times are beholden to the general equity of the case (Civil) law.

This idea that only the Moral law continues allows us to believe that God was satisfied with men living subsequent to the commonwealth of Israel creating case law that allows for, as just one example, Bestiality being legal. I mean, after all, there is nothing in the New Testament that forbids sleeping with one’s favorite milking cow.

8.)In the Theonomy debate between Hall and McDurmon, Hall concedes that the OT law is righteous but not obligatory.

Say what?

If God’s law is righteous why would God allow His law to be ignored for some other law that does not come to us as inspired and very likely would therefore be unrighteous?

I don’t know how you can concede right out of the gate that God’s civil law is indeed righteous but not obligatory. If it is righteous by God’s standard then why would you want some other Law?

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.

Praying With Those Who Kill the Unborn?

“He who does not get angry, when there is just cause for being so, commits sin. In effect, irrational patience sows vices, maintains negligence, and encourages not only bad men to do wrong, but good men as well.”
 
John Chrysostom
 
“Reason opposes evil the more effectively when anger ministers at her side.”
 
St. Gregory the Great
 
“The absence of anger is a sign of the absence of reason.” —
 

Thomas Aquinas

 

There is this chap who makes his way by being a pro-life activist. One of the things that he does as a pro-life activist is that he meets with pro-abortion politicians on a regular basis to “pray with them.” The Church he attends applauds this “activist” as being a model for the way that pro-life work needs to be done. They tell the congregation that we all need to be activists like Brother Wrongway.

Now, see, I’d be the floating prophylactic in the punchbowl on this issue at that Church. In my way of thinking this is an example of full-on Pietism. You don’t effectuate change on politicians who are pro-abortion by praying with them. You affect change by making those politicians feel the electoral pain. You affect change by making them hate you because you are out there exposing how they are baby killers. You’re not showing these criminals love by praying with them. You are showing them how weak you are and how weak your God is.

Certainly, in our own private prayer life we should pray for our enemies that they would repent. We should pray in our private prayer times that if they do not repent God would visit them with boils and take them out of the positions they hold whereupon they can continue their baby killing activity.

This mindset of meeting with God’s enemies to pray with them is the ultimate in pietistic 2-Kingdom Gnosticism. Imagine the Magdeburg pastors when surrounded by Charles V armies saying “let’s lay down our arms and go out and pray with them.” Imagine John Knox inviting Bloody Queen Mary to a prayer meeting. Imagine Oliver Cromwell pausing to pray with Charles I before the battle of Worcester? This mindset by the “pro-life activist” is pietistic 2-kingdom escapist “theology” and it has destroyed both Evangelicalism and much of the Reformed church. Some might argue that is a reason to rejoice.

You want to effect change with pro-abortion politicians? You don’t meet with them regularly to pray with them. You make them get to the point that they are praying you would die since you are doing so much harm to their re-election hopes.

I mean I suppose you could pray with them but I have a hard time imagining that they are going to stay at the prayer meeting long if you are praying imprecatory prayers combined with prayers that they may know God’s just anger against them that they might repent.

Clergy Malfeasance

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil;  cling to what is good.  Romans 12:9  

Hate evil and love good; establish justice in the gate … Amos 5:15


“We cannot properly love what is good without hating what is evil. But I still want to be known by what I love and appreciate more than what I hate and disapprove.”

Rev. Uri Brito

The quote from Brito sounds so pious and sweet. Just the kind of thing a Christian minister should say until examined closely.

The problem here is the false dichotomy Rev. Brito sets up. It is simply the case that what I hate and disapprove of is evidence of what I properly love as good. None addlepated people should understand that by hating what is evil I am at that very same moment loving what is good. What I hate and disapprove of make me known for what I love and appreciate.

For example, if I hate Federal Tyranny, it is because I love my family, my people, and ultimately my God. If I don’t show hate for Federal Tyranny I am not showing love to my family. For example, if I hate the contemporary Church, it is because of my love for Christ and His people.

It is simply not possible to divide these matters the way Rev. Brito desires. I love consistency in thinking therefore I hate false dichotomies. If I am known as a “lover” or a “hater” is up to the person who on one hand wants to villainize me or on the other hand to the person who wants to praise me.

If I am to be known for what I love I also desire it to be known that I was a great hater of those things that would do insult or dishonor to those matters I loved.  I am convinced that our hate for that which denigrates what we cherish should be as grand and glorious as those things that we love.

Simply put, if I end up being known for my great hates at least some people are going to figure out that my great hates existed because of my deep love for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and for those realities that He likewise loved.

Postmillennial Honesty

I do buy into, at least for the immediate short term, the gloom and doom narrative (so-called) that says we are going to remain in this dark age for a substantial period of time. (Which of course is not forever.) We’ve been in this narrative since the enlightenment.

To deny this is akin to the alcoholic denying he is an alcoholic. Denying it doesn’t change the reality of it. The social order of the West is going from having broken down to continuously breaking down with increasing vigor with each passing year. The Church in the West is in a Dark Age that is every bit as comparable to Dark Age the Church was in in the 14th & 15th centuries. Our ministerial corps and Seminary leadership is just an outrageous joke. Pietism continues to be the ethos of the Church and Dispensationalism (whether in the original version or the R2K Reformed version) is the theology du jour. There are next to zero civil magistrates that are worthy of honor. The nuclear family is in absolute shambles and the Trustee family is a long-forgotten concept not even remembered among the gaffers and gammers among us. Our tatted Great-Grandmothers today are more likely to have fond memories of Woodstock than fond memories of 65 years with one husband with the blessings of many children and grandchildren. Our schools excel in intellectual lobotomy as they continue to churn out apparatchiks who only know how to keep the machinery of humanist society rolling as they prioritize their sexual organs over their brains.

We must play the part of men and be honest about these matters. They will not change until we stare them in the face and admit where we are at. The pollyanna-ism of some post-mill types drives me absolutely bonkers. Look all around you. See what has been done already to deteriorate Western Civilization. Our enemies are already crowing how Europe is going to become a multicult polyglot cult. How can we not be suffering from delirium when given this reality we are going around saying that “all will soon be well?” All will not soon be well. The next election cycle is not going to reverse the course. Jesus is not coming back to beam you out of this mess you have contributed to making, and unless you think Pentecostal revivals change anything (and I pity you if you do), there is little expectation to have in terms of modern notions of revivalism.

None of this contradicts a postmillennial world and life view. I do believe that one day the knowledge of the Lord will cover the nations as the waters cover the sea. I do believe that the nations will bow to Christ in space and time. I do believe that families will one day be whole again and that the Trustee family will again be the norm. I do believe that Churches will be healthy again and people will again look forward to each Lord’s Day to come under the blessing of Word and Sacrament. I do believe a day is coming again when one will not have to be embarrassed if they are a member of the clergy corps. I do believe civil magistrates will one day again consult God’s Law-Word in order to make decisions regarding cases. However, none of that will happen unless we admit where we now are, determine to roll up our sleeves and get to the work of Reconstruction in every area of life.

We have to be realistic and realize we are where T. S. Eliott wrote about long ago;

“If Christianity goes the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready-made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism. We should not live to see the new culture, nor would our great-great-great-grandchildren; and if we did, not one of us would be happy in it.”

T. S. Elliot