Ask The Pastor — What Is “General Equity?”

Dear Pastor,

What does the phrase, “General Equity,” such as we find in the Westminster Confession Of Faith in 19:4 mean?

As I understand it, the General Equity answers the question as to how the Old Testament civil law is to be applied in the Nations today and perhaps the best analogy for understanding it is the metaphor of kernel and husk. The general equity advocates the idea that the husk of the Old Testament civil law is discarded but the kernel of the matter remains. So, in the classic example, the requirement of fences being built around roof tops in the OT finds the husk of the requirement expired while the kernel of protecting your neighbor remains in a law, for example, that insists on building a fence around your pool. So, “general equity” means to find valid and obligatory the principle articulated in the civil law, keeping in mind that the civil law was nothing but God incarnating His moral law into every day life.

Remember, the conviction is that the civil law was merely the case law of the moral law. Much as our Supreme Court makes decisions applying the Constitution to the cases that comes before it, God’s given civil law was God applying His Constitution (i.e.– The moral law — Decalogue), in concrete ways, to the society in which His people lived. Now, obviously we no longer live in an agrarian B.C. culture, and so much of the husk of the civil law remains behind, however, what the case law was aiming at in principle remains… and it remains only because it was a true flowering of God’s Moral Law. When we advocate for the general equity we are advocating for God’s own application of the moral law, as He revealed it in the OT Civil Law, for our era.

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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