Theonomy & The Tiber Stroke

There have been more than a few people pulling into the outdoor theater drive in that is Iron Ink to complain about my connecting the dots between Mr. Stellman’s R2K and his departure from the Reformed faith. Typically what the screams have been are something like, “Yeah, but how many Theonomists have gone to Rome bub?”

Which is like asking how many Reformed people have gone to Rome since Theonomy is nothing but the Reformed faith in its clearest expression. Jesus was theonomic. Paul was theonomic. Augustine was theonomic. Centuries later the Magisterial Reformers were theonomic (look at all the quotes on Iron Ink from them on theonomy), the Puritans were theonomic (look at all the quotes on Iron Ink from them on theonomy). Some R2K defenders have pointed out theonomy in the Kuyperian tradition accusing our Kuyperian brethren as being “soft theonomists.” (Oh the horror of it all.) Hence my pedestrian contention that the Reformed faith is indeed theonomic. Now, naturally, different theonomic men interpreting God’s law-word had different wrinkles regarding their theonomy and it is doubtful that the Church will ever be universal in how it understands that God’s law should be applied, but the Church throughout history — and especially the Reformed Church — has always been theonomic, and that is simply because that is what Biblical (i.e. — Reformed) Christianity is.

Even Dr. Meredith Kline understood that the Westminster Confession was a theonomic document.

“At the same time it must be said that Chalcedon is not without roots in respectable ecclesiastical tradition. It is in fact a revival of certain teachings contained in the Westminster Confession of Faith – at least in the Confession’s original formulations….Chalcedon can justly claim historical precedence for its position on this matter in the original formulations of the Confession.”

And so the idea that some theonomist may have, in the past, swam the Tiber, only proves that their swimming the Tiber was due to something in their theology which failed in being properly Theonomic. In other words they went to Rome not because of their theology had too much of Rome in it but they went to Rome because their theology did not have enough Theonomy in it, for “theonomy” is just another word, like “Calvinism,” for Biblical (Reformed) Christianity.

Of course the contention is that R2K folks who head to Rome do so because there is to much Rome in their theology.

And keep in mind that Federal Vision is a whole different beast from theonomy. Federal Vision is more James Jordan’s creation (the James Jordan who disavowed theonomy) than it is theonomy’s creation.

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.

3 thoughts on “Theonomy & The Tiber Stroke”

  1. (a) I didn’t ask “how many Theonomists”, I asked “how many FVers”.

    (b) Who are the “more than a few” that are supposed to be in this drive-in? The parking lot looks pretty empty to me.

    (c) Theonomy is not just another word “like ‘Calvinism'”. Granting for the sake of argument that Theonomy is biblical, it is a specific doctrine about ethics and law. Calvinism is a complete theology, containing doctrines in many other varied areas, like trinity, incarnation, soteriology, ecclesiology, sacramentology, and many other ologies that are not Theonomy.

    (d) “original formulations” — American Presbyterians do not confess those original formulations, they were modified specifically to reject theonomy. But you know that.

    1. Rube,

      All because you don’t see the cars doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Sometimes the owner of the bijou hides them from others.

      1. It took me an unreasonably long time to parse those sentences. Replacing ‘All’ with ‘Just’ helps. But it’s early, maybe the coffee will kick in soon.


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