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?

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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