Responding To R. Scott Clark’s Vicious Attack on Bahnsen & Theonomy

Over at the “HIDEOUSBLOG” Dr. R. Scott Clark demonstrates (yet again) that he is stupid. If you search engine “R. Scott Clark Hideousblog” you will find the site. The column title is; “Stemming Another Rising Tide Of Theonomy: Hebrews 7:11–14 (1): Background.” I am not going to link it here because the thought of Iron Ink giving HideousBlog traffic makes me ill.

Herein follows the list of Clark’s errors;

1.)   “no Republican was going to win the White House that year” (1976 election).

I only include this rather off hand comment by Clark in order to demonstrate that the man doesn’t know what he is talking about. If Clark can be wrong here, in such an obvious manner, then it gives support to the idea that Clark doesn’t know what he is talking about in any number of any other “factual” accounts he gives.

Briefly, put Republican chances in 1976 were good. Ford ended up losing in the closest Presidential race of the 20th century at that time, save one. Many experts believe that if Reagan had received the nomination that Republicans would have indeed won. Failing that if Ford would have just run more to the right he might have pulled out Ohio and won. Clark is just in gross error here, as he continues to be throughout this piece. For Pete’s sake Ford won 27 states, the most states ever carried by a losing candidate.

2.) “Still, Bahnsen’s book, which advocated the (future) reimposition of the Mosaic judicial laws, went off like a bombshell, provoking reviews and responses in Christianity Today and a volume of essays by the faculty of Westminster Seminary.”

Throughout the history of Westminster Seminary the faculty had never, to that time, put out of a volume of essays denouncing anything. Never a joint volume denouncing Dispensationalism. Never a joint volume denouncing the sexual revolution. Never a joint volume denouncing liberalism in the Church. Only upon Greg Bahnsen’s publication advocating respecting God’s Law did the Westminster faculty determine that they had to put out a joint volume of essays in order to squash Bahnsen. That volume of essays has since been torn from limb to limb and scattered to the wind as it has been exposed as to how shallow and errant it is.

While we are on it, a good booklet to get that overturns Westminster’s and Clark’s silly hostility to Bahnsen’s theonomy is “Theonomy and the Westminster Confession” by Martin Foulner.

3.) “His (Bahnsen’s) argument was shocking to the consciences of many American evangelical Christians for a variety of reasons. First, many American evangelicals had been reared in Dispensational fundamentalism. As strict as they might have been in their piety and personal morality, theologically and practically they were antinomian. The Old Testament was thought generally to belong to previous “dispensations” in history and thus not even the Ten Commandments were thought to be “for today,” let alone the Mosaic judicial laws.”

Yeah, antinomian Dispensationalism was and is kind of like Clark’s antinomian R2K buddy, David Van Drunen writing,

“Scripture is the sacred text given to God’s covenant people whom he has redeemed from sin. . . . Given its character, therefore, Scripture is not given as a common moral standard that provides ethical imperatives to all people regardless of their religious standing.”

DAVID VAN DRUNEN

Even antinomian R. Scott Clark reveals his antinomian slip by writing;

“It is not the magistrate’s duty to police every sort of violation of natural law and sin. For example, no one but theocrats want the state enforcing obedience to the first table of the law. The magistrate’s natural sphere of concern and authority is in the second table.”
Heidelblog, October 27, 2008

So, per antinomian R2K Clark Magistrates should not be concerned to create and then enforce blasphemy laws, laws supporting the sabbath (old “blue laws”), and laws against perjury?  Antinomian anyone?

Yes, Bahnsen and all Biblical Christians oppose both Dispensationalism and R2K on these matters. Theonomists do believe that God’s law applies in the common realm today.

It’s not a wonder Clark hates theonomists so. It is the same hatred that the Dispensationalists have for theonomists. Wait … could that mean that R2K is really just “Reformed Dispensationalism?” Some have thought and said so.

4.)   Nevertheless, Bahnsen argued for the “abiding validity of the law of God in exhaustive detail.” Specifically, what was at issue was the abiding validity of the Mosaic judicial laws. This is what he intended by “theonomy.”

First, Bahnsen went out of his way to demonstrate that general equity remained. There were OT Judicial laws that were no longer in force such as building a fence around the roof of one’s house, though Bahnsen pointed out that as a principle that law remained in force with the idea that since it was about protecting people from harm (since the ancients entertained on their roofs) therefore building fences around swimming pools would be an example of how the general equity of the law remained.

Second, what the libertine Clark and his R2K buddies desire is to throw out the whole law, including, as we saw above, the 10 commandments. R2K says incest may be OK since incest was a OT judicial law only for OT Israel. R2K says that bestiality is OK since bestiality was a OT judicial law. R2K says that public square blasphemy is ok since the forbidding of that is OT judicial law.

So, yes, Bahnsen taught the abiding validity of God’s law. And R2K teaches the abiding eclipse of God’s law. Now, dear reader,

“Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region where Escondido is, or the gods of the R2K-ites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

5.) “Major mainstream media outlets are paying attention to the new locus of the theonomy movement, to Moscow, Idaho, and to the plans of theonomic-reconstructionist church to Christianize Moscow and, from there, the rest of the world. ”

First, I could only wish that Moscow, Idaho was theonomic the way Bahnsen was theonomic. Clark needs to keep in mind that Wilson himself has said that he is NOT Rushdoony 2.0 but that he is trying to be Rushdoony 0.5. Wilson is no theonomist. Wilson, like Clark, is just another version of an Elmer Gantry cult trying to rope in the rubes. Imagine how petrified Clark would be if Wilson were really a theonomist.

Second, notice Scott’s problem with the very idea of anything being “Christianized.” Scott is miffed because someone — anyone might want to see some small social-order potentially Christianized. Scott’s R2K infection driven fever prevents him from ever entertaining the thought that even his own family might be Christian someday — never mind a whole city or even country. Scott has taken dark oaths of allegiance per his militant R2K eschatological amillennialism that he is duty bound to stop the Christianization of anything because that is not possible. Good grief, Clark is the one who has said that the disappearance of Christendom is a good thing.

6.)  Further, apparently ignorant of the classical and traditional Christian usage of the term “general equity” (natural law)…

Maybe Scott would be kind enough to list all of the theologians who exactly equated “general equity” with natural law. I would find that interesting.

7.) History has not been a strong suit of the theonomists

Says the guy who makes stupid history claims about the 1976 election.

8.) “After all, this argument is really about the progress of revelation and redemption. Were the specifically Israelite laws temporary or not? With the church universal, the confessional Protestant traditions have said that they are.”

Again, I refer the reader to Martin Foulner’s “Theonomy & The Westminster Confession,” in order to give the lie to Clark’s assertions.

9.) Several of the Anabaptists postulated a future glory age on the earth when Christians shall have conquered their enemies.

Here Scott just tells us that he hates postmillennialism and tries to suggest that theonomists are really Anabaptist. Yeah … right … the postmill theonomists see the world they are seeking to conquer by the Spirit of Christ as for Christ as evil (that “the world is evil” is classical Anabaptist thought) refuse to baptize their children (like the Anabaptists), and believe in the community of goods (like the Anabaptists). Scott is just throwing cow dung against the wall here to see if it will stick. Any smear will do. Of course, being antinomian he can get away with that without coming under any conviction.

10.) The Reformed biblical theologians recognized that the Mosaic theocratic-state was intentionally temporary. They recognized that it was intended to point to the New Covenant and to Christ. They recognized and repeatedly said that the judicial and ceremonial laws were part and parcel of the types and shadows which have been fulfilled by Christ.

Hey, Scott, was Martin Bucer a Reformed Biblical Theologian?

“But since no one can desire an approach more equitable and wholesome to the commonwealth than that which God describes in His law, it is certainly the duty of all kings and princes who recognize that God has put them over His people that follow most studiously his own method of punishing evildoers. For inasmuch as we have been freed from the teaching of Moses through Christ the Lord so that it is no longer necessary for us to observe the civil decrees of the law of Moses, namely, in terms of the way and the circumstances in which they described, nevertheless, insofar as the substance and proper end of these commandments are concerned, and especially those which enjoin the discipline that is necessary for the whole commonwealth, whoever does not reckon that such commandments are to be conscientiously observed is not attributing to God either supreme wisdom or a righteous care for our salvation.

Accordingly, in every state sanctified to God capital punishment must be ordered for all who have dared to injure religion, either by introducing a false and impious doctrine about the Worship of God or by calling people away from the true worship of God (Dt. 13:6-10, and 17:2-5); for all who blaspheme the name of God and his solemn services (Lv. 24:15-16); who violate the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14-15, and 35:2; Num. 15:32-36); who rebelliously despise authority of parents and live their own life wickedly (Dt. 21:18-21); who are unwilling to submit to the sentence of supreme tribunal (Dt. 17:8-12); who have committed bloodshed (Ex. 21:12; Lv. 24:17, Dt. 19:11-13), adultery (Lv. 20:10), rape (Dt. 22:20-25), kidnapping (Dt. 24:17); who have given false testimony in a capital case (Dt. 19:16-21).”

Martin Bucer
16th century Magisterial Reformer
The Fourteenth Law: The Modification of Penalties

Hey, Scott, was John Calvin a Reformed Biblical Theologian?

“But this was sayde to the people of olde time. Yea, and God’s honour must not be diminished by us at this day: the reasons that I have alleadged alreadie doe serve as well for us as for them. Then lette us not thinke that this lawe is a speciall lawe for the Jewes; but let us understand that God intended to deliver to us a generall rule, to which we must tye ourselves…Sith it is so, it is to be concluded, not onely that is lawefull for all kinges and magistrates, to punish heretikes and such as have perverted the pure trueth; but also that they be bounde to doe it, and that they misbehave themselves towardes God, if they suffer errours to roust without redresse, and employ not their whole power to shewe a greater zeale in that behalfe than in all other things.”

Calvin, Sermons upon Deuteronomie, p. 541-542

And again, in a treatise against pacifistic Anabaptists who maintained a doctrine of the spirituality of the Church which abrogated the binding authority of the case law Calvin wrote,

“They (the Anabaptists) will reply, possibly, that the civil government of the people of Israel was a figure of the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ and lasted only until his coming, I will admit to them that in part, it was a figure, but I deny that it was nothing more than this, and not without reason. For in itself it was a political government, which is a requirement among all people. That such is the case, it is written of the Levitical priesthood that it had to come to an end and be abolished at the coming of our Lord Jesus (Heb. 7:12ff) Where is it written that the same is true of the external order? It is true that the scepter and government were to come from the tribe of Judah and the house of David, but that the government was to cease is manifestly contrary to Scripture.”

John Calvin
Treatise against the Anabaptists and against the Libertines, pp. 78-79

 

11.) “Thus, it is no surprise that Bahnsen’s biblical exegesis in Theonomy is spectacularly unpersuasive. His interpretation of Matthew 5:17–20 has been dismantled more than once.”

I’m just wondering here. If Bahnsen’s work on Matthew 5:17-20 has been dismantled more than once than why is it that almost 30 years after his death Clark still is spilling cyber ink trying to refute theonomy?

Oh, and by the by, if Bahnsen’s work on Mt. 5 doesn’t satisfy you then maybe B. B. Warfield’s work on the same text promoting the same end as Bahnsen will satisfy.

https://chalcedon.edu/magazine/does-theonomy-have-a-fatal-flaw

Finally, I would only note that Clark repeatedly accuses Bahnsen and theonomy of being guilty of the sin of Judaizing. I am sure that rabid antinomians find Judaizing everywhere.

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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