Rev. Spurgeon and Rev. McAtee Chit Chat on Natural Law

Dear Pastor Bret,

“Couldn’t your criticism  (of natural law) be lobbed at scripture and the fact that different people interpret it differently? The fact that there are (Creedo)Baptists and paedobaptists both arguing from scripture could be used to argue against it (Scripture) being the highest authority. It seems the problem to me is not natural law any more than the problem would be scripture. God’s revelation whether in nature or in scripture is clear. We sinful humans twist it.”

Rev. Joseph Spurgeon
Sovereign King Church
Jeffersonville, Indiana

Rev. Spurgeon,


Before I answer your question I want to make it clear to people my support of your work there in Jeffersonville. Were I not in the ministry and were I living in your area I do believe I could find a home in attending your Church (as long as you kept me away from the Baylys.) According to everything I hear you are doing a good work in Jeffersonville. So, even though we disagree on this matter I would not have people thinking that I do not appreciate your labors for Jesus Christ.The answer to your opening question is definitely, “No.”

1.) You seem to think I deny the reality of Natural Law. I do not. What I deny is that fallen man has the ability to create a proper working social order by usage of only the means of Natural Law, apart from special revelation. This conviction is consistent in what we read and what I affirm confessionally from the Canons of Dordt;

“There remain, however, in man since the fall, the glimmerings of natural light, whereby he retains some knowledge of God, of natural things, and of the differences between good and evil, and discovers some regard for virtue, good order in society, and for maintaining an orderly external deportment. But so far is this light of nature from being sufficient to bring him to a saving knowledge of God and to true conversion, that he is incapable of using it aright even in things natural and civil. Nay, further, this light, such as it is, man in various ways renders WHOLLY polluted and holds it in unrighteousness, by doing which he becomes inexcusable before God.”

2.) If even Christians can’t agree on God’s special revelation at points how much more will it be the case that non-Christians will not agree on general revelation and Natural law? The problem with putting forth Natural Law for social order regulation among a pagan people, as Dr. Stephen Wolfe advocates, is that such a position does not take seriously the noetic effects of the fall.

3.) Natural law can only be consistently read aright and understood properly when read through the prism of special revelation, or at the very least, when read through the presuppositions that arise out of special revelation.

4.) With the Scriptures I have the text right in front of me to appeal to. With Natural Law all there is are impressions and insistence. For example, Yuval Noah Harai, via appeals to Natural Law, can argue for the fittingness of sodomy. Start @ the 2 minute mark.

Therefore I would not say the fact that Christians disagreeing on biblical texts is no different from people disagreeing on the interpretation of Natural Law. In point of fact, to make that argument suggests a putting of Natural Law on the same level of special revelation in terms of clarity. The doing so only has the effect of lowering the importance of Scripture vis-a-vis Natural law.

5.) Of course people disagree regarding Scripture but unlike Natural law the argument is made from the text and not some ephemeral esoteric “out there-ness.”

It is the case that if people disagree while arguing from Scripture that would impress people with the idea that even if there is disagreement at least all believe in the Scripture as being the authoritative source for all truth.

6.) You might counter that “Natural law as a vehicle for social order arrangement was supported by many Reformers throughout history.” And to that I can only concur while offering at the same time that the difference between then and now is that the Reformers (and other Christians) could appeal to Natural law as a vehicle for social order because the culture(s) in which they already were living were largely organized around Christian premises. A people living and saturated in Christendom in the 16th century are going to see Natural Law as teaching Christian principles as more obvious because they have borrowed worldview capital from Christianity without even realizing it. But we in the 21st century no longer live in Christendom, no longer begin with Christian presuppositions, and no longer are living off of the borrowed capital that is necessary to make Natural law work among non-Christian people living in a Christian social order context.

No, Joseph, I might wish you were correct, but the Scriptures and confessions are against such thinking as well as the existential moment in which we live.

So, we see your objection, while understandable, is not well founded.

Thank you for the inquiry.

p.s. — Spend some time investigating Alfred the Great and his book of Doom and see how Alfred relied on special revelation to organize the social order of his day.

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.

One thought on “Rev. Spurgeon and Rev. McAtee Chit Chat on Natural Law”

  1. I see your point that we are starting Natural law with Mosaic presuppositions.

    I’ve been watching James White’s sermon series on the holiness code. He’s been quite good at exposing evangelicals low view of scripture particularly Leviticus (which is my favourite book btw). Did not Paul and Jesus teach right out of Leviticus? Did not they had the highest view of the scripture in Leviticus. If Jesus did then you should too.

    I think things went wrong when “we” jettisoned Leviticus 19:19. Jesus pronounced all foods clean, and the crucifixion ended the sacrificial atonement system, but the rest of the holiness code should be kept. Not one jot or tittle. Maybe paedo-baptists should actually have a theology that btfos creedo-baptists for having a low view of scripture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *