Yesterday I wrote a piece taking on Doug Wilson’s reasoning as to why blasphemy laws should not be implemented by a Christian magistrate. Today a well known music leader and professor in the Baptist Church (Scott Aniol) decided to cross swords with me on this subject.
Here is the point I originally made;
If we are not going to give the state the responsibility to enforce God’s law on Blasphemy because it would then become the the chief blasphemer then why would we give the state the power of the sword to enforce God’s law on murder, or rape since doing so would lead to the same?
Dr. Aniol, on Twitter politely responded to my comment
“This is an understandable question, but it ultimately breaks down. Blasphemy and murder are in two different categories, thus the two tables of the law. The first involves internal heart matters and the second involves external relations between humans. No one is suggesting that government stop punishing murder. Government must punish murder because (a) the punishment of murder is the fundamental power given to human government, and (b) defining murder is a whole lot easier than defining blasphemy from an unbelieving perspective, though of course they do try. Every successful society has recognized the need to punish murder.”
Herein I now respond to Dr. Aniol;
1.) Note how Dr. Aniol reasons like a Baptist here. He assumes discontinuity between the Old and New Testament where no evidence in Scripture exists for assuming discontinuity. In the OT the Ten Commandments were seen as apply completely to the Hebrew social order. However, Dr. Aniol, as a Baptist New Testament Christian introduces discontinuity in God’s law as he tells us that all of the Ten Words don’t apply for Christian magistrates today.
2.) Because of the observation of #1 above we would ask Dr. Aniol to prove from Scripture that murder and blasphemy are in two different categories, with murder being enforceable with penalty from Christian magistrates while blasphemy is not enforceable with penalty from Christian magistrates. He can only do so by the most torturous of Baptist Gumby routines. You just can’t derive from Scripture that magistrates today are only responsible for the 2nd table of God’s law and not the first. (By the way, as an aside, the R2K clowns also make this move, demonstrating their Baptist roots.)
3.) God should have given a memo to the Hebrews about different categories so they wouldn’t have stoned those blasphemers in the day. Oh… wait, I forgot, the different categories didn’t arise until Jesus died on the Cross. Jesus died on the Cross so blasphemy could be eliminated as a capitol offense.
4.) We would ask Dr. Scott if he realizes how novel is reading is about the two categories. With this novel reading you are saying not only blasphemy laws in the past in Western nations were wrong but so were American blue laws that existed in some part of the country up to the 1980s, since the blues laws are also part of the first table (“Remember the Sabbath, to Keep it Holy.”)
5.) The idea that 1st table isn’t applicable for modern magistrates to enforce is complete horse hockey. It is made up whole cloth. I can exhaust you with quotes from the Theologians of the past which would be laughter in your face.
We start with a quote from a Baptist so as to give Dr. Aniol’s favored denomination some air time;
“But then there were other judicial laws, which were founded on the light of nature, on reason, and on justice and equity, and these remain in full force ; and they must be wise as well as righteous laws, which were made by God himself, their King and legislator, as they are said to be, Deut. iv. 6, 8. And they are, certainly, the best constituted and regulated governments that come nearest to the commonwealth of Israel, and the civil laws of it, which are of the kind last described; and where they are acted up unto, there what is said by Wisdom is most truly verified, By me kings reign, and princes decree judgment; and if these laws were more strictly attended to, which respect the punishment of offences, especially capital ones, things would be put upon a better footing than they are in some governments, and judges, in passing sentences, would be able to do that part of their office with more certainly and safety, and with a better conscience.
And whereas the commonwealth of Israel was governed by these laws for many hundreds of years, and needed no other in their civil polity, when, in such a course of time, every case that ordinarily happens, must arise, and be brought into a court of judicature; I cannot but be of opinion, that a digest of civil laws might be made out of the Bible, the law of the Lord that is perfect, either as lying in express words in it, or to be deduced by the analogy of things and cases, and by just consequence, as would be sufficient for the government of any nation; and then there would be no need of so many law books, nor of so many lawyers; and perhaps there would be fewer law-suits.”
Body of Divinity
Here is one from Rutherford;
” For 1.) If there be no bodily punishment to be inflicted on false teachers and blasphemers, then must Christ by his blood repeal all those laws in the Old Testament; but the Scripture shows us all our parts of Christian liberty in these places of Scripture, Ti.2:14; Rom. 14:4; I Thess. 1:10; Gal. 3:13; Gal. 1:4; Col. 1:13; I Joh. 4:18; Acts 15:10-11; Heb. 4:14, 16; Heb. 10:19,21,22; Col. 2:15-16; 2 Cor. 3:13, 17, 19; Jam. 4:12; Rom. 14:4; Act. 4:9; Act.5:29; 1 Cor. 7:23; Matt. 23:8,9,10; Matt. 15:9; and elsewhere; in all which places nothing is hinted of the false teachers patent under the seal of the blood of the eternal Covenant, that he is freed from the Magistrates sword, though he destroy millions of souls.”
A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience etc. — pp. 233-234
And one from Richard Vines;
“For the blasphemous and seditious Heretics, both Lutherans and others of the Reformed Churches do agree that they may be punished capitally, that is for their blasphemy of sedition; but the Socinian stands out here also, and denies it; alleging that the punishment of false Prophets in the Old Testament was speciali jure but by special law granted to the Israelites, and therefore you must not look (saith the Socinian) into the Old Testament for a rule proceeding against false Prophets and blasphemers: Nor (saith Calvin and Catharinus) can you find in the New Testament any precept for punishment of Thieves, Traitors, Adulterers, Witches, Murderers and the like, and yet they may, or at least some of them be capitally punished: for the Gospel destroys not the just laws of civil policy or Commonwealths.”
Richard Vines — English Puritan
The Authors, Nature, and Danger of Heresy
Laid open in a sermon preached before the honorable house of Commons…March – 1646 – pp. 64
In the words of Captain Steve Rogers, “I can do this all day.” Suffice it to say that Aniol’s position is completely modern and so completely novel. Aniol’s position smells more of the Endarkenment thought than it does of Christian thought.
7.) Every society has defacto or dejure blasphemy laws. We have them. Try saying the word that sounds like “niggardly” in public and see how one is punished. So, blasphemy laws still exist. We still can’t take the name of our gods in vain. We just hide it from ourselves.
Well, more might be said but we have said enough for those with eyes to see the egg that Dr. Aniol has on his face.