I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends — Darrell Dow Refutes Dr. Leithart on Immigration



“The fact that immigrants aren’t white or American doesn’t matter; questions about American citizenship are secondary. Christian immigrants—and there are many—are brothers and sisters; non-Christians are a mission field, conveniently dropped on our doorstep. What’s not to like? If America is ethnically diverse, so much the better, because so much the more does it resemble that final kingdom assembled from all tribes, tongues, nations, and peoples.”~~Peter Leithart

Dr. Peter Leithart recently posted an essay on immigration at his often entertaining and frequently updated First Things blog.  In the following, I will briefly respond to various shortcomings in his argument favoring open borders.  In the past, I penned a number of essays covering similar ground while responding to Dr. Russell Moore. But as Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun and the immigration issue continues to be raised among not merely prominent Christian intellectuals and ethicists, but in local churches and Christian media.  Thus it is time for another treatment with substantial revisions to data and an expansion of other arguments.  Be advised that this is not a full treatment of the immigration question.  I largely ignore discussion of downstream political consequences, immigrant crime, and other cultural manifestations of large scale immigration.

It is difficult to criticize godly, faithful, and thoughtful men like Dr. Leithart, Dr. Russell Moore, or Dr. Albert Mohler .  I seek to reply without animus or rancor, sticking directly  to the issues at hand. Having said that, I remain convinced that they are mistaken in their interpretation and application of scripture as it pertains to immigration.  Moreover, they broadly misread the times in which we live and that misunderstanding skews the manner in which they confront socio-political issues.

A number of years ago as I was preparing to preach a sermon, my first and hopefully last, my then pastor, for whom I was pinch hitting, explained the importance of “exegeting an audience” when attempting to apply scripture.  The point was simple: know your audience and let that play a part in the application of the biblical text.  In a similar vein, I have found that many theologians speaking to issues in the public square engage culture in a way that is unhelpful because they fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the attack on the faith and the methods of the assailants.

To this point, the assault on the church has not necessarily been frontal.   That will likely change as the enemies of our Lord become more brazen and direct.  The attacks of the last century were subtle and deceptive.  Spawned by Gramsci as he rotted in an Italian Fascist prison, cultivated by the Frankfurt School, and applied by the likes of Saul Alinsky and other purveyors of propaganda, Cultural Marxism attempts to subvert the faith of our fathers covertly.  Traditional Marxists believed that the oppressed worker class (the Proletariat) would ultimately become alienated from the Capitalist class and overthrow it through the process of revolution.  But in World War I, working class Doughboys, Tommys and Frenchmen waged war against working class Krauts in trenches lining the Western Front.

With the evident failure of traditional Marxist theory, Marxism was reinterpreted through a cultural lens, positing that violent revolution should be eschewed in favor of a “march through the institutions.”  By capturing the organs of cultural dissemination—media, government, colleges, arts, educational and academic institutions, etc.—Cultural Marxists could effectively rearrange the cultural landscape and shape the preferences of the populace via systematic propaganda.  They could also get to the heart of a people by being the authors of its stories.

Fundamentally, Cultural Marxism is an attack on the Christian church and Christian peoples, but the battle is covert rather than direct.  By subverting other forms of attachment and various institutions that make legitimate claims on our devotion and wield countervailing cultural power, Cultural Marxists attack Christianity sideways.  Attachments—familial, ethnic, racial, national, denominational, etc.–have been systematically undermined in our age.  These radicals have been given aid and comfort by the church, particularly liberal denominations in the 20th Century, but increasingly in recent decades by “conservatives” as well.  Part of this subterfuge involves the destruction of Euro-Christian culture via the propagation of multiculturalism and public secularism, which rapidly descends into polytheism.  An important prong of multiculturalism is the ethnic, racial, and religious transformation of historically European and Christian peoples via mass immigration and coercive secularism, often aided and abetted by Christian pluralists, particularly those in Baptist and broadly evangelical circles along with traditional liberal denominations.  It is with the tapestry of multiculturalism in the background that Christians must thoughtfully apply immigration policy.


Dr. Leithart largely ignores the economic consequences of his proposal for open borders.  Economics is often considered a technical discipline or even a “science” but properly falls within the sphere of moral philosophy and is thus an adjunct of the queen of sciences, theology.  It must therefore start with a right view of anthropology.

Leithart begins by quoting Kevin Johnson, an immigration advisor to Barack Obama, to the effect that the nation will benefit from freer and more mobile labor.  Ironically, Leithart has gotten a good deal of mileage from critiquing the ideology of individualism. But throughout his esssay he unwittingly accepts the premises of classical liberalism and assumes an individualism that makes no distinctions in terms of human duties.  Though Christianity has universal, catholic tendencies, natural attachments and duties are not to be eschewed.  Even Jesus does not preach the abolition of ethnic, religious, and social distinctions.  When asked by a Phoenician woman to heal her child, He responds, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel…It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs” (Matt. 15:24-26). Though he relents, an obvious anticipation of His ministry to the Gentiles, He displays His feelings as a Jew.  Jesus has no intention of overturning the Law (Matt. 5:17-19), which is a transcript of God’s holiness and a pattern for ethical conduct.  It is the law-word of God that also governs our social and interpersonal interactions.

Men have concentric circles of responsibility.  For example, I have obligations to my widowed mother that others (including the church) do not (I Timothy 5:8).  Similarly, I have duties to my wife and children that do not extend to my neighbor’s wife or, for that matter, my Christian brother.  I am liable to care for my neighbor in ways that exceed my responsibilities to complete strangers.  Likewise, I have obligations to my countrymen that are greater than my duties to the other six billion people inhabiting Earth.  This should be clear unless we define “neighbor” in a universal way that drains the term of any practical meaning.

Leithart says that race, ethnicity, religious affiliation and citizenship status are tertiary concerns.  But according to scripture, while we render honor and justice to all men, we have a particular responsibility to care for our own, whether in the natural family or the family of God (Gal. 6:10).  Our duties begin with our family but emanate outward in concentric circles regulated by scripture.  Many Christian commentators connect the New Testament commands to honor civil authorities (Rom. 13:1; I Peter 2:17) as extensions of the 5th Commandment.  But racial, ethnic, and national groups are likewise mere extensions of family and thus the honor due to our parents flows outward to these broader extensions of family and they are to be given preference over and against foreigners. When natural relationships are subverted by forms of universal ethics the end result is not merely ethical confusion but welfare economics and socialism.


Leithart fails to account for, though he must understand, the distortive impact of the welfare state.  Immigration policy as currently constituted is immoral as it privatizes benefits for the wealthy and socializes cost. As such, I hope to show that it is a massive form of theft.

Consider first some of the costs of immigration.   There are numerous economic costs connected to immigration, both legal and illegal, that Dr. Leithart simply ignores in his essay.

According to Census Bureau figures poverty rates continue to increase and the number of Americans without health insurance has reached all-time highs. Mass immigration is a significant source of these problems and data shows a growing chasm between natives and the foreign-born. For example, consider median household income between 2011 and 2012, ostensibly a period of economic recovery. While the income of Whites increased modestly, that of Hispanic households decreased 1.1% while non-citizen household income fell by 2.5%.  Meanwhile, the poverty rate for U.S.-born Whites was 9.7%, but 25.6% among Hispanics (which is higher that the poverty rate of non-citizens, indicative of the fact that Hispanic immigrants are not climbing out of poverty). .

Because immigrants typically have limited job skills and are very poor they frequently become a burden on the American welfare state.  PerRobert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, in 2010, the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes, generating an average annual fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of around $14,387 per household.  Moreover, Steve Camarota finds that welfare use among immigrants remains high over time; immigrants in the country for more than 20 years still use the welfare system at significantly higher rates than natives.

Data pertaining to health insurance is likewise shocking. In 2012, 13.0% of natives lacked insurance coverage, while 32.0% of all (legal and illegal) immigrants, and 43.4% of non-citizens do not have health coverage. Immigrants account for 27.1% all Americans without health insurance.

In 2012 there were approximately 12.9 million immigrants and their U.S.-born children lacking health insurance, 32% of the entire uninsured populace. In 2007, 47.6 percent of immigrants and their U.S.-born children were either uninsured or on Medicaid compared to 25 percent of natives and their children. Lack of health insurance is a significant problem even for long-time foreign born residents. Among immigrants who arrived in the 1980s, 28.7 percent lacked health insurance in 2007. In short, much of the “health insurance crisis” in America is the result of surging immigration. What was the consequence? More statism, in the form of Obamacare.

Finally there is education. According to a report by FAIR, expenditures for illegal immigrants from grades K-12 costs $52 billion annually, largely absorbed by states and localities, often in very disparate ways. School districts are dropping programs and closing schools at least in part because they are paying instead to provide services to the children of non-citizens.

The global median income is $1,225 a year.  The “middle classes” of the world are living in destitution compared to the living standards of the West.  Dr. Leithart’s proposal for open borders when combined with the magnet of the welfare state would result in a fiscal catastrophe for a nation already $19 trillion dollars in debt.  It would also create a coercive and massive transfer of wealth from productive tax payers to the world’s poor.  In short, Leithart is endorsing theft on a grand scale in the name of humanitarianism and Christian charity.


A secondary issue of economic ethics completely ignored by Leithart and most Christian proponents of unchecked immigration is the redistributive impact of mass immigration. Like much public policy the benefits of immigration are largely privatized while costs are socialized. Benefits accrue to the upper-class while costs are borne largely by those on the lower rung of the economic ladder.  Indeed, immigration is responsible for half the decrease observed in the wages of high-school dropouts.

Mention this fact to Paul Gigot or Daniel Henninger at the Wall Street Journal and you are likely to receive little more than a shoulder shrug. Some immithusiasts appear to detest their own countrymen and impute to foreigners character traits that natives so obviously lack. But Christians ought to be more discerning and wise in counting the costs and cannot be oblivious to injustices resulting from such a policy.
The insanity of America’s immigration “debate” has been chronicled for a number of years by George Borjas, a Harvard labor economist.  Borjas is widely recognized as academia’s leading scholar on the economics of immigration.  Moreover, he is an immigrant himself, having arrived here from Cuba penniless in 1962.

One myth Borjas explodes is that immigration adds substantial wealth to the American economy.  In fact, Borjas found that the actual net benefit accruing to natives is small, equal to an estimated two-tenths of 1 percent of GDP. “There is little evidence indicating that immigration (legal and/or illegal) creates large net gains for native-born Americans,” writes Borjas.

Even though the overall net impact on natives is small, this does not mean that the wage losses suffered by some natives or the income gains accruing to other natives are insubstantial.  Borjas reviewed the wage impact of immigrants who entered the country between 1990 and 2010 and found that this cohort had reduced the annual earnings of American workers by $1,396—a 2.5% reduction.

As low-skill immigrants have flooded the labor market, opportunities for the least skilled workers have markedly decreased and the most vulnerable Americans have seen their wages decline as a result.  Borjas estimates that immigration is responsible for half the decrease observed in the wages of high-school dropouts.  “The biggest winners from immigration are owners of businesses that employ a lot of immigrant labor and other users of immigrant labor”, writes Borjas. “The other big winners are the immigrants themselves.”  The primary losers are native citizens with minimal skills and low levels of education.

Dr. Leithart fails to reckon with an important aspect the fall–the economic fact of scarcity. Resources are not infinite. In a world of scarcity, a result of God’s curse on the earth due to Adam’s sin, human beings necessarily make choices among competing alternatives effecting the distribution of resources. Ethically speaking do six trillion people have a claim on scarce and finite American monetary and economic resources?

In an already overburdened welfare state, do Americans have a moral imperative to import poverty and in so doing divert resources and employment opportunities from our most vulnerable citizens? Libertarians, and quite possibly Dr. Leithart, would argue that we ought to dismantle our unbiblical welfare state.  The problem is that immigration buttresses the welfare state.  If your bathtub is overflowing, your first act isn’t to head to the basement to secure a bucket and mop. Instead, you turn off the water and then clean up the mess.  If only libertarians and Christian immigration enthusiasts would keep that metaphor in mind.


Mass immigration also undermines covenantal thinking by exalting the individual at the expense of family, community and nation. Individuals leave behind their communities and desert their homelands rather than laboring for their improvement economically and politically. In her recent book, Adios America, Ann Coulter reported that the average IQ of Indians is 82.  Yet Mark Zuckerburg would steal India’s best and brightest, dropping them in Seattle as programmers via the H1B program to pad his already burgeoning net worth.  Do such policies create the conditions for ethical economic choices or do they reinforce unbiblical notions of individualism?

Immigration encourages families to move to different locales which are necessarily transformed culturally, economically, and politically by their presence in large numbers. Who benefits? Perhaps the immigrant himself and possibly those individuals acquiring whatever service he may provide. But community and the ties of natural affection that are produced by commonality are systematically undermined.

Research by the influential political scientist and Bowling Aloneauthor Robert Putnam shows that the more diverse a community, the less likely its inhabitants are to trust anyone.

In the face of diversity people tend to “hunker down” and surround themselves entirely with the familiar. “We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us,” Putnam says.

Putnam adjusted his data for distinctions in class, income, and other variables but still reached the “shocking” conclusion that untrammeled ethnic diversity is a breeding ground of distrust that spreads like an aggressive cancer, destroying the body politic. “They don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions,” said Prof Putnam. “The only thing there’s more of is protest marches and TV watching.”

Putnam found that trust was lowest in Los Angeles, that heaven on earth for mulitcultists, but his findings were also applicable in South Dakota.

Mass immigration also undermines the free market, which necessarily exists as part of social framework. While that framework needs a system of law to protect property rights, enforce contracts, prosecute practitioners of fraud, etc., it is also dependent on a rudimentary level of trust among the populace. If that trust is undermined the foundation supporting the entire edifice crumbles, with the state being the institution forcefully putting the house back together.

A classical liberal like John Stuart Mill knew that free institutions are “next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities.” But speaking of immigration, Putnam allows ideology rather than fact to cloud his judgment, saying “that immigration materially benefited both the ‘importing’ and ‘exporting’ societies, and that trends have ‘been socially constructed, and can be socially reconstructed.'”

Leithart’s open borders proposal would necessarily demand “social reconstruction” because it would tear asunder what little remains of the social fabric.  It would  irreversibly destroy the foundations of American social order.  “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3).


The most important question when considering the movement of people is a simple one: “Who owns the property?”  In an anarcho-capitalist social order, property is owned privately.  In this Big Rock Candy Mountain utopia envisioned by libertarian ideologues, immigration and emigration would be free—and there would be precious little of it. Likewise in a traditional monarchy the king, as sovereign and owner of the land, has an interest in maintaining immigration policies that enhance the value of the kingdom.  It is the king who thus determines immigration policy (we’ll see scriptural examples of this pattern shortly) and had an incentive to limit immigration to those who materially benefit his kingdom.

But once the government moves from the sphere of private ownership (monarchy) to public ownership, in the guise of democracy, there are different factors at work.  Unlike monarchs, democratic rulers are mere caretakers and do not bequeath a kingdom to their progeny. Democracies are also inherently, and unbiblically, egalitarian.  Both theoretically and in practice, we see that the migration policies of democratic states tend to be “non-discriminatory”.  It matters little whether immigrants are entrepreneurs or vagrants.  Indeed, vagrants may be preferable as they create a greater number of social problems and tensions which government must “fix” or “manage”, thereby enhancing the immediate power of its leaders, who are largely oblivious to and unaffected by the long term consequences of their policies. “Thus,” writes Hans Hoppe, “the United States immigration laws of 1965, as the best available example of democracy at work, eliminated all formerly existing ‘quality’ concerns and the explicit preference for European immigrants and replaced it with a policy of almost complete non-discrimination (multi-culturalism).”  The migration policy of democracies winds up negating the rights of property owners and imposing a forcible integration with the mass of immigrants being forced upon property owners who, if given the choice, would have “discriminated” in favor of other neighbors.  An open borders regime is simply the above scenario on steroids.

Aside from these philosophical consideration, Leithart also completely ignores the biblical evidence that borders are legitimate and enforced, even in the agrarian context of the Old Testament.  When Jacob’s family fled famine they traveled to Egypt and asked Pharaoh for permission to enter, “We have come to sojourn in the land … please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen” (Gen. 47:4). With the appropriate permission secured from Pharaoh’s representative, Jacob’s family, which grew into the people of Israel, became legal aliens in Egypt. In short, they were allowed into the country by the host. This scenario finds its modern equivalent in the immigrant who has legally entered a foreign land with permission and secured proper documentation to that effect.

Later in the book of Numbers, after Moses and the Israelites had fled Egypt they wanted to pass through Edom.  Moses dispatched messengers to Edom’s king with the following request to pass through their land:

“And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory.  Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, or drink water from a well. We will go along the King’s Highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.”  But Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through, lest I come out with the sword against you.”  And the people of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if we drink of your water, I and my livestock, then I will pay for it. Let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.” But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against them with a large army and with a strong force.  Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel turned away from him. (Num. 20:16-21)

In Judges, Jephthah refers to other denials of passage the Israelites experienced while journeying to the Promised Land:

Israel did not take away the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites,  but when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let us pass through your land,’ but the king of Edom would not listen. And they sent also to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh.
 “Then they journeyed through the wilderness and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and arrived on the east side of the land of Moab and camped on the other side of the Arnon. But they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the boundary of Moab. Israel then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our country,’  but Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory, so Sihon gathered all his people together and encamped at Jahaz and fought with Israel.  And the Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them. So Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, who inhabited that country. (Judges 11:15-21)
In his book, “The Immigration Crisis”, Old Testament professor James Hoffmeir also argues that Christ’s family clearly asked for permission to enter Egypt when they fled from Herod.

It is worth noting that even a traveler, a foreigner, had to obtain permission when moving through the territory of another nation, let alone pitching a tent, taking up residence and getting on Medicaid. These episodes clearly demonstrate that nations could and did control their borders and determined who was allowed passage. Open borders have never existed and are certainly not endorsed by scripture.


There are other problems with Dr. Leithart’s essay, but if you have reached this point, you are surely tired of reading.  Leithart says that while “hardly a slam-dunk policy” the open borders stance is a “serious position, worthy of better than the wacky-nut treatment it’s usually given.”  I hope that I have demonstrated that the open borders position is radical in both its ethical shortcomings and economic consequences.



Applying God’s Law Touching Deceitful Wives & Accusatory Husbands

Dear Pastor,

Do you believe in stoning non-virgin brides? That’s a judicial OT law, and not a ceremonial one, so it would be roughly on par with the prohibition of homosexuality.


Dear Tonya,

A few observations first,

1.) Is it the case that you think God mean or unjust for requiring the death of non-Virgin brides who deceived their husbands and their Fathers?

2.) If you do think God mean or unjust to require death isn’t it the case that you are sitting in judgment of God?

3.) Why do you think it is wrong to stone non-virgin brides but perfectly acceptable to not give the death penalty to abortion Doctors?

4.) Keep in mind that the Church does not wield the sword. It is the role of the Magistrate to execute God’s Law. As such in a pagan society, such as the one we live in, where God’s law requires capital punishment the response of the Church is to excommunicate any member involved in such capital crimes should they refuse to repent. The Church has no authority to bring the sword against those members or non-members who are guilty of capital crimes, but whom the State, in disobedience, refuses to submit to God’s Law by exercising the sword consistent with God’s revelation. Excommunication by the Church, in its capacity of handling the keys, is the equivalent in the Spiritual realm of inflicting the death penalty upon those who will not repent.

Now to answer your question directly,

1.) Yes, I do think non-Virgin brides who can be proven to have been non-Virgins, thus having deceived their Fathers and Husbands, should receive Capital punishment if such a thing is proven beyond any reasonable doubt. How can I disagree with God? (You do realize how difficult it would be to prove such a thing, right?)

2.) Remember though, there are consequences for the Husband also who brings false charges against the Wife. And those also should be implemented.

3.) And I also think that those who are proven to be guilty of sodomy should also receive the capital death penalty if such a thing is proven by the required two or three witnesses.

For The Baconator … Concerning the Ceremonial Law

Post Resurrection Christians do not believe that Christians follow all 613 of the OT Laws. Many of those Laws have been fulfilled (not abrogated) in Christ.

Among many Christians the one undivided law is broken down into three subcategories. These are, “Moral,” “Judicial,” and “Ceremonial.” The “Ceremonial law are those OT laws that prefigured the death of Christ, These laws we are not responsible to keep now because Christ has kept and fulfilled all that those laws anticipated in and by His death. In other words, because of the Lord Christ’s death the Ceremonial laws are past since they are completed in Christ since their purpose was to point to Christ.

As such we definitely still do not do animal sacrifices. Animal sacrifices were part of the ceremonial law that pointed to Christ. Christ has come and died the death they were shadowing and so there will never be a need for these sacrifices again.

In the same way matters like the prohibition of mixing seed, the prohibition of mixing cloths, and the prohibition of mixing plowing animals, also are understood as Ceremonial laws that are now past since the purpose of those laws were to teach the necessity for God’s people in the Old Testament to remain unmixed from the pagan gentile nations around them. As Christ has come, and with His death, has now broken down the spiritual dividing wall between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14 forward) those mixing laws are now fulfilled and so are not required of the Christian. Christ has now brought the Gentile nations into the community of the Christian faith upon Faith in Christ, and so those laws lose their ongoing validity, though the general principle of those laws remain as contained in the idea of being separated unto God (II Cor. 6:14-7:1). So, the forbidding of mixing clothes as part of God’s law in the OT is fulfilled in Christ. In Christ the nations have come in and so there is no longer the necessity of an Old Testament obedience that communicated that the Non Israeli Nations were unclean.

Some would argue that the OT dietary laws are also void since the Lord Christ said,

Mt. 15:11 — “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

As that is combined with Acts 10 and the vision where God tells Peter to eat heretofore unclean animals as symbology for Peter to go to the Cornelius the Centurion many Christians come to the conclusion that the OT Dietary laws are void. However, many solid Christians will hold that these dietary laws still do apply.

Sodomy is Sin Scripture (Text) References

The chief “sodomy is sin” verse references at hand, just to save folks the time in case they were wanting to look them up:

Genesis 19
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
Deuteronomy 23:17-18
Judges 19
I Kings 14:24 and 15:12
Romans 1:26
I Corinthians 6:9
I Timothy 1:8-11
Jude 1:7

Revelation 22:15 also applies, when interpreted in light of “dogs” in Deuteronomy 23:18 and their position in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Jude 1:7.

In Genesis 19, sodomy is called “wicked”, and the Lord destroys Sodom and
Gomorrah by raining down fire and brimstone upon them.

 In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, sodomy is declared an “abomination”, and the
prescribed penalty for committing this abomination is death. Contextual
associations are made with incest, adultery, bestiality, human sacrifice, and
consorting with mediums.

 In Deuteronomy 23:18, an offering from the wages of a male prostitute is declared
to be an “abomination” and sodomites are referred to as “dogs” (compare also with
Revelation 22:15).

 In Judges 19:23, sodomy is referred to as “wicked” and “folly”. In the conflict
resulting from the actions of the sodomites described therein, over 25,000
Benjaminites were slaughtered and the entire city of Gibeah put to the sword at the
express command of the Lord.

 In I Kings 14:24, sodomy is again named an “abomination”. A contextual association
is made with idolatry.

 In I Kings 15:12, King Asa, who “did what was right in the sight of the Lord”, expelled
all of the sodomite temple prostitutes from the land. Sodomy is again associated
with idolatry.

 Romans 1 contains an abundance of frank condemnations of sodomy. It’s “impure”,
“dishonorable”, “degrading”, “unnatural”, “indecent”, and “depraved”. It’s a
punishment from God when we repeatedly refuse to repent, and He plagues our
lands for our stubborn impudence by giving us over to our wicked passions for the
purpose of our own destruction. As with the I Kings references, sodomy is
contextually associated with idolatry.

 In I Corinthians 6:9, sodomites are declared “unrighteous” and it is plainly stated
that they will not inherit the kingdom of God. Contextual associations are made 7
with fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, coveters, drunkards, revilers, and

 In I Timothy 1:10, sodomites are listed along with those who are lawless, rebellious,
ungodly, unholy, profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers,
kidnappers, liars, and perjurers.

 In Jude 1:7, sodomites are declared guilty of indulging in “gross immorality” for
pursuing “strange flesh”. In the punishment God bestowed upon them, the
residents of Sodom and Gomorrah were “exhibited as an example in undergoing the
punishment of eternal fire”.

Hat Tip — Mickey Henry

Talking the Abiding Validity of God’s Law with a Dispensationalist

Dear Pastor,

Having been to Seminary myself and having studied Greek and Hebrew and having 10,000 hits daily on my blog I wanted to inform you that I think you’re quite wrong about the ongoing validity of God’s law. Here are a slew of NT Scriptures that prove you wrong and prove that the Law indeed as come to an end for the Christian.

Do you honestly believe we are to follow all 613 commandments given? Wouldn’t that mean that not only do we have to stone our children and homosexuals, but would also mean we’d still be doing sacrifices. Or unable to eat things like pork, when we see in Acts that this too is untrue. The OT law is no longer applicable to the modern day Christian in the way you are saying it is.

William Hess

Dear William,

Thank you for your to the point letter. I will seek to respond to your Scripture references in this post, dealing with what you offered as I go. Do keep in mind that our differences can be accounted for by the fact that you are a Dispensationalist and I am a Biblical Christian (Covenant – Reformed). Of course our differences are sharp. Indeed, they are so sharp, given your implicit and explicit antinomianism, that I would counsel you to re-examine whether or not you are serving the same Christ as the one who walks through the Scripture. Our disagreements are most serious then.

Keep in mind that the word “law” is used at least 8 different ways in the book of Romans alone. You just can’t assume that it is being the used the same way every time. You also have to read the whole of Scripture in its whole context. The whole idea that Christians are done with the law is overturned repeatedly in Scripture. For example,

Acts 24:14 (NKJV) – St. Paul speaking,

“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.”

Acts 25:8 – while he answered for himself, “Neither against the Law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I offended in anything at all.”

For example, Paul can say in Romans 7 that “the Law is Holy, just and good.” Hardly an indictment of the Law.

In Romans 3 we hear Paul say,

31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid! Yea, we establish the law.

Further, if we had no relation to the law it would not be possible to even have a definition of sin. If we were done with the law it would be not be possible to sin since there would be no standard by which sin could be measured. Are you contending William that you are no longer a sinner? In order to put off sin we must have law to define sin.

You cite Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

You seemingly seem to be saying that since we are under grace we have no relationship to the law. That is an unfortunate reading on your part.

When the Holy Spirit says “we are not under law but grace,” the context demands us to read that as “we are not under law as a means of Justification (i.e. — earning God’s favor) but we are under God’s grace as the means of bing freely Justified. It doesn’t mean we no longer have a relation to the law. St. Paul assumes everywhere that we have a new relation to the law because we are in Christ. It is why St. Paul can say that the Law is “Holy, Just, and Good.”

You cite Romans 7:4 — “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

Again, you seemingly conclude from this that the law has no standing in the Christian’s life today. Again that is unfortunate “reasoning” on your part William.

You see, we are dead to the law as a means to earns God’s favor. We do not obey the law in ordr to have life, but having life we obey the law with a evangelical obedience (as opposed to a “legal obedience.”) Indeed we could not even know what fruit is without the law as a standard to adjudicate for us what defines fruit and what doesn’t.

You cite, Romans 7:6 — “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

Seemingly you think that this proves that this proves your thesis that the Law has no place in the Christians life.

The question must be asked, “in what sense are we delivered from the law,” and the answer clearly is that we are delivered from the condemnation of the law. However, as delivered from the condemnation of the law we now have a positive relation to God’s law as a guide to life. You see we are serving in newness of Spirit because the Spirit is the person who makes us delight in God’s law. Paul can even say there that “7:22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man..” The problem is NOT the law William. The problem is who we are in Adam. But who we are in Christ rejoices in God’s law.

Next you cite Galatians 5:18, “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”

However, what Gal. 5:18 gives us the idea that we are indeed “under the spirit” but what is being contrasted there vis a vis being “under the law” is the idea of being under the law as a means to gain Salvation. However, all because we are under the Spirit that does not mean we have no relationship with the law. If we had no relationship to the law we could never know what sin is. Indeed sin can not exist where there is no law.

You keep confusing the relationship of the Christian to the law as a Christian (2nd and 3rd uses of the law) and the relationship that someone who is dead in sin has to the law (1st use of the law).

Next you appeal to Galatians 3:24, “We are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Again … the point here is NOT that we have no relation to the law but rather that the Law pointed and lead to Christ. The problem that Paul is dealing with there is that there are people who desire to use the law unlawfully as a pole vault to spring into heaven. Paul is saying there that that is not the work of the law. It is faith alone in Christ alone that gives us peace with God. However, in Chapter 6 St. Paul gives a list of sins and says that those who practice those sins shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Now, how could they know what those sins are if they did not have a relation to the law? How did St. Paul know that those sins listed in Galatians 6 were sins if He were not implicitly appealing to the Law as the standard that defines those sins?

The puritans had a saying you desperately need to keep in mind William.

“The law sends us to Christ for justification and Christ sends us back to the law for sanctification.”

Now of course our relation to the law is no longer “legal” but “evangelical” which is to say we obey out of a grateful response for our full Redemption and not in order to curry an uncertain Redemption.

Your continued insistence that we have no relation to the law is pure antinomianism and not in the least Christian.

Next you quote Ii Corinthians 3:11, “For if that which is done away with was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.”

That which is done away with is old covenant .. not the law. The old covenant was a shadow of Christ. It anticpated Christ. In point of fact it even adumbrated Christ. But now that Christ has come it is done away in the sense that with the coming of all that which was in shadow form, now the shadows are no longer necessary. The Old Covenant is referred to a “ministry of condemnation” because in the Sacrifices of the Old Covenant the Believers were constantly reminded of their sin. However, in the New and Better Covenant, Christ — the fulfillment of the Old Covenant sacrifices — is once forever sacrificed, and so Believers, after the crucifixion of Christ, have been given all that was promised and so are part of a more glorious ministration.

BUT once again this not prove that the Christian has no relation to the law.

Even the Lord Christ said

17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
18 For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle shall in any wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.

The Lord Christ even told the Pharisees that they should have kept the law of tithing mint, dill, and cummin. (Their failure was in forgetting the weightier matters of the law) Mt. 23:23.

Your mishandling of Scripture here my friend is significantly flawed.

Next you quote Colossians 2 which in your mind again proves your point that we are done with the law,

Colossians 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

Christ took away the handwriting of the law against us in terms of its ability to condemn. That does not mean he took the away the law as a guide to life in its 2nd or 3rd use. There is therefore now condemnation for those in Christ Jesus but the fact that there is no condemnation does not mean there is no requirement to walk in righteousness. Walking in righteousness can not be done apart from a standard. That standard is God’s law.

On to your appeal to Hebrews,

Hebrews 8:10-13 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”

Hebrews 10:8-10 ” Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

The 1st Hebrews passage you quote proves my point. God writes His law on our hearts What law? The OT Law. That means we still have a relationship to the law. If the OT law is written on our hearts then how could we not have the law as a standard for a guide to life?

In point of fact William, as Christ was the incarnation of God’s law to say we don’t have a relationship with the Law is to say we don’t have a relationship to Christ.

In terms of the 2nd Hebrews passage we must say that what is taken away is the sacrificial system or what we would call the ceremonial usage of the law. This does not mean that the moral law is done away with. How could it be since it is that moral law that is written on our hearts per the Hebrews 8 passage you cite?

Finally you appeal to Romans 10:4, — “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

With this wrong interpretation you’re making a common mistake. The word for end there in the greek is “Teleos.” It does not mean “end” in the sense that the law is ended. It means “goal.” Christ is the goal or purpose of the Law. The Law pointed to Christ and was fulfilled in Christ in terms of its demands for perfection but that does not mean that the law no longer is a matter to delight to us both day and night. (Psalm 1).

Now as to your 2nd paragraph in your letter.

No, I do not believe that post Cross Christians follow all 613 of the OT Laws. Many of those Laws have been fulfilled (not abrogated) in Christ. Hence the Ceremonial law, as it is often referred to is a category of law that we are not answerable to because Christ has fulfilled all that in His death. As such we definitely still do not do sacrifices. Further matters like the prohibition of mixing seed, mixing cloths, and mixing plowing animals, likewise can be seen as past since the essence of those laws were to teach the necessity to remain unmixed from the pagan gentile nations around them. As Christ has come and has now broken down the spiritual dividing wall between Jew and Gentile and has now brought the Gentile nations in those laws lose their metaphor necessity of not being mixed with pagan gentiles, though the general equity of them remain as contained in the idea of being separated unto God (II Cor. 6:14-7:1). Some would argue that the OT dietary laws are also void since the Lord Christ said,

Mt. 15:11 — “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

As that is combined with Acts 10 and the vision where God tells Peter to eat heretofore unclean animals as symbology for Peter to go to the Cornelius the Centurion many Christians come to the conclusion that the OT Dietary laws are void. However, many solid Christians will hold that these dietary laws still do apply.

In terms of stoning … why would we think that somehow that God in the OT was unreasonable but now in the NT he has changed so now that He is reasonable?

Some Christians will insist that these laws are still valid since they were never rescinded in the NT. Those Christians would say that the problem is not with the law that requires stoining but rather the problem is with modern day Christians sensibility that some how that is mean and cruel of God.

Other Christians will argue that the Stoning laws are still valid though they represent a “maximum” penalty that can be applied. For these thoughtful Christians the argument would be that lesser penalties could be applied since “the death penalty is the maximum, not necessarily the mandatory penalty.”

In terms of stoning a miscreant child we must keep in mind that we are not talking about toddlers throwing tantrums. The idea there is likely an adolescent or adult child who has been recklessly disobedient in a long direction. It is interesting that though we have this law, we have exactly zero instances of its application in the Scriptures.

So, you see that the OT civil-judicial law, as it serves as the case law for the 10 commandments, do still apply, sometimes directly via the general equity of those original laws, and sometimes indirectly via the general equity of those case laws.

I hope this answers your writing to me William and lays out some distinctions between Dispensationalism as a theology of discontinuity and Biblical Christianity as a theology of continuity and discontinuity.

As I said earlier, you’re completely misreading the Scripture with this Dispensational scheme and so are firing blanks.

I hope that over the years God grants you grace to rethink these matters.

Kind regards,