Dr. Scott Aniol’s Attempt to Rescue Wilson & Baptists Everywhere

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Here is the point I originally made;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.”

John Gill
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.”

Samuel Rutherford
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.

 6.) We would ask Dr. Aniol to prove from Scripture that punishing the crime of murder is the fundamental power of government. This is just not true. The fundamental power of government is justice across the board as God defines justice in God’s gracious Law-Word. As we have seen, God defines justice as punishing blasphemers as well as murderers and that has never been overturned.

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.

Interrogating Dr. Stephen Wolfe & His Book, “The Case For Christian Nationalism” V

“Pastors as pastors are no more competent to analyze or make civil law than any other person.”

Dr. Stephen Wolfe
The Case for Christian Nationalism — p. 275

We might first add here that while it may be true that Pastors as pastors are not competent to analyze or make civil law neither is it the case that, typically speaking, lawyers, legislators, nor politicians are likewise competent to analyze or make civil law.

The above is true now but it has not always been true. Indeed, in our now most pastors are  incompetents at both analyzing civil laws and shepherding their flock.

However, this should not be true today since the political/governmental jurisdiction is constantly now invading the ecclesiastical realm with their immorality and death dealing. Today Pastors should be equipped to analyze civil laws as interpreting them and so reading them through a Biblical grid.
We are at the point that neither the greater or lesser magistrates are going to help the Christian people/Church and so the principle of interposition has to fall to the Elders in the ecclesiastical realm to correct the legislators in the civil realm. As such the clergy need the ability to analyze legislation.

We should note that once upon a time the clergy did have this ability. Samuel Rutherford wrote the masterpiece Lex Rex and George Gillespie with him wrote the Civil Government section of the WCF. John Calvin, who was a law school graduate before theology, wrote most of the laws of Geneva, and a number of them are still in place today, and Geneva and the cantons have largely been peaceful and civil ever since. Many of the leaders in cause for American Independence were members of the clergy. Pastors in Puritan America were the most wise and educated people in the community. The fact that the clergy has fallen so far should not be used to excuse the necessity of pastors once again being competent.

Another point to be made here is that if would only give our clergy a thorough worldview training it would be a far less strenuous reach for them to analyze law since law is such a religiously oriented discipline. Once upon a time, pastors took it upon themselves to master the workings of the world to the best of their abilities in order that they might rise above it. Now they just believe whatever CNN tells them and focus on exclusive psalmody.

Let’s keep in mind that St. Paul said that the Church ought to be able to adjudicate in the affairs of this world;

“If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”

II.) “Modern theonomy provided both a universalist alternative to prevailing visions and promised to reverse moral decay.”

Dr. Stephen Wolfe
The Case for Christian Nationalism – p. 269

1.) All who contend for any unique law order project are offering a universalist alternative. Indeed, Wolfe’s own plea for Natural law likewise offers a universalist alternative. There is no shame in offering a universalist alternative to paganism.

2.) Do keep in mind that Rushdoony, while eschewing movement Libertarianism, did advocate for a law order that was decentralized in terms of Governmental enforcement. This mitigates against Wolfe’s “universalist” accusation that suggests that Rushdoony was going to force Theonomy on the world.

3.) It is true that an acceptance of God’s law by a redeemed people would indeed reverse moral decay. Nothing else will. Certainly not Wolfe’s Natural law Humanism.

Stephen Wolfe’s book “The Case for Christian Nationalism,” is unlike any other book I’ve ever read in my whole life with its pillar to post statements. Sometimes I want to stand and cheer Dr. Wolfe. Other times I wonder where in purgatory he will spend time.

Interrogating Dr. Stephen Wolfe & His Book, “The Case For Christian Nationalism” IV

I.) “Since Scripture contains the natural law (in scripturated form), Scripture can and ought to inform our understanding of the natural law, the common good, proper determination for civil laws, and the means to heavenly life.”

Dr. Stephen Wolfe
The Case for Christian Nationalism — p. 262

Ummm… if Scripture contains natural law then why do we need natural law? In brief, if Natural law agrees with Scripture it is un-necessary. If Natural law disagrees with Scripture it is un-true.

I would like to take credit for that simple but brilliant insight but I learned it from the  Zacharias Ursinus;

“Furthermore, although natural demonstrations teach nothing concerning God that is false, yet men, without the knowledge of God’s word, obtain nothing from them except false notions and conceptions of God; both because these demonstrations do not contain as much as is delivered in his word, and also because even those things which may be understood naturally, men, nevertheless, on account of innate corruption and blindness, receive and interpret falsely, and so corrupt it in various ways.”

Zacharias Ursinus
Commentary on Heidelberg Catechism

II.) “Put differently, God has ordered man by a rule which he discerns what he must do and must avoid in order to achieve his ends.”

Dr. Stephen Wolfe
The Case for Christian Nationalism — p. 245

And here is all we need to read to realize that Wolfe’s worldview cannot be entirely trusted. This sentence demonstrates that the Natural Law types do not comprehend the noetic effect of the fall upon reason. It is true that Natural Law proclaims the will of God but what is also true that what the Natural Law types like Wolfe don’t get is that man’s reason is fallen and fallen man has an agenda to read wrongly what God is making known by General Revelation as contained in Natural Law.

Better to listen to Rushdoony on this score;

“Now, what does the Bible have to say on the subject? As we saw at the beginning, the Bible says nothing from cover to cover about a law of nature. It speaks about God’s law, for men and nations, God’s requirement in every area. Hs moral law, his civil law, his law for the church, his law for the family. It’s all God’s law, directly from God.”

Or, if one prefers Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer;

“Law is rooted in God’s essence. Apostasy means forsaking justice. For atheists, there are only natural inclinations, no natural law. Conscience and moral inclinations are merely weak reverberations of God’s Law, and wherever the latter is done away with, duty is replaced by pride and selfishness.”

Now some from the Natural law school will warn us here that. “we have to be careful here lest you accuse the entirety of Protestantism of never taking the effect of sin seriously.” However there is a proper response to this well intended warning and that is to note that historically Protestantism embraced a Natural law concept that could work in the context of a Christian people. Protestantism in its origins never paused to consider if Natural Law would work per their theories in a culture that was no longer described as Christendom.

We must keep in mind that there are as many Natural laws as their are different schools of philosophies. Can Natural law tell me which one of those contending Natural law theories is the right Natural law theory?

Nope … I’ve done my work here. Natural Law is a wax nose driven by the unstated presuppositions of those who are reading Natural Law.

God’s world does shine forth Natural Law but fallen man suppresses the truth (all truth) in unrighteousness except when convenient. This is what the Synod of Dordt teaches when it notes;

Article 4

“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.”

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.

Baptist Prof Analyzes Theonomy … McAtee Analyzes Baptist Prof

“Theonomy is a facile hermeneutic that channels an eschatology of triumph. Historically undesirable, it instrumentalizes religion, blurs church-state relationships, and jeopardizes religious dissent. And it proves unnecessary because of how other covenants showcase the benefits of common grace and natural law.”

Andrew T. Walker
Associate Prof. – Christian ethics @ Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center
The Gospel Coalition Article

1.) If the Bible teaches a eschatology of triumph (and it does) then there is no problem with having a hermeneutic that channels an eschatology of triumph

2.) Historically undesirable according to whom? According to Satanist or Humanists or Baptist? But I repeat myself.

3.) Any religion that isn’t instrumentalized is useless as a religion.

4.) Only a Baptist would complain about the blurring of Church and State relations since the Baptist religion requires the Church and State be divorced. As such anyone who disagree with the idea that the Church and State must be divorced is someone, per the Baptists, who are guilty of blurring Church and State relations.

5.) The jeopardizing of religious dissent is a good thing when that religious dissent is dissenting against Christianity. The jeopardizing of religious dissent is only a bad thing when it is Christian dissent against false religions like Baptistianity that is being jeopardized.

6.) Common grace and natural law are myths in the way Walker wants to define them.

7.) Walker is an over educated not wise man.