When I was a boy in the late 60s I fondly remember that my mother’s workplace (Sealed Power in Lagrange Indiana) would have a summer picnic. Now, what boy doesn’t like picnics? The minute one hit the fairgrounds one could smell the BBQ chicken being grilled on the long outside grills. Those grills seemed to be endless. There was so much BBQ chicken being cooked a boy wondered if there might be a chicken shortage over the course of the following weeks and we ate BBQ chicken like we really did believe that we wouldn’t be eating chicken ever again.
There were also softball games and sports activities to fill the day with. There were chums to ram around the fairgrounds with and once one departed from the car upon arrival one seldom saw their parents again for the rest of the day.
But what I remember best of all was the horse troughs. Sprinkled around the fairgrounds were these huge horse troughs. These beauts were six feet long, two feet wide, and three feet deep. Of course, they had been thoroughly cleaned inside and out. They were amazing and the amazing thing about them is that they were filled with ice. Each and every one of them. A boy could wander all over the fairgrounds and never be far removed from one of these magnificent horse troughs. However, it was not just a matter of ice. Layered in between the different levels of ice were soda bottles. There I was introduced and fell in love with Orange Crush, Grape Nehi, and Frosty Root Beer.
I can remember to this day my arms tingling from the coldness of the ice as I reached down in those horse troughs to search out and find just the right soda I was looking for. There seemed to be a never-ending supply.
I decided then and there that this must be a facet of heaven. Keep in mind that growing up that soda was not something seen in the home. We had all the milk we could ever hope for thanks to my dairy farmer Grandfather but soda was a treat and on these picnic extravaganzas they were a treat I sought to make up for in their absence the rest of the year.
As the day wore on and the ice began to melt and the soda began to diminish we would jump in the horse troughs to cool ourselves down from all our galavanting over the fairgrounds. Playing was hard work you know. We would then be lectured for getting our clothes wet but it was the kind of lecture that was only half-hearted and was mostly comprised of “what are we going to do with these boys.”
This many years later, I occasionally still get a hankering for a Grape Nehi or an Orange Crush. If I see the brands in the store the memory of fairgrounds and BBQ chicken and horse troughs full of ice and soda comes back instantly.
So, half a century or more later, I salute you “Sealed Power” for the wonderful picnic bashes you would put on every summer for your employees.
Are the judicial laws a reflection of the moral law? Absolutely, given the culture and context in which they are given…. What is just for my son or daughter may be different given their unique circumstances. The reflection of the moral law that is found in the judicial code for the commonwealth of Israel is very much there. I think the error is saying therefore that is a reflection of the moral law in our culture and context…. How justice is administered can be changed in the exact same way that God’s covenant administration has changed.
J. D. Hall
Theonomy Debate with J. McDumbon
1.) Keep in mind here the implication of the above statement. While in the old and worse covenant God Himself graciously gave judicial laws by which Israel could be ruled. Ask an OT Hebrew what law code he was ruled by and he would have said with gratitude… “We as God’s people are ruled by God’s case law as it reflects His moral law.” However, when we come to the superior covenant, what the book of Hebrews called “The new and better covenant,” God’s people, per Hall, are no longer ruled by the general equity of God’s explicit case law but rather we are ruled by case law that is established by sovereign man. Does that really sound like a new and better covenant?
2.) Note the relativism in J. D. Hall’s position. The judicial law of the Commonwealth of Israel was a reflection of God’s moral law for their time. However, other times may find that a new judicial law not explicitly given by God is a better reflection for those times than the reflection of the moral law in the case law in the time that God explicitly gave the case law to Israel. Now, J. D. tries to avoid this charge of relativism by comparing the alleged change in the case law between the Israel Commonwealth and other times after the ending of Israel to the change in the different administrations of the covenant. The problem here however is that God’s covenantal administration changes from the Mosaic to the New and Better covenant were changes that were wrought in connection to the previous reality that Christ had fulfilled bloody rites of both the Passover (now communion) and Circumcision (now Baptism). There is nothing in the New Testament that speaks directly to a change in the case law such as we find in a change in the signs and seals of the covenant of the new and better covenant. For Rev. Hall to suggest that God’s case law can change from people to people and from year to year depending on how they want to piece the case law together according to their imaginations finds Hall not only falling into the hole of relativism but it also finds him falling into the chasm of some kind of Marcionism where God’s character is no longer immutable.
3.) My charge against Hall that he is implicitly denying the immutability of God’s character is due to the fact that where ever a people change out their law order there is at the same time a changing out of their God since the law order is always a reflection of the character of God. If God can change per the way the Rev. Hall is saying that God can change via the ever sliding scale of the application of the moral law then God’s character is not immutable.