American Culture Is Broken. Is Theonomy the Answer?

"Have you noticed this vision of Christianity in the public square that seems muscular, confident,... tired of Christianity’s never-ending losses in the culture war. It rightly criticizes the decadence, perversion, and irrational norms of secularism and understands that under the guise of 'neutrality,' secularism has become the functional god of this age." - TGC

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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Rather than become mired in interpretive problems amply demonstrated by many conservative scholars elsewhere, the simplest observation to make about Theonomy as a hermeneutic is that it misunderstands the relationship between the old covenant and the new covenant—which leads to misapplications today.

It correctly stresses a continuity in the original moral force behind Israel’s civil law. It overlooks, however, the covenantal discontinuity in applying and enforcing the particulars of Israel’s civil law, especially since theocratic Israel’s expiration. God’s purposes with Israel were unique in design compared to his relationship with other nations.

I'm not sure what we're seeing is Theonomy trying to make a comeback, but the similarities are worth noting.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

josh p's picture

I guess it’s not all that surprising that believers are searching for better ways to face encroaching secularism. As always, the gospel is the answer. I could at least see a rise in post mil theology.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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It's probably time to start speaking of "nationalism" in the plural: nationalisms. Because they're not all the same--even the Christian versions.

I remain convinced that the way to 'win' against secularism is profoundly counterintuitive. I don't know what the name for this view is. It wouldn't quite be fair to summarize it as 'win by losing' but it would certainly look like losing at times. If Christians shift their energies away from coercion and into persuasion, it won't look like winning. But I don't see how policy or electoral victories can accomplish much where the cultural tide of belief is against you.  ... I've been trying to come up with an analogy that works. It's a bit like tossing objects in front of a runaway train. Many of the objects will have no effect at all, others will slow the train bit, a few might slow it noticeably. Unlike a real runaway train, though, some of the policy/electoral/activism efforts tossed in front of the cultural runaway train can actually speed it up.

 

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

josh p's picture

The Princeton theologians spoke often of the “Spirituality of the Church.” Machen in particular was really helpful here. We make a mistake when we build a theology around social action whether it be on the “right” or the “left.” There are countless methods of bringing the gospel into the world and these should be the strategy. Christians should definitely bring their Christianity to bear in all areas of life and maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe if the world could see that our faith extends past Sunday morning they might take notice (often guilty here).