Thursday, September 3, 2015

Kim Davis is not a Theonomist

Kim Davis and Theonomy

Kim Davis: The Rowen County clerk from Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

Theonomy: The belief that the Mosaic civil laws of the Old Testament are binding upon all rulers of all nations, most especially the Mosaic death penalties. (with the very high likely hood that one day, they WILL become the laws of the world).

Before I begin, let me set the stage so that we are clear on what exactly I'm arguing in this installment. There are several different views regarding the relationship between the Bible and the Government.

View 1: The Christian is a citizen of heaven, therefore he/she should not trouble him/herself with political issues.  This view must be rejected without question. Only the very fringe fall into this category.

View 2: The Christian should be about the work of instituting a Christian government with Christian laws. "Let's make American a Christian nation again" and this will be done through the Church rising up and taking back control. The laws of the land will be those that 'we as Christians' think are most beneficial.  This view is closer to the Biblical position, but it still falls short because this group usually holds to "Dispensational Theology" and therefore does not                                                         identify the law of God very well. Pat Robertson would fall into this                                                       category.

View 3: The Christian should seek to serve God and rule according to his law. Each Christian is to rule by the moral law of God wherever it is to be found in the pages of Scripture and we will know which laws are moral because "our conscience will tell us." Although, we do not enforce the first four of the Ten Commandments, only commandments 6-10.  Most Christians fall into this category.

View 4: Theonomy: The Christian needs to work to institute the Mosaic Old Testament law as the law of the land, thus, the first amendment to the constitution needs to be abolished and the law of God reign supreme. This view also falls short because it does not recognize the temporal nature of many of the laws that God gave to Israel. Including the first four commandments requiring the keeping of a Sabbath, not worshiping any other God, etc. etc. A handful of Reformed Presbyterians fall into this category.

View 5: The Christian should be involved in politics and should obey God in everything, but the law of Moses was not a law given so that nations like the US could copy it. The law that the Christian should govern by is the law of Christ revealed in both the Old and New Testaments. The Law of Christ thus is NOT an exact replica of the Old Testament civil law, but is far greater. (For in Christ "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.) I would fall into this category.

But in this particular post I will only address Theonomy since many Theonomists have been suggesting that what Kim Davis is doing is supportive of their theology. However, I'm certain that Kim Davis is not a Theonomist, and I'm certain that she does not support Theonomic theology.
In short, I'm not sure to what view Kim Davis holds to, but I do know that she is not a Theonomist.

How can I say this? After all, I've never met her, never talked to her, have no idea what church she attends, and I freely confess that I know nothing about her theology. But I know that she's not a Theonomist because she has been married 4 times, divorced three times, and was made pregnant during her first marriage by the man who later became her third husband. Thus, according the Old Testament civil law, Kim Davis should have been put to death long ago, long before she became a believer. The only reason that Kim Davis lives to profess and serve Jesus Christ is because the laws of Moses are NOT in effect.

Of course many Theonomists are praising her stand against a corrupt government, as am I. However, the difference between Theonomists and I is that I can praise her with a clear conscience while they say that she should have been justly executed long ago. The only reason that she's alive is because the Theonomists have NOT gotten their way.

One of the most well known and consistent Theonomists was Greg Bahnsen who passed away and the early age of  47 in 1995. In one of his most complete and enduring works on Theonomy he writes,

"All those who committed capital crimes (as defined in God's law) had to be executed or else the magistrate would have been sinfully judging against the victim and in favor of the offender; this  is the sign of a wicked judgement. Hence, the ruler was prohibited from respecting persons or showing mercy to criminals. When God says homosexuality (for instance) warrants capital punishment, then that is what social justice demands; that is how heinous with respect to social relations the crime is in God's judgement. Those who are put to death according to the law of God are described in Deut. 21:22 as ones who have 'committed a sin worthy of death.' The God-given authority of the law is established in the penalties incurred by its violators. Hebrews 2:2 declares that the word of the law is unalterable. Such is the logic of ethics. If some action is ethically good or right, then the change of time will not per se alter the rightness of that action... the converted criminal who was crucified at Christ's side recognized tha the received just retribution for his crime under the sanctity of justice; he asserted, 'we die justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds."

And he continues,

   "With Respect to social affairs the Lord looks with so much scorn upon these crimes that He commands the state to execute those who commit them. Christians do well at this point to adjust their attitudes so as to coincide with those of their heavenly father. Remember the seriousness of  the penal law. Not even refuge sought by the altar could protect those who were guilty of capital crimes (ex. 21:14; cf. 1 Kings 2:28, 34); not even cherished friends or relatives are exempt from the death penalty when they have violated God’s law (Deut. 13:6-9)… it is not without  significance that the major problems facing society today are listed among those things which god  adjudges to be things worthy of capital punishment.” (Theonomy In Christian Ethics).

Does Kim Davis deserve to die? According to the law of Moses, yes she does. But the law which was administered under that priesthood has changed. As the word of God says, "Where there is a change of priesthood, there must also be a change of law as well."  (Hebrews 7:12) Praise God that we have a new high priest and a new law, for we all deserve to die for "the law brings wrath" (Romans 4:15).  But praise God, because women like her and men like me are allowed to live, even though we deserve to die. And we live because we have died to the law. As it is written:

"Do you not know brother, for I am speaking to those who know the law- that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is release from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.

Likewise my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another law, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God... now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the spirit and not in the old way of the written code."
Thank you Jesus for freeing me from the law of sin and death. I know that Kim Davis thanks you too.


  1. I'm not sure that the argument that she is not a theonomist holds. I'm not saying that she is a theonomist -- I don't know anything about her theological beliefs. She certainly seems to have done terrible things before she became a Christian, but it's entirely possible that she now realizes how abhorrent her actions were towards God, and feels that society should not condone them.

  2. I understand your point. I will acknowledge that it is possible that she could support Theonomy, but she could do so only by being inconsistent in her own thought. In Theonomic thought, if a criminal who has committed a capital crime has become saved, their professed faith does not automatically get a free pass off of death row. so for her to be a consistent Theonomist she would have to contend that the government still has a responsibility to put her to death for her past actions. So why then would she not be equally protesting the governments refusal to put her to death just as she is protesting the government's requirements for issuing marriage licenses? For her to be consistent, she would have to also demand that the government put her to death, as well as every other Christian who has committed crimes "worthy of death."

    So yes, it's possible for her to hold to contradictory views, people do it all the time. My point was simply that the only possible way for her to hold to Theonomy would be to practice inconsistency within her own mind and actions.

    1. No theonomist believes in enforcing laws ex post facto. If the laws of the land were ever to be in alignment with God's civil laws as revealed to Moses, then *from that time on* the appropriate punishments would be enforced on those found guilty of breaking the laws. No civil magistrate would round up all the people who were *previously* adulterers, murderers, etc. and execute them.

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    3. Yes. You have correctly identified one of the inconsistencies in Theonomic thought. They do not believe that Old Testament penal laws are to be enforced ex-post facto. However, they believe that man is to demand submission to all other moral laws here and now (which is why Theonomists think that Kim Davis is doing the right thing by demanding God's morality over man's.

      So the question is why do Theonomists say that God's penal laws are morally binding upon all people and all places, except when the governing authority refuses to submit to them? That's not "all people in all places in all times." Since when do Theonomists say that God's law is binding on all men unless they reject God's laws and so God's laws are not binding until they are acknowledged by man? Theonomists have always said that God's laws are binding even if man refuses to acknowledge God's laws or not. So why do they change their tune when it comes to the penal laws (which they claim are just as moral as any other law)?

      Did God ever say that adulterers should be put to death but if they commit adultery during in a time period in which the rulers reject God's law, then they should NOT be put to death?

      Remember when King Josiah found the book of the law and he began reforming the nation,
      "And Josiah removed all the shrines also of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the Lord to anger. He did to them according to all that he had done at Bethel. 20 And he sacrificed all the priests of the high places who were there, on the altars, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem."

      Why did Josiah put the priests to death when they had worshiped idols during a time period when the law of God was not enforced? Was Josiah being wicked? Or was Josiah recognizing that these men deserved to be put to death because the law demanded that they be put to death?

      Why did Josiah do all of this ex post facto?

  3. Humanity needs to reject these myths , there is no truth in any thing that needs to be kep't alive though the brainwashing of each new generation .Religion is a force for evil , be it christian muslim or what ever . It needs to end .

  4. There is no such thing as evil. The universe simply is.

  5. "This view must be rejected without question. Only the very fringe fall into this category."

    Since Jesus stated clearly that His kingdom is not of this world, and since we have many saints since Apostolic times who did not engage in politics, and since the writers of the New Testament and Gospels spend little time in what we could call politics, can you share with us some Biblical evidence showing why these Christians should be considered "on the fringe".

  6. "This view must be rejected without question. Only the very fringe fall into this category."

    Since Jesus stated clearly that His kingdom is not of this world, and since we have many saints since Apostolic times who did not engage in politics, and since the writers of the New Testament and Gospels spend little time in what we could call politics, can you share with us some Biblical evidence showing why these Christians should be considered "on the fringe".