Chapter 6: The World-Scope of God's Law
We'll be ending this chapter with a brief look at the remaining arguments from Mr Gentry on the scope of the Mosaic law before addressing a fascinating "problem passage" in Deuteronomy 13.
Mosaic Law and the Nations
4. The Church and State are Distinct in the Old Testament.
This statement is huge. I mean really, really huge. Many confusions in my initial encounters with theonomy stemmed from this. Many people struggle to understand this and communicate it faithfully. Often portrayals of theonomy will exclude this important truth.
The basis of this statement is found first in the two brothers that God uses to redeem His people: Moses and Aaron (Exo 16:33-34; 29:1ff). Both were necessary from the beginning and remain necessary. It is also necessary that they both remain distinct entities underneath God and His word. A couple other OT examples solidify God's desired distinction between these two entities (1 Sam 13:8-14; 2 Chron 19:11; 26-16-21).
Even the imagery of "two houses" (1 Kings 6:1-7:12; 7:13-51) demonstrates the nature in which church and state are distinct. This distinction is crucial when evaluating what the modern church and modern state would do in a theocratic and theonomic society.
5. All People are Obligated even Today.
This truly is the thesis of the book. Mr Gentry argues from Rom 1-3 that Paul teaches a clear and final judgment of the entire world according to the law of God. While these texts are often used by Evangelicals to emphasis the depravity or sinfulness of man, rarely does the thought occur that this means the law is still binding. And yet that seems to be the very point that Paul is dealing with throughout the book. Another text that strongly supports this thesis occurs in Paul's letter to Timothy (1 Tim 1:8-11).
A Potential Problem
This section was worth the price of the book for me. Many arguments against Theonomy occur from Deuteronomy 13:1-18 and 17:2-7. These chapters are often read to insinuated that atheism and heretics deserve the death sentence in a theocratic society.
Because this section is so valuable I'm only going to condense my consumption and final thoughts. Essentially these texts point to the subversion of authority and laws. They are not directly associated with atheism, unbelief or heresy. Instead they are focused against those who would seek to undermine the commands of God in a theonomic nation.
This was personally reassuring and helpful in developing a practical theology on theonomy. There is room in a theocratic nation for non-believers. However they are not to go about undermining the God of the nation, His word and His laws.