Monday, June 28, 2010

The Westminster Standards are Theonomic: Part 3

The Westminster Assembly
Posts in this series: Part 1, Part 2,
Part 3
Part 4

If there are any doubts at this point that the Westminster Standards are theonomic, we merely need to examine the original 1647 standards.

We cite the following from a piece by Brian Schwertley, who draws from Martin A. Foulner's book, Theonomy and the Westminster Confession:
W. C. F. Larger Catechism
[Q. 28] What are the punishments of sin in this world? The answer lists blessings and cursings of the covenant, citing Deuteronomy 28:15ff.

[Q. 108] “The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his Word…as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one's place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.” Deuteronomy 7:5 is cited.

[Q. 109] “The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion…” Deuteronomy 13:6-12 is cited.

[Q. 128] “The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them; envying at, contempt of, and rebellion against, their persons and places, in their lawful counsels, commands, and corrections; cursing, mocking, and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonor to them and their government.” Exodus 21:15 and Deuteronomy 21:18ff are cited, which require the death penalty for striking parents and for stubborn and rebellious sons.

[Q. 136] “The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defence; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares… provoking words; oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.” Capital punishments cited are: Numbers 35:16-21 and Exodus 21:18ff as well as the case laws in Numbers 35:31 and Exodus 22:2.

[Q. 139] “The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts…” A cited proof text is Leviticus 20:15, 16: “And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death; and ye shall slay the beast.”

[Q. 141] “The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man; rendering to every one his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof…to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.” Lev. 6:2-5 is cited, and the command to add a fifth part in making voluntary restitution is italicized, also Lev. 25:35, Deut. 22:1-4, Ex. 23:4ff.

[Q. 142] Includes the sin of removing landmarks, citing Deut. 19:14.

[Q. 145] Regarding sins forbidden by the ninth commandment the Catechism’s citations include right judgment by judges [Lev. 19:15 ]; concealing the truth [Lev. 5:1; Deut. 13:8]; failure to reprove sin [Lev. 19:17 ]; lying [Lev. 19:11 ]; talebearing [Lev. 19:16 ]; and raising false rumors [Ex. 23:1].

[Q. 151] “3. From the nature and quality of the offence: if it be against the express letter of the law, break many commandments, contain in it many sins: if not only conceived in the heart, but break forth in words and actions, scandalize others, and admit of no reparation: if against means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of conscience, public or private admonition, censures of the church, civil punishments…” Quoting Deut. 22:22, 28f, as binding examples of differing degrees of sin. The Catechism draws the distinction between adultery [requiring death], and seduction of an unbetrothed damsel which requires restitution.

The Confession of Faith 23:3 [Of the Civil Magistrate] is particularly germane to this discussion. “Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and Sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed….” The proof texts include Leviticus 24:16 and Deuteronomy 13:5, which order death for blasphemies and heretics respectively.
Brian Schwertley, The Modified Dispensationalism of Greg Loren Durand Exposed (Brian Schwertley, 2010).  Schwertley draws from Martin A. Foulner, Theonomy and the Westminster Confession: An Annotated Sourcebook (Edinburgh: Marpet Press, 1997), 8-10.

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