Thursday, March 5, 2015

Modern Theonomy: A Crisis of Vision, A Crisis of Voice

It's hard to get excited about the recent theonomy debate.  It doesn't matter who "won."  (Is it really possible to objectively "win" a debate, anyway?)  Even if theonomy "won" that debate, it would be a Pyrrhic victory, which leads to the point of this post:

Quo vadis, Theonomy?

Who is the public leader and spokesman for theonomy today?  One could remark that since it is not a "movement," there is no need for a leader.  That's not true, though.  Even if the US Govt introduces theonomic codes, which will never happen, some "voice" will be informing said Republican Congressmen.   And such a voice in any situation usually will be the most capable.

So who is the voice?

Probably American Vision, I think.  They are the ones sponsoring the debates and putting out the material.  One could say "Chalcedon Foundation," but American Vision has traditionally been pro-GOP politics, so they get the edge.

Leaders like Gentry will not take the role for a variety of reasons.  Morecraft is the bishop, practically speaking, of his own denomination and he has mostly alienated all of NAPARC.  Leaders can't be merely capable.  They have to have influence as well.

Who else is out there that doesn't reduce to one of the above categories?

So why is this a problem if it falls to American Vision?  It's a problem for theonomy because theonomic discussions are now divorced from the Church setting, particularly at the synodal level.  Whatever problems NAPARC leaders may have, presbyteries can hold each other accountable and keep a lot of nonsense from emerging.  Would the debate over the audio rights happened if there were mature third-party mediation (like a synod)?  You see my point.

And since most NAPARC churches merely tolerate theonomy, theonomists now that they can't "make a difference" from within the churches themselves.  They literally have to go "outside" the church.   At this point any "kingdom activity" has been reduced to the level of a parachurch (and Rushdoony was quite explicit on this point).  Now people will have to face the question:  where do I want to invest time and money where it will do the most (perceived) good?

The Church doesn't promise civic righteousness.  It doesn't promise outward justice lex talionis.   It is the kingdom of mercy (though aspects of judgment are present).  The Church promises that Jesus will feed you at his Table.  The Church promises that Jesus will speak to you from his Word.

If given the choice at the end of the day, what would you prefer:  Taking Back City Hall or Eating with Jesus?


  1. I think Theonomy and related questions will become more relevant after 2k or r2k is more fully addressed. Once it is shown that the enforcing two tables position is the more coherent/only coherent position, then something close to theonomy becomes more interesting.

  2. I wondered the same thing, too. Back when i was at RTS (2005-2007) the Reformed world used r2K to beat up theonomists and I always told them that would backfire one day.