The Dangers Of Kingdom Ethics, Part III: Theonomy, Progressive Dispensationalism, And Social-Political Ethics -- By: Bruce A. Baker

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 21:63 (Autumn 2017)
Article: The Dangers Of Kingdom Ethics, Part III: Theonomy, Progressive Dispensationalism, And Social-Political Ethics
Author: Bruce A. Baker


The Dangers Of Kingdom Ethics, Part III:
Theonomy, Progressive Dispensationalism,
And Social-Political Ethics

Bruce A. Baker

* Bruce A. Baker, M.Div., Ph.D., pastor, Washington County Bible Church, Brenham, Texas

The second part of this series evaluated inaugurated-kingdom political action, and demonstrated that only some type of continuity position with regards to the Old Testament law is consistent with an already/not yet understanding of the kingdom. Moreover, such a continuity position logically demands a theonomic understanding of government. Since the relationship of the law to the church is such a vast topic, this third (and final) article will consider socio-political engagement and the law.

Socio-Political Engagement And The Law

The Problem Of The Law

One of the foundational issues in any study of biblical ethics (including socio-political ethics) involves the use of the Mosaic Law. Ryrie accurately described the fundamental problem.

The discussion of the end of the Mosaic law and the ramifications involved is one which usually bogs down in confusion. All interpreters of the Scripture are faced with the clear teaching that the death of Christ brought an end to the Mosaic law (Rom 10:4) while at the same time recognizing that some of the commandments of that law are restated clearly and without change in the epistles of the New Testament. Or to state the problem in the form of a question, it is this: How can the law be ended if portions of it are repeated after it supposedly ended?1

Not only is the law restated “clearly and without change” after its “end,” but there is also the issue of the law, at least as it is stated in the Decalogue, appearing prior to its enactment at Sinai. Kaiser noted, “All Ten Commandments had been part of the law of God previously written on hearts instead of stone, for all ten appear, in one way or another, in Genesis.”2 Additionally, the serious ramifications of the Old Testament’s witness concerning itself must be considered. After all, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Ps 19:7).3 This divine quality of the Old Testament cannot and should not be quickly dismissed in any discussion of ethics.

Few who take the Bible seriously would argue that the morality expressed in the Old Testament should be ig...

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