Saturday, November 14, 2015

Infants and the Millenium - a Pre-Millenial Quadralemma (Guest Post by Ben. W)

The following guest post by Ben W. presents a question to our premillennial brothers and sisters:
*** Guest Post ***
What happens to babies born during the millennial reign after the return of Christ?
  1. Babies are born and some believe in Christ and are saved, others do not and are damned.
  2. 2. Babies are born but none of them believe in Christ and they are not saved.
  3. 3. Babies are born and all of them believe in Christ and are saved.
  4. 4. No babies are born during the millennial reign.
Each of these options is problematic.
1. Babies are born and some believe in Christ and are saved, others do not and are damned.
The problem with this view is that scripture makes it clear that Christ will not return until all of his people have been brought in.
In 2nd Peter 3, Peter makes the argument that Christ has not returned yet, and that God has not yet judged the Earth because not all of God’s people have been saved, “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” God waits until the full number of his people have been gathered.
In Matthew 24:29-31 Jesus says of his own return that he will gather his elect from the entire Earth, “the four winds” North, East, South, West and from one end of Heaven to the other, both those on Earth and those in Heaven will be gathered together upon Christ’s return. All of God’s people will be gathered upon Christ’s return.
Finally, in Romans 11:25 scripture says that “a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” This hardening will end when Christ is reigning from Jerusalem and the temple has been rebuilt. If the hardening of Israel has ended this must mean that the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and if that’s the case, it would appear that no Gentiles will be saved during the millennial reign.
2. Babies are born but none of them believe in Christ and they are not saved.
This view has the benefit of avoiding the problems brought forth by the previous view; however, it introduces two problems of its own.
First, it describes a world in which Christ is physically ruling from the Earth, and yet, there are none for a thousand years, while Satan is bound from deceiving the nations, that believe in him.
Even from the view of premillennialism the outlook is never this bleak, which leads to the second problem.
In Isaiah 65:23-24, which premillennialists view as a description of the millennial kingdom, it says:
They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
Here we see it is said that the children born during the millennial reign, and their children will be called offspring of the blessed of the Lord. If every generation’s descendants are called the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, it follows that their parents too will be his blessed. The next verse makes it clear that God will hear and answer the prayers of these generations; surely this is not descriptive of a planetary population that has rejected King Jesus and his rule.
In Zechariah 14, and Micah 4 it is said that all the nations will come and worship Christ in Jerusalem when he reigns there.
If we read these texts without spiritualizing or allegorizing it seems clear that there will be a partial, if not total conversion to Christianity by the population of the Earth during this time.
3. Babies are born and all of them believe in Christ and are saved.
If there are no unbelievers during the millennial reign, who rebels against Christ at the end of the 1000 years? If all those born during the millennium are saved, there is no one to rebel as described in Revelation 20:7-10.
4. No babies are born during the millennial reign.
This position too fails because as we previously saw, Isaiah 65 describes the offspring of those living during the millennial reign, and as we noted in the previous option, if there are no unbelievers in the millennium, then there is no one to rebel against Christ when Satan is loosed.
A person might argue that, while there are no babies born during the millennial reign, those unbelievers still alive when Christ returns will enter into it, and they will be the ones to rebel. However, Revelation 19:17-21 describes the total destruction of all unbelievers upon Christ’s return. There will be none of God’s enemies left after Christ returns.
*** End of Guest Post ***
As noted elsewhere, I (TurretinFan) am not particularly dogmatic on eschatology. I found this puzzle interesting, but it's not the reason I'm postmillenial. I'm postmillenial because I think the Lord is coming back on the last day, as per John 6 and 1 Corinthians 15. I think the author of the post, Ben. W., is actually ameillenial, which is a quite similar position.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

James White: The Same Sex Marriage Debate vs Codrington

Dr. White debated Graeme Codrington on the topic of same sex marriage (link to debate on SermonAudio). I agreed with Codrington that Dr. White did an excellent job defending the "traditional" view. I wanted to mention a few points that occurred to me in listening to the debate, while encouraging you, my reader, to go listen to the debate for yourself. Also check out the related debate that I mention in my comments below.

1) Heteronomative Scripture
Dr. White made a good point in the debate that it's more than just the "six verses" that specifically call out homosexual practices as sin. Instead, the remainder of Scripture provides a positive presentation regarding sexuality. That positive presentation makes heterosexual relations the norm. That's an important point, because it frames the issue. Within the context of Scripture, the pattern is "husband and wife" not simply life partners.

2) Patriarchal Scripture
Codrington raised the point that Scriptures present a patriarchal model in which there is male headship and even male ownership of wives and children. I noticed a similar issue arise in the debate between Jason Wallace and Scott Dalgarno (link to youtube video of that debate). One thing we need to be prepared to do is to confound Codrington and Dalgarno by affirming that the Biblical norm of patriarchy. Basic consistency does demand this from us - if we are going to affirm the creation ordinance of heterosexual marriage, we should also affirm the creation ordinance of how that heterosexual marriage is to be ordered. There is a sort of perverse consistency to Codrington and Dalgarno rejecting the Biblical norm of heterosexuality, given that they have already rejected the Biblical norm of patriarchy. If Biblical norms for the ordering of society matter, we should hold the. If they don't matter, we shouldn't insist on them.

3) Ownership of Humans in Scripture
Codrington and Dalgarno raised the ubiquitous objection that Scripture doesn't condemn slavery. Again, we need to be prepared to confound these men by affirming the Scripture's position. We are "bought with a price" (1 Cor 6:20 and 7:23). We are slaves of Jesus, our master. He owns us. We are his property. We are not absolutely opposed to slavery on Enlightenment grounds, even though we are opposed to any form of slavery that is based on denying the full humanity of people based on their skin color or the like. We recognize that the Bible affirmed that slaves were the property of their masters (e.g. Exodus 21:20-21 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.). Thus, we don't agree with the idea that it is somehow intrinsically immoral for a man to own another man, even though we recognize limitations on that ownership (see the same verses above).

Both Codrington and Dalgarno seem to take for granted that the Bible was wrong on the relationship of masters and slaves, husbands and wives, and parents and children. The "liberal church" has certainly begun to take those debates for granted. We need to be ready to shock them by affirming that the Bible was right on those things.

Friday, October 23, 2015

What does Christ mediate to non-elect covenant members?

The title question is sometimes asked of those who hold to Calvin/Turretin's view of Covenant Theology. I respond that the question seems to contain two flawed premises.

First, a mediator is a person who reconciles two parties. Christ does not serve as a mediator for the non-elect, only for the elect.

On the other hand, the non-elect members of the church should expect to receive something from Christ. It is written, "the Lord will judge his people." (Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 135:14; Hebrews 10:30) So, those who are merely outwardly part of the covenant should expect Christ to serve not as mediator, but as judge.

But Christ does not "mediate wrath" to those people, because that is not a mediatorial role. In his role as judge of all the Earth, Christ does not stand between God and man, but simply stands as God against man.

My emphasis on "outwardly," above, brings me to the second flawed premise. There are no non-elect members of the covenant of grace, under either the Mosaic administration or the NT administration. Those non-elect people who are part of the assembly/congregation/ekklesia but never believe are only outwardly members. Thus, they may bear the signs of the covenant (i.e. circumcision and/or baptism) but they lack the cleansing, forgiveness, and regeneration that those symbols represent.

The true Jew or true Christian is one who is one inwardly. Circumcision is of the heart.


Saturday, October 03, 2015

Pope Francis on June 1, 2015 and the Failure of the Cross (with Bonus)

When you read the Pope's comments about the "failure of the cross" in light of this homily from earlier this year, I think it sheds some light on the subject. Just as Scripture interprets Scripture, so also Francis interprets Francis:
Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope said the stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone; the scandalous executioner’s block that appeared to put an end to the story of hope, marked the beginning of man’s salvation.

And highlighting how the Scriptures speak to us today, the Pope said God builds upon weakness and waste; he said God’s love for mankind is manifested in the apparent “failure” of the Cross.


But above all - the Pope said - the story tells us of how Jesus’s death led to his ultimate triumph.

Let us not forget the cross – he said – because it is here that the logic of “failure” is turned upside down.

Jesus – Pope Francis said – reminds the chief priests, the scribes and the elders that although we can expect trials and rejection, in the end we will see triumph and he quotes the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”.

“The prophets, the men of God who spoke to the people, who were not listened to, who were rejected, will be His glory. The Son, His last envoy, was seized, killed and thrown out. He became the cornerstone” he said.

“This story that begins with a dream of love, that seems to be a love story, but ends up looking like a story of failures, ends with the great love of God who offers Salvation through the rejection of his Son who saves us all”.


Bonus Update:

Here's what Francis said back on May 29, 2013:
“Triumphalism in the Church halts the Church. The triumphalism of us Christians halts Christians. A triumphalist Church is a half-way Church”. A Church content with being “well organized and with... everything lovely and efficient”, but which denied the martyrs would be “a Church which thought only of triumphs and successes; which did not have Jesus’ rule of triumph through failure. Human failure, the failure of the cross. And this is a temptation to us all”.


Thursday, October 01, 2015

More Thorough Exegesis of Francis' "Failure of the Cross" Phrase

In response to Pastor Hall quadrupling down on his misinterpretation of Francis' words, let me explain how I know (with certainty) that Pope Francis was contrasting the divine perspective with the human perspective, when he said:
The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds. God sees to the fruits of our labors. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and not produce fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus Christ and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.
a) Notice that the point of the paragraph is to explain the right way of measuring success. It's not a discourse on the atonement or on redemption, but instead of metrics of success. The cross is an example of how to measure success.

b) Not only is this confirmed by the thesis sentence of the paragraph, but also by the way that the paragraph fits within the section of the speech:
And it diminishes the wonder of our first encounter with Christ. We can get caught up in measuring the value of our apostolic works by the standards of efficiency, good management and outward success, which govern the business world.

Not that these things are unimportant, of course. But we have been entrusted with a great responsibility, and this is why god's people rightly expect accountability from us but the true worth of our apostolate is measured by the value it has in god's eyes, to see and evaluate things from god's perspective, calls for constant conversion in the first days and years of our vocation and, need I say, it demands great humility.

The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds. God sees to the fruits of our labors. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and not produce fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus Christ and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.
b) Thus, the point of the Pope's statement is to contrast outward success, success as perceived by men, with true success.

c) The pope is drawing a distinction between measuring worldly endeavors (like businesses) with "our apostolic works" or "apostolate."

d) So, in context the pope is saying that measured by business standards, i.e. "humanly speaking" the cross was a failure.

e) The pope is saying that this is the wrong way to measure spiritual endeavors. It's an argument from the greater to the lesser. If measuring the cross by business standards would make it look like a failure, we shouldn't worry that our apostolate/apostolic works look like a failure by that standard.

f) That the pope was talking about failure that shouldn't count as failure can be seen from the fact that he refers to "seem to fail" when describing our efforts and works.

g) The alternative understanding, that Francis meant that the cross really did fail, would undermine the point of using the cross as an illustration. If the cross actually failed, then business method of measuring success is right, and we're not dealing with a "different way of measuring success," but with a same way of measuring success.

h) Finally, we see the same thing confirmed in the way that the pope wraps up his discussion in a subsequent paragraph:
I know that many of you are on the front lines in meeting the challenges of adapting to an evolving pastoral landscape, like Saint Peter, I ask you, that regardless of the difficulties and trials that you face, be at peace and respond to them as Christ did. He gave thanks to the father, took up his cross and looked forward.
Notice that he encourages people to imitate Christ in their "front lines" of "an evolving pastoral landscape." That makes sense if the cross was a success spiritually, though not "humanly speaking," but makes no sense if the cross was truly a failure.

Now, I certainly agree that the RC views of the atonement and of the mass treat the cross as being at least partly a failure - but that's an external critique of their position - not something they themselves admit. Acting like Francis was admitting it here is inappropriate "gotcha" apologetics at best. We need to be honest in our criticisms, even of the Man of Sin whom God will destroy with his Spirit.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On Founders and Fathers

People like me appeal to the Founders of the American republic as authorities on what the Constitution meant when it was written. We do that because we believe in a grammatical-historical method of interpretation of any written document. In a similar way, many people like to appeal to the Church Fathers to understand the Scriptures. There are some similarities and some differences in these approaches.

Some Differences:

Unlike the Founders, the Church Fathers did not themselves write the Scriptures. The Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by those with a prophetic gift. Even the earliest of the Early Church Fathers we have were probably pretty young when the Scriptures were written. Furthermore, the writings of the earliest of the Early Church Fathers never explicitly purport to provide any insight into what was meant by the text as written. There is not a body of literature contemporary to the writing of the New Testament, parallel to the Federalist Papers (for example), to which we can appeal for documentation regarding why things in Scripture were probably written the way they were written.

In fact, most of the church fathers were separated as far as we are (or farther than we are) from the Founders. Thus, their value in a grammatical-historical model of interpretation is quite dilute. They may be useful in helping us confirm that we're still reading Greek in about the same way as they did, but folks like Augustine and his contemporaries didn't have any first hand, or even second or third hand knowledge of the apostles and evangelists, much less of Moses, David, and the prophets.

Additionally, the Bible is perfect. It is a complete document that will accomplish exactly what God intended it to do. Those tasks include communicating the way of salvation and thoroughly furnishing the man of God for every good work. The US Constitution is an impressive document, but it is far from perfect. We don't even have a reason to think it would be perfect. It's a merely human work, and humans make mistakes. There is no guarantee that it will accomplish all its authors intended.

Similarly, the Bible is perspicuous. By contrast, there is no doctrine of the perspicuity of the US Constitution. Even on important points, it is possible for the US Constitution to be vague. Just as their is not guarantee that the Constitution will work as intended, there is no guarantee that a fair-minded reader trying his best will correctly understand even the most important points.

Thus, the need to rely on external authorities becomes important when dealing with the Constitution in ways that it is not when dealing with the Bible.

Some Similarities:

Like the Fathers, the Founders were not always of one mind. In one interaction I had with a Roman Catholic, I recall the following interchange (I'm paraphrasing):

RC: Are you saying that church went off the rails from the very beginning? Because we know what Clement of Rome taught about ecclesiology.
TF: You're referring to the book of 1 Clement, which is usually attributed to Clement of Rome. But note that the author of that work was arguing with the Corinthians. He was saying that they went off the rails. So, did someone go off the rails right at the beginning? Apparently so - the very evidence you cite is proof of that, whether Clement was right or wrong.

A similar issue was recently raised by my brother, Jordan Hall, in a post about the Constitution. There he raised a comment by Thomas Jefferson in a letter written around 1819. My brother wanted to argue that Jefferson's position reflected what "the Founders" thought about the Constitution. The problem is this - Jefferson's letter is one that is arguing against his contemporaries (link to letter). In other words, while my brother may want to side with Jefferson, Jefferson is arguing with another of his contemporaries. "The Founders" were not of one mind on the subject, but of two (or more) competing minds.

That leads us to another similarity. It's not always easy to identify a "Founder" just as it is sometimes difficult to identify a "Father." Should we count Origen and Tertullian as Fathers? They are certainly highly influential early Christian authors, but their full orthodoxy is sometimes questioned. Similarly, who do we count as a Founder? One Constitution-focused website explains the problem:
Other U.S. Founding Fathers were not there [TF insertion: at the Constitutional Convention], but made significant contributions in other ways. Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, was serving as ambassador to France at the time of the Convention. He kept abreast of the proceedings in Philadelphia by carrying on correspondence with James Madison. John Adams, as ambassador to Great Britain, wrote "Defense of the Constitution of the Government of the United States of America." Thomas Paine wrote the influential pamphlet "Common Sense," which immeasurably influenced the philosophy reflected in the Declaration of Independence. One of the U.S. Founding Fathers, Patrick Henry, was initially opposed to the very idea of the Constitution! He wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation, the predecessor to the Constitution. However, when an agreement was made to add a "bill of rights" to the Constitution, Henry fought hard for its ratification.
(link to site)

We see similar divisions amongst the fathers. There were various theological battles over which those in the early church fought - sometimes on central issues (like Jesus' divinity) and sometimes over relatively trivial issues (like when Easter should be celebrated). While I certainly wouldn't treat an Arian as a "father of the church," it's important to realize that this identification involves me using the Scripture as my standard for deciding who to label a "father." Thus, my list of "fathers" is going to include generally orthodox men. I can't then turn around and say that their opinion proves that my doctrine is orthodox, as Roman Catholics sometimes erroneously attempt to do.

People who are trying to round up opinions of the Founders to support their views need to be similarly careful. Jefferson's view on the judiciary (as interpreted by my brother) would seem to place him at odds with John Marshall's views on the judiciary. Nevertheless John Marshall, like Thomas Jefferson, was a founding father (link to relevant information on Marshall). Although Jefferson is more famous, both men were founders and arguably represent (on some issues) competing views found amongst the Founders even in the early days of the republic. If you only count the Founders who agree with you as being Founders, your appeal to them is no longer grammatical-historical analysis but simply partisan politics or propaganda.

So be careful when applying external sources. The Constitution may need them to be understood-- Scripture doesn't need them, even if they are helpful. Moreover, when you are looking at them, look more for the points on which those debating found common ground. In the case of the Fathers, that was that Scripture is the highest and most ultimate authority, aka Sola Scriptura. Look for the things that they took for granted that their opponents would agree with, not those points on which they wanted their opponents to submit. Those points provide much stronger evidence for "the opinion" of the Fathers or the Founders.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Humanly Speaking the Cross was a Failure

The pope wasn't saying that Christ's death was a failure. He was saying the same thing that both Roman Catholics and Protestants affirm, namely that the disciples were expecting a Messiah that would give military victory over the Romans. Instead, the Romans killed him. He looked like a failure to those who had only a human perspective on things. The pope was contrasting the divine perspective with the human perspective, when he said:
The cross shows us a different way of measuring success. Ours is to plant the seeds. God sees to the fruits of our labors. And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and not produce fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus Christ and his life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, the failure of the cross.
This shouldn't be any surprise, since others have said the same thing.

Roman Catholic expressions of this:
"It is love and loyalty which persist even where humanly speaking there seems to be no reason for it — just as the cross of Jesus was humanly speaking hopeless, but brought salvation and goodness." A New Catechism: Catholic Faith for Adults, with Supplement

"Humanly speaking, a failure: a colossal, blatant failure. Yet when all seemed to be lost, all was in fact saved. " Federico Suarez

Non-RC expressions of this:
"5. He was rejected and despised by the people among whom He labored. "He came to His own, and His own received Him not." His work was, humanly speaking, a complete failure, and when He left the world He had but a handful of followers who had remained true to His teachings and person." Albert Simpson

"With all reverence, let me say to you, humanly speaking, the day the Master died on the Cross it seemed a colossal failure." D. L. Ferris

"That beautiful Iife promised so much, but the Cross shows how those promises, humanly speaking, ended in failure. The nation He came to teach rejected Him; the people He came to save crucified Him; a few Disciples only remained faithful to Him; and yet out of that " failure" came the greatest success the world has ever known, the success which has regenerated mankind!" Alfred Mortimer

"Humanly speaking, his work had failed. " Warren W. Wiersbe

"What enabled the disciples of Jesus to understand this enigmatic "message of the cross"? At first sight, we see in the cross the sign of a failure, humanly speaking. " Taize

There are good reasons to be opposed to the papacy, but this isn't one of them.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Judicial Precedent as Law - Summary

In America, judicial precedent is law. This is true even if it is true that:
a) Some of that law is bad law;
b) Some of that law is unconstitutional law;
c) Some of that law would be "honored in the breach";
d) Some of that law outrages us;
e) Some of that law could be overturned tomorrow;
f) Some of that law is contrary to God's law;
and we could probably think of many more to go with those.

The fact that judicial precedent is law in America can be seen in a variety of ways:
1) Look at dictionary definitions (I was told that this approach is un-American, but let the reader judge)
2) Look up what it means that America is a "Common Law" jurisdiction as distinction from a "Civil Code" jurisdiction.
3) Look up what the expression "case law" means (not in reference to the Torah, but in reference to the American legal system)

Now, Jordan Hall​, Marcus Pittman​, and Joel McDurmon​ have all expressed disagreement with my thesis - and they are all talented brothers in Christ. But on this point they are wrong, and not just white shoes after Labor Day wrong - they are as wrong as putting a "Tribble" caption on a photo of an Ewok, as wrong as thinking that "RC" in RC Sproul stands for "Roman Catholic", and as wrong as Bruce Jenner's current restroom choices.

There are lots of good reasons to oppose the new precedent set by the Supreme Court, but they don't include the absurd notion that, because the decision is not legislation it is not law (the errant opinion expressed by Jordan and Marcus and defended by Joel).

So please, brothers. Stop it. Just stop it. The media get lots of things wrong all the time, but this is not one of those things. This is actually one of those rare cases where they've made an accurate statement.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Taking an Un-American Stance

In English the word law includes both statutes and judicial precedent.

"The judgment of a competent, court, until reversed or otherwise superseded, is law, as much as any statute." (Black's Law Dictionary, 1910)

American Heritage Dictionary
a. A statute, ordinance, or other rule enacted by a legislature.
b. A judicially established legal requirement; a precedent.

Webster's (1828)
11. Unwritten or common law, a rule of action which derives its authority from long usage, or established custom, which has been immemorially received and recognized by judicial tribunals. As this law can be traced to no positive statutes, its rules or principles are to be found only in the records of courts, and in the reports of judicial decisions.

One will find similar entries in other dictionaries as well. Some will simply have general statements about binding rules, but where you find mention of statutes, look and see whether judicial precedent or "common law" is mentioned. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I've been told that this is an un-American approach, but I can live with that. Words have meaning after all, and as general rule, the dictionaries are great sources for those meanings.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Distinguishing Reality from Fantasy

No matter how good of an argument for Departmentalism my exceedingly brilliant friend and brother, Steve Hays offers (here, for example), Departmentalism is a pipe dream. It's not the way America actually works.

In practice, in America, the Supreme Court has a final say. Knowledgeable advocates of the position Steve Hays mentions continually rue this. For example, Ed Whelan, as quoted by Steve Hays in an earlier post, states: "We live in a legal culture besotted by the myth of judicial supremacy." And again: "Although there are some scholars, both on the right and on the left, who challenge it, most lawyers across the ideological spectrum, having suffered the detriment of a modern legal miseducation, embrace it." In other words, Whelan's position is a minority position that reflects the way he thinks the system should be not the way the system actually is.

That said, I don't think any of the arguments for Departmentalism are very compelling. For example, Whelan argues (quoted by Hays):
It is one thing for the Supreme Court to decline to apply a law that it deems to be unconstitutional; it is quite another for it to maintain that presidents, members of Congress, and state officials must likewise regard the law as unconstitutional and, further, must accept and follow the rationale of the Court’s decision.
Whelan is whiffing. There are at least three strikes there.

1) Although in some cases the Supreme Court decides whether something is unconstitutional as applied, the Supreme Court often decides whether something is unconstitutional on its face, and consequently void. Whelan tips his hat to this point, but doesn't seem to realize its far-reaching implications.

2) Not all of the Court's decisions relate to the Constitution. Sometimes the question requires interpreting a piece of legislation and deciding what the legislation means. We'll come back to this issue shortly.

3) In America, no one has to "regard the law as unconstitutional" (in the sense of agreeing that the Court decided rightly) nor must they "accept and follow the rationale" that the Court offered. They are free to think the Court decided wrongly. However, even if they disagree with the ruling, they have to obey the ruling until it is overturned. That's true whether it's a really controversial Constitutional issue or a less controversial legislative issue. And that is how the system works. It's easier to overturn decisions about the meaning of statutes and much harder to overturn interpretations of the constitution. But the same rule applies.

According to Whelan, the Court didn't come up with judicial supremacy until 1958. That kind of claim runs face-first into a more complete history of the situation (see here, for example). Famous cases along the way include the Court striking down the original income tax law, leading to a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the court's decision.

The most bizarre part of Whelan's argument is this: "But none of this speaks with clarity or force to the judicial-supremacist claim that other governmental actors must abide by a federal judge’s view that a law is unconstitutional." What would be the point of having a judiciary that no one had to obey? The idea that the Supreme Court's decisions on constitutional matters are just advisory is just nuts. One doesn't have to agree with the Court, but one does have to obey the Court.