Saturday, April 04, 2015

John Owen on the Theonomy Debate between Joel McDurmon and Jordan Hall

John Owen, Works, Volume 8 ("Sermons to the Nations"), p. 394:
Although the institutions and examples of the Old Testament, of the duty of magistrates in the things and about the worship of God, are not, in their whole latitude and extent, to be drawn into rules that should be obligatory to all magistrates now, under the administration of the gospel, — and that because the magistrate then was "custos, vindex, et administrator legis judicialis, et politiae Mosaicae," from which, as most think, we are freed; — yet, doubtless, there is something moral in those institutions, which, being unclothed of their Judaical form, is still binding to all in the like kind, as to some analogy and proportion. Subduct from those administrations what was proper to, and lies upon the account of, the church and nation of the Jews, arid what remains upon the general notion of a church and nation must be everlastingly binding.
I wonder if both the debaters would agree with that quotation? If so, then the resolution of their recent debate can be affirmed in one sense (i.e. the civil laws are obligatory as to their moral aspects and analogously) and denied in another sense (i.e. the civil laws are not obligatory in their Judaical form).

I note that Bahnsen himself seems to have felt that he could agree with Owen, since Bahnsen himself quoted it in his interaction with Ian Murray (as can be seen here).



Brandon said...

Can you offer a translation of "custos, vindex, et administrator legis judicialis, et politiae Mosaicae,"?

And no, I don't believe this offers a resolution to the debate. Bahnsen stated his agreement with WCF 19.4 as well. That doesn't mean he agreed with it properly understood. Owen isn't saying anything different from Calvin and McDurmon stated his clear rejection of Calvin on that point.

Arminius Fan said...

A rough translation of the Latin phrase would be "Guardian, avenger and administrator of the judicial law and the Mosaic polity [i.e. constitution]".