Theonomy: A Reformed Baptist Assessment.
A Preface to the Series
Some time around 1990—I do not know the exact year—I was asked to deliver a series of lectures to the old Trinity Ministerial Academy on the subject of Theonomy or Christian Reconstruction. The result was a series of lectures entitled, Theonomy: A Reformed Baptist Assessment. These lectures have been available online for many years if you knew what to search for and where to look. In the few years after I wrote them, I made some feeble attempts to publish them. The Publishers I contacted were not interested in what a Reformed Baptist might think about this subject.
In subsequent years it was my impression that the popularity of Theonomy faded with the fading influence and deaths of its major founders: Rushdoony, North, and Bahnsen. Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, with the precipitous decline of our culture, a form of Theonomy has been making a comeback in recent years. I regard Theonomy as an overreaction to the degradation of our culture.
It is not an overreaction, let me say, in the condemnation of the sexual perversity and moral madness that is all around us. No condemnation seems too strong for the LGBTQ mania and Transgender wickedness into which our country seems to be descending.
It is, however, an over-reaction in its view of how the church and Christian community should respond to it. It is an overreaction in terms of the theonomic doctrines it is adopting in response to this fall off of a cultural cliff.
And that leads me to say something else …
Theonomy does not just mean God’s law, my young Padawans. If Theonomists were only arguing for a return to the Ten Commandments as the moral law for human life, right-minded Reformed thinkers would not and could not reject it. Theonomy—though it means God’s law literally—means much more and much else theologically.
My impression till recently was that the recent resurgence of Theonomy was actually a somewhat modified form of Theonomy not guilty of certain of the extremes of its original founders. But now I am informed that some of the very well-known Reformed Christians who have enlisted in this movement are citing with much approval its founders. For instance, Rushdoony himself was recently quoted.
All this makes me feel that I should dust off my lectures on Theonomy. I am sure they are dated in terms of some of the contemporary discussion. Yet, they are solidly based on what the founders of Theonomy—Rushdoony, North, and Bahnsen—actually taught. It may serve the interests of truth in several respects, then, if in the coming weeks I make available in this blog my 30-year old, but I hope still relevant lectures on this subject.
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.