16 comments on “Gordon H. Clark on Tyranny vs. Christian Liberty

  1. “The government of Christ’s church is designed to incorporate accountability among its leaders”

    Patch,
    The statement above is so true. Even a “one man show” leader with good intentions and believing he is doing right by Scripture needs the blessing of accountability among other equal leaders. This post is very timely. Thanks.

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  2. Ever read Lex Rex by Rutherford, or VINDICIAE, CONTRA TYRANNOS the Huguenot work, presumably by Junius Brutus? I have read both of these and they changed my view of authority in general and my life at the time, primarily when I was still in a fundamentalist Church where the Pastor was the Pope in suit and tie.

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  3. No we are not brethren. I am not saying you are going to hell but as far as Rutherford defines things in Free Disputation another tongue argues for another religion and though the thief on the cross went to heaven that does not mean he would have been in good standing with the visible church. If you do not want me to post here I won’t but I thought your articles on Clark were interesting.

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  4. You are not defining “brethren” from Scripture then. Perhaps you ought to reread Rutherford, as it seems you are unable to reconcile the quotes you provided with the ones provided by Sean (http://godshammer.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/putting-words-in-his-mouth/#comment-4503). A hardline approach such as yours is dangerous when dealing with the writings of men who are perfectly capable of contradicting themselves. If you and I and Sean are not brothers, I wonder how many brothers you actually have.

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  5. I didn’t din need to because I quoted the section from Sean’s own quotes that defeated what he was trying to teach. From his first quote of Rutherford’s Due Right:

    …now the orthodox and reformed church holdeth, that the covenant and promises are preached to the whole visible church, but for the Elects sake, and that however externally, the covenant of grace and promises be promulgated to everyone, and all within the lists of the visible church; yet they belong in God’s intention and gracious purpose only to the Elect of God (Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries, p. 248).

    Rutherford is clearly asserting that all in the visible Churhc are in the COg but the COG is for the elect’s sake in the sense that it is the primary tool that God applies the COR. That is what I said all along.

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  6. “You are not defining “brethren” from Scripture then”
    This is an assertion. The following is from my paper, One Holy Catholic Church based on Free Disputation by Rutherford; by “brethren” I am rejecting the idea that the doctrines to be believed in order to go to heaven is the definition of a brother:

    The pertinent issue is the definition of the word fundamental. Some believe the fundamentals regard what doctrines have to be believed in order to go to heaven (That is membership in the invisible Church). What about infants (Luke 1:15, 2 Tim 3:15, Mark 10:14)? What about the thief on the cross? “The repenting thief knew Christ to be the savior of men, and a King, who could dispose of heaven, but what deductions the Spirit made within, who knows?”[28]

    “To determine what is fundamental, what not, and the number of fundamental points, and the least measure of knowledge of fundamentals, in which the essence of saving faith may consist, or the simple want of the knowledge of which fundamentals, is inconsistent with saving faith in minimo quod non, is more than Magistrate or Church can well know. Sure it borders with one of God’s secrets, touching the final state of salvation, or damnation of particular men.”[29]

    Therefore, the number of fundamentals requisite to enter heaven is a mystery. However, there are key examples of what false doctrinal professions give the Church and Magistrate reason to label a man outside the faith. We will call these negative fundamentals:

    1. Professing that the resurrection has past 2 Tim1:17-18, 1 Tim 1:19-20;

    2. Professing that circumcision is required for salvation Gal 5:3-4 Compare with Acts 15:5, 24;

    3. Professing that eating meat offered to idols is nothing even if you know it was offered to an idol, even though it is a grievous sin to eat meat offered to idols with knowledge of such Rev 2:14-16, 1Cor 8:1-13; 1Cor 10:25-33;

    4. Professing that Christians should still keep the dietary laws Titus 1:11-16, Col 2:20-23, 1 Tim 4:1-3;

    5. Forbidding marriage 1 Tim4:1-3;

    6. Teaching that Christ did not come in the flesh 2 Tim1:7;

    7. Professing that the day of the Lord has already come before the apostasy 2 Th 2:1-3;

    8. Professing another gospel Gal 1:8-9 (Implied mixing faith and works from the context);

    9. Teaching synchristic fables and geologies Tit 1:14, 1 Tim 1:4, Tit 3:9-10, 1Ti 1:3, 2Jo 1:9, 2Jo 1:10.[30] In addition to the support of this claim Rutherford says:

    “Neither give heed to fables and endless Genealogies, which minister questions, rather then edifying, which is in faith, then to preach fables and endless Genealogies which are not fundamental errors, are yet another doctrine than the Apostles taught, and those that so teach are to be charged to teach no such thing, and so under two or three witnesses, if they willfully continue therein, to be accused and censured, yea and we are to avoid them, and not to receive them in our houses, nor bid them God speed, and so non-fundamentals as questions of Genealogies come in under the name of e`terodidaskalein of teaching uncouth doctrine.”[31]

    To this list I would also add by necessity all other teaching which by logical consequence acknowledged or not, that denies the deity of Jesus (Acts 20:28), or anything else which by logical consequence creates a division in the true Church of Jesus Christ in its preaching, sacraments or discipline. Lest we faint under the fear of falling prey to error Rutherford says:

    “All which prove that to be finally seduced, is a certain mark of reprobation, as Matth. 24. 23, 24. 2. Tim. 2. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. and the Spirit that teacheth us that we are not to be afraid of falling from the state of grace and salvation, though we fall in such sins as the spirit of Antichrist, wantonness, who abuse the doctrine of election of grace…[32] The way to be delivered from error is to be humble and fear God and he shall teach us his ways, Psal. 25. 9. 14. John 7. 17. 2. Thess. 2. 11, 12.”[33]

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  7. In that quote, Rutherford talks about the promises of the covenant (of Grace) being externally held out to those in the visible church, but those promises belonging only to the elect. Sean agrees with this, Drake. That being said, I’ll not argue about Sean’s views here. If you want to pursue that further, you’ll have to take it up with him. Sean and I certainly have our own disagreements regarding the covenants.

    When have I ever done any of those things that you list as “negative fundamentals,” causing you to judge me as a non-brother (yet still a fellow believer in Christ, however that’s even possible)?

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  8. Food for thought:

    “But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” -Luke 8:21

    “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers,” -I Timothy 5:1

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  9. Well no. 3 methinks fits with the Baptist view of the covenants. The moral view of Acts 15 says that eating meat offered to an idol with knowldge it was offfered to an idol, eating and drinking blood, having sex with the wife when it’s her time of the month is a sin. The Baptistic view of the covenants ends up saying that we can now eat and drink blood. I just had this conversation with Jim Savastio a Reformed Baptist minister here in Louisville, Ky. I couldn’t believe what I heard in the pulpit so I talked to him after the sermon. I will never step foot in that church again, and I exhort you to leave Baptist theology altogether. It is a soul destroying heresy.

    “But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” -Luke 8:21

    So do you think it’s ok to drink blood?

    Are you seriously arguing that Samuel Rutherford believed that only the elect were in the COG? If you do you have deceived yourself and so has Sean. You know very well the quote from Rutherford I gave and I could gives scores more that say exactly the same thing. The whole purpose of that Chapter was to show the opposite of what Sean was trying to make those passages say.

    You have to remember the 9th commandment in these debates man.

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  10. Real quick. Due right of presbyteries was written in 1644. Rutherford wrote covenant of life opened in 1654. He changed his view afterwards. The view that you guys hold, he held to some great extent. He later changes in COLO in 1654.

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  11. Drake,

    You believe the Bible teaches that drinking blood and eating meat with blood in it is immoral. You are also saying that sex with one’s wife during menstruation is wrong. I read the text of Acts 15, and I have wondered about this before. I read Calvin and he seems to think what you do about eating blood. He does not mention the part about a woman’s bleeding, but I know the Old Testament commands that. How do you connect the two commands?

    Doesn’t most meat have blood in it today? Do you think the Bible teaches that we should have special Christian butchers like the Jews have?

    Thanks for your time and patience.

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  12. Drake, you not only reject any and all “Baptistic views of the covenants,” you also reject most Presbyterian views. Even the WCF isn’t Presbyterian enough for you. If someone doesn’t agree with your Rutherfordian view, then you’re not brothers? Sounding a bit like Marc Carpenter if you ask me.

    I wouldn’t encourage eating and drinking blood, but does that mean my steak has to be well done? Is it morally wrong to eat medium-rare steak?

    I wonder what Reformed Baptist works you’ve actually read, in order for you to judge all “Baptist theology” as “soul-destroying heresy.” Any Nehemiah Coxe? John Gill? Heck, even John Owen’s Hebrews Commentary? Pink? Surely you realize that credobaptists hold to credobaptism for different reasons, just as paedobaptists baptize infants for different reasons. But this is typical of your style, Drake, to lump all those whom you disagree with into one big pile, and slap a label on them (Bostonian, Baptist, etc.).

    To be quite honest, at this point in my life, I’m not interested in what Rutherford said or didn’t say; I haven’t read much of him. I am interested in a rational discussion of the biblical covenants with people who don’t degenerate into arrogant assertion and assumptions about other people’s beliefs. Unfortunately, this is your MO. You are often correct, and can have some great insights due to the amount of material you have read. But this is overshadowed by your sheer belligerence and arrogance. One does not sense a humble, growing Christian when interacting with you; only the air of someone who has read lots of Rutherford & Nestorius, and who is far intellectually superior to the vast majority of Christians throughout history.

    This comment is not meant to incite you to respond about Rutherford, the covenants, credobaptism, etc. I love to talk about theology, with anyone, even those who vastly disagree with me. But not with people with attitudes like yours. It is a fruitless and wasteful endeavor. People who can’t even talk about these things in a respectful manner don’t incline me to pay much attention to them.

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  13. David,

    “You believe the Bible teaches that drinking blood and eating meat with blood in it is immoral.”
    >>Yes
    “You are also saying that sex with one’s wife during menstruation is wrong. I read the text of Acts 15, and I have wondered about this before. I read Calvin and he seems to think what you do about eating blood. He does not mention the part about a woman’s bleeding, but I know the Old Testament commands that. How do you connect the two commands?”

    >>This is an exerpt from my paper, “Tables of Human Hearts”

    The view most agreeable to scripture is that these four are singled out because they are finer points of the law that a new convert from Gentile Paganism would need to know. So the Apostles assume that the Gentiles know the broader teachings of the Law (As James clearly points out in verse 21 “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath”) but need fuller and more specific instruction in things more advanced that would be practical moral applications in the pagan Gentile world at the time.

    Concerning things contaminated by idols

    From Exo 34:15, Lev 17:1-7, Lev 7:28-36, 1 Cor 10:19-21, 25-28, and Rev 2:14, 20 it is morally sinful for anyone to eat meat knowingly sacrificed to an idol in both the Old and the New Covenant. The distinction Paul gives concerns one’s liberty when eating with other Gentiles and the meat may or may not have been sacrificed to an idol (You do not know and Paul forbids one to ask). Paul wants to avoid offenses as much as possible but if it is made known to you that it was sacrificed to an idol you are morally obliged to abstain.

    Concerning fornication

    Certainly the Gentiles knew of a moral prohibition to abstain from pre-marital sex but I think in keeping with the context, this broad prohibition would apply to the finer applications of it given in Leviticus 18: incest (vs.6-18), homosexuality (vs.22) and bestiality (vs. 23).

    Concerning things strangled

    The purpose of killing an animal by means of strangulation was to preserve the blood of the animal. The practice of partaking in the blood of an animal was condemned in the Law (Lev 17:10-14 and Gen 9:4).

    Concerning blood

    It would seem strange if he simply asserts the same prohibition as before in a sequence of four precepts. Yet there was another type of blood prohibition in the context of the other three prohibitions in the Law. Lev. 18:19, and 20:18 prohibit sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman. It is an article of hypocrisy when a Christian condemns a homosexual from Lev 18 and then goes home and has sex with his wife when she is on her period. Just a note: John Cotton would have violators of this law put to death in the New England Colonies.

    “Doesn’t most meat have blood in it today? Do you think the Bible teaches that we should have special Christian butchers like the Jews have?”

    Just cook your meat and you’re good. I don’t see why we need special butchers. I have a minor heart condition and I notice it gets aggravated when I eat red meat so I don’t eat red meat but if I did I would cook it mid well to well done. It is pagan to eat rare and mid rare steaks.

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  14. Patrick
    “If someone doesn’t agree with your Rutherfordian view, then you’re not brothers? Sounding a bit like Marc Carpenter if you ask me”

    Well I am sounding like Rutherford in Free Disputation. That is where I get my extreme views from and I understand these are radical positions but as Rutherford said, “I am an extreme man.” His extremities purchased more uniformity in Reformed doctrine than ever existed before in any Christian nation in the 17th, 18th and debatably 19th century scotland.

    “I wouldn’t encourage eating and drinking blood, but does that mean my steak has to be well done? Is it morally wrong to eat medium-rare steak?”

    If it has blood in it, yes. Mid well takes care of all the blood. I was a cook for 15 years and and my last job I was a sous chef. My assertion is based on experience, take that for granted there may be exceptions, just do your best to cook the blood out.

    I have read quite a bit of Owen and Gill but I cannot say that I have read Gill on the COG. I have read quite a bit of owen and I usually take Rutherford over Owen though Owen has some great stuff on the sabbath in Hebrews 4. After I deal with the Eastern Orthodox arg. on the neccessary and free agency in God and the purpose of evil I am going to focus soley on this issue of COG and COR. Give me 8 months or so on that. It seems to be an issue that I cannot ignore.

    I was under the impression that I stuck to the arguments of a debate and as a rule refused to make assertions and personal attacks. Calling someone a heretic or denying that someone is my brother is not arrogance or personal attack it is a devotion to truth and uniformity amongst Christians. I deny that biblical unity is brought about through doctrinal compromise. Show me when I have ignored a valid argument and resorted to personal attack. I posted on your webiste to talk about civil disobedience and you changed the subject to this. Like I said, if you don’t want me to post here I won’t but I thought your articles were interesting and I wouldn’t mind some exchange on them.

    I have done my best to make sure that all my writings and opinions are based off of historical reformed and ancient authors and I am not trying to teach anything new or novel. If I was i could understand the arrogance accusation but as it is, though i am full of sin, your accusation is simply an acknowledgment of my fallen humanity. I publicly admitted my error on the Christology thing (I have admitted other errors that have cost me quite more than simply self confidence: personal) and I simply do not know any arrogant heretics that do stuff like that.

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  15. It’s just that discussions with you tend to go along until someone believes they have clearly shown that you are wrong, while you continue to believe that they done no such thing. Sometimes you’re right, and sometimes you’re wrong, but it always gets nasty. If you’re not even willing to consider me as your brother in Christ, I don’t see much point in further discussion.

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