Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Warning to Biblical Conservatives

Same pattern, different age, different concepts, same problem.

I was introduced three decades ago to a belief system the reformers held, that has been coming back to the forefront as injustice shows itself in the world, the belief that God gave us his law to define justice and love, and that whatever laws weren't abrogated are still in effect. It's a belief that God as the creator knows exactly what is best, and the revelation of his law revealed that to us.

The last few years I've seen a disturbing trend that is reminiscent of what Calvin and the reformers had to face in their day during the reformation. Not only did they have to combat the extremes of the Catholic Church of that day, but on the other side they had to fight the Anabaptists (not the same as Baptists today). Painting with a broad brush, the Anabaptists were those who took the beliefs of the reformers to an extreme, making an even farther move from any Catholic doctrine.

This is actually a common pattern in the world: where one belief system grows strong, then is taken to an extreme end; there is then a reform to bring it back to the biblical standard, and then there are those who take the reform and keep moving to a third point that can be just as unbiblical as the first was getting, but in a different direction.

So with the issue today, we have had a church influenced by rationalism and evolutionary thinking deciding that law is what anyone makes of it, with no true standard; then men like Bahnsen and Rushdoony brought common sense back with call to the Biblical standard; and now what I've seen is the rise of Christian libertarianism, an extreme point-of-view that says very few laws matter, only those that they can link to property rights in some way. The ultimate end of this is close to anarchy, minimizes justice, and is certainly not what we've been given in the Bible, but with the "individualism" that comes forth in American culture, it seems to be growing in popularity.

The most current outspoken proponent of this I've seen is Joel McDurmon of American Vision. He has just written a new book, The Bounds of Love: An Introduction to God's Law of Liberty. It just came out and I've ordered a copy to read, but you can read his description of the book at the link posted and see some of his point of view. Please note, that I agree with a lot of what Mr McDurmon has written over time with regards to Biblical law and the state, but I have seen in the past where he has seemingly abandoned the clear words of the text to postulate a more libertarian point-of-view.

I'm not writing this to review the book, or even go in depth on the theology involved, in fact, I was just planning this article two weeks ago, when a friend I consider to be conservative was trying to make a biblical case for legalized drugs. I've also seen some go so extremely far as to propose legalized prostitution. Really, once you go down the trail that the libertarian belief takes you, then the sky's the limit. Please consider this warning and study these issues, as we know from the Anabaptists, while some good came out of that movement, it also created a lot of the church problems that we see in our present day.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lance,

Thank you for the article and I had the same concern when I read Mcdurmon's article. However, you do say something I would like clarification on. In the OT Law, were there civil sanctions against drug use or drunkenness? I'm not aware of any, but I may have just missed it.

Anyway, on that point I tend to agree with the Libertarians. Not because they're libertarians, mind you, but just because Biblical Law doesn't seem to allow for civil sanctions for substance abuse.

Thoughts? Did I misread you?

Thanks. In peace

4:04 PM  
Blogger Lance Roberts said...

Isaac, Way to much to go into here, but here's a short bit. Drunkenness is a sin, which is also one of the reasons that mind-altering drugs are a sin, since they immediately lead to drunkenness, i.e. there is no moderation for them like alcohol, but you're right that I at least don't know of a sanction for drunkenness.

While there are other reasons that mind-altering drugs are a sin, the crimes (therefore sanctions) would be in the category of 1) idol-worship and 2) witchcraft. Gotta run now, will try to post better specifics tomorrow.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Lance Roberts said...


ref 1) Those who are choosing to do mind-altering drugs are seeking to escape the reality God created. They are attempting to alter creation to one of their own choosing, or something different that what God has put in place. They are worshipping another God and are rebelling against the true God.

ref 2) witchcraft, "5331 pharmakeía (from pharmakeuō, "administer drugs") – properly, drug-related sorcery, like the practice of magical-arts, etc. (A. T. Robertson)". When the Bible is talking about sorcery and witchcraft, it is related to drug use. It's actually pretty much idolatry, so 1)

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, thanks for the response.

But to your point, though, since God didn't require civil sanctions for the sin of drunkenness, even though it essentially has the same effect as drug use (and arguably the same connection to idolatry, witchcraft, etc. as drug use) should we conclude that drug use is worth of civil sanctions when drunkenness isn't?

I understand the connection between drug use, idolatry, witchcraft. But it seems to me that its more of an indirect connection (i.e. druggies aren't always explicitly practicing witchcraft). In fact, you could make the case that all sin is idolatry and (in a sense) witchcraft. Etymology (or word parsing) shouldn't drive our exegesis, although it can be helpful from time to time.

Grace & Peace,

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree with Lance's positions on drunkenness and drug use being sinful and the relationship drug use had / has to witchcraft. I would like to add a warning that God has left us about the seriousness of both...

Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

3:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home