Rushdoony in Reformed Silver and above?!

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Aug 26 2016 8:08 AM

What in the world is Rousas Rushdoony doing in these early Reformed base packages? I must say I was shocked to see him in there.

I'm looking at his "Commentaries on the Pentateuch" that are included in every Reformed base package from Silver on up. He and his followers may consider themselves in the Reformed tradition, but most others in it do not. I certainly don't. I grew up in the Reformed tradition and all those in it that I know (Reformed and Presbyterian) consider him and his theological and political ideas and his followers a fringe movement (at best) of the Reformed stream.

IMHO, he should not be included in such early and "basic" base packages. Perhaps Platinum and beyond, for those who wish to study such quasi-Reformed theology, though if I were curating the selections, he'd not be included at all. Those who wish to study his ideas could purchase his works separately. 

Or maybe I have a faulty understanding of what the Reformed Base Package is supposed to be.

(It's true that he may have been there before L7. I don't know. I didn't look that closely before this time.)

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 26 2016 8:46 AM

Theonomy has always been a question to consider in reformed theology, you may not agree with him but if anything he is more purely "reformed" than you are, of course that does not make him correct.

I do not agree with him but he is certainly reformed, why on earth is he not?

  

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 26 2016 9:48 AM

Mike Pettit:
I do not agree with him but he is certainly reformed, why on earth is he not?

For one, theonomists like Rushdoony, do not hold at all to the classic Reformed understanding (since Calvin) of the purpose and place of the Mosaic law. They see the entire Mosaic law as applicable to believers and to society today. This is not at all a Reformed view of the purpose of the law.

He is not more purely Reformed than I am, and I have no idea why or how you could make such a judgment. I'd give my "Pauline pedigree" (Phil.3:4-5) for my Reformedness, but I'm not here to debate whether I am one, but whether Rushdoony is.

However, being steeped in this tradition from birth to present, I can say with confidence that Rushdoony, theonomists and reconstructionists are not considered to hold Calvinistic positions by those who don't agree with him/them. The movement may have arisen out of Reformed philosophy & theology, but they hold specifically non-Reformed views.

Alan Cairns (a Presbyterian) summarizes the disparity between a Reformed theology of the law and Rushdoony's this way (I'm pulling out a few select quotes):

The [Westminster] Confession lays down the usual Reformed construction that classifies the law in three categories: moral, ceremonial, and judicial, or civil. According to this classification, the moral law is of abiding force and can in no way be abrogated or altered. The ceremonial law found its fulfilment in Christ and the gospel and is therefore abrogated, though it is of great value in shedding light on the full biblical significance of the NT realities it prefigures. The civil law governed the theocratic state of Israel and expired with that state. It places no obligation on any other state “further than the general equity thereof may require.”

In the traditional Reformed view, Israel’s civil law was part of the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles that Paul said was removed by Christ. Christian Reconstructionists, espousing the theory of theonomy, have argued strenuously against this position.

This reference to general equity is important, for by it the [Westminster] Confession means to set up the moral law as the determining standard by which we are to judge which elements of the civil laws are permanent and which are temporary. Reconstructionists reject this approach, claiming that Israel’s civil law was given as a divine interpretation of the summary statements of the decalogue. Thus they reverse the hermeneutical principle of the Confession: instead of the moral law being the defining principle and determining standard by which we judge the civil law, the civil law is the standard by which we understand the moral law.

This distinction [of civil and moral law] has far-reaching effects. Reconstructionists hold that not only are Israel’s ancient civil laws still binding in nations today, but so are the penalties enacted by Moses. Greg Bahnsen wrote, “All theonomists affirm (while all non-theonomists deny) that we should presume that Old Testament criminal and penal commands for Israel as a nation … are a standard for all nations of the earth” (No Other Standard, pp. 27–28, fn. 18). It was because Calvin rejected this very idea that Rushdoony labelled his views “heretical nonsense” (op. cit., p. 9). Calvin did not have much regard for the the theory now espoused by Reconstructionists, calling such insistence on all national governments conforming to the Mosaic civil code “dangerous and seditious,” and “false and foolish” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4:20.14).

Alan Cairns, Dictionary of Theological Terms (Belfast; Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International, 2002), pp. 254, 255.

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 26 2016 10:02 AM

We'll all I can really say within the confines of this forum is that I consider him an integral part of the reformed tradition and so do many others. The very questions re raises are crucial to the tradition and cannot be dismissed lightly.

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Aug 26 2016 10:31 AM

Mike Pettit:
We'll all I can really say within the confines of this forum is that I consider him an integral part of the reformed tradition and so do many others.

If you are not a theonomist, reconstructionist or follower of Rushdoony, and you also consider yourself Reformed, you're the first person I know that would say so.

Mike Pettit:
The very questions re raises are crucial to the tradition and cannot be dismissed lightly.

I do not dismiss his questions at all. I, and those in the Reformed stream (excluding his followers), do reject his conclusions (for the reasons that Cairns summarizes above). That is the basis for my objection to his inclusion in such an early Reformed base package. At best, his views, particularly on the contemporary use of civil law are quite heterodox (I think that's being gracious!), and far from mainstream Reformed theology. Those early base packages should focus on mainstream Reformed theology and those that most clearly represent it (IMHO).

[I think I've made my point. I'll try leave this here.]

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Tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 13 2016 6:24 PM

Rich DeRuiter:
[I think I've made my point. I'll try leave this here.]

Like the saying goes, you can run but you cant hid Smile  

Did you honestly think you could tose a Molotov cocktail, and then leave?  Confused

"Mike Pettit" is not the only one on the forum who is glad that Rush is included in the silver package, Rush, and  Van Til are what caused me to upgrade to Silver.  Yes  (Ladd and Bloesch also suckered me into buying Silver)

Rick, it appears that you have more of a problem with the Westminster Standards (included in the Starter) then with Rush. Big Smile 

https://www.logos.com/product/39475/the-westminster-confession-of-faith-larger-and-shorter-catechisms-and-subordinate-standards 

Why not try to have them removed also? Hmm   

After all they present the same "three types of law" presented and defended in "By This Standard -The Authority of Gods Law Today"?

https://www.logos.com/product/28542/by-this-standard-the-authority-of-gods-law-today 

PS: Thanks for giving me the chance to promote one of my favorite books Wink

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 13 2016 6:42 PM

I have no stake in this as I have no Reformed package, but I think of all the base packages except SDA as being "broadly tradition x" rather than "uniformly mainstream tradition x"

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 15 2016 5:30 PM

Tom:

Rick, it appears that you have more of a problem with the Westminster Standards (included in the Starter) then with Rush...

Why not try to have them removed also?

I'm not going to take this bait.

It's obvious that you don't know me, nor my understanding and commitment to Reformed confessions and theology.

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 15 2016 5:34 PM

MJ. Smith:

I have no stake in this as I have no Reformed package, but I think of all the base packages except SDA as being "broadly tradition x" rather than "uniformly mainstream tradition x"

I understand your point. Perhaps Rushdoony does belong in such a broadly based package called "Reformed." In my judgment he does not (which was my point). But I'm not in charge of this hen house, so I don't get to define how broadly the Reformed theological stream gets to be defined.

But I have nothing further to add to this discussion. I'll say no more.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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