It is truly amazing when a so-called Scripturalist becomes a libertarian and then says something that is just so far beyond the pale that it approaches the level of Donald Trump's ludicrous remarks. The late Dr. Gordon H. Clark was a Puritan who upheld the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) as the basis for civil and criminal law in our nation. But we have Sean Gerety over at the God's Hammer blog completely rejecting the Decalogue as the basis for laws passed by the civil magistrate and replacing it with economic policy instead. This is really nothing more than blatant liberalism and secular humanism.
Many people think the worst and most pressing sin confronting our nation today is abortion. After all, well over 54 million babies have been slaughtered since abortion on demand was first declared the “the law of the land” by the Supreme Court in 1973. Today we see videos of the butchers at Planned Parenthood wining and dining while discussing the price of fetal body parts to be sold for medical research that would have made the Nazis proud. As grizzly and inhuman as wholesale legalized abortion is, the fact that abortion is legal doesn’t mean that a single baby must die. A moral God fearing people would simply refuse to murder their own children. Besides, the government isn’t lining up pregnant women forcing them to undergo abortions at gun point … at least not yet.
God's Hammer: The Sins of Nations
Following this logic, criminal laws are unnecessary and should be done away with and so should jails and prisons. After all, "a moral God fearing people would simply refuse...." to do anything wrong. But how do we know what is right and wrong in the first place? The only way to know right from wrong is from the revealed moral commands in the Bible. (Romans 3:20; 7:7). This is what both Dr. Gordon H. Clark said and what Dr. John Robbins said. Gerety claims to be a Scripturalist and he claims to follow the theology and apologetics of John Robbins. But even John Robbins would be appalled at Gerety's blatant disregard for the Ten Commandments and his disregard for Scripture:
Clark's ethical philosophy is also derived from the axiom of revelation. The distinction between right and wrong depends entirely upon the commands of God. There is no natural law that makes some actions right and others wrong. In the words of the Shorter Catechism, sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God. Were there no law of God, there would be no right or wrong.
This may be seen very clearly in God's command to Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Only the command of God made eating the fruit sin. It may also be seen in God's command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. God's command alone made the sacrifice right, and Abraham hastened to obey. Strange as it may sound to modern ears used to hearing so much about the right to life, or the right to decent housing, or the right to choose, the Bible says that natural rights and wrongs do not exist: Only God's commands make some things right and other things wrong.
John Robbins, "An Introduction to Dr. Gordon H. Clark," Trinity Review, July/August, 1993.
Further, it should be noted that the Decalogue or Ten Commandments is ordered in descending order of importance with the first four commandments, addressing what God commands in regards to Himself, taking priority over the second table of commandments, what God orders in regards to human relationships. Although the fifth commandment is to honor one's parents and is more important than even the command not to murder, the command not to murder, commandment number six, is still a higher priority of importance than the command not to covet. This is so simple that even a very young child can understand it.
The Westminster Confession of Faith clearly says that the obligation of the civil magistrates or civil authorities of nations is to uphold the moral law of God. The only way to know this moral law is from the revealed commands in Holy Scripture:
CHAPTER XXIII—Of the Civil Magistrate
1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers. (Rom. 13:1–4, 1 Pet. 2:13–14)
2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto: (Prov. 8:15–16, Rom. 13:1–2, 4) in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth; (Ps. 2:10–12, 1 Tim. 2:2, Ps. 82:3–4, 2 Sam. 23:3, 1 Pet. 2:13) so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the new testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion. (Luke 3:14, Rom. 13:4, Matt. 8:9–10, Acts 10:1–2, Rev. 17:14, 16)
The Westminster Confession of Faith (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).
It's not clear to me how Gerety decides what morals the government should be enforcing since according to his libertarian axiom, the Bible cannot be the basis for civil or criminal laws. The only axiom of libertarianism is do not hurt anyone. But isn't the murder of the unborn hurting babies and even the mother who murders the child? The government selectively decides to enforce laws against stealing and certain instances of murder. But the murder of the unborn is apparently not a violation of man's relative laws that change from one century to the next, one decade to the next, and one year to the next. Maybe next year the government will decide that the execution of Evangelical Christians is a public good?
As for the government not forcing women to have abortions at gun point, Gerety's logic is again faulty. That's because the government is forcing babies to die. The unborn child is cruelly and maliciously murdered by government approved sanctions. But the Declaration of Independence says that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, Thomas Jefferson deduced these rights from the Bible. And Jefferson rightly said that the self-evident axiom for a just government is that all men are "created equal". Following the logic of Jefferson's argument, it would be just for a people to reject the authority of the government in regards to the abortion issue because it denies the rights of unborn children to live:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it; and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.The Declaration of Independence
And for those who who try to say that Jefferson was a forerunner of atheism, Jefferson clearly says that it is "nature's God" that entitles them to these rights. (Romans 1:18-21). Of course, natural revelation alone cannot lead to truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Matthew 4:4; Isaiah 8:20; Isaiah 55:11; Jeremiah 23:29). The rocks cannot tell us what is right and wrong. But it is very apparent that Jefferson deduces more from Scripture than from nature.
Sean Gerety unwittingly places the rights of women above the unalienable rights of a child to live, have liberty, and to grow up to pursue happiness. No one has any right to break God's law. Governments and nations that break God's moral laws will suffer God's wrath at some point in the future. His argument is therefore no better than the arguments of liberals.
It is increasingly apparent that Evangelical Christians are more content to argue for their own comforts than to stand for what is right and true. The reason the whole nation opposes an Evangelical Christian like Ted Cruz for the office of President of the United States is that everyone wants to decide for himself or herself what is right and wrong instead of believing that God alone has the authority to decide what is right and wrong (Deuteronomy 12:8). Without the Scriptures right and wrong do not exist. Instead what we have is arbitrary laws that men change from one minute to the next. Donald Trump contradicts himself from one minute to the next and so do the reporters in the media. But God's written Word never changes. (Psalm 119:89). God's moral law is as unchanging as God Himself because God is eternally immutable. He is from everlasting to everlasting the same God who never changes His eternal plans or purposes (Psalm 90:1-6; James 1:17; Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19).
God can and does punish nations for their gross immorality. There really is no reason for God to spare the United States of America. He can wipe our nation out at any moment and there would be nothing we could do about it. Having a strong military cannot protect a nation from God's wrath. (Isaiah 31:1).
Psalm 59:5 (NKJV)
5 You therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, Awake to punish all the nations; Do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah
Amos 3:6 (NKJV)
6 If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?
Of course, some who profess to be Christians and Scripturalists are more than willing to sacrifice unborn children in exchange for the creature comforts they will gain from having a robust economy, limited government, and libertarian licentiousness. I would say that these people are not Christians or Scripturalists at all.
Ezekiel 33:6–9 (NKJV)
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’ 7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
As Christians we are to warn the nation of God's coming judgment. We cannot stand by and say nothing when millions of unborn children are murdered. (2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 32:35). And further, it our responsibility as Christians to stand against ungodly laws that take the lives of children who have no voice. Sean Gerety ought to be ashamed to place women's right to murder their child above the right of the child to live. God does not take this sort of thing lightly in my opinion.
And finally, has Gerety forgotten the doctrine of total depravity? (Romans 3:10-23). Only God can raise the spiritually dead. (Ephesians 2:1-5). The fact is God is sovereign and He has not ordained that entire nations will repent and believe. In a civil society the criminal laws are to be based on the general equity of the Ten Commandments so that evil can be restrained by the sword of the civil authorities. (Romans 13:1-5). It is wishful thinking and even Pelagianism to think that people will just decide to become Christians and stop killing their babies. It is our responsibility as Christians to stand against evil and to pass laws that preserve a Judeo-Christian value system in our nation.