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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Dr. R. Scott Clark Endorses "Natural Law": Natural Law, the Two Kingdoms, and Homosexual Marriage | The Heidelblog




Has the moral law of God been revealed in creation?  That is the assertion of Dr. R. Scott Clark:

The moral law of God has been revealed in creation and re-stated, in the context of the national covenant with Israel.  Natural Law, the Two Kingdoms, and Homosexual Marriage | The Heidelblog
But where, pray tell, is this in Scripture or the Reformed confessions?   There is no such thing as natural revelation of God's moral law.  The moral law is a matter of special revelation given to Adam in spoken words, which words we only know about from the special revelation of God's written Scriptures.  The divine image and likeness has been rendered totally corrupt such that even if man originally had the moral law written in his heart, it would not render him capable of understanding it or obeying it.  Paul's argument in Romans 1-3 is that no one keeps the moral law.  The idea that the civic realm can reasonably understand that gay marriage is against God's moral law as revealed in nature and "creation" is unjustified.  It is Scripture alone that reveals homosexuality to be a violation of nature, original creation, and God's moral law.  And even here the reprobate mind is unable to believe it (Romans 8:7).

Saying that natural law is sufficient to convince men in the civil realm that homosexuality is sinful is preposterous at best (Romans 1:18-21).  Special revelation alone is sufficient to reveal God's moral law to mankind (Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7).


92. What did God at first reveal unto man as the rule of his obedience?
Answer: The rule of obedience revealed to Adam in the estate of innocence, and to all mankind in him, besides a special command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the moral law.1
See also: WCF 19.1 | WSC 40

1 Gen. 1:26,27; Rom. 2:14,15; Rom. 10:5; Gen. 2:17
93. What is the moral law?
Answer: The moral law is the declaration of the will of God to mankind, directing and binding every one to personal, perfect, and perpetual conformity and obedience thereunto, in the frame and disposition of the whole man, soul and body,1 and in performance of all those duties of holiness and righteousness which he oweth to God and man:2 promising life upon the fulfilling, and threatening death upon the breach of it.3

1 Deut. 5:1-3,31,33; Luke 10:26,27; Gal. 3:10; 1 Thess 5:23
2 Luke 1:75; Acts 24:16
3 Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10,12

Addendum:

Here is the crux of the issue. By insisting that God's knowledge is qualitatively different from that of man and that “his knowledge and our knowledge” do not “coincide at any single point,” the Complaint is advancing a theory of a two-fold truth; while Dr. Clark holds that the nature of truth is one, that if man knows any item of truth, both God and man know that same identical item, and that on this item God's knowledge and man's knowledge coincide. According to the Complaint man can never know even one item of truth God knows; man can know only an “analogical” truth, and this analogical truth is not the same truth that God knows, for the truth that God knows is “qualitatively” different, and God cannot reveal it to man because man is a creature. To repeat: the truth that God knows and the truth that man knows are never the same truth, for they do not “coincide at any single point.” God's knowledge therefore would be incomprehensible to man for the specific reason that God could not reveal any particular fact about it without destroying the “Creator-creature relationship.”  (The Answer:  On God's Incomprehensibility).
Cf.  Lee Irons on Natural Law 2K

17 comments:

Jack Miller said...

Charlie: But where, pray tell, is this in Scripture or the Reformed confessions?

As to confessions, just a few...

WCF 4:2 - "After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after his own image; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it: and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Beside this law written in their hearts, they received a command, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures."

WCF 10:4- 4. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess. And, to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested."

WCF 19: (see all), 1. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity...
2. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai...
3. Beside this law, commonly called moral...

5- "The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it."

WCF 21:7- "As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath."

Scripture teaches the moral knowledge or law of God in man as found in his conscience.

Romans 1:19- because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:

32 who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.

Rom. 2:14- (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves;

15 in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them)...

Charlie J. Ray said...

Where is "natural law" mentioned? I don't see it? Also, the only way we have of knowing the moral law was written in the minds of Adam and Eve is by special revelation in Scripture. There is no other way to know this.

Secondly, since the divine image and likeness has been totally corrupted, how does this translate into "trust the world and ungodly leaders to govern justly"?

Jack Miller said...

Charlie, if special revelation tells us that the moral law was written in the minds of Adam and Eve and their posterity, then the moral law is known to every man via creation, i.e. general revelation! God did it. Special revelation didn't do it. Special revelation just tells us that God did it and why he did it. Two things that man can't know from the knowledge of the moral law written on his heart.

Your point about the word "natural" says nothing more than the divines didn't use that word but rather used the word "moral" to describe the law written in every conscience. Are we now to ignore the teaching of a biblical concept simply because a certain word is or isn't used to label it?

Charlie J. Ray said...

So you disagree with the doctrine of total depravity/inability and the noetic effects of sin? Surely Paul meant that general revelation in creation is insufficient to convict men of their lostness OR to reform societies--as R.S. Scott suggests.


For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21 NKJ)
who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:25 NKJ)

Charlie J. Ray said...

Ironically, the 2K view leads to endorsing evil, as Lee Irons and Misty Irons show. They are not alone, apparently.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Romans 2:14 does not say that the Gentiles keep God's law consistently. They only show that they sometimes keep the law. But Paul concludes that ALL are under sin, Jew and Gentile alike:

For there is no partiality with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; (Romans 2:11-13 NKJ)
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. (Romans 3:9 NKJ)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 NKJ)

Charlie J. Ray said...

So saying that the moral law is part of the image and likeness in creation does NOT establish common grace as a means of keeping societies pure or moral. It only leaves them without excuse. Natural law is a papist doctrine. The natural reason of man is darkened by sin, according to Paul. Romans 1:18-25

Charlie J. Ray said...

Exalting general revelation above special revelation always results in liberalism.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Romans 2:15 is the only verse that remotely comes close to saying that the law of God is written in the minds of men. And the context there is that the Gentiles sometimes obey God's moral law better than the Jews. But both are under sin. Romans 3:9-23

Charlie J. Ray said...

Also, the command to not eat of the tree in the garden was special revelation, not written in the heart. The fact that man is made in God's moral and rational image (Genesis 1:26-27; John 1:1-3) does not negate the doctrine of total depravity (Genesis 6:5; Romans 1:18-21; 3:20, 23; 5:12-21; 8:7).

Charlie J. Ray said...

Are we to read into Scripture laws that aren't there? "Don't preach against government officials or nations." It might cause you to lose your tax exempt status or bring persecution on your church. If the government forbids preaching against homosexuality will you obey the government or God?

Jack Miller said...

Charlie wrote: "So you disagree with the doctrine of total depravity/inability and the noetic effects of sin? Surely Paul meant that general revelation in creation is insufficient to convict men of their lostness OR to reform societies--as R.S. Scott suggests."

Of course not! And nothing I wrote said that. In fact I affirm the opposite. The purpose of general revelation is not to convict of sin. That is the work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of law and gospel. General revelation gives every man the knowledge of right and wrong. Yes, it gets clouded by sin. Yet, as Paul says it leaves man with no excuse when he sins because he must actively go against the moral law in his conscience.

Rather than debate with good will you seem wont to assail those who disagree with you. Everything you ask or assert in your many comments above is either a false assertion or a question based on faulty assumptions. You might want to step back and do some self-assessment and a little more homework.

You have again made my point that too often you argue by casting aspersions and false positions upon those with whom you disagree. Which either shows that you don't understand my position (or Clark's) which flows from not understanding 2K, or you simply want to make any disagreement with you into a proof of the other's moral confusion.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The prooftexts for Question 93 do not mention natural law yet the moral law is binding on all mankind. The prooftexts are all referring to the revealed law, not a law derived from human reason.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Jack, here in the south being plain spoken is taken as a sign of honesty and being duplicitous and waffling and indirect is seen as a sign of deception. If these men were honest they wouldn't be riding the fence and giving answers that are ambigous.

Jack Miller said...

Like I said before, not understanding your opponents argument you deride their character and cast aspersions. Shameless...

Charlie J. Ray said...

Trying to "shame" someone is not a logical argument. It's ad hominem. Unless your ad hominem refutes the contention that the term "natural law" is a complete misuse of the Westminster Confession then you haven't said anything meaningful.

Even if the moral law could be revealed in general revelation, it would not cause societies to reform themselves since godless societies are composed of corrupt individuals.

Charlie J. Ray said...

>>>The purpose of general revelation is not to convict of sin.<<<< Agreed. So we're supposed to shut up and let society go to hell because the church has no business preaching the moral law, as it is revealed in Scripture, in the public arena. Gotcha.

Funny, but Jesus was crucified because he refused to obey the governing authorities in the Sanhedrin and in the Roman government.

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