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The Enduring Relevance of Biblical Law

HISTORY, CONTINUITY, AND RELEVANCE In the ninth century AD, King Alfred the Great began to codify English law with the Ten Commandments. In 1540 AD, King Henry VIII established seven cities of refuge based upon the biblical model of Numbers 27:1-11. The Puritan settlers of New England self-consciously planned their commonwealth after the pattern of biblical law, as can be seen from the Order of General Court of Massachusetts 1636 and the General Lawes of Plymouth Colony 1658. [1] English canon law was so substantially drawn from biblical law that, in reference to biblical regulations regarding inheritance and English inheritance law, the 19th century jurist, Sir Frederick Pollock, said of Numbers 27:1-11 that it was "the earliest recorded case which is still of authority." [2] When the civil government of Israel was first established, God addressed the seventy elders of the people and poured out his Spirit upon them ─ the first 'Pentecost' was a civic event, at the o…
Recent posts

"Biblical" Arguments for Border Control: Debunked

The case is clear. The Bible does not permit the civil government to set up massively exorbitant and heavily armed bureaucracies to infringe upon the movement of non-criminals. Immigration is both inevitable and protected; biblically, political and economic liberty is granted to residents and foreigners alike. In the words of David Chilton, "biblical law assumes that a nation which is materially blessed will attract immigrants. There is no biblical justification ─ and hence no economic justification ─ for prohibiting immigration."  In my time debating immigration control with fellow Christians, I have grown altogether accustomed to the same substandard arguments over and over again. Of course, in addition to these five “biblical” reasons to oppose free immigration, there is also more abstract reasoning involving such things as common fear and xenophobia. However, out of the attempts to use Scripture to justify strict border control, these arguments have been, by far, the mo…

The Distinctiveness of Biblical Law in the Ancient Near East

Ultimately, the one thing which distinguishes Biblical laws from other laws is the fact that they are commanded by God, not by man. This transcendence is the only characteristic that ultimately matters when it comes to law. Laws made by mere men are, by definition, not transcendent.

However, you will find some people claiming that Biblical law is not transcendent. They will speculate that Old Testament civil laws were derived from pre-existing laws, which existed in the heathen cultures surrounding the Israelite nation. Fortunately, these claims are easy to disprove, simply by comparing the laws themselves. It should not surprise us that God's laws will have characteristics which make them stand out from pagan laws. Moses spoke on God's behalf:

6 "... this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who shall hear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' ... 8 What great nation is there, that…

'LGBT': Intelligible or Incoherent?

The argument I’m going to contend here isn’t a new one, but it’s important enough to be restated and recirculated.

I suspect, whether rightly or wrongly, that most of my readers are quite young ─ but I’m sure that some of my readers are just old enough to remember when the initialism was simply LGB. Indeed, even the 'LGBTQ Pride Month' (that we are all too familiar with today) was once called 'Gay and Lesbian Pride Month', back when it was first established by Bill Clinton in June 1999. From a Biblical and Christian perspective, the LGB movement was undoubtedly misguided but at least it was conceptually coherent. Even if you disagreed with LGB advocates, you certainly understood what exactly you were disagreeing with. It's not entirely clear when the T became a permanent addition (this Google Ngram suggests the mid-90s) but, whenever it was, that was the point the abbreviation became an unstable compound.

Here’s why. L, G, and B were originally understood in terms …

Our Mission

Contemporary Christianity is in crisis. It has reduced the content of its message to a bare minimum. It says, in effect, ‘Christianity is a lifestyle choice in the context of alternatives’. The Bible’s message however, whilst finding application at the individual level, calls for the transformation of the whole world and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

The kingdom of God is to be found wherever the authority of God and His word (the Bible) are acknowledged and embraced.  Our obligation to submit to God’s rule of law applies as much to academia, the family, commerce, civil authorities and international law agencies etc, as it does to the individual.  The fruit of sin is to be seen everywhere.  God’s purpose in redemption is to destroy sin’s power and dominion in every realm. Right now, God is working out His purposes to reverse Eden’s curse, to redeem humanity, and to restore fully ‘the crown rights of Jesus Christ’ over creation (Psalm 110). Christians are to be a governing class, exercis…