Verse of the Day

Friday, April 13, 2012

Monumental Theonomic Revisionism


Monumental Theonomic Revisionism

I have serious issues with Kirk Cameron's movie, Monumental (Fathom Events, 2012)[1].  However, before spelling out the issues that I have with this movie "event" by way of questions that it raises, certain definitions need to be understand.

Definitions:

1.  Historical Revisionism -

"In historiography, historical revisionism is the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event."[2]

2.  Theonomy -

"Since the mid-1970s, the term Theonomy has been most often used in Protestant circles to specifically label the ethical perspective of Christian Reconstructionism, a perspective that claims to be a faithful revival of the historic Protestant view of the Old Testament law as espoused by many European Reformers and Puritans. Some in the modern Reformed churches are critical of this understanding, while other Calvinists affirm Theonomy."[3]

3.  Dominion Theology -

"Dominion Theology is a grouping of theological systems with the common belief that society should be governed exclusively by the law of God as codified in the Bible, to the exclusion of secular law. The two main streams of Dominion Theology are Christian Reconstructionism and Kingdom Now Theology. Though these two differ greatly in their general theological orientation (the first is strongly Reformed and Neo-Calvinistic, the second is Charismatic), they share a postmillennial vision in which the Kingdom of God will be established on Earth through political and (in some cases) even military means."[4]

4.  Christian Reconstructionism -

"Christian Reconstructionism is a religious and theological movement within Evangelical Christianity that calls for Christians to put their faith into action in all areas of life, within the private sphere of life and the public and political sphere as well. The primary beliefs characteristic of Christian Reconstructionism include:

Calvinist Protestantism (particularly Neo-Calvinism), for its description of individual spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit that is required to change people on a personal level before any positive cultural changes can occur,

Theonomy: applying the general principles of Old Testament Law and New Testament Law to the corresponding family, church and civil governments (compare with theocracy); while in favor of separation of church and state at the national level, theonomists believe the state is under God and is therefore commanded to enforce God's Law.

Postmillennialism, the Christian eschatological belief that God's kingdom began at the first coming of Jesus Christ, and will advance progressively throughout history until it fills the whole earth through conversion to the Christian faith and worldview,

The presuppositional apologetics of Cornelius Van Til which holds there is no neutral philosophical ground between the regenerate elect person and the unregenerate person, that the Bible reveals a self-authenticating worldview and system of truth, and that non-Christian, non-Reformed belief systems self-destruct when they become more consistent with their fundamentally trinitarian Christian presuppositions (or the presuppositionalism of Van Til's fiercest critic Gordon Clark), and Decentralized political order resulting in laissez-faire capitalism and minimal state power, but only with respect to economics."[5]

Issues:

An old commercial jingle went:  "You wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!"[6]  After viewing Kirk Cameron's movie I have no doubt that a similar "jingle" is called for in response to:

1) its selective reading of history,
2) its subtle and not so subtle proselytizing for Dominion Theology,
3) its revisionist propagandizing concerning the founding of the American nation and the character of its Founders,
4) and its implicit call for a "Christian Sharia" based on Old Covenant Law. 

Now for the jingle: "You wonder where the truth about the founding of America went when you fill your mind with Monument!"

In my opinion, at least the following twelve questions need to be asked and answered for an objective assessment of this movie to take place.

1.  Where did the other 12 Colonies disappear to in the propaganda of Monumental?  If you are left wondering why I mention the five colonies below, then you need to study their character from their "nonrevisionist" history.  If you do that, then you may understand why they were left out in Dominion Theology's revisionist approach to the founding of America!

For example:
  • Rhode Island?
  • Pennsylvania?
  • Maryland?
  • Virginia?
  • Georgia?

2.  Where did the non-Puritans disappear to in the propaganda of Monumental?  As you may suspect, there are connections in these questions to the colonies in the questions above.  However, there is more here than meets the eye.  When the smoke and mirrors of Dominion Theology's revisions are cleared away, how non-Puritans were treated in the Massachusetts Bay Colony needs to be taken out, dusted off, and shown the light of day!

For example:
  • Where did the Baptists go?
  • Where did the Quakers go?
  • Where did the Roman Catholics go?
  • Where did the Anglicans go?
  • Where did the prisoners go?
  • Oh, and by the way, where did the Jews go? 

3.  What is Glen Beck doing there?  How would this Mormon have fared in the Plymouth Plantation or the Massachusetts Bay Colony?

4.  What is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s daughter doing there?  Is King's Gandhiism part of the heritage to be found in the Plymouth Plantation?

5.  Why is the issue of the "Great Compromise" legalizing slavery swept under the carpet?

6.  Why are the deism, the anti-Biblical teachings, and the profligate behavior of many of the Founders swept off the table?

7.  Is the notion presented here of "America the Christian Nation" any safer for those who disagree with the theonomy of these revisionists for independents, dissidents, and "free churches" than it was for them in the Plymouth Plantation and the Massachusetts Bay Colony?  Were they not guilty of precisely the same intolerance and persecution as was done to them in "jolly old" England (and in some cases, worse)?  How is their "New" England, any better for independents, dissidents and free churches than it was for them in "Old" England?

8.  Throughout the movie Kirk Cameron pounds nails into the map and then wraps wires around these nails connecting them.  Why are the dots connected in a straght line progression for the Puritan Separatists as if that is the "be all and end all" for the foundation of America?

9.  D. James Kennedy, the great popularizer of Theonomic Reconstructionism, is dead.  Are we looking at his heir apparent in Kirk Cameron?  Is he the new "Golden Boy" for the Theonomic Reconstructionists, the Dominion Theologians, and their brand of historical revisionism?

10.  On what basis can attempts to impose the Sharia of radical Muslims based on the Koran be opposed, while at the same time insisting on the "Christian Sharia" of these Theonomists?

11.  Were the Ten Commandments focused on in Monumental with the subtle suggestion that they should be made the "law of the land"?  Did this include the Fourth Commandment?  And, what, pray tell, would be the fate of non-Sabbatarians and Sabbath breakers under such a system?

12.  Can anyone buy into Kirk Cameron's and David Barton's[7] vision of "Christian American" without embracing a "Galatian America" that implicitly denies the Gospel of the New Covenant while explicitly bringing Old Covenant Law in the back door?

John T. Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA

Monumental Theonomic Revisionism
by John T. Jeffery

Copyright 2012 by John T. Jeffery.
All rights reserved.
The use of excerpts or reproduction of this material is prohibited
without written permission from the author.

Contact the author at:

722 South Main Ave.
Scranton, PA 18504
Home phone:  (570) 342-5787





[1] "MONUMENTAL: In Search of America’s National Treasure LIVE", on Fathom Events at http://www.fathomevents.com/originals/event/monumental.aspx?utm_source=MonumentalMovie&utm_medium=WebSite&utm_campaign=Monumental [accessed 28 MAR 2012].
[2] "Historical Revisionism", on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_revisionism [accessed 28 MAR 2012]. 
[3] "Theonomy" on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theonomy [accessed 28 MAR 2012].  See also Theonomy: A Reformed Critique, eds. William S. Barker and W. Robert Godfrey (Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1990), pp. 9-10, 13.
[4] "Dominion Theology", on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_Theology [accessed 28 MAR 2012].
[5] "Christian Reconstructionism", on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Reconstructionism [accessed 28 MAR 2012].
[6] Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepsodent [accessed 21 APR 2010].  Video at Ad Classix at http://adclassix.com/classictvcommercials/1948pepsodenttoothpaste.htm [accessed 21 APR 2010].
[7] "Child star turned fundamentalist Christian activist Kirk Cameron's pseudo-documentary Monumental is coming to over 500 theaters across the country on March 27, and from the clips available online, it's clear that Cameron's movie promises to be packed with the same Christian nationalist historical revisionism that David Barton is so well known for. In fact, Barton himself appears in Cameron's film. One of the clips available online shows Cameron visiting Barton's personal museum in Texas, and hearing a few of Barton's lies about the early Congress and Thomas Jefferson printing Bibles to spread the word of God to all American families."
Source:  Chris Rodda, "Monumental" Lies - Kirk Cameron Visits David Barton" (22 MAR 2012), Talk To Action at http://www.talk2action.org/story/2012/3/22/134734/092 [accessed 28 MAR 2012].
Note:  Further research on who David Barton is and what he really believes is encouraged, and is enlightening!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

N. T. Wright on the Literal Understanding of the Genesis Creation Narrative


A Critique of The Biologos Forum interview of N. T. Wright by Peter Enns, 
"What Do You Mean by ‘Literal’?" (September 8, 2010).[1]

Anyone who has read or listened to N. T. Wright soon develops an appreciation for his skill in communication, and for the high level of scholarship that he is capable of.  That, along with his extensive sphere of influence, makes what he does with the issues on the table here of critical importance.

N. T. Wright is very good on the difference between literal and metaphorical, and will find broad agreement with where he goes with the question right "out of the gate".  Notice, however, that he does not give a straightforward answer to the question.  Crediting him with the assumption that he  knows very well what the issue is, the immediate impression is that he answers like a "slippery" scholar!  It certainly seems that he does not want to be pinned down, knowing full well the implications of a clear answer in either direction!

He asserts at the outset that the difference between literal and metaphorical is not the issue.  By doing so he lays his foundation before proceeding  to the implications of the question for the Genesis account.  He gives what appears to be a very clear and straightforward answer to the exact same question when it comes to the Crucifixion.  The very fact that he is unwilling to do so, or at least that he fails to do so, when it comes to the Creation account should be seen as  significant. 

In the process of this initial development of the difference between literal and metaphorical he makes an issue about the nature of parabolic literature:

"The point is this is a cheerfully fictitious story, but often the real meaning remains concrete.  If they do not hear Moses and the prophets..."[2]

What is his point in doing so?  He is going somewhere with this!

"So it is a much more interesting and complicated question than your culture or mine has ever allowed us to get into by this literal/non-literal split.  When you get back to Genesis with all of that I really want to know what did the writer of Genesis, or the people who wrote the bits and pieces that came together as Genesis, what did they intend to do by this story?"

It begins to be clear at this point that Wright's concern is not with the words that God inspired, but with authorial intent.

Listen very carefully to the framework he casts the Creation account into, to how he speaks about it.  Wright makes it clear that in his understanding this is all about the meta-narrative!  The words, the explicit words of the Scriptural narrative, are made secondary to a meta-narrative that gives every appearance of being either preconceived, or brought to the passage from subsequent exegetical conclusions.  The construction of a Temple (G. K. Beale?!?!) to be inhabited by God is the primary thing. 

            "It's a Temple story..."

This is the important issue.  The rest of it, the "structure" is secondary.  The "formal structure" is the words of the narrative itself.

"And suddenly Genesis 1 instead of it being were there six days or were there five or were there seven or were there 24 hours, it's actually about God making heavens and the earth as the place where He wants to dwell, and putting humans into that construct as a way of both reflecting His own love into the world, and drawing out the praise and glory from the world back to Himself."

Wright's final sentence is telling:

"And that's the literal meaning of Genesis, and the question of the formal structure has to fit around that as best it can."

At the end of the day, our understanding of "literal", and the way Wright uses it in his conclusion appear to be saying diametrically opposite things.  Once this is understood the issue is, on one level, semantic.  However, on another level, we are back to the age old problem of the "high-jacking" of theological and exegetical terms via redefinition and obfuscation.  These terms then must be qualified to distinguish the Biblical truth from error.  This is precisely why we must now speak of believing not just that the Bible is the Word of God, but that it is the verbally, plenarily, inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God written. 

Wright bemoans what he refers to as our cultures' "literal/non-literal split", and then takes the word "literal" and embraces the meta-narrative with it.  He did not hesitate to separate the Crucifixion from the Parables by employing literal and metaphorical respectively.  When he gets to the Creation account, however, he not only avoids referring to the account itself as metaphorical, i.e., as a figure of speech (non-literal), but actually shunts the narrative itself aside so that he can use the word "literal" to describe the authorial intent, i.e., the meta-narrative.  Wright's "literal" is not "literally" literal at all, rather the metaphorical of the Gospels is now the literal, and the literal of the Gospel accounts, as he expressed it, is either not to be found in Genesis, or at best, is not the "real meaning" or "concrete" meaning (Wright's words).  His purpose in stressing the need to understand the metaphorical nature of the parabolic literature now becomes clear.  The metaphor found in the words of Scripture is not the "real meaning", nor is it literal, or "concrete".  The literal meaning, the real meaning must be found elsewhere, and this elsewhere is sufficiently divorced from the figure of speech that it only provides a "formal structure" that must fit the "real meaning" as best it can.

At stake here is the issue of our age now subtly being attacked and undermined once again - the issue of Bibliology, the doctrine of the inscripturated Word of God including the hermeneutics utilized in understanding Scripture.  The conflicting views of propositional versus potential revelation, verbal as opposed to conceptual inspiration, and literal versus allegorical interpretation are once again on the table (as if they ever left), and the ivory tower of Anglican academia and American pseudo-science will not let it rest.

On the Biologos Institute and the Creation account in Genesis see also the following:

John MacArthur with Phil Johnson, Evangelicals, Evolution, and the Biologos Disaster, GTY136, on Grace to You at http://www.gty.org/products/audio-lessons/GTY136 [accessed 5 APR 2012].  MP3 available on Grace to You at http://webmedia.gty.org/sermons/High/GTY136.mp3 [accessed 5 APR 2012].  Transcript not available as of 5 APR 2012.

Albert Mohler, "No Pass from Theological Responsibility - The BioLogos Conundrum" (Nov. 9, 2010), on AlbertMohler.com http:/www.albertmohler.com/2010/11/09/no-pass-from-theological-responsibility-the-biologos-conundrum/ [accessed 5 APR 2012].

D. A. Carson, "Three More Books on the Bible: A Critical Review", Trinity Journal 27:1 (Spring 2006), pp. 1-62; reprinted in D. A. Carson, Collected Writings on Scripture, compiled by Andrew David Naselli (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), pp. 237-301.  The original article is available as a PDF file on The Gospel Coalition at http://s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-documents/carson/2006_three_more_books.pdf [accessed 11 APR 2012], and without footnotes on Reformation 21 at http://www.reformation21.org/shelf-life/three-books-on-the-bible-a-critical-review.php [accessed 11 APR 2012].  This article and chapter by Carson includes reviews both of Peter Enns, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005), pp. 18-45, pp. 255-283 respectively, and N. T. Wright, Scripture and the Authority of God (London: SPCK, 2005); also published as The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), pp. 45-62, and pp. 283-301 respectively.

Robert V. McCabe, "A Defense of Literal Days in the Creation Week", Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 5 (Fall 2000) pp. 97-123; available as a PDF on Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary at  http://www.dbts.edu/journals/2000/McCabe.pdf [accessed 11 APR 2012].

Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria,

John T. Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA
17 March 2012

N. T. Wright on the Literal Understanding of the Genesis Creation Narrative
by John T. Jeffery

Copyright 2012 by John T. Jeffery.
All rights reserved.
The use of excerpts or reproduction of this material is prohibited
without written permission from the author.

Contact the author at:

722 South Main Ave.
Scranton, PA 18504
Home phone:  (570) 342-5787



[1] The Biologos Forum at http://biologos.org/blog/what-do-you-mean-by-literal [accessed 17 MAR 2012].
[2] Is he giving with one hand while he takes away with the other?  Does he really believe that Moses authored the Pentateuch?  Is multiple authorship part of where he considers going with his authorial intent concern?  Consider the very next quote!  How can he knowingly cite this New Testament passage concerning Moses when J-E-P-D redactors or something  very similar is out there?  Are we back to meta-narrative issues even when it comes to the Scriptural documentation of authorship?  Are men like O. T. Allis rolling over in their graves?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One Good Reason To Study the King James Version

Degeneration into sloppiness in the English language over centuries is the only way that I can explain the loss of accuracy and precision language as exhibited, for example, in the inability of modern English to distinguish the second person plural personal pronoun from the singular. This linguistic decline in the English language was the subject of a debate in Britain in 1978 in the House of Lords. It was recorded under the title, "The English Language: Deterioration in Usage".
Source: Robert McCrum, William Cran, and Robert MacNeil, The Story of English (New York: Viking, 1986). The transcript of this debate is in Hansard (21 NOV 1979), Vol. 403, cc. 156-96, on Hansard at http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1979/nov/21/the-english-language-deterioration-in-1 [accessed 10 APR 2012].

Carelessness in communication is evidenced in other ways. I am unsure if other languages have exhibited similar degeneration, and thus have no basis for assuming that it is predictable or inevitable. However, it leaves me wondering if the ascendancy of nihilistic linguistic theory lies behind this degeneration at least in the English language. This would manifest itself by provoking despair in accurate communication, and the consequent demise of precision in vocabulary, grammar and syntax.

Whatever the cause, the effect is that modern English has no viable alternative to the 17th century's ability to distinguish the second person personal prounouns with "thou, thee, thy", and "you, ye, your". As a result of this loss of precision in all modern English translations I have advised many who do not have facility in the Greek New Testament to consult the KJV in their studies for accuracy with the number and case of personal pronouns. See Brian Tegart's helpful article, "The KJV's Archaic Language Pros and Cons" on The KJV-Only Issue at http://www.kjv-only.com/theethou.html [accessed 10 APR 2012]. By the way, do not be alarmed by the name of his web site!  Brian is certainly anything but "KJV-Only", as you will soon detect as you read this article!
Note: I had previously credited this article and web site to Doug Kutilek, but received information concerning the correct author in an email from Doug 12 APR 2012.  Doug's web site is The King James Only Resource Center at http://www.kjvonly.org [accessed 12 APR 2012], and is recommended as a similarly helpful site on this issue.  I apologize for any confusion this may have caused in the interim.

My favorite example is the interplay between the singulars and the plurals in the following passages found in Paul's epistles to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 - 16 Know ye [pl.] not that ye [pl.] are the temple [sing.] of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you [pl.]? 17 If any man [sing.] defile the temple [sing.] of God, him [sing.] shall God destroy; for the temple [sing.] of God is holy, which temple [sing.] ye [pl.] are.
1 Corinthians 6:13-20 - 13 Now the body [sing.] is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body [sing.]. 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us [pl.] by his own power. 15 Know ye [pl.] not that your bodies [pl.] are the members [pl.] of Christ? shall I then take the members [pl.] of Christ, and make them the members [pl.] of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye [pl.] not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body [sing.]? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man [sing.] doeth is without the body [sing.]; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body [sing.]. 19 What? know ye [pl.] not that your [pl.] body [sing.] is the temple [sing.] of the Holy Ghost which is in you [pl.], which ye [pl.] have of God, and ye [pl.] are not your [pl.] own? 20 For ye [pl.] are bought with a price [sing.]: therefore glorify God in your [pl.] body [sing.], and in your [pl.] spirit [sing.], which are God's.  
2 Corinthians 6:16 - And what agreement hath the temple [sing.] of God with idols? for ye [pl.] are the temple [sing.] of the living God; as God hath said , I will dwell in them [pl.], and walk in them [pl.]; and I will be their [pl.] God, and they [pl.] shall be my people [sing.].
Another alternative was employed by William Hendriksen, who addresses this issue in his New Testament Commentary series published by Baker. He does so by placing spaces between the letters of the second person plural pronoun:

"Please Note In order to differentiate between the second person plural (see Luke 12:57: "Why do y o u not judge...?") and the second person singular (the next verse: "...when you are going"), the letters in "y o u pl." are spaced, those in "you sing." are not."
Source: William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978), pg. xiii.

Note: This constructive alternative utilized by Hendriksen helps with the issue of number (singular versus plural), but does nothing for the loss of distinction of the case (nominative/subjective versus genitive/objective), which is understood to be of lesser concern.

The example Hendriksen cites in his commentary on Matthew is 26:64 where the differentiation of the second person singular pronoun from the second person plural pronoun is noted. Other examples are cited where this note is found in some of his other commentaries (but not all). It appears that Simon Kistemaker did not continue this practice when he continued the series following Hendriksen's death as, for example, no such note is found at the beginning of his volume on Hebrews. However, Logos includes a note on this set of commentaries on their web site:
"Please Note: In order to differentiate between the second person singular and the second person plural, the publisher indicated the former as follows: “you”; and the latter as follows: “y o u.” The digital edition follows this innovation."
Source: Logos at http://www.logos.com/product/4233/bakers-new-testament-commentary [accessed 10 APR 2012].

Sola Scriptura, Soli Deo Gloria,

John T. Jeffery
Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
Greentown, PA

10 APR 2012

One Good Reason To Study the King James Version
by John T. Jeffery

Copyright 2012 by John T. Jeffery.
All rights reserved.
The use of excerpts or reproduction of this material is prohibited
without written permission from the author.

Contact the author at:

722 South Main Ave.
Scranton, PA 18504
Home phone:  (570) 342-5787