The Law and the Church - RR274D8a

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The Law and the Church
Course: Course - Godly Social Order - 1 Corinthians
Subject: Subject:Sociology
Lesson#: 13
Length: 0:23:36
TapeCode: rr274d8a
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Godly Social Order - Corinthians.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

Let us worship God. Behold bless ye the Lord all ye servants of the Lord which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord. The Lord that made heaven and earth, bless ye out of Zion. Let us pray.

Almighty God our Heavenly Father we come to Thee crying out of a sin filled world. A world ruled by sin and death knowing however that Thou art the Lord. That all things come from Thee and of Thine own have we given whatever we have given unto Thee. We beseech Thee oh Lord, be merciful. Grant that out of this world of sin and death Thy kingdom shines forth like the noon day sun. That Thou righteousness, Thy justice covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. We know our Father that Thy purposes all together are righteous and holy. That Thou hast ordained that Thy Son triumph and that we triumph in Him. Give us courageous hearts, the zeal in Thy service and a willingness to work for Thy kingdom. And make us more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord. In His Name we pray, Amen.

Our scripture is First Corinthians 5:1-5. Our subject: The Law and the Church. First Corinthians 5:1-5.

“It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

When Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians he speaks of them as the ecclesia in Corinth. Ecclesia of course is translated as church. The translation deprives us of the force of the Greek word. The ecclesia was a very important one in antiquity, it refers to the governing council of a city. So that when Paul says they are the ecclesia in Corinth he declares them to be in terms of God and His kingdom the ruling body. [00:04:35]

The ruling body as Paul makes clear especially later...[edit]

The ruling body as Paul makes clear especially later on in this letter is divided into two groups. First there is the old humanity of the fallen Adam, this human race is given over to sin and death. Then there is the new humanity in Jesus Christ. Called to life and righteousness or justice in Him. They are to more than conquerors, they are to bring all things into captivity into Jesus Christ and create out of this fallen world Christ’s kingdom. Christ is the first fruits of the new creation, of the new heavens and the new earth, and in Him we are members of that new humanity and of that great kingdom. Paul begins first Corinthians by strongly affirming the exclusiveness of Christianity. It cannot be confused with or assimilated into any other religion. Now he insists that only this revealed religion can provide law and morality. And this he does with reference to a specific offense. Throughout Corinthians Paul brings the law word of God to bear upon the problems of the world in his day as in our time. And it is by the commandments of God that this new ecclesia, new governing council, is step by step to govern itself and to bring this world into captivity to Christ. In verse one Paul refers to two things. First that there is fornication among you, that is, in this instance sexual sins that violate God’s law. Paul does not attempt to defend the Levitical law. For him it is God’s law therefore forever valid. Clearly there was antinomianism among the Corinthian church members. [00:07:34]

Some were not Jews and some were...[edit]

Some were not Jews and some were. Apparently among both Jews and gentiles there was an accommodation to the popular moral looseness of the day. Rome had much earlier lost the battle to regain morality and marital stability. Second, Paul cites a specific example of what is going on in Corinth, namely that one should have his Father’s wife. Sex with one’s step mother was clearly against God’s law as many, many texts make clear. There were apparently other offenses as well but Paul seeks out this one to make his point. He apparently could have chosen other cases but he chose this. An offense which to the Gentiles might seem less serious than adultery. This particular offense was in Paul’s day not regarded too seriously outside of Jewish circles. Paul’s choice of it tells us that he is plainly ascertaining the binding nature of Leviticus 18:8. The church was not asked to conform to a general morality respected by pagans but to God’s law. Very specifically to God’s law. Not only do we find this prohibition in Leviticus 18:8 but also in Leviticus 20:11-12 and Deuteronomy 22:30 and 27:20, Ezekiel 22:10 following, Amos 2:7 and so on. Paul’s example was the least likely to strike the modern minded people of his day as serious. But is stressed most of all by God’s law. In verse two we see the reason for Paul’s choice of this offense. They are in Corinth puffed up over this incident. They’re proud of it! They regard it as an expression of their free spirited religion. Paul gives no details of this case it may have been, and apparently was, an actual marriage because the sin cited in Leviticus 18:8 is not adultery or anything else. [00:10:35]

It is marriage with a father’s wife...[edit]

It is marriage with a father’s wife. Perhaps the guilty man by marrying his father’s young widow prided himself on a good solution to her care. The fact that the Corinthian church is puffed up over the matter indicates that it is seen as a good solution to a problem instead of mourning and hoping that the offender will be removed from their midst. They are puffed up. They apparently congratulate themselves that the problem of the care of a widow has been solved. It took the church off the hook. In verse three Paul declares that having all the facts in hand he as Christ’s apostle is rendering judgment concerning him that hath done this deed. His condemnation here and in verse five is of the man not the woman. This may indicate that the solution to the problem of the stepmother was his not hers and it was ratified by a majority in the church and she submitted to it. For Paul however this was incest in God’s sight and he holds both the man and the congregation guilty. In a New Testament as Hodge pointed out to have a woman always means to marry. In verse one Paul refers to the gentile of Corinth abhor such a marriage. This however was true earlier in the days of the Republic, not the empire. Paul was right that pagan morality had once condemned it but Corinth represented pagan practice. Verses three to five are one sentence in the original Greek. The church was ordered to meet; Paul would be present in form of his letter to make his charge. The offender would be separated from Christ to be delivered to Satan. The congregation would then implicitly have the duty of caring for the widow unless or until she had a legitimate remarriage. Paul says that he has already passed judgment on the guilty man. He does this in the name of Jesus Christ as his apostle. Paul says that his spirit will be present at the meeting so his letter goes with particular force. The power of our Lord Jesus Christ he says will be present at this congregational meeting. [00:13:44]

An apostle was a royal ambassador and Paul speaks therefore...[edit]

An apostle was a royal ambassador and Paul speaks therefore with full authority in the name of Christ the king. Delivering the offender to Satan means excommunication. In the modern view we are all unconnected individuals but in the Biblical perspective we are members of Jesus Christ or members of Satan. We are not free spirits but instead we reflect the ethos and mind of our king. We are members always of an invisible community and nothing is more delusional than the belief that we are radically independent and unconnected. Modern romanticism after Roso sees the free man as a state of nature, self-governed and self-motivated. No such man exists. No man is less free than the one who refuses to recognize his derivative and dependent nature. As Paul says in First Corinthians 4:7 “For who maketh thee to differ from one another, and what hast thou that thou didst not receive. Now if thou didst receive it why dost thou glory if thou had not received it?” The greatness of man that he is made in the image of God not in his own fancied nature. Paul will not allow the Corinthians or anyone else to see themselves apart from God and His law. He insists that every area of life and thought must be under God’s law word. The battle of the Corinthian church still continues in tens of thousands of churches. And Paul shall prevail. [00:16:14]

Let us pray. Almighty God our Heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word. We thank Thee that Thou art the Lord. That the government is upon Thy shoulders and not upon ours. That we have been called simply to apply thy government, thy law word to our lives. To our churches, to our work. To our community. And step by step to bring all things into captivity to Christ our King. We thank Thee our Father that Thou hast called us from the world of sin and death into the world of life and righteousness, justice. That in Christ Jesus Thou has made us members of Thy new human race. And hast given us such great promises for all eternity in Christ Jesus. How great Thou art oh God and we praise Thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.

You may think that Paul is pretty severe. But he begins his letter forthrightly but gently and step by step leads them deeper into the doctrine and into the necessity for faith and obedience. So that his remarkable letter is one of the key documents in the New Testament. It’s no wonder that over the centuries so many of the great leaders of the church have turned early on to Corinthians when they have tried to reform the church. Because if the church is on fire then the letter to the Corinthians is like a fire alarm! Watch out there’s a fire it must be put out or it will destroy the whole structure. [00:19:26]


[Woman speaking] When it talks about fornication here does that include homosexuality or does God use homosexuality separately?

[Rushdoony] The term can cover a number of things. Here he refers to simply one, marrying their father’s widow, but fornication as it used throughout the New Testament does not mean adultery, because there is a word for adultery. It does mean a number of things, it can mean sex outside of marriage, it can mean a forbidden form of sexuality which can include homosexuality although usually they are very specific when they refer to homosexuality and do cite it. It can refer to spiritual apostasy or fornication, meaning being unfaithful to the Lord. So it can refer to someone who is using flirting with ideas and practices that are not permissible. It has quite a varied meaning and that has been established by a study not only of the Greek text but also of the Old Testament septugen or Greek translation because that tells us when they use the word [greek word], fornication, what they meant by it. In Institute of Biblical Law I give a number of the meanings of the word. Are there any other questions or comments?

I think by this time it is clear how very, very important First Corinthians is and why Paul has been a target of so much hatred over the generations not only from those outside of the church but those who are in the church, supposedly Christians. And they are determined to see him as one who perverted the faith. Well if there are no further questions let us conclude with prayer. [00:22:22]

Our Father we give thanks unto Thee that Thou hast...[edit]

Our Father we give thanks unto Thee that Thou hast opened clearly and for all time. And we pray that we hear and obey the whole of Thy word. That we may rejoice in the plain speaking of Thy servants of old. For Thou hast ordained it that we may know the fullness of Thy word. The fullness of Thy purpose, and what it is Thou wouldst have us to do. Give us grace to hear and to obey, and now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.