Death and Restitution - RR107D7
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This morning we shall survey the Biblical laws that deal with crime. Very briefly, and touching mainly on the main facets of these laws. One of the most interesting and significant of these laws is in Deuteronomy 21:18-21. This is the law of the stubborn and rebellious son which will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother. And the law goes on to say that If the charges against him are sustained, if he is an incorrigible delinquent, he is to be executed. How are we to understand this law?
This law is like the other laws outside of the 10 commandments, a case law. That is, it illustrates a principle. As we analyze therefore this particular law, certain things appear. First, this law indicates a limitation in the power of the family. In Roman law, the father had the power of life and death over his children. He could expose them as infants, kill them as youths, sell them into slavery. This was a common power in many cultures in antiquity. The parent was a god who gave and took life, and hence ancestor worship. In this law, the state enters in at Gods requirement, not because it is the states realm, but to back up Gods law concerning the family and society.
Second, this law requires that the family align itself with law and order rather than with the criminal member. The parents in this case are not complaining witnesses in the normal sense of Scripture. As a result they are not executioners as the witnesses, complaining witnesses were normally required to be. In this case the men of the city are the executioners.
However if the parents refused to complain they were guilty of condemnation, or participation in their son’s crimes and the whole point in the case and every such case was: Would they align themselves with justice or with crime? [00:03:28]
The parental participation was also needed to avoid
The parental participation was also needed to avoid blood feuds. Parents in refusing to file charges against a delinquent son were therefore also guilty of a crime. Not blood but law had to govern.
Thus, we can say third that this means case law; this law is not merely geared to sons, but is a specific case to illustrate a principle. If an incorrigible son, an incorrigible delinquent is to be put to death, how much more so an incorrigible criminal. Daughters incidentally are clearly included also as appears from Deuteronomy 23:17 and Leviticus 19:19.
The whole point this law is, that no Hebrew could be an incorrigible criminal and remain alive. Thus we have here in this particular law, a case law, a principle established. One that is stated again and again in Scripture: “So shall ye put out iniquity from amongst you.” In other words, the purpose of the Biblical criminal law was to eliminate from the covenant people of God all those whose way of life was consistently and systematically criminal.
The habitual criminal could not exist.
This law passed very early into the law of America. It is interesting that when this was first put on the books in Colonial America, how very quickly Juvenile delinquency disappeared. It became a part of the general law of virtually every state, and it is still in a somewhat diluted sense on the books of most states. At the present time there is an appeal to the Supreme Court against this law. It is from a Southern state, and I have forgotten at the moment from which state, I have it in my files at home, it may be from Mississippi. [00:06:33]
As the law reads today in this particular incident
As the law reads today in this particular incident, the criminal with 3 convictions, being deemed an habitual criminal, is therefore to be executed. And there is at present an appeal to the Supreme court to overthrow this law.
In other states it has been altered now to require for the 3rd or 4th conviction life imprisonment. The Bible however does not call for imprisonment at any time. There is no jail, no prison in Biblical law except for temporary custody pending a trial. This is an important point. The Biblical law does not call for imprisonment, it requires either death or restitution. We shall come to the matter of restitution very shortly.
But the whole point of this law is: “So shalt thou put evil out from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.” In terms of Biblical law the family is not allowed to say: “We shall stand behind our boy come what may.” No family in the sight of God has the right to say that. The family as a Godly family must join hands with the people of God to wage war against all evil.
Thus the Biblical law does not recognize a professional criminal element. A professional criminal element cannot live. Biblical law requires the death penalty against it, from the delinquent on to the professional criminal. But today, precisely because we have set aside Biblical law, and have introduced what was a humanistic device, prison, and now a further humanistic device, rehabilitation, we are creating a growing Criminal class. It was not until the enlightenment was born in the latter years of the 18th century, the early years of the 19 hundreds, that the modern criminology came into being. [00:09:34]
The use of prisons, the only prisons that existed previously
The use of prisons, the only prisons that existed previously were rather illegal affairs used by medieval barons to hold people for ransom or to torture them to try to get information out of them, all of which was illegal. But there was no such thing as a prison system until the last century and half approximately. It came into existence as a rebellion against the law of God.
The consequence of the application of the law of God was that throughout the Western world there was progressively a genetic improvement of the western Genetic bank, in that an element was continually eliminated that was a problem; so that the racial stock was continually improved by the steady elimination of that element which was criminal.
It is significant that this law and other laws forbid pity. The common humanistic perspective is that such a law is pitiless, but Biblical law requires pity for the offended, not the offender. Pity for the offender is forbidden specifically in a number of places, in Deuteronomy 7:16, Deuteronomy 13:6-9, Deuteronomy 19:11-13, Deuteronomy 19:21, and chapter 25:11-12.
Moreover the crime of the delinquent son, or of the delinquent daughter involves an assault or a war against fundamental authority. Thus, the law which deals with the girl who turns prostitute, speaks of her doing so to profane her father. This is a significant point, and modern psychology has confirmed that much of delinquency is a deliberate assault on authority. Thus the parents must see the sins of the children as an offense against themselves as well as against society. [00:12:25]
The principle of capital punishment therefore in scripture
The principle of capital punishment therefore in scripture is a postmillennial principle. It declares that the world is to be improved by the elimination, by warfare against the enemies of God. Moreover, life is to be taken only on Gods terms, in terms of this warfare. Since life is cr4eated by God, it is to be lived only in terms of His law word. Neither the parents or the state are the creator of life, therefore neither has the right to take life. When man in terms of the word of God has the right to take life, it is only as the agent of God, in terms of His law. But neither does man have the right to permit man to live where God says he must die.
Therefore, man sins when he violates the laws of capital punishment. He is playing God then as surely as he is playing God when he kills a man whom he has no right to kill. He is saying: “I will kill, and I will make alive, I will take into my hands the prerogative of God. I will kill whom I choose, and allow the criminal to stay alive if I choose.” Both are equally fearful offenses.
Now to pass on to the matter of Restitution. Restitution is also clearly basic to post millennialism and is a postmillennial principle. The laws of restitution appear in many portions of scripture, but perhaps the classic statement is in Exodus 21:18-25. God’s purpose in redemption is the restitution or restoration of all things, in, through, and under Jesus Christ as King. The goal of history is the general resurrection, or the new Genesis of all things in Jesus Christ, as Matthew 19:28 makes clear. The consequence of sin is to be removed, God’s kingdom established, and humanity to be blessed under God in obedience to His law.
The principle of restitution is basic to Biblical law. Again let me add that restitution was the law of every state, not only during the colonial period, but in the early constitutional period, and in some area up until the time of the war between the states. So that, a thief was not sentenced to prison unless he were a habitual criminal, in which case he was held in prison for execution after trial, but he was sentenced to make restitution.
Now the principle of restitution, very briefly, required that if a man stole a 100 dollars he was to restore the $100, plus an equivalent amount. In other words, another 100. If he stole certain kinds of things such as sheep or Oxen, he made 4 fold and 5 fold restitution, because the sheep could multiply. The represented capital for the future. The Ewe could have young for years and years, and therefore the sheep was restored, plus 4 others. Oxen were not only used for food when they grew old, but they were used for work, their training represented a considerable investment, therefore 5 fold restitution. [00:17:03]
As a result, restitution was except for capital offenses
As a result, restitution was except for capital offenses the normal means of dealing with Crime. Misdemeanors were dealt with corporal punishment, with strikes, but most offenses were dealt with by restitution. Some of the laws of restitution deal with property, others with damages, they deal with maiming persons, killing animals or with an animal killing an animal; they deal with a variety of offenses, some restitution also had to be made to God as Numbers 5:6-8 specifies. The guilty party was also liable for medical expenses to the injured, Exodus 21:15; the guilty party was liable for the time lost from work, the penalty was applied if a man’s animal was guilty, and there was a greater liability if the man had a record for violence. The guilty party was liable therefore for a variety of damages which could be laid upon him by the court for injury, in addition to compensation for time lost and medical expenses.
Now the principle of restitution is not entirely gone from our law. Today in most cases if you steal $100 from a man you go to jail, or you should go to jail. The sad fact is incidentally. Do you know that of all convictions today, only 14% of all those convicted for criminal offenses now go to jail? Only 14%. Crime is increasing at such a rate that the prisons can no longer contain all those who are sentenced, so they are given a suspended sentence in the majority of cases. In other words, the humanistic device of prisons and of rehabilitation is breaking down. It is creating a growing criminal class that cannot be coped with.
The humanistic device, moreover, doubly penalizes the man who has been offended. If you have been robbed of $100, what happens? You go to court, and it is a problem to go to court because of the postponements. It means sometimes that you appear 3-4-5 times in a row before your case comes up on the docket, and so you have lost that many days. If you haven’t had this experience let me tell you it is very real, I have had it. I’ve gone to court time and again, waiting for a case to come up, and then found that the defense attorney asks for a postponement. And of course this is a stock device. Why? It has been estimated that of every 100 criminal cases, depending on the state, 70-90% end up pleading guilty. And of the remaining, all but about 2% are ultimately convicted. [00:21:29]
Thus, there are so many cases that if every case were
Thus, there are so many cases that if every case were to come to trial, the whole of the United States Criminal court structure would collapse. So what happens? To cite a case in which I had to appear, and my daughter not too long ago, with respect to a gang of thieves, postponement after postponement was secured although they were obviously guilty. They had been caught in the act. Why the postponement? Various technical reasons, but, basically this purpose in mind which ever defense attorney acquires, to negotiate for a lighter sentence, to say: “Will you drop these charges, you have so many against us, if we will plead guilty to the smaller offense?” So that, in this particular case instead of winding up with say, a 5-10 year sentence, they wound up with a 60 day sentence basically. They pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, to avoid endless litigation which would break down the court calendar.
This is what is happening to our law. But, as I started to say, the principle of restitution is not entirely gone today but with significant differences. If you are robbed of a $100, you don’t get it back. You lose time going to court, so you are out you $100, plus the time you go to court, and if there is finally a conviction, then you are out the cost of his keep in prison in the form of taxes? So who is penalized? You are. I have at home the diary of a professional thief in which he makes it clear that prison is just a professional risk, and it is a very cheap cost to pay in terms of the profits.
And so he says: “Why should I spend my life going to work, getting up at 6:30 in the morning to get to work at 8 o’clock and spending all my days in that rat race? So I spend maybe a third of my life in prison, but the other two thirds I live very well, and I can laugh at the commuters who catch the train to work, and all the slobs who have to put in, 8-9 hours a day on their jobs.” This is the kind of world we have created. [00:24:45]
In terms of Biblical law, crime does not pay
In terms of Biblical law, crime does not pay. But in terms of modern humanistic thought, crime definitely pays. Even when you go to prison the state supports you. And of course now, increasingly modern criminology says that it is unfair to keep the men locked up in prison without the benefit of sex, so let us open up the prisons and allow their girl friends and wives to visit them. We are creating a welfare society for criminals.
However, there is restitution required if you rob the Federal government. In that case you rarely go to prison. When I was on the Indian Reservation in the 40’s and I’ve seen such cases since, when various government employees stole from the Federal government, robbed various funds and were convicted, they were not sent to prison, the government worked out a plan for them to repay out of their salary, and in one case the man got a promotion so he would be able to pay a little more rapidly.
The shift from restitution to imprisonment basically has its roots in the seizure of power by the state.
The state made imprisonment its criminal law, and relegated restitution to civil law, with little care to enforcing results. Today if you want restitution, if someone should damage your property, the criminal court will not take it. You at your own expense must enter a civil suit in civil courts to gain damages for what was done against you. The burden is on you. On top of that, if you gain the victory in the suit, the burden of responsibility, of collection, is then on you. Increasingly the state will not cooperate. In New York State a few years back, about 15 years ago, an examination of all civil suits revealed that only in 6% of all successful civil suits was collection consummated. I would imagine that if the same study were made today, the results would be far worse. [00:28:05]
You get the picture
You get the picture. The law abiding citizen today is the victim. He is taxed to take care of the criminals, he is robbed and there is no restitution to him, and increasingly in the name of enforcing this humanistic civil criminal law, the state takes more and more power unto itself.
The modern program of rehabilitation which is coming into being is an even more expensive program than imprisonment. I have visited what they now call correctional facilities. A correctional facility is in some cases, at least in California, like a deluxe country club. The prisoners must not think that they are prisoners even though there is a fence around the place, everything is done to provide them with a library, with movies, with teachers who will teach them art or anything else, they meet with a psychiatric counselor every day, everything is done to help them to see, “Who was it, was it mama or papa who made me a criminal?”
And the net result is of course that they are confirmed in their sin, because the sense of guilt is transferred all the more firmly upon someone else. There are only two possible sources of civil power. Power and authority comes either from God or the people. If the power comes from God, then Gods law must prevail. If power comes from the people, then the peoples will should prevail; and there is no law then higher than the will of the mob. Restitution then is not valid, because it is alien to democratic society; since it has reference to a higher order, to God’s absolute and unchanging justice.
But, if authority comes from God, then Gods law must govern all authority, in every sphere of life. And restitution is the theocratic principle, the God given principle. It involved 3 things; first that restitution is made to the injured person, second, that restitution must be made to God, when no person exists to whom it can be made, and third, restitution is always mandatory for a society to be healthy before God. [00:31:36]
As a result the Bible provided that a society, the
As a result the Bible provided that a society, the state must make restitution whenever it failed to find the criminal in a case, or else it must face Gods judgement. In other words, order, God’s order must be restored in every case. The goal of society in terms of Biblical law is restitution, restoration. It must be effected, evil must be punished and penalized, the Godly defended. “Thy Kingdom Come”. And God’s kingdom comes as His law is enforced.
The law of God therefore is the practical program for the institution of the reign of God. For bringing in Godly order.
Our country once was making tremendous strides towards a great and a glorious reign of God. This country was begun in terms of the law of God; statute law was something that came in after 1860. Before that, and I have gone to court cases in various states in the early 1800’s, 1830, 1840, and what was the basis of judgment? John Doe the criminal had stolen. Did there have to be a statute law to cover that offense? No. Not too long ago a man in the criminal code revision in the state of Michigan could not be prosecuted for murder, because the particular kind of murder had not been covered in the revised statute. But in terms of the Biblical law, there is no necessity to cover the law with a precise word by word description. “Thou shalt not kill.” and “Thou shalt not steal.” is sufficient.
And what was the purpose of the Jury? Trial by jury rested on the fact that here were men who knew the word of God. They had to be men who believed in God. Remember it was just a few years ago, 3 years ago that this provision was eliminated by the Supreme Court in a case emanating from Maryland, where the law required that the jurors believe in God. The law once required this, why? Because decisions rested on the law of God, and therefore the jury had to believe in God, they had to know His word.
And I have seen the decision of the court rendered in terms of scripture, the judge reading the scripture and saying: “This covers your case, and you are guilty.” [00:35:13]
But today what happens? Those of you who have served
But today what happens? Those of you who have served on a Jury know that it may be obvious to you that the person is guilty, but the judge says as he reads you the law: “Does his offense and the particular wording of the statute match? Is it covered by the exact and the precise wording? And was the arrest, and was the indictment precise and accurate?”
One criminal the other day in California was turned loose because the warrant that called for his arrest, and he was caught with a tremendous cash of narcotics on his person, the clerk who had made it out had failed to cross out ‘AM’, when the warrant was for an arrest at night. And therefore he was turned loose.
The law of God gave us the basis for a reordering of society, for progress under God. This is why all we have to do is to accept Gods law as binding law, and we are inescapably post millennial in our perspective. Are there any questions now? Yes.
[Audience Member] …?...
[Rushdoony] Yes, the statement “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is a statement that the punishment must fit the crime, there must be a balance, in other words, restitution, there must be a commensurate thing. Now there have been commentators including some pre millennial ones who have tried to say that this was a barbaric statement which called for knocking out the eye or plucking out the eye of somebody else. In fact, (Merel Unger?) of Dallas who is dispensational actually makes such a statement in his bible dictionary. This is a shocking thing to me that someone who is a professing Christian who holds to the infallibility of the word would read Scripture in such a sense. Now the interpreters Bible in its commentary I believe on Deuteronomy, plainly states that all such readings are in error, so here is a modernist commentator stating that his is the principle of restitution. So, it’s just a summary statement of the basic concept of restitution and justice.
[Audience Member] …?...
[Rushdoony] Oh good question. How are we to understand Christ’s statement in the Sermon on the Mount with respect to an eye for any eye. This is a very, very important point. Our Lord made it clear in the Sermon on the Mount first of all that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law, and you will find by checking some of the Greek lexicons that the meaning of the word fulfill means to put it into force. Then however, he goes on and criticizes the application of the law of justice of personal relationships. You see, here we are moving into another realm.
If husband and wife stand in terms of say, restitution in their relationship to one another it is going to be a very difficult relationship. In other words you cannot when you are dealing with very personal relationships, invoke the rather impersonal forces of justice that the criminal law requires. Do you get the point there?
In other words, the personal relationship is something else, and you cannot apply what criminal law requires when you are dealing with members of your family. There you overlook things, you put up with things, you deal with forbearance and love. Now if the offense is become of a criminal variety it is something else. Yes? [00:40:42]
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[Rushdoony] The question is with regard to the incident in John, where our Lord intervened you might say, but actually was asked to render a statement when the woman taken in adultery was brought before him. Now of course in this situation what we have to realize is first of all, the Scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery, and when they had set her in the midst they say unto him: “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned, but what sayest thou?” This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.”
In other words, the whole situation was fraudulent. They were not interested in justice. What they wanted Jesus to do was to say: “The death penalty.” Or: “No, not the death penalty.” At that time the death penalty was no longer being used for adultery. And so they wanted him to, since he was supposedly the champion of the law, this is what it meant to preach the kingdom of God you see, because the laws of the kingdom and the kingdom were inseparable.
“Alright, sentence her to death so we can make you very unpopular before the entire nation. Or, if you say no death sentence, then we can make you look very bad, and we can say: Oh you say you claim to come to fulfill the law and to proclaim the kingdom, well you see, you have no regard for the law.”
But the law also specified that the judge must have clean hands, to put it into modern terminology. That he could not be a guilty man, or a dishonest man who had taken bribes. So our Lord nailed them there. He said: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Now, this is an important point. In other words, they were the complaining witnesses. They had seized her in the act. So if Jesus was going to render the verdict, they as complaining witnesses had to cast the first stone for her execution.
So Jesus was not setting aside the death penalty, although he was refusing… in another case he said: “Man, who made me a judge amongst you?” He hadn’t come to be a judge but to be a teacher.” Alright. And of course the incarnate one. The sin bearer. But, “Let him that is without guilt among you, cast the stone.” Well of course, at that, since adultery at that time was treated very lightly and casually as it is today, they all crept away. What did he know about them? You see. All of them convicted in their hearts, figuring: “Uh oh, somebody told on me, or he has something on me, and that if I assent to the death penalty, then I have to accept the death penalty for myself.” So they turned tail and ran.
So you can’t use this to say: “Jesus set aside the law.” At all. He then dealt with her, not as a judge, because he wasn’t a civil judge. He then dealt with the woman as her Lord, and said, when she acknowledged him to be Lord, and he said: “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.” He gave her religious forgiveness, he didn’t interfere with the civil affair. He didn’t say: “Now, I’m going to tell your husband not to divorce you,” Or, “I’m going to interfere in the disposition of this and tell the court nothing should be done.” He didn’t enter into the civil aspect at all. Religiously he pronounced forgiveness on her, knowing that her heart had been converted.
So you have to distinguish there, between the two. Yes? [00:46:08]
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[Rushdoony] Could you restate that?
[Audience Member] …?...
[Rushdoony] Oh, yes, I understand your question. Yesterday we have seen the fulfillment of these various predictions about what would happen to the country. The answer is not any kind of mob rule, or violence, it is to begin to reapply the law of God ourselves in our respective domains, to begin the recreation of a Christian community, which again can bring about a Christian law order. To begin as I spoke of the other day, by the development of the significance of the tithe in its broad social function. TI was yesterday I believe I dealt with the importance of the tithe, and all the things that the tithe deals with, welfare, education, medicine, all the basic social functions of the world were met by the tithe. And you see, as you begin to recreate society in terms of Gods order, then you can change the social order from within, which is precisely the way the early church as I pointed out yesterday, did it. Yes?
[Audience Member] …?...
[Rushdoony] First of all, it does have a double sense of the kingdom, yes. Here and in the future. If the law of God, the exclusive view of the post millennials, I wish it were not, but first of all, dispensational pre millennialism has ruled out the law. They dropped it overboard, totally. And the au mill perspective, because it doesn’t see much future except the tribulation and trouble, gradual decline, doesn’t see too much point in enforcing the law.
Now there are Aumillenials who believe strongly in the law, one such person, I believe I noticed his book in the bookstore, is the Reverend T. Robert Ingraham, who does believe very strongly in the law, has done excellent work in the Houston area in getting men in law, in the sheriff’s department and elsewhere, to recognize the law of God is and how we must return to it. He is however, Aumillenial. Now I feel that there is a contradiction involved here, but it is possible for them to have it, and I wish they would. But you can see how the law inescapably points to a post millennial perspective, in that it envisions the progressive conquest of the world by the law of God. Yes? [00:50:16]
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[Rushdoony] About what? Oh yes.
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[Rushdoony] Yes, when our Lord in verses 39 following goes on to speak about what is called non resistance, he is dealing with, as some commentaries have pointed out and I believe Rawlinson in his description of this passage does some telling analysis of the meanings of the words, tracing at least one of them back to the Persians, that what is in mind here was the fact that, and there is considerable evidence for this, in terms of the law today the Roman Empire had the right to compel any citizen to surrender their clothing, to surrender their services to be used, and to be beaten if they resisted, in any crisis where a Roman official said: “I am drafting you for this service.”
Now, this was very bitterly resented by the Hebrews. And what our Lord was saying was: “Go along with it. It may be evil in much of its application, but go along with it.” We have something comparable today, in most states a sheriff can commandeer your car if he needs, and in most states he is not liable for any damages to it. You pay for the damages. For example, when I lived in North Eastern Nevada on the Indian reservation, more than once I had to serve on the fire line in a forest fire. What I always did was, when the fire came, volunteer. Anyone who was foolish enough to refuse could be imprisoned, and some people were. They could stop at a highway, and just take every car that came along and stop it, and tap every man on the shoulder and say: “Alright, get out there on the firing line.” Or on the fire line… (laughter) Now, on one occasion, I was on my way to a meeting, and I was at a point where they issued the call. I didn’t wait for them to come around and say: “You have to go.” I went up and volunteered, and I said: “I’ll go up with the first truckload of men.”
Well, the man who was in charge appreciated it, because it meant that he could get a truckload immediately with some of us who had volunteered. And he knew, first of all I wasn’t dressed for the firing line… the fire line… so, I had the easiest job of all. [Tape skips] [00:54:00]
…Had to go up the line of fire, I stayed back where the fire had already burnt down to make sure it didn’t get away, so I just patrolled for about, oh, twelve hours, and mid afternoon to the next morning, and I really had the better of it. But I saw one or two people complain and say: “I’ve got to go somewhere, I can’t take the time, it is important for me to be there.” And they spent 12, 14, 15 hours right up there against the flames, and it was dangerous as well as very difficult work. Now you see, this is a practical instance. The law specified, the Roman law, that they could be drafted, they could be compelled. At the time of our Lord they were facing increasingly a revolutionary temperament here, in Israel and Judea, and so: “If any man compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” And by and large avoid also the evils of the courts, with the fact in mind that you are not dealing with Godly men. This is sound, practical council. You see, our weakness is we tend to feel because we have been influenced by Platonism, that everything our Lord said represents an abstract universal. And we forget that the law of God is concrete, it is particular, and the words of our Lord were always relevant to reality in terms of the wisdom of God. Yes?
[Audience Member] …?...
[Rushdoony] Yes, I dealt with that several days ago, and I pointed out that saint Paul deals with the law in several senses, and some of the commentaries deal with these various senses, various meanings. He deals with the law when he speaks of us as dead to the law, as a bill of indictment, a death sentence. The law is a death sentence against us in one aspect, but once we are dead in Christ, the death sentence has been executed against us, we are dead to the law in that sense. But then, being regenerated, made alive in Christ, the law is now the righteousness of God unto us. You see the logic of that position.
To take only the sense that the law is now dead to us means that we are then free to do as we please. Then why pay any attention to: ‘Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not bear adultery, thou shalt not steal?’ This was the logic of Davenport, one of the revivalists in the great awakening, contemporary with Jonathan Edwards. He said: “We are dead to the law, therefore it is a sin to have anything to do with the law.” So he applied it. The first thing he did was to get rid of his wife, she was old anyway, and he took up with any number of young girls, to prove that he was dead to the law. We must say for him that at least he was an honest and a consistent theologian. (laughter) Because he carried his belief that we are dead to the law to its logical conclusion. But it certainly was not a Godly conclusion. But he did have at least consistency.
But the people who say: “Well, we are dead to the law.” Well, what are you doing with it, are you living in terms of it? “Oh yes, I am keeping it, but I am not keeping the law.” You see, you end up in verbal gymnastics there. [00:58:18]
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[Rushdoony] Yes! Right, because one of the promises of the covenant is that the law is now written on the tables of our hearts. The law is no longer something alien to me that is an imposition, so that I feel an enmity to the law, the law because it represents the righteousness of God, and Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity is now the new life in me, and the Holy Spirit indwells, I now find it my nature to keep the law. I delight in the law. So, I keep it now in the newness of spirit, not reluctantly feeling that “If somebody isn’t watching I’ll break it.” Yes?
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[Rushdoony] Oh, yes it is. [00:59:40]