Quill and writing

An Indictment against the Contemporary Evangelical & Reformed Churches

Notwithstanding much time and effort made over decades, Theonomists have failed to adjust the thinking of their brethren within the mainstream evangelical constituency.  They have generally rather, been scorned for having sought to ‘rock the boat’ and to ‘introduce disquiet’ into the various flocks. The time has come for a reluctant but necessary indictment of those who have exercised leadership and responsibility in their churches for their neglect of sacred duty (i.e. proper teaching) before almighty God.  What follows is a humble attempt to itemise the reasons why this indictment must now be expressed and to outline the substance of it.  May the Lord grant grace (i) to us who articulate our misgivings – that we might do so rightly – and (ii) to you, the reader in your hearing of the argument – that you might do so fairly knowing the comprehension of truth brings true liberty (Jn 8:32).  Alas, the voices and traditions of 150 years or more of evangelical independency maintain possession of the microphone out there. Moreover, it appears that few Bible-believing Christians have the presence of mind to think as did the Bereans (Acts 17:11) or the discernment to apply the Scriptures in their entirety to the culture.

The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbour comes and examines him. (Pr 18:17)

Just over 500 years ago, Martin Luther posted his ‘Ninety-five These’ on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral as a token PUBLIC expression of his complaint against the prevailing magisterium of his day – the Papal Church of Rome.  This public announcement is offered in much the same spirit.  The underlying grievance then was much to do with the basis of our justification before God; today the issues are different, but arguably no less important.

How to organise the substance of our dispute is not easy – there are many disparate elements that contribute collectively to the overall argument.  I shall try to be clear and simple as I proceed: first things first, etc. By enumerating the points, it is hoped that others will be able to reference its progression along the way. 

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph 5:11)

  1. God is the unique, sovereign Creator and Ruler of this His world (Ps 24:1).  The Earth is His theatre in which the great drama of redemption is being played out.  (Is 66:1)
  2. Darwinism has deluded and bewitched vast multitudes of Earth’s inhabitants who, even in the Churches, have sought refuge in various idolatrous counterfeits of the one true dogma regarding ‘all things’ found exclusively in Holy Scripture.  (Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4)
  3. The great duty of us all, & consequently the obligation of the Churches, is to build, if necessary over the course of a lifetime, a Biblical worldview: a way of thinking that comprehensively accommodates all factuality in the light of God’s revealed word. (Ps 36:9)
  4. Such a worldview, derived from a fair appraisal of the totality of Scripture, illuminated by God’s Spirit, provides the proper understanding of history, all human endeavour, experience and the particulars of Holy Scripture. (Prov 9:10, 1Cor 2:10, 2Tim 2:15)
  5. By such an undertaking under God we are ‘saved’ & ‘redeemed’ as covenant creatures – i.e. we learn to walk humbly & righteously before the Lord.
  6. Man’s duty before God is to glorify Him through careful obedience.  That obedience marks him as a covenant keeper; disobedience to the divine impulse marks those who suppress its voice as covenant breakers.  (Ps 1)
  7. God’s creation ordinance was a summons to build civilisation to the glory of God. (Gen 1:28, Deut 4, Is 11:9, Hab 2:14, Matt 28: 19-20)
  8. Since God Himself is ‘the One and the Many’ it is not surprising that He has ordained three (at least) distinct sphere’s each working collaboratively with the others: these being, Family, Church and State corresponding to the three offices of Christ: Prophet, Priest & King.  (Deut 18:15, Heb 7:17, Ps 2:6 Rev 1:5)
  9. Christ is Lord over all of life.  His Word provides us with all that is necessary to build godly civilisation – i.e.  to build God’s kingdom (Christendom) including: (i) instruction on how to raise children in families (Deut 6), (ii) instruction on how to find reconciliation with our Maker through redemption (Eph 2:13) & (iii) how to conduct ourselves within society at large. (Matt 6:9-13)
  10. Moral instruction provided to us in Scripture is comprehensive.  Each social sphere may contribute legitimately to the exposition of Scripture although it is primarily the priestly duty of the Church to equip the saints (State & Family) with a proper understanding of its application.
  11. The State functions primarily as a Ministry of Justice to maintain peace & good order within society.  Its special jurisdiction is jurisprudence – the prosecution of justice in relation to crime & its punishment.  Accordingly, the nature of crime is determined by God; likewise, the due penalty for a crime must comport with the ‘equity’ found in God’s Law rehearsed in Scripture.
  12. The Church operates as a Ministry of Mercy & Reconciliation.  Its duty is that of a priest mediating between rival parties.  Its focus is remedial in relation to sin.  All crime is sin, but not all sin is crime.  The Church’s business is to identify prevailing sin (in family, Church & state) and to declare God’s sanctifying remedy in Christ.
  13. It is the special duty of the Church therefore to provide instruction (exposition, clarification, exemplification & application, etc) on the Law of God, for it constitutes the whole duty of man (Ecc 12:13-14).
  14. The Family is arguably God’s primary institution. In it we find our immediate identity.  In our matriculation through it we learn to find our place & vocation within the wider culture.  Collectively, wider families constitute clans, tribes & nation states.  Globalism is an affront to the family. (Gen 11; Acts 17:26)
  15. As image bearers of God, we are called to be holy (Lev 11:44).  True righteousness is defined by Scripture alone.  It is comprehended by a careful exposition of God’s Law (Ps 19:7-9).  All things are to be undertaken in accordance with God’s Law.  Consequently, we are to be Theonomic, not autonomous/humanistic; we are to be presuppositional not evidential (in apologetics) bringing every thought captive to the Word of God (2Cor 10:4); metaphysically, we cannot be neutral!
  16. When the judicial branch of God’s government (i) commands what God forbids OR (ii) forbids what God commands, it is the duty of a ‘lesser magistrate’ to interpose – i.e. to draw attention to the inequity of the legislation on behalf of God.  To remain passive under such tyranny is an abdication of responsibility.
  17. The collective obligation of the Churches at this present time is to exercise this duty of ‘lesser magistrate’ by declaring that Jesus, not Caesar, is Lord.  (Acts 4:12, 5:29, 17:7)
  18. Wilful subjection to the (humanistic) State in practice represents the idolatry of statism – the essence of OT Molech & Baal worship. 
  19. Allied to this crisis of conviction, contemporary Christian Churches have further diluted their apologetic stance.  They have settled for a place at the table of public discussion with a view to presenting the ‘claims of Christianity’ accepting the presuppositions of relativism and multiculturalism.  They ought, rather, to affirm the necessity of Christian truth as ‘the precondition for human rationality’ – that is to say, the table (of discussion) itself belongs to God!
  20. It is time to blow the trumpet in Zion & alert the faithful servants of God that they have been led astray by renegade priests who ‘have healed only slightly the hurt of my people saying peace, peace when there is no peace’ (Jer 6:14, Ez 3:13).
  21. In summary, the contemporary Churches have neglected to teach adequately the Law of God. Having done so, they have become antinomian.  God alone knows whether their abandonment of a full and thorough application of God’s Law for society at large represents ‘apostasy’ but in their neglect of this sacred duty they have most certainly invoked the wrath & judgement of God (Rom 118-32, Rev 12:17).

Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness (Isaiah 8:20-22)

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Josh 24:15)

We the undersigned present this indictment for public scrutiny and commend it to all for careful consideration:

Steve Layfield – April 2020