Complementarian thinking largely draws on natural law as its general foundation. But grace does not destroy but supports and perfects nature. And so the church, the new creation by that special revelation in Christ, maintains this distinction in the church (e.g., in 1 Tim 2).
The reformed or Calvinist thinker Johannes Althusius (1557–1638) identified natural law (or common) as that law which God inscribed on the heart. Hence, it is common to all people, as God’s law in nature. God then uses our conscience to excuse or excuse us (Rom 2).
It is important to realize that this is the near-universal view of reformed thinkers from Amandus Polanus to John Calvin to whomever.
Natural law is not some law inside nature and apart from God, as Rushdoony believed, but rather it is the law of God inscribed upon our hearts as Paul the Apostle believed (Rom 2:14-15).
Where the rubber meets the road, however, is when it comes to obedience to God’s law. [Read more…] about On God’s Law in Nature
Before 2020, people generally considered vaccines to be a mundane tool of medicine. School children in Ontario are required to have a whole set of vaccines. Travellers had to be immunized to visit certain countries. I myself had to take a host of vaccines to immigrate to the USA. I did not feel at the time that the USA infringed upon my personal liberty.
Fast track to 2021. Vaccines now are widely controversial. In the USA, I have observed that part of the controversy involves political differences. But there are also medical and epidemiological reasons too. For example, some believe that natural immunity is better than vaccine immunity. In Canada, the controversy has less heat and seems to centre on the idea of vaccine passports. People feel that if they decide not to vaccinate, then they should have equal freedom to visit restaurants as those who are vaccinated.
I will say a few things about this below, but my point here is to explore the question of whether or not vaccines are good. I do not intend to discuss every point of controversy that surrounds the use or non-use of vaccines. I primarily want to ask and answer the question of whether or not vaccines in general are natural goods.
In short, here is my argument. No one should be forced to take a vaccine, but everyone should recognize the natural good that medicine is. “The farmer knows just what to do, for God has given him understanding” (Isa 28:26). By the light of nature, he teaches the medical researcher too. [Read more…] about Are Vaccines Good?
Every Christian must uphold and maintain the law of God.
Then again: I don’t sacrifice animals or go outside the camp if I touch something dead. So it is evident that we must distinguish law or fall into deadly legalism.
Richard Hooker does just that in his first book of Ecclesiastical Polity. He knows that his work will not be popular. He writes: “This book might have been more popular and more accessible to the masses if it had merely extolled the force of laws and the necessity of good laws, and had railed against the evils of those who attack them.”
Had he simply said, “you have to obey God’s law,” people may have approved. Yet in so doing, he would engage in unhelpful rhetoric. He explains: “However, this kind of rhetoric is more liable to stir up passions than to build up understanding of the issues in question.”
He is right. The reformers lived by “we distinguish” because the lack of distinctions can kill. Are we justified by faith or by faith working through love? Is faith working through love evidence of genuine faith?
The small things matter.
And unhelpfully simplifying matters, as noted, might be rhetorically powerful but they can be deadly. In the early church, many found Arius rhetorically powerful. He convinced a lot through his simple slogans too. But he was a heretic.
So let’s distinguish law according to the reformed and Augustinian tradition because these two traditions rightly understand God’s revelation. [Read more…] about Upholding the Law of God by Distinguishing Law