Office Hours: Justice, The Bible, And The Modern World

Office HoursFew questions heat up the Evangelical and Reformed worlds in North America quite as quickly as the question of how to relate biblical law to contemporary civil life. A significant number of American evangelicals think that the biblical laws of the Mosaic period, including the ten commandments, are irrelevant today because they’ve been superseded by the New Testament. Others want to reinstitute the Mosaic civil laws. The traditional Reformed approach is to say that the Mosaic civil laws or judicial laws as they’re called in the Westminster Confession of Faith 19.4, have “expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other now further than the general equity thereof may require.” So, Reformed Christians recognize Israel had a unique place in the history of redemption, that no nation after national Israel has that peculiar place. That function has been fulfilled. Nevertheless, we can learn general principles from the biblical judicial law of the Old Testament and apply them to our civil life together. Dr Jonathan Burnside is Professor of Biblical Law in the Law School of the University of Bristol, UK. He joins us in this episode to guide us as we think about how wisely to apply biblical civil laws to our time and place. He’s author of God, Justice, And Society (2011).

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