Insane Thinking About the Law

From Chapter 27 of The Institutes of Biblical Law Volume 3.

By Dr. Rousas John Rushdoony

I frequently get telephone calls and letters, attacking me for affirming Biblical law. The questions begin thus: “Do you believe that homosexuals should be executed?” My answer always is simply that God so requires it in the Bible, and, as an interpreter of and a believer in the Bible, I do not believe that I have the right to disagree with God. The next question is usually this: how then can you be a Christian since Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” (John 8:7)? I try to explain that, first, an ancient premise of law requires that those who take part in a trial have “clean hands” in the matter, i.e., no thief can take part in a trial for theft as a credible witness. Second, if no man can be a part of a trial unless he is sinless, then, since we are all sinners, there can be no law, no courts, no police, no penalty, for crime since we all are sinners. This does not seem to disconcert most questioners.

This means that contemporary antinomianism is moving logically and steadily into the thinking of the Marquis de Sade. Sade held that any act committed was a natural and therefore a good act. Theft, murder, rape, incest, sodomy, and all the sins condemned by God, being natural were therefore good. Only Christianity and its faith and law were evil because they were supernatural.

It is interesting that the first question is usually about homosexuality. In personal confrontations, such questioners commonly refuse to answer the question, “Are you a homosexual, or, Why are homosexuals such a key concern for you?” Homosexuality has become a central intellectual concern because it is a central offense against God, and the essential burning out of man in his hatred of and war against God. (In Romans 1:27 “burned” should be translated as “burned out.”) Questions about God’s law on homosexuality are ways of challenging God’s moral status! Some questioners insist that Jesus demanded the death of the law, despite His statement in Matthew 5:17-19. Such opinions reflect William Blake and ancient and modern gnosticism.

Another statement common to such critics is that to affirm God’s law is to affirm hate! But hatred of what? To affirm God’s law means that one wants to protect people from rape, murder, theft, and lawlessness in all its aspects. In the post-World War II years, I have unhappily known of many, many cases of rape, some of particularly vicious and sadistic character. Whom do these antinomians propose to love, the rapists or the victims? Some will insist on demanding that we “hate the sin and love the sinner.” But sin does not exist in the abstract; it is an act of men and an expression of their nature. Some rapists have laughed in the faces of their victims and have held that they did them a favor. A person’s acts do not exist in the abstract, in some strange realm, while he continues as an innocent man whom God supposedly requires us to love. The “love the sinner, hate the sin” idea goes back to Hellenic paganism and its virtual divorce of the body from the mind.

Modem man’s love affair with the homosexual is really a hatred of God and a love affair with himself. He will answer, when challenged about his “concern” for homosexuals, that he has no use for them; he is concerned about their civil liberties; he wants a “free and open” society, and so on and so on. Of course, there is commonly an insistence that the Biblical texts about homosexuality refer to male prostitutes. Implicit in their reasoning is the premise, “If God tolerates them, He must certainly tolerate me!” One man said that he would like to be on our side, and would be if our affirmation of God and moral law were a more general one! Men and women have often insisted that they love their spouse, and their adulteries must be understood in context!

The total context of our lives is the triune God, His law-word, His atoning work in Christ, and more. If we do not take His law in all its facets seriously, we cannot appreciate His atoning work.