Social Ethics

By James M. Rochford

We might think that the integration of social ethics (for society) and biblical ethics (for the church) would be easy. After all, we have the Bible, and God tells us right from wrong on most important moral issues. Yet the issue of social ethics from a Christian perspective is actually very complex. Consider a few questions that arise in this discussion:

  • What if a given nation only consists of 10 percent Christians? Do they still have the moral right to legislate ethics to the other 90 percent?
  • From where do we draw our ethical commands? The OT or the NT or both?
  • If we use Old Testament (OT) laws, does this mean that we should outlaw seafood (Lev. 11:10), beard-trimmers (Lev. 19:27-28), football (Lev. 11:7-8), and cutting the grass on a Saturday (Ex. 35:2)?
  • Should we enforce capital punishment on disobedient children (Deut. 21:18-21; Lev. 20:9), false teachers (Deut. 13:5; 18:20; Lev. 19:26; Ex. 22:18), and adulterers (Lev. 20:10).
  • Is it accurate to legislate OT civil laws to all nations, when these were given to only one nation—namely, Israel? (For a thorough discussion of each of these laws, see “What about the God of the Old Testament?”)
  • If we use New Testament (NT) imperatives, does this mean that we should legislate confession (Jas. 5:16), admonition (Rom. 15:14), forgiveness (Eph. 4:32), encouragement (1 Thess. 5:11), and sacrificial love (Rom. 13:8; 1 Pet. 1:22)?
  • Is it accurate to legislate NT imperatives to all nations, when these were given only to Christians—not non-Christians?
  • Why is the NT conspicuously silent on how to run a civil government?

As you can see, the answers to these questions are confusing and not as straightforward as one might think.

Theonomic ethics as a basis for social ethics

Theos means “God” and nomos means “law.” Thus advocates of theonomic ethics (called “theonomists” or “reconstructivists”) hold that believers should institute laws to run the government as a Christian State. On this view, since morality is objective, then moral laws are binding on non-Christians—whether they like it or not. Theonomists often appeal to OT civil laws, which would include executing adulterers and heretics. R. J. Rushdoony,[1] Greg Bahnsen,[2] Kenneth Gentry,[3] Gary DeMar,[4] and Gary North[5] hold to this view.

Historically, the vast majority of Christians since the time of Constantine (AD 313) have held to this view. For centuries, Christians believed that the Church and the State should not be separate, but should be viewed as one. For instance, John Calvin signed the execution order for Michael Servetus (who held to a heretical view of the Trinity), while he ruled in Geneva. In 1546, after extended debate with Servetus, Calvin wrote to his close friend William Farel, “If he comes here, if my authority is worth anything, I will never permit him to depart alive.” While Calvin didn’t agree with the method of execution (being burned alive with his heretical books!), Calvin did agree with his execution, writing 17 letters to find him guilty of heresy.[6]

Criticism of theonomic ethics

While this approach to social ethics has dominated Christian thinking for the majority of church history, most Christians today reject such a view for a number of reasons:

First, the Israelites agreed with the covenant given to them. Exodus records, “[Moses] took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” (Ex. 24:7). Since Israel agreed to the covenant with God, this implies that a “consensual morality was therefore involved.”[7]

Second, the apostles repeatedly demonstrate that OT civil law has been replaced by the new covenant. The purpose and use of the law changed after the Cross (see comments on Romans 7:6).

Circumcision: In the OT law, Gentiles needed to be circumcised to be allowed into the community of God (Gen. 17:14). However, when Jewish Christians argued for the necessity of circumcision (Acts 15:1, 5), the early Christian leaders determined that Gentiles did not need circumcision (Acts 15:23-29).

False teaching: Israel executed false teachers for leading people astray (Deut. 13:5; 18:20; Lev. 19:26; Ex. 22:18). However, after the Cross, Simon (the magician) was not stoned to death; he was converted to Christ (Acts 8:9-13). Later, when he made drastic doctrinal errors, he was not put to death; he was rebuked and corrected by Peter (Acts 8:18-23). Likewise, when Paul came across a “Jewish false prophet” named Bar-Jesus, he did not stone the man to death; he rebuked him (Acts 13:10) and temporarily blinded him (Acts 13:11).

Adultery: In 1 Corinthians 5, a man is caught in adultery (sleeping with his stepmother). Paul didn’t call on this adulterer to be executed, as the OT law prescribed (Lev. 20:10). Instead, he called on him to be removed from fellowship.

Submission to secular government: In the OT, the people of God lived in a theocracy—not a democracy. “Theocracy” comes from the Greek words theos (“God”) and archos (“ruler”). God ruled this nation personally. However, after the Cross, God commands Christians to submit to secular government. Paul writes, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities” (Rom. 13:1a). Peter writes, “Honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17). Moreover, Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (Jn. 18:36; cf. Mk. 12:17). Since believers are now “citizens of heaven” (Phil. 3:20), they are not supposed to identify with the nation of Israel. Instead, they are to go out into all nations with the gospel (Mt. 28:18-20).

While the nation of Israel had hundreds of laws on how to conduct and maintain a civil government, the NT does not contain any instructions on how to run a civil government. Believers are not called to take over the government and turn it into a theocracy, but instead to submit to it.

Third, OT civil laws were not God’s ideal. This might come as a shock to many Bible believers (“How could a perfect God give imperfect laws?”). Yet regarding the OT civil law regarding divorce (Deut. 24:1-5), Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way” (Mt. 19:8). Notice that Jesus did not say that God desired divorce; in fact, God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). Jesus tells us that God “permitted” divorce because of their “hardness of heart.” Similarly, God didn’t want slavery, but he permitted it. He didn’t want war crimes, but he permitted them. He didn’t want severe punishments, but he permitted these as well. When God gave his civil laws to the nation of Israel, he was not trying to create a perfect society, once and for all. Such a goal is impossible in a fallen world filled with free moral agents. Instead, God was trying to improve society to make it more humane.

This does not mean that moral relativism is true (see “Is It Objectively Wrong to Object to Moral Wrongs?”). It isn’t. Morality comes from God’s unchanging nature. Moreover, this also does not mean that the OT contains no universal, moral imperatives. It does. One way—though not the only way—to identify universal moral imperatives is by comparing OT laws with NT imperatives. For instance, adultery is mentioned in the OT law, and it is repeated in the NT.[8] (For further explanation, see “Tips for Interpreting Old Testament Law”)

Fourth, no nation is God’s “Christian nation.” Many in the Religious Right claim that the United States of America is God’s “Christian nation.” Therefore, we should take over the government in order to bring our nation under God’s leadership. For instance, Randall Terry writes, “If righteousness is going to prevail, if paganism is going to be turned back, then we must move to restore this nation to being a Christian nation… And if we are going to reform and rebuild our country we’re going to have to deliberately infiltrate the [political] power bases of America.”[9] However, this concept is inaccurate on both biblical and historical grounds:

(1) Biblically, this is inaccurate. God made covenant promises with only one nation: Israel—not the United States. Instead, Christians are supposed to reach people in “all the nations” (Mt. 28:19), and the book of Revelation pictures God’s people as coming from all nations (Rev. 7:9). Furthermore, the New Testament teaches “unmistakably that Christ set aside national and ethnic barriers and that He has chosen to fulfill His central purposes in history through the Church, which transcends all such boundaries… The Lord of history has not aligned His purposes with the particular values of any given country or civilization.”[10]

(2) Historically, this is inaccurate. While some of the Founding Fathers were Christians, others were not. More importantly, there is no mention of Jesus Christ in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, which is a conspicuous omission. Christian historians Mark A. Noll, Nathan Hatch, and George Marsden write, “[The] United States was the first Western nation to omit explicitly Christian symbolism, such as the Cross, from its flag and other early national symbols.”[11] Moreover, in 1797, Washington negotiated a treaty with Tripoli (modern-day Libya which was a largely Islamic nation). The Senate ratified this treat and President John Adams signed it. In Article 11, Adams wrote, “The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”[12]

For these reasons, we find theonomic ethics to be an untenable view.

Natural law as a basis for social ethics

We agree with those Christian ethicists who hold that natural law is a better basis for social ethics.[13] Natural law is the basic moral law that can be discovered through general revelation (i.e. human conscience), rather than specific revelation (i.e. Scripture). God has revealed a basic moral law to all people—regardless of whether or not they believe in him. Paul writes that “God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (Rom. 1:19). Later he writes, “When Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Rom. 2:14-15). This natural law is so clear that people will be judged by Christ based upon it (v.16). Therefore, instead of appealing to morality based on the Bible, we should appeal to morality that even “Gentiles” can agree upon.

Natural law does not give us a perfect understanding of God’s moral will. However, it does bring us to at least two clear moral principles: (1) justice and (2) equality. From these two clear moral principles, we can safeguard basic rights for the disadvantaged and marginalized. Furthermore, this view offers significant freedom, while also providing significant restrictions on moral evils. This does not lead to a perfectly governed society, but then again, no view can offer this, because we live in a fallen world.

Incidentally, the foundation of natural law was the view adopted by the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson (a deist) took this approach in the Declaration of Independence. He wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Jefferson appealed to general revelation (“we hold these truths to be self-evident”) and a Creator (“endowed by their Creator”). As a deist, Jefferson didn’t ground these rights in the Bible, but in “self-evident” moral perception.

Advantages of natural law

Natural law provides common ground for ethical discussion. Many in our secular culture do not believe in the Bible, and appealing to it is a conversation stopper. Norman Geisler notes, “Since reconstructionism [theonomy] is government based on religious revelation, the question can always be asked: ‘Whose revelation?’ It is simply bigotry to answer: ‘Mine!’ And it is presumption to respond: ‘God’s.’ Lest Christians be tempted to say a Christian revelation, we need only be reminded that there is a Muslim revelation too. In a pluralistic world no one’s religious revelation is going to be accepted by all others as the basis for government.”[14] Natural law allows us to engage in the public arena based on reason (a shared commodity), rather than revelation.

Natural law avoids religious coercion and autocracy. For those Christians who want to have their nation run by biblical law, we might ask, “Which person or denomination should interpret biblical law for our society? Southern Baptists? Methodists? Catholics? Presbyterians? Would you want other Christians to force their theological views on you?” Robert McQuilkin writes, “Even if the church or church people could control government, it would not be a good thing. A religious totalitarianism is no better than a secular totalitarianism. Inquisitions are not the exclusive domain of one particular brand of religion. But even if we are persuaded that it might turn out for the common welfare, we may have no part of it because Christ himself forbade it. [citing Jn. 18:36]”[15] Furthermore, in a pluralistic society, other citizens may want to have their nation run by their religious holy books as well (e.g. Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran).

Natural law offers citizens the free expression of religion—a biblical view. The separation of the Church and the State is a thoroughly biblical idea. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting” (Jn. 18:36). Jesus paid his taxes like any other citizen (Mt. 17:24-27; cf. Mt. 22:15-21). Moreover, the apostles told us to submit to the government—not to create an autocracy (Rom. 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13, 17).

Christianity—not to mention society—flourishes far better under a free expression of religion and a separate of Church and State. God does not believe in coerced conversions. God gives us the freedom to accept or reject him, and we should do the same. Historically speaking, whenever the Church got into bed with the State, Christianity has atrophied (e.g. the state churches in Europe) or led to atrocities (e.g. the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, etc.).

Political reform in the NT

As we noted above, the NT is strangely silent on how to run a civil government. Unlike the OT where we find hundreds of laws for running a civil government, the NT simply tells us to submit ourselves to the government (Rom. 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13, 17). Other observations stand out to us with regard to the NT view of political reform:

(1) Jesus and Paul both had ample opportunities to speak about politics, but never engaged in political discussion or debate. Jesus stood before various governmental authorities, but he never argued about politics or political reform. When Paul had an opportunity to speak to the political leaders of his day, he preached the gospel—to the Roman governors Felix (Acts 24:25) and Festus (Acts 25:19), as well as King Herod Agrippa II (Acts 26:1-23). In fact, Agrippa told Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28). Paul stayed imprisoned for years, so that he could share the gospel with Caesar himself (Acts 25:11; 26:32; 2 Tim. 4:17). Paul considered his imprisonment “suffering for the gospel,” not for political reform (2 Tim. 1:8). While Paul defended his own legal innocence throughout his trial, he never once discussed politics with these government officials.

(2) The NT authors didn’t write or speak about political reform in their letters. The Roman Empire of the first-century was filled with rampant immorality—way worse than today! (See “Moral Norms in the Ancient World”) And yet, we see a deafening silence regarding political reform in the pages of the NT.

For instance, Paul didn’t command the Christians to picket the Corinthian prostitution temples; instead, he gave them spiritual and ethical teaching to abstain from fornication and prostitution (1 Cor. 6:12-18). Likewise, Paul didn’t lead a political campaign to end slavery; instead, he taught biblical ethics on the equality of all human persons—whether “slave or free” (Gal. 3:28). This spiritual foundation lit the slow fuse that eventually brought down slavery (see “The Bible and Slavery”).

(3) From this, we might infer that the central NT strategy for reaching culture is “bottom up,” rather than “top down.” Jesus didn’t try to persuade the leaders of his day about political reform. Instead, he discipled twelve “uneducated” men (Acts 4:13), and these men turned the world upside down through discipling others!

These examples do not preclude believers from entering into political discussion or political reform. However, they show what our emphasis and priority should be regarding these issues.

How involved in politics should believers be?

We believe that Christians should involve themselves in political issues in our democratic society. However, we think this should be guided by biblical teaching, wisdom principles, personal conscience, and prioritized ethics. While we do not have clear instruction from Scripture as to the level of our involvement, we do have principles that should guide our thinking:

(1) The preaching of the gospel should be prioritized over all other endeavors—even politics. In his book An Introduction to Biblical Ethics, Robert McQuilkin writes, “The church must ever keep its primary responsibility toward the world as one of evangelism, bringing men out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Furthermore, its primary responsibility toward its own is building new men. For this reason, social action must be secondary. If the church does not evangelize and disciple, no amount of political activity will improve society very much and, more important, the basic business of populating heaven for eternity will go undone.”[16]

Some Christians say that we can prioritize both, but this is to misunderstand the definition of the word “prioritize.” Imagine if someone took a highlighter to emphasize key parts of a textbook—only to highlight every single word! This wouldn’t be highlighting the textbook; it would be changing the colors of the pages! Similarly, when we make everything a priority, we effectively make nothing a priority.

Historically, theologically conservative Christians criticized theologically liberal Christians for focusing on the “social gospel.” That is, liberal Christians replaced the proclamation of the gospel with good deeds. Ironically, many conservative Christians now make the same mistake but from an opposite perspective—namely, emphasizing petitions over proclamation—protesting over preaching. Believers should be careful that our involvement in political reform (a good thing) does not eclipse our involvement in spreading Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness (an ultimate thing). Reaching lost people with the gospel and discipling them in the Christian faith will do more to change culture, and it will also do incommensurably more from the eternal perspective.

(2) Our political involvement should not create barriers for the gospel. Paul wrote, “I do all things for the sake of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:23). Even regarding the wicked practice of slavery, Paul writes, “All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against” (1 Tim. 6:1). Even in the context of slavery (a horrible social evil!), Paul taught that the spread of the gospel should be the ultimate priority (cf. Titus 2:9-11). Similarly, Jesus’ opponents tried to get him to pick political sides regarding taxes (Mt. 22:15-21). Jesus didn’t legitimize the tax, nor did he revolt against it (Mt. 17:24-27). Instead, he separated himself from the political divide, knowing that taking sides would alienate half of his audience.

Christians are ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). Consider what this imagery suggests. Ambassadors do not give their opinions to neighboring nations as though these were universally sanctioned truths from their governments. Hasty and undiplomatic comments like these could create alienation between nations, or even spark wars! Sadly, many Christians make this error: They proclaim their own political views, as if these were sanctioned from Scripture. While we might have our own views on public policy, we should be careful to delineate our own views from clear teachings of Scripture.

(3) Legislation can curb—not cure—the sinful human condition. Consider when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. This helped to end the institution of chattel slavery in the United States. However, years later, the sin of racism still persists. Chuck Colson wrote,

Today’s misspent enthusiasm for political solutions to the moral problems of our culture arises from a distorted view of both politics and Christianity—too low a view of the power of a sovereign God and too high a view of the ability of man. The idea that human systems, reformed by Christian influence, pave the road to the Kingdom—or at least, to revival—has the same utopian ring that one finds in Marxist literature. It also ignores the consistent lesson of history that shows that laws are most often reformed as a result of powerful spiritual movements (not vice versa). I know of no case where a spiritual movement was achieved by passing laws.[17]

It’s amazing how quickly evangelism and discipleship are marginalized or minimized discussions about social ethics, when the NT offers this as our definitive “Great Commission” (Mt. 28:18-20). Historically, the Abolitionist Movement was preceded by several decades of evangelism in the United States. The First Great Awakening (1730s) and the Second Great Awakening (1800s) led thousands to Christ through the preaching of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and John Wesley. This “bottom up” approach reached thousands with the truth and love of Christ, and as a result, slavery was abolished by the newly revived Anglo-American conscience. McQuilkin writes, “For the first three centuries of its existence the church was heavily involved in social action, but not through government agency.”[18]

(4) Legislating a biblical view without inner moral change can do potential harm. Robert McQuilkin argues that if the majority of the society is not agreed on a moral issue, then “the law becomes unenforceable. It is a bad law because it promotes lawlessness. Therefore, if a Christian is interested in having morals legislated, he must not only ask what is right and what is good for society, he must also ask, What will this society accept? Of course, he may fight for a losing cause on principle. But if he actually intends to impose a minority standard on the majority, he should understand that the legal fabric would be weakened, and in the end much more than the specific moral issue would be lost.”[19]

Should we teach a dogmatic “Christian view” on public policy issues?

We should be careful to distinguish moral and ethical teaching within the church from public policy issues for society. While believers should agree on serious moral issues for Christians, this doesn’t mean that we will always agree on how to engage these issues socially or politically. For instance, everyone should care for the plight of the poor, but what is the best solution? This isn’t always clear.

A good historical example was President Lyndon Johnson’s reforms in the 1960’s. Many Christians supported his policies to help single mothers gain government support. This helped many mothers and children who were in poverty. To them, it seemed like the Christian thing to do. Since this time, some political analysts have argued that the unintended effects of this legislation created a cultural ethos that encourages women to give birth out of wedlock—effectively damaging the family unit. Consequently, this has only hurt the poor—not helped. The point here is not to endorse one view or another, but merely to show that public policy is very complex, and the “Christian” view is not always clear.

Christian historians Mark A. Noll, Nathan Hatch, and George Marsden write, “We should have Christian approaches to politics, recognizing that there will be a variety of these, but we should not expect to produce ‘the Christian political program.’”[20] We agree with Christian ethicists John and Paul Feinberg who note,

Scripture gives help on the moral questions (though we may disagree about what Scripture says), but it does not answer the prudential questions. Answers to ethical questions should be ‘the Christian position,’ but answers to prudential questions are not. Real difficulties arise when prudential answers are treated as ethical ones and then absolutized for all Christians.[21]

Whether it is morally right or wrong to pray to God should not be a matter of debate among Christians. However, whether one’s right to pray requires legislation of a mandatory moment of silence so that those who want to pray can do so at that moment is hardly a moral issue.[22]

Honest and faithful Christians may come to different conclusions regarding public policy. McQuilkin writes, “The entire issue of church-state relationships is impossible of final resolution because God has not revealed the preferred arrangement. Possibly he has not done so because there is no ideal arrangement for fallen humankind.”[23] Later he notes that faulty public policies coming from the church will “undermine its authority for proclaiming the eternal message, especially if it gives social or political answers that prove wrong. A credibility gap develops and the lack of confidence in the church shifts back to lack of confidence in the Bible and ultimately to God.”[24]

Should Christian leaders take political stances?

Most Christian pastors are not trained in the complexities of public policy. Even if they were, they should be not give dogmatic assertions from the pulpit. In our view, this oversteps their role as a spiritual leader, and it results in “exceeding what is written” (1 Cor. 4:6), especially when the NT gives no teaching on how to run a civil government. Christian pastors should be careful to distinguish their personal, political views from objective, biblical teaching. They should be careful to distinguish ethics for those within the church from public policies for society. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Theology teaches us what ends are desirable and what means are lawful, while politics teaches what means are effective… If we have these qualifications we may, of course, state our opinions: but then we must make it quite clear that we are giving our personal judgment and have no command from the Lord. Not many priests have these qualifications. Most political sermons teach the congregation nothing except what newspapers are taken at the Rectory.”[25]

Questions to consider[26]

Do I make political statements that bring shame on Christ, because of how I’m behaving?

Do I make moral judgments about people that I don’t personally know?

When was the last time I showed personal love toward people from the other side of the political aisle? (Mt. 5:44)

Do I view others with contempt?

Do I feel more comfortable with people who share my faith—whom Scripture calls my spiritual family? (see Gal. 6:10; 1 Tim. 3:15; Mk. 3:32-35; 10:28-30) Or do I feel more comfortable with people who share my politics?

Do I understand both sides of this political debate? Have I read sound thinking from an opposing viewpoint?

[1] Rousas John Rushdoony, God’s Plan for Victory: The Meaning of Post Millennialism (Fairfax, VA: Thoburn Pr., 1977). Rushdoony founded the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.

[2] Greg L. Bahnsen, Victory in Jesus: The Bright Hope of Postmillenialism (Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media, 1999).

[3] Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1992).

[4] See his ministry:

[5] Gary North, Theonomy: An Informed Response (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991).

[6] On August 20, 1553, Calvin wrote William Farel, “I hope that sentence of death will at least be passed on him; but I desired that the severity of the punishment be mitigated.”

[7] Arthur Holmes, Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions (Downers Grove, IL, U.S.A.: InterVarsity, 1984), 102.

[8] Other hermeneutical principles would include (1) the use of the death penalty to show that something is morally egregious and (2) God’s judgment on pagan nations for what they should have known apart from having the moral law (Lev. 18:24-25).

[9] Randall Terry, Why Does a Nice Guy Like Me Keep Getting Thrown in Jail? (Vital Issues Press, 1993), pp.80-81.

[10] Mark A. Noll, Nathan O. Hatch, George M. Marsden, The Search for Christian America (Colorado Springs, CO: Helmers & Howard, 1989), p.24.

[11] Mark A. Noll, Nathan O. Hatch, George M. Marsden, The Search for Christian America (Colorado Springs, CO: Helmers & Howard, 1989), 130-131.

[12] Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary (June 7, 1797). The revised treaty of 1805 omitted this clause.

[13] Arthur Holmes, Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions (Downers Grove, IL, U.S.A.: InterVarsity, 1984), 106.

[14] Norman L. Geisler, Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989), 207.

[15] Robert McQuilkin, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1989), 448.

[16] Robert McQuilkin, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1989), 459.

[17] Chuck Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict: An Insider’s Challenging View of Politics, Power, and the Pulpit (Zondervan, 1989), p.304.

[18] Robert McQuilkin, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1989), 440.

[19] Robert McQuilkin, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1989), 463.

[20] Mark A. Noll, Nathan O. Hatch, George M. Marsden, The Search for Christian America (Colorado Springs, CO: Helmers & Howard, 1989), p.139.

[21] John and Paul Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993), 398.

[22] John and Paul Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993), 399.

[23] Robert McQuilkin, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1989), 450.

[24] Robert McQuilkin, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1989), 459-460.

[25] C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, ed. Walter Hooper (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970), 94.

[26] I am indebted to my friend and colleague Ryan Lowery for these insights.