A while back, I was invited to speak to the Christian Law Society at Georgia State University College of Law. Last Thursday, October 8, 2015, I lectured to a group law students on the topic, “Does the Bible have a place in American Jurisprudence?”
The student to who invited me is a reader of American Vision and wanted to introduce to the student body the concept of biblical law and its role in American history. Knowing I was coming from a theonomic perspective, he invited a prominent professor who is also an orthodox rabbi, but who also is decidedly liberal on certain social issues such as same-sex marriage, just to spice things up a bit. There would be Q&A at the end.
On the eve of the event, I was informed that said professor actually assigned one of his classes to attend the lecture in addition to the willing who responded to the Christian Law Society. In the end, about 40 or so students showed up to hear this theonomist lecture about how biblical law has influenced American jurisprudence, and how it should do so even more.
I first laid a foundation for biblical covenantal thinking and contrasted that to the tyrannies that must result from humanistic attempts to address the questions God intended to addressed only by biblical covenant structure. I then focused on the example of the historical development of the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination, and showed how 1) this Right arose nowhere else except in the west, particularly in British common law, and 2) this Right has no other historical antecedents except in Jewish applications the laws for witnesses in Deuteronomy.
I then outlined how this was the case for a list of Rights we hold dear, all of which have their theoretical and historical precedent in Old Testament Law:
- Separation of church and state
- Rule of law
- Equality before the law
- Consent of the government
- Accusatory trial system (as opposed to Inquisitorial)
- Castle doctrine
- Sanctity of Private property (incl. no eminent domain)
- Strict retribution for perjury
Given this list of Rights and Liberties arising from Biblical Law, my answer to the question posed in the lecture title was not only “Yes,” but “You’d better hope Biblical Law has a place in American jurisprudence.” In fact, given that our society is still afflicted with certain aspects of the humanistic system embodied in Roman Civil Law, and that this tyrannical system is increasing in various ways, we need Biblical Law more than ever more.