In the upcoming couple of months, I will be publishing a follow-up to my book The Bounds of Love, in particular, rebuttals to the criticisms of the cherem principle as I teach it.
At the end of last month, Martin Selbrede put up his critical comments over at Chalcedon. I found them balanced, careful, and thoughtful. I have been waiting for some time now since Selbrede told me he was planning to publish this. I am not complaining of the wait by any means, for he is probably even busier than I am; but I only mention this to explain in part my own waiting to tackle these rebuttals for quite some time. I waited on Selbrede specifically because I anticipated his would be more scholarly and responsible than some other critiques I had seen, but also in general just to make sure one of the more prominent voices would be taken into account as well. While I was certainly right about the quality of his contribution, the others contain a few questions that should be addressed as well, although some simply need to be put down like a mad cow.
In addition to Selbrede’s review, I have heard of published criticisms or responses from Brian Schwertley (four sermons collected together here), a roundtable of Joel and Luke Saint and John Bingaman, and Brandon Adams at Reformed Libertarian. There was another from a young man which has been endorsed by Joseph Morecraft, Tim Yarbrough, and Paul Michael Raymond. None of these gentlemen published criticisms of their own, but each saw fit to put their name behind this one. There have been several individuals voice disagreement on social media here and there, but without publishing any type of systematic written critiques. Among the more vociferous of these have pointed out that Greg Bahnsen allegedly already refuted my position in No Other Standard. A few people seem to agree with this. I will address this as well.
I will address all of these criticisms together in one place in as thorough and systematic attempt as possible. I think they are all answerable, but I want to give them as fair a shake as possible. I want to represent them as fairly and in their strongest light possible, first, because I may be persuaded by them, and second, if I am not persuaded, I will be refuting the strongest version of the opposition.
So, in the meantime, I am giving a thorough review of each of these, as well as reading a bit of new material (for example on Hebrew exegesis and theology) I have pulled up in the meantime. I have learned a few new things, all of which tends to corroborate my original thesis, although I still reserve the right to learn from my critics as well. This upcoming Theonomy book should at the very least be enlightening to everyone interested in Theonomy.
Will the “cherem principle” survive? Yes. Will it be modified? If so, in what way? We will have to wait and see.
I would also recommend you take a look at the various criticisms linked above, starting with Martin’s. They will be contributive to some of the discussion going forward.