No, You’re Not Really a Theonomist

(If You Believe In Religious Liberty)

Cody Libolt
For the New Christian Intellectual
3 min readOct 31, 2022


Here is a question I sometimes ask “General Equity Theonomists” —

Are Christians in America morally justified in doing what God commanded the people of Israel to do in Deuteronomy 13:1–11?

Why or why not?

For reference, the passage commands the ancient people of Israel to put to death anyone who secretly encouraged an Israelite to worship a false god.

(See the full text below.)

This passage should give some pause to the “General Equity Theonomists,” who often accuse their detractors of not loving God’s Law.

Is it God’s will for Christians to use force in the way people of Israel were commanded to use it?

If their answer is yes, they place themselves far outside the conventional American understanding of the relationship between religion and society. Let them own that implication in front of those they are trying to persuade.

But, if their answer is no, then their rhetorical attacks against the conventional view (“You don’t love God’s Law”) seem to be greatly weakened.

Video ==> No, You’re Not Really a Theonomist (If You Believe In Religious Liberty)

Deuteronomy 13:1–11 (ESV)

1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,

2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’

3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.

5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known,

7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.

9 But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people.

10 You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

11 And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.

PS — The above video is an excerpt from our full episode, available here: