December 07, 2003 Q & A

Theonomy and the OPC


Does the OPC have a position on theonomy, or done any "official" studies on the subject?


To the best of my knowledge, our General Assembly has never appointed a study committee on theonomy, which is how a matter would be dealt with by our entire denomination. Our official doctrinal positions are found in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms (which is subordinate to the Bible, of course, and which we believe is an accurate summary of its essential doctrines). The Orthodox Presbyterian Church would have an "official position" on theonomy if the Westminster Standards somehow required it or ruled it out of bounds.

The problem is that "theonomy" is a rather broad category, encompassing a range of views. A number of self-described theonomists disagree with each other on various points of doctrine. Thus, the relationship of theonomy to the Westminster Standards depends on what "brand" of theonomy is under discussion.

Some critics of theonomy argue that it contradicts the Westminster Standards' on how the Law of God given to Moses is to be applied to day (Westminster Confession of Faith ch. 19). Some theonomists argue their views are in fact required by the Westminster Standards. All theonomists (to the best of my knowledge) would argue their views are at the very least allowable by the Westminster Standards.

As you can see, I'm unable to give a clear answer to your question because there is no one definition of the term "theonomy." You will find a range of opinion in the OPC regarding theonomy, but no official position on the movement one way or the other.



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