I got to attend this debate in person last February (2015). I’ve learned a lot about theonomy since then, and there are a lot of silly objections to theonomy, but there really are no good objections. McDurmon’s opening argument really lays out the presuppositional arguments for theonomy, and they can’t be defeated, and JD Hall didn’t even try.
If God’s law is just, then it is obligatory. The Bible says it is just dozens of times, even in the New Testament.
If, modern nations are free to choose a range of laws, and they are still considered just (as an anti-theonomist would say), then a theonomist is just as free to choose to work to implement God’s law as a non-theonomist would be to work to implement whatever law they want. If theonomists are wrong, then, God’s law is just one political position among many that are valid. I don’t see why there is so much vitriol against it.
In reality, I do know why there’s vitriol. God doesn’t care about the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. He only cares about His law. There are Christians who realize that if theonomy is true, they will be called on to sacrifice. Some Christians have invested their entire lives into careers that, if theonomy is true, are sinful. So, it’s easier to just accuse theonomists of heresy.
And as someone who isn’t Presbyterian, I’ve been wondering why JD Hall and others have focused so much on whether the Westminster Confession is consistent with theonomy. The confession isn’t inerrant. My only question is whether it’s biblical or not. But Hall knew that he couldn’t really answer the presuppositional arguments for theonomy, so he changed the subject to whether theonomy is consistent with the confessions.
Here’s some things to look out for in the debate. I find a lot of agreement with Hall’s opening statement, but then he spends the rest of the debate contradicting what he said. Think about why JD admits that execution for buggery was just, but then goes on to accuse theonomists of all kinds of heresy. This is because he had to change the subject.
Then, check out this for some more info on some of the mistakes JD Hall made.