1 Cor 5:13 is the general equity of Deut 22:21

The article at left claims to be "Reformed [Calvinist] Libertarian." In this column is a pro-Theonomy response.
Merriam-Webster defines equity as “1a: justice according to natural law or right; specifically : freedom from bias or favoritism” or also as “2c: a body of legal doctrines and rules developed to enlarge, supplement, or override a narrow rigid system of law“.  
A. Craig Troxel and Peter J. Wallace explain:  

As a term, “equity” is used primarily in the fields of ethics and law, where it connotes or invokes the ideals of justice, fairness, equality, mercy, and evenhanded dealing, as well as the idea of “judgment according to the spirit, rather than the letter of the law.” Equity denotes justice which is administered according to what is right and fair as opposed to what is strictly demanded by the rules of common law. In a legal context, equity asks the question, “How do you figure out what to do when the law does not apply?”

Volume: WTJ 64:2 (Fall 2002)
Article: Men In Combat Over The Civil Law: “General Equity” IN WCF 19.4
Author: A. Craig Troxel
(Slightly modified version available here)

In God's Law, God (in the case of Moses) or the Holy Spirit wrote the letters. How can the letters be contrary to the Spirit who wrote them?

Are there really some areas of human action where God's Word does not apply?

This was the legal context of WCF 19.4: The difference emerging in England between courts of "law" and courts of "equity" is not the legal context of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1647). The legal context is Roman law. We see this in Adams' article here, and here. Calvin in particular, trained in Roman law, frequently had unfortunate relapses into Roman/natural law thinking. He sometimes said that the Romans were more sophisticated than Moses, and especially more so than Anabaptists and others who despised political power and magisterial "reform."

To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging under any now, further than the general equity thereof may require.

The concept of "judicial laws" is unScriptural and ambiguous. Who determines which laws are "judicial?" It is more Scriptural to say there are "moral" laws (abiding) and "ceremonial" laws (prefiguring the shedding of Christ's blood).

Notice that a principle called "general equity" requires application of God's "judicial laws" in certain ways, determined by man, based on whether God's Law conforms to man's culture (the way society generally disobeys God) or whether it conforms to man's political theories (constructed without reference to God's Law). That specific application of a specific law of God is not itself the "general equity." The modern law (or absence of law) is the "equitable" application of God's previously-issued laws, based on the assumption that it just wouldn't be "fair" for man to be compelled to change his culture or legal theories and conform to God's revealed Law.

There is a difference between the "Theonomic" approach and the "natural law/general equity" approach. The Theonomic approach says "This law was given to us by our Creator, Lord, Master, and King. We ought to obey it." The "equity" approach says "Our current way of doing things will be uncomfortably changed if we were to obey God's Law. Let's keep doing it our own way." 

"General equity" thinking is "natural law" thinking. Is is arbitrary, humanistic, and statist. It has led historically to a vast expansion of state power.

As this theory is applied historically, it means "We don't have to obey that law because it conflicts with our culture or our political philosophies." Here are studies on the application of "general equity" thinking in the Reformers:

1. August Lang: A Reformed Look at the Reformers
2. Rushdoony: A Theonomist Looks at the Reformers
3. Nelson: Usury, Natural Law, and the Reformers
4. Benjamin Nelson Describes the Reformers' War on Biblical Law
Westminster and Fascism

The "general equity" theory is not taught in Scripture. No verse says, "You may refrain from obeying God's Law if it impinges on your cultural patterns or political theories."

To repeat, there is not a single verse in Scripture which lays down the "general equity" theory of law.

Also, Israel did not become a "body politic" until 1 Samuel 8.

Many reformed Christians today, who have grown tired of today’s moral relativism, turn to WCF 19.4 in an effort to develop a political philosophy. The Law of God, they say, must be our only standard. We must follow God’s law, or man’s law. And God has given a rather detailed list of how that law applies to states in the Mosaic Law. Of course, those laws were particular to Israel, but if we change the details, the laws are still God’s ideal for states. So, we exchange language about the land of Canaan for the land of California, and “voilla!” [sic] we’re left with the “general equity” of any give [sic] Mosaic law. The laws were not "particular to Israel." This is a dangerous and false statement. There is no evidence for this in Scripture. Note Leviticus 18:24-30

“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”

See chapter 18 of Theonomy, "The Magistrate in Nations Surrounding Israel."

The land was "defiled" or made "unclean" by failing to execute sinners according to God's Law. Numbers 35:33-34 says:

33 So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.
34 Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.

The shedding of blood to "cleanse" or "make atonement" is the underlying rationale for "capital punishment," beginning in Genesis 9:4-6.


The problem, however, is that is not the meaning of WCF 19.4. The 2nd London Baptist Confession helpfully phrases it slightly differently:  

To them also he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any now by virtue of that institution; their general equity only being of moral use. *1 Cor. 9:8-10

This is "helpful?"
LBCF clarifies that judicial laws do not oblige anyone by virtue of their being part of the Mosaic law. It is only their general equity that is of broadly moral use. But if general equity does not mean swapping “California” for “Canaan”, what does it mean?  
The confession’s position followed Calvin, and others. indeed.

It is a fact that the law of God which we call the moral law is nothing else than a testimony of natural law and of that conscience which God has engraved upon the minds of men. Consequently, the entire scheme of this equity of which we are now speaking has been prescribed in it. Hence, this equity alone must be the goal and rule and limit of all laws. (Institutes IV.xx.15-16)

Calvin hoped that his reformation would be given aid by the civil magistrate, so he tempered the demands of God's Law to make his reformation more palatable to the kings. (Institutes was dedicated to that paragon of libertarianism, the King of France.)
Richard Barcellos adds:  

The equity that an old covenant judicial law might possess does not come from the particular old covenant judicial law itself. It is simply an application of moral/natural/universal law to Israel’s unique, covenantally conditioned national life. So, there may be principles in particular old covenant judicial laws that transcend the old covenant. But the temporary law does not establish what constitutes equity. It is a unique illustration/application of it. Hence, the equity predates and even transcends the old covenant.

"Universal law" -- what the heck is that? Does it imply that there are laws which are valid for all states everywhere? What are these laws? How are they identified in Scripture?
I have asked this question of "Reformed Libertarians" before, and I don't expect an answer:
Can you name one Calvinist of any confessional tribe, who lived before David Hume was born, who did not believe that executing adulterers and homosexuals was a universally-binding (on all states, in all places, for all times) law?
In nearly all cases, this is the issue: should the State punish sexual sins? Those who say "No" (for whatever personal motivation) are opposed to Theonomy.
The general equity was the moral law that the judicial laws, unique to Israel, were based on. Thus it is the moral law that continues to be of use. The judicial laws only help provide us with specific examples of how the moral law was applied to Israel. Therefore, we do not reason from Canaan to California (1 step), but from Canaan to moral law to California (2 steps). This is confused. The "general equity" is the "natural" or "universal" principle that dictates the most recent (and allegedly more "fair") application of the more primitive principle ("the moral law"). Hence, the "moral law" against homosexuality was applied in Israel by executing them. But modern lawmakers suggest that only the "general equity" of that original "moral" law should be applied today. There is no telling what that application will be until modern lawmakers make their modern laws.



This can be better understood by recognizing the distinction between positive law and moral law. While moral law is a reflection of God’s character, positive law is something added to moral law in a given context. 22.7 of the LBCF notes:


As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he has particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s Day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.

The Sabbath/Sunday controversy is one of the most ambiguous issues in the whole Theonomy debate. While there are examples of commemorating the Lord's Resurrection on the first day of the week, there's nothing in the New Testament that says the observance of the Sabbath should be changed from the seventh day to the first day. Lord's Day and Sabbath are two different observances. There is no New Testament example of anyone observing "rest" on "the Lord's Day." Christians worked like everyone else in the Roman Empire, and met to commemorate the Resurrection in the evening, which is when most people "break bread" (Luke 24:29-30), and we often have people getting sleepy at the end of these evening "services" (Luke 22; Acts 20), but this is end-of-the-day drowsiness, not "sabbath rest."


The Sabbath is both a positive and moral law. Moral because the pattern of work and rest in the 4th commandment is moral, positive because the particular day of the week is chosen by God and can be changed. Samuel & Micah Renihan explain in Recovering a Covenantal Heritage:

Changed by autonomous man?

Moral law endures throughout all of the covenants, but positive laws do not. A positive law may be generally defined as “something that is dependent on direct revelation for its obligation.”[2] In other words, without some form of special revelation, we would not know of these positive laws and we would not be required to obey them. For example, the civil and ceremonial laws of the Old Testament are positive laws. There was no requirement placed on other nations to follow the same civil laws as Israel. These are not laws that are morally binding on all people in all places at all times. They are binding only for a particular people and for a particular time. This is because they are positive laws.[3]

This claim is dangerous and false, as we saw above. Of what laws did Jonah tell the Ninehvites to repent? Explain Sodom.  For the violation of which laws were the nations in the Promised Land judged? It was both "civil" and "ceremonial" laws. In fact, it can be said that these nations were judged for failing to administer "the civil law." If people commit murder in a society, but the civil magistrate responds appropriately, then atonement is made and the wrath of God is propitiated. In that sense, the gentile nations were judged for failing to obey "Israel's" "civil law."

When it comes to positive laws we should not assume they are in effect unless rescinded. Positive laws, instead, end with the termination of the covenant in which they were given. Positive laws are given in a particular redemptive historical setting and in a particular covenant document. Positive laws only apply to the covenantal context in which they are given. This is why we no longer are obligated to follow the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament.[4]
Positive Law and Covenantal Canon

If they are "rescinded" we should assume they are in effect???
Which passage of Scripture proves that "positive laws" expire with the covenant in which they were given? Which of the following (or their respective civil magistrates) were obligated to execute murderers and homosexuals:

• Noah: Did the command to shed the blood of murderers expire with Noah or his covenant?
• Abraham: Was the command given to Noah restated to Abraham?
• Lot/Sodom
• Moses
• David
• Nehemiah

Can you cite the Scripture to prove your answer? Which Scripture would prove that the magistrate in Sodom should punish homosexuality? What about Abraham, who lived at the same time? On what basis did Asa and other kings (operating under the Davidic covenant) enforce the terms of the Mosaic covenant?

In Owen’s words:


Positive laws are taken to be such as have no reason for them in themselves – nothing of the matter of them is taken from the things themselves commanded – but do depend merely and solely on the sovereign will and pleasure of God. Such were the laws and institutions of the sacrifices of old and such are those which concern the sacraments and other things of the like nature under the new testament. Moral laws are such as have the reasons of them taken from the nature of the things themselves required in them for they are good from their respect to the nature of God himself and from that nature and order of all things which he hath placed in the creation. So that this sort of laws is but declarative of the absolute goodness of what they do require the other is constitutive of it as unto some certain ends. Laws positive, as they are occasionally given, so they are esteemed alterable at pleasure. Being fixed by mere will and prerogative without respect to any thing that should make them necessary antecedent to their giving, they may by the same authority at any time be taken away and abolished. Such I say are they in their own nature and as to any firmitude that they have from their own subject matter. But with respect unto God’s determination, positive divine laws may become eventually unalterable. And this difference is there between legal and evangelical institutions. The laws of both are positive only, equally proceeding from sovereign will and pleasure and in their own natures equally alterable; but to the former God had in his purpose fixed a determinate time and season wherein they should expire or be altered by his authority; the latter he hath fixed a perpetuity and unchangeableness unto during the state and condition of his church in this world. The other sort of laws are perpetual and unalterable in themselves so far as they are of that sort, – that is moral. For although a law of that kind may have an especial injunction with such circumstances as may be changed and varied (as had the whole decalogue in the commonwealth of Israel), yet so far as it is moral – that is, as its commands or prohibitions are necessary emergencies or expressions of the good or evil of the things it commands or forbids – it is invariable. And in these things there is an agreement unless sometimes through mutual oppositions men are chafed into some exceptions or distinctions

Every Theonomist agrees that the "sacraments" of the Old Testament have been superceded by New Testament ordinances.

Did Owen believe that homosexuals should be executed?


A General Equity Theocracy

Though the Westminster divines, and reformed theologians in general held to 19.4, they were still establishmentarians. They still believed “The civil magistrate… hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and
abuses of worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed” (WCF 23.3).
They even included Leviticus 24:16 as Scripture reference to the above:  

Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. (Leviticus 24:16 ESV)

They still used the two-step process, but they interpreted the civl [sic] enforcement as part of the moral law (general equity). Samuel Rutherford noted  

Judicial laws may be judicial and Mosaical, and so not obligatory to us, according to the degree and quality of punishment, such as in Deuteronomy 13, the destroying the city, and devoting all therein to a curse; we may not do the like in the like degree of punishment, to all that receive and defend idolaters and blasphemers in their city. And yet that some punishment by the sword be inflicted upon such a city, is of perpetual obligation; because the magistrate bears the sword to take vengeance on ill doers, and so on these that are partakers of his ill deeds, who brings another gospel, I John 5:10. . . . . Because the slaying of man, woman, infant, and suckling, ox and sheep, was temporary, and cannot have a perpetually obligatory ground in the law of nature or natural justice obliging us. . . . . No man but sees the punishment of theft is of common moral equity, and obligeth all nations, but the manner or degree of punishment is more positive: as to punish theft by restoring four oxen for the stealing of one ox, doth not so oblige all nations, but some other bodily punishment, as whipping, may be used against thieves.
(A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience (London: R.I. for Andrew Crook, 1649) 298-99)

Note that much discussion of natural law/general equity assumed a great deal, based on the practice of all nations, rather than proving the case from Scripture. These men should be faulted for such an approach. It led them astray from properly interpreting general equity, as will be demonstrated below.  

[A]s we have found in numerous citations from contemporary Reformed theologians, there is the notion of equity as general because it is common to several sources of ethical knowledge. Classical Reformed writers isolate in the judicial laws those moral directions which are held in common with natural law and the moral law teaching of Scripture as a whole, in distinction from what is peculiar to the judicial laws and hence does not rise above temporary obligation. The classical Reformed tradition has sought corroboration from other sources for the content of general equity, before accounting a provision of the Mosaic judicial law to be of perpetual obligation. Often the initial point of reference for Puritan writers was natural law [reasoning apart from Scripture], and this is reflected in the Confession’s references to the light of nature, and to the law given to man at creation.
Sherman Isbell The Divine Law of Political Israel Expired: General Equity

Of course, what was considered general and particular in any given judicial law was debated. Because of this “Turretin claims that Roman law may often be preferred to Mosaic law because much of Roman law is ‘derived from natural and common right…[and] can be more suitable to places, times and persons.’” (Wallace). Calvin agreed with Turretin in this respect and it opened the doors to tyranny.



Francis Turretin explained that this distinction was based on the fact that the Jewish state was a “a type of the kingdom of Christ,” and that therefore the civil law “is simply abrogated because there is no longer any distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles in Christ.”23 Only those aspects of the law that have moral and universal application may be retained. Further, Turretin warns that “in the laws founded upon the common right or the law of nature, the substance of the precept must be distinguished from its circumstances.”24 Therefore care must be used in applying the judicial laws since their distinctive role as types of the kingdom of Christ so frequently is intermingled with the universal principle. Just because God gave these laws to Israel does not mean that these laws are good for every nation.

Homosexuals were executed in "the Jewish state." The "Jewish state" was a picture of the government of Christ, which is no longer limited to Jews alone, but brings in all the gentiles/nations under its authority. Since the Gentiles in the Promised Land were judged for their violation of the moral standards of Leviticus 18, why would those laws not be in effect under the government of Christ?
This is a very important point that I do not believe was consistently worked out. The simple fact that a moral law was enforced by the civil authorities of Israel does not mean modern civil authorities are obligated to enforce that same moral law. Civil enforcement is a particular, or positive aspect of the judicial laws. It is not part of the general equity. Whether or not a civil authority should enforce a moral law must be established from Scripture in Step 2, not Step 1.  
Israel was a holy nation, unique from all others. They were not a model for other nations to follow. They were a shadow of the eschatological Kingdom of Christ (they were not themselves the Kingdom of Christ). Their nation represented an “intrusion ethic” from the eschaton. Sin was not allowed in this holy land because God’s presence dwelt there externally. In the words of Abraham Booth: The Christian administration of God's Government as described in the New Testament is "a holy nation" and a "kingly priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9). So should homosexuals be executed by the "priests and kings" as they "reign" over this "holy nation?"

All nations (gentiles) have been brought near to Christ (Ephesians 2:13,17). Christ has given His priest-kings jurisdiction over all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).

By the latter [God's divine presence among them], they had a kind of local nearness to God, which conferred a relative sanctity; as appears by various instances. When, for example, Moses with astonishment beheld the burning bush, the ground on which he stood was pronounced holy, because of Jehovah’s peculiar presence there.


…And why was part of the ancient sanctuary called “the most holy place,” but because Jehovah, in a singular manner, and under a visible emblem dwelt there. Hence it is manifest, that the Divine Presence, whether under the form of an august personage, as in the cafe of Joshua ; or under the emblem of devouring fire, as in the bush, and upon mount Sinai ; or under the milder appearance of a luminous cloud f as over the mercy-seat, and at our Lord’s transfiguration, confers a relative holiness. It is also equally plain, that this miraculous presence of God being withdrawn, from the several places to which we have just adverted, they have now no more holiness than any other part of the earth.

The entire planet is under the jurisdiction of Christ, and is to be holy. There is more holiness and Spiritual presence under the New Covenant than under the Old -- not less.

So the Israelites, being separated from all other nations for the worship of Jehovah as their God, to the exclusion of all idolatry ; avowing subjection to him as their King, in contradistinction to all other sovereigns ; and he residing among them in the sanctuary, as in his royal palace ; there was a relative holiness attending their persons, and almost every thing pertaining to them. For not only Jehovah’s royal pavilion, with all its utensils and services ; the ministers of that sanctuary, and their several vestments ; but the people in general, the metropolis of their country, the houses of individuals, the land cultivated by them, and the produce of that land, were all styled holy (see Exod 28: 2,4; 29:1; Lev 19:23, 24; 20:26; 25:2, 4; 27:14, 30; Num 16:3, 38; 35:34; Deut 7:6)

All sovereigns in the Old Covenant age were obligated to bow before Jehovah and obey His Law. Obedience to this obligation is a continuing theme from the Prophets; all nations would be "holy" (e.g., Zechariah 14:16:21; Malachi 1:11, etc.).

More, expanding, holiness and divine presence, not less and contracting.

…Thus the holiness of the people, equally as that of places, was derived from the external presence of God.” Now, as the Divine Presence had a local, visible residence over the mercy-seat, which was the throne of Jehovah ; as that Presence among the Israelites had such an extensive operation upon their state, both in respect of privilege and of duty ; as the whole nation was a typical people, and a great part of their worship of a shadowy nature ; we need not wonder, that in such an ecclesiastico-political kingdom almost every thing should be esteemed, in a relative sense, holy. Under the Gospel Dispensation, how ever, these peculiarities have no existence. For Christ has not made an external covenant with any people. He is not the king of any particular nation. He dwells not in a palace made with hands. His throne is in the heavenly sanctuary ; nor does he afford his visible Presence in any place upon earth.
-Abraham Booth, The Kingdom Of Christ, p. 30-33

So we move from holy presence in the Old Covenant, to secular absence in the New?



Christ is the King of EVERY nation.

When Christ established His Kingdom, this Old Covenant was abolished and the holy land it governed was made common. The borders of this promised land were not expanded to cover all nations. No, Christ said His Kingdom is “not of this world.” His presence is no longer external, but is only internal. The establishment of this spiritual kingdom as an institution within and throughout physical kingdoms ultimately led to the undoing of the establishmentarian position (even if it was delayed for a millenia by the dark ages). But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’
Acts 11:9

"The Kingdom of God is among you/in your midst" Luke 17:21

If God's government is only "internal," should murderers be executed?

Rather than civil enforcement being carried over to the New Testament, what we see is civil enforcement (typological) being replaced with church enforcement (antitype). To state the title of this post more accurately: 1 Cor 5:13 is the New Covenant application of the general equity of Deut 22:21. Yes, the title is inaccurate. But this is still inaccurate. The thesis (following WCF 19:4) is that the general equity only requires Deut 22:21 to be applied as in 1 Cor 5:13. Which is to say, "Not at all."

But if the thing is true, that evidence of virginity was not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father’s house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. “If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:20-22 ESV)


I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 ESV)

"God judges those outside" the church. How? Through "the State?" And what does God command the State to do?
The church is now considered holy, rather than any earthly kingdom. Thus unrepentant sin is not tolerated in the church and it must be purged. Paul specifically applied a civil judicial law to the church, and in so doing he proved that civil enforcement was a particular/positive aspect of the judicial law, not part of it’s general equity. His first step was to determine the general equity of the judicial law, and his second step was to apply it to the church using new particulars. Nothing here proves that the Civil Magistrate is no longer required to execute homosexuals or those who commit incest.

Derret, "Handing Over to Satan," 11-30, ... holds that Paul hands over the man to civil authorities for physical punishment and execution. Roman law forbade such incest (Gaius, Institutes 1.63; Cicero, Cluentio 5.27). Similarly, Gaca, Making of Fornication, 139-40, holds that Paul sentences the man to the death penalty.

But notice what else he says. Paul specifically says that this type of moral enforcement must not be made obligatory on the rest of the world. That would be a misapplication of the judicial laws because it would be a misapplication of the moral law. It is not the duty of the civil authorities to enforce the whole moral law, or even the whole second table. Paul’s explicit statements teach us otherwise: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders?” Paul does not "specifically" say any such thing. Bahnsen and all other Theonomists like him, would say this is an example of "the separation of church and state." It was always, and still is, inappropriate for the church to apply the laws which are vested with the civil magistrate. See Theonomy chapter 20.

Modern Application

So where does that leave us? That leaves us with the totality of God’s revelation as the foundation for civil authority. We can have no other foundation. Historically, reformed theologians have greatly erred by mixing man’s reason apart from Scripture (natural law) with Scripture, rather than deducing from Scripture alone. It inhibited proper interpretation of general equity, and thus political philosophy.  
We must rightly interpret that revelation and not make unwarranted leaps. While we might conclude that civil authorities should enforce some moral laws, we might also conclude that they should not enforce others. In the context of general equity, though he may disagree with my conclusions, Calvin noted “if this is true, surely every nation is left free to make such laws as it foresees to be profitable for itself.” On what basis should "we" conclude that civil authorities should not follow God's written revelation in the Scriptures?
My opinion is that a biblical political philosophy finds its roots in the Noahic Covenant, which is God’s promise to preserve the world for the sake of the elect. A biblical political philosophy does not seek to establish or even mimic Christ’s kingdom on earth. Instead, it seeks to establish a society in which the church can be preserved within the midst of an unbelieving world. It does not seek to judge that unbelieving world (cf Luke 12:53) prior to Christ’s return. What does Luke 12:53 have to do with this discussion?
49 “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
It is the Reformed Libertarian position that granting civil authorities the very limited role of protecting property rights best fulfills this goal of preserving the church. And such a position is consistent with WCF/LBCF 19.4. It is not consistent with the Westminster Standards as a whole. The "judicial law" is frequently brought in without being subjected to "general equity" considerations. But the Westminster Standards are not internally consistent, as Rushdoony pointed out. Every Reformed scholar before Hume (so far as I know) believed that adulterers and homosexuals should be executed, but not for epistemologically self-conscious Theonomic reasons. Some, simply to increase the power of the civil magistrate (hence they were called "Magisterial Reformers").

Recommended Reading

What is Equity? By Rev. Peter J. Wallace  
The 1788 American Revision of the Westminster Standards
Compare the Scripture proofs with the 2nd London Baptist proofs
Theonomy and the 1788 American Revision of the Westminster Standards
“The implications of this profound sea-change for our interpretation of the general equity clause at WCF XIX:4 are enormous. For even if the general equity of the Mosaic judicial laws may have been interpreted by the Westminster divines as requiring civil magistrates to enforce true worship, the Philadelphia divines have clearly rejected that particular interpretation of general equity as a misapplication of the Word of God”
Name one Philadelphia divine who did not require homosexuals to be executed.
The Divine Law of Political Israel Expired: General Equity  
The Westminster Confession of Faith: A Theonomic Document? Dr. Ligon Duncan
“WCF 19:4 recognizes the ad hoc character of the civil laws when it employs the phrase “as a body politick.”… Now it will be complained that this view makes the civil law “arbitrary.”…that may be so. Nevertheless, it is clearly the view of the Confession.”
Moses’ Law for Modern Government Dr. Ligon Duncan  
Some Problems with Natural Law, John Robbins
“Natural law theory is, in the final analysis, a form of idolatry. What has nature to do with law? Nothing. Law is God commanding.”
 Substitute "general equity" for "natural law."
Theocratic Case Laws and the New Covenant Era
“We must remember that the case laws, given to Israel in redemptive-history, were given to a “body politic.” They were written to the church-state of the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant, the church is an eschatologically realize [sic] spiritual nation. As Vos says in “The Mosaic Theocracy,” the typical laws given to the typical church-state are eternalized in the New Covenant.”
Natural Law State Church
“Natural Law Two Kingdoms will not get you to the non-establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. It will land you in Geneva.”
The Relation of Church and State, Charles Hodge
The relative duties of these several institutions cannot be learned by reasoning a priori from their design, but must be determined from the Word of God. And when reasoning from the Word of God, we are not authorized to argue from the Old Testament economy because that was avowedly temporary and has been abolished, but must derive our conclusions from the New Testament…
the New Testament, when speaking of the immediate design of the state and the official duties of the magistrate, never intimates that he has those functions which the common doctrine of the Lutheran and Reformed church assign him. This silence, together with the fact that those functions are assigned to the church and church officers, is proof that it is not the will of God that they should be assumed by the state.”
I Will Build My Church, Sam Waldron
Excellent sermon on Matthew 16:18 demonstrating the New Covenant application of Old Covenant holy war
  The true solution to the problem that the "Reformed Libertarian" is wrestling with comes with the acceptance of the following Theonomic theses:
  1. There is no "judicial law" in the Old Testament
  2. The shedding of blood was a priestly/ceremonial requirement, not a "moral law," and not a "judicial law."
  3. God nowhere requires the formation of a "civil magistrate" (that is, an institution which we understand in the concept of "the separation of church and state").