Embers of a Dying Fire: My Thoughts On the Great Theonomy Debate


The Hall-McDurmon debate ended the theonomic movement of R.J. Rushdoony, Gary North, and Greg Bahnsen. After coming to a screeching halt from The Great Theonomy Debate, those unbiblical doctrines have been widely replaced in Reformed circles with a much healthier “General Equity Theonomy” as McDurmon abandoned his position. Read Hall’s tell-all book about that debate and its ramifications for Rushdoony-style theonomy and how it was shoved rightfully into the dustbin of history.



Read the book about The Great Theonomy Debate, from the debater’s perspective. Back in 2015, Joel McDurmon – the son-in-law of Gary North and grandson-in-law of R.J. Rushdoony – was still a theonomist. McDurmon, like North and Rushdoony before him, believed that every aspect of Mosaic penology must be upheld “to the exhaustive detail” (to quote Greg Bahnsen). Leading what was then a powerful theonomic organization, American Vision, McDurmon singled out JD Hall for the first official moderated debate in more than a decade on the subject. In what was the most viewed debate on the subject of Mosaic law and application in history, Hall and McDurmon gathered in Phoenix to debate it out.

McDurmon is no longer a theonomist (in any meaningful sense), has left American Vision, abandoned conservative principles, and has become a Social Justice advocate. The debate seemed to have beat theonomy out of Joel McDurmon, who soon abandoned the basic tenets in his book, Bounds of Love.

In a debate victory, according to apologist, James White, and polemicist, Chris Rosebrough, Hall left the theonomic camp stunned and in retreat.

In 2019, very few theonomists remain. A newer, kinder, more gentle, more Biblical “General Equity Theonomy” has replaced the growing theonomic movement that came to a screeching halt after the Hall vs McDurmon debate. And JD couldn’t be happier.

In Embers of a Dying Fire, Hall recalls the debate, its preparation, and its delivery and pointed out that theonomy – as it was taught by its 20th Century founders – is dying out. Four years later, and it’s been historically demonstrated that Hall was right.

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