Review of _The Escondido Theology_, General Considerations

Before I get to the review of this book, let it be officially known at the outset that I am not a WSCal toadie, whatever that might mean. I do not believe in the Framework Hypothesis. I have serious questions about the republication theory of the Mosaic covenant, though I firmly believe this to be an entirely intramural debate. My political views are what I might call “mild” two kingdoms. I would acknowledge the distinctions that the two kingdoms make without taking them as far as some WSC folks take them. In certain places I even agree with Frame’s critique of some aspects of WSC’s teaching. However, I do agree with the Law-Gospel distinction, and reject utterly the notion that it is only a Lutheran position. That is historical nonsense. It is also Reformed, and commonly so. Ursinus taught it VERY clearly in his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism. The Marrow of Modern Divinity taught it VERY clearly. The work of John Colquhoun teaches it VERY clearly as well. But I graduated from WTS Philly, and that does mean I have some differences from my WSC brothers. But I deeply respect them, and was therefore disturbed when I read Frame’s book, which amounts, in my opinion, to little more than a hit piece written by what appears to me to be an embittered former colleague.

John Frame has written a number of books that are helpful. I particularly found his The Doctrine of God to be helpful, as well as much of his book The Doctrine of the Word of God. So, I have found much that is edifying in Frame’s work. The Escondido Theology is not one of these kinds of works. It is not gracious, irenic, fair, or collegial, unless you already agree with his conclusions, as George Grant seems to do (I was very disappointed that Grant, for whom I hold a great respect, would put his name on this book). It is full of caricature and extension of arguments (I mean this in the logical fallacy sense). It is an embarrassment to the entire Reformed world. Only with this volume has a professor of one of the main Reformed seminaries descended to the level of attacking another entire seminary in the Reformed community. The gentleman’s agreement among the main Reformed seminaries has now been breached. I intend to get into specifics with a series of posts exposing the myriad slanders that Frame has leveled against the WSC folks.

For now, I would like to address two issues, and both in a general way. Firstly, is this book irenic, gracious, fair, and collegial, as George Grant claims (pp. vii, viii, xiv)? Consider the following quotation, given in context, though without Frame’s footnotes:


Horton has promoted the Escondido positions vigorously. His main contribution to the Escondido Theology is a great gift for communication. He is founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine and of the radio program White Horse Inn. He has written a great many books, both popular and scholarly, and has lectured and taught all over the world. In his popular books he writes with an engaging style. He is known as a forceful, if not always accurate, critic of modern American evangelicalism. It almost seems to me that anything a prominent evangelical says, Horton feels compelled to say the opposite, however implausible his argument may be. So, like Clark, Horton is something of a Reformed chauvinist (page 13).

So, in addition to being unaware of the implausibility of some of his own arguments when reacting against “prominent evangelicals,” Horton (and Clark, Frame meaning R. Scott Clark) is a Reformed chauvinist. Dr. Frame, how exactly is this comment gracious, irenic, fair, and collegial? Are the comments about Horton’s “engaging style” and “gift for communication” supposed to mask the comment about being a Reformed chauvinist? To someone not prejudiced against WSC, this strikes me as a sinful comment. Or was Frame unaware of how this comment would communicate (Frame being very concerned with how something communicates) both to WSC folks, and to those not biased against them?

Another example, this time on page 16 (Frame seems to have a particular aversion to Horton, as we will see, when Frame not only attacks Horton, but people Horton recommends, and people Horton has taught): “I would not be writing this book if it were not for another distinctive of the Escondido theology to which I have already alluded: the view that those who disagree with them are not orthodox, not to be considered Reformed. Here, see especially my review of Clark’s book. And on my analysis Horton’s Christless Christianity amounts to the claim that unless the evangelical church embraces (and ‘emphasizes’) the novelties and idiosyncrasies of the Escondido Theology, they are headed for Hell.” There are a number of problems with this quotation. Firstly, there are people on the faculty of WSC who don’t agree with the supposed distinctives of the seminary. Dr. Bob Godfrey is not a Two Kingdoms man, but is neo-Kuyperian. By the way, he’s the PRESIDENT of the seminary! Is Frame suggesting that the WSC folks are ready to throw Dr. Bob Godfrey out tarred and feathered? Secondly, have any WSC folks even remotely hinted at the idea that non Two-Kingdoms, non-republication, non-Reformed confessional, non-Law-Gospel-distinction folks are all headed to Hell? My impression is that WSC folks argue for certain positions from the conviction that the clarity of the gospel is at stake. That is a distinct question from whether said unclear views that WSC folk are opposing relegate their proponents to Hell. Frame appears not to understand this distinction.

The second general issue I would like to address about this book is the inclusion of Frame’s personal history at WSC. If Frame wished to avoid the appearance of bitterness at how he was treated, if he wanted to paint himself as a person in a good position to describe the Escondido Theology, why did he include these completely irrelevant details about how he left the seminary (they are irrelevant if Frame is supposed to focus only on the theological issues, which I believe he would be required to do in a book of this sort)? To prove that he knew what was going on there? His book reviews should prove by themselves that he had read these books (though not very carefully, as we will see) and knew what these guys were saying. Frame refers to his own credentials as a Reformed theologian way too often for this to be believable to me. Folks, this book is about revenge for how he was treated at WSC, make no mistake about that. That is my read of it, anyway. If he wanted to avoid that impression, he picked that absolute worst way of going about it. Most people would not have to dig too far to know that Frame once taught at WSC. If this book were only about the theological issues, then he should NEVER have dragged in his own story of how he was treated at WSC.

Is it a surprise that this book is not published by any mainstream publisher? I asked Horton about this on the phone. I asked him if he thought it likely that any WSC professor would EVER seek to get published by, say, P&R, if P&R had published this book. He said, “Absolutely not.” No mainstream publisher would have touched this book, you can count on that.

In short, folks, this book is an embarrassment to the Reformed world. I can’t imagine that Dr. Vern Poythress is pleased with this publication, either (Dr. Poythress and Dr. Frame share a website, on which they have published much of their work). The book is full of sin, and I call on Frame to repent of his sin. If you want a level-headed critique of some aspects of what is commonly taught at WSC, go to Dr. Cornelis Venema’s review of The Law Is Not Of Faith, published in the Mid-America Journal of Theology, year 2010. That is a truly irenic critique. He calls aspects of WSC’s teaching wrong. However, he does not caricature or extend what they say. He also doesn’t call them names like “chauvinist.” He deals with what they actually say.

I have condemned this book in strong terms. The fact is, I am both angry for WSC’s sake (hoping that this expose of Frame’s book will prevent any lasting damage to WSC in the future), and deeply saddened that Frame would do this. He will lose a great deal of respect for doing this, even among people who have serious reservations about WSC’s distinctives.

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522 Comments

  1. jgrig2 said,

    February 29, 2012 at 7:42 am

    For those of us who don’t want to spend the money on the book, can you tell us what Frame says about his experiences at WSC?

  2. Richard said,

    February 29, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Thank you for writing this. Sadly, Frame’s comments and the respect people have for him for his other works will be fodder for people already disposed to disagree with the WSCAL profs. I see the theonomists at “American Vision” have already jumped all over Frame’s book with glee. He should apologize for his damage to the body of Christ.

  3. February 29, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for being honest enough to write this critique. The book made me sad when I read it in November. I have read and inadequately reviewed this book in November on Millennial Dreams where I have wrestled with theological topics. I know people involved in the publication and promotion of this book and have been so embarrassed about it. In fact, I just want to quit Reformed theology or any theology altogether and just concentrate on Scripture and prayer.

  4. Richard said,

    February 29, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Carol,

    We all remain sinners–justified sinners, but sinners. Don’t let a Christian’s bad acts deter you from seeking to know Him better–which is what theology is about.

  5. February 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Wow! Tell us how you really feel, Lane. That’s always the problem with you, you are always so hesitant to take a position. :) Seriously, I haven’t read the book, but I am sympathetic of your critique. I am a graduate of RTS (Washington) and had Frame as my prof for Ethics. I have a few of his books and a few of Horton’s books on my bookshelves (I hope they don’t start attacking each other) and I have benefitted from both. I would describe myself much the same as you described yourself, as a moderate two-kingdoms guy who is hesitant to accept all of the teaching from WSC but is appreciative of much of what they have written, as well as of much that Frame has written. Not having read the book, but having read a few reviews, I was already saddened by it. In-fighting of this nasty sort doesn’t please the Lord or advance the kingdom.

  6. February 29, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I just read this in an interview with Marco Gonzales (www.reformation theology.com) from 2005 on the Frame-Poythress site. I thought it was helpful and shed some light on the matter –

    3. You were very influential in the founding of Westminister Theological Seminary (CA Campus), Why did you see a need in founding a California Campus and how did you become involved in its development?

    Well, there was very little Reformed Christianity on the west cos at the time. There still isn’t much, compared with elsewhere. Those of us who went west had a real missionary vision. We wanted to see planted, not only a seminary, but churches as well. Graduates, students, and staff at the seminary did in fact plant and nurture a number of churches there.

    I was happy to be invited to participate. I was single, so I didn’t have to worry about moving a family. Things were going a little sour in Philadelphia as Westminster was dominated by the Shepherd controversy. My church had gotten taken over by a radical “truly Reformed” faction. So it seemed a good time for me to move. I also had the opportunity to teach smaller classes and therefore had time to write. It was in California that my writing projects finally reached publication.

    4. After 30 years of teaching and educating, why did you decide to leave Westminister and move to Reformed Theological Seminary?

    It would take a lot more hours than I have available to answer this question adequately. To give a bare summary: between me and WTS/C there were personal issues and theological ones. The personal issues were basically sins of my own, which I confessed on a number of occasions and in some cases received forgiveness. Still, some of these relationships were never put right.

    The theological issues as I see them: Over the 1990s, the seminary became more and more the tool of a faction, rather than representing the Reformed faith in its fullness. In the view of this faction, my theology was not “truly Reformed.” In my view, their narrowness prevented me from recommending the seminary to prospective students. I could not, of course, teach at a school that I could not honestly recommend, and I could not teach at a school where my Reformed commitment was not respected.

    So I sent out resumés and attracted interest from a number of schools. But RTS gave me the warmest welcome I had ever seen. There are seven former students of mine at RTS/Orlando and two more at the other campuses. There is no factionalism here, either on the faculty or in the student body. We are laboring together, supporting one another. Nobody is trying to undermine anyone else. For me, coming to RTS has been a little like dying and going to heaven.

    MORE – http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/2005Interview.htm

  7. February 29, 2012 at 11:43 am

    >>>>“I would not be writing this book if it were not for another distinctive of the Escondido theology to which I have already alluded: the view that those who disagree with them are not orthodox, not to be considered Reformed.<<<

    Given that both Horton and RS Clark insist that Van Tilian theology of Scripture, i.e. analogy, as opposed to propositional and univocal truth via the doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration, it seems to me that at least on this point Frame is correct. For Westminster east and west the Scripturalism of Gordon H. Clark, any rejection of common grace or the idea that God "desires" to save the reprobate is to be outside the Reformed camp. It seems to me that this mutual excommunication is justified.

    John Frame confuses law and Gospel. Westminster west confuses semi-Arminian common grace/free offer to the reprobate with the classical Reformed position. Reading into classical Reformed theology what is not there is not a valid argument against Scripturalism or the Protestant Reformed Church in America's valid disagreement with neo-Kuyperian theology and the three points of common grace. We can see where all this confusion leads.

    Ironically, R. Scott Clark's book on recovering the Reformed confession advocates allowing exception and less that full subscription to the system of Reformed doctrine in the Reformed standards. He thinks this is "confessionalism". Is he certain of this or is he just drawing an analogy?

    I certainly do not agree with John Frame. But it seems to me that Westminster west is off on a tangent as well.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Charlie

  8. February 29, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Given that both Horton and RS Clark insist that Van Tilian theology of Scripture, i.e. analogy, as opposed to propositional and univocal truth via the doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration IS THE ONLY REFORMED VIEW, it seems to me that at least on this point Frame is correct. For Westminster east and west the Scripturalism of Gordon H. Clark, any rejection of common grace or the idea that God “desires” to save the reprobate is to be outside the Reformed camp. It seems to me that this mutual excommunication is justified.

  9. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    FWIW, Dr. Horton has a post that largely corresponds to Lane Keister’s review as well:

    A Response to John Frame’s The Escondido Theology.

    Read the comment thread as well.

    P.S. With regards to the vigorous in-fighting amongst Reform folks, please don’t think that Reform folks are unique in that regard. All, or nearly all faith-traditions and denominations have vigorous in-fighting. In some regards, it’s healthy conflict. And sometimes, not often enough, there’s healthy conflict resolution.

  10. Frank Davies said,

    February 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    The irony of this review is breath taking.

  11. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Frank Davies: “The irony of this review is breath taking.”

    Frank, were you thinking of these statements in the review?

    o “It is not gracious, irenic, fair, or collegial, unless you already agree with his conclusions”

    o “It is full of caricature and extension of arguments (I mean this in the logical fallacy sense).”

    o “Folks, this book is about revenge for how he was treated at WSC, make no mistake about that.”

    o “It is an embarrassment to the entire Reformed world.”

    o “The book is full of sin, and I call on Frame to repent of his sin.”

    o “I have condemned this book in strong terms.”

    o “Dr. Frame, how exactly is this comment gracious, irenic, fair, and collegial?”

    Dr. Frame (or Frank) querying back to Green Baggins: “Pastor Lane Keister, how exactly is your book review gracious, irenic, fair, and collegial?”

  12. Frank Davies said,

    February 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    That, plus I’ve read some pretty shocking accusations, attacks, and claims leveled against loving pastors and even whole presbyteries on this very blog, not to mention some of the stuff that Clark cranked out on his blog for years before he finally removed it.

    This review reads like an early FV response to accusations leveled against some of its proponents.

    I think this teaches us that it is easier to dish out criticism, but harder to take it.

  13. greenbaggins said,

    February 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    I am making no claim to being gentle in this review. If I were, that would indeed be ironic. Nor would I expect anyone else to claim for me that this review is being gentle. It is not intended to be at this point, since I am intending to point out in strong terms what Frame is doing. This blog has oftentimes had stern language, strong language, with some heat in it. Frame, on the other hand, claims (and others claim for him) to be the irenic polemicist. I am seeking to point out that his claims, and those who are claiming it for him, are wide of the mark when it comes to this book.

  14. February 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    I think the bigger issue of concern for all of us is whether or not what is being said is accurate. In Frame’s case, much of what he says is inaccurate, ill-defined and thus unfair. Lane’s language is strong, perhaps even harsh, but he backs up what he says with evidence.

  15. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    February 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Lane Keister: “This blog has oftentimes had stern language, strong language, with some heat in it.”

    Jason Van Bemmel: “Lane’s language is strong, perhaps even harsh, but he backs up what he says with evidence.”

    Fine with me. It’s just not good if/when there’s moderator hypocrisy in the event that some commenters employ “stern language, strong language, with some heat in it” (emulating Lane’s example) and who also “backs up what he says with evidence.”

  16. TurretinFan said,

    February 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Lane,

    You wrote: “when he isn’t punch-drunk on revenge”

    To me, that sounds like you are judging Frame’s motives. I find it unlikely that Frame states that these are his motives. Perhaps it would be advisable to simply remove this parenthetical. After all, questioning Frame’s motives up front could easily be misunderstood by the reader as ad hominem.

    -TurretinFan

  17. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    February 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I’d be fine with the Escondido 2K project if they would just admit their project is at odds with the Westminster Divines and Continental Reformed ideas of the role of the Civil Magistrate. It strains credulity to think Samuel Rutherford or Herman Witsius would see themselves agreeing with the writings of D.G. Hart and David VanDrunen.

  18. February 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Let me clarify: I have not read the book, but both Lane and Michael Horton have said that John Frame accuses WSC of holding “Lutheran” views without citing specifics from Lutheran sources and also without interacting with non-Lutheran Reformed sources. So, he uses strong language, including some name-calling, without substantiating his claims with evidence, apparently. Also, George Grant (whom I admire) calls the book “irenic” when it is not. I have never called The Green Baggins site “irenic” and neither has anyone else that I know of. So, not hypocrisy, but just two different professed approaches. ALSO, I think FV issues are much more central and critical to our understanding of the Gospel and of justification than the distinction between the Two Kingdoms and Neo-Kuyperian views.

  19. Lee said,

    February 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    The book is pretty angry in tone, which is why I thought adding the personal history was helpful. It should be noted that it is Grant who calls it ironic not Frame. I think that is an important point. Frame does not misrepresent his book, someone else does. This should not be held against Frame, but rather against Grant.

  20. Lee said,

    February 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Irenic . . . Not ironic . . . Stupid automatic spell changer

  21. Todd said,

    February 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    “I’d be fine with the Escondido 2K project if they would just admit their project is at odds with the Westminster Divines and Continental Reformed ideas of the role of the Civil Magistrate.”

    Benjamin,

    Who said it wasn’t? I think all of us from Escondido have expressed that we disagree with the Calvin and the Divines on whether the civil magistrate should enforce the First Table. Actually I thought that was old news.

  22. Frank Aderholdt said,

    March 1, 2012 at 3:36 am

    I haven’t purchased or read any of Frame’s book, nor do I intend to. It’s a matter of time and the stewardship thereof.

    I was disappointed with Frame’s critique of N. T. Wright’s view of Scripture at one of the seminars during PCA General Assembly last year (2011). Frame went to great lengths to give Wright the benefit of the doubt, even in the face of damning evidence right there in his paper. Frame’s conclusions concerning Wright were truly “irenic” and cautious in the best tradition of the scholarly tribe. I thought to myself — and this before the publication of the Escondido theology book — “If only Frame could be as tough on Wright as he is with some of his Reformed brethren.”

  23. Zrim said,

    March 1, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Benjamin, just to back up Todd’s point, outspoken and modern proponents of 2k have been pretty clear and unapologetic that “the project” differs from pre-modern 2k in important ways. Some of us have even invoked Kuyper when he was just as vocal about revoking true religion being enforced by the civil magistrate (i.e. in his efforts to revise Belgic 36):

    “We oppose this Confession out of complete conviction, prepared to bear the consequences of our convictions, even when we will be denounced and mocked on that account as unReformed.

    We would rather be considered not Reformed and insist that men ought not to kill heretics, than that we are left with the Reformed name as the prize for assisting in the shedding of the blood of heretics.

    It is our conviction: 1) that the examples which are found in the Old Testament are of no force for us because the infallible indication of what was or was not heretical which was present at that time is now lacking.

    2) That the Lord and the Apostles never called upon the help of the magistrate to kill with the sword the one who deviated from the truth. Even in connection with such horrible heretics as defiled the congregation in Corinth, Paul mentions nothing of this idea. And it cannot be concluded from any particular word in the New Testament, that in the days when particular revelation should cease, that the rooting out of heretics with the sword is the obligation of magistrates.

    3) That our fathers have not developed this monstrous proposition out of principle, but have taken it over from Romish practice.

    4) That the acceptance and carrying out of this principle almost always has returned upon the heads of non-heretics and not the truth but heresy has been honored by the magistrate.

    5) That this proposition opposes the Spirit and the Christian faith.

    6) That this proposition supposed that the magistrate is in a position to judge the difference between truth and heresy, an office of grace which, as appears from the history of eighteen centuries, is not granted by the Holy Spirit, but is withheld.

    We do not at all hide the fact that we disagree with Calvin, our Confessions, and our Reformed theologians.”

    Pay particular attention to that last sentence.

    But Calvin and Kuyper were still only men. American Presbyterians revised the original Westminster Confession and churches such as the PCA and the OPC continue to accept the revisions from 1787-1788, which goes from:

    “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 in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.”

    To:

    “. . . no law of any commonwealth should interfere with, let, or hinder, the due exercise thereof, among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief. It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance.”

    The revision drops entirely the magistrate’s responsibility for suppressing heresy and blasphemy. Not only that, it forbids laws that would prefer any denomination and insisting that magistrates protect the good names of all people no matter what their religion or their infidelity. Wow. So, there are some of us who make no secret that we stand with certain figures in the R&P tradition and, more than that, with certain ecclesiastical revisions. And, there are some who don’t.

    But something tells me you may not yet be “just fine” with Escondido.

  24. greenbaggins said,

    March 1, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Frank, it doesn’t sound to me like you particularly enjoy reading this blog. Why do you read it, then? Just for the occasional chance to vent?

  25. greenbaggins said,

    March 1, 2012 at 9:29 am

    TFan, you have a point, there. I have modified the post accordingly.

  26. Frank Davies said,

    March 1, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Lane, have you disclosed your connection with Scott Clark and WSC? Your “review” points out Frame’s. I think you are misrepresenting yourself as a neutral party by not doing so.

  27. Reed Here said,

    March 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Frank: and all your connections? …

    Sheesh, you sound silly.

  28. Frank Aderholdt said,

    March 1, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Lane,

    You weren’t referring to me in #24, were you? My remarks about John Frame were right in line with your review of his book. I was disappointed with Frame at GA. One of the reasons I’m not interested in his most recent book is becasue of your comments and the remarks of other PCA ministers.

    I generally only post when I think that I may have something to contribute. Most posts in most of the threads say things better than I could, anyway.

  29. greenbaggins said,

    March 1, 2012 at 11:17 am

    What “connection”is that? I have been on his show, and I visited the seminary once. You seem to be implying that I am lying when I said that I was not a WSC toadie. I count Clark as a friend. But I know the WTS profs way better than the WSC profs. Please answer my previous question.

  30. Frank Aderholdt said,

    March 1, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Lane,

    I see the exchanges with the other Frank. Didn’t pay much attention to names when I read the posts earlier.

    Green Baggins is vital to my daily diet!

  31. Steve Drake said,

    March 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Frank Aderholdt @28,
    Hi Frank,
    Email me at drakesteve805@gmail.com. I know this sounds cryptic, but there is purpose and reason.
    Blessings.

  32. greenbaggins said,

    March 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Frank A. I was responding to Frank Davies, not to you. Sorry for the mixup!

  33. Frank Davies said,

    March 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I check in from time to time to find out which pastor, church, or presbytery is the current target of your attack blog. And then I usually pray for them, as they are called a heretic by a bunch of individuals who seem to get a rush out of the fighting.

    I’ve prayed for my anger over some of the irresponsible and invective accusations that have been posted on your blog. Stuff that won’t go away because of the permanent nature of the internet, regardless if a pastor changes his mind or is exonerated, a simple Google search will tag them as a heretic for the rest of their life.

    I’ve prayed for you before.

  34. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Todd: “I think all of us from Escondido have expressed that we disagree with the Calvin and the Divines on whether the civil magistrate should enforce the First Table.”

    Zrim: “Benjamin, just to back up Todd’s point, outspoken and modern proponents of 2k have been pretty clear and unapologetic that “the project” differs from pre-modern 2k in important ways.”

    Hmmmmm. Let’s compare and contrast Todd and Zrim’s comments with the following.

    President Bob Godfrey and the Westminster Seminary California Faculty:

    “[W]e wish to restate our Doctrinal Commitment (as is stated in our Catalogue), “The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, breathed out by the Spirit of God through human authors, are the very Word of God written—the only infallible and inerrant authority for faith and life. The doctrines of the Christian faith, held by orthodox churches throughout the ages, express the central truths concerning the triune God and his works of creation and redemption, particularly as they confess the saving work of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture. The Reformed confessions (Westminster Confession and Catechisms, Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort) are the fullest and most accurate summary of the system of doctrine revealed in Holy Scripture.”

    Westminster California has been and remains a confessional school. As a whole our faculty supports and promotes the consensus views of the Reformed community as summarized in the Reformed confessions. These confessions express most precisely our theology.”

  35. March 1, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    One can certainly be confessionally Reformed, especially with the revised American Presbyterian version of the WCF, and hold to a 2K view. What astounds me are those who wish to defend FV as being authentically in keeping with Confessional standards, when it undermines justification by faith and real assurance and the perseverance of the saints, and who then turn around and declaring a 2K view to be out of line with Reformed standards. To me that is, at best, straining gnats while swallowing camels. That seems to be Frame’s approach: he excuses men like NT Wright and Joel Osteen while condemning Horton and Clark. That’s really distorted, I think.

    Speaking of distortions, whatever your view of the Civil Magistrate, true theonomy is clearly in conflict with the WCF view of the civil law of the OT.

    So, again, I think the “FV is OK. Theonomy is OK. But 2K is non-Reformed” view is ludicrous and upside-down.

  36. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    TUAD, I think the response would be that Escondido theology is confessional in the 1789 sense of the word, not in the 1646 sense of the word.

    Whether that is fully true has been debated; but there’s no inconsistency amongst Todd, Zrim, and Godfrey.

    In fact, Zrim is even in a different spot from Kuyper (#24), who really *was* being self-consciously unconfessional when he spoke.

    Frank A: “If only Frame could be as tough on Wright as he is with some of his Reformed brethren.”

    I agree. And I’m speaking as someone who has benefited greatly from Frame and who has a certain affinity for his thought patterns.

    It seems that Frame treats those “within the camp” with a lot of critical scrutiny, while those “without the camp” are read with an eye towards finding the best.

    Perhaps his aims are to sharpen the Reformed brothers on the one hand and make us aware of the good in the non-Reformed world on the other.

    But I wish rather that he would do some critical scrutiny *and* some “finding the best” with all.

    What is sad to me about the publishing of this book is that Mr. Frame has written — accurately — that in the van Til / Gordon Clark debate, neither man was at his best and neither man was accurately reading the other.

    [van Til] merely insists that these [reason, logic, evidence] be subordinate to God’s word, a limitation to which no Christian should object.

    I do take issue with his illegitimate application of these principles in the Clark controversy. In that controversy, Van Til insisted that there is “not one point of identity” between God’s mind and man’s. Clark believed this view had skeptical implications … [I]n my view, the controversy was really unnecessary and largely based on misunderstanding. Van Til in my view was at his worst when he was debating with other Christian apologists.

    Van Til: A Reassessment.

    I fear that a repeat of history is unfolding, with Frame as one of the players. Neither Frame’s critiques of Horton or RS Clark, nor Clark’s critique of Frame in RRC, have left me satisfied that either party is listening to or believing the best of the other.

    Prov 17.14 has long since been left behind.

  37. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Jeff Cagle: “TUAD, I think the response would be that Escondido theology is confessional in the 1789 sense of the word, not in the 1646 sense of the word. Whether that is fully true has been debated”

    Jeff, could you kindly exposit the significant differences between the 1646 sense of the word with the 1789 sense of the word so that we may all clearly see the differences?

  38. David Gadbois said,

    March 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    #34 can be easily answered by pointing out that “Calvin and the Divines” and “pre-modern 2K” are not equivalent to the Reformed confessions.

  39. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Certainly. The 1646 Confession 23.3 places the magistrate in the position of (a) suppressing heresies, (b) preventing corruptions in worship or discipline, and (c) to take responsibility for the proper observation of the ordinances of God.

    The 1789 Confession 23.3 removes these three duties of the magistrate and replaces them with the duties to (a) protect the church, and (b) refrain from hindering the exercise of religion.

    Escondido Theology rejects the former and affirms the latter.

    This does not mean that I endorse ET, or that I believe it to be free of tension wrt the Confession in 23.1 or 23.2; just that its exponents have self-consciously rejected 1646 and adopted 1789.

    And in this sense, they are consistent in saying “I reject Calvin and the Divines” and “I am confessional.”

  40. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 9:09 am

    @39,

    Thanks much Jeff Cagle! That’s very helpful.

    With regards to 1789 23.3, suppose the civil magistrate does not protect the church and/or hinders the exercise of religion. Can the 1789 confessional church and 1789 confessional minister exercise civil disobedience against the civil magistrate and still be a Escondido 2K 1789 confessionalist?

  41. dghart said,

    March 2, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Ben, Jeff (nice to see you’re still among the living), Todd, and Zrim, I see that Ben’s point has received proper challenge. I would simply hope that Ben would in the interest of full disclosure note that all Reformed churches now disagree with the Westminster Divines and Guido de Bres on the role of the civil magistrate. Even the Covenanters disagree with the Westminster Confession (original). Their Testimony says so explicitly.

    So if Ben wants to agree with the 16th and 17th centuries, fine. But don’t make it seem like explicit 2kers are the only ones who have changed. The entire Reformed world changed. Theonomists have yet to notice.

  42. todd said,

    March 2, 2012 at 9:21 am

    TUAD,

    When and how to practice civil disobedience when it may be called for is a matter of conscience and not a matter of confessional fidelity. There is no “position” on civil disobedience among those of us friendly to WSC. You will much much healthy disagreement on the issue among us as well as among the broader reformed community.

  43. todd said,

    March 2, 2012 at 9:26 am

    sorry – “you will find much”

  44. Jack Bradley said,

    March 2, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Todd, speaking of the civil arena, would you interact with these excerpts from Frame’s Escondido book. I sincerely am seeking to understand WSC’s view regarding this arena:

    “. . . some assertions typical of, and widely accepted among, Escondido theologians”:

    p. xxxviii: “The ‘cultural mandate’ of Gen. 1:28 and 9:7 is no longer in effect.”

    “The Christian has no biblical mandate to seek changes in the social, cultural, or political order.”

    p. 3: “The Escondido theologians, under the influence of Meredith Kline
    as we shall see, sharpened Luther’s sacred/secular dichotomy into a broad distinction between church and culture.”

    p. 171: “Kline seems to believe that since common grace culture involves cooperation between believers and unbelievers, that believers should accept, in some measure, within that sphere, the standards of non-Christians. That, in my judgment, is a very dangerous position. The ultimate standard for human life is the word of God, the Scriptures.”

    p. 176: “There is room for debate as to just what principles of Scripture government should invoke in a particular situation. But it is always wrong to seek in government a complete indifference to religion in general or to the word of God in particular.”

    p. 265: “In the new covenant, of course, the Israelite theocracy no longer exists, and there is no other nation that is covenanted with God as Israel was. Therefore we have no mandate on civil magistrates to restrict religious practice in a nation to the one true faith. But this does not take away from the fact that God continues to rule the nations.”

    I always value your perspective, brother.

  45. Jack Bradley said,

    March 2, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Todd, speaking of the civil arena, would you have time to interact with these two bullet points from the Escondido book, and some of Frames responses? I always value your perspective and I sincerely seek to understand WSC’s perspective on this.

    “The ‘cultural mandate’ of Gen. 1:28 and 9:7 is no longer in effect.”

    “The Christian has no biblical mandate to seek changes in the social, cultural, or political order.”

    p. 3: “The Escondido theologians, under the influence of Meredith Kline as we shall see, sharpened Luther’s sacred/secular dichotomy into a broad distinction between church and culture.”

    p. 171: “Kline seems to believe that since common grace culture involves cooperation between believers and unbelievers, that believers should accept, in some measure, within that sphere, the standards of non-Christians. That, in my judgment, is a very dangerous position. The ultimate standard for human life is the word of God, the Scriptures.“

    p. 176: “There is room for debate as to just what principles of Scripture government should invoke in a particular situation. But it is always wrong to seek in government a complete indifference to religion in general or to the word of God in particular.”

    p. 192: “Christians should never concede that non-Christian societies, because they are governed by common grace, should be left alone. Christians should never imagine (however often non-Christian voices may demand it) that their religion has no relevance to the public square.”

    p. 265: “In the new covenant, of course, the Israelite theocracy no longer exists, and there is no other nation that is covenanted with God as Israel was. Therefore we have no mandate on civil magistrates to restrict religious practice in a nation to the one true faith. But this does not take away from the fact that God continues to rule the nations.”

  46. torstar said,

    March 2, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Great review Lane, thanks.

    And thanks for the helpful comments that had anything to do with the book in question and Lane’s review.

  47. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Q: “Can the 1789 confessional church and 1789 confessional minister exercise civil disobedience against the civil magistrate and still be a Escondido 2K 1789 confessionalist?”

    A: “TUAD, When and how to practice civil disobedience when it may be called for is a matter of conscience and not a matter of confessional fidelity. There is no “position” on civil disobedience among those of us friendly to WSC.”

    Thanks for the answer, Todd. I’m glad to hear that if the conscience of a Escondido 2K 1789 confessional church and/or congregant leads them to exercise civil disobedience, then there’s nothing in Escondido 2K or the 1789 confessions to forbid that exercise of civil disobedience.

  48. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Per #44, Jack Bradley, who is quoting WSC faculty, I presume:

    “The Christian has no biblical mandate to seek changes in the social, cultural, or political order.”

    Well, suppose an Escondido 2K church or minister engages in civil disobedience – as a church or as a minister – due to a matter of conscience, then isn’t this civil disobedience by the Escondido 2K’er seeking to change the social, cultural, or political order?

  49. Richard said,

    March 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    TUAD,

    With respect, I think you’re confusing the roles of the “church” with the roles of “citizens”; Reformed confessional churches would come up with different answers on the roles of each.

  50. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Richard: “Reformed confessional churches would come up with different answers on the roles of each.”

    So there’s no unified consensus or general consensus among Reformed confessional churches on the role definitions of “church” and “citizens”?

  51. Richard said,

    March 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    TUAD,

    I know I’m going to screw this up, but generally the Reformed believe in something called the “spirituality of the Church.” See this from the Confession, especially para 4)
    : CHAP. XXXI. – Of Synods and Councils.

    1. For the better government, and further edification of the Church, there ought to be such assemblies as are commonly called Synods or Councils; and it belongeth to the overseers and other rulers of the particular churches, by virtue of their office, and the power which Christ hath given them for edification and not for destruction, to appoint such assemblies; and to convene together in them, as often as they shall judge it expedient for the good of the church.

    2. It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of His Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission; not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God appointed thereunto in His Word.

    3. All synods or councils, since the Apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both.

    4. Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.

  52. Zrim said,

    March 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    TUAD, I think Todd’s right that there is no 2k position on it, but I for one don’t understand your need to carve out space for civil disobedience. It’s no where condoned in the NT, which seems only and ever concerned that we exercise civil obedience. But should the state encroach on the church, it seems to me we have what we need in the exception clause of WCF 31.5 to humbly petition that Caesar lay off. Humble petition is no more disobedience than disagreeing. And when he doesn’t relent, and continues to frustrate what God has called the church to be, we obey God rather than men, something I also don’t see as possibly construed as civil disobedience.

  53. Richard said,

    March 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    TUAD,

    It’s called the “spirituality of the church.” Different roles–see WCF 31.4.

  54. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Zrim: “And when he [the civil magistrate] doesn’t relent, and continues to frustrate what God has called the church to be, we obey God rather than men, something I also don’t see as possibly construed as civil disobedience.”

    I, and many others, most certainly do see that as civil disobedience.

  55. Jack Bradley said,

    March 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    #47 Sorry for my lack of clarity. These are two of Frame’s bullet points from his Escondido Theology book, characterizing what he sees as WSC’s general consensus view re: the civil arena.

  56. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    @53,

    Thanks for the clarification, Jack Bradley.

    Professor John Frame and TurretinFan do seem similar in their attempts to discern Escondido 2K:

    Frame: “The [Escondido 2K] Christian has no biblical mandate to seek changes in the social, cultural, or political order.”

    TurretinFan in an unanswered query to Prof. R. Scott Clark: “So, can the church speak to political issues or not?”

    From: Response to “Why One Should Read Before Writing” by R. Scott Clark

  57. dghart said,

    March 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    . . .

    TFan and Frame also seem to have no awareness of J. Gresham Machen who wrote:

    “. . . you cannot expect from a true Christian church any official pronouncements upon the political or social questions of the day, and you cannot expect cooperation with the state in anything involving the use of force. Important are the functions of the police, and members of the church, either individually or in such special associations as they may choose to form, should aid the police in every lawful way in the exercise of those functions. But the function of the church in its corporate capacity is of an entirely different kind. Its weapons against evil are spiritual, not carnal; and by becoming a political lobby, through the advocacy of political measures whether good or bad, the church is turning aside from its proper mission. . . .”

    If they understood Machen’s point, they might not be so quick to judge Machen’s descendants as warriors.

  58. Richard said,

    March 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    It’s called the “spirituality of the church”–see Dr. Hart’s quote from Machen. It’s a confusion of roles, TUAD.

  59. Zrim said,

    March 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    TUAD, if you see obeying God rather than man an act of civil disobedience then I wonder where you find NT warrant for civil disobedience. What parts of Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-25 suggest disobedience is becoming of the Christian individual and institution?

    But as far as Frame’s implication that 2k wants to keep Christians from being transformationalists, that’s not really the point. Rather, it’s that some of us see way more virtue and wisdom in preserving culture and way more naïveté in transforming and changing culture (thanks, James Davison Hunter).

  60. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Richard: “TUAD,

    It’s called the “spirituality of the church.” Different roles–see WCF 31.4.”

    Is the following a good introduction?

    A primer on two-kingdom, spirituality of the church, redemptive-historical evasions…

  61. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Premise: “Exercising Civil Disobedience, obeying God rather than man, whether by a minister, as minister, or a church, as church, seeks to change the social, cultural, and/or political order.”

    A 1Ker has no problem with this.

    Accordingly, an Escondido 2Ker has no problem with the premise either since Todd says: “There is no “position” on civil disobedience among those of us friendly to WSC.” since “When and how to practice civil disobedience when it may be called for is a matter of conscience and not a matter of confessional fidelity.”

    So then what’s all the shouting about between 1Kers and Escondido 2Kers?

  62. Richard said,

    March 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    TUAD,

    No–I think when you see “redemptive-historical evasions,” this is a tip-off of something else going on; how about this, from a moe objective view point? http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/people/2011/10/credo-rev-dr-david-coffin/119098
    Dr. Coffin’s lecures on the subject are quite good as well.

  63. Jack Bradley said,

    March 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Zrim, It is one thing to frame the tranformationalist issue as a wisdom issue, but some 2k’ers go beyond that:

    “Those who hold a traditional Protestant view of justification consistently should not find a redemptive transformationalist perspective attractive. As some of the Reformers grasped, a two-kingdoms doctrine is a proper companion to a Protestant doctrine of justification.”

    “If Christ is the last Adam, then we are not new Adams. To understand our own cultural work as picking up and finishing Adam’s original task is, however unwittingly, to compromise the sufficiency of Christ’s work.”

    –David Van Drunen, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms (read from my Kindle, hence no page #)

    Since the WSC response to Frame listed Dr. Van Drunen as a source, I think it’s fair to say that this is at least somewhat representative of WSC. While I know Dr. Van Drunen, and count him a friend, I make strenuous objection to his linking a pro-tranformationalist position to a sub-biblical understanding of the doctrine of justification. With these kinds of statements, I definitely have sympathy with Frame saying that his experience was that those who disagreed with the Klinean views were seen as less than reformed at best, and compromising the gospel at worst.

  64. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    @ Richard, #62,

    This might be of benefit:

    Rev. Coffin’s views on Church and state…

  65. Zrim said,

    March 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    TUAD, the shouting begins with you constantly pressing for an affirmative place for civil disobedience. Some of us simply don’t see any NT warrant for it. Nobody is shouting, just responding to your initial assertions…and still waiting for you to show positive NT warrant to NOT be subject to the governing authorities and to resist the authorities is NOT to resist what God has appointed and NOT be in subjection and to NOT be subject to every human institution and to NOT obey even unjust authorities.

  66. dghart said,

    March 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Jack Bradley, since transformationalists regularly use the language of redemption to justify their projects, whether it be the city on the cutting edge of the kingdom of God, or the more prosaic “redeeming” of the arts, VanDrunen’s point is one well worth considering. I believe his point would also include an affirmation of vocation. Christians should use their abilities and talents to glorify God and love their neighbors. But it is another thing to call this kind of vocational activity “the transformation of culture,” “kingdom work,” “every member ministry,” or “word and deed.” Plus, it is not becoming to call feeding the hungry or comforting the poor redemptive. Those activities are worthwhile and necessary. But they do not save.

    So if transformationalists would use different language, they might not appear to be so threatened by VanDrunen’s point. The larger question is whether the language of “redeeming” society really does point to a confusion of the gospel. It did in Finney’s and Rauschenbusch’s day. Have we learned nothing from church history? What is our “only comfort” to use Heidelberg #1′s language? Is it Christ, or do we think that what we do to clean up society or alleviate suffering is a basis for “hope”?

  67. Zrim said,

    March 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Jack, I’d affirm DVD’s suggestion that transfomationalism is a variant of law-gospel confusion. But I don’t think the point is really to suggest explicit Reformed infidelity. I think it’s merely to say that one’s transformationalism is getting in the way of an otherwise orthodox confession of justification. It’s to suggest something about bringing soteriological orthodoxy to consistantly bear on ecclesial understandsing.

  68. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    @ Zrim, #65.

    You yourself provide an affirmative place for the exercise of civil disobedience by Escondido 2K’ers.

    Recall:

    Q: “Does WSW2K condemn (or express explicit disapproval of) those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square (and some of them may have even used the pulpits) to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England?”

    A: “There were “two-kingdoms” folks who participated in peaceful protests–even sit-ins–during the civil rights movement and “one-kingdom” folks who advocated excommunicating anyone who participated. Christians may be called to defend the law above the positive laws of nations. Even churches–as church–may be called to obey God rather than the state when the latter enforces policies that would require the church to violate its calling.

    However, if the state ever required silence on the matter where God has clearly spoken, churches would have to respectfully refuse to comply with the state.

    In any case, I don’t see how “two kingdoms” determines the civil disobedience question in one direction or the other.

    Michael Horton”

    Zrim: “I too don’t see how 2k determines the civil disobedience question in one direction or the other. Though related, it seems more like a Christian liberty issue.”

    Zrim, if civil disobedience is a matter of Christian liberty by Escondido 2K’ers as you yourself state, then you have affirmed it as a legitimate exercise by Escondido 2Kers.

  69. Jack Bradley said,

    March 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Dr. Hart, I appreciate your interaction. I do think most would agree that “redemptive” has a broader connotation than 2K’s give it–otherwise anyone who sees the Cultural Mandate as still operative must be viewed as undermining the doctrine of justification. That’s an obvious straw man.

    Yes, indeed, our only hope is in Christ. I fully agree with Van Drunen when he writes (in a better moment): “Our cultural activities do not in any sense usher in the new creation. The new creation has been earned and attained once and for all by Christ, the last Adam. . . We pursue cultural activities in response to the fact that the new creation has already been achieved, not in order to contribute to its achievement.”

    Amen and Amen. We are not contributing to the finished work of Christ on the cross in His achieving/establishing the new creation. We then “pursue cultural activities in response to the fact that the new creation has already been achieved…”

    As Frame puts it (The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p. 874):
    “Christians should be seeking to transform culture according to the standards of God’s Word. . . Seeking to transform culture in this way does not mean trying to save the world apart from God’s grace. It simply means obeying God as our thankful response to his grace.”

    I do think there is quite a chasm between that and this (representative of 2K?):

    “The commands of the Sermon [on the Mount] are not a universal human ethic meant for all people, but they are given only to those who are already citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus actually teaches only his disciples. . . I simply note that Jesus commands only the church, NEVER the state, to practice the ethic of the kingdom of heaven. . . So how does Christ now rule the many institutions and communities of this world other than the church? The answer is that he rules them through the Noahic covenant, for they are institutions and communities of the common kingdom. They operate according to the same basic principles and purposes as before Christ’s first coming.” –David Van Drunen, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms (emphasis mine)

  70. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 2, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    But Zrim (#65):

    Isn’t your argument that civil disobedience is unjustified, period? And therefore, civil disobedience is sin?

    And if so, then isn’t your argument binding the consciences of those who might seek to engage in civil disobedience for conscience’ sake?

    Seems like pushing back against conscience-binding isn’t exactly ‘shouting’, right?

    NOW, if all you’re arguing is that Christians aren’t *obligated* to engage in civil disobedience, then that would be different.

  71. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Jeff Cagle: “But Zrim (#65):

    Isn’t your argument that civil disobedience is unjustified, period? And therefore, civil disobedience is sin?”

    Is that right, Zrim? If that’s right, then why did you agree with Dr. Michael Horton that civil disobedience by Escondido 2K’ers is a Christian liberty issue?

  72. Reed Here said,

    March 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Jack: if I might ask a question …

    What do you understand Frame to mean by his use of the term “transformation”? Or maybe better, what is the end, the purpose, of such transformation?

    If the ultimate end of cultural transformation is already achieved in Christ, waiting to be revealed in the New Heavens/New Earth that supersedes/replaces the sphere of such transformative effort, what is the purpose of such transformation?

    Does it serve a merely temporal purpose? If so, how is this to be understood differently from a pagan’s notion of cultural transformation, ultimately idolatry?

    If such transformation is temporal but also in some manner connected to the redemptive cause, what is this connection? What kind of temporal cultural transformation is the Christian as Christian to engage in? Same question for the Church?

    I admit to being skeptical that here Frame has actually said anything that really means anything. Still, I am interested in hearing what you (or others) might think. Is this a real distinction, or mere words?

  73. todd said,

    March 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Jack,

    Apologies for a rather long response…

    “. . . some assertions typical of, and widely accepted among, Escondido theologians”:
    p. xxxviii: “The ‘cultural mandate’ of Gen. 1:28 and 9:7 is no longer in effect.”

    We are not Adam. Adam’s goal in subduing the earth was eschatological. He would indeed have brought in the fulness of the kingdom. The fall obviously changed that, and thus the original mandate to subdue the earth was not unaffected by the fall. Subduing the earth now can never bring in God’s kingdom, it is purely a common grace activity for all people, that we rule the animals, use nature for our benefit, use science, art, etc…Jesus the second Adam fulfills the mandate eternally through his Word, Spirit and church as the church preaches the gospel and Christ gathers his elect from every tribe and tongue; thus in an eschatological sense Christ is fulfilling the cultural mandate through the gospel. So to answer your question; the original mandate is not in effect the same way it was in effect for Adam.

    “The Christian has no biblical mandate to seek changes in the social, cultural, or political order.”

    As stated by others, this statement fails to distinguish the role of the visible church from the role of individual Christians. The church has a clear mandate concerning the world found among other places in Luke 24:46&47 – “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

    The church had not been given a mandate to seek changes in the political order. Individual Christians, on the other hand, are to be good neighbors and do good to all, which would include helping society function better in a way that they may see fit and are able to do in their individual callings and life situations.

    p. 3: “The Escondido theologians, under the influence of Meredith Kline as we shall see, sharpened Luther’s sacred/secular dichotomy into a broad distinction between church and culture.”

    Either culture is redeemed and thus eternal, or part of this world which is passing away (I Cor 7:29-31). What is the problem with clearly distinguishing church and culture?

    p. 171: “Kline seems to believe that since common grace culture involves cooperation between believers and unbelievers, that believers should accept, in some measure, within that sphere, the standards of non-Christians. That, in my judgment, is a very dangerous position. The ultimate standard for human life is the word of God, the Scriptures.”

    We all accept Kline’s position if we want to get along in the real world. How do you survive in the real world without agreeing with that statement? Seems like the Amish and the like are the ones who demand their own religious convictions among unbelievers, and not getting them, leave to form their own communities. Unless you are Amish how can you disagree with Kline’s point? Remember, he said, “in some measure,” thus there are always limits.

    “I simply note that Jesus commands only the church, NEVER the state, to practice the ethic of the kingdom of heaven. . .

    Jack,

    I hope you agree with this. It is liberals like Campolo who suggest the U.S. government should adopt the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount in responding to enemy nations, to turn the other cheek, to forgive as our Father forgives, etc…Surely you see the danger of applying the Sermon to common institutions this way. Only a Christian can do the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount

    p. 176: “There is room for debate as to just what principles of Scripture government should invoke in a particular situation. But it is always wrong to seek in government a complete indifference to religion in general or to the word of God in particular.”

    If I preach the gospel to a government official I am not allowing him to be indifferent toward religion, and his acceptance of the gospel will surely affect how he governs, but if Frame is arguing against principled pluralism he is going to need to do more than simply say it is wrong, but prove it.

    As to DVD’s warning that transformationalism can compromise justification, Machen sounds that same alarm in his Salvation chapter of Christianity and Liberalism.” Is not the threat of social gospel always with us and worth warning against, whether from the Left or Right? Liberals have traditionally minimized the soul’s need of eternal salvation for society’s need for transformation, speaking in terms of redeeming culture and society. If you do not have this problem and understand the proper distinctions then you shouldn’t be concerned about DVD’s warning, but it is a warning that needs to be made. I don’t think DVD is condemning all Christians who are more passionate than others about changing society as compromising justification, if that is your concern.

    p. 265: “In the new covenant, of course, the Israelite theocracy no longer exists, and there is no other nation that is covenanted with God as Israel was. Therefore we have no mandate on civil magistrates to restrict religious practice in a nation to the one true faith. But this does not take away from the fact that God continues to rule the nations.”

    We would all agree with this. Of course God rules the nations. But in the paragraph before the one you quoted Frame argues that governments outside of the Israeli theocracy should be theocratic. This I disagree with, as do many Reformed Christians, and do not see evidence for it in the Bible, and see it inconsistent with his statement above that religious practice in such a theocracy must not now be restricted to one true religion. Why not? And by what authority do we seek a theocracy that God has not covenanted to be so?

    There can be disagreement on these questions without questioning the reformed credentials of those who hold different opinions. I did have issues with “Natural Law and Two Kingdoms” but at the very least DVD demonstrated well how our forefathers all wrestled with these difficult questions regarding church and state and held a number of varying positions.

  74. Mike K. said,

    March 2, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Jeff C (#71),

    I read the civil disobedience position like I read DGH on Walmart and any other such 2k discussions. When considering biblical imperatives, they decide something eventually about how to live life. However persuaded of their conclusions, the “Christian” nature of the discussion describes the source of the imperative and not prescriptively of their subsequent choices, which may be more or less faithful or wise for any number of reasons, and never binding on some other believer, by definition.

    Granted that those discussions rarely make that explicit, but the liberty of conscience and SotC emphases elsewhere set the context for me.

  75. Jack Bradley said,

    March 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Reed: What do you understand Frame to mean by his use of the term “transformation”?

    Jack: As I quoted Frame (The Doctrine of the Christian Life, p. 874): “Christians should be seeking to transform culture according to the standards of God’s Word”

    Reed: Or maybe better, what is the end, the purpose, of such transformation?

    Jack: The purpose is closer conformation of culture to the standards of God’s Word. Frame, p. 146: “. . . we should confess that culture is Jesus’ culture. To paraphrase Kuyper, as Jesus looks at our culture, he will always say, ‘Mine!!’ . . . Civil culture redemption are both under God’s sovereignty, and under the authority of his infallible word.”

    Reed: If the ultimate end of cultural transformation is already achieved in Christ, waiting to be revealed in the New Heavens/New Earth that supersedes/replaces the sphere of such transformative effort, what is the purpose of such transformation?

    Jack: I appreciate the way you frame this question, Reed. When you say “supercedes/replaces”, it really gets to the heart of the paradigm difference between 2K and CM (Cultural Mandate), and the heart of Frame’s accurate characterization of 2K: ““The Christian has no biblical mandate to seek changes in the social, cultural, or political order.”

    Why do 2Ks see no biblical mandate, culturally? Because, as you put it (supersedes/replaces), there is no continuity whatsoever between our cultural endeavors and the New Heavens/New Earth, so what’s the point of Christian cultural endeavors? In the words of Van Drunen:

    “Cultural activity remains important for Christians, but it will come to an abrupt end, along with this present world as a whole, when Christ returns and cataclysmically ushers in the new heaven and new earth. . . The New Testament teaches that the natural order as it now exists will come to a radical end and that the products of human culture will perish along with the natural order. . . The world-to-come will be revealed amidst the destruction of the present world. . . Second Peter 3 provides a detailed account of the fate of the natural order on the last day, and it describes the natural order as meeting a devastating end (see also Rev. 6:12-14). . . Peter answers our question about the fate of the present natural order: it will be burned up, melt, and dissolve. . . Peter says, in essence, that the consuming fire of the last day will penetrate both God’s handiwork and human handiwork. . . Our earthly bodies are the only part of the present world that Scripture says will be transformed and taken up into the world-to-come. . . Asserting that anything else in this world will be transformed and taken up into the world-to-come is speculation beyond Scripture.”

    Jack: In other words, it’s all going to burn, baby. So, again, what would even be the point of Christian cultural endeavors, in the 2K view.

    I find the view of other reformed authorities in this area more biblical (Heaven, Randy Alcorn, chap. 15):

    “Theologian Cornelius Venema (The Promise of the Future. Banner of Truth, 2000) explains, ‘The word used in the older and better manuscripts conveys the idea of a process that does not so much destroy or burn up, but uncovers or lays open for discovery the creation, now in a renewed state of pristine purity.’ Likewise rejecting ‘burned up’ as the best translation, Albert Wolters argues that ‘translations of this text have often been influenced by a world view that denies the continuity between the present and future state of creation.’

    Venema makes the connection between 2 Peter 3 and Romans 8 when he observes, ‘Second Peter 3:5-13 confirms . . . the basic ideal also expressed, though in different language, in Romans 8. The new heavens and earth will issue from God’s sovereign and redemptive work. . . . It will involve the renewal of all things, not the creation of all new things.’”

    Reed: Does it serve a merely temporal purpose?

    Jack: No. There is continuity into eternity. (Don’t ask me to explain the nuances of that!)

    Reed: If so, how is this to be understood differently from a pagan’s notion of cultural transformation, ultimately idolatry?

    Jack: Even if I granted that it was only temporal, I really cannot make sense of this. Sorry.

    Reed: If such transformation is temporal but also in some manner connected to the redemptive cause, what is this connection?

    Jack: Again, the broader use of “redemptive.”

    Reed: What kind of temporal cultural transformation is the Christian as Christian to engage in?

    Jack: All kinds, i.e., the whole doctrine of vocation/calling, etc.

    Reed: Same question for the Church?

    Frame, p. 4: “If the two kingdoms doctrine means only that ‘church’ and ‘state’ are non-synonymous and that church and state are distinct bodies, then there is scriptural support for the distinction. . . To make a long story very short, God has not given to the church the power of the sword, and he has not given to the state the right to distribute the sacraments.”

    Reed: I admit to being skeptical that here Frame has actually said anything that really means anything.

    Jack: Really. Have you actually read the Escondido book, Reed?

  76. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Mike, I’m fine with that.

  77. todd said,

    March 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Jack,

    I sent a response to your questions but it must have gotten lost in cyber-space, and I really don’t want to write it again, so, sorry.

    But you wrote to Reed: “In other words, it’s all going to burn, baby. So, again, what would even be the point of Christian cultural endeavors, in the 2K view.”

    Wow – this is an amazing statement. So it is not worth loving our neighbor if he is not going to come to Christ as a result of it? It is not worth mowing my lawn if my lawn will not make it into glory? We do good to others, help people, get involved with social matters in this temporary life, not because this is how God’s everlasting kingdom will be built, but simply because as Christians we care for people and in this God is glorified, something about loving thy neighbor. Why is that not enough?

    And this present culture is going to pass away. (I Cor 7:29-31)

  78. dghart said,

    March 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Jack Bradley, no offense, but for all of Frame’s complaints about how the other side doesn’t do exegesis, I’ve yet to see a Greek or Hebrew reference in his writings, and your quotations don’t reassure me that he is actually following the teachings of Scripture.

    Not only do you or he remain vague about transform — the Bible does command people to be transformed but the NT is silent on teaching or examples of Christ and the apostles transforming the society or even teaching that the church is called to do this; think of the pastoral epistles:does Paul give you any sense that he is worried about the broader society of Asia Minor? Does he mention political or moral or economic issues in the wider society? But you and Frame don’t seem to have a compelling sense of culture. Language is basic to culture. Do Christians speak a different language than non-believers? Do Christians transform English or German? Do we rush out and say, language is ours!

    All of which is to say that if Frame or you want to transform the culture and want a religious rationale for it, fine. Claim that cultural transformation is your vocation, just like history is mine. But my vocation, and my use of it to glorify God, does not mean that the Bible calls anyone to transform history.

    The Bible (especially the NT) is silent on transforming culture as are the Reformed confessions. Any claims that transformation is required are just the doctrines and imaginations of men. So it’s not just that justification may be at stake, but also the authority of Scripture.

  79. March 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    Thank you so much for your clear and compelling comments on transformation. I do think that all language of cultural transformations tends to lead to either social gospel or thenomy/Christian reconstruction. In either case, it often leads to the exaltation of politics to kingdom-level interest, which I think is a form of idolatry, whether one’s politics are liberal or conservative. The Gospel alone redeems and the Gospel is good news, a proclamation of the person and work of Christ and a call for faith in Christ. To call other work “redemptive” is to diminish the Gospel. Now, someone will say, “But we should be feeding the hungry and serving the poor and advocating for just laws.” I say, “Of coursewe should.” That’s all part of loving our neighbor as ourselves, which is central to the Law of God, but is not the Gospel.”

  80. Jack Bradley said,

    March 2, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Todd, I’m happy to know you believe that what you described are indeed cultural endeavors. I’m simply saying that what we do on earth, in this kind of cultural application of the gospel, matters for eternity.

    Why is that saying too much?

  81. Jack Bradley said,

    March 2, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    I really think its a paradigm difference so deep that we see Scripture through different lenses in this context. Tell me if Frame understands your lens adequately. Speaking of your book, A Secular Faith, Frame writes: (p. 250f)

    “. . . he says in the Preface that the book ‘starts from the premise that Christianity is an apolitical faith.’ . . . Later in the book he considers Abraham Kuyper’s appeal to ‘the Lordship of Christ over all temporal affairs’. Hart takes the position that such an appeal ‘fails to do justice to the reduced character of Christ’s sovereignty in the Christian era.’ . . .
    Hart is saying, perhaps, that Christ does not impose or express his sovereignty in the political realm. But even that is unbiblical.”

    Here’s how deep the difference is, as I see it:

    Frame, p.260: “… the fact that the civil magistrate is a ‘servant of God’ (Rom. 13:4) requires state officials to confess God’s lordship.”

    p. 261: “This is not to say that government has the obligation to evangelize. But legislation must be in accord with sound morality, and sound morality presupposes Christian faith. Law is rooted in morality, morality is rooted in ultimacy and value, and ultimacy and value are religious conceptions: hence, ultimately law is religious. Legislators should not try to force people to believe, but they should enact laws that agree with Christian faith and morals.”

    As far as biblical support for cultural transformation, I would direct you to chapter ten of the Escondido book: “In Defense of Christian Activism” (also found as an addendum in his Doctrine of the Christian Life) as well as Part Five of Doctrine of the Christian Life: Christ and Culture, pp. 853-903.

  82. Zrim said,

    March 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    TUAD and Jeff, it’s still not clear to me what 2k has to do immediately with civil disobedience. It still seems closer to Christian liberty. But even from there, despite your attempts to force my hand, I really have no interest in rushing to conclusions about sin. All I am saying for the moment is that I don’t see how there can be any affirmative case made for something the NT never seems to warrant. And so far, nobody has. Nobody has lifted a finger to show how civil disobedience can be harmonized with NT ethics that clearly and plainly teach civil obedience. I am aware of plenty of historical and modern political theories that make plenty of room to disobey, but since believers (individual and corporate) are first and foremost bound to obey the Bible, it sure would be nice to see how anyone gets around Paul’s and Peter’s charges to obey.

    Part of the problem seems to be what is understood by civil disobedience. I don’t see how lawful actions like sit-ins and protests are tantamount to civil disobedience, unless these actions are considered unlawful by civil authorities. I’m not sure such public behavior is becoming, or how they don’t do more to divide than cohere and cultivate virtue for the society we are called to be good citizens in. Still, I don’t see how lawful actions, even if unbecoming and undignified, could be construed as sinful. My guess is that in recent history certain public and activistic behaviors have been associated with civil disobedience and so erroneously get tagged as such. But since when was disagreement and protest synonymous with disobedience? My kids disagree and protest and appeal all the time, but I rarely consider it disobedience. It can and does become disobedience at some point, at which point correction becomes necessary.

    But my sense is that what you all worry about is that the point is to muzzle civic participation, but that’s hardly the case. The point really is to encourage more careful consideration of what it means to participate well and in a dignified and thoughtful way. It’s also to consider that even while lawful, protest can easily become disobedience, especially in a polity that, frankly, encourages and even rewards disobedience. And I just find it odd that there isn’t more skepticism amongst those who would conceive themselves as conservative about the cultural and political esteeming of civil disobedience when the book we claim to follow, as well as the confessions we subscribe, are all about civil OBEDIENCE.

  83. todd said,

    March 2, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Jack,

    It depends what you mean. Of course all we do as believers has eternal significance, in that God will reward our service to him; good works unto God reap eternal rewards; but I suspect you mean more than this.

  84. Zrim said,

    March 2, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Jack, have you ever heard the phrase immanentizing the eschaton? It’s what I think of when I hear sentiments about the “cultural application of the gospel” and that what we do here “matters for eternity.” What some of us are promoting is a heftier dose of restraint for the expectations of the temporal domain. Some have suggested that there is something to be said for at once retaining the dignity and very goodness of the here and now and lowering the stakes. That just sounds like good conservative sense to me. Otherwise, I am not sure what reason anyone has to really hope for a better country, one whose architect is God himself.

  85. paigebritton said,

    March 3, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Todd & Jack –
    see #74 for Todd’s fuller response. (Yep, it got caught, but I let it outta the spam filter!)

    General rule of thumb to everybody: you might consider breaking longer comments into parts for readability and easier response. I understand that addressing every point that someone has written requires a bit more volume, though, and often that thoroughness is helpful and appreciated.

  86. paigebritton said,

    March 3, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Reed & Jack & all,
    re. Transformationalism (or not), one foundational question seems to be an eschatological one about the continuity vs. discontinuity of physical matter between the present cosmos and the NH/NE.

    In my experience, most transformationalist rhetoric assumes more continuity between this world and the next than would be warranted by Scripture, and also illegitimately appropriates Christ’s ultimate permanent transformative power in the present for the Church (what Zrim calls “immanentizing the eschaton”).

    Yet I question whether the “it’s all gonna burn, just concentrate on the things that will last (i.e., God’s Word & people)” message is correct either, whether expressed colloquially (pre-mill dispy language) or in the more careful words of 2Kers, who apparently see a complete break between this world and the NH/NE.

    Have any of you 2Kers considered whether some, at least, of the “transformation” language is based on a possible reading of Scripture that involves actual physical continuity between this world and the next? I’m not here advocating any details about “how” this might play out, but this does seem to be historically one school of thought among Christians which might legitimately lend itself to seeing implications for how our work matters as [limited] imitators of God’s transformative character on Planet Earth.

    FWIW,
    Paige B.

  87. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 3, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Zrim, points taken, and I appreciate especially this sentence: “The point really is to encourage more careful consideration of what it means to participate well and in a dignified and thoughtful way.”

    However, sit-ins are in fact trespassing; and protesting has been in fact unlawful for much of human history. So I’m not sure where you’re drawing the line here.

    In re: civil disobedience — there are several biblical examples of it. We have the Hebrew midwives refusing Pharaoh’s orders (and God blessing them for it). We have Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt rather than giving up Jesus. We have Rahab deceiving the authorities. We have Peter et al telling the Sanhedrin to its face that they will continue to preach.

    I don’t think that “We must obey God rather than men” has much wiggle room.

    Now, if you want to argue that a lot of “civil disobedience” today consists less of obeying God and more obeying one’s funny feelings, I would agree. If the principle is obeying God rather than authorities, then the threshold is good-and-necessary inference.

    But the basic principles need to be the starting point: We must obey God rather than men. Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities.

    Then having agreed to that, we could talk about what these principles mean to a pharmacist who is ordered to give women Plan B.

  88. dghart said,

    March 3, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Jack (please call me DG or some epithet – forget the titles but I do appreciate the formality), I still haven’t heard any biblical argument from you or from Frame. Where does the Bible tell us that we need to transform culture to make Christ Lord (as if we could make Christ Lord by our efforts)? I have said many times that Christ was Lord even when Saddam Hussein was the ruler in Iraq. Was Christ not Lord then? Does his Lordship somehow depend on the capacity of Christians to make Christian societies (whatever those might look like)? Isn’t Christ Lord no matter what happens?

    So I can affirm Christ’s Lordship till your blue in the face. What does Christ’s Lordship prove? But I do think it is very revealing when Christians — even Kuyper — only regard Christ as Lord when Christians are like Charlie Sheen “winning.” That certainly puts salvation history in a strange light where the cause of the gospel so often wins through the defeat of God’s people.

    I do think there is a paradigm difference here. 2k critics are guilty of a theology of glory. 2k affirms a theology of the cross. Sorry to make that so self-serviing, but I do think it explains a lot of the difference (and why so many neo-Calvinists and theonomists use Lutheran as an epithet).

  89. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 8:54 am

    DG,

  90. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

    All:

    Peter says this: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials … Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

    Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. — 1 Pet 1.3-6,13-17.

    Could we agree that Peter is commanding us to live lives that are different in quality from the lives we formerly lived in ignorance?

    Having so agreed, does this qualify as transformationalism?

  91. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

    DG, I think you’re right, it does sound self-serving :)

    Really though, it’s more than a bit of an oversimplification: theology of the cross vs theology of glory. It’s an oversimplification to the point of distortion.

    Frame is deals with this distortion (Escondido, p. 43):

    “Horton emphasizes that in this life we ‘share in Christ’s suffering and humiliation.’ To accept such suffering is to hold the theology of the cross. To seek glory on earth is to hold a theology of glory. It is ‘the offering of the kingdoms of the world here and now.’”

    I find Horton’s (and I assume your) definition of “theology of glory” to be a complete misrepresentation/distortion of what I’m calling the Cultural Mandate (CM) view. As if CM is somehow taking Satan up on his offer of the kingdoms of the world, and dismissing the cross. . . I don’t even have the stomach to frame it further, but that seems to be the not-so-subtle nuance of Horton’s characterization.

    Oversimplication/distortion. As also in your statement above: “I do think it is very revealing when Christians — even Kuyper — only regard Christ as Lord when Christians are like Charlie Sheen ‘winning.’”

    Escondido, p. 43: “Horton explains that God intends to glorify his people ‘up ahead’ but not in this life. I agree that in general our glorification is part of the next life rather than this one. But I wonder if Horton has considered in this regard John 17:22, 2 Cor. 3:18, Eph. 3:13, I Thess. 2:20, I Peter 1:8? As elsewhere in this book Horton oversimplifies. . . God does indeed grant blessings to his people in this life. Certainly greater ones await, and we must not expect God to give us everything at once.”

    Greater ones await. Infinitely greater. And sufferings await us here, as well as blessings. I affirm both sufferings and blessings/glory. Does that really move me out from under the category: theology of the cross?

    I suspect that a significant part of the paradigm lens divide is eschatology. It think Frame hits it on the head, p. 313:

    “One explanation of the imbalance. . . is that they are amillenialists on steroids. ‘Pessimistic’ amillennialists believe that the kingdom in the present is entirely ‘spiritual,’ and achieves no earthly or cultural success, only defeat and misery.”

    Taken by itself, I suppose Frame would be guilty of oversimplication/distortion, however, he’s offering “one explanation” within a critique of 300+ pages.

    I do think eschatology is a significant factor, as in DVD’s total discontinuity view as well.

  92. todd said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Jeff,

    We would all agree the Holy Spirit transforms people (Rom 12:2). The question is, does the Bible speak of entities such as nations and cultures as being transformed? Of course cultures and governments can be improved, and that is a worthy enterprise as good neighbors, but unbelievers can improve culture and government also. .

    Paige,

    I don’t think the issue is continuity vs. discontinuity, but if our cultural labors as believers make that which was at one time discontinuous continuous.

  93. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Jeff Cagle, #88: “In re: civil disobedience — there are several biblical examples of it.”

    Jeff Cagle, #91: “Peter says this …. Having so agreed, does this qualify as transformationalism?”

    This harkens back to #61:

    Premise: “Exercising Civil Disobedience, obeying God rather than man, whether by a minister, as minister, or a church, as church, seeks to change the social, cultural, and/or political order.”

    A 1Ker has no problem with this.

    Accordingly, an Escondido 2Ker has no problem with the premise either since Todd says: “There is no “position” on civil disobedience among those of us friendly to WSC.” premised upon “When and how to practice civil disobedience when it may be called for is a matter of conscience and not a matter of confessional fidelity.”

    ——-

    Civil disobedience is transformationalism essentially. Having so agreed, the gap or disagreement between 1Kers, historic 2Kers, and Escondido 2Kers is, in some respects, artificial.

    If all of these positions allow for civil disobedience, then all allow for “transformationalism” to some degree or another, and the only disagreement is when and what and how and where and why to pursue to exercise civil disobedience, a type of “transformationalism.”

    But the core principle still remains among all K positions: They all allow for civil disobedience as a matter of conscience and Christian liberty, all that differs is a matter of degree and kind.

  94. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Todd,

    I’ll have a fuller response sometime today, but please let me go on record, FWIW, that I do not call into question DVD’s or anyone else’s reformed credentials. I have, and will continue to benefit greatly from these men’s works.

  95. todd said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Jack,

    “I do not call into question DVD’s or anyone else’s reformed credentials. I have, and will continue to benefit greatly from these men’s works.”

    Sorry for the confusion, I was referring to Frame doing such in his book

  96. Zrim said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Paige, the “transformation” language of the Bible seems to have in mind the people of God (individual and corporate). It doesn’t seem to have in mind their stuff. It’s an imago Dei versus non-imago Dei point. So, yes, there is certainly a sense in which an amil 2ker can certainly affirm the transformative language and that it involves actual physical continuity between this world and the next, but it’s you and me, not our neighborhoods and governments. Maybe another 2k sola would be sola persona, as in justification is of people alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone to the glory of God alone. Further, the language to capture what is happening to you and me is better understood as “sanctification.” You might consider that the Reformed ordo salutis is 1) election, 2) predestination, 3) gospel call 4) inward call 5) regeneration, 6) conversion (faith & repentance), 7) justification, 8) sanctification, and 9) glorification. Nothing about “being transformed,” which tends to align with the power language of therapeutic self-improvement. Sanctification implies something slower, more mysterious and less worldly.

  97. Zrim said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Jeff, yes, those are the basic principles and the point I am trying to make. The midwives, Mary and Joseph, Rahab, and Peter seem to me all examples of obeying God rather than men. But construing them as examples of disobedience makes no sense to me since the other principle is to be subject to the governing authorities. IOW, there is no principle of disobedience, so what is there to be gained by the language, other than to confound and confuse?

  98. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 3, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I construe them as examples of disobedience because they fit the definition of disobedience: Command given, command self-consciously not obeyed.

    The point is to be clear and forthright.

  99. dghart said,

    March 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Jack, but you haven’t given any indication of how your affirmation of the theology of the cross squares with affirming cultural transformation. Where did the apostles or Christ counsel Christians to transform the world (as opposed to not being conformed to this world — as Jeff’s point makes). Plus, you haven’t explained whether you think Christ was actually Lord of Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s regime. Is it not possible to say that Christ rules even when Nero is emperor and terrorizing Christians (btw, an emperor to whom Paul tells Christians to submit). This isn’t just about eschatology — though if Frame wants to disagree with Vos and Murray in his eagerness to denounce Kline, fine. It’s about explicit teachings of Scripture (or the Bible’s silence about transformation). Why else do you think Frame gravitates toward theonomy? Because he isn’t going to find Christians running things in the New Testament.

  100. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 3, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Zrim, #83: “But even from there, despite your attempts to force my hand, I really have no interest in rushing to conclusions about sin.”

    Actually Zrim, Darryl Hart has written that you are rushing to conclusions about sin.

    From Darryl Hart’s post, The Bible is Not Off Limits But Only Settles So Much, Darryl Hart writes:

    “Two of Old Life’s regular voices, Zrim and Jed, are having an interesting discussion — in response to a post questioning the political machinations of the hallowed Bonhoffer — about whether 2kers may legitimately appeal to the Bible in their civic duties. Zrim argues that the Bible forbids civil disobedience while Jed questions whether a 2ker may employ the Bible in this way.”

    Zrim, if Darryl Hart is representing you correctly, then you really are doing what Jeff Cagle states in #71:

    “Isn’t your argument that civil disobedience is unjustified, period? And therefore, civil disobedience is sin?

    And if so, then isn’t your argument binding the consciences of those who might seek to engage in civil disobedience for conscience’ sake?”

  101. Zrim said,

    March 3, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Jeff, you’re missing my point. The biblical principles are OBEY God and OBEY magistrate. There is no DISOBEY principle, so why employ the language of disobedience in an affirmative way? It’s as confusing to talk about disobedience in the face of biblical imperatives to obey as it is to talk about transformed cities in the midst of biblical speech about sanctified people.

  102. Zrim said,

    March 3, 2012 at 11:18 am

    TUAD, you keep avoiding me. I am asking you to show where the Bible warrants any form of disobedience. Instead of trying to force my hand to bind consciences, please show where the Bible affirms anything but obedience.

  103. March 3, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Jeff, our lives should absolutely be of a different quality. Our lives are to be redeemed, without a doubt. Part of the redemption of our lives should be a sincere desire to keep God’s Law from the heart, which is central to the new covenant promise of a new heart (Ezek. 36:26-27). However, transformationism seeks the redemption of culture, of world systems. Cultures are not people, world systems are never promised redemption. We could argue and seek a sub-culture in the church that is transformed in its priorities and values because of the redemptive influence of the Spirit on the hearts of God’s people, but we are nowhere in Scripture taught to expect this to redeem the dominant culture nor are we taught to strive for such a redemption. It has historically always led to compromise, worldliness, bad theology, etc.

    Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. Christ’s followers are always called to be aliens and strangers, to love our neighbors without seeking to dominate them. The strongest demonstration of a redeemed life is an eschewing of worldly power structures and a contentment with status as “the offscouring of the world” (1 Cor 4:13).

    Now, having said all of that, I do think that part of loving our neighbors, especially in a democracy, involves advocating for just laws. We are not to withdraw and isolate ourselves, but we engage in such activity prophetically and not in an intense partisanship. We are seeking the welfare of our neighbor not the accumulation of power to ourselves. We are not to be another self-seeking special interest group.

  104. Roy said,

    March 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Zrim, your 102 and 103 do not collide with the (bluntly) explicit statements of scripture provided by Jeff and TUAD (cf, eg, the juxtaposition of your 98 with Jeff’s 99). The wrestling will do no more than provide a parallel to playing an air guitar if you don’t wrestle with what’s actually presented.

  105. Roy said,

    March 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    The posts in this discussion display way too few direct confrontations of understandings. (Imho, of course) Without collision of ideas participants will not change their own ideas much less sharpen one another much less equip the church for the immediate tasks it faces. I submit that moving the debate from abstract, in thesi issues to concrete, specific clashes (cf, eg, Jeff 88 last sentence) will go a long way toward making progress.

    After all, while this discussion goes on we have seen (not figuratively, but literally during the last week) Christians in our own country faced with government commands contrary to their conscience.

  106. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Zrim (#102): I’m not missing your point but rather challenging it. For each of these individuals, the principle of “obey God” led to “and therefore, disobey man.” That’s what it looked like on the ground to Pharaoh, Herod, and the Sanhedrin.

    It is what it is: disobedience to authorities, out of obedience to a higher authority. I would consider it misleading and confusing to say otherwise.

  107. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Jason (#104): I appreciate and affirm the distinction between individual lives and society.

    The long game for me is to get a recognition on the ground that society is, in fact, made up of individuals.

    That means that the boundary between cult and culture is not perfectly clean.

    In general, I view Escondido Theology as sounding a clarion note for the separation of cult and culture, and transformationalism as issuing a full-throated call for bringing cult to bear on culture.

    I find both approaches lacking in different ways, though I’m certainly not prepared to offer an alternative.

    We all muddle through …

  108. Reed Here said,

    March 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Jack: thanks for your response. Respectfully,

    I disagree with the characterization that 2K teaches a pessimistic, “its all gonna burn baby, so abandon it.” I think you agree and maybe were just caught up in the moment. ;-)

    I don’t think you really answered my question, why engage in cultural transformation? Sincerely, I find all your responses rather vague.

    Maybe make it easier, what is the redemptive connection, what is the gospel-rooted purpose for cultural transformation by the Christian/Church?

    I find it hard to swallow the kinds of challenges that Frame makes (even giving him benefit of the doubt that he is accurately characterizing his WSC opponents), and your’s here, simply because they are vague.

    Is cultural transformation a gospel command? If so, why? If it is, I can appreciate the heat against 2k positions. If not, anti-2k’ers got some ‘pologizing ta do!

  109. Reed Here said,

    March 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Paige: I’ve read some of the efforts (Venema) to argue exegetically for essential continuity between this creation and the new creation. I find them decidedly unconvincing. They read like arguments that are forced into a pattern they were never intended to take.

    Now, to offer some sympathy, I think some of the opposite 2k arguments (VanDrunen) at this point are the source of the pattern being aligned with. I think some of these arguments are looking for support (discontinuity) in areas that are secondary at best.

    The whole debate at this point reminds me so much of debates about the mode of administering water in baptism. There is a lot of effort being put into drawing deep lines with with sticks for arguments.

    As a general rule I understand the Bible to teach dramatic historical and material discontinuity with the history of redemption, in the context of comprehensive and overwhelming spiritual continuity in the place of redemption.

    Applied to this question, I don’t think there is much to say. This cosmos (historical / material) will come to a complete and thorough end, so much so that it is characterized as being consumed, utterly. AND, there is a deep and abiding spiritual connection between this cosmos and the next one, so much so that what is/does here material/eternally effects what one is/does there.

    I think real progress in understanding can be made if we work on agreeing on definitions. Things like “cultural transformation” need to be tied down by both sides, and then the debate can focus better on what the Bible actually says.

  110. dghart said,

    March 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Jeff, I know you worry about perfectly clean boundaries and still do no matter how many 2kers assert that the boundaries are not clean when it comes to persons (individuals is not a good word to describe creatures made in the image of God and dependent on him — it suggests autonomy). For people who are members of the church and of society, or who are religious and artistic, the categories are anything but clear. But when it comes to the church as an institution, the categories are fairly clear and this is what 2k endeavors to establish, that is, to avoid mission creep for the church.

  111. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Reed asked: Is cultural transformation a gospel command?

    Reed, since you’re finding Frame’s rationale insufficient, allow me to give you some more rationale through him. Hopefully this will also make some contact with Todd’s and DG’s concerns.

    Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, 309f:

    “The cultural mandate begins with God’s word of blessing, which calls Adam and Eve to fill the earth with their seed and take dominion over the land. . . The Great Commission carries this theme into the new covenant. Christ is himself the promised seed, the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. He fills all things with his presence (Eph. 1:23; 4:10). And he takes title to all lands in God’s creation (Matt. 28:18). It might seem, then, that there is nothing left for believers to do, since Jesus has fulfilled the terms of the cultural mandate. But we must not forget that we live in a semieschatological age, the age of the already and the not-yet. This is the age in which Christ has fulfilled history, but in which nevertheless he calls his disciples to apply his finished work.
    That call is the Great Commission. Believers are to fill the earth with worshipers of God and thus take dominion of all lands, using the resources that Christ gives them from heaven. . . Thus will be fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that ‘the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’ (Isa. 11:9).

    . . . It is right and good for us to explore and inhabit the earth and to use its resources for the glory of God and the betterment of human life. The works of science, art, technology, government, and so on are good, when done for God. These are good in themselves, not only as means to bring people to faith.
    In the broadest sense, however, the cultural mandate cannot be fulfilled until the Great Commission is fulfilled. There cannot be a world full of worshipers of God until people repent of their sins and turn to Christ. So all of human life in this semieschatological age should have a redemptive focus. Everything we do should contribute in some way to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. . . I Cor. 10:31: ‘Do all to the glory of God.’”
    So everything we do should be done to advance, not only God’s purposes in general, but specifically his program of redemption as presented in the Great Commission.”

  112. Reed Here said,

    March 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Jack: thanks.

    Sounds like Frame is saying that cultural transformation is a means to the end of the Great Commission, yes? I.e., cultural transformation is a proximate end, to be pursue because of the ultimate end, the Great Commission.

    Is that your understanding? Do you think the modern 2K position is in opposition to this?

  113. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Yes, yes and yes.

  114. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    DGH (#111): But when it comes to the church as an institution, the categories are fairly clear and this is what 2k endeavors to establish, that is, to avoid mission creep for the church.

    Well, I can certainly sign on to that. This is, IMHO, the best part of Escondido Theology — keeping the church focused on its mission.

    I love that. Keep it up.

    At the same time, I wish y’all gave your non-Escondido brethren more credit than you do. Not everyone who says the word shibboleth transformation is a ‘glory theologian’ of the Corinthian sort. 2 Cor 3.18 is an awfully tough verse to read as an anti-transformationalist.

    Here’s why I worry about clean boundaries. Part of the Escondido project includes inoculating seminarians against false gospels. This is a good thing.

    But every time one calls “false gospel”, one is making a high-stakes accusation against another. If one does not get that *exactly right*, immense harm is done.

    I worry, with cause, that the “anti-transformationalist” net will sweep up more than just fish.

    Liberty of conscience includes the liberty to not be forced into using non-Confessional categories such as “separation of cult and culture” or “theology of the cross v. theology of glory.”

    When you broadly say, “2k critics are guilty of a theology of glory”, I see the big net swinging in your hand and cry foul. Really? All critics? Criticize Escondido and deny the gospel?

    Surely you don’t mean that.

    Hence, the call for cleaner conceptual boundaries.

  115. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Very well said, Jeff.

  116. Zrim said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Jeff, re 107, what things look like may not be what they actually are. You know, like when Jesus died on the cross it wasn’t the defeat it looked like to those on the ground but actually victory. It was also a display of obedience to God that was construed as disobedience to men (after all, only criminals belong on a tree). So speaking of being confusing and misleading, by your logic we’d have to call Jesus disobedient. But no he wasn’t. He was perfect. He was only and ever obedient to both God and magistrate, no matter what it may look like on the ground.

    So while I understand your point strictly speaking, I remain stymied as to what is gained by speaking favorably of disobedience. Maybe it scratches an itch in citizens whose country was borne out of disobedience and so naturally see something virtuous in it. Trouble is, the Bible sees disobedience of whatever kind as vice.

  117. Bob S said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    I’m with Roy in 106. What’s the “authoritative” pro/con 2k take on the HSS mandate regarding BC insurance coverage? Don’t be shy. Tell us what you really think.

  118. dgh said,

    March 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Jeff, in case you missed it, Escondido is the theology on the run these days, not the one in charge. You think VanDrunen is as influential as Keller? You think as many Reformed church members read the Ordained Servant as World Magazine? Puh-leeze.

    And certainly, you do not mean that 2 Cor 3:18 means that New York City is being transformed into glory (or Minneapolis) for that matter?

    As for a broad net, didn’t Paul use theology of Glory against fellow Christians? He still called them brothers. I don’t know of anyone among the 2k crowd that is saying the theology of glory excludes you from the church. Doesn’t mean that the theology of glory is a good thing.

  119. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    And while we’re at it. I’d also ask that my WSC brothers (two good friends I can think of specifically) stop accuse me of preaching a “glawspel” whenever I mention the third use of the law.

    I hope this is not as prevalent at WSC as the theology of glory smear, but I did find out that some have no use for the third use. I am thankful that Michael Horton does not see it as a confusion of law and gospel:

    Michael Horton: “Of course, pastors are called to preach the whole council of God: not only the gospel, but the law—including its third use (to guide Christian obedience).” Two Kingdoms Questions (Part 3)

    http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2009/10/05/two-kingdoms-questions-part-3/

    Michael Horton: “There is a third use of the law, which Lutherans also accept in principle. According to this use, the law guides believers who can never again fall under its threats and condemnation. Law and Gospel are not in opposition unless we seek to find satisfaction before God. But they are always distinguished at every point. The law can guide us in godly living, but it can never-even after we’re justified-give us any life.” Defining the Two Kingdoms

    http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var1=ArtRead&var2=514&var3=main

  120. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 3, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    On the run? Has the White Horse Inn gone into hiding? Guess I’m really out of the loop.

    But even if you are being picked on (and I would grant that I’ve seen some of that), be careful not to become the other guy.

    DGH: I don’t know of anyone among the 2k crowd that is saying the theology of glory excludes you from the church.

    To the extent that the term “theology of glory” derives from 1 and 2 Cor, it is tantamount to a false gospel. It is the gospel preached by the υπεραποστολοι, the servants of Satan.

    To quote the father of the phrase, Luther: A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the things what it actually is. — Heidelberg Disp. 1518, thesis 21.

    For Luther, the scholastic “glory theologians” were opposed to the cross.

    That’s the historical baggage that freights with the term, as you well know. “Theology of glory” is a very, very serious charge, worse than being tagged as a thief or adulterer.

  121. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Jeff, I was not aware of that background to the term. Whew.

    As I posted earlier: As if CM is somehow taking Satan up on his offer of the kingdoms of the world, and dismissing the cross!

    I do hope 2K’s will drop this smear.

  122. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Reed, please permit another quote, which I think really strikes a wonderful balance. I do think us CM’s especially need to hear it, because there are indeed very real potential pitfalls to the CM view, which 2K’s have a sensitivity toward which is to be commended and heeded.

    A Tale of Two Kingdoms Modern Reformation, Sep/Oct 1994
    Michael J. Glodo

    http://tinyurl.com/6mrrmtt

    “Our status as aliens and strangers does not permit cultural withdrawal. Although our ultimate allegiance is to the city of God, we do hold dual citizenship in that we have rights as well as responsibilities in this world. This is clearly reflected in Jesus’ words to render to Caesar (Mt 22:21). Further models are found in Daniel’s service in the courts of Nebuchadnezzar as well as Jeremiah’s exhortation to the exiles to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare” (Jer 29:7). But too often the redemptive agenda of the Christian is misapplied to the civil sphere with the result of antipathy towards Christ and lackluster service rendered to the citizenry. The responsibility of the Christian to be salt and light is an individual responsibility to be a good public citizen, not the institutional responsibility of the church.

    In spite of all the Christian is positively obliged to do, one must reckon with the subtle pitfalls of involvement in the politically-charged atmosphere of today’s culture. With the church being identified with particular cultural forms and the gospel with the rhetoric of individuals effusive of bipartisanism, the Christ which is known is not the Christ of the cross. He is the christ of cultural values, the christ of polarizing rhetoric, the christ of political alliances.

    As we witness a renewed interest in the Reformation, we must remind ourselves that it was not about the reformation of culture. It was a reformation of religion. To the extent that cultural reformation is the primary focus, it is the city of man which we attempt to rehabilitate. This minimizes the transcendent character of the city of God. Worse, the city of God, from a human perspective, lies in disrepair.”

    This is precise and powerful.

  123. todd said,

    March 3, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    “I do think us CM’s”

    Jack,

    What are CM’s? Cultural Mandates?

    Great quote from Glodo

  124. Jack Bradley said,

    March 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Yes, those who subscribe to the continuing validity of the Cultural Mandate. Thanks for the feedback, Todd.

  125. dgh said,

    March 4, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Jeff, if the theology of glory is so bad — if I recall, Paul did not anathematize the Corinthians the way he did the preachers in Galatia — then it would be all the more pressing for postmills and neo-cals to beware. In which case, you should be thanking 2kers for the warning.

    And if you are going to appeal to history, please do include all the Finney’s and Rauschenbusch’s of recent memory. The only real critics of them were Old Schoolers and their doctrine of the spirituality of the church. I don’t hear many worries among contemporary CMs about becoming another Finney or Rauschenbusch even though Keller does a pretty good impression.

    On White Horse Inn, perhaps you’ll recall that WH had to go solo from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals for being too friendly with Lutherans.

  126. dgh said,

    March 4, 2012 at 5:55 am

    Jack Bradley, and while you’re at it what say you to Christ’s Lordship over Saddam Hussein?

  127. Zrim said,

    March 4, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Jack, re 125, I’m unclear as to how your contrasting “CMs” to “2ks.” I don’t know of any 2ker who says that the cultural mandate is defunct (which is what makes Frame’s bullet point odd). It seems safe to say that the CM has been fulfilled and not abolished. And so to the extent that the cultural mandate corresponds to the moral law, it still abides and believers are still participants in it. Or has it escaped Frames notice that 2kers are still having babies, raising families, going to work and participating in all manner of cultural endeavor?

  128. dghart said,

    March 4, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Zrim, but isn’t Frame’s real fault in neglecting changing diapers, teaching the catechism, and paying taxes as worthwhile parts of “cultural transformation”? In which case, the real contrast here may be what counts as the work of culture, Chuck Colson’s take back America or Calvin’s ordinary believer?

  129. Zrim said,

    March 4, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Darryl, or the fault lies in the very rhetoric of transformation as opposed to participation. Diapers, catechism and taxes don’t do as much to change and take over things as they do to maintain and cultivate them.

  130. Jack Bradley said,

    March 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Brothers, I can’t say it any better than Frame and Glodo. If they can’t help you, I’m sure I can’t.

  131. March 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Here’s a 2K take on the dominion/cultural mandate that Darryl and Zrim would probably agree with:

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/2009/10/dominion-mandate-in-this-age-to.html

  132. dghart said,

    March 4, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Jack, I don’t believe Frame or Glodo have commented on Saddam Hussein.

  133. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Jack Bradley, #120: “I am thankful that Michael Horton does not see it as a confusion of law and gospel”

    I’m thankful as well. Here’s something for you to thoughtfully read:

    An Example of the Exegetical Blunders of Horton’s View of the Two Kingdoms.

    Excerpts:

    “Prof. Michael Horton has an article entitled, “The Death of Osama bin Ladin: What Kind of Justice Has Been Done?” Horton takes the occasion of bin Ladin’s death as a chance to attempt to propagate his unhistorical view of the two kingdoms. I don’t mean to suggest that the idea of two kingdoms is not historical. What I am suggesting is that the view of the two kingdoms that one sees from Escondido today is a view contrary to that of all the original Reformed confessions (at least, all the major ones, and particularly the big two: the Belgic Confession and the Westminster Confession). More importantly, it is contrary to Scripture, Natural Law, and sound reason.

    This attack on the historic Reformed faith is bolstered by extremely tenuous “exegesis” of Scripture. I am using quotation marks, because I think the label is generous to a fault. Perhaps a more accurate assessment would be “prooftexting.””

    (Read the rest.)

  134. Roy Kerns said,

    March 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Meanwhile, as this debate rages folks (many if not most, I suspect, and I’m not at all tongue in cheek here, needing theological guidance) are doing this:
    http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/

    Worth it to click over, glance at the site, and even spend the couple minutes it takes to listen to the video

    ps: Thanks, Bob 118. That someone noticed lets me know that my point was plain enough.

  135. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 5, 2012 at 8:54 am

    DGH (#126):

    Warnings and denunciations are two different genres.

    Warnings are directed towards the individual; they clearly point out a danger; and they believe the best of the individual to whom the warning is directed. A warning speaks in the second person.

    Denunciations are quite different. They are directed towards a general audience, exposing the behavior of an individual as a pernicious influence to be avoided. Denunciations do not believe the best of the target, but rather assert the worst. The object of denunciation is too far gone to listen. Denunciations speak in the third person.

    You have warned me, on occasion, and it has been for the most part helpful and profitable. At no point, have you denounced me. And I hope that has been mutual.

    But #89 really is a denunciation.

    You seem to believe that it is a mild denunciation, and that the term “theology of glory” should be interpreted in the spirit of 1 Cor: Tim Keller is headed down a bad path, and he needs to take care. I appreciate your intent here.

    But in fact, since Keller is a teacher (as are many 2k critics), the term “theology of glory” really carries the freight of 2 Cor 10 – 12. And of Luther’s denunciation at Heidelberg:

    That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened (Rom. 1:20; cf. 1 Cor 1:21-25),

    he deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross.

    A theology of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theology of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.

    Keller is, apparently, no theologian at all.

    You wince (or perhaps roll your eyes), and rightly so, when you are denounced in some quarters as “antinomian.” Why not harness the sting of that injustice in the service of empathy? Don’t be that guy.

    To forestall an objection: I haven’t read Frame’s book, and I think it will go to the bottom of the list. I fear that it will contain the same kinds of denunciations that we are talking about here. And if he were here, I would appeal to him in the same manner.

    Unless we are prepared to call one another “servants of Satan” per 2 Cor 11, we Presbies have to learn how to warn one another without denouncing one another.

  136. March 5, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Jeff, very well said! I think warnings and exhortations are needed, even strong critique, but we need to avoid outright denunciations and condemnations, unless a theological perspective is so bad, so poisonous, that we really think the teacher is a servant of Satan and is leading people to hell. We need more of a continuum and not such a stark “my way or the highway (to hell)” approach. To me you can place teachings on a scale from more faithful to less faithful to unfaithful to heretical. If JWs and Mormons get a 0 and a 1 and the WCF and Calvin’s Institutes get a 9 or 10, then almost everyone else falls somewhere between a 2 and an 8. Where is the line of eternal destiny between heaven and hell? I don’t know that I can say for sure, beyond the fact that a 0 and a 1 are definitely hell-bound heresy. I’d be hesitant to even assign concrete numbers to the other theologies out there, as it’s very reductionistic, but I could say this: I view 2K theology as more faithful than cultural transformation theology, but even within those schools, people differ. Further, in my assesment, none of the cultural transformationists (even theonomists like DeMar and Rushdoony) are as bad as true Federal Vision advocates (like Leithart), but I’m not willing to condemn/”heresy”-label any of them. I do advocate strongly that FV teachers should be barred frm serving as elders in the PCA, but not everyone who’s disqualified from serving as an elder in the PCA is going to hell!

  137. dghart said,

    March 5, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Jeff,

    Thanks for the definitions but I believe they are beside the point since in my world theology of glory and theology of the cross are not so specialized as you take them.

    Would Social Gospel be any better?

    Whatever you want to call it, you haven’t really commented on whether the tendency to look for the kingdom in this world is dangerous. Do you think that 2k is more dangerous than a form of ministry and teaching that associates the advance of the kingdom with social, political, and moral improvement (I won’t even use the loaded word, “progress.”)

  138. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

    DGH,

    Your world is a Lutheran-friendly world, right? (That’s not a slur; I count Lutherans as fellow laborers). Luther coined the term, he gets to define it. And by 1521, Luther had excommunicated the “glory theologians.”

    The point is not that you intended such a strong statement, but that your words can reasonably be taken as a strong statement.

    Social Gospel might be better, in that it leaves some room.

    Whatever you want to call it, you haven’t really commented on whether the tendency to look for the kingdom in this world is dangerous. Do you think that 2k is more dangerous than a form of ministry and teaching that associates the advance of the kingdom with social, political, and moral improvement (I won’t even use the loaded word, “progress.”)

    I do not believe the Escondido Theology to be dangerous in the sense of a teaching that needs to be eradicated from the church. I view it as an imperfect attempt to avoid over-emanatizing. I would count myself among those who have profited from interacting with it.

    I have more complicated thoughts about “a ministry that associates the advance of the kingdom with social, political, and moral improvement.”

    Some forms are dangerous … Liberation Theology comes to mind, and Pearl Buck’s version of the Social Gospel.

    Some forms, though, are imperfect attempts to avoid antinomianism.

    And other forms are legitimate developments of Calvin’s thought.

    The assumption that underlies your question seems to be that one side or the other must be opposed. Push-back against Escondido is a blow struck for the Social Gospel.

    I reject that assumption as Corinthian party spirit. Keller belongs to you, if you both belong to Christ; and vice-versa.

  139. dghart said,

    March 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Jeff, I’d like to see how you get transformation out of Calvin, especially in his section on how the Christian should view this world.

    But as for Luther, he and Calvin both used a lot of strong language. I still reject that theology of glory has the significance you give it, though I do think it is dangerous.

    As for being for or against 2k, I really don’t mind the criticism. What I still haven’t heard from the critics is how their view avoids the problems that befell Rauschenbusch, Finney and let’s remember Kuyper and the GKN and the Free University. 2kers have been clear, no matter how much caricatured, that Christians may be involved in all sorts of cultural endeavors. The critics have not been clear about how to avoid liberalism or executing Servetus.

  140. Zrim said,

    March 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Jeff, if your point is that how 2k is articulated by some is imperfect then it seems a little anticlimactic and not entirely profound. It could be said that the Protestant Reformation was similarly imperfect. But your latest point about strong statements seems fairly more Erasmian than Lutheran, suggesting that taking an imperfect side in all of this is somehow impious. But for all his noble diplomacy, Erasmus doesn’t tend to have the Protestant regard that Luther does. There may be a lesson in that.

    That said, it’s worth pointing out that 2k warnings about any and all social gospel have to do with wanting to preserve the integrity of the biblical gospel and keep it from being hidden under the bushels of the traditions of men and thus alienating sinners from it; it’s also to preserve the liberty of believers to bring temporal solutions (instead of eternal ones) to bear on temporal problems. Where you might see some forms of social gospel to be attempts to avoid antinomianism, others of us see it as bringing eternity to bear directly and obviously on temporal concerns. You know, square pegs and round holes and all that. The gospel solves our eternal problems, not our temporal problems. Applied Christianity is applied Christianity and is categorically inappropriate no matter how it is applied to worldly condern. 2k is an equal opportunity warning.

  141. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    DGH: Geneva.

    Zrim: Applied Christianity is applied Christianity and is categorically inappropriate no matter how it is applied to worldly concerns.

    Then for goodness’ sake, let’s toss the entirely of the WLC and WSC on the decalogue, because what they do is march down the 10 commandments and spell out applications for life. And these applications, note, are part of the moral law, binding on all men and not merely Christians.

    And this is where I perceive a blind spot concerning what your words actually *say*. I am confident that you believe that there is a legitimate third use of the law. You’ve said so before.

    But your words “applied Christianity is categorically wrong” pretty much come down to denying the third use. If there is no legitimate application of God’s law to our lives, then there is no third use of the law.

    Ah, you say, but “Christianity” is different from “the law.”

    Not exactly. Christianity subsumes Law and Gospel together in their proper uses. Else the WLC on the law would, once again, be a non-Christian teaching. “Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it.”

    You don’t *live* as if the law doesn’t apply to you; I don’t understand why you want to talk that way.

    And that’s why we need some 2k critics in the church, together with the 2kers.

  142. Zrim said,

    March 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Jeff, when I say “Applied Christianity” I have in mind the likes of social gospeler Washington Gladden, who wrote a book by that title and whose subtitle says it all: The Moral Aspects of Social Questions. And for a helpfully critical account of how Applied Christianity played a role at the turn of the 20th century to reinforce cultural Christianity, I’d suggest Gamble’s “The War for Righteousness,” a title which also speaks volumes.

    So, yes, there is a personal application of Christianity for believers singularly and institutionally. But the crucial point is to seriously wonder about any effort to apply it socially or culturally or politically.

  143. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Re: #73

    Reed, I think a counter-example might show the false dichotomy here:

    “If the ultimate end of [personal] transformation is already achieved in Christ, waiting to be revealed in the New Heavens/New Earth that supersedes/replaces the sphere of such transformative effort, what is the purpose of such transformation?

    Does it serve a merely temporal purpose? If so, how is this to be understood differently from a pagan’s notion of [personal] transformation, ultimately idolatry?

    If such transformation is temporal but also in some manner connected to the redemptive cause, what is this connection? What kind of temporal [personal] transformation is the Christian as Christian to engage in? Same question for the Church?”

    Are these really questions that are that difficult with respect to personal sanctification? So what makes cultural sanctification so questionable?

  144. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Re #89:

    DG, where do Reformed transformationalists say their work is making Christ Lord? Running in some t’ist circles, and considering myself t’ist, we simply don’t say that. In fact, we put it the other way ’round: because Christ is Lord, we should…

    So, try to avoid straw men there, or point us to some actual Reformed t’ists who say that our actions are the cause of Christ’s Lordship.

  145. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Zrim, sure. I’m very happy to apply the highest standards of skepticism to social efforts. In fact, I’m happy that you stand waiting in the wings to do so.

    Just make sure you have a baby-catcher in your bathwater disposal unit. :)

  146. Joshua W.D. Smith said,

    March 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    “Is cultural transformation a gospel command?”

    -Indirectly. We are called to preach the gospel and to teach the commandments of Christ. We are called to love even those who are not Christians, and that love is expressed in action (it’s not just the Christian orphans and widows, it it?). So, if Christians do that, then there will be ripples in the culture. This whole thing is a matter of syntax: cultural transformation is a result, not a purpose. Do we use the spiritual gifts of the Church instead of wordly weapons? Yes. Do we set as our goal the imitation of Christ? Yes. Is our first thought ‘How do I change the culture?’ No–the first thought is ‘How do I love God and my neighbor’? But this, done on a consistent basis only through the means of grace, cannot but have some impact on the culture.

    The irony is that if we pursue “cultural transformation” as the primary goal, or if we think that we will contribute to CT the same way that any other movement or group would pursue it, then we won’t in fact attain it. The analogy here is to Jericho: God gave them victory through worship, through Sabbath, through the very thing that looked useless to the warriors on the walls. Thus, Lord’s Day worship, renewing the covenant, might look useless, but that’s the way God is in fact bringing the rule of Christ to bear on all creation.

  147. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 5, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Somewhat of a follow-up to #147 by Joshua W.D. Smith.

    “In 112 A.D., the emperor Trajan dispatched a trusted legal adviser named Pliny the Younger to Asia Minor, as the province had experienced quite a cultural and economic downturn. One leading source of these cultural woes came from the fact that local pagan temples had fallen on hard times. Previously, they had been financial powerhouses for the nation-state.

    Pliny finally discovered a primary source for the religious doldrums: the Christians. After people started following Jesus, they could worship together in their own homes and assemblies: no temple required.

    Pliny brought the believers before him for questioning: were they the ones responsible for undermining the economy? The Christians he encountered were rather uncooperative. As was the Roman custom, Pliny asked them three times if they were guilty of the accusation against them. They did not exactly disagree with him, so he sent them off to be executed.

    Reading between the lines, it seems that Pliny may have had mixed feelings about how he had dealt these followers of the Jesus. Writing to Trajan, however, Pliny’s resolve returned: “Whatever they were guilty of, their very obstinacy deserves to be punished.””

    Civil disobedience –> Execution –> Socio-econo-cultural transformation.

    Oh yeah, Escondido 2K’ers through and through that bunch.

  148. dghart said,

    March 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Joshua, Kuyper says that his project is to establish Christ’s Lordship over every square inch.

  149. dghart said,

    March 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Jeff, so you’re comfortable with executing heretics? Remember, I’m asking for qualifications on your side. And when the qualifications come, you will sound very 2k.

    BTW, Calvin did not regard Geneva as the kingdom of God. If you have been listening to 2kers, having an ordered society is not the same thing as extending the kingdom of grace.

  150. Zrim said,

    March 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Joshua, re 147, that’s the “voila, transformed” theory. Like all transformationism, it sounds pretty good at first, but reality has a funny way of crashing the party. Hunter’s “To Change the World” supplies a pretty good case for just how naïve the very idea of transforming culture really is, whether by religionists or secularists. It does happen, but cultural change is actually pretty rare because it depends on so many factors, to say nothing of difficult. And then the redemptive transformers come along and tell us it’s actually done by not even trying; just go about your daily business of being a faithful believer and somehow the world will change by us just existing. But here is your awful dilemma: how does something difficult and complicated happen without even trying? It would be nice if I could get the pots and pans clean by reading the Bible and praying, but transforming dirty dishes into clean ones actually takes self-conscious effort. It would also be nice if I could pass a test by putting the book under my pillow, but I actually have to study. How can it be any different when it comes to transforming cities? Does grace leak out our finger tips?

  151. Zrim said,

    March 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    TUAD, next you’ll tell us that we’re all literate because at some point in western civilization Christians believed everybody should have a Bible. More transformationalist fantasizing. And I see you’re still singing the praises of civil disobedience without having shown where the Bible commends anything but obedience.

  152. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Kuyper did not make it his project to establish Christ’s Lordship over every square inch. Kuyper recognized Christ’s already existent Lordship over every square inch. As any historian would know, the Kuyper quote is:

    “..there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”

  153. Jack Bradley said,

    March 5, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    If you have not seen this review, it is very helpful:

    2K or Not 2K? That is the Question: A Review of David VanDrunen’s Living in God’s Two Kingdoms by Keith Mathison

    http://networkedblogs.com/bDCE9

    Some excerpts:

    When VanDrunen says “He has left nothing yet to be accomplished” in the context of a discussion of culture, the immediate question that comes to mind is how this relates to the already/not yet nature of Christ’s kingdom, which is intimately related to his kingly work. When it comes to the kingdom, it is not accurate to say without any qualification at all that Christ has left nothing yet to be accomplished. His kingdom was inaugurated at his first coming, but it has not yet been consummated, and between his first and second comings, he is putting all enemies under his feet. Satan has not yet been cast in the lake of fire. The final enemy, death, will not be completely destroyed until the resurrection on the last day (1 Cor. 15:26). VanDrunen seems to confuse the priestly work of sacrifice, which Christ did accomplish once and for all (Hebrews 10:12) with aspects of his kingly work that have not yet been completely accomplished. The cultural labors of Christians are not (or at least should not be) attempts to earn the salvation that has been already accomplished. Their cultural labors have to do more with the “not yet” aspects of Christ’s kingly office.

    . . . There is a sense in which the devil and death were “destroyed” at the cross and resurrection of Christ (e.g. Heb. 2:14), but they are also enemies waiting to be finally destroyed in an ultimate sense (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:25–26; Rev. 20:10).

    . . . Furthermore, “Because Christ has already perfectly completed the work that God requires of human beings in this world, people today need not add any of their own works to satisfy God—they need only rest in Christ who has done it all for them” (p. 57). The only problem is that VanDrunen seems to believe that conservative and orthodox Reformed transformationists or Neo-Calvinists think their cultural work completes Christ’s priestly atoning work (p. 57–8). I am not convinced that is the case. I think this misunderstanding is caused by VanDrunen’s own confusing of Christ’s already accomplished priestly work and aspects of Christ’s kingly work that are not yet fully completed.

    . . . In addition to the fact that the two texts used by VanDrunen to support the discontinuity thesis do not really entail such a view, there is other evidence indicating that there is continuity as well as discontinuity. As an example, consider how Revelation 21:1 speaks of the coming of the new heavens and earth. John writes: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” Compare this to the language Paul uses to describe the Christian in 2 Corinthians 5:17. He writes: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The similarities are striking. Both the heavens and earth as well as the believer are described as “new” using the same Greek adjective. And in both cases, the old is described as having “passed away” using the same Greek verb. The fact that this happens to the Christian without involving the complete annihilation of his or her original body and the creation of a completely new body indicates that the same may be said of the heavens and earth.

    . . . Here again we can see how radically the discontinuity thesis affects the interpretation of other passages of Scripture. The idea expressed by Paul in Romans 8 is not the idea of destruction, annihilation, and complete discontinuity. The creation was affected by the curse resulting from Adam’s sin. It longs to be finally free of this curse and its effects. It will be redeemed, transformed, and renewed, not destroyed. . . Most Reformed theologians, however, have taught that the present creation will be renewed and transformed.

    . . . VanDrunen explains that the state does not have the authority to promote what is evil. Of course, this raises important questions: who has the authority to instruct the magistrate about what is evil if not the church? Who has the duty to tell the magistrate if it steps over the line into evil if not the church? . . . I raise this question because I have heard two kingdoms advocates say that the German church under the Nazi government, for example, did not have any mandate to condemn that government’s evil actions. Individual Christians could do so, but not the church. I don’t know if such a statement is typical of all two kingdoms advocates, but if it is, it indicates the presence of a deep-seated problem.

    . . . Two kingdoms theology as presented by David VanDrunen offers many helpful insights into the issue of the Christian’s relation to culture. It also raises many helpful questions that all believers should consider. VanDrunen’s presentation suffers, however, from a lack of clear biblical support for some of his most important claims and from confusion on some key theological issues.

  154. Jack Bradley said,

    March 5, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Lane & Reed, that took up more space than I realized. Please feel free to excise all but the last paragraph, title and link.

  155. Jed Paschall said,

    March 6, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Lane,

    For some reason I was a late comer to this discussion, and obviously this comment is a bit anachronistic given the pillowfights in the last 100 comments or so. But, FWIW, thanks for the review, as I think it is a stern call to 1) fair representation of diverging views within the Reformed camp; and 2) an exhortation to deal with the theological reasons for disagreement as opposed to the personal ones (which is exceedingly hard given the realities of indwelling sin). I sit under the ministry of two very capable WSC grads, and can see the pastoral benefit of the training they have recieved, so forgive the predisposition to WSC here. I do think you fairly have and do represent your differences with WSC without descending into the vitriol that Frame has.

    Hopefully the result of the debates over the validity of Frame’s most current works will help illustrate the need for more irenic debate in some areas, with more theological rigor, as opposed to personal rancor. There is no problem with probing questions or even heated debate, but there is a point when we loose our bearings on Christian charity. Sometimes the cat needs to be corralled back in the bag, and I take this post to be a helpful move in that direction.

  156. March 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Jack, Matheson’s critique is appropriate coming from a post-mil guy. I do think eschatology matters immensely in these discussions. If you’re post-mil, 2K theology can have little appeal. If you’re amil, cultural transformation as the expansion of Christ’s kingdom is, at best, unnecessary and, at worst, a misguided waste of kingdom resources and priorities. Actually, at worst, it is idolatry and spiritual unfaithfulness to Christ and His true kingdom, which He Himself said was not of this world and thus that His followers should not take up arms and fight for it. Personally, as I have thought these things through and have studied eschatology, I have become more convinced of amillennialism and more persuaded that Christ and His apostles say nothing of cultural transformation in all of their teachings. Part of what made me give up on post-mil thinking myself is the fact that it seems to require a heavy dose of preterist thinking to make sense of the eschatological texts of the NT. Like Dr. Hart, I have never heard a solid Biblical case for cultural transformational thinking. I have heard slogans and fiery speeches and passionate rhetoric, but not a clear Biblical case for “conquering the culture for Christ.”

  157. March 6, 2012 at 8:51 am

    As for Kuyper’s quote, I would say that even a 2Ker could agree with it, if we understand that Christ rules over two kingdoms in two different ways. God is the Supreme Ruler of ALL, and yet His revealed will for civil government (Rom. 13) and His revealed will for the church are different. Because not all are His beloved elect, chosen and called to faith in Christ, the civil magistrate is not called to enforce Biblical standards of piety and morality. Now, that’s not to say the civil magistrate has no obligation to punish wickedness, but their responibility is limited to punishing civic wickedness. I think Christians can and should help define these standards but should do so with language that is pluralistic and appropriately tolerant of different beliefs, which is why this is a task for Christian citizens but not necessarily for the church as a whole. However, I do think the church as a whole has an obligation to speak out when the government sanctions horrific wickedness that undermines basic standards for civil societies, as in the holocaust and in abortion today. The church should speak as a prophet and not a participant in the partisan political process.

  158. Jack Bradley said,

    March 6, 2012 at 9:31 am

    “If you’re amil, cultural transformation as the expansion of Christ’s kingdom is, at best, unnecessary and, at worst, a misguided waste of kingdom resources and priorities.”

    I do think you accurately represent 2K’s consistent amillenialism, Jason, and provide a fuller description of Frame’s characterization: “amillenialism on steroids.”

  159. rfwhite said,

    March 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Following on Jack Bradley’s post of Keith Mathison’s comments on VanDrunen’s book, I was reminded of the need to consider the church’s roles as salt and light in the two kingdoms. In case you’re interested, a relevant article just appeared in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. Here’s the bibliography: Don Garlington, “‘The Salt of the Earth’ in Covenantal Perspective,” JETS 54 (Dec 2011) 4:715-748.

  160. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 6, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Zrim, #152: “And I see you’re still singing the praises of civil disobedience without having shown where the Bible commends anything but obedience.”

    Asked and answered a long time ago by Jeff Cagle in #88. Did you forget it already? Here it is again:

    “In re: civil disobedience — there are several biblical examples of it. We have the Hebrew midwives refusing Pharaoh’s orders (and God blessing them for it). We have Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt rather than giving up Jesus. We have Rahab deceiving the authorities. We have Peter et al telling the Sanhedrin to its face that they will continue to preach.”

  161. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 6, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Jason Van Bemmel, #159: “However, I do think the church as a whole has an obligation to speak out when the government sanctions horrific wickedness that undermines basic standards for civil societies, as in the holocaust and in abortion today. The church should speak as a prophet and not a participant in the partisan political process.”

    If one does not want to be a participant in the partisan political process, then say nothing.

    A prophet is a participant in the partisan political process. There will be Christian folks who will vote according to what the prophet says, and this will affect and influence the partisan political process.

  162. Bob S said,

    March 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    135 Don’t get me wrong, Roy.
    While I am not overjoyed that my constitutional privileges now include free BC to go along with torture, indefinite detainment and marital rights for sodomites and lesbians, I’m still reminded of the couplet that graced the front page of J. Begg’s Anarchy in Worship 1875 [All 2Kers can avert their gaze for a moment. Possible violation of their conscience/theology coming up.]:

    When nations are to perish in their sins,
    Tis in the church the leprosy begins.

    That is to say, I am even a little more disturbed when Prof. Frame of Orlando in his Doctrine of the Christian Life regarding the Second Commandment regurgitates St. John of Damascus’s argument in his Divine Images for not only the possibility, but the lawfulness of pictures of Christ. (Shall we forget about mechanical dictation, now that ventriloquism seems to be now in?)

    Contra our brothers John, while it is true that genuine images of Christ were present on apostolic eyeballs, that does not necessarily mean that faithful versions of the same are one, not only possible now, but two, lawful. And that whether in 3D or other various artistic media, for the eyes of the contemporary faithful to gaze upon, in or out of worship.

    No doubt Frame has some seven league boots fit for leaps of logic like this, kicking around in the mudroom somewhere – probably next to the pope’s dainty silver slippers – but I have yet to find mine.

    Not only has the good professor been a one man wrecking crew in regard to the reformed doctrine of worship, for all practical purposes, he appears to be a bona fide iconodule. Could not one reasonably await news of further reapproachment with Benedict?

    FTM Frame’s Worship Warrior Children have done him one better and to a man have gone on to shill for the Fraudulent Version of contemporary reformed covenant theology headquartered in Moscow rather than Escondido. Meanwhile over at the Called to [Roman] Confusion website, some even have the audacity to claim that FV is the reason for their conversion to popery, if not that it is the same thing.

    But to cut to the chase. If 2K is as bad as Prof. Frame believes it to be, is it possible that ahem, . . . previous declension and error in the church just might have made the way straight and paved the path for this error?
    Are we to necessarily believe that 2 RPWs are good, but 2 kingdoms is bad?

    If there is an argument contra 2k, the professor hardly seem to me to be the one to make it.

  163. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Jeff Cagle, #142: “Then for goodness’ sake [Zrim], let’s toss the entirely of the WLC and WSC on the decalogue, because what they do is march down the 10 commandments and spell out applications for life. And these applications, note, are part of the moral law, binding on all men and not merely Christians.”

    Binding on all men? Then that sounds like moral, spiritual, political, social, cultural transformation by the WLC and WSC and its teachings on the decalogue.

  164. Jed Paschall said,

    March 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    TUAD,

    What does tend to get lost in the shuffle here is that 2ker’s do uphold our confessional standards, the Law is binding on all men, period. The Law as the measure of God’s righteousness has not been abrogated outside the walls of the church. All men will be held to account on the basis of the Law, whether in the decalogue, or the NL bearing witness in the conscience of man. NL and the Law are not at odds, as the former implies what the latter makes explicit.

    The issue of the Law in the church and in the state is who has the authority to enforce the Law. 2k arguments regarding the Law center on enforceability, not applicability. In the church, ordained officers are charged with enforcing the Law and seeing that it is being upheld within the congregation. However, even the church has limited power to enforce the Law, we cannot wield the power of the sword in its enforcement, nor can we enact economic sanctions or reparations upon violators. All the church can do is enact discipline in egregious cases that would include censure, and culminate in excommunication.

    What Scripture is not altogether clear on is how the Nations are to relate to the OT Law, even where it makes clear that the rule of human governments are legitimate (Rom. 13). 2kers (or at least most of us) advocate that the NL, the Law revealed by the “light of nature in man, and the works of God [his Creation]…(WLC 2), is the basis of human governance. The Mosaic Law was only revealed to Israel, and only the theocratic state had the authority to enforce it fully. Even when Israel had the Law as its national constitution it isn’t as if it was ever a particularly moral nation, as Israel often looked barely better than her neighbors. It is not as if NL and the Law are at odds with one another, even if the Law has far more particularity given its status as special revelation.

    Without sanction to enforce the Mosaic Law, or the Decalogue, nations would presume that they were entitled to such authority. The NL model allows for governments to uncover laws which create harmony in society, as that which creates harmony and order will find it’s roots in the natural, moral, and social design of the world God created. Fallen nations will never get the NL exactly right, and it cannot fully restrain human evil, but that does not mean that it restrains no evil at all. NL as reflected historically in human governance only validates the fact that in general, the state is a minister of good instituted by God. Governance in the state will always be aiming for proximate goodness, and this can be reasonably achieved by NL as the basis for governance.

  165. TurretinFan said,

    March 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Jed:

    How do you know what is in the Natural Law?

    -TurretinFan

  166. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Jed Paschall, #166: [T]he Law is binding on all men, period. … 2k arguments regarding the Law center on enforceability, not applicability.”

    Okay, duly noted. So let’s have Escondido 2K ministers and churches, speaking as ministers and churches, speak in the Public Square only about the applicability of God’s Law. And for the Escondido 2K ministers and churches to affirm and support other Christian ministers and Christian churches to speak in the Public Square about the applicability of God’s Law.

  167. dghart said,

    March 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Mark, if Kuyper’s project was not to establish Christ’s Lordship over all walks of life, they why not recognize that Lordship over the existing universities, newspapers, political parties, and unions in the Netherlands? Why the need for Christian universities, newspapers, political parties, and unions if Christ is already Lord of the regular ones?

    Believe it or not, you just threw Kuyper under the bus.

  168. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Darryl, Kuyper knew that Christ is Lord whether men bent the knee or not. We don’t really don’t want to have men throw the Lord under the bus, right?

  169. Zrim said,

    March 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    TUAD, what I suspect you may be missing is that when 2k says the law is binding on all men (and women and children), what is meant is that it is binding personally, not politically. So while I mayn’t personally practice idolatry and blasphemy, I may hold a political view that protects false religionists from being punished by the civil magistrate for openly practicing idolatry and blasphemy.

  170. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Zrim: “TUAD, what I suspect you may be missing is that when 2k says the law is binding on all men (and women and children), what is meant is that it is binding personally, not politically.”

    Okay, duly noted. So let’s have Escondido 2K ministers and churches, and speaking as ministers and churches, then speak in the Public Square about how “the law is binding on all men (and women and children), [and] what is meant is that it is binding personally, not politically” upon them.

  171. dgh said,

    March 7, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Mark, if Christ is lord of both the Christian Day school and the public school, why do you insist that Christians only send their children to Christian schools?

  172. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 7, 2012 at 6:09 am

    TUAD (#172): Ministers are the wrong people for the job. For one thing, their calling is to shepherd the flock and not to rally a nation. For another, determining the morality of laws requires analyzing not only basic principles (“thou shalt not kill”), but also ways and means. A minister is not an expert in that field.

    And for yet another, if a minister begins to speak in the public square about particular laws, then political parties begin to think about how to co-opt those ministers for their own purposes. See: King, Martin Luther and Falwell, Jerry.

    The result is that politics are brought into the church, and things go downhill from there.

    No, the right person to speak in the public square is a Christian whose calling is politics.

  173. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 7, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Darryl, you well know I promote Christian education for the same reasons Van Til did.

  174. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 7:49 am

    TUAD, what I suspect you’re now missing is any understanding of the spirituality of the church.

  175. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 7:51 am

    And, Mark, those reasons would be:

    “Non-Christians believe that the personality of the child can develop best if it is not placed face to face with God. Christian believe that the child’s personality cannot develop at all unless it is placed face to face with God. Non-Christian education puts the child in a vacuum. In this vacuum the child is expected to grow. The result is that the child dies. Christian education alone really nurtures personality because it alone gives the child air and food.”

    “Non-Christians believe that authority hurts the growth of the child. Christians believe that without authority a child cannot live at all.”

    “No educational content that cannot be set into a definitely Christian-theistic pattern and be conducive to the development of covenant personality has any right to appear in our schools.”

    “What sense is there in spending money for teaching arithmetic in a Christian school rather than in a so-called neutral school unless you are basically convinced that no space-time fact can be talked about taught unless seen in its relationship to God? When speaking thus of the absolute antithesis that underlies the education policies of our schools, it is not too much to say that if any subject could be taught elsewhere than in a Christian school, there would be no reason for having Christian schools.”

    “The only reason why we are justified in having Christian schools is that we are convinced that outside of a Christian-theistic atmosphere there can be no more than an empty process of one abstraction teaching abstractness to other abstractions.”

    “No teaching of any sort is possible except in Christian schools.”

    “The ground for the necessity of Christian schools lies in this very thing, that no fact can be known unless it be known in its relationship to God. And once this point is clearly seen, the doubt as to the value of teaching arithmetic in Christian schools falls out of the picture. Of course arithmetic must be taught in a Christian school. It cannot be taught anywhere else.”

    “…if you cannot teach arithmetic to the glory of God, you cannot do it any other way because it cannot be done any other way by anybody.”

    “On the basis of our opponents the position of the teacher is utterly hopeless. He knows that he knows nothing and that in spite of this fact he must teach. He knows that without authority he cannot teach and that there are no authorities to which he can appeal. He has to place the child before an infinite series of possibilities and pretend to be able to say something about the most advisable attitude to take with respect to the possibilities, and at the same time he has to admit that he knows nothing at all about those possibilities. And the result for the child is that he is not furnished with an atmosphere in which he can live and grow.”

    “In contrast with this the Christian teacher knows himself, knows the subject, and knows the child. He has the full assurance of the absolute fruitfulness of his work. He labors in the dawn of everlasting results.”

    Foundations of Christian Education (Presbyterian & Reformed, 1990)

    Yeow. Really? Why do worldviewers talk about education the way Nazarenes talk about beer?

  176. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 8:21 am

    DGH:

    Your category error is profound. The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1) So, there is no doubt that all mankind and all human institutions are under Christ’s Lordship.

    On the other hand, not all servants are good servants (parable of the husbandmen, Matthew 21:33 et seq.). Many people and human institutions fall seriously short of their obligations to the Lord of all the Earth.

    So, there is no contradiction between Christ being the Lord of “existing universities, newspapers, political parties, and unions in the Netherlands” and seeking to create parallel institutions that more closely adhere to the moral law of God (and destruction or transformation of the existing institutions).

    Likewise, there is no contradiction between Christ being the Lord of “both the Christian Day school and the public school” and there being a difference between the two, as it relates to parental duty.

    What are you thinking and why are you commenting?

    -TurretinFan

  177. Jack Bradley said,

    March 7, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Here’s a book I highly recommend for thinking about these two kingdoms. Hunter Baker, The End of Secularism. Crossway, 2009:

    p. 19-20: Secularism is not and should not be synonymous with the separation of church and state. The separation of church and state, in the classical sense, simply means that the state does not collect fees to support the church; neither does it mandate membership in the church . . . Secularism is a different concept. It is directly tied to secularization theory, which posits that advanced societies essentially outgrow religion and gain ever greater independence from it. Religion loses its relevance to the public world.

    p. 75: Religion mattered at the time of the founding and mattered greatly. . . while the institutional separation of church and state had many champions, those who proclaimed the separation of religion and politics were deeply in the minority. . . given the prominence of Calvinism in Colonial America and in the new republic. Calvin offered nothing but fierce reproach for those who suggested religion and politics had nothing to do with each other or, even worse, that politics was an unworthy activity for the Christian. In his mind, paying attention to politics was a major duty.

    pp. 118-119: There is no neutral view from nowhere. . . Worldviews. . . contend freely with one another in the public square. To single out one of those plausibility structures, the religious, and to treat it as uniquely inaccessible to those outside of that structure is to attempt to win a game by controlling the rule-making function. . . Inaccessibility, posed as a unique feature of religious argumentation and assertion, is a public relations stunt, not a reality.

    p. 148: Though Christians often bemoan the separation of church state and claim angrily that the separation of church and state is not in the Constitution, they are actually expressing their frustration with secularism as the preferred ideology of many elites in politics, media, and education. Christians should absolutely bring their faith to bear in the public square.

  178. Jack Bradley said,

    March 7, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Another very helpful book is Frame’s The Doctrine of the Christian Life. P & R, 2008, pp. 601-602:

    “Should the state be Christian? Certainly. Every human being and every human institution ought to be Christian. First Corinthians 10:31 tells us to do all things to the glory of God. Christians in state government should bring their values to bear on that institution. A government made up of Christians who apply their faith will be a Christian government. To say this, of course, is not to prejudge in detail what sort of government will result. I have rejected the view that modern governments should follow the Mosaic civil law in exhaustive detail. So the process of making a government Christian has many open questions.

    Should the state be governed by Scripture? Certainly. All of life should be governed by God’s Word. Scripture does not give us a detailed manual of modern statecraft, but it contains principles that should be followed. As we shall see, some believe that the state should be governed only by natural law or natural revelation. I see no reason for such a limitation. . . Should the state recognize Jesus Christ as king? Yes, for that is who he is—the King of kings and the Lord of lords.”

  179. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 7, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Tfan, could be Darryl likes his beer without yeast?

  180. dghart said,

    March 7, 2012 at 8:56 am

    So Mark, this is what a Reformed w-w comes to? I do what the dead Dutch theologians did. Who’s taking whom captive?

  181. dghart said,

    March 7, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Tfan, category error right back at you. Just because I regenerate, it doesn’t mean I now have authority to displace unworthy servants in positions of authority (Saddam Hussein), or that I may require other Christians to join only Christian institutions or send their children to Christian schools.

    If you want to get huffy, how about your cowardly pseudonym? Why do you bother not standing behind what you say?

  182. dghart said,

    March 7, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Jack B., I don’t see how your quotes from Frame go with your quotes from Glodo. But if you think Frame is helpful — though Frame’s shoulds bring up short Christ and the apostles who did not write such things — then what should a Christian do with a state that does not recognize Christ as Lord? What’s the point? Perpetual dissatisfaction with the current order? A way to play gotcha with those who don’t agree? I don’t see anything useful in Frame’s point because it is all abstraction and offers nothing concrete.

  183. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Jack, how does Frame not equivocate? He rejects that modern governments should follow the Mosaic civil law in exhaustive detail, but then says the state should be governed by Scripture. Huh?

    And what’s wrong with general revelation governing civil life? God authored it for that purpose. Is Frame saying that one of God’s books is insufficient for its task? But the irony is also how Frame has been critical of the traditional Reformed application of God’s Word to worship in the “regulative principle.” Frame argues in the book under question (and elsewhere) that not even the regular preaching of the Word is an essential element in the public service. So the Bible sufficient for politics but not for the worship and government of the church? Double huh?

  184. Jack Bradley said,

    March 7, 2012 at 9:37 am

    DG, Yes. This points to the underlying issue, as I said earlier: that you can’t see Frame and Glodo’s viewpoints coexisting.

    Zrim, Paul is talking in large part about General Revelation when he says “they suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” As Frame points out, that does not factor into DVD’s treatment in any significant way.

  185. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Jeff Cagle @ 174,

    Since per WLC and WSC God’s Law is binding upon all men, women, and children, the minister is free to speak wherever he pleases about God’s Law. He need not speak about particular laws and ways and means.

  186. dghart said,

    March 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Jack, didn’t you recommend Glodo’s quotation as balanced?

  187. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Zrim, #176: “TUAD, what I suspect you’re now missing is any understanding of the spirituality of the church.”

    Professor Michael Horton: “Even churches–as church–may be called to obey God rather than the state when the latter enforces policies that would require the church to violate its calling. … However, if the state ever required silence on the matter where God has clearly spoken, churches would have to respectfully refuse to comply with the state.”

    Professor Michael Horton sees the spirituality of the church as having the Christian liberty to exercise civil disobedience. Zrim, do you understand and agree with what Professor Michael Horton is saying here?

  188. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

    “Tfan, category error right back at you. Just because I regenerate [sic], it doesn’t mean I now have authority to displace unworthy servants in positions of authority (Saddam Hussein),”

    Straw man. We don’t hold the position that simply being regenerate means one necessarily has the authority to displace tyrants.

    And category error again – sending your kids to an alternative to public school is not in the same category with ousting a dictator.

    “or that I may require other Christians to join only Christian institutions or send their children to Christian schools.”

    Again, straw man. We don’t hold that simply being regenerate necessarily means one has the authority to require other Christians to join only Christian institutions or send their children to Christian schools. Are you simply unaware of Van Til’s arguments that Mark already alluded to? (Or generally the arguments set forth in the PRC on this point?)

    “If you want to get huffy, how about your cowardly pseudonym? Why do you bother not standing behind what you say?”

    Your ad hominem invective doesn’t resuscitate your category errors.

    And again I ask, why are you commenting here? what are you thinking? what’s the purpose and goal of your communication?

    -TurretinFan

  189. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Jack, I’m not following exactly. I was simply referring to your quote in #180.

    But the truth is suppressed by sinners in reading either general or special revelation. True, the Bible is crystal clear, but it doesn’t really solve civil matters the way worldviewers seem to think it will. If the visible church reads the Bible and is as deeply fractured as it is over you-name-it, what makes anybody think applying it to civil life will make everything better?

  190. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 10:47 am

    TUAD, I do understand and agree. But I’m still flummoxed as to how you get a principle of disobedience out a statement of obedience. And I’ve no idea how the church obeying God means her officers should waltz into the public square and pretend that their words have no political implications. My hunch is that you want space carved out for the church’s officers to be able to bring spiritual bearing on several very particular political matters. But what is so complicated or wrong about bringing political bearing on political matters and spiritual on spiritual?

  191. jsm52ler said,

    March 7, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Thanks for the article Lane. Having read all the comments, I’m left with a question for TFan and it’s his:

    TFan, … I ask, why are you commenting here? what are you thinking? what’s the purpose and goal of your communication?

  192. dghart said,

    March 7, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Tfan, so please explain what the profitable servants (Christians) are supposed to do with the unprofitable ones? Are you simply interested in observing the difference? Aren’t you interested in removing unprofitable servants from power (at least because they don’t acknowledge Christ as Lord)?

    And please do explain why some like Mark think that Christians must send their children to Christian schools? Again, we’re not talking about theories but real actions, as in church polity, voting for candidates, and even respect within a Reformed community.

    As to my point in replying, I would have thought it obvious except to the hard headed — it is to defend 2k.

    But I’m still waiting for an answer about your anonymity. It is not ad hominem to observe that you fail to put your identity with your comments, or to notice how that fails to do justice to the ninth commandment, especially when the anonymous commenter is casting aspersions on other interlocutors.

  193. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Darryl, I’ve corrected you repeatedly before, so I can only assume at this point that you are being belligerent: cease misrepresenting my position as *requiring* parents to send their children to Christian *schools*.

  194. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 11:27 am

    “Tfan, so please explain what the profitable servants (Christians) are supposed to do with the unprofitable ones?”

    One’s duties depend on one’s authority. If one happens to be an autocractic despot, one would have a very broad duty. If one happens to be a slave of a slave in the same nation, one’s duty is likely limited to providing an example of godliness and suitable exhortations to the same.

    “Are you simply interested in observing the difference?”

    Huh?

    “Aren’t you interested in removing unprofitable servants from power (at least because they don’t acknowledge Christ as Lord)?”

    The answer to that depends on one’s station in life. I refer you to the Reformed writers discussion of the civil magistrate and the duties of inferior civil magistrates in particular.

    “And please do explain why some like Mark think that Christians must send their children to Christian schools? Again, we’re not talking about theories but real actions, as in church polity, voting for candidates, and even respect within a Reformed community.”

    See Mark’s response at #194.

    “As to my point in replying, I would have thought it obvious except to the hard headed — it is to defend 2k.”

    If your point is to defend 2k, perhaps you would be well served to drop this line of argument:

    “But I’m still waiting for an answer about your anonymity. It is not ad hominem to observe that you fail to put your identity with your comments, or to notice how that fails to do justice to the ninth commandment, especially when the anonymous commenter is casting aspersions on other interlocutors.”

    Yes, it is ad hominem. It doesn’t support your argument in any logical way, and it certainly doesn’t defend “2k.” It’s totally irrelevant to the post, and everyone here can see that.

    Criticizing your arguments is not the equivalent of casting aspersions on your person – yet another category error in your presentation.

    -TurretinFan

  195. dghart said,

    March 7, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Mark, so you don’t want a requirement for officers in the URC to send their children to Christian schools to be part of the URC church order? If that’s correct, I’m glad to know you disagree with Kloosterman.

  196. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Notice the significant distinction between “Christians must send their children to Christian schools” and “officers in the URC [must] send their children to Christian schools.” One looks like a general statement about all Christians. The other looks very a particular sub-category. The latter requirement can be defended on grounds that the former cannot. And it is a category error to treat the two as identical.

  197. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 11:52 am

    (And, of course, even if Mark disagrees with Kloosterman, how does that defend 2k?)

  198. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Darryl, misrepresenting Kloosterman or the URC’s position on Christian education won’t cure your belligerence either.

  199. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    “Professor Michael Horton sees the spirituality of the church as having the Christian liberty to exercise civil disobedience. Zrim, do you understand and agree with what Professor Michael Horton is saying here?”

    Zrim, #192: “TUAD, I do understand and agree.”

    Doesn’t look like it.

    “But I’m still flummoxed as to how you get a principle of disobedience out a statement of obedience.”

    Flummox? Or dumb ox?

    “And I’ve no idea how the church obeying God means her officers should waltz into the public square and pretend that their words have no political implications.

    What does it matter if you have no ideas?

    “My hunch is that you want space carved out for the church’s officers to be able to bring spiritual bearing on several very particular political matters.”

    Your hunch fails you. You yourself said “2k says the law is binding on all men (and women and children)”

    “But what is so complicated or wrong about bringing political bearing on political matters and spiritual on spiritual?”

    What is so complicated or wrong about observing the overlap between spiritual and political? Why do you make the Escondido 2K attempt to radicalize the separation between God’s Law and political matters?

  200. Jack Bradley said,

    March 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    > Jack, didn’t you recommend Glodo’s quotation as balanced?

    Yes, DG, and I haven’t changed my mind on that.

    > If the visible church reads the Bible and is as deeply fractured as it is over you-name-it, what makes anybody think applying it to civil life will make everything better?

    Ah, that’s where eschatology comes in, Zrim :) Unlike amil escapism, we posties believe it is indeed going to get BETTER: the church more more unified, et al (and spare me the caricatures of postmil, please. I know it will always be a fallen world, no matter how much better it gets.)

  201. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Zrim (#177):

    I share your discomfort with van Til’s seeming rejection of any common grace here.

    Yet I observe in passing that IF we require knowledge to be constructed deductively, he is absolutely right. Wrong foundation ==> Wrong answers.

    The only alternative here is to construct knowledge inductively.

    So what you may be reacting against is not so much van Til per se, but foundationalism writ large.

    Jus sayin’.

  202. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Zrim, #192: “But what is so complicated or wrong about bringing political bearing on political matters and spiritual on spiritual?”

    Zrim, do you think there are spiritual realities behind political legislation and public policy?

  203. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Tfan, re 198, so the PRC’s formalized educational legalism—which mirrors the typical Fundamentalist requirement for leadership concerning substance use— can be defended? Wow.

  204. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    But, Jack, re #202, what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again and there is nothing new under the sun. That doesn’t sound very inspiring to optimistic postie notions of human betterment. Are you saying Solomon was guilty of amil escapism? But don’t worry, premil pessimism gets the same realistic treatment: the human condition doesn’t gets worse or better as history either progresses or retreats.

  205. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Jeff, re 203, CVT was very frustrated with the state of contemporary Christian education that it wasn’t living up to his notions. Maybe that’s because, while Christians doing education makes sense, nobody really knows what Christian education is.

  206. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    TUAD, re #204, I think there are people involved who have spiritual realities. But Jesus didn’t live and die for legislation and policies, only people. So no.

  207. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Q: “Zrim, do you think there are spiritual realities behind political legislation and public policy?”

    A: “TUAD, re #204, I think there are people involved who have spiritual realities. But Jesus didn’t live and die for legislation and policies, only people. So no.

    Yet people who have spiritual realities are crafting political legislation and public policy that manifest their spiritual realities. Do you understand that?

  208. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    TUAD, what I understand is that people craft political legislation according to their political sensibilities. What they do in their faith and life is a function of their spiritual realities. This is the part where you yell “Compartmentalization!” I call it distinction. But maybe you like it when someone who opposes your politics suggests you’re impious because of it and perhaps shouldn’t be allowed to commune, instead of simply pulling the opposite lever that you do in the booth?

  209. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    “Tfan, re 198, so the PRC’s formalized educational legalism—which mirrors the typical Fundamentalist requirement for leadership concerning substance use— can be defended? Wow.”

    a) Perhaps you should read the PRC’s defense of its views. “Legalism” doesn’t come to my mind when reading what they write about the subject.
    b) Their defense also doesn’t remind me of the defense of the “substance use” restrictions imposed by the RPCNA on its leadership until recently, but perhaps I need to think in broader brush strokes. Or perhaps it is someone other than conservative Presbyterians that you have in mind by “Fundamentalists.”

    In any event, I appreciate that you took the time to respond to my comment. In point of fact my comment was not aimed at endorsing the PRC view but rather at pointing out that its grounds of defense are not a universal moral obligation.

    And just so you don’t lose any sleep, I’m not endorsing the RPCNA’s views on “substance use” for leadership. I’m just pointing out that there does not seem to be a close parallel between the two.

    One of the accusations against Frame is that he has not accurately represented the Escondido camp. This is not something that we should imitate as we critique his work. In other words, we should seek to accurately represent the opposing side.

    -TurretinFan

  210. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Zrim: “TUAD, what I understand is that people craft political legislation according to their political sensibilities.”

    Some do. Some don’t.

    Do you agree that there are spiritual realities behind someone’s “political sensibilities”?

  211. Jack Bradley said,

    March 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    > Are you saying Solomon was guilty of amil escapism?

    No, Zrim, but there are other parts of Scripture that will give you a fuller perspective. You need to broaden your biblical horizons.

  212. dghart said,

    March 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Jack, a dose of pessimism might be in order. Roger Scruton’s book on Pessimism might be good to correct your optimism. But out of curiosity, what criteria do you have for things being better?

  213. Jack Bradley said,

    March 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    DG,

    Thanks for the question. I’ve got to be away from the laptop for a while. I’ll get back to you sometime this evening.

  214. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Tfan, re #211, I have read it. But if the aim of your comment was to point out that its grounds of defense are not a universal moral obligation, I still don’t see how binding anybody’s conscience even in a tiny NAPARC denom on something which the Bible is silent can ever be construed as anything other than legalism. Unless, of course, you think the Bible clearly teaches by example or principle that covenant children mayn’t learn the 3rs from perfect pagans. And when I say Fundamentalists I mean Fundamentalists, not Reformed bodies behaving like substance use Fundamentalists.

  215. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    TUAD, re #21, if you are asking whether we can ascertain someone’s spiritual state by his political views—the way Bush could look into Putin’s soul and conclude what he saw—then no. What we look to is one’s faith and life.

  216. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Jack, if I broaden my Biblical Horizons does that have to include James Jordan?

  217. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    So edifying.

    R2K: “But what is so complicated or wrong about bringing political bearing on political matters and spiritual on spiritual?”

    Not R2K: “What is so complicated or wrong about observing the overlap between spiritual and political?”

    “Zrim, do you think there are spiritual realities behind political legislation and public policy?”

    R2K: “TUAD, what I understand is that people craft political legislation according to their political sensibilities.”

    Not R2K: “Do you agree that there are spiritual realities behind someone’s “political sensibilities”?”

    R2K: “if you are asking whether we can ascertain someone’s spiritual state by his political views—the way Bush could look into Putin’s soul and conclude what he saw—then no.”

  218. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Mark Van Dermolen: “Darryl, misrepresenting Kloosterman or the URC’s position on Christian education won’t cure your belligerence either.”

    True. What would be the suggested treatment for the observed belligerence?

    Similarly, do you know of a treatment for belligerent incoherence displayed by some R2K aka Escondido 2K advocates?

  219. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    178: “DGH:

    Your category error is profound.”

    195: “Darryl, I’ve corrected you repeatedly before, so I can only assume at this point that you are being belligerent: cease misrepresenting my position as *requiring* parents to send their children to Christian *schools*.”

    Category Errors and Belligerence are not good.

  220. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    “I still don’t see how binding anybody’s conscience even in a tiny NAPARC denom on something which the Bible is silent can ever be construed as anything other than legalism.”

    I don’t see how this objection is reasonable. Parents can demand obedience in matters on which the Bible is silent. Likewise (though the nature of the authority is different), elders can demand obedience in matters on which the Bible is silent. Where demanding obedience becomes legalism may not be a bright line, but surely it is not wrong for the elders to require people not to smoke in the sanctuary, notwithstanding the absence of any Biblical comment on such a practice. I’m not sure I would even call that “binding the conscience,” but then I don’t call the PRC’s position “binding the conscience.”

    “Unless, of course, you think the Bible clearly teaches by example or principle that covenant children mayn’t learn the 3rs from perfect pagans.”

    The Bible may well have teaching regarding the propriety of handing over an impressionable child to a wicked instructor (and the clarity of the Bible’s teaching wouldn’t really be the issue, would it?).

    But there may be pragmatic and prudential reasons for requiring elders to support Christian education, just like there may be pragmatic and prudential reasons for prohibiting smoking in the sanctuary.

    “And when I say Fundamentalists I mean Fundamentalists, not Reformed bodies behaving like substance use Fundamentalists.”

    I’m not sure what exactly you have in mind. I suppose you mean IFBs. But, of course, their justification isn’t just for church leaders but for all humans.

    -TurretinFan

  221. dghart said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Mark, I do believe that misrepresentations started with Kloosterman’s looooooooooong series in Christian Renewal. But in one of those articles he wrote:

    “Because ideas and proposals virtually indistinguishable from those of Hart are today being promoted within the URC by some who applaud Hart’s paradigm, including his most recent book on Secular Faith. Members of the URC ought to be thoroughly informed about this new direction, for if what is being promoted among the federation should gain acceptance, the historic foundation of Christian day school education will be undermined and eroded, with the result that members of the URC will be cut off from their own history and identity as Reformed Christians.”

    I’m not sure that’s a fair rendering of my threat to Reformed Christianity, nor do I sense I have misrepresented Kloosterman’s esteem for Christian education and how basic it is to Reformed faithfulness.

  222. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Tfan, you can’t be seriously comparing asking folks to refrain from smoking in the sanctuary to requiring parents, upon pain of discipline, to employ only Christian schools. (This includes homeschooling, mind you, the very practice that precipitated this misguided ruling, as in a pastor who had the audacity to remove his kids from the denominational schools in order to—hide the women and children—homeschool. Can you say “funding”? Now I wonder how familiar you are with the whole embarrassing debacle.) And speaking of category errors, the one that informs the PRC and evidently trips you up equally is that of catechesis and curriculum. The Bible is clear on the duties of fathers and elders to execute the former, but nary a word about the latter.

  223. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Darryl, a high esteem for Christian education arising from foundational principles of our Reformed heritage, yes. Is that equivalent to universal requirement of institutional Christian day school as you represent it, no.

  224. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Mark, yours and Kloosterman’s views may not have arisen to PRC-like formalities, but one would hope that the homeschooling PRCers who have streamed into our shared URC pews would begin to see that it didn’t just fall out of the clear blue. It was made somewhere first. Worldview isn’t so innocent.

  225. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Not R2K: “Darryl, I’ve corrected you repeatedly before, so I can only assume at this point that you are being belligerent: cease misrepresenting my position as *requiring* parents to send their children to Christian *schools*.”

    R2K: “nor do I sense I have misrepresented Kloosterman’s esteem for Christian education and how basic it is to Reformed faithfulness.”

    Not R2K: “Darryl, a high esteem for Christian education arising from foundational principles of our Reformed heritage, yes. Is that equivalent to universal requirement of institutional Christian day school as you represent it, no.”

    Mark, do you sense an apology and retraction forthcoming for the misrepresentation?

  226. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    “Tfan, you can’t be seriously comparing asking folks to refrain from smoking in the sanctuary to requiring parents, upon pain of discipline, to employ only Christian schools.”

    Remember that the justification for your objection to the latter was a justification that applies to the former. Perhaps you would like to revise your objection? I am not opposed to hearing the more nuanced version of your objection that would apply to the latter case but not the former case.

    “And speaking of category errors, the one that informs the PRC and evidently trips you up equally is that of catechesis and curriculum. The Bible is clear on the duties of fathers and elders to execute the former, but nary a word about the latter.”

    That’s an interesting observation. You seem to be saying that the Bible is clear about catechesis but silent about curriculum (both as to fathers and as to elders). Yet you seem to think that it is permissible for fathers to require their children to adhere to a specific curriculum, and it is not permissible for elders to require one another to adhere to specific curriculum. Do I understand you correctly? If so, it seems that you need to some better justification than mere silence, right?

    -TurretinFan

  227. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    ..our shared URC pews ..

    Zrim, have you moved out of the CRC to the URC?

  228. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Tfan, the difference between smoking in sanctuaries and requiring schools seems like the difference between circumstance and element. Can you really discipline someone for not repenting from lighting up indoors? But besides, worldview isn’t creating as many social misfits as it is soft and hard legalists, so the point seems moot.

    It’s required for children to obey fathers and mothers even in matters indifferent. It is required for elders to provide biblical warrant to bind consciences.

  229. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Mark, I have. Boo.

  230. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Mark, I have. Boo.

    May you be edified and blessed there.

  231. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Mark, do you sense an apology and retraction forthcoming for the misrepresentation?

    That thought never entered my mind.

  232. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Zrim,

    May you become an edified and blessed elder in your URC church and espouse and promote your Escondido 2K doctrine within the life and teachings of your local URC church.

  233. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Zrim: “TUAD, what I suspect you’re now missing is any understanding of the spirituality of the church.

    Zrim, if Scripture says things that bind the civil magistrate, then the Church can proclaim those things that bind the civil magistrate, wouldn’t you agree?

  234. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    “Tfan, the difference between smoking in sanctuaries and requiring schools seems like the difference between circumstance and element.”

    I think a PRCer would argue that the respective elements are order and nurture. The smoking and Christian schools points are just circumstances of this society. In a different society, smoking indoors might be acceptable and the schooling situation might be different. Doesn’t that seem to be parallel?

    “Can you really discipline someone for not repenting from lighting up indoors?”

    Lighting up indoors is not something bad in itself, but bad because it is prohibited by the rules. And you probably view it as a relatively trivial matter in itself. The appropriate discipline might be less in that case than in a case of greater seriousness. But, I would hope that such behavior would at least earn the offender a private rebuke.

    “But besides, worldview isn’t creating as many social misfits as it is soft and hard legalists, so the point seems moot.”

    I’m not sure I follow this point.

    “It’s required for children to obey fathers and mothers even in matters indifferent. It is required for elders to provide biblical warrant to bind consciences.”

    I guess I’m not sure if you’ve solved the problem yet. Do the elders need to provide biblical warrant for having a “no smoking in the sanctuary” rule?

    Moreover, don’t the PRC folk argue their position regarding the critical importance of Christian education in this society from Biblical principles? You and I may disagree with their argument on that point, but their problem is then not methodological but implementational. That is to say, their problem is in applying the Word incorrectly, not in failing to go to the Word. Right?

    At which point the question becomes a question of whether, in these circumstances, Biblical principles dictate a particular approach towards schooling.

    What is interesting is that it seems that the E2k camp is saying something approximately like “it is morally wrong for elders to agree with one another to send their children to Christian school.” But that statement itself would require Biblical warrant – and it seems like it would be hard to come by. Don’t you agree?

    -TurretinFan

  235. dgh said,

    March 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Mark, should a high esteem for Christian education result in interpreting another Reformed person as a threat to the URC? You did bring up misrepresentation.

  236. Jed Paschall said,

    March 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Tfan,

    Jed:

    How do you know what is in the Natural Law?

    Haven’t forgotten the question, it’s a rather big one to take on, and I haven’t had the time. I’ll try to shoot an answer over here sometime tomorrow.

  237. TurretinFan said,

    March 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Jed: if you would prefer to send me an email about it, I would welcome your thoughts in that form as well. – TurretinFan

  238. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    TUAD, why do you want the church to be binding the civil magistrate in the first place? What is this fixation? “Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate” doesn’t sound like a writer looking for ways for the church to bind the civil magistrate. So why are you?

  239. Zrim said,

    March 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Tfan, when I say the PRC has no biblical warrant to bind their officers’ consciences that seems like another way of saying they are applying the Bible incorrectly. And when I say there is not one word in the Bible about how covenant children are to be taught the 3Rs, that seems to answer the next question you pose about whether biblical principles dictate a particular approach towards schooling. In other words, the Bible is utterly silent on anything involving curriculum. So why is the PRC blathering?

    And, I’m not saying that “it is morally wrong for elders to agree with one another to send their children to Christian school.” I’m saying that, no matter how much some may agree others that Christian schooling is the cat’s meow, it’s completely unwarranted to require others on pain of discipline to participate. I should think this Reformed hermeneutics 101.

  240. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Zrim,

    Let’s back up. Does Scripture say things that bind the civil magistrate?

  241. Jack Bradley said,

    March 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    DG, let me answer your question both theologically/exegetically and historically. This is very inadequate as a full-orbed explanation, but the most I have time for right now.

    I would mention that if anyone wants my seven-lecture series on eschatology, I’d be happy to send it to them. It’s full manuscript, so that there is no guesswork about what I’m saying.

    jackbradley5@hotmail.com

    Theological/Exegetical:

    Eschatology is Christology. Eschatology is really what the Bible says about the person and work of Christ. In other words, our eschatology should be consistent with our understanding of Christ and his work on the cross. I believe that Postmillennialism is the eschatology most consistent with biblical Christology.

    Eschatology is Christology. The most neglected verse, I think, in the entire New Testament (because the verse before it has received all the attention) is John 3:17: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

    Jesus died in order that the world would not be condemned, but saved. The power of Christ’s blood is the power to save the world.

    I John 2:2: “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    We tend to explain this verse by saying something that certainly has truth in it, but it is simply not the full truth, or even the main truth of this verse. We say, “The ‘whole world’ here means all parts of the world, people found in all parts of the world.”

    B. B. Warfield, brings out the primary meaning of this passage (Selected Shorter Writings, Vol. I, pp. 168ff):

    “He is obviously thinking in terms of the great phrase he is himself a little later to use, when he declares that the Father has sent the Son ‘as Savior of the world.’ To him Jesus Christ is very expressly the Savior of the whole world: he had come into the world to save not individuals merely, out of the world, but the world itself. It belongs therefore distinctly to his mission that he should take away the sin of the world. . . Jesus came to save the world, and the world will through him be saved; at the end of the day he will have a saved world to present to his father. John’s mind is running forward to the completion of his saving work; and he is speaking of his Lord from the point of view of this completed work. . . He is a universalist; he teaches the salvation of the whole world. But he is not an ‘each and every’ universalist: he is an ‘eschatological’ universalist. He teaches the salvation of the world through a process; it may be—it has proved to be—a long process; but it is a process which shall reach its goal. . . and at t\he end, therefore, we shall see nothing less than a world saved by him. . . We are but the beginnings: the salvation of the world is the end. And it is not this only, but that, that Christ has purchased with his precious blood.”

    Historically:

    John Piper’s book, The Pleasures of God, has a helpful chart on page 115:

    Year 100: non-Christians per believer: 360 to 1
    Year 1000: non-Christians per believer: 220 to 1
    Year 1500: non-Christians per believer: 69 to 1
    Year 1900: non-Christians per believer: 27 to 1
    Year 1950: non-Christians per believer: 21 to 1
    Year 1980: non-Christians per believer: 11 to 1
    Year 1989: non-Christians per believer: 7 to 1

    Piper, (who is not postmil) is of course not saying he somehow knows who exactly is a Christian and who is not. He’s going by rough numbers, obviously. But by any reasonable measurement, we see a clear, radical shift in the numbers of the saved and the lost over the course of history. Taking that same rate of growth, or one even somewhat slower, you begin to see something like a mustard seed: 360 to 1, eventually becoming the largest plant in the garden: 7 to 1.

    You begin to see the little grains of yeast working their way through the dough. When you see the growth of the kingdom of God over these last two millennia it’s not hard to accept what I think the biblical evidence clearly affirms: a radical shift in the numbers of the saved and the lost over the many millennia still to come.

    I do think history has a long way yet to run its course. What are we to do with this repeated refrain in Scripture: “Unto a thousand generations”? (Exodus 20: 5-6; Deuteronomy 7:9; I Chronicles 16:15; Psalm 105:8) To my knowledge, when the number “thousand” shows up in Scripture it always, without exception, means at least a literal thousand, or, most often, a figurative figure for something much greater than a literal thousand: “The cattle on a thousand hills.”

    I think it is clear that we are to see world history as much, much longer than we have commonly come to see it. I’m not sure how many generations there have been since Adam, but it’s safe to say there have not been any where near a thousand. Biblically, a generation is about forty years. However, even if you define a generation as thirty years, that’s still at least 30,000 years, taken at its literal, face-value.

    In other words, I think it is biblically safe to say that the human race has tens of thousands of years ahead of us, as the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, Rev. 11:15.

  242. Jack Bradley said,

    March 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    I would also mention Ken Gentry’s helpful resources on youtube:

    He’s got several, as does Gary DeMar.

  243. dgh said,

    March 8, 2012 at 4:43 am

    Jack Bradley, thanks. With your link to Kenneth Gentry, I have a better sense of what you think. Your quote from Glodo is what threw me. If 2k had to satisfy a post mil theonomist, then the millennium would be a long way off.

  244. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Jack, if you don’t mind, that seems to answer the quantitative question about human history, but the question that remains for me is what accounts for an optimistic assessment of humanity? We may have a long way to go, but what makes the postmil think the quality of the human condition will improve?

  245. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 8, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Mark, should a high esteem for Christian education result in interpreting another Reformed person as a threat to the URC?

    If a person’s theology is seen striking at principles which a Reformed federation holds dear, then of course that theology can be seen as a threat to that church. From your perspective, don’t you see folks who speak of “Christianizing the nation”, or “Christian education”, or “Christian worldview” as misguided threats to the Reformed churches?

  246. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 8, 2012 at 7:38 am

    This I hope for:

    an edified and blessed elder in your URC church

    This I don’t:

    and espouse and promote your Escondido 2K doctrine within the life and teachings of your local URC church.

  247. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 7:43 am

    TUAD, if we’re going to back up then I’d suggest going back to and dwelling a bit more on the point made about spiritual realities and political views. This is what really drives our differences. You think political conclusions say something about spiritual realities, but I think political views are behind political conclusions. And behind the widespread tendency to not only moralize politics but also politicize faith (a bad thing) lies the former set of assumptions. So, whatever else might be said in another line of questions will finally come back to this point. Why go hundred miles to travel five feet?

  248. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Zrim: “You think political conclusions say something about spiritual realities

    Yes, there are spiritual realities behind political legislation and public policy

    “but I think political views are behind political conclusions.”

    And spiritual realities are behind political views.

    You’re too shallow, Zrim. You need to go deeper and think deeper.

  249. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Zrim: “You think political conclusions say something about spiritual realities”

    Yes, there are spiritual realities behind political legislation and public policy

    “but I think political views are behind political conclusions.”

    And spiritual realities are behind political views.

    You’re too shallow, Zrim. You need to go deeper and think deeper.

  250. Jack Bradley said,

    March 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Yes, I’m used to that from 2Ks: all postmils are theonomists. That’s just a bit intellectually lazy, DG. It’s like me saying all 2Ks subscribe to your “reduced character of Christ’s sovereignty in the Christian era.”.

  251. Jack Bradley said,

    March 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

    > We may have a long way to go, but what makes the postmil think the quality of the human condition will improve?

    The power of the cross/resurrection. Yeast/dough.

  252. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 9:57 am

    TUAD, ah, is that it, not agreeing with you is too shallow and not deep enough? How revivalist of you. But I wonder if you see anything wrong with politicizing faith?

  253. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Jack, how does that basically differ from prosperity gospel? Does optimistic postmillism think that Christianity is a way to make bad people good and good people better? And what does it make of something like HC 114:

    “Question 114. But can those who are converted to God perfectly keep these commandments?

    Answer: No: but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live, not only according to some, but all the commandments of God.”
    If even the holiest have only a small beginning in this life, how can it be said that the larger balance of humanity is getting better and better? At some point the holiest die. Do they pass along their sanctification to the next generation?

  254. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    @ Zrim, #254,

    No. Simply that your response reflects shallow thinking, i.e., poor thinking on your part.

    “But I wonder if you see anything wrong with politicizing faith?”

    Unfortunately, this too seems to be rather shallow cliche thinking on your part. What do you mean by “politicizing faith”? Further elaboration is needed on your part so that clarity in communication can be achieved.

    Faith in Jesus Christ has a spiritual dimension, a moral dimension, a cognitive dimension, an emotional dimension, a social dimension, and a political dimension, among the many other dimensions unnamed. Faith in Jesus Christ has a political dimension.

    So when you cliche-say “politicizing faith”, faith is already political in nature. So to cliche-say “politicizing faith” is nonsensical. Shallow, even. You might mean that “politicizing faith” is a matter of degree, and that some other Christian’s “politicizing faith” is more or less than you self-righteously judge to be correct.

    The Gospel is political. Consider this: When Paul and Silas were accused by a mob in Thessalonika, among the charges brought against them was that they proclaimed that there is another king, this Jesus (Acts 17:7). Whatever the intentions of the mob may have been, this incident shows us that the Gospel message heralded by Paul–that Jesus, as the messiah, has been made Lord–was a message easily and credibly heard as a political message in the context of the ancient world.

    (h/t Joel Garver)

  255. Jack Bradley said,

    March 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Zrim, you need to broaden your confessional horizons as well.

    WCF CHAP. XIII. – Of Sanctification.

    1. They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them, the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

    2. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

    3. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

  256. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    TUAD, the thing about Paul and Silas is that they weren’t on the offensive but the defensive. Yes, Jesus is Lord of lords and that may have different political implications in different contexts, but I’m not sure how you get from defensive examples that the church needs to be offensive. Maybe it’s the same way you get a principle of disobedience from statements of obedience. At which point, I remain flummoxed. Excuse me, a dumb ox.

  257. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Jack, well how about the following:

    BC Article 24

    “In the meantime, we do not deny that God rewards our good works, but it is through his grace that he crowns his gifts. Moreover, though we do good works, we do not found our salvation upon them; for we do no work but what is polluted by our flesh, and also punishable; and although we could perform such works, still the remembrance of one sin is sufficient to make God reject them.”

    “HC Question 62. But why cannot our good works be the whole, or part of our righteousness before God?

    Answer. Because, that the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect, and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.”

    WCF, XIII (Of Sanctification)

    “II. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption in every part; whence arises a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

    III. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may much prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part does overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

    I still wonder how we are to understand just what sort of dazzling “influence or effect” we should really expect to have on the world around us in light of such uninspiring words in the forms. Their language seems quite pessimistic and not very good for rallying troops to take a lot of hope in their current state and order society; they don’t seem all that encouraging about how such projects might end. How can those who “can do no work but what is polluted by the flesh; whose best works in this life are imperfect and defiled with sin; or have corruption (yet) in every part” be the same ones in charge of ordering either self or the world?

    At this point, some seem to suggest a cumulative and strangely osmosis-like, almost magical, effect. There seems this idea that we “emit influences” into the unbelieving world which is so drastic that the latter begins to change; and anything perceived as good in human history can only be the result of the church’s presence. But it seems like the forms suggest we should expect that each successive generation of believers may only hope to make a start, then it dies, then a new generation rises up and begins from the very same place, makes only a hint of progress and dies, and so forth. When is there any time to have any appreciable impact on society when, in our limited time and bodily frame, each one of our generations can only hope to “make a start,” and that barely noticeable? Meanwhile, the church hobbles along in various fractures and in-fighting and all sorts of lamentable things, while the unbelieving world metaphorically basks in the sun of our very presence, getting the lion’s share of the vitamins. But how does that work? If anybody, shouldn’t the church be getting better and better instead of the world…shouldn’t it? How can the unbelieving world get better when it doesn’t even possess faith? We have faith and yet we can’t even hope for things to look up very much in this life, evidently. Or maybe I read the forms wrong. Maybe I should read such “pessimistic” words to be in the order of a cordial “nobody is perfect” kind of way, a sort of polite put-on piety that feigns humility but where deep down we know it’s a different story. I mean, after all, we are called a “royal priesthood.” Instead of being aghast regularly by such a title maybe we should get comfortable with it?

  258. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Zrim: “TUAD, the thing about Paul and Silas is that they weren’t on the offensive but the defensive.”

    Jesus is on the offensive with His Great Commission in Matthew 28.

    “Excuse me, a dumb ox.”

    Be that as it may, you are considered an exemplar of Escondido 2K thinking and practice. “(off-topic)”

  259. Jed Paschall said,

    March 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    TUAD,

    Jed Paschall, #166: [T]he Law is binding on all men, period. … 2k arguments regarding the Law center on enforceability, not applicability.”

    Okay, duly noted. So let’s have Escondido 2K ministers and churches, speaking as ministers and churches, speak in the Public Square only about the applicability of God’s Law. And for the Escondido 2K ministers and churches to affirm and support other Christian ministers and Christian churches to speak in the Public Square about the applicability of God’s Law.

    There is no problem with Christians or Ministers calling sin (i.e. violations of the Law) for what it is, as this is part of the prophetic calling of the church. But the end of exposing sin is fundamentally to call men to repentance and faith in Christ, not fundamentally to change sinful policy. While broad-based repentance of individuals in the public square may have the net positive effect of a change in policy, this isn’t really the work of the church, since the Church has no authority to enforce the Law outside of the context of the church. For the Church, the Law has 3 uses – to demonstrate the righteousness of God, to establish the guilt of fallen man in order to call for his repentance, and to serve as a guide for the Christian’s life. Even where the church might call a practice such as abortion sinful, which she has every right to do, she has not been given authority to enact policy to end abortion.

    On a practical level this means that the ministers concerns with the Law must always be ministerial. While the just ordering of society may be an auxiliary concern, the minister cannot be so focused on the reform of society – which is properly outside of his call – that he neglects what his responsibilities as a herald of the gospel are. I have no problem whatsoever of individual Christians mounting reasonable opposition to unjust policies such as abortion, and seeking reform in this area. However, I have a problem when a minister makes the evils of society his focus rather than the conversion of sinners and the building up of the saints through the exercising of the three marks of the church.

    Hopefully this clarifies where I stand with regard to the minister and his use of the Law in the public square.

  260. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Jed,

    I’m good with that. Would love to hear an Escondido 2K minister preach occasionally about the sin of abortion within his sermon.

  261. Jed Paschall said,

    March 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    TFan (re: 167),

    Jed:

    How do you know what is in the Natural Law?

    Like I had state earlier, this is really an expansive question, and probably deserves it’s own separate discussion. I’ll preface my statements at the outset by affirming that Modern Reformed (or Escondido) 2k theory has only begun to grapple with this issue, and FWIW, VanDrunen has started down the right track, but there is a lot more work to be done with respect to a 2k understanding of NL theory and how it is to be applied in the civil kingdom. Hopefully as 2k continues to mature as a school of thought these questions can be answered with more uniformity within this school, and with more certainty to those who question the validity of 2k.

    Two good articles on the topic of NL that introduce the topic fairly, and point out the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches can be found in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I won’t link the articles here, since it will put this post into moderation but they are titled:

    “The Natural Law Tradition in Ethics”
    and
    “Natural Law Theories”

    another good source would be Aquinas Summa Theologiae 1a2ae.90-1 (sourced from Aquinas: Selected Philosophical Writings Passage 37 – Law pp.409-421)

    For better or worse, most current NL theory currently originates with Aquinas, even though Aristotle, and even the Stoics had grappled with the concept.

    Before defining what NL consists of, one must start with defining what is good, and then the NL basically codifies the what is right, and therefore permissible, or wrong and therefore impermissible in light of how various actions align with the good. NL is given by God, the Creator and Lawgiver, and humans as his rational (though fallible) creatures have the ability to rationally discern the good, or various goods, and derive an understanding of what actions are right or wrong in light of the good. So the NL (as with the Law given in Scripture) exists outside man and is the product of the character and providence of God.

    While the list of what “the good” consists of has not been agreed upon exhaustively, man has come to understand some of the basic goods which are bound up in creation. I’ll take a stab at a few that are featured in many human legal systems:

    1) Life – Human, and to a certain extent, the life of all creatures are a good in and of themselves, since God has created all living creatures, not the least man who has rational faculties.

    2) Truth/Reason – That which is true, in accord with either the natural order of God’s creation, or is rational and internally free from contradiction, or refers faithfully to the created reality outside or inside of man is an unqualified good.

    3) Justice – This could be bound up in Truth, but as a distinct feature Justice is what ensures man’s ability to equitably enjoy rights to goods such as Truth, Reason, his own Property, etc.

    4) Property – Man has a certain right, though not absolute (since some Property is also relegated to the common good through features such as taxation for the maintenance of the State) to the fruits of his own labor to use them in accordance with the good.

    5) Family – As the basic social unit of man by virtue of procreation, the family is an unqualified good that is to be upheld and protected in the greater interests of the propogation and mantainence of the human race.

    From these basic goods, nearly all true, good Laws are derived (though not universally since man is fallen). Laws are aimed at the actions that protect the maintenance of the good, and those actions that do harm to the good can be properly understood to be bad, or evil. Some Laws subsumed under the category of NL might include the following:

    1) Laws protecting and preserving life – this would account for laws across history which prohibit the unwarranted taking of human life, such as laws prohibiting manslaughter or murder. Even basic safety laws, such as ancient “goring Ox” statutes or modern speed limits all reflect the protection of the good of life.

    2) Laws protecting Truth/Reason – laws that ban perjury, false witness, invalid or unconscionable contracts would all be examples of Laws that are meant to uphold the equity of truth.

    3) Laws protecting Justice – laws that place limits on or divisions of power to ensure the equitable administration of Law reflect this, as well as laws ensuring impartiality so as not to deprive any individual of justice regardless of social class or status also reflect the effort to uphold the good of Justice

    4) Laws protecting Property – property laws, such as laws against theft, or abusive labor, or fair weights and measures all seek to uphold the good of personal property as a good to be protected.

    5) Laws protecting Family – laws that prohibit adultery, rape, abandonment, or economic deprivation, as well as certain child protection laws all seek to uphold the good of the family unit.

    From these simple bases a good majority of true laws are derived, and so far as I can tell, none of these are out of line with the general equity of the Law revealed in Scripture, as NL and the Law are not at odds since they come from the same Lawgiver. Obviously there are also NL provisions with more theological import that cover man’s responsibilities to God, but for the sake of brevity I didn’t cover these.

    The fact that these features consistently appear in human legal systems, however imperfectly, throughout history and across cultures all lend themselves to the notion that there is such a thing as Natural Law, and that man can rationally discern them.

    In addition to identifying what NL consists of, there should also be a discussion of how NL should be enforced in a diverse human community. The American NL tradition as reflected in the US Constitution has many subjectivist elements that see NL as an extension of human desire, aspiration, and inate freedom which might allow for violations of certain tenets of the Divine NL which would prohibit the exercise of certain freedoms since they do not actually serve to uphold or align with the good. How 2kers interact with this is also a very important field of inquiry, and I think this should probably be divided into a two part question of 1) how the Church interacts with the NL, and 2) how individual Christians interact with the NL both with respect to society.

    I might have some more specific thoughts but I think I’ll limit it to this for now, and invite your response. If you think it best to take this offline let me know, and we can discuss this via e-mail. Hopefully this is a good starting point though.

  262. Jed Paschall said,

    March 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    TUAD,

    I’m good with that. Would love to hear an Escondido 2K minister preach occasionally about the sin of abortion within his sermon.

    I am not sure that this doesn’t happen, but the question is how much it is emphasized. My guess is 2k pastors don’t emphasize the evil of abortion with continual frequency, or as much as more transformationally or theonomically minded pastors since they see abortion as one among many violations of the Law for which man must give an answer to God for.

  263. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Zrim, Jed,

    How about a pastor preaching from the pulpit that abortion is sinful (as it arises from the text) and then praying in pastoral prayers for its legality to be overturned?

    Does that fall within Escondido 2K boundaries or outside Escondido 2K boundaries?

  264. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    TUAD, I know you think it over-sensitive, but my own concern is the politicization of faith. This doesn’t mean something as simplistic as the sin of abortion ought not to be mentioned from the pulpit. Rather, it means that we should be cognizant not to become captives to any degree to any political issue or in any way let the world set the church’s agenda, left or right or middle. (I’m sorry, but for anybody to suggest in 2012 America that abortion hasn’t become one of the most politicized issues seems disingenuous to say the very least.)

    And I don’t see how speaking in a spiritual context about overturning any jurisprudence isn’t a gross example of plain, good old-fashioned politicizing of faith. If you want something political to happen then behave politically, not spiritually. I think the pro-life movement has had an unchecked influence on even those who would otherwise conceive themselves as conservative Calvinists. But conservative Calvinists should be much more influenced by the spirituality of the church than any political movment.

  265. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Hi Zrim,

    Is your explanation in #266 offered as support for an answer of “No” to the question posed in #265:

    “How about a pastor preaching from the pulpit that abortion is sinful (as it arises from the text) and then praying in pastoral prayers for its legality to be overturned?

    Does that fall within Escondido 2K boundaries or outside Escondido 2K boundaries?”

    I.e., is your answer “No” and that such pastoral activity falls outside Escondido 2K boundaries?

  266. Jed Paschall said,

    March 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    TUAD,

    I don’t think that Zrim or myself are adequate authorities of what is or isn’t within “Escondido 2k” boundaries, but I get the question. The brief answer for my part is I would have no problem with a pastor bringing up abortion in a sermon on the 6th command or when the Law is read and expounded (which it is every Lord’s day in my congregation – though not always the Decalogue), nor would I take issue with praying for it’s overturn. However, if abortion became a “hobby horse” of my pastors, where all we were getting from the pulpit was railing against abortion, as opposed to biblical preaching of the law and gospel (via the lectia continua mode), I would take issue as I would see it as an incroachment on the text(s) at hand, and politicizing the pastor’s spiritual call. My guess is each individual pastor would have to weigh how he deals with abortion, or other social evils, based on Scripture, wisdom, and conscience, and that the emphasis may vary. But, for instance I strongly disagree with the Bros. Bayly, who decry other faithful Reformed ministers for not opposing abortion as vigorously as the Bayly’s think they should. I have said no less to the Baylys in other web conversations, and I think it is a matter of an imbalance based on the fact that abortion is but one among many sins, yet the gospel is the only lasting remedy for it, as opposed to policy change.

    But, I sincerely do believe that every time in the pastoral prayer when we pray for our ruling authorities, that God would lead them to rule justly and fairly we see, by implication, a prayer for the unjust law of abortion to be overturned. We also pray this by implication every time we recite the Lord’s Prayer. Doesn’t “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…” necessarily entail a prayer that God would set all injustices aright, including atrocities such as abortion – I certainly take it that way.

  267. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Jed, thanks for your answer in #268.

    “I don’t think that Zrim or myself are adequate authorities of what is or isn’t within “Escondido 2k” boundaries”

    If you happen to know, who are the adequate authorities of what is or isn’t within “Escondido 2K” boundaries?

    Darryl Hart perhaps? If so, let’s ask him then:

    Darryl Hart, how about a pastor preaching from the pulpit that abortion is sinful (as it arises from the text) and then praying in pastoral prayers for its legality to be overturned?

    Does that fall within Escondido 2K boundaries or outside Escondido 2K boundaries?”

  268. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    TUAD, like Jed suggests, I don’t presume to speak for anybody but myself and what I have said seems sufficient. Do with it what ye will.

    P.S. though, I personally oppose RvW not on moral grounds but on anti-federalist grounds, so overturning it means giving states back the right to rule themselves on this one one way or another (because that’s what the whole thing is really about). But even if the formal prayer to overturn in a stated service means that, I’d still caution its inappropriateness for the same reasons. The spirituality of the church means even its adherents’ political views take a back seat in order that the gospel not compromised and alienate those who see things different politically.

  269. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Zrim, #266: “Rather, it means that we should be cognizant not to become captives to any degree to any political issue or in any way let the world set the church’s agenda, left or right or middle. (I’m sorry, but for anybody to suggest in 2012 America that abortion hasn’t become one of the most politicized issues seems disingenuous to say the very least.)”

    This is not well-thought out. The “world” de facto sets the Escondido 2K church’s agenda by stating what the “world” says is a “political issue.” As soon as the Escondido 2K minister and his church hears that the “world” says something is a “political issue”, then they want to avoid any preaching of it. This Escondido 2K hypersensitivity to “political” issues circumscribes what the Escondido 2K minister will preach about.

    Abortion? E2K man yells, “Political issue! No preaching, no praying!”
    Same-Sex Behavior? E2K man yells, “Political issue! No preaching, no praying!”

    Escondido 2K ministers look to see what the “world” deems “political” and then silences themselves and their church accordingly.

    This is ungodly cowardice by an Escondido 2K minister of God.

  270. Jack Bradley said,

    March 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Zrim, One question: has the gospel made any kind of appreciable difference in the world in the 50 or so generations since Christ?

  271. Jed Paschall said,

    March 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    TUAD,

    I think Zrim echoes an important point, we aren’t official spokesmen for 2k by any means. Zrim lands on the end of a certain kind of political neutrality based on his own convictions and understanding of 2k theory, and I think he would agree with this assessment. I see things a bit different from Zrim, as several of our correspondences will indicate, and this is based on my own understanding of 2k. For example, I think that the general equity of the 6th requires certain stances on the part of individual Christians with respect to abortion. While I don’t think that the church qua church can involve herself directly in the politics of abortion, I do think that the church can call her own members to account for any direct support they might lend to abortion since it does violate the 6th command. So for instance, there was a case of 2 WSC seminary students who (very foolishly IMO) voted in favor of stem cell research here in CA. I would argue that they would be answerable to their sessions for such a vote since it violates the general equity of the 6th, and as I understand the issue, most 2kers would agree with this assessment. So part of your lack of clarity of what officially consists of “Escondido 2k” is due to the fact that these issues, while debated online haven’t been addressed in any “official” way within 2k thought.

    However, if you want to get a clear sense of where the leading thinkers land on these issues, I’d reccomend reading Van Drunen, Horton, Hart, and Stellman since these three have taken the time to write books on the issue. I think you will find broad agreement, even if not on every detail, between these three

    I also think an important distinction needs to be made here, WSC’s faculty includes both 2Kers and Neo-Kuyperians on their faculty. Bob Godfrey is the President of the seminary, and he is Neo-Kuyperian, so to say that there is a definitive “Escondido 2k” is simply not the case. Even within the 2k camp there is diversity, so you aren’t going to get unanimity for how to deal with the issues you are bringing.

    I know of no 2k pastor who wouldn’t call abortion of homosexuality a sin, or who would shy away from doing so from the pulpit, so long as the sin in question is within the purview of the text he is preaching on. There is a distinction between preaching on the sin of abortion or homosexuality, and preaching to the politics of either. The former is something the minister certainly can and should do, but the latter is more questionable since the pastor neither makes public policy, nor has the authority to do so. It’s not as if a 2k minded pastor refrains from addressing certain sins just because they have a political component to it, but dealing with the sin, which finds its remedy in the gospel is one thing, and dealing with the politics which finds its remedy in legislation is entirely another.

    Besides, many of the 2k adherents are of the opinion that abortion will probably not be overturned based on biblical or spiritual appeals, which is why they advocate appealing to NL arguments on such issues. Van Drunen makes these kinds of arguments in his work on bioethics. So it’s not as if 2kers are indifferent to the issue of abortion especially, it’s just that they engage the issue in the public square differently based on what seems most likely to succeed as they see it.

  272. todd said,

    March 8, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Now here’s an example of the church getting involved in public policy I can get behind!

    http://mycenturylink.com/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CD9TCF5TO1%40news.ap.org%3E&ps=1011

  273. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Jed: “I’d reccomend reading Van Drunen, Horton, Hart, and Stellman since these three have taken the time to write books on the issue. I think you will find broad agreement, even if not on every detail, between these three.”

    I’ve read some of their writings.

    So Darryl Hart, how about a pastor preaching from the pulpit that abortion is sinful (as it arises from the text) and then praying in pastoral prayers for its legality to be overturned?

    Does that fall within Escondido 2K boundaries or outside Escondido 2K boundaries?

    An answer would be very helpful.

  274. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    TUAD, I wonder if you’d accuse Machen of ungodly cowardice when he says:

    “. . . you cannot expect from a true Christian church any official pronouncements upon the political or social questions of the day, and you cannot expect cooperation with the state in anything involving the use of force. Important are the functions of the police, and members of the church, either individually or in such special associations as they may choose to form, should aid the police in every lawful way in the exercise of those functions. But the function of the church in its corporate capacity is of an entirely different kind. Its weapons against evil are spiritual, not carnal; and by becoming a political lobby, through the advocacy of political measures whether good or bad, the church is turning aside from its proper mission. . . “

    Sounds like a raging case of spirituality of the church to me. Will you rage accordingly? But you sound like a grandstanding trial lawyer demanding yes and no answers to contrived questions designed to incite and cause fear and loathing. Or a Fundamentalist who wants black and white answers with no nuance whatsoever.

  275. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Jack, that’s an odd question, as it seems to presume any human being could possibly know the answer. But I do think human sin clings in ways often under-appreciated by postmils and other transformationalists, even in those who also have the Spirit abiding. I wonder what you think simul justus et peccator means.

  276. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Jed, I wouldn’t describe it as political neutrality so much as an agnosticism about the power and import of politics in the first place. There’s also a long distance between how someone votes and what someone does in his/her own life. But if to vote or make statecraft is more or less the same as personally living, I can see why someone would hold someone personally accountable for how he casts a vote or helps to arrange the polity.

  277. Zrim said,

    March 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Todd, that might almost make up for Robertson trying to spring Carla Faye Tucker or advising husbands to leave their mentally absent wives. Almost.

  278. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    @276, Zrim,

    I don’t idolize Machen like you and Darryl Hart apparently do.

    Based upon that excerpt you provided it definitely looks like Machen would condemn (or express explicit disapproval of) those Christian pastors and churches who participated in the public square (and some of them may have even used their pulpits) to wage civil disobedience against the civil magistrates in England prior to and during the American Revolution.

  279. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    #274 Title: “Pat Robertson: pot should be legal like alcohol”

    J. Gresham Machen was against the Prohibition of the sale of alcohol. Pat Robertson is against the Prohibition of the sale of pot.

    Machen and Pat Robertson are bosom buddies. Who woulda thunk it?

  280. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Jack, that’s an odd question, as it seems to presume any human being could possibly know the answer.

    Zrim, for those who have eyes to see the patently obvious, it’s not an odd question, or a difficult answer.

  281. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Jack, instead of simply agreeing with yourself, maybe you could point to what you think are evidences that the world has improved simply because we’re in it (and we wonder how unbelievers can ever find us arrogant).

  282. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Jed: “I’d reccomend reading Van Drunen, Horton, Hart, and Stellman since these three have taken the time to write books on the issue. I think you will find broad agreement, even if not on every detail, between these three.”

    In response to the question posed in #275, Pastor Stellman says that a pastor preaching on the sin of abortion and praying in pastoral prayers for the legality of abortion to be overturned wouldn’t turn any heads or cause any concerns at all. Such ministerial activity falls within Escondido 2K boundaries.

    I should hope there’s broad agreement among Van Drunen, Horton, and Hart with Stellman here.

    Just like I hope there’s broad among Van Drunen, Hart, and Stellman with Horton when Horton wrote:

    “Christians may be called to defend the law above the positive laws of nations. Even churches–as church–may be called to obey God rather than the state when the latter enforces policies that would require the church to violate its calling.

    However, if the state ever required silence on the matter where God has clearly spoken, churches would have to respectfully refuse to comply with the state.

    In any case, I don’t see how “two kingdoms” determines the civil disobedience question in one direction or the other.”

    Thus sayeth Michael Horton, Escondido 2Ker on Civil Disobedience and the Church.

  283. Reed Here said,

    March 9, 2012 at 9:34 am

    TUAD: I think you yourself have provided enough evidence to conclude that the men at WSC not only would have no problem with your queries, but would actively support them.

    That this does not mitigate the concerns for “politicizing faith” should give you pause. (And yes, I agree such a phrase needs defining. I think I’ve read enough in this debate though, that I’m comfortable saying that this is a phrase which should be familiar enough to all engaging in the debate.)

    Yes, maybe they are just confused and inconsistent. Or maybe they are offering a valid criticism, well worth our attention.

  284. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Reed,

    I’m glad that you agree that the cliche “politicizing faith” needs to be defined. I’m also glad that you acknowledge the possibility that “the men at WSC” and their followers are confused and inconsistent.

  285. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 9:58 am

    TUAD, in the interest of charity, have you ever considered that, instead of being confused and inconsistent, those who hold to 2k/SOTC may also have different ways of seeing how it might apply in specific instances? Some of us are agnostic about the power and import of politics and thus more cautious, some not so much. So what?

    So if your project is to get every 2ker to be a carbon copy of the next, I think you’ll be a little disappointed.

  286. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Zrim,

    If a 1K pastor, a 2K pastor, and an Escondido 2K pastor all exercise civil disobedience in a specific instance that all of their Christian consciences deemed necessary (a transformationalist political activity if ever there was one), then why the separations between them all?

  287. Reed Here said,

    March 9, 2012 at 10:36 am

    TUAD: your last question to Zrim backs into my last observation, namely, that maybe there is something of merit that the WSC men are driving at.

    I for one am persuaded that there is a valid issue present. Whether details are worked out fully or not yet, I do believe they are hitting on a legitimate chord.

  288. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Reed: What would be your answer to #288?

  289. Reed Here said,

    March 9, 2012 at 10:49 am

    TUAD: if I understand the question correctly, I would respond in line with Zrim’s observation in no. 287. Each position has differing reasons for supporting the action, more or less consistent with the presuppositions of each given position.

    A more focused question might be, why with three different positions do we get the same response? My answer in this case would be that I expect there is overlap in their positions.

    Another followup question would be, then why three different positions? The answer to this would be because each position is more or less consistent with the biblical uber-position it is trying to accurately represent.

    It is for this reason that I believe these positions are not merely co-belligerent in status, but actually much closer. I eschew such language and tactics that label one holding to one of these positions as “pessimistic” (possibly the kindest pejorative used in this debate) simply because I believe these positions are held by brothers who are more or less my twin, definitely not identical but surely fraternal.

    At the very least these men are not merely cousins (might we call the Lutheran 2k position that), or dysfunctional cousins (dispensationalism?), or former family members (RCC).

    I think Zrim is right to ask why not some more benefit of the doubt here.

  290. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Reed: “It is for this reason that I believe these positions are not merely co-belligerent in status, but actually much closer.”

    Thank you for arriving at the point I was directing you to, Reed.

  291. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 11:06 am

    TUAD, I don’t really follow your designations. Ever since Augustine everyone is 2k (“The City of God”). What the natures of the two kingdoms are and how they relate to one another is where we all diverge to greater or lesser degrees. So I don’t see separations between so much as divergences amongst all of us who agree that there are two kingdoms. So while your project seems like a way to run some off the reservation, what I’d hope to say is that there is a wide spectrum, and in some cases great disparity, in the ranks of those who believe there is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man.

  292. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 9, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Zrim, it confuses the issue to refer to Augustine as having bearing on the core of the current controversy. As folks have pointed out and Van Drunen himself has acknowledged, the current “two kingdoms” he is advocating are NOT the City of God and City of Man laid out by Augustine. Augustine’s two cities are spiritually antithetical in which men are citizens of one or the other, but not both.

    The Escondido “two kingdoms” describes a “common/civil kingdom” in which a Christian can be a citizen of the heavenly kingdom and additionally a citizen of the common/civil kingdom alongside with unbelievers. If we were to incorporate or maintain the Augustinian “two cities” in this discussion, then we should start talking about “Three Kingdom Theology”.

  293. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 9, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Putting it another way: just because we see a past theologian such as Augustine, Calvin, etc, referencing a “kingdom” or “city”, it is not necessarily the case that they are describing the same reality that the Escondido proponents are describing.

  294. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Zrim: “what I’d hope to say is that there is a wide spectrum, and in some cases great disparity, in the ranks of those who believe there is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man.”

    Do Kuyper and Machen in the following excerpts fulfill your hope?

    Kuyper: “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!”

    Machen: “Instead of obliterating the distinction between the Kingdom and the world, or on the other hand withdrawing from the world into a sort of modernized intellectual monasticism, let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

  295. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Reed, #285: “Yes, maybe they are just confused and inconsistent.”

    Mark, #294: “Zrim, it confuses the issue to refer to Augustine as having bearing on the core of the current controversy.”

  296. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Reed, #285: “Yes, maybe they are just confused and inconsistent. Or maybe they are offering a valid criticism, well worth our attention. … maybe there is something of merit that the WSC men are driving at.

    I for one am persuaded that there is a valid issue present. Whether details are worked out fully or not yet, I do believe they are hitting on a legitimate chord.”

    Let’s mirror that back with Dr. John Frame replacing WSC men:

    “Yes, maybe Frame is just confused and inconsistent. Or maybe he is offering a valid criticism, well worth our attention. … maybe there is something of merit that Frame is driving at.

    I for one am persuaded that there is a valid issue present. Whether details are worked out fully or not yet, I do believe Frame is hitting on a legitimate chord.”

  297. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Zrim #283,

    Again, the evidence is patently obvious to anyone with a cursory knowledge of history, but if you need further documentation, I would recommend Rodney Stark, The Rise of Christianity, or Kennedy and Newcombe, What if Jesus had Never Been Born?

  298. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    # 296

    Machen: “Instead of obliterating the distinction between the Kingdom and the world, or on the other hand withdrawing from the world into a sort of modernized intellectual monasticism, let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

    Great quote. And I don’t think anyone is going to accuse Machen of being a theonomist.

  299. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Mark, re #294, it is true that Augustine’s 2k is not modern 2k. But it’s entirely inaccurate to say that the former has no bearing on the latter. The latter is a development of the former. And perhaps the most significant development is the triadalist idea of the common ground where those who belong to the light and those who belong to the darkness may meet in common cause.

    After briefly sketching out the narrative of Cain in his “stay of execution that allows Cain to build a city,” Horton explains in “God of Promise”:

    …we begin the story with one creation, one covenant, one people, one mandate, one city. Then after the fall, there is a covenant of creation (with its cultural mandate still in effect for all people, with the law of that covenant universally inscribed on the conscience) and a covenant of grace (with its gospel publicly announced to transgressors), a City of Man (secular but even in its rejection of God, upheld by God’s gracious hand for the time being) and a City of God (holy but even in its acceptance by God, sharing in the common curse of a fallen world). Just as the failure to distinguish law covenant from promise covenant leads to manifold confusions in our understanding of salvation, tremendous problems arise when we fail to distinguish adequately between God’s general care for the secular order and his special concern for the redemption of his people.

    Religious fundamentalism tends to see the world simply divided up into believers and unbelievers. The former are blessed, loved by God, holy, and doers of the right, while the latter are cursed, hated by God, unholy, and doers of evil. Sometimes this is taken to quite an extreme: believers are good people, and their moral, political, and doctrinal causes are always right, always justified, and can never be questioned. Unless the culture is controlled by their agenda, it is simply godless and unworthy of the believers’ support. This perspective ignores the fact that according to Scripture, all of us—believers and unbelievers alike—are simultaneously under a common curse and common grace.
    Religious liberalism tends to see the world simply as one blessed community. Ignoring biblical distinctions between those inside and those outside of the covenant community, this approach cannot take the common curse seriously because it cannot take sin seriously…everything is holy.

    …[But] the human race is not divided at the present time between those who are blessed and those who are cursed. That time is coming, of course, but in this present age, believers and unbelievers alike share in the pains of childbirth, the burdens of labor, the temporal effects of their own sins, and the eventual surrender of their decaying bodies to death…there is in this present age a category for that which is neither holy nor unholy but simply common.

    So, no not 3k but 2k that accounts for what it means to be a dual citizen and human at the same time. You know, the way we actually live.

  300. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    TUAD, I don’t see how your Machen quote is a problem at all. But I take “the world” to have a personal meaning, not a political one.

  301. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Jack, thanks, but I’m not asking you to throw books at me that also agree with you. I was wondering what YOUR thoughts were in terms of evidences that the world has become a better place because we’re here.

    My cursory knowledge of history says that the 20th century has been the bloodiest and most violent. That doesn’t seem to be evidence that we’ve spruced the place up, or at least it seems to put a damper on notions that we have.

  302. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    “Great quote. And I don’t think anyone is going to accuse Machen of being a theonomist.”

    Thanks Mark.

    Kuyper, paraphrasing: “Every square inch in the whole domain of human existence belongs to Christ!”

    Machen in reply to Kuyper: “[Then] let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

  303. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Zrim,

    Those books really will help you broaden your cursory historical horizons.

  304. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Tuad,
    That Kuyper quote reminded me of this, from Frame’s Doctrine of the Christian Life, p. 611f:

    “Scripture does not warrant a two-kingdoms view. In the Bible, Christ rules, not only over human hearts, not only over the church, but also over nations. ‘Jesus is Lord’ had a clear, political meaning in ancient Roman culture: it was the announcement of the coming of a new king. The gospel itself is the news that the kingdom of God is at hand. Although Jesus’ kingdom is ‘not of this world’ (John 18:36), it is over this world, over everything in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18).

    . . . The Great Commission does not restrict the church to preaching a simple gospel, the way to escape divine judgment. Rather, the preaching of the church presents to the world a way of life that transforms everything, including politics. Christians are not saved, of course, by political action. But they must bring their faith with them into their families, their workplaces, and their politics.”

    And this, from Wayne Grudem’s Politics According to the Bible (p. 27):

    (John 18:36) “This does not mean that Jesus’ kingdom has no effect on the world. Indeed, it transforms and overcomes the world (I John 3:8; 5:4-5), but it does so by changing people’s hearts and their deep convictions, not by military power. The power of government should never be used to compel a certain kind of religious belief or adherence to any specific religion, whether the Christian faith or any other faith.”

  305. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Jack, you’re a riveting conversationalist. But Hunter’s “To Change the World” might help you sober up.

  306. Jack Bradley said,

    March 10, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Zrim, Thanks for the recommendation. After reading David Bahnsen’s review of Hunter on Amazon, I’m definitely interested:

    “I do not agree with all Hunter has to say about the ideal of Christians backing off from success in political endeavors, but I certainly agree that politics as a priority is dramatically off track. Should believers find the inspiration to rediscover dignity in their work, to practice their craft with excellence, and to use their vocation as a means of living in ‘faithful presence’, I suspect the foundation would quickly be built for longstanding cultural change. While I do not see it as necessary for believers to withdraw for the civic sphere, I concur with Hunter that political successes will be a result of cultural impact, and not a cause of cultural impact. . . we can agree that the Christian Right is not presently engaged in the task of changing the culture. . . Hunter lays out brilliantly in this book why believers have a duty to demonstrate Christ in the culture, and explains this theological concept remarkably well. . .”

  307. dghart said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Jack and . . ., and how about that great quote from Machen about the church having nothing to do with politics. High fives all around!!!!

  308. dghart said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Mark, so let me get this straight, when Escondido people appeal to Calvin and Augustine they get it wrong (and so by implication the editors of a book like Van Drunen’s), and when you and Dr. K. (who hasn’t written a book on kingdom theology) appeal to Augustine and Calvin you get it right and are to be trusted.

    But VanDrunen went to a Christian day school. He must know what he’s talking about.

  309. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Darryl, did you really forget this quickly that I am in agreement with Van Drunen’s reading of Augustine?

  310. Zrim said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Jack, maybe it would help to let Hunter speak for himself, especially those transformationists wont to invoke Wilberforce as an example of Christian cultural impact:

    If there is an exemplar whose life mission touches all of these themes and strategies—and who is celebrated as such—it is William Wilberforce (1757-1833). Wilberforce was a member of the British House of Commons and spent over forty years seeking to end slavery and “reform the manners” of his society. He was a devout Christian who believed that true personal change came through salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, and his ideals were fed by his deep faith. As an activist, he led a social movement committed to the moral reform of British society and against much opposition eventually prevailed in abolishing the legalized slave trade. Wilberforce was indeed, a great man and a model of what one courageous person willing to step into the fray can do.

    At the end of the day, the message is clear: even if not in the lofty realms of political life that he was called to, you too can be a Wilberforce. In your own sphere of influence, you too can be an Edwards, a Dwight, a Booth, a Lincoln, a Churchill, a Dorothy Day, a Martin Luther King, a Mandela, a Mother Teresa, a Vaclav Havel, a John Paul II, and so on. If you have the courage and hold to the right values and if you think Christianly with an adequate Christian worldview, you too can change the world.

    This account is almost entirely mistaken.

    More below for Reed’s sake.

  311. Zrim said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Thus ends chapter two. Hunter then goes on to explain what one might hope would be quite obvious to the sane and sober mind. In a word, the real world works in a much more complicated way than certain wistful hearts might imagine. In another word, “Culture…is a knotty, difficult, complex, perhaps impossible puzzle.” If that is fundamentally understood it trends to cast a less-than-enthusiastic reception of ubiquitous calls to transform the world. In chapter four he suggests an alternative view of culture and cultural change in eleven propositions (which is actually the title of the chapter). He begins with one alternative assumption that “one cannot merely change worldviews or question one’s own very easily” and suggests that “Most of what really counts, in terms of what shapes and directs us, we are not aware of; it operates far below what most of us are capable of consciously grasping.” From there a handful of others follow, among which are: culture is a product of history (“It is better to think of culture as a thing, if you will, manufactured not by lone individuals but rather by institutions and the elites who lead them”); ideas only sometimes have consequences (“Weaver’s statement [that ideas have consequences] would be truer if it were reworded as: ‘Under specific conditions and circumstances ideas can have consequences’”); and cultures change from the top down, rarely is ever from the bottom up (“In other words, the work of world-making and world-changing are, by and large, the work of elites; gatekeepers who provide creative direction and management within spheres of social life…In a very crude formulation, the process begins with theorists who generate ideas and knowledge; moves to researchers who explore, revise, expand, and validate ideas; moves on to teachers and educators who pass those ideas on to others, then passes on to popularizes who simplify ideas and practitioners who apply those ideas”).

    In keeping with the spirit of the others, Proposition Six is that culture is generated within networks. Here Hunter begins with what he cites as “the great man (or person) view of history.”

    It is a Hegelian idea of leadership and history, popularized by the nineteenth-century Scottish historian, Thomas Carlyle…For Carlyle, heroes shaped history through the vision of their leadership, the power of their intellect, the beauty and delight of their aesthetic, and animating it all a certain inspiration from above…[from Moses to Jesus to Buddha to Aristotle to Julius Caesar to Napoleon to Aquinas to Luther to Darwin to Freud to Monet and Degas] All form an aristocracy of knowledge, talent, ability, ambition, and virtue, and so endowed have stood like switchmen on the train tracks of history; it is their genius and the genius of other heroic individuals that have guided the evolution of civilization this way or that; for better or for worse.

    The only problem with this perspective is that it is mostly wrong. Against this great-man view of history and culture, I would argue (along with many others) that the key actor in history is not individual genius but rather the network and the new institutions that are created out of those networks. And the more “dense” the network—that is, the more active and interactive the network—the more influential it could be. This is where the stuff of culture and cultural change is produced…My point is simply that charisma and genius and their cultural consequences do not exist outside of networks of similarly oriented people and similarly aligned institutions.

  312. Jack Bradley said,

    March 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Zrim, however the Lord wants to do it, He’s going to do it.
    See: yeast/dough

    Year 100: non-Christians per believer: 360 to 1
    Year 1989: non-Christians per believer: 7 to 1

    Again, it really comes down to eschatology. “If you’re amil, cultural transformation as the expansion of Christ’s kingdom is, at best, unnecessary and, at worst, a misguided waste of kingdom resources and priorities.” -Jason

  313. dghart said,

    March 10, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Mark, if you agree with VanDruen, what’s your beef? Or is it that you agree that the City of Man and City of God are antithetical but don’t agree that you can apply that to politics and history? In other words, you want the antithesis worked out in the political realm. If that’s the case, then you disagree with Augustine and VanDrunen.

  314. Zrim said,

    March 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Jack, those ratios seem plausible. But what strikes me as very strange is the assumption that the more justified sinners there are in the world the better the world becomes. And so while eschatology has a lot to do with it, my point here is that it has at least as much–if not more–to do with soteriology, as in a doctrine of sin. If we’re always more sinful than not in this life then it doesn’t seem to follow that we can improve things. The only way it works seems to be to back up a tic and lower the view of sin and it’s abiding effects. Can Augustinian-Calvinists really do that?

  315. Jack Bradley said,

    March 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    > what strikes me as very strange is the assumption that the more justified sinners there are in the world the better the world becomes.

    If this actually strikes you as strange, we’re back to the lens/paradigm thing.

  316. sean said,

    March 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    >If this actually strikes you as strange, we’re back to the lens/paradigm thing.

    Lens/paradigm thing? The first two things that come to mind, are a Thomistic understanding of fitness/capacity, lacking the protestant orientation of the corrupting power of sin, or a category of infused grace animating sanctification in such a way as to render soteriology, less an forensic consideration, replete with already/not yet tension, with a primarily ontological emphasis.

  317. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Darryl:

    I agree with Augustine on the reality of the antithetical two cities.

    I agree with Van Drunen that Augustine’s two cities are not to be confused with his “two kingdoms” under discussion.

    I disagree with Van Drunen on his view of the *relationship* between the Word, the world, and the church and the nature of the kingdom of the God. These are much broader and more thorny topics where we see the differences arise in this controversy.

  318. Jed Paschall said,

    March 10, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    TUAD, (284)

    However, if the state ever required silence on the matter where God has clearly spoken, churches would have to respectfully refuse to comply with the state.

    I really don’t think we have any disagreement here. I have advocated civil disobedience in the past where warranted, and this would be one case where I would consider it (most likely) warranted.

    I think some of your beef with 2k is over emphasis, not actual cut and dry practice when issues are pressing. Like some of the recent 2k discussions on civil disobedience have borne out, 2k doesn’t necessarily resolve the debate.

  319. dghart said,

    March 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Mark, so Augustine’s application of the antithesis in a 2k direction — that is, arguing that the advance of God’s kingdom does not depend on the Roman Empire — doesn’t really matter to you. In other words, you disagree with Augustine.

    What I thought.

  320. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Darryl, you will think whatever you want, no matter evidence or argument to the contrary.

  321. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Jed Paschall, #320: “I have advocated civil disobedience in the past where warranted, and this would be one case where I would consider it (most likely) warranted.”

    Glad to hear it.

    “Like some of the recent 2k discussions on civil disobedience have borne out, 2k doesn’t necessarily resolve the debate.”

    Yes, an apt expression of the limitations of Escondido 2K.

  322. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Mark Van Der Molen: “Darryl, you will think whatever you want, no matter evidence or argument to the contrary.”

    Darryl exhibits humble teachability.

  323. dgh said,

    March 11, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Mark, thanks. I try.

  324. Jed Paschall said,

    March 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Yes, an apt expression of the limitations of Escondido 2K.

    TUAD,

    This comparrison is about as workable as saying that since the Westminster Standards haven’t settled the current union debates yet that they are somehow deficient. 2k is a movement that strives for catholicity, which by its very nature requires tolerance of acertain measure of diversity within the ranks when the broad principles of the doctrine don’t solve differing points of emphasis.

  325. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Jed: “2k is a movement that strives for catholicity, which by its very nature requires tolerance of acertain measure of diversity within the ranks when the broad principles of the doctrine don’t solve differing points of emphasis.”

    This article titled: Varieties of “Two Kingdoms” Positions may be helpful for you. The author identifies 6 categories.

    Here’s three of them:

    3. Classical Reformed

    The remainder of the Reformers held a view that provided a greater level of equality and autonomy between church and state. The state does not administer the sacraments, but can call councils. The church does not have authority over the state, but it may petition the state with respect to matters that concern the church. However, the state does serve the church in a sense, in that it upholds God’s law and promotes the true religion.

    4. American Reformed

    Some of the Americans took the position that religious freedom is a fundamental human right, and that consequently the state should give a large amount of toleration to both a variety of Christian denominations. The motivation seems to have arisen from a concern over the question of “persecuting” heretics. Later this was expanded to include a large amount of toleration even for non-Christian religions.

    While I label this “American,” many of the sentiments that seemingly flourished initially in America later became popular in other parts of the world. For example, the church of England subsequently revised its 39 articles to make them more inclusive with respect to those who do not hold to the classical Reformed view (or the Erastian view).

    5. “Escondido”

    It seems that some contemporary theologians – names typically associated with Westminster West (located in Escondido, California) – are advocating a position with respect to the two kingdoms that takes matters even further away from the classical Reformed position. Their position seems to include such ideas as that the American “blue laws” related to the Lord’s day, criminal punishment for adultery, and the like are not proper. The position appears to reflect an idea that there should be a radical separation of church and state, and consequently is sometimes referred to as “r2k,” although the adherents of the position do not appreciate that label.

    I say “seems to include,” because there does not appear to be a lot of clear positive statements of their positions. I wonder if any of my readers know of, and can locate for me, their positive Biblical or logical argument for their position. I can find this sort of thing with respect to the American Reformed position, and I can find very excellent works ably defending the classical Reformed position, but I cannot locate anything of substance for the Escondido position.

  326. Bob S said,

    March 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Does a quote from the first commentary on the WCF, Dickson’s Truth’s Victory over Error (1684) have anything to do with the disagreement over/definition of 2K theology?

    God, the Creator and governor of the world is the efficient of the civil magistrate (Rom. 13:1,2,4). But God-Christ, our blessed Mediator and Lord of his church, is the efficient of the church particularly and of its government. Chapt. 30

    If not, why not? particularly from the anti-2K.
    If so, why hasn’t this been stated more clearly? likewise from the pro-2K.

    FTM, where does John the Baptist fit into the picture pro and con?
    Even further, may John preach that Herod may not kill Jews, babies or even require that employers pay for their employees’s abortions?

    As for #318, translation please.

    Or is it as one suspects? That what we have here is someone a long way from home and AWOL from the Called To (Roman) Confusion website, wherein Roman converts, exercising both their private judgement and interpretation, authoritatively instruct the rest of us unconverted protestants to return to Rome post haste?

    If the last, one might be excused in ignoring it, as well as the latest cause celebre at CTC: an ex-OPC pastor, who on the basis of the infallible minutes of the church council recorded for us in Act 15 along with the studied ignorance of Amos 9:11, quoted in the same, champions the Petrine supremacy over sola scriptura.

    IOW you can’t make this stuff up/been there, done that.

  327. Bob S said,

    March 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Aaagh, . . . champions the authority of the church over the authority of scripture.

  328. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 11, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Bob S, @328,

    Are you saying that the Sean of #318 is Sean Patrick?

  329. March 11, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    [...] Green Baggins: Review of the Escondido Theology [...]

  330. sean said,

    March 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Bob S,

    I think you have me confused with someone else.

  331. Zrim said,

    March 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    TUAD, re 327.5, there are reasons that 2k doesn’t result in executing adulterers. And they don’t owe so much to notions of “radical separation of church and state” as they do to how the Reformed have traditionally understood the way the New Covenant bears on the Old in terms of the ceremonial, civil, and moral law. For Reed’s sake, I will post immediately following a brief explanation.

  332. Zrim said,

    March 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Calvin and the Reformed offer a few simple guidelines to help you get started solving these alleged conundrums for yourself. Accordingly, there are three different kinds of laws in the Old Testament: ceremonial, civil, and moral. The ceremonial laws regulated the believing community’s life of worship, including the intricate sacrificial system oriented to the temple. The civil laws pertained to the “nation” of Israel as a unique theocratic society. Some scholars describe these temporary arrangements as a kind of martial law phenomenon, a state of “intrusion ethics” in which the normal order of affairs is suspended and God rules his people directly in a way that hints at the final intrusion of the kingdom of God in the age to come. Finally, there were and are moral laws written on every human’s conscience; these are the basics of what is right and wrong. Calvin equated this with “natural law” and insisted it could be accessed via general revelation. In that sense, it was rooted in God’s creation of the world (that is, “natural”), and some relative degree of justice in the world is possible because of “common grace”–the superintending work of God that restrains evil and lets the rain fall on the just and on the unjust.

    As Christians, we rejoice in the fact that Christ has fulfilled all the law (Rom. 10:4). The ceremonial laws are fulfilled because Jesus was the final and perfect sacrifice (Heb. 10:10-12). The civil laws are abrogated because the church, Israel, is made up of a people in exile without any socio-political expression in this phase of redemptive history. We do not, in other words, live in a period of intrusion ethics. We have no need, therefore, of ecclesiastical officials to govern the affairs of state and nation, nor do we need the sacrifices of goats and bulls to atone for our sins. But what of the moral laws?

    For Calvin, Christ has redeemed us especially from the consequences of breaking the moral law; he has fulfilled all righteousness and has taken upon himself the curse of the law so that in him we might have abundant life. We then pursue a life of piety out of gratitude. Our adherence to the moral law can profit us nothing in relation to our justification before a holy God, yet it continues to inform all of the interactions between creatures, believer and unbeliever alike. In this sense, the moral law remains in effect such that right is right and wrong is wrong.

    What then is the quick answer to the question of stoning adulterers? Our approach flows out of this basic categorization of laws and a Reformed understanding of where we are currently situated in redemptive history. The moral law remains in effect in this qualified way so that adultery is wrong at all times and in all places. But the stoning punishment of Deuteronomy 22:23-24 is no longer in effect because this particular code belonged to the civil law that temporarily governed the nation of Israel but has long since passed away.

    Ryan Glomsrud (D.Phil., University of Oxford), “Why We Don’t Stone Adulterers,” Modern Reformation, Issue: “Interpreting Scripture” July/August Vol. 19 No. 4 2010 Page 23.

  333. TurretinFan said,

    March 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Jed:

    I asked: “How do you know what is in the Natural Law?”

    You responded: “NL is given by God, the Creator and Lawgiver, and humans as his rational (though fallible) creatures have the ability to rationally discern the good, or various goods, and derive an understanding of what actions are right or wrong in light of the good.”

    I now have a few follow-up questions

    It sounds like a two-step process:

    1) Rationally discern the good (or goods); and
    2) Derive an understanding of what (particular) actions are right or wrong in light of the (general) good.

    But how does one rationally discern what the good is? (Q1)

    You identified some things as goods, but I’m not sure how you propose that these things can be rationally discerned as goods, or how one can rationally discern that the set of basic or primitive goods has been exhausted. Can one? (Q2)

    It seems that it is possible for these goods to come into apparent conflict. For example, the good of “life” can come into conflict with the good of “justice” or the good of “property.” One supposes that NL proposes to resolve apparent conflicts amongst the goods “rationally,” but how? (Q3)

    -TurretinFan

  334. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Dr. Glomsurd seems to have committed the error of not reading Calvin and the Reformed.

    He seems unaware John Calvin (and many other Reformed) advocated the Civil Magistrate put Adulterers to death.

  335. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Jed Paschall, #273: “I know of no 2k pastor who wouldn’t call abortion of homosexuality a sin, or who would shy away from doing so from the pulpit, so long as the sin in question is within the purview of the text he is preaching on. There is a distinction between preaching on the sin of abortion or homosexuality, and preaching to the politics of either. The former is something the minister certainly can and should do, but the latter is more questionable since the pastor neither makes public policy, nor has the authority to do so. It’s not as if a 2k minded pastor refrains from addressing certain sins just because they have a political component to it, but dealing with the sin, which finds its remedy in the gospel is one thing, and dealing with the politics which finds its remedy in legislation is entirely another.”

    Here’s something for your consideration. In this thread HERE, I have the following (edited) conversation with Pastor Stellman:

    Me: “Pastor Stellman, et al,

    Here’s a recent post titled: Why is the Church of Scotland Silent on Gay Marriage?

    Escondido 2K Umpire Pastor Jason Stellman, if the Church of Scotland speaks out against gay marriage – as church – is that a violation of Escondido 2K doctrine? If the Church of Scotland spoke out against gay marriage, is that an “abuse of power”? If the Church of Scotland spoke out against gay marriage, then is the Church of Scotland being used for “civil purposes over which sincere believers can be divided”?”

    Pastor Stellman: “I’ll answer your question, and then I’m pretty much done with this discussion: homosexuality is a sin, and gay marriage–whether or not it is legalized by the state–will never be accepted by any church that is faithful to the teaching of Scripture. And I doubt any 2K advocate would find that a controversial position.

    PS – Neither homosexuality nor marriage are purely civil issues, but are addressed at length in Scripture, which is why the church can and should speak about them in the context of the ministry of the Word.”

    Me: “Pastor Jason Stellman,

    If I understand you properly, then if the Church of Scotland were to speak up against gay marriage in the country of Scotland, and doing so officially as a church, then this is NOT an abuse of power, NOR can it be construed that the Church of Scotland’s stand against gay marriage is being used for civil purposes over which sincere believers can be divided.

    I hope this understanding is correct. If not, please inform me.

    Similarly, if a church/denomination and pastors in America were to speak up against gay marriage, then the same reasoning necessarily applies. Yes?”

    ——

    What do you think Jed?

  336. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Zrim, I don’t agree with Glomsrud’s assessment of Calvin: finally, there were and are moral laws written on every human’s conscience; these are the basics of what is right and wrong. Calvin equated this with “natural law” and insisted it could be accessed via general revelation.

    G. makes it seem as if Calvin held general revelation to be sufficient for apprehending the moral law. I know that you hold this view, so I’m not surprised to find that others do also.

    But the thing is to keep one’s eye on the big picture. Here’s how Calvin starts the Institutes:

    On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also – He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced.

    — Inst 1.1.2

    Apparently, our moral sense given in general revelation is not enough even to know ourselves, let alone God.

    And this goes back to the central thesis: For Calvin, GR and SR are not two disparate books ruling over two disparate kingdoms, but instead are two books that speak together and confirm one another. Special revelation, for Calvin, sets forth the moral law in clarity. This is why he appeals to it for its judicial use. The duty of the magistrate, says Calvin, is to “both tables of the law.”

    He does not say, “To the duties of both piety and humanity”, as if the writing on the heart were sufficient, but to “the tables of the law.” He assumes that the magistrate ought to have his eye toward the law of God in order to understand “the principle of charity”, which Calvin takes to be the measure of the laws of nations (Inst 4.20).

    What I perceive is lost in the Calvinism of Glomsrud is an understanding that knowledge is unified and not bifurcated for Calvin.

  337. Jed Paschall said,

    March 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    TUAD,

    Thanks for the link – I will say I am substantially in agreement with JJS, however I might nuance it differently. The church, in order to be faithful to Scripture needs to take an orthodox position on what constitutes a sin in Scripture which is briefly a failure to conform with the Law (and general equity thereof) in word, thought, and deed. This would mean a faithful church would affirm the following:

    1) Homosexuality is a sin, therefore this church will not condone homosexual behavior, including gay marriage, since marriage is between a man and a woman.

    2) Abortion is a sin because the manslaughter of the unborn is a violation of the 6th commandment.

    I have no problem with the church affirming either of these, even publicly (in some official capacity). But, I do think that the purpose of the church calling sin for what it is is meant to call sinners to repentance and faith in Christ and building up believers to maturity. So when the church issues statements about what political policy the state should adopt, I think the grounds for telling the state what it should do is not within the overall mission of the church. This is because we have not been given authority to enforce the Law outside of the church.

    I realize that the WCF (31.4) does allow for the church to speak to the state in extraordinary circumstances, but, where I would personally draw that line is where the church’s freedom to worship is being impeded upon. I realize other ministers and Reformed believers interpret the WCF more broadly here, and make official statements on issues broader than I would. Since the WCF is not clear on how the “cases extraordinary” is to be interpreted, I am inclined to give more latitude for the use of the clause, even where I would not push for such use. I think the hard line to draw is that any official pronouncement by the church to the state must be subservient to the mission and call of the church, which is why I limit when I would call upon the magistrate to issues pertaining to the worship and ministry of the church, and not much else regardless of how important it is politically.

    The 2k position is not meant to downplay the importance of the politics of this world, rather it seeks to maintain the spiritual and other-worldly call of the church. I realize that there is much controversy surrounding this issue, but 2kers are not calling on Christian’s as citizens to abdicate their responsibilities as such, or to withdraw their duty to neighborly love which does entail some concern for this world, we simply are asking the church to take her calling as the church seriously. Maybe the 2k position seems like an over-correction to many, but the church in America especially has been nearly obsessed with politics (typically conservative politics) for at least 40+ years – and is the church or the political state of affairs in any better shape since the advent of the culture wars? I would argue no, and that it is time for the Reformed church to start seriously thinking through it’s ecclesiology and whether or not our current praxis is faithful to our biblical call. Even if there is some disagreement over the validity of various issues surrounding 2k theology, I would hope a refocus on ecclesiology would be our contribution to the church in our time.

  338. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Jed: “Thanks for the link – I will say I am substantially in agreement with JJS, however I might nuance it differently.”

    Are you in agreement with this nuanced understanding:

    If you (and I) understand Pastor Jason Stellman properly, then if the Church of Scotland were to speak up against gay marriage in the country of Scotland, and doing so officially as a church, then this does not violate Escondido 2K doctrine, it’s NOT an abuse of power, NOR can it be construed that the Church of Scotland’s stand against gay marriage is being used for civil purposes over which sincere believers can be divided.

    Similarly and consequently, if churches/denominations and pastors in America were to speak up against gay marriage, then the same reasoning necessarily applies.

    That’s something that you agree with Pastor Stellman with, right Jed?

  339. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Even if there is some disagreement over the validity of various issues surrounding 2k theology, I would hope a refocus on ecclesiology would be our contribution to the church in our time.

    Well *amen* to that!

  340. Jed Paschall said,

    March 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    TFan,

    Again, thanks for the questions, they are fair issues to raise concerning NL. First things first:

    It sounds like a two-step process:

    1) Rationally discern the good (or goods); and
    2) Derive an understanding of what (particular) actions are right or wrong in light of the (general) good.

    We are in agreement here, I think you understood precisely what I was trying to communicate.

    Moving on, I think I’ll limit this initial comment to prolegomena, forgive where I might lack in logical/philosophical precision, but I’ll start by backing up to some additional fundamental assumptions regarding NL…

    First, NL assumes a theistic metaphysic, and that humans as rational creatures were created in accord with these Laws, so that the knowledge of them is inate. It is important that we do not approach humans as tabula rasa who discover the good(s), and the Law’s that flow from the good(s) by beginning from a zero-point of understanding and building to a rational understanding of what these Laws are, as the human to a degree can intuit the NL.

    Second, NL is, like Scripture revelatory in nature – God has made these Laws know to man through the human faculty of conscience. So, in a sense the ability to rationally discern the good is nothing more than the ability to scrutinize the obvious. I would even point to passages like Romans 1 which I would argue, along with theologians such as James Barr contains elements of Natural Theology and Natural Law to illustrate this very fact. If Barr is correct (as elaborated in Biblical Faith and Natural Theology, Paul is utilizing Natural Theology/Law argumentation to establish that humans through an act of Divine disclosure know that there is a God, and as such they are obliged to act toward him and each other in Lawful ways. This is important because while this passage is folded into a broader construct special revelation (namely Paul’s exposition of the gospel), Paul is not introducing a great deal of innovative material in 1:18ff, since humans have inate knowledge of this aspect of the argument in Romans :

    [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse… [29] They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, [30] slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, [31] foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.[32] Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them…(Romans 1:19-20,29-32 ESV)

    Essentially this passage lays out the basic structure of Natural Law (and Natural Theology – hereafter NT). Starting with NT, man knows that there is a God, and knows something of his attributes (vv. 19-20). Moving into NL in vv.29-32, man understands the basic good(s) that make envy, murder, deciet, insolence, pride, ruthlesness, and disobedience to parents et. al. unrighteous, hence against the revealed NL. If we look back at the list of goods I had provided, we can see that each of the violations described in 29-32 (along with the sexual deviancy described prior to 29) are all in opposition to the goods listed –

    1) Laws protecting and preserving life – this would account for laws across history which prohibit the unwarranted taking of human life, such as laws prohibiting manslaughter or murder. Even basic safety laws, such as ancient “goring Ox” statutes or modern speed limits all reflect the protection of the good of life.

    2) Laws protecting Truth/Reason – laws that ban perjury, false witness, invalid or unconscionable contracts would all be examples of Laws that are meant to uphold the equity of truth.

    3) Laws protecting Justice – laws that place limits on or divisions of power to ensure the equitable administration of Law reflect this, as well as laws ensuring impartiality so as not to deprive any individual of justice regardless of social class or status also reflect the effort to uphold the good of Justice

    4) Laws protecting Property – property laws, such as laws against theft, or abusive labor, or fair weights and measures all seek to uphold the good of personal property as a good to be protected.

    5) Laws protecting Family – laws that prohibit adultery, rape, abandonment, or economic deprivation, as well as certain child protection laws all seek to uphold the good of the family unit.

    So, I would argue that the NL (and NT) is known by virtue of man being a rational creature, created by a rational Creator through the innate, instinctive faculties of conscience which figure into the created structure of human antropology. I realize that this doesn’t answer the three questions you posed, but I think that by backing up and establishing some more foundational assumptions I can move on to answer your questions with more clarity. But, alas, I am out of time since I have to head into work now. But thanks for the questions, they are helpful for me to clarify and refine my own thinking on the matter. I hope to have some answers to you sooner than later.

  341. Jed Paschall said,

    March 12, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    TUAD,

    Similarly and consequently, if churches/denominations and pastors in America were to speak up against gay marriage, then the same reasoning necessarily applies.

    That’s something that you agree with Pastor Stellman with, right Jed?

    I promise this is not an attempt to frustrate the discussion. If by speaking against gay marriage you mean, for example:

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

    Then, yes, I would say that this an important clarification of the church’s stance on a pressing cultural issues.

    However, if we were to add to this example:

    “…Furthermore, we call upon the state to maintain the biblical, creational norms regarding marriage, by banning all possibilities of gay marriages, etc, etc.”

    I would say that the church qua church has overstepped itself, because they now are seeking to exercise power in the civil realm by enacting or endorsing policy. I do not believe that this lies within the charter of the Church given by Christ in the Great Commission. Now if an individual believer, speaking as a citizen were to petition the state in this manner, I would argue that he is fully within his freedoms to do so.

    Does that clarify?

  342. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 12, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Jed: “Does that clarify?”

    Yes.

    I would love to have all ministers of God and all churches of God, among them Escondido 2K ministers and Escondido 2K churches, to proclaim what you endorse:

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

    If I’m not mistaken, pastor Jason Stellman is in the state of Washington, and the state of Washington has just recently legalized gay marriage. I would applaud Escondido 2K pastor Stellman if he were to publicly utter the words you wrote above, Jed, in his official capacity as a minister of God.

  343. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Jed, nicely done.

  344. TurretinFan said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Jed:

    Thanks for your patience with me as I walk through these things. To sum up your answer, in your view we rationally know what is good (and evil) through our conscience, which you describe as our “innate, instinctive faculties of conscience.”

    I should add, for the sake of those watching, that (at least at the general level) you and I seem to be in agreement so far.

    This source of Natural Law is both a strength and a weakness. It is a strength in that conscience is a gift from God and it is part (maybe the largest and most important part) of the “light of nature.” It is a weakness, however, in that men’s consciences are seared – many to a very large extent. “They became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened” is, I think, an important concern.

    How, in your view, can Natural Law be known beyond generalities, given such darkening, searing, and so on? Indeed, how can it be reliably known at all?

    There is a second follow-up question, but I think this one gets more to the epistemic problem and the second follow-up question is slightly different, related to the implementational aspect.

    -TurretinFan

  345. sean said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Wow,
    ,
    I’m not ready to attribute to Jed what TUAD wants to attribute to him. However, the way and context in which TUAD wants that assertion applied just affirms to me the utter waste of credibility and misuse of office it would be for Jason or any other minister/s of the gospel to sacrifice/marginalize the redemptive office and ministerial function of the church to be just another of a few million salvos in the so-called culture war. Political activity has it’s merits and is good but it’s just so insignificant when compared to the calling of the church and it’s officers and this application just confirms to me Robinson’s admonition to the church to not jeopardize it’s sacred, eternal and redemptive ministry for the sake of any temporal issue, no matter how important and pressing it may seem at the time. Thanks for putting that in bold relief for me.

  346. Zrim said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Jeff, then temper Calvin with Vermigli. From Stephen Grabill’s “Rediscovering the Natural Law in Reformed Theological Ethics,” pg. 103:

    For Vermigli…the first species [of knowledge] is more restrictive and consists of knowledge pertaining to God that is apprehended only on the basis of special revelation, namely, justification, forgiveness in Christ, and the resurrection of the body. The second species concerns knowledge pertaining to God that is open to all persons and apprehended through natural means…Like Calvin, he held to the existence of a universally imprinted nonsalvific knowledge of God—insinuated into the very fabric of the human mind—that justly holds people accountable for their innate moral consciousness and awareness of divinity.

    In other words, there is the law from above which concerns justification, and a law from below which concerns that which keeps evil at bay and right at helm. The former insufficient for our spiritual state in relation to God, the latter is sufficient for our temporal purposes in relation to man. So when you say “…general revelation is not enough even to know ourselves, let alone God” it is granted because the second species is not intended to do that which the first species does.

    And Calvin may very well maintain that the duty of the magistrate is to both tables of the law but as has been pointed out in my first comment in this thread (#23), 2kers stand with Kuyper when he says of this view that we do not at all hide the fact that we disagree with Calvin, our Confessions, and our Reformed theologians.

  347. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Sean @347:

    If Pastor Stellman uttered the following words in the singular form, words which Jed endorses, do you agree that this is well within Escondido 2K Doctrine?

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

  348. Zrim said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    I would applaud Escondido 2K pastor Stellman if he were to publicly utter the words you wrote above, Jed, in his official capacity as a minister of God.

    Why?

  349. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    If you disagree with Calvin why then try and gain his name by quoting Dr. Glomsrud?

  350. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    @339, Jed: Two Questions:

    Does Scripture say things that bind the civil magistrate?

    If yes, can the Church proclaim those things that bind the civil magistrate?

  351. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Zrim, @350:

    If Pastor Stellman uttered the following words in the singular form, words which Jed endorses, do you agree that this is well within Escondido 2K Doctrine?

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

  352. Zrim said,

    March 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Benjamin, the point wasn’t to gain Calvin’s name but make a point about the law and why we don’t execute adulterers–we excommunicate unrepentant adulterers. Maybe you could explain why theonomists want to apply a punishment that also executes any possibility for repentance.

  353. Zrim said,

    March 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    TUAD, tell you what: you tell me why you want public statements of morality made by the church and I’ll tell you if I think doing so is a veiled way of participating in culture war.

  354. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    @ 355, Zrim,

    Do you affirm #353 and Jed Paschall’s recommended statements? Jeff Cagle says they’re nicely done.

  355. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I’ll let John Calvin (who was not a “theonomist”) answer for himself on why adulterers should be executed:

    “They who infer from this that adultery ought not to be punished with death, must, for the same reason, admit that inheritances ought not to be divided, because Christ refused to arbitrate in that matter between two brothers, (Luke 12:13.) Indeed, there will be no crime whatever that shall not be exempted from the penalties of the law, if adultery be not punished; for then the door will be thrown open for any kind of treachery, and for poisoning, and murder, and robbery. Besides, the adulteress, when she bears an unlawful child, not only robs the name of the family, but violently takes away the right of inheritance from the lawful offspring, and conveys it to strangers. But what is worst of all, the wife not only dishonors the husband to whom she had been united, but prostitutes herself to shameful wickedness, and likewise violates the sacred covenant of God, without which no holiness can continue to exist in the world.

    Yet the Popish theology is, that in this passage Christ has brought to us the Law of grace, by which adulterers are freed from punishment. And though they endeavor, by every method, to efface from the minds of men the grace of God, such grace as is every where declared to us by the doctrine of the Gospel, yet in this passage alone they preach aloud the Law of grace. Why is this, but that they may pollute, with unbridled lust, almost every marriage-bed, and may escape unpunished? Truly, this is the fine fruit which we have reaped from the diabolical system of celibacy, that they who are not permitted to marry a lawful wife can commit fornication without restraint. But let us remember that, while Christ forgives the sins of men, he does not overturn political order, or reverse the sentences and punishments appointed by the laws.”

    From his commentary on John 8:11

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom34.xiv.i.html

  356. Tom said,

    March 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Zrim #354

    Repentance was not possible under the old covenant? And what about murders? Do you allow for execution in the case of murder even when faced with the possibility that, given enough time, the murderer might repent? (BTW, your argument sounds like a spiritual version of evolution.)

    The fact is that under Escondido-style two kingdoms (ES2K) the state is left to make any law and any punishment it wishes. It is free to execute murderers, adulterers, child molesters, or habitual jaywalkers. It is free to cut off the offending hand of a thief. Or tatoo an “A” on the forehead of a wayward spouse. The ES2K magistrate can jail practicing homosexuals or grant them a marriage certificate. And you can forget about anything having to do with blasphemy, heresy, or Sabbath-keeping. There is nothing in the ephemeral “natural law” of ES2K to instruct the magistrate which laws are God-pleasing or which punishments are just. There is no natural law version of lex talionis.

    Obviously the magistrate under a ES2K system is far more arbitrary, ruthless, and fearsome (in a negative sense, not a Romans 13 sense) than anything the most militant theonomist could ever envision.

  357. Bob S said,

    March 12, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    332 sean (not patrick), regardless of your identity, a translation of your post is still needed. That is if you want to be understood.

  358. Jed Paschall said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:17 am

    TFan,

    How, in your view, can Natural Law be known beyond generalities, given such darkening, searing, and so on? Indeed, how can it be reliably known at all?

    This could be answered from a few vantage points, starting with how it is used in Romans 1 – clearly the NL Paul describes is sufficiently clear to warrant God’s wrathful disposition toward man, after all these precepts have been plainly revealed. One could also argue that an imperfect understanding of NL does not demand that such a view is inadequate. We could also evaluate human laws in history, much of the concepts laid forth in the Decalogue are also present in non-Scriptural Law codes. Hammurabi’s Code, for example, bears striking resemblance to the Mosaic Law in many verifiable areas.

    So, from a theological standpoint, man’s conscience must have a sufficiently clear conceptual grasp on the NL to understand right from wrong, and to understand how God is to be pleased, at least in part, and to understand at a conscience level the basis of his condemnation, so that he cannot plead ignorance as an excuse.

    This doesn’t necessarily resolve how NL should be used in the civil realm, namely how it is to be enforced, and navigated when circumstances, or human evil pits goods which otherwise wouldn’t conflict with each other in opposition. NL can be advocated as the basis for civil society in such a way that it would practically be no different than theonomy. I think you were hinting at this issue in a couple of your questions, and it’s a concept worth discussing. Suffice to say, the Law and the enforcement thereof are not necessarily equivalents.

    I’ll try to delve into your other questions tomorrow, if my youngest ever actually goes to bed that is!!!

  359. Jed Paschall said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:56 am

    TUAD,

    One thing that I will add to the hypothetical statement on gay marriage I provided that has received some run in the last few comments is that it needs to be given in a ministerial context. By this I mean that the motivation for these public statements needs to ministerial, feeding into the overall mission of the church, not an effort to engage the culture wars through the power of implication. So here are some examples of what I would deem proper motivations of the statement:

    1) To Clarify: Many (typically liberal) communions have given carte blanche endorsement of the agendas of LGBT (gay) agendas, some such as factions within the PCUSA are self-identified Presbyterians. In order to clarify to the public on this (or similar to this) issue, so as not to create confusion as to where a conservative communion stands on the issue.

    2) To Present the Law for the Gospel’s Sake: By this I mean the statement that I gave in haste was incomplete. Gay’s like all other sinners find their only hope in repentance and faith in Christ, not in mere moral reform. The church isn’t called to the moral renovation of society by the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of sinners. The purpose of clarifying and making one’s position known on such controversial matters isn’t to score victories in the culture wars but to point gay’s and those that are sympathetic to their cause to the cross.

    Improper Motivations:

    1) Indirect Policy Implications: If the church is issuing these kinds of statements in order to sway the vote one way or the other or pressure legislative change, they are in effect overstepping the constraints of their call of gospel proclamation and disciple making.

    2) Preaching to the Choir: Here I mean that sometimes these sort of statements can become more about scoring points within the fold than they are about the true mission of the church. In the end, if this is the motivation and mode of communication it basically becomes just a few more unnecessary decibels in an already raucous culture war, and ultimately ends up unduly alienating those whom the church is supposed to be proclaiming the gospel to – namely sinners.

    All this to say that when a church or a minister contemplates making strong public statements regarding these sorts of controversial issues, boldness isn’t the only virtue in order, rather prayerful measures of wisdom, humility, tact, and compassion are all necessary to ensure that when such communications are made that they end up advancing the mission of the church as opposed to detracting from it.

  360. sean said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Bob S,

    It was merely an observation, that the lens/paradigm angle particularly as it centered on culture transformation directly tied to a change in ratio of believer to unbeliever leans heavily toward an ontological emphasis and this emphasis has a lot of traction within the thomistic tradition as it regards ‘natural’ fitness/capacity particularly as it’s aided in the believer through infused grace. One of the hallmarks of protestant thought over against rome, was this idea that rome had inadequately accounted for the corrupting effects of sin because of the fall and this “accounting for sin and it’s effects” upon even the regenerate was still more limiting than rome wanted/wants to acknowledge. It is at this point that rome is more aristotelian in it’s conception of man and capacity than biblically informed. I thought my observation rather unremarkable quite honestly. Sorry for the confusion.

  361. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 13, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Amen Tom. Well Said and that is exactly the crux of the matter in the ES2K discussion.

  362. Zrim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 8:08 am

    TUAD, re 356, if you’re asking whether I’d affirm the sin of homosexuality and the definition of marriage then yes. But why it has to be made into some sort of formal public statement is beyond me. Is it to clarify for conservative Christians these things? Is that because conservative Christians are confused about them? Could have fooled me by the way most speak already. So the only thing I am left with is that its purpose is to formally engage worldly cares and concerns. How is that not a liberal ecclesiology?

  363. Zrim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 8:10 am

    But, Tom, magi stares aren’t under the church in 2k construal. Christianity is about reconciling God to sinners, not giving magistrates guidelines on how to govern. It’s also about making believers obedient to their magistrates because they are God’s ministers, even those that arrange civil life in ways that irritate modern sensibilities about scarlet letters. One would think that if Christianity had so much vested in contributing important advice to civil magistrates that Paul would have taken the opportunity in Roman 13 to say so and set straight his governor who not only thought himself deity but likely enforced laws that would make both of us squeal. But all he does is prop up the authorities as God’s servants for our good and tell us to submit and obey.

    The fact is that theonomy is a fundamental misunderstanding of fulfillment and an undue fixation on law. How grace and gospel ever shine through in its adherents is a miracle.

    Re your slight of natural law in apparent favor of theonomy, more Kuyper seems in order:

    Does it follow, therefore, that the sooner we stop our observation of life the better, so that we can seek the rules of state polity outside life in Holy Scripture? This is how some mistakenly think that we reason…However, the opposite is true. Calvinism has never supported this untenable position but has always opposed it with might and main. A state polity that dismisses and scorns the observation of life and simply wishes to duplicate the situation of Israel, taking Holy Scripture as a complete code of Christian law for the state, would, according to the spiritual fathers of Calvinism, be the epitome of absurdity. Accordingly, in their opposition to Anabaptism as well as the Quakers, they expressed unreservedly their repugnance for this extremely dangerous and impractical theory.

    If we considered the political life of the nations as something unholy, unclean and wrong in itself, it would lie outside of human nature. Then the state would have to be seen as a purely external means of compulsion, and every attempt to discover even a trace of God’s ordinances in our own nature would be absurd. Only special revelation would then be capable of imparting to us the standards for that external means of discipline. Wherever, thus, this special revelation is absent, as in the heathen worlds, nothing but sin and distortion would prevail, which would therefore not even be worth the trouble of our observation…However, if we open the works of Calvin, Bullinger, Beza and Marnix van St. Aldegonde, it becomes obvious that Calvinism consciously chooses sides against this viewpoint. The experience of the states of antiquity, the practical wisdom of their laws, and the deep insight of their statesmen and philosophers is held in esteem by these men, and these are cited in support of their own affirmations and consciously related to the ordinances of God. The earnest intent of the political life of many nations can be explained in terms of the principles of justice and morality that spoke in their consciences. They cannot be explained simply as blindness brought on by the Evil One; on the contrary, in the excellence of their political efforts we encounter a divine ray of light…

    …with proper rights we contradict the argument that Holy Scripture should be seen as the source from which a knowledge of the best civil laws flow. The supporters of this potion talk as though after the Fall nature, human life, and history have ceased being a revelation of God and As though, with the closing of this book, another book, called Holy Scriptures, as opened for us. Calvinism has never defended this untenable position and will never acknowledge it as its own…We have refuted the notion that we entertain the foolish effort to patch together civil laws from Bible texts, and we have declared unconditionally that psychology, ethnology, history and statistics are also for us given which, by the light of God’s Word, must determine the standards for the state polity.

    The Ordinances of God

  364. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Zrim,

    You are aware that “theonomy” and Establishmentarianism are not the same thing right?

  365. Zrim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Benjamin, I understand they are distinctions without much difference.

  366. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 13, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Zrim,

    Well then that confirms what many here suspect that you really don’t understand the issues involved in the E2K/Reformed 2K debate.

  367. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

    @361, Jed,

    Let’s put aside the hermeneutic of suspicion that ardent Escondido 2Kers like Zrim, Sean, and others aside, and give a charitable benefit of the doubt to churches, denominations, and pastors that when they make statements on gay marriage that it’s being done in a “ministerial” context.

    Why the rush to ascribe motives to statements using your own words of:

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.””

  368. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Zrim: “TUAD, re 356, if you’re asking whether I’d affirm the sin of homosexuality and the definition of marriage then yes.”

    No Zrim, that’s NOT what was being asked. Here is what’s being asked:

    If Pastor Stellman uttered the following words in the singular form, words which Jed endorses (and which Jeff Cagle says is nicely done), do you agree that this is well within Escondido 2K Doctrine?

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

  369. March 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

    For useful background on the Westminster Assembly’s view of the judicial law, see Chris Coldwell, “The Westminster Assembly & the Judicial Law: A Chronological Compilation and Analysis. Part One: Chronology,” and Matthew Winzer, “The Westminster Assembly & the Judicial Law: A Chronological Compilation and Analysis. Part Two: Analysis,” in The Confessional Presbyterian journal volume 5 (2009) 3–88. No, these are not online; but the issue is worth having. You can subscribe or purchase back issues at the link. Currently there is a great deal on the current issues in print (7 volumes); USA only (sorry). Also, the season is open for submissions for the 2012 issue now in preparation.

  370. Tom said,

    March 13, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Zrim,

    The fact remains that ephemeral “natural law” under ES2K offers absolutely no check or balance against an authoritarian state. Because ES2K explicitly rejects any role for God’s infallible revelation wrt the magistrate, you are forced to accept whatever government you get. This is an admission that tyranny is just as suitable for the magistrate as justice. Klinean comstructions aside, the magistrate under ES2K is a far more awful thing that anything envisioned by theonomy.

  371. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Are Zrim’s arguments (in this thread and elsewhere) the true embodiment and the crystalized clarity of applied Escondido 2K doctrine?

    If so, no wonder Escondido 2K is not well-regarded, and must be treated and seen as an aberrant, defective form of the historic 2K position.

  372. Tom said,

    March 13, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Zrim,

    Clearly I prefer Calvin over Kuyper on this matter. Kuyper gave too much of the store away, IMO.

    However, let’s not loose sight of the difficulty exposed by ES2K. Some answer might be helpful to clarify the issues.

    Do you oppose the right of the magistrate to impose capital punishment for murder on the suspect notion that the offender might be deprived of the right to repent and find eternal life? If not, why do so for adultery or any other crime?

    Is your magistrate free to impose any law and punishment for violation of the law? May they not impose capital punishment for adultery as well as murder is they see fit? Is the magistrate free to sever the hand of a thief? On what universally-recongized principle is that punishment out of bounds?

    And what about the homosexual or pedophile or polygamist? What should the magistrate do with them? What explicit solution is there in “natural law” these these sort of aberrant behaviors? Or does ES2K prefer a libertarian approach?

    The list could go on, but I think you get the point. What is the ES2K solution to the magistrate? What is the ES2K advice to the magistrate? How does the true religion direct the magistrate as the minister of God?

  373. sean said,

    March 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

    “If so, no wonder Escondido 2K is not well-regarded, and must be treated and seen as an aberrant, defective form of the historic 2K position.”

    Defective compared to what? The 1788 revision of WCF removed civil magistrate oversight from ecclesial affairs. As far as I know the OPC and the PCA receive the 1788 revision. This was a departure from both english puritanism and continental reformed on the issue. Is this the aberrance you wish to emphasize? Do you desire civil magistrate oversight of the church? Do you desire for the civil magistrate to call synods and assemblies and make judgement on fidelity to dogma?

  374. Zrim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Tom, it seems to me 2k takes its cues from Peter and Paul on the matter of the civil magistrate. Submit and obey. Neither apostle says there is much more for us to do. Neither do I see prescriptions for the magistrate in our confessions beyond to punish evil and reward the good, but more importantly the emphasis is always on our obedience rather than on the magistrate’s role. Jesus and the apostles lived under what could be construed as authoritarian states and the only prescription ever was to submit and obey. And I think “they were amazed” at this teaching in Mark 12 because they held more or less the same assumptions as today’s theocrats, namely that the civil magistrate’s validity is measured by its godliness. Jesus and the apostles actually raised the ante and said that the sheer fact that they had authority means that they are God’s ministers and worthy of obedience.

    So when you ask what is 2k’s advice to the magistrate, I think you’re asking a question 2k never contemplates. Maybe because he already knows his role: punish evil and reward good.

  375. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Sean, @375,

    If Pastor Stellman uttered the following words in the singular form, words which Jed endorses (and which Jeff Cagle says is nicely done), and you assume that Pastor Stellman is providing this statement in the “ministerial context” that he describes in #361, do you agree that this is well within Escondido 2K Doctrine?

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

    If you can’t affirm this statement as being within Escondido 2K doctrine, then there’s your answer as to why Escondido 2K doctrine is aberrant and defective.

  376. Jed Paschall said,

    March 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

    TUAD,

    Let’s put aside the hermeneutic of suspicion that ardent Escondido 2Kers like Zrim, Sean, and others aside, and give a charitable benefit of the doubt to churches, denominations, and pastors that when they make statements on gay marriage that it’s being done in a “ministerial” context.

    I get where you are going, but the problem is when/if a minister or a group makes a public statement, say on a church website, or through a blog, or any other medium, those words don’t exist in a cultural vacuum. American Evangelical conservatives have a long history of social and political activism motivated by a particular worldview that shows little regard for the fundamental differences between the church and the state. There are Reformed ministers who publicly decry any and all pastors who don’t oppose social issues with appropriate vigor and fervor. The Bros. Bayly consistently impugn the motives of ministers who don’t engage cultural and political evils with the same vigor they do.

    I understand that you and others want a clearer sense that 2kers are not endorsing, or acquiescing to the movements in culture that clearly stand in opposition to Scripture, and I personally don’t think that there is any problem with this. However, it is also crucial to understand how much the spirituality of the church (SOTC) plays into modern 2k thought, and why we champion this concept. As important as the issues might be in the culture war for what happens in this world, the church stands apart from these issues with spiritual armor to engage a spiritual conflict for spiritual ends. God has entrusted the church with the ministry of reconciliation, which carries with it the weight of eternity in its consequences for the souls at stake. As pressing as the great social ills of the day are, they will pass, and the church’s aim needs to be on lasting realities. If Christian and even Reformed ministers and leaders had a better track record of keeping the spiritual focus of their calling in the forefront I wouldn’t have qualified my statement with the importance of it ultimately being given with ministerial ends

  377. sean said,

    March 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Nice Dodge TUAD. I give you a confessional consideration by which the OPC and PCA both abide and you give me a conjured up hypothetical which I have to assume in your mind is on the same level as our confessional commitments and you want that to somehow be the determining factor of the aberrance or lack thereof of some supposed monolith you’ve labeled ‘Escondido 2k’ based on nuanced statements by 2 supposed adherents maybe even 3 or 4 or 10. Who cares.Nice try but no dice. I want to know what is your confessional alternative and where ‘Escondido 2k’ whatever that is, strays or violates or otherwise distorts the system of doctrine contained in the standards. At least the CREC has jettisoned the 1788 revision in favor of the former, is that the sort of modification or adoption that you’re championing? Come on if I put 100 different theonomists or 1k ers in a room I can get 100 different nuances of a particular application of an OT civil statute in a modern setting, so what. If you wanna call foul or aberrance, I want your confessional evidence of it.

  378. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Sean, your continued evasions to the question in #377 along with Zrim’s evasions clearly demonstrate why Escondido 2K is held in such disrepute. Escondido 2K evinces an ungodly cowardice, that even when a “ministerial context” is provided for the judgmental Escondido 2Ker, they still refuse to affirm a church, denomination, or pastor for saying Jed Paschall’s word as being within Escondido 2K boundaries:

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

  379. Zrim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 11:13 am

    TUAD, re Jed’s last comment, in other words it’s not so much a hermeneutic of suspicion as it is a concern for the fact that human beings, including justified ones, are complicated and so are their histories and projects.

    I know puppets aren’t supposed to ask their puppeteers questions, but the ministerial aspect you add to your hypothetical still makes me want to know what the point would be. Would this even be contemplated if it weren’t for all the headlines these days? If not, then what other obvious statements need to be made to conservative P&R communions? Do we all need to be reminded that no-fault divorce is unbiblical, that fornication will not be tolerated? Or is there no similar concern for those things because they don’t exactly inhabit the public mind?

  380. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Zrim, ascribe the best “ministerial context” motive you can personally think of.

    If Pastor Stellman uttered the following words in the singular form, words which Jed endorses (and which Jeff Cagle says is nicely done), and you have ascribed the best “ministerial context” motive to Pastor Stellman (per Jed’s #361) do you agree that this is well within Escondido 2K Doctrine?

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

  381. Zrim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 11:47 am

    TUAD, the best ministerial context I can think of is the reading of the law every Lord’s Day in PUBLIC stated worship. And I don’t see how that doesn’t cover the concerns in the statement. Or are you saying we need to add to God’s law?

  382. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 11:53 am

    “Or are you saying we need to add to God’s law?”

    Zrim, if Pastor Stellman were to proclaim this:

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

    Then you think that Pastor Stellman is adding to God’s Law?

  383. Zrim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    TUAD, I know you’re hanging all the law and prophets of 2k on this one question, but despite popular belief there really is such a thing as a bad question. But what you asked for was the best ministerial context, which is Sabbath worship, and what I am saying is that God’s law is sufficient for that context. Why is this is this a problem?

  384. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Zrim,

    There’s an unfortunate equivocation going on in your part. Perhaps it’s unintentional. Look at Jed’s #361: “By this I mean that the motivation for these public statements needs to [be] ministerial, feeding into the overall mission of the church….”

    Zrim, ascribe the best “ministerial context” motive you can personally think of in terms of Jed’s #361.

    Again, if Pastor Stellman uttered the following words in the singular form, words which Jed endorses (and which Jeff Cagle says is nicely done), and you have ascribed the best “ministerial context” motive to Pastor Stellman (per Jed’s #361), do you agree that this is well within Escondido 2K Doctrine?

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

  385. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Can I resign from the Greek chorus? :)

  386. sean said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Who’s being evasive, TUAD? I answered your hypothetical in response to Jed’s response, knowing full well you’re intention was to try to trap Jed in his answer, and that you would characterize his response in the context of political culture wars. Jed, realized that after the point and NUANCED his answer to you. This is like trying to dialogue with a communist in eco. class, as they rail against the capitalist, free market system all the way up to when you finally get a chance to ask them; “O.K., what’s your model? And how’s that working for ya?”

    So, moving beyond your hypothetical let’s get down to something that matters. 1)What is your confessional alternative? Because from the 2k side of the house the big move confessionally was the removing of the magistrate from having oversight of ecclesial matters. This is formalized in the 1788 revision. A number of 1k ers including the CREC have recognized this and preferred to be beholden to the coercive opportunity that the original WCF provides. Additionally, Should someone from the 2k side hold up the Tyler church experiment as a representative example of 1k manifestation? Either in churchly form or culture transformation mode? Or should a 2ker be generous and grant nuance and allow that other 1kers might not agree with how everyone from their camp might represent themselves. What sayeth you, TUAD?

  387. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    @ 388, Sean: “Who’s being evasive, TUAD?”

    You are, Sean. You haven’t answered the question in #377.

  388. Zrim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    TUAD, the best “ministerial context” motive I can personally think of is formal, PUBLIC worship of God. You, Jed, and Jeff may see this as the right context and motive for such statements to be issued but I don’t. So why do you? I think I’ve answered you, will you answer me now?

  389. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    @ Zrim, #390: “I think I’ve answered you”

    No Zrim, you haven’t. Re-read and answer #386.

  390. Jed Paschall said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    TUAD, Tom, Benjamin,

    Hopefully you guys can surmise from this back and forth between Zrim, Sean and you all that the issues being argued are largely over personal opinion and interpretations/applications of “Escondido 2k”, rather than something that is definitive to 2k thought stemming from Escondido or WSCal proper. There’s ample evidence online over where Zrim and I, both of whom waive the 2k banner, profoundly disagree on some very important issues. I don’t attribute this to defects in 2k so much as I attribute it to differences of conscience and opinion. I think Zrim and I share a good deal of common ground in our 2k convictions, but that doesn’t mean that we are identical in how that is applied.

    So I wouldn’t suspect that Zrim, or Sean would agree with the hypothetical I posed. I happen to disagree with them, and I think I have qualified my responses in such a way that shows that the aim for such a statement is not to score points in a culture war, but rather that such statements and public stances can indeed be ministerial in intent. But Zrim has championed a sort of “political agnosticism” (correct me if I am wrong Z) in his 2k reflections, that I would not categorize as essential or necessary to 2k theology as espoused by WSCal Profs.

  391. Jed Paschall said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Just to add to the above comment, sometimes a system of thought can express very diverse applications from it’s individual adherents. So I would personally classify some of these arguments as differences of personal conviction, opinion, ans even conscience, not as necessarily stemming from one (in this case 2k) school of thought. We also need to remember the variety of 2k being formally taught in Escondido is a relatively new development, grounded in some quite old concepts in Reformed theology, so I think there also needs to be a measure of patience to see how this system develops itself and nuances it’s positions in the coming years. It’s not as if 2k, especially it’s emphasis on NL is coming from nowhere in the Reformed tradition, but it is addressing social concerns that were far different that those in the early and magisterial Reformation when NL theory was being developed in the context of Reformed theology and social theory.

  392. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Jed: “There’s ample evidence online over where Zrim and I, both of whom waive the 2k banner, profoundly disagree on some very important issues. I don’t attribute this to defects in 2k so much as I attribute it to differences of conscience and opinion.”

    A significant aspect of the profound disagreement between Escondido 2K advocates is that the E2K advocates don’t agree on where the “foul lines” are.

    Here’s an example:

    Imagine a baseball game. There’s a batter. He hits the ball past the infield. There’s an Escondido 2K umpire to determine if the ball is fair or foul according to the foul lines.

    Batter’s ball: “Praying for the legality of abortion to be overturned in pastoral prayers.”

    Escondido 2K Umpire Jason Stellman: “Fair Ball!”

    Zrim: “No way! That’s a foul ball! That pastoral prayer frames things legislatively or politically in a formal spiritual context.”

    Escondido 2K Umpire Jason Stellman: “Fair Ball!”

    Zrim: “Foul Ball!”

    Some Escondido 2Kers yell “Foul ball!” and some Escondido 2Kers yell “Fair ball!” on the same ball. The foul lines shift from person to person. Not good.

    —-

    This illustration is just trying to see and understand the boundaries (the foul lines, so to speak) of Escondido 2K. Or does anyone want to make the case that there are no foul lines with Escondido 2K doctrine? And that such questions ascertaining whether something is within Escondido 2K boundaries are useless since Escondido 2K has no clearly defined boundaries?

  393. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Jed, #394: ‘We also need to remember the variety of 2k being formally taught in Escondido is a relatively new development”

    Thank you Jed. Escondido 2K doctrine is relatively new.

    What would you say are the essential differences that Horton, Hart, Van Drunen, and Stellman are formally teaching that depart from the 2K doctrine that was taught before?

  394. sean said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Jed says;
    “and I think I have qualified my responses in such a way that shows that the aim for such a statement is not to score points in a culture war,”

    I think you did too, and that’s what I meant to convey in #388.

    Just for you TUAD, I expressed myself on your hypothetical in #347, but then you already knew that. I still am interested in your response to my confessional inquiry of you.

  395. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Sean, you haven’t answered #377. A “Yes, I agree” or “No, I disagree” to the question in #377 will suffice.

    Question to Sean and Zrim: If Pastor Stellman uttered the following words in the singular form, words which Jed endorses (and which Jeff Cagle says is nicely done), and you assume that Pastor Stellman is providing this statement in the “ministerial context” that he describes in #361, do you agree that this is well within Escondido 2K Doctrine?

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

  396. sean said,

    March 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Come on TUAD your not the boss of me. Quid pro quo Clarice, I mean TUAD. It’s your turn.

  397. Jack Bradley said,

    March 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Just ran across a GREAT sermon on new heaven/new earth, by my friend Nathan Trice (hint: not annihilation, but recreation/restoration):

    http://www.matthewsopc.org/sermons/2012.02.12PM.mp3

  398. Jack Bradley said,

    March 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Oops, should have said: not annihilation/recreation, but, purification/restoration.

  399. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Jack, since you listened to the sermon, does Rev. Trice specifically address Van Drunen and his annihilation theory?

  400. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Undoubtedly there are subtle variations among E2k proponents. The following line from Rev. Keister’s post has had me thinking he could be of service in helping to delineate some lines more clearly:

    I would acknowledge the distinctions that the two kingdoms make without taking them as far as some WSC folks take them.

    Perhaps Rev. Keister, you could share a bullet point or two of what you have in mind in terms of where you would pull up short on how far “some WSC folks take them”? Or perhaps this will unfold in the continuation of the review of Frame’s book?

  401. Jack Bradley said,

    March 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Annihilation, yes. Van Drunen, no.

  402. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Rather amusing.

    Both Zrim and Sean, when given

    o Jed’s carefully thought-out statement in #343 (which Jeff Cagle says was nicely done)

    o Jed’s statement about ministerial motivations: “By this I mean that the motivation for these public statements needs to [be] ministerial, feeding into the overall mission of the church”

    o Letting both Zrim and Sean ascribe God-honoring ministerial motivations to the minister making the public statements

    o And letting the minister be Pastor Jason Stellman who’s a prominent Escondido 2K advocate,

    They both still refuse to answer whether they agree that the following statement is within Escondido 2K doctrine:

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

    A simple, straightforward “Yes, I agree” or “No, I disagree” is all that’s needed.

  403. Zrim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    TUAD, this might be a lesson for you in how to discourse in order to understand someone else. If you think I haven’t answered your question it may be because it’s a poor question. Instead of giving in to the bullying demand of a “yes” or “no” to a poorly crafted question, what I’ve tried to do is help you out and re-formulate it so you can see where I’m coming from and perhaps even be a little more interesting than boorish. I’ve said that the ministerial aspect of your question is unsatisfying because it is unclear to me why believers in orthodox communions would need special clarification on what the orthodox position is on homosexuality and it finding sanction in marriage.

    But it’s a poorly crafted question for the reasons Jed provides in 392 (points that have been given to you here and elsewhere). I understand those reasons bounce off you like water off a duck’s back, but I’d suggest you contemplate them again. I would only add that part of the point of 2k is to allow for disagreement, even profound disagreement, about how best to go about life in the secular realm. So, like I’ve already suggested to your somewhere above or elsewhere, if your question is designed to show disagreement within the 2k ranks and thereby prove that 2k is from the devil’s workshop, keep in mind that the design of 2k is to let believers disagree on matters indifferent even while remaining agreed on those essential. In other words, it doesn’t prove to 2kers what it seems to prove to certain anti-2ks.

    I’d also suggest you see the latest post at Old Life which, in response to this line of discussion, points out the dangers of cataloguing sins. Which raises the question for you: what would be gained by such a statement as the one you’ve adopted from Jed? This is much more interesting to me than playing in your two-dimensional and Fundamentalist sand box.

  404. Jack Bradley said,

    March 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Zrim wrote: “… keep in mind that the design of 2k is to let believers disagree on matters indifferent even while remaining agreed on those essential. In other words, it doesn’t prove to 2kers what it seems to prove to certain anti-2ks.”

    Zrim, I haven’t closely followed your exchanges above, but I think your comment does capture the paradigm/lens issue. The fundamental paradigm for 2kers is that the civil kingdom may, and indeed must, remain rooted in different “soil” than the spiritual kingdom: natural law vs. biblical revelation.

    Those who disagree with this paradigm cannot consider it a matter of indifference, as Frame makes clear:

    Escondido, p. 131ff: “Van Drunen’s basic position is that natural law is God’s law for ‘civil’ matters, and supernatural revelation is his law for ‘spiritual’ matters. This position, in my judgment, is simply wrong. . . I agree that God intends for believers and unbelievers to live and work together on the earth until the final judgment. And since unbelievers have no part in the church or the people of God, the area in which believers and unbelievers work together is distinct from the church. God enables this common effort to take place by his ‘common’ or non-saving grace. But Scripture never calls this common area a realm or kingdom, as Van Drunen’s two kingdom view does.”

    “The existence of a Cainite society, separate from the people of God (Gen. 4:26) was an evil. Van Drunen, by calling this society a ‘realm,’ intends to confer some sort of legitimacy on it. But the development of societies in opposition to God is, according to Scripture, profoundly illegitimate.”

    “It is impossible to define a ‘realm’ that is exclusively religious or nonreligious. . . I readily agree that some ethical knowledge may be innate and some is gained from creation itself (Rom. 1:20). I do not agree that this natural knowledge bears some special relation to a ‘civil kingdom’ that is nonreligious. . . Civil culture and redemption are both under God’s sovereignty, and under the authority of his infallible word.”

  405. TurretinFan said,

    March 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Zrim:

    I’m mystified at your apparent suggestion that ministers should not identify specific sins as sins. I would think that E2k folk might have a real problem saying from the pulpit “the government should/must not …” but I am more than a little surprised by your apparent view that it would be wrong on E2k to say (from the pulpit or otherwise in a ministerial capacity):

    1) “the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexual lust and activity is a sin”
    2) “the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman.”
    3) “gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and carnal knowledge.”
    4) “the session will discipline members who condone fornication” and
    5) “I will not perform ‘gay marriages’ and the session will discipline members who condone gay marriages, just as we would discipline members who condone any other form of fornication.”

    Are any of those statements individually objectionable?

    I really don’t see any Biblical basis for opposing ministers specifically identifying particular sins as sins and threatening discipline to those found unrepentant in those sins. If that’s really a tenet of E2k, I better let Frame know. But I didn’t think it was a tenet of E2k, hence my surprise.

    -TurretinFan

  406. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    TurretinFan: “I am more than a little surprised by your [Zrim's] apparent view that it would be wrong on E2k to say (from the pulpit or otherwise in a ministerial capacity): ….”

    I was a bit surprised also. Hence, I’m very pleased that these extended series of exchanges has prominently brought out this surprising aspect of Escondido 2K doctrine. I hope many people see this.

    Moreover, it’s quite a shame to see Zrim and Sean refuse to answer whether Jed Paschall’s carefully thought-out statement (which Jeff Cagle says was well done) conformed to Escondido 2K doctrine.

  407. dghart said,

    March 13, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Here would be some reasons for a church not to specify sins.

    http://oldlife.org/2012/03/should-we-catalog-sins/

  408. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 14, 2012 at 12:22 am

    TurretinFan:

    1) “the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexual lust and activity is a sin”
    2) “the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman.”

    I really don’t see any Biblical basis for opposing ministers specifically identifying particular sins as sins and threatening discipline to those found unrepentant in those sins.”

    versus

    Darryl Hart: “Here would be some reasons for a church not to specify sins (in his linked blog post).”

    TurretinFan, did you know that a church or pastor specifying or “cataloging” a sin named in Scripture (same-sex behavior) might be an unwise action given the precedent of a 1950 OPC committee decision that membership in the Freemasons should not be listed as a sin?

    TurretinFan, et al, do you think these two situations are analogous, and that there’s wisdom in thinking that these two situations are analogous?

    I wonder whether you will find this analogous comparison by Darryl Hart to be surprising.

  409. Bob S said,

    March 14, 2012 at 12:37 am

    362 Sean, you are becoming clearer.

    383 Grim, “Or are you saying we need to add to God’s law?”

    No, but the church needs to apply it or be found wanting in our day and age. If the ten commandments were sufficient, why the prophets and their pointed application? And not just to Israel as Mathison’s review of Van Drunen points out.

  410. DJG said,

    March 14, 2012 at 2:22 am

    TurretinFan #407

    I’m curious how the session would find out who among their congregants “condone gay marriage” apart from soliciting voting information (since I assume, given the 2K discussion, voting for=condoning).

    I think there is a bit of an important gap between your #s 1-3 and 4-5 (the 2k ministers performing gay marriages excepted, since that is an absurd misrepresentation of a 2k approach). To use an “E2K” theologian’s own example: when talking about the concrete issue of abortion, VanDrunen (in Living in God’s Two Kingdoms) explains the honest discussions two Christians can have (who obviously agree on the sinfulness of taking life and the horror of abortion) when discussing how abortion is handled in the political arena. It becomes a wisdom issue over which sincere Christians can disagree. He hypothetically defends both sides, but since I doubt you need the other half of that conversation, one question he raises is whether or not legalizing abortions would cut down on unsafe practices like “back-alley abortions.” In any case, the takeaway of the discussion is this:
    “…even when a moral issue may be quite clear biblically, individual Christians’ attempts to live consistently with biblical teaching in concrete areas of politics and public policy remain matters of discretion and wisdom for which there is no single Christian approach that the church can impose upon the conscience of believers.” LiG2K, pg. 202

  411. Zrim said,

    March 14, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Tfan, the point isn’t that ministers shouldn’t affirm biblical morality from the pulpit. The point is that there should be good reason to compel it. One good reason is that it naturally arises from the text. Another might be that what is unbiblical is actually pervasive within the communion of saints. From my experience, homosexuality isn’t very pervasive in conservative communions, to say nothing of homosexuality looking for marital sanction. Another reason, which is a poor reason to say the least from my 2k-SOTC perspective, is that the world is raging about it all and ministers want to join in the worldly raging. It’s about the dangers of the doctrines of being worldly relevant, which I find anti-2k seriously lacking in discernment. Here’s the part where Frame et al completely (willfully?) misconstrue the point and spit back something about 2k opposing relevance.

  412. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 8:38 am

    DGH:

    I read your post, but the historical facts don’t support an application here. The question posed in the historical situation was amending the constitution of the church. That’s easily distinguishable from the on-going ministerial role, or even the role of study committees.

    -TurretinFan

  413. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 8:55 am

    DJG:

    “I’m curious how the session would find out who among their congregants “condone gay marriage” apart from soliciting voting information (since I assume, given the 2K discussion, voting for=condoning). ”

    a) Of course, some people’s votes are public record (like those of Congressmen, Senators, and other public officials).

    b) Also, people volunteer a lot of information, both in person and on social networking sites, like facebook.

    c) Condoning it can also involve things like writing blog articles in support of it.

    d) Of course, the question of how the session would find out is really just a question of detection, not a question of principle. The session would (one hopes) discipline a person for hating another person in his heart, if the session were aware of this sin continuing without repentance. However, that information would usually not be available to the session.

    “I think there is a bit of an important gap between your #s 1-3 and 4-5 (the 2k ministers performing gay marriages excepted, since that is an absurd misrepresentation of a 2k approach).”

    Until yesterday, I would have thought that it would be an “absurd misrepresentation” of the E2k position to say that those in that camp would have a problem with any of 1-5. I’m glad at least that it is still ok in E2k for ministers to publicly state that they would refuse to perform a gay marriages, so let me offer a revised version (which still ought not to be controversial):

    5*) “The session will discipline members who condone gay marriages, just as we would discipline members who condone any other form of fornication.”

    As for the example you provided, I find it even more reprehensible (We want murder to be safe, legal, and rare!) than the “gay marriage” example, since murder is more heinous than fornication. I suppose that I could re-write my 1-5 with “abortion” instead of “gay marriage” and it would likewise be viewed as unacceptable to E2K, except that I should be careful not to “absurdly misrepresent” by including an item “I will not perform an abortion,” which the E2k minister could publicly say.

    When you say there is “an important gap,” I’m not sure what you mean. The gap between saying something is sinful and threatening discipline? But isn’t that one of the roles of the church to discipline unrepentant sinners? Surely the E2k camp agrees with that. I’ve even heard one such person argue for a usurpation of the state’s role in punishing sin, on the grounds of church discipline.

    -TurretinFan

  414. sean said,

    March 14, 2012 at 9:13 am

    TFAN says;

    “I’ve even heard one such person argue for a usurpation of the state’s role in punishing sin, on the grounds of church discipline.”

    So, just for clarity’s sake, are you saying that the state has a role in punishing sin, not just crime? And just to avoid a semantical exchange back and forth, all grant that all crime in THIS SCENARIO is sin, if you’ll grant that NOT all sin is crime in same said scenario.

  415. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Zrim:

    “Tfan, the point isn’t that ministers shouldn’t affirm biblical morality from the pulpit.”

    If I understand you, you mean that it is ok for ministers to affirm some biblical morality from the pulpit. But why not other?

    “The point is that there should be good reason to compel it.”

    Surely the culture in which we find ourselves provides a good reason, no?

    “One good reason is that it naturally arises from the text.”

    Agreed.

    “Another might be that what is unbiblical is actually pervasive within the communion of saints.”

    Agreed.

    “From my experience, homosexuality isn’t very pervasive in conservative communions, to say nothing of homosexuality looking for marital sanction.”

    Ok.

    “Another reason, which is a poor reason to say the least from my 2k-SOTC perspective, is that the world is raging about it all and ministers want to join in the worldly raging.”

    How about characterizing it this way: the world is promoting it loudly to the congregation, and the minister wants to counteract that ungodly promotion with a dose of Biblical morality?

    “It’s about the dangers of the doctrines of being worldly relevant, which I find anti-2k seriously lacking in discernment.”

    The danger, if there is any, seems to come from focusing exclusively on such matters. But that’s not what is being proposed.

    “Here’s the part where Frame et al completely (willfully?) misconstrue the point and spit back something about 2k opposing relevance.”

    How would that a misconstruction of your comment: “the dangers of the doctrines of being worldly relevant”? I’m curious what you mean.

    There seems to be something seriously wrong with the idea that it wrong for ministers to talk about something that congregants and members find themselves deluged with on TV, in the marketplace, and on the Internet. Yet that, as a motivation, seems to be what you find objectionable in this instance.

    -TurretinFan

  416. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Sean wrote:

    “So, just for clarity’s sake, are you saying that the state has a role in punishing sin, not just crime?”

    All crimes that are malum in se crimes are sins. Obvious examples of malum in se crimes that exist (in some places in the US today) are prostitution, adultery, larceny, murder, rape, trespassing, burglary, and fraud. The state calling those things “crimes” is the state expressing its moral disapprobation of those behaviors, and expressing its willingness to punish those behaviors.

    The state (in the sense of a government, not in the sense of Arizona or New Mexico) ought not to punish acts that are morally indifferent or righteous, but some states do that. For example, in some states (Singapore is one example that comes to mind) public evangelization is a crime. That is not a just law, because the sanctioned behavior is actually righteous behavior.

    But the justice of criminal law depends on whether or not the behavior sanctioned is sinful, indifferent, or righteous. That’s a different issue from the issue of whether we must abide by the law (which depends on whether we can abide by the law in good conscience).

    On the other hand, just because something is sinful does not mean that the state must make it a crime. There are some sinful bahaviors that must be crimes, but simply because something is sinful is not a sufficient reason for it being criminalized. I would be happy to provide some examples, if you like.

    “And just to avoid a semantical exchange back and forth, all grant that all crime in THIS SCENARIO is sin, if you’ll grant that NOT all sin is crime in same said scenario.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by that, but I hope the above clarifies.

    -TurretinFan

  417. sean said,

    March 14, 2012 at 9:43 am

    TFAN,

    Let me ask it this way; Do you propose that the civil magistrate take upon itself the task of ecclesial oversight to the inclusion of punishing sin that may not be codified as crime within it’s jurisdiction of governance?

  418. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 10:03 am

    No, Sean. I propose that the civil magistrate take upon itself the task of civil oversight to the inclusion of punishing sin, including (if necessary) codifying previously uncodified things as crimes (within its jurisdiction).

    Just because a person commits a crime does not necessarily mean he needs church discipline (for example, if the person has repented of his sin), and just because he needs church discipline does not mean he committed a crime (for example, the church can discipline for sins that are not properly crimes, like unrepentant hatred in the heart).

    What I was complaining about was the that “the state can’t/shouldn’t criminally sanction X, because the church deals with X.”

    - TurretinFan

  419. sean said,

    March 14, 2012 at 10:13 am

    TFAN says;

    “What I was complaining about was the that “the state can’t/shouldn’t criminally sanction X, because the church deals with X.”

    I think I understand you now, although when you use language like “usurping their authority to punish sin” of someone opposing an alleged function of the state, it sounds like you either propose or anticipate or see as appropriate a role for the state in ecclesial matter of disciplining a sin that’s not a crime. That’s all. I’ll understand you to say that you don’t foresee the state in an ecclesial role in that manner.

  420. March 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

    There is no “theonomist”, “christian reconstructionist”, “establishmentarian”, etc… that I am aware of that believes the State should have any hand in ecclesiastical discipline. None.

    Total Separation of Church and State when it comes to the Keys. The State should not be involved in guarding the table and appointing Ministers and the Church should not be involved in civil discipline or appointing Kings.

    A good example of this would be:

    A man robs a bank. He is convicted of the bank robbery. He refuses to admit wrongdoing and is barred from the table by the Elders. He is jailed for 5-10 years for his crime. He then repents and is forgiven. He is then allowed to partake of the Supper, but he is not released from Prison because repentance does not take away one’s responsibility to atone for a crime against the State.

  421. sean said,

    March 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Ben says;

    “There is no “theonomist”, “christian reconstructionist”, “establishmentarian”, etc… that I am aware of that believes the State should have any hand in ecclesiastical discipline. None.”

    Yea, Ben I’ve heard more than a few theonomists, and you’d have to assume the entire CREC at this point with their jettisoning of the WCF post the 1788 revisions, who’d like to go back or at least have the opportunity confessionally to utilize the coercive power of the state for ecclesial purposes. But, I really was just trying to clarify for my own benefit what TFan was saying.

  422. Jed Paschall said,

    March 14, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Tfan,

    Did you get a chance to read my response #360 (Re: NL)? It might’ve been lost in the shuffle.

  423. March 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Sean,

    There are very few, if any,theonomists in the CREC. Jim Jordan jettisoned theonomy back in the late 1980′s and Doug Wilson never has been a theonomist of the Bahnsen-stripe. Likewise for Rich Lusk, Mark Horne, Steven Wedgeworth, and others.

    “Theonomy”, “Christian Reconstructionism”, and “Establishmentarianism” (as taught by the original WCF) are not synonyms.

  424. Zrim said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Tfan, first, not some biblical morality but all biblical morality. I don’t know how you get that only some biblical morality should be preached from what I said.

    Second, you’re missing the point about caution and not letting the world set the church’s agenda. The world is raging about lots of things—why pick out one or two of them? Where do we draw the line? It seems to me you want to pick out a couple that particularly bother you and TUAD. There’s lots of idolatry, blasphemy, and Sabbath breaking. Shall we catalogue those, too? Or do we only catalogue the stuff that finds its way into the current events? And wanting the pulpit address what saturates the culture seems to suggest more cultural saturation on the part of those who want to catalogue sins than distance.

    And the key world is “worldly.” To misconstrue a point about the dangers of worldly relevance as a point about being completely irrelevant is willful misconstrual. Stellman addresses this specifically in response to Frame’s doing just that:

    Now, I hope that most discerning readers can see that what I am attacking is not the attempt to make oneself understood, but rather, the attempt to lessen the cross’s offense toward unbelievers in corporate worship by avoiding any expressions of our faith that would look strange to the world. In other words, what I am saying is that we should not let the enemies of Christ define relevance and expect us to fall in line, but instead we should realize that the message we proclaim is the most relevant message imaginable since it cuts right to the heart of the matter, namely, sin and salvation from it.

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/2012/02/mystify-mystify-me.html

    So, by bringing certain worldly concerns into the best of ministerial contexts the way TUAD is suggesting is to actually distract from the mission of the church. It’s wanting to be relevant on the world’s terms instead of on God’s terms.

  425. Zrim said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

    But, Ben, no chance for repentance for the adulterer, eh? I know, I know, what about murderers? But you have to remember, 2k is more interested in reconciling sinners to God than in creating the Great and Just Society.

  426. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

    “But you have to remember, 2k is more interested in reconciling sinners to God than in creating the Great and Just Society.”

    Matthew 23:23
    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

  427. sean said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Ben,

    I think you and I would have to agree to disagree on the issue. But, I appreciate your want and need to distinguish Bahnsenian theonomy from other stripes. If I were a theonomist I’d be eager to make that distinction as well. I think even the Bahnsenian sort in ultimately pushing for Two table adherence conflates the civil and ecclesial, even if you want to argue it’s a civil authority being directed by an ecclesial authority in the how, why, when and wherefore. But, I long ago gave up the hunt in having a very constructive internet discussion on theonomy. So, my may concern would in fact be those denominations adhering to the WCF who prefer the original to the american revision, all erastian or establishtarianism opportunities aside.

  428. sean said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:46 am

    establishmentarianism. yeesh what a word

  429. March 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    There is nothing really to disagree about concerning the CREC and theonomy.

    Establishmentarianism of the orginial WCF pushed for two-table adherence by the Civil Magistrate.

  430. Zrim said,

    March 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    So, Tfan, is that the proof-text for Liberalism and Applied Christianity?

  431. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Zrim:

    The verse has a lot of facets. One facet is that Jesus is talking to the government of his region. Another facet is the importance of justice and mercy. Perhaps the most relevant (insert sound effect of fingernails on chalkboard) facet is Jesus’ point that partial compliance is not good enough, which seems apropos to your comment.

    -TurretinFan

  432. Zrim said,

    March 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Tfan, so their problem was not only that they personally fell short of doing everything written in the book of the law but that they failed to apply the law to every square inch of social and political life. So on top of giving cover to Protestant liberlaism, the point was to do better or else.

    Not only does that seem like a less-than-Reformed hermeneutic for people (as in Christless), but even if you repair it to be more Christful you have the problem of suggesting that Jesus lived and died to make up for the shortcomings of geo-political nations in addition to those of his people. But geo-political nations were not made in the image and likeness of God, only people are and so the gospel is only for human beings. Maybe theonomy and its variations gives us reason to add another sola to Reformation Christianity, as in Christ justifies his people alone, full stop.

  433. truthunites said,

    March 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Jed, #394: “We also need to remember the variety of 2k being formally taught in Escondido is a relatively new development”

    What would you say are the essential differences that Horton, Hart, Van Drunen, and Stellman are formally teaching that are different from the 2K doctrine that was taught before, and thus it is a “relatively new development” as you put it?

  434. truthunites said,

    March 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Martin Luther says something worth considering:

    “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.

    “Wherever the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point.”

    The world and the devil are at this moment attacking the Bible’s condemnation of same-sex behavior as sin, and consequently, the world and the devil is seeking to normalize gay marriage across the world.

  435. truthunites said,

    March 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    #436 continuing.

    The Escondido 2K men are flinching at this point when they refuse to answer whether they agree that the following statement by Jed Paschall is within Escondido 2K’s doctrine:

    “We, ministers of the Church of ________ assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that homosexuality is a sin. Moreover, we also assert that the Scriptures clearly affirm that marriage is to be shared between a man and a woman. Therefore, we affirm, in line with Biblical teaching that gay marriage is a sinful distortion of the biblical intent for human marriage and sexuality. As such, our congregations will neither condone nor perform gay marriages within our membership or clergy.”

  436. Zrim said,

    March 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    But, T., since 1788 the PCA and OPC have affirmed that the magistrate is not responsible for suppressing blasphemy and idolatry and is in fact bound to protect the names and reputations of all citizens regardless of their religious infidelity. So have the Dutch Reformed since 1910. Some of us may not have signed your five-and-dime litmus test for orthodoxy, but my guess is that you subscribe one form of unity or another that gives civil cover to blasphemers and idolaters. Physician, heal thyself.

  437. dghart said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Tfan, the situation in the OPC and the report on Masonry did also involve the possible amendment of the church’s constitution. It is a parallel situation.

    BTW, given what you wrote about me over at your blog, http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2012/03/darry-hart-on-republication-overture.html is there really anything I could say that would satisfy you? Since the Presbytery that sent the overture includes people who accused WSC profs of Pelagianism, I don’t see how the overture is distinct from that charge. Do you ever distinguish what I write from what you believe (wrongly) to be the error of 2k? In other words, it is fair for you to lump, but not for me.

    This game is rigged. (Go ahead, blog about that.)

  438. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 9:00 am

    “Tfan, the situation in the OPC and the report on Masonry did also involve the possible amendment of the church’s constitution. It is a parallel situation.”

    Also involve? It’s the only one that involves that. That’s why it is not a parallel situation.

    As for what would satisfy me regarding your behavior, obviously the answer is a candid and sincere apology and a turning from the pattern of behavior you are engaged in.

    “Do you ever distinguish what I write from what you believe (wrongly) to be the error of 2k?”

    That’s such a loaded question. Given the context in which you framed it, I’ll simply say that I certainly don’t attribute your attitude to anyone else in your camp, most of whom are quite respectful.

    -TurretinFan

  439. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Jed:

    re: #360, I did read it. I think we are possibly heading towards agreement, but I didn’t want to get too excited before you provided the remainder of your response (you seem to hint that there is more coming).

    -TurretinFan

  440. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Tfan,

    I’m no regular on this blog or any other, so this may be an previously answered question or just a matter of common knowledge. But, with all these allegations of improper behavior and misconduct by officers of varying denominations, do you ever sign your own name to any of your statements or provide open disclosure of who you are or what denomination you maintain membership? It seems like DG Hart, and Mark’s ecclesial membership, much less names are known. Which at least on that score seems fair, their cards are on the table in that regard, as they call each other out. I just was unaware if you had been equally as forthcoming since you have involved yourself in the fray, and wondered aloud if Hart’s session/denomination was aware of how he conducted himself.

  441. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Sean, Frankly it isn’t any of your business. Thanks for your interest. -TurretinFan

  442. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Tfan,

    That’s what I suspected. Thanks for clarifying

  443. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 10:58 am

    My pleasure.

  444. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Q: Does RC Sproul’s statement of “The church has the duty to tell the state what it believes about the issue [of abortion]” conform to Escondido 2K doctrine?

    I don’t know TUAD, if there was actually a monolith of belief duly named ‘Escondido 2k’ that existed apart from the contentions of Frame’s mind, maybe someone could tell you.

    I got a better question for you; do you affirm, agree or otherwise embrace the 1788 revision of the WCF in removing the civil magistrate from it’s oversight and involvement in ecclesial affairs? inquiring minds wanna know. Quid pro quo Clarice, now quieter; quid pro quo, quid pro quo…………………….

  445. March 15, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Even the 1646 WCF did not allow the State to be involved in “Ecclesiasal Affairs”.

    It was not an Erastian document.

  446. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Thank you Ben, I’m familiar with the distinction, and I’m familiar with the way in which Bahnsen wanted to frame the revision. I wonder when Cromwell called on the Scots to repent, if the Scots took note of the erastian/establishment distinction and thought well, maybe he’s got a point.

  447. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Actually, Sean, you should read the 1788 revision. It broadens the tent to include those who took an exception to the original, it doesn’t kick out those who actually subscribed to the original.

  448. Cris Dickason said,

    March 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Tfan @ 428 – Zrim might be good enough to let it slide, but that was sinful – that was both an abuse of Scripture and an abuse of a brother.

    If we were all sitting around a table, chatting over beverages, that might have been ok as a joking remark among friends, assuming it was said with a grin. But to quote a slice of someone’s post, and then level Matt 23:23 against the author is wrong and sin.

    You either see Christ’s condemnation as very slight and of little force, or you presume dominical authority for yourself.

    -=Cris=-
    If I presumed on the moderators’ function, they can rebuke me..

  449. dghart said,

    March 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Ben, the Confession of Faith (1648) allows the magistrate to call and preside over assemblies of the church. How is not not at least a possibility of Erastianism?

  450. dghart said,

    March 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Tfan, of what behavior am I guilty? Being disagreeable? How is that a sin? You could be wrong in your disagreement with me. And it’s not at all apparent that you are generous or kind. Perhaps you’ve heard the one about the log in your own pseudonymous eye?

  451. dghart said,

    March 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Ben, btw, aren’t these powers pretty broad?

    “The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he 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 in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.”

    How is the magistrate going to enforce these things unless he is himself theologically trained? Doesn’t he have to know that the truth of God is? And if the church doesn’t engage in discipline, doesn’t the magistrate have the power to make the church engage in discipline?

  452. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Cris: See #433. You seemed to have leaped to conclusions.
    -TurretinFan

  453. paigebritton said,

    March 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Cris (#451) –
    I can see how TFan’s comment (#428) might be read as harsh and sinful, but I don’t think it MUST be read so…I hear more opinion (right vs.
    wrong emphasis) than ad hominem (“you hypocrite!!”), FWIW.
    pax,
    Paige B.

  454. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    DGH: I explained it pretty clearly in the post to which you linked. – TurretinFan

  455. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    TF #449,

    Yes, it didn’t kick them out. The rest of that, not so much. Still, I find it terribly consistent when 1kers opt out of the revision. I’m not critiicizing them for doing so. They understand how the revision has been received into the relevant denominations, and they decide their theology doesn’t harmonize with those revisions. I disagree with their take on the matter but I respect their willingness to take exception.

  456. Zrim said,

    March 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Cris, thanks, but what I actually find more annoying is Tfan’s inability or refusal to own up to giving cover to Protestant liberalism. I’ll gladly forgo any letter of apology since, first I’m not much for the whiny culture of offense so don’t think he really owes me one (the way he pleads for one from others); and, second even if he did, I would be satisfied if in lieu of that he wrote letters of apology to Protestant liberals on behalf of conservative Reformed for opposing them historically. Clearly, he shares with them the premise that the gospel has direct and obvious bearing on the social and political cares of this world and so it’s unbecoming to fault another for holding the same doctrines of worldly relevance.

  457. Cris Dickason said,

    March 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Paige: I’ll stand corrected. And Zrim: I know you can defend yourself if you must or care too. However…

    Read Matt 23:23 in the context: read Christ’s opening remarks in 23:2-3; then read 23:29-36. That is not company with which I want to be included. This is covenant lordship judgement against covenant breakers. That is what irks me so about the accusation.

    As for the supposed qualification that Jesus speaks to the government of the region. That’s just plain wrong. TF’s exegesis is as poor as his manners. The scribes & Pharisees were not the ruling party or class. Palestine was under the rule of Rome and Roman puppets. This was not a rebuke of civil rulers, but of specific circle of religious authorities.

    I will leave it at that… And hope Paige is correct.

  458. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    TFan,

    Have you read VanDrunen’s Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms? DVD also seems to be a fan of Turretin and his explicit 2K formulations. His discussions starting on page 173 under the banner of “The Two Kingdoms Doctrine in Reformed Orthodoxy” are particularly interesting.

  459. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Sean:

    “Still, I find it terribly consistent when 1kers opt out of the revision.”

    Even Erastians and traditional papists aren’t 1kers. Here’s a key taxonomy for you:

    http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2011/02/varieties-of-two-kingdoms-positions.html

    - TurretinFan

  460. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    “Cris, thanks, but what I actually find more annoying is Tfan’s inability or refusal to own up to giving cover to Protestant liberalism.”

    Considering that I hold to the WCF (the original one), I am not sure how exactly you think I’m “giving cover to Protestant liberalism.”

    It seems like it is really E2k that is actually giving cover to Protestant liberalism, by suggesting that reasonable Christians can disagree over whether the state should criminalize abortion, for example.

    But please tell me how you think I’m giving cover to Protestant liberalism.

  461. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Tell you what Tfan you give up the E2k or ‘Escondido’ designation and I’ll switch from 1k reference to Constantinian

  462. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    DJG:

    Yes, I went through it some time ago trying to find some kind of argument for E2k.

    You will note that in DVD’s book Calvin, the original WCF, Turretin, etc. are “two kingdoms.” The book is interesting, but ultimately doesn’t provide a demonstration of why Calivn, Turretin, the original WCF, the original Belgic Confession, the original 39 articles (etc. etc.) were all wrong on the civil magistrate.

    I have debated people on lots of subjects, but if there were a champion of E2k that would like to debate on the resolution “the original WCF’s teaching on the civil magistrate is contrary to Scripture” (champion taking affirmative) or “the original WCF teaches what Scripture teaches on the civil magistrate” (me taking the affirmative), I would gladly accept.

    But I doubt that there will be any takers (and not just because of my lack of personal charm).

    - TurretinFan

  463. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    “Tell you what Tfan you give up the E2k or ‘Escondido’ designation and I’ll switch from 1k reference to Constantinian”

    I already switched once from “Radical Two Kingdoms” to try to make the proponents of the position happy. It seems accurate and descriptive, unlike “1k,” which is just uninformed.

  464. Reed here said,

    March 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    TFanis, I both have recognized and appreciated your willingness to avoid a term that more or less is used pekoratively, especially when I can tell that you try not to use it that way.

    Would that we couhere’ll adopt similar graciousness in the rest of our discussion in this topic.

  465. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    TFan, #464: “The book is interesting, but ultimately doesn’t provide a demonstration of why Calivn, Turretin, the original WCF, the original Belgic Confession, the original 39 articles (etc. etc.) were all wrong on the civil magistrate.”

    That’s just not true. For example, see his discussion of Calvin from pg. 87 on, beginning with “I suggest that Calvin can be vindicated of inconsistency at many points, though there are certain remaining issues that understandably continue to defy easy harmonization.”

    Also note the subtitle: “A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought.” Which is obviously different from a study of practice which is why with Calvin, for example, VanDrunen is less concerned with the tensions between theory and practice, “but whether at the theoretical, theoretical level there was some inconsistency” (pg. 87).

    Perhaps the book has merited a second glance – especially considering the present context.

  466. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Tfan,

    1k is shorthand, and now with Frame’s unhelpful and dubious Escondido 2k, I seriously question both the charity and helpfulness of E2K and the baggage that moniker now carries. But, I wasn’t alluding to necessarily malicious intent on your part. I find, the strict erastian/establishment distinction not as ‘clean’ or dichotomous in this situation as some would maintain. Your taxonomy not withstanding.

  467. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    “That’s just not true.”

    With respect, it is true.

    “For example, see his discussion of Calvin from pg. 87 on, beginning with “I suggest that Calvin can be vindicated of inconsistency at many points, though there are certain remaining issues that understandably continue to defy easy harmonization.””

    That statement is not an example of a demonstration of why Calivn, Turretin, the original WCF, the original Belgic Confession, the original 39 articles (etc. etc.) were all wrong. In fact, that particular statement is saying that (within a bounded area) Calvin was largely consistent.

    At most, my comment could be misunderstood to make the “all” modify the entire field of thought, instead of the entire field of Reformers. This is my fault for being ambiguous. I meant the “all” to go with the list. In other words DVD disagrees with what the list held in common regarding the duties of the civil magistrate. That includes Calvin’s Institutes in the section on the civil magistrate (parts of it – not all of it).

    What is missing is what I identified. Of course, as I think you are noting, the book is not really about making a case for E2k, per se. It is about a historical survey of a perceived development in thought.

    -TurretinFan

  468. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Sean: Are you comfortable calling Calvin 1k? -TurretinFan

  469. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    TFan, #469,

    I didn’t intend for that quote to address your issue. I was marking the spot that began the several page discussion on Calvin’s thought and practice and how it was, at times, wrong.

    In any case, I don’t actually expect anyone to start marshaling quotes from these professors’ texts – at least not the anti- “E2K” or “R2K” (R stands for Reformed, right?…) folk. A practice that Horton’s initial response to Frame exhorted interested readers to do. Silly Horton.

  470. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Tfan,

    As you know Calvin was a man of his times. No one has argued that the 1788 revision didn’t depart from both the english puritans or the continental reformed. Are you arguing that there were no erastian overtones to Cromwell’s rule or the the very language of the original WCF?

    This argument has become semantical without substance. I’m sorry it doesn’t find location within your taxonomy

  471. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Sean: It seems a little strange that you call me “1k” for holding Calvin’s view, while not being willing to call Calvin “1k.” -TurretinFan

  472. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Hey Tfan don’t worry about it. If you share either the english puritan’s or the continental reformed’s predilection for letting the civil magistrate adjudicate heresy, call synods and insure doctrinal fidelity, I’ll be happy to group you together, with the caveat that with Calvin, I have a better idea where he was headed, and am much more sympathetic that he struggled under the handicap of not being able to fully anticipate and elucidate beyond his own circumstances

  473. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    DJG:

    I’m not sure what else to tell you. If you read those pages, you just see a few areas where DVD thinks Calvin was possibly (DVD is frequently tentative) inconsistent, several of which have to do with how Geneva was run, not the position Calvin advocates in his Institutes.

    Even DVD’s argument that Calvin is (possibly) inconsistent is not equivalent to an argument that Calvin was wrong on those points with which DVD differs from him.

    But since you seem to think that DVD does demonstrate that Calvin was wrong, perhaps you can identify the first of DVD’s arguments aimed at showing that the part of Calvin’s teachings in the Institutes, with which DVD disagrees, are contrary to Scripture, reason, or otherwise wrong.

    I confess that it is possible that reading what DvD wrote with such pro-Calvin eyes as I have, I may have overlooked something.

    -TurretinFan

  474. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    It’s so generous of you, Sean, to view Calvin as handicapped. I hope you’ll grant me the same privilege.

    -TurretinFan

  475. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Tfan,

    Not likely. Calvin was my better by a long degree, it’s a privilege to stand on his shoulders.

  476. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    It looks more like you’ve climbed up into his lap in order to slap him in the face: “he struggled under the handicap … .”

  477. Zrim said,

    March 15, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Tfan, Protestant liberals subscribed WCF, too, so I’m not sure how you think that circumvents anything. So did Finney, but that hardly makes Reformed revivalists innocent of revivalism. Innocence by association is no better a tactic to exempt than guilt by association condemns.

    But you give cover because you affirm that Christianity must be socially and politically relevant to worldly concerns. That’s precisely what liberalism is. Your problem is that the liberals just applied it in another direction than you would. For you, social gospel is bad only when it’s a progressive and not a rightist one. Do you really think it’s impossible for a Protestant progressives to oppose legalized abortion? They did so by the same methodology they were abolitionists.

  478. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Listen Tfan, this is devolving quickly. Apart from you actually arguing for medieval constructions of the state and church and even if you are, I assume we both owe much of our religious confidence to Calvin and the reformers. I don’t share the limitations of your taxonomy, and I’ll abide my shorthand even if you won’t. If you anticipate and desire a Cromwellian order, I don’t share your convictions or aspirations. I embrace and consider mature the reflections of the 1788 revision of the WCF and how they are received in the American circumstance. If there’s more to this discussion than this, let me know.

  479. March 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    It is disingenuous and historically untrue to say Calvin and the Westminster Divines wanted to and advocated a “medieval construction of state and church”.

    WCF 23 was written precisely against the Papist and Anglican ideas of the relationship between Church and State.

    It would be wise to check into the arguments of Rutherford, Gillespie, etc. before making a statement like that.

  480. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    “But you give cover because you affirm that Christianity must be socially and politically relevant to worldly concerns. That’s precisely what liberalism is.”

    Actually, I think you’ll find that “liberalism” is suggesting that Christianity must change or adapt to become socially or politically relevant. That’s quite different from saying that the once-for-all delivered faith speaks to the issues in the land of our pilgrimage.

    -TurretinFan

  481. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    sean: yes, it has devolved to the point that it isn’t edifying either of us or the readers.

    As I mentioned at #464, I have an open challenge to people who think that the WCF 1646 was wrong on the civil magistrate, regardless of their label. So, I am willing to defend what the WCF, 39 Articles, and Belgic Confession jointly taught about the civil magistrate. Is there any champion from the opposing camp?

    -TurretinFan

  482. sean said,

    March 15, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Ben said;

    “WCF 23 was written precisely against the Papist and Anglican ideas of the relationship between Church and State.

    It would be wise to check into the arguments of Rutherford, Gillespie, etc. before making a statement like that.”

    Read em. Still lacked the maturity of the american situation. They still didn’t anticipate the developments in the New World. And though they certainly weren’t going to abide a papacy or bishopric, they still didn’t anticipate the type of dichotomy between church and state as occured in the colonies. They weren’t lesser men for the lack of foresight, they were just men of their times. It’s a combox on a blog, it’s assumed that arguments can’t incorporate every opportunity, or do justice to every nuance, to read and respond as if that were the case is to either be uncharitable or not understand the limitations of the medium.

  483. jeff2552 said,

    March 15, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Tfan, Protestant liberals subscribed WCF, too, so I’m not sure how you think that circumvents anything. So did Finney …

    Wait, what?

  484. David R. said,

    March 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Tfan,

    Reading through your taxonomy of two kingdom positions that TUAD linked to above, you state that the “American Reformed” position was motivated largely by the desire to provide for “religious freedom” as “a fundamental human right.” You contrast this view with the “Escondido” position, which you say “appears to reflect an idea that there should be a radical separation of church and state, and consequently is sometimes referred to as ‘r2k,’”

    But when I read a 19th century American advocate for the doctrine of the spirituality of the church, such as Stuart Robinson, I find that he appears to align much more closely with your “Escondido” view than with your “American Reformed” view. For example, he says:

    Touching the distinction between the power ecclesiastical and the civil power,—which latter is ordained by God also,—the points of contrast are so numerous and so fundamental that nothing but the confusion of mind arising from the oppression of Caesar, and Antichrist backed by the power of Caesar, could ever have caused the obscurity and inconsistency of the Church’s testimony in modern times. For they have nothing in common except that both powers are of divine authority, both concern the race of mankind, and both were instituted for the glory of God as a final end. In respect to all else—their origin, nature and immediate end, and in their mode of exercising the power,—they differ fundamentally.

    He then goes on to list some of these fundamental diferences, for example:

    1. In that the civil power derives its authority from God as the Author of nature, whilst the power ecclesiastical comes alone from Jesus as Mediator.

    2. In that the rule for the guidance of the civil power in its exercise is the light of nature and reason, the law which the Author of nature reveals through reason to man; but the rule for the guidance of ecclesiastical power in its exercise is that light which, as Prophet of the Church, Jesus Christ has revealed in his word. It is a government under statute laws already enacted by the King.

    He also says:

    The things pertaining to the kingdom of Christ are things concerning which Caesar can have rightfully no cognizance, except indirectly and incidentally as these things palpably affect the temporal and civil concerns of men; and even then Caesar cannot be too jealously watched by the Church. The things pertaining to the kingdom of Caesar are matters of which the Church of Christ as an organic government can have no cognizance, except incidentally and remotely as affecting the spiritual interests of men; and even then the Church cannot watch herself too jealously.

    What do you think?

  485. March 15, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Call me crazy but am not sure what the “American situation” has to do with the arguments of the original WCF 23 and Gillespie/Rutherford. Besides if you have read them you would already know their disdain for the medieval Church/State dynamic.

    While there is a lot of mythology built up around the Founding Fathers and the State/Church dynamic in the U.S. Constitution it doesn’t change the fact the colonies/states had Established churches well into the 1820′s. So regardless of what Gillespie/Rutherford did not anticipate regarding the American Republic the writers of the 1st Amendment obviously did not see it as interfering with the State’s individual right to Establish a particular denominational identity within it’s bounds.

  486. sean said,

    March 16, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Ben,

    As I said before, while scots such as Rutherford and Gillespie were eager to oppose papistry and bishopric, and laid a lot of the foundations for later 2k development, even someone like VanDrunen in citing Coffey has to give ground to the idea in someone like Rutherford that his “advocacy of national covenanting and it’s consequences ultimately triumphs over his natural law constitutionalism.”

    This is VanDrunen’s take on it; ‘The reformed orthodox writers lived in vastly different social circumstances from that of the contemporary Western world. The MEDIEVAL Christendom assumptions about a unified Christian society lived on into the seventeenth century…………………………….” page 193. This is cited in particular reference to the English Reformation and this from an author who’d rather not cede this particular ground.

  487. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 2:16 am

    David R.:

    Yes, well the 19th century does lie between the 18th and the 20th, doesn’t it? What do I think about Stuart Robinson? I admit I have read only a limited smattering of his works, including one charming piece on why the South has no moral duty to abolish slavery. Based on that limited reading, and without having read him in depth, it certainly sounds like he’s the best candidate that folks like Hart have found to date as a sort of proto-E2ker. Ultimately, he doesn’t have the Vos-Kline undergirdings, I’m sure, but many of his comments would be acceptable to E2k (though, I assume, not his pro-slavery stuff, I hasten to add, lest people think I’m saying you have to be pro-slavery to be E2k, which I’m not saying).

    -TurretinFan

  488. dghart said,

    March 16, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Tfan, actually, your post was not at all clear. If you can tell Sean that your interactions with me are none of his business, how are my interactions with MarK VDM any business worthy of your blog?

  489. Zrim said,

    March 16, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Tfan, no that’s a distinction without a difference. Making Christianity ethically relevant in any degree flows from the Kantian wake. But if “the once-for-all delivered faith speaks to the issues in the land of our pilgrimage” then you have the problem of sorting out whether Sojourners and the Red Letter Christians or the Moral Majority and American Vision are bringing the faith to bear on the issues in the land of our pilgrimage. And since they have virtually contradictory ways of doing so, wouldn’t it be better to say that Christianity is solely about reconciling God to sinners by grace alone, through faith alone because of Christ alone? Or was the Protestant Reformation just not relevant enough?

  490. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 16, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Tfan, given the mention of the “spirituality of the church” doctrine, you might find the following lectures by Dr. Brian Mattson of assistance, paying particular attention to Lectures 7, 8, & 9. Mattson finds Van Drunen’s extended praise of Thornwell “obscene”:

    http://www.drbrianmattson.com/on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven/

    Also, our church hosted a series of lectures by Prof. Alan Strange {OPC minister} last fall. The Q&A Session following Lecture 4 has some interesting commentary on the “spirituality of the church” and Van Drunen, et. al.’s “NL2k” :

    http://immanuelurc.net/tp40/Application.asp?app=Resource&ID=145906

  491. dghart said,

    March 16, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Mark, are you protecting the good name of Dr. Mattson by publicizing his apparently slanderous remarks about a minister of the gospel? Last checked, obscene was not a good thing.

  492. David R. said,

    March 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Tfan,

    Sorry, I wasn’t asking what you think of Stuart Robinson. I was questioning the accuracy of your taxonomy in light of a piece of evidence. Does Robinson fit your category for “American Reformed” or “Escondido”? And if the latter, then isn’t that category misnamed?

  493. dghart said,

    March 16, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Mark, just to clarify about pastor Strange’s remarks, are you referring to where he calls the advocates of NL2K “dear brothers” in Christ?

  494. dghart said,

    March 16, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Mark, do you also mean the part where pastor Strange affirms the law-gospel distinction, and also the part where he says that we need to stop sniping at each other and recognize that all sides including NL2K bring legitimate points to the debate and are not outside the bounds of Reformed orthodoxy? Is that the section you mean? Well, is it?

  495. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

    David R.:

    He doesn’t really fit in either category (as I tried to get at above, particularly since he doesn’t have the Vos-Kline foundation), but from what I’ve seen, many of his statements are eerily similar to E2k.

    -TurretinFan

  496. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Dr. Hart is filling the “irony” bucket this morning quite well.

    The fact Dr. Hart all of a sudden is concerned about not slandering the good name of a gospel minister is too much to take. I have not visited your site in a good long time, but I assume you are still mocking the Bayly Bros on a fairly constant basis?

  497. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 9:41 am

    DGH:

    “Tfan, actually, your post was not at all clear.”

    It seems plenty clear to me.

    “If you can tell Sean that your interactions with me are none of his business …”

    You are mischaracterizing what I said. Except for a few emails, my interactions with you are public interactions.

    “… how are my interactions with MarK VDM any business worthy of your blog?”

    Do you really want my opinion on that? If so, feel free to leave a comment on my blog post.

    -TurretinFan

  498. David R. said,

    March 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Tfan,

    I don’t see any references to Vos or Kline in your taxonomy.

  499. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

    David R.:

    Agreed. Perhaps I should add some explanation along those lines.

    -TurretinFan

  500. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    One of the difficult things is assessing the “spirituality of the church” arguments of Robinson, as well Dabney and Thornwell.

    For the fact is, SOTC was awfully convenient for men who lived in the South and had incentive to argue that the Northern abolitionists were all wet. This doesn’t make their arguments *wrong*, but it does alert us to the fact that even good doctrines can be co-opted for sinful purposes.

    For that reason, I prefer to learn about the spirituality of the church from Hodge rather than Thornwell. I’m more confident that he sees the matter more clearly.

  501. dghart said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Ben, there is a difference between mocking someone and their argument and questioning their standing in the church. Since you are devotee of Calvin’s Geneva, you may remember that he could dish out the mocking pretty well.

    Still, whatever you make of the mocking, you are not being honest about 2k when you keep holding 2kers to confessional standards that the Reformed churches have repudiated. You harp on how 2k has departed from Calvin. So have the Covenanters. As a matter of honesty, it would be good of you to give the full picture.

    See? And I didn’t even call into question your standing as a minister or your praise for my and Muether’s book on worship.

  502. dghart said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Tfan, bring it. Why is my interaction with Mark Van Der Molen worthy of your condemnation at your blog? It sure looks like pay back for our earlier scuffle here but it is entirely unrelated.

  503. dghart said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Jeff, and let’s complete the picture and remember that many abolitionists either favored colonization of Africans or simply stood back and watched Jim Crow unfold without any care for the freed slaves. North and South were both implicated in slavery and race relations. That’s why Lincoln thought the war was pay back from God.

  504. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    DGH: See #499.

  505. dghart said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Tfan, I saw it. Nothing that you have said about this makes sense still.

  506. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    DGH (#505): Agreed.

  507. David R. said,

    March 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Tfan,

    “Agreed. Perhaps I should add some explanation along those lines.”

    I’ll look forward that, but I wonder how it will solve the problem of where Robinson fits.

  508. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Talk about a hit piece….

    Lane, why don’t you contact Dr. Frame and ask him to respond to your comments?

  509. truthunites said,

    March 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Ron Martin: “Talk about a hit piece….

    Lane, why don’t you contact Dr. Frame and ask him to respond to your comments?

    Lane wrote a “hit piece”? But Lane is saying that Dr. Frame wrote a “hit piece.”

  510. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Right, the irony…..

  511. jedpaschall said,

    March 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Ron,

    Anyone close to WSCAL, including the Prof’s at WSCAL considers Frame’s work to be a hit piece. While the issue may be debatable, and probably depends on which side of the argument you land on, the fact remains that anyone who is even remotely sympathetic to WSCAL has taken offense to Frame’s work as being a gross misconstrual of what is actually taught and believed. For reference check out WSCAL’s official statement on the matter. Could it be ironic to you simply because you are shilling for Frame?

  512. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    No, it’s ironic to me that Frame is being rebuked for doing the same thing Lane is doing here. I guess what justifies this is that Frame did it first?

    Listen, if Frame is wrong….show how he is wrong. Let RS Clark show us how he is not a Reformed chauvinist by admiting that Baptist churches are legitimate churches of Christ. Let Michael Horton explain to what extent the gospel is subjective to the believer. Refute Frame with more than hand waving.

  513. Reed here said,

    March 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Ron, TUAD, critiquing Frame’s book is not itself a hit piece. What makes something a hit piece is when the author grossly misconstrues the one he is critiquing.

    Lane is writing a criticism of what Frame has written. By allowing you to post here he invited you to criticize his criticism, including, where you may think appropriate, documenting how he grossly misconstrues Frame.

    Feel free to do so. Refrain, however, from making undefended criticisms. That is at best blather, and decidedly rude.

  514. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Dr Frame is not the only person who construes the works of WSC faculty in this way. So, perhaps they just haven’t communicated what they really meant very well. Maybe then they should take some time to clarify. I assume a man with the intelligence and theological acumen Dr. Frame possesses has mastered the art of reading comprehension.

    My main problem here is that his criticisms are being chalked up to some personal sin on his part, and they have little to no bearing on the substantive claims in question.

  515. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    critiquing Frame’s book is not itself a hit piece. What makes something a hit piece is when the author grossly misconstrues the one he is critiquing.

    Lane is writing a criticism of what Frame has written.

    Reed, could not one substitute some names in your sentence to make it read:

    “critiquing Horton/Clark/VanDrunen’s books is not itself a hit piece. What makes it a hit piece is when the author grossly misconstrues the one he is critiquing. Frame is writing a criticism of what Horton/Clark/Van Drunen has written.”

  516. Reed here said,

    March 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Mark: feel free to demonstrate that Frame’s book is NOT a hit piece. Don’t ride on my back though. I don’t give piggy backs to someone with your demonstrated abilities. :)

  517. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    http://www.triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/03/toadyism.html

    Give the above post a read. Timely

  518. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Reed,

    It’s not any more of a hit piece than any other work of criticism. Show me how it’s a hit piece–this is exactly what you and others refuse to do by not answering Frame’s critique

  519. Reed here said,

    March 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    No Ron, it is not what I refuse to do. I am not the author of this post or this series of posts. I’m just a moderator.

    Again, feel free to make an argument. Please refrain from argumentativeness withou argumentation.

    See here for the first of Lane’ content-critique post

  520. Ron said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:01 am

    It is not gracious, irenic, fair, or collegial, unless you already agree with his conclusions….

    Hi Lane,

    Maybe that might need some reworking? I don’t think whether one is being gracious is predicated upon agreement, let alone correctness. On occasion we might even find people being ungracious when we agree with them.

    I think we all have noticed from time to time that people find others ungracious when there is disagreement yet find those same people gracious when in agreement. The most notable example from my personal experience has to do with a certain well known dispensationalist minister whom many Arminian Baptists love to hear speak against Charismatics and the Roman communion yet when it comes to his defense of Predestination they easily find him arrogant. That always amuses me. (I happen to find this minister consistent across the board and have no complaints with his approach. I only wish we could agree more.) Now given that JF is widely known as a gracious saint, I have to at least pause to wonder whether what has been found so contrary to his fine reputation is due to something else. To bring this full circle, can’t one just as easily say, “It is gracious, irenic, fair, or collegial, unless you already disagree with his conclusions”? :)


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