Chapter 1 Part One: The Law-Gospel Distinction

In the first chapter, Frame attempts to describe what the Escondido Theology is. This chapter is certainly a bit closer to the mark than the bullet points in the Preface. However, as we will see, some of the same caricatures are present.

He argues that WSC does not teach a mere generic Calvinism: “Rather, in addition to standard Calvinism, it teaches an innovative set of doctrines upon which the Reformed tradition has never agreed” (p. 1). A couple of thoughts are in order here. How can this “set of doctrines” be innovative if the Reformed tradition has never agreed upon it? If the Reformed tradition has never agreed upon it, that means that the doctrines in question have been around for at least a while.

The first doctrine he talks about is the law-gospel distinction. This is hardly innovative. And, as these posts (part 1, part 2, part 3) show, it is hardly only Lutheran. The Reformed tradition had more than a sliver of it believing in the law-gospel distinction as a hermeneutical tool.

Frame writes, “The Escondido theologians are offended by the degree to which present day churches neglect justification and focus on other things” (p. 1). I am not sure what Frame means to imply by this sentence. Is he implying that WSC theologians are personally offended by this? Is this intended to be a negative judgment?

Frame goes on to say, “They are also motivated by a desire to oppose what they regard as theological corruptions of the Reformation doctrine, particularly the views of N.T. Wright, Norman Shepherd, and the movement called Federal Vision.” I would be a whole lot more comfortable with this sentence had Frame struck out the words “what they regard as.” These distancing words would seem to imply that Frame does not regard Wright, Shepherd, and the FV to be corruptions of the Reformation doctrine. Also, I would think a more charitable way of phrasing this motivation would be that the WSC theologians are motivated by a desire to defend the truth (are they really motivated by opposition, or are they motivated by the truth?).

Frame, of course, rejects the law-gospel distinction himself. He rejects it in his Doctrine of the Christian Life, and he rejects it here. This paragraph is worth quoting in full, as it contains his arguments against the law-gospel distinction:


It certainly makes sense to say that we must not confuse God’s demands with his promises. Nevertheless, the kind of sharp distinction Luther proposed is not biblical. For one thing, biblical proclamations of gospel include commands, particularly commands to repent and believe (Mark 1:15, Acts 2:28). And God gave his law to Israel in a context of gospel: he had delivered them out of Egypt, and because of this gracious act they should keep his law (Exo. 20:2-17). The law is a gift of God’s grace (Psa. 119:29). Evidently the relation between law and gospel is more complicated than Luther thought (p. 2).

First of all, the commands to believe are usually called evangelical obedience, rather than law-obedience (Thomas Boston would go this direction, for instance). Secondly, if one reads John Colquhoun’s treatise, one realizes that a passage can be law, or gospel, or both. Thirdly, in the Ten Commandments, it is freely acknowledged by law-gospel advocates that the Ten Commandments come in a context of grace. I’m not sure why that would be an impediment to the law-gospel distinction. WSC folks would probably respond by saying that the preface to the Ten Commandments is gospel, and the law is law. Fourthly, as to Psalm 119:29, of course the law is a gift of grace. That does not turn the law into gospel. For the pedagogical use of the law (which use is itself gracious!) drives us to Christ. God gave us the law for several reasons, one of which is to drive us to Christ. It is certainly grace to drive us to Christ. But that is different from saying that the law is itself gospel. Evidently, the relation between law and gospel in the theology of the law-gospel advocates is more complicated than Frame thinks it is.

Frame notes what he thinks are two failures of the WSC theologians: 1. They fail to notice the problems with the law-gospel distinction. 2. They “fail to understand that the law is not only a terrifying set of commands to drive us to Christ, but is also the gentle voice of the Lord, showing his people that the best blessings of this life come from following his will” (p. 2). WSC theologians fail to notice the problems that Frame points out because they are not problems for the law-gospel distinction. Advocates have noted these objections before and answered them. As to the second point, Frame seems to be accusing the WSC theologians of denying the third use of the law. Whether this is an accurate assessment of Frame’s charge here or not, Frame is off the mark. WSC theologians do not deny the third use of the law any more than Lutherans do (there is an entire section in the Augsburg Confession devoted to the third use of the law). Let us be clear on what we do mean and what we do not mean by the law-gospel distinction. The law is opposed to the gospel only in the matter of justification. But think of it as a “good cop-bad cop” situation. The “bad cop” is the law, which makes threats such that the prisoner hears the “good cop” of the gospel and knows that grace is necessary. However, after the prisoner has been freed from the law of sin and death, his relationship to the law changes completely, and the law is now his friend, being a wise guide to the Christian life. Now, the pedagogical use of the law still exists for the Christian, but not in any sort of conflict with the third use of the law. I can’t imagine any WSC theologian having a problem with what I have just written. And it answers all the points raised by Frame on the Law-Gospel distinction. We’ll be spending a bit of time on this chapter, and less time on the succeeding chapters.

434 Comments

  1. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 8, 2012 at 11:58 am

    He argues that WSC does not teach a mere generic Calvinism: “Rather, in addition to standard Calvinism, it teaches an innovative set of doctrines upon which the Reformed tradition has never agreed” (p. 1). A couple of thoughts are in order here. How can this “set of doctrines” be innovative if the Reformed tradition has never agreed upon it? If the Reformed tradition has never agreed upon it, that means that the doctrines in question have been around for at least a while.

    In overall context of the book, it is reasonable to conclude that Frame’s use of the word “innovative” does not mean “brand new” or “never heard of before”. Rather, he sees a set of doctrines being taught that in his view are innovatively being passed off as “Reformed”, when the the Reformed have never agreed upon such doctrines as part of the Reformed mainstream.

  2. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    For the sake of having it clearly in one place, what is the “Law/Gospel distinction” as you see it?

  3. greenbaggins said,

    March 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Mark, you could be right about Frame’s meaning. That doesn’t let him off the hook, in my opinion, since the law-gospel distinction, at least, is quite definitely part of our Reformed tradition (as the three linked posts prove). It is simply false that the law-gospel distintion is only Lutheran. I would argue that Ursinus’ belief in it means that it is not only Reformed, but mainstream.

    Jeff, the law-gospel distinction is simple: some Bible passages are law (what God requires), and some are gospel (what God does in saving us). And some passages are both. It is important to ask the question about the text, so that we know how it functions, and how to preach it.

  4. March 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    John Calvin. But they observe not that in the antithesis between Legal and Gospel righteousness, which Paul elsewhere introduces, all kinds of works, with whatever name adorned, are excluded, (Galatians 3:11, 12. For he says that the righteousness of the Law consists in obtaining salvation by doing what the Law requires, but that the righteousness of faith consists in believing that Christ died and rose again, (Romans 10:5-9.) Moreover, we shall afterwards see, at the proper place, that the blessings of sanctification and justification, which we derive from Christ, are different. Hence it follows, that not even spiritual works are taken into account when the power of justifying is ascribed to faith (Institutes, 3.11.14).

    John Calvin. Do you see how he makes this the distinction between law and gospel: that the former attributes righteousness to works, the latter bestows free righteousness apart from the help of works? This is an important passage, and one that can extricate us from many difficulties if we understand that that righteousness which is given us through the gospel has been freed of all conditions of the law. (Calvin commenting on Romans 10:9) (Institutes, 3.11.17)

    Zacharias Ursinus (1534-83). Q.36 What distinguishes law and gospel? A: The law contains a covenant of nature begun by God with men in creation, that is, it is a natural sign to men, and it requires of us perfect obedience toward God. It promises eternal life to those keeping it, and threatens eternal punishment to those not keeping it. In fact, the gospel contains a covenant of grace, that is, one known not at all under nature. This covenant declares to us fulfillment of its righteousness in Christ, which the law requires, and our restoration through Christ’s Spirit. To those who believe in him, it freely promises eternal life for Christ’s sake (Larger Catechism, Q. 36).

    Zacharias Ursinus. In What Does The Law Differ From The Gospel? The exposition of this question is necessary for a variety of considerations, and especially that we may have a proper understanding of the law and the gospel, to which a knowledge of that in which they differ greatly contributes. According to the definition of the law, which says, that it promises rewards to those who render perfect obedience; and that it promises them freely, inasmuch as no obedience can be meritorious in the sight of God, it would seem that it does not differ from the gospel, which also promises eternal life freely. Yet notwithstanding this seeming agreement, there is a great difference between the law and the gospel. They differ, 1. As to the mode of revelation peculiar to each. The law is known naturally: the gospel was divinely revealed after the fall of man. 2. In matter or doctrine. The law declares the justice of God separately considered: the gospel declares it in connection with his mercy. The law teaches what we ought to be in order that we may be saved: the gospel teaches in addition to this, how we may become such as this law requires, viz: by faith in Christ. 3. In their conditions or promises. The law promises eternal life and all good things upon the condition of our own and perfect righteousness, and of obedience in us: the gospel promises the same blessings upon the condition that we exercise faith in Christ, by which we embrace the obedience which another, even Christ, has performed in our behalf; or the gospel teaches that we are justified freely by faith in Christ. With this faith is also connected, as by an indissoluble bond, the condition of new obedience. 4. In their effects. The law works wrath, and is the ministration of death: the gospel is the ministration of life and of the Spirit (Rom. 4:15, 2 Cor. 3:7) (Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Q. 92).

    Caspar Olevian (1536-87). For this reason the distinction between law and Gospel is retained. The law does not promise freely, but under the condition that you keep it completely. And if someone should transgress it once, the law or legal covenant does not have the promise of the remission of sins. On the other hand, the Gospel promises freely the remission of sins and life, not if we keep the law, but for the sake of the Son of God, through faith (Ad Romanos Notae, 148; Geneva, 1579).

    Theodore Beza (1534-1605). We divide this Word into two principal parts or kinds: the one is called the ‘Law,’ the other the ‘Gospel.’ For all the rest can be gathered under the one or other of these two headings…Ignorance of this distinction between Law and Gospel is one of the principal sources of the abuses which corrupted and still corrupt Christianity (The Christian Faith, 1558)

    William Perkins 1558-1602). The basic principle in application is to know whether the passage is a statement of the law or of the gospel. For when the Word is preached, the law and the gospel operate differently. The law exposes the disease of sin, and as a side-effect, stimulates and stirs it up. But it provides no remedy for it. However the gospel not only teaches us what is to be done, it also has the power of the Holy Spirit joined to it….A statement of the law indicates the need for a perfect inherent righteousness, of eternal life given through the works of the law, of the sins which are contrary to the law and of the curse that is due them…. By contrast, a statement of the gospel speaks of Christ and his benefits, and of faith being fruitful in good works (The Art of Prophesying, 1592, repr. Banner of Truth Trust,1996, 54-55).

    Edward Fisher (c.1601-1655). Now, the law is a doctrine partly known by nature, teaching us that there is a God, and what God is, and what he requires us to do, binding all reasonable creatures to perfect obedience, both internal and external, promising the favour of God, and everlasting life to all those who yield perfect obedience thereunto, and denouncing the curse of God and everlasting damnation to all those who are not perfectly correspondent thereunto. But the gospel is a doctrine revealed from heaven by the Son of God, presently after the fall of mankind into sin and death, and afterwards manifested more clearly and fully to the patriarchs and prophets, to the evangelists and apostles, and by them spread abroad to others; wherein freedom from sin, from the curse of the law, the wrath of God, death, and hell, is freely promised for Christ’s sake unto all who truly believe on his name (The Marrow of Modern Divinity; 1645, repr. 1978, 337-38. NB: The author of the Marrow was designated only as E.F. Therefore some scholars doubt whether Edward Fisher was actually the author).

    William Twisse (1578-1646). How many ways does the Word of God teach us to come to the Kingdom of heaven? Two. Which are they? The Law and the Gospel. What says the Law? Do this and live. What says the Gospel? Believe in Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Can we come to the Kingdom of God by the way of God’s Law? No.Why so? Because we cannot do it. Why can we not do it? Because we are all born in sin. What is it to be none in sin? To be naturally prone to evil and …that that which is good. How did it come to pass that we are all borne in sin? By reason of our first father Adam. Which way then do you hope to come tot he Kingdom of Heaven? By the Gospel? What is the Gospel? The glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ. To whom is the glad tidings brought: to the righteousness? No. Why so? For two reasons. What is the first? Because there is none that is righteous and sin not. What is the other reason? Because if we were righteous, i.e., without sin we should have no need of Christ Jesus. To whom then is this glad tiding brought? To sinners. What, to all sinners? To whom then? To such as believe and repent. This is the first lesson, to know the right way to the Kingdom of Heaven.: and this consists in knowing the difference between the Law and the Gospel. What does the Law require? That we should be without sin. What does the Gospel require? That we should confess our sins, amend our lives, and then through faith in Christ we shall be saved. The Law requires what? Perfect obedience. The Gospel what? Faith and true repentance. (A Brief Catechetical Exposition of Christian Doctrine, 1633).

    J.C. Ryle (1816-1900). To be unable to see any difference between law and gospel, truth an error, Protestantism and Popery, the doctrine of Christ and the doctrine of man, is a sure proof that we are yet dead in heart, and need conversion. (Expository Thoughts on John, 2:198-199).

    J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937). A new and more powerful proclamation of law is perhaps the most pressing need of the hour; men would have little difficulty with the gospel if they had only learned the lesson of the law. As it is, they are turning aside from the Christian pathway; they are turning to the village of Morality, and to the house of Mr. Legality, who is reported to be very skillful in relieving men of their burdens… ‘Making Christ Master’ in the life, putting into practice ‘the principles of Christ’ by one’s own efforts-these are merely new ways of earning salvation by one’s obedience to God’s commands (What Is Faith?, 1925).

    Louis Berkhof (1873-1957). The Churches of the Reformation from the very beginning distinguished between the law and the gospel as the two parts of the Word of God as a means of grace. This distinction was not understood to be identical with that between the Old and the New Testament, but was regarded as a distinction that applies to both Testaments. There is law and gospel in the Old Testament, and there is law and gospel in the New. The law comprises everything in Scripture which is a revelation of God’s will in the form of command or prohibition, while the gospel embraces everything, whether it be in the Old Testament or in the New, that pertains to the work of reconciliation and that proclaims the seeking and redeeming love o God in Christ Jesus (Systematic Theology, [Grand Rapids, 4th edn. 1941], 612).

    John Murray (1898-1975) …the purity and integrity of the gospel stands or falls with the absoluteness of the antithesis between the function and potency of law, one the one hand, and the function and potency of grace, on the other (Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957], 186).

  5. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 8, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I don’t read Frame as arguing against the “law-gospel” distinction per se, or that it is not found in Reformed theology. Rather, he finds a “sharp” separation or dichotomy of these two as hermeneutical principles for every text as the problem. I believe that is what he is arguing is more akin to Lutheranism than Reformed. As you note, some texts are both law and gospel, or command and promise or some texts might not fit into either category quite so neatly.

  6. March 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    See Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry for a full discussion of this topic.

  7. Timothy said,

    March 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Herman Witsius: “FINALLY it is required in what manner and order the preaching of the law accompany that of the gospel To the determination of which question we must know what is understood by the law and what by the gospel. The law here that part of the Divine word which in precepts and prohibitions with the promise of conferring a reward upon them obey and a threatening of punishment to disobedient. The gospel signifies the doctrine of grace and of the fullest salvation Christ Jesus to be received of elect by faith. Therefore every prescription and duties all exhortations and dissuasions all reproofs and threatenings also the promises of a reward in recompence perfect obedience belong to the law to the gospel appertains whatever can a sinner the hope of salvation namely doctrine concerning the person offices and benefits of Jesus Christ and all promises wherein is included the pardon sins and the annexed possession of grace glory to be obtained by faith in him is the strictest notion of both words to we must attend in the whole of this disputation.”

    And

    “IX But if we take the word gospel in a strict sense as it is the form of the testament of grace wnich consists of mere promises, or the absolute exhibition of salvation in Christ, then properly prescribes nothing as duty, it requires nothing, it commands nothing no not so much as to believe, trust, hope in the Lord, and the like. But it relates declares and signifies to us what God in Christ promises what he willeth and is about to do. Every prescription of duty belongs to the law as the venerable Voetius after others hath inculcated to excellent purpose. Disput. Tom. 4 page 24 &c. And this we must firmly maintain if with all the reformed we would constantly defend the perfection of the law as containing in it all virtues and all the duties of holiness.” Ch XVII “In What Manner and Order the Preaching of the Law Should Accompany That of the Gospel.”

    The work is presented in English for free in Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=Y64TAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false

  8. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:28 am

    “Frame seems to be accusing the WSC theologians of denying the third use of the law. Whether this is an accurate assessment of Frame’s charge here or not, Frame is off the mark. WSC theologians do not deny the third use of the law. . .”

    Lane, I appreciate your perspective on WSC theologians, but my experience is that the WSC graduates I know do, most emphatically and categorically, deny the third use of the law. They see it as legalism at best, works-righteousness at worst.

    This is coming from somewhere. I think it is an accurate assessment that Frame attributes it to WSC theologians (Escondido, p. 2): “… the Escondido theologians, though confessionally Reformed, have adopted an emphasis on the law/gospel distinction that is more characteristic of Luther, than of Reformed theologians. . . [they] fail to understand that the law is not only a terrifying set of commands to drive us to Christ, but is also the gentle voice of the Lord, showing his people that the best blessings of this life come from following his will.”

    Frame has a masterful treatment of law/gospel in his Doctrine of the Christian life, pp. 182-192:

    “So the definitions that sharply separate law and gospel break down on careful analysis. In both law and gospel, God proclaims his saving work and demands that his people respond by obeying his commands. Law and gospel differ in emphasis, but they overlap and intersect.”

    I like the way Thomas Schreiner (Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ) puts it:

    “Luther viewed the laws proper purpose as condemnation. Calvin viewed the proper purpose of the law as the revelation of God’s will. Its role as accuser was made necessary by the fall of man into sin, but its TRUEST purpose was as revealer and instructor of God’s will.” (emphasis mine)

  9. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:45 am

    I think this is also helpful. Robert Letham, The Westminster Assembly (p. 230f):

    “. . . for the [Westminster] Assembly, law and grace were not polar opposites; it saw no incompatibility between them. Law is present in the covenant of grace, both in the time of the law (WCF 7.5) and also in the time of the gospel. In the covenant of grace, grace and law are not competing ways of salvation. Instead, they fulfill different roles. Grace constitutes; law regulates. The covenant is pervasively gracious, yet we receive the promise through the obedience of Christ, and the law continues to regulate the life of the Christian (WCF 20.2, 5-7). Hence, the Assembly insists that the uses of the law are not contrary to the gospel, “but do sweetly comply with it” (20.7).

    . . . The Assembly acknowledges the contrast between law and gospel, a central theme in Lutheranism. However, both the Confession and the Larger Catechism say that law and gospel are different means of administering the one covenant of grace. While there is a difference between law and gospel, there is a more basic compatibility.”

  10. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 3:14 am

    One last very helpful source: Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, pp. 612-615 http://www.mbrem123.com/life/lawandgrace.php

    “When Paul draws a contrast between the law and the gospel, he is thinking of this aspect of the law, the broken law of the covenant of works, which can no more justify, but can only condemn the sinner. From the law in this particular sense, both as a means for obtaining eternal life and as a condemning power, believers are set free in Christ, since He became a curse for them and also met the demands of the covenant of works in their behalf. The law in that particular sense and the gospel of free grace are mutually exclusive.

    There is another sense, however, in which the Christian is not free from the law. The situation is quite different when we think of the law as the expression of man’s natural obligations to his God, the law as it is applied to man even apart from the covenant of works. It is impossible to imagine any condition in which man might be able to claim freedom from the law in that sense. It is pure Antinomianism to maintain that Christ kept the law as a rule of life for His people, so that they need not worry about this any more. The law lays claim, and justly so, on the entire life of man in all its aspects, including his relation to the gospel of Jesus’ Christ. When God offers man the gospel, the law demands that the latter shall accept this. Some would speak of this as the law in the gospel, but this is hardly correct. The gospel itself consists of promises and is no law; yet there is a demand of the law in connection with the gospel. The law not only demands that we accept the gospel and believe in Jesus Christ, but also that we lead a life of gratitude in harmony with its requirements.

    . . . The Reformed do full justice to the second use of the law, teaching that “through the law cometh the knowledge of sin,” and that the law awakens the consciousness of the need of redemption; but they devote even more attention to the law in connection with the doctrine of sanctification. They stand strong in the conviction that believers are still under the law as a rule of life and of gratitude.”

  11. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 9, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Thanks, Lane.

    It strikes me that there might be two different ways to take Frame’s complaint. The first could be that he is upset that some have a Law/Gospel distinction at all … that is, he believes that LGD is simply a mistake.

    The second could be that he perceives WSC as demanding from the rest of us that we hold to the LGD. That is, that WSC is treating the Law/Gospel distinction as if it were a confessional article of faith. I get that sense from what you quoted.

    So the followup questions for you are then,

    (1) Is the Law/Gospel distinction a confessional article of faith? That is, if one does not hold to it, is one teaching a false gospel?

    (2) If so, what accounts for its relative absence in the Confession and Catechisms (in contrast to, say, the Book of Concord)? I know that you’ve argued elsewhere that LGD is implied in the first use of the Law (I agree!), but we have to admit as well that the Westminster Assembly placed the LGD well in the background.

  12. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 8:00 am

    This [emphatically and categorically, deny the third use of the law] is coming from somewhere. I think it is an accurate assessment that Frame attributes it to WSC theologians (Escondido, p. 2): “… the Escondido theologians, though confessionally Reformed, have adopted an emphasis on the law/gospel distinction that is more characteristic of Luther, than of Reformed theologians. . . [they] fail to understand that the law is not only a terrifying set of commands to drive us to Christ, but is also the gentle voice of the Lord, showing his people that the best blessings of this life come from following his will.”

    Jack, one does wonder where a denial of the third use is coming from if WSC folks like Fesko are pointing out how Lutherans aren’t even denying it:

    In turning to the second half of our investigation, we must explore the question of whether the Lutheran commitment to sola fide is such that they make absolutely no place for the necessity of good works, in some sense, in the broader category of their soteriology. In other words, is Lutheran soteriology antinomian? There have been those in both the distant and recent past who have argued that Luther and Lutheranism only hold to two uses of the law: the political or civil, in retraining evil, and the elenctic or pedagogic, in leading people to knowledge of sin and the need of redemption. Yet, at the same time a perusal of primary sources, including Luther’s writings, Lutheran confessions, and other Lutheran theologians evidences that Luther and Lutheranism hold to the third use of the law in some form, the didactic or normative use, regulating the life of the regenerate. One may begin with Luther’s own writings, as his writings are incorporated in the confessional corpus of the Lutheran church.

    While Luther certainly divided the scriptures into the categories of law and gospel, commands and promise, just because a person became a Christian did not mean that he was now suddenly free from the demands of the law. Luther, for example, writes that

    “…as long as we live in a flesh that is not free of sin, so long as the Law keeps coming back and performing its function, more on one person and less in another, not to harm but to save. This discipline of the Law is the daily mortification of the flesh, the reason, an dour powers and the renewal of our mind (2 Cor 4:16)…There is still need for a custodian to discipline and torment the flesh, that powerful jackass, so that by this discipline sins may be diminished and the way prepared for Christ.”

    So long as the Christian is simil iustus et peccator, there is always a need for the law in the life of the believer. Luther’s use of the law in the life of the believer is further evidenced from his catechisms.

    Luther’s Small Catechism begins with an exposition of the Decalogue. At the close of the exposition of the Decalogue in Luther’s Large catechism, Luther explains the importance of the law in the life of the believer:

    “Thus, we have the Ten Commandments, a compend of divine doctrine, as to what we are to do in order that our whole life may be pleasing to God, and the true fountain and channel from and in which everything must arise and flow that is to be a good work, so that outside the Ten Commandments, no work or thing can be good or pleasing to God, however great or precious it be in the yes of the world.”

    Luther saw a need for good works, but was careful, like the Reformed tradition, to teach about the proper relationship between good works and justification. Luther addresses the proper place of the law as it relates to justification when he writes:

    “The matter of the Law must be considered carefully, both as to what and as how we ought to think about the Law; otherwise we shall either reject it altogether, after the fashion of the fanatical spirits who prompted the peasant’s revolt a decade ago by saying that the freedom of the Gospel absolves men from all laws, or we shall attribute to the law the power to justify. Both groups sin against the Law: those on the right, who want to be justified through the Law, and those on the left, who want to be altogether free of the Law. Therefore we must travel the royal road, so that we neither reject the law altogether not attribute more to it than we should.”

    Luther saw a place for the law in the life of the believer. When he was explaining the doctrine of justification he said that there was no place for works or the law. In relationship, though, to one’s sanctification and the knowledge of what is pleasing to God, the Decalogue served as guide as well as a tool in the hand of God to confront the remaining sin in the believer. This careful fencing of justification from works, yet at the same time connecting justification to sanctification, is especially evident in the Lutheran confessions.

    The Augsburg Confession is the first official Lutheran confession, and was largely written by Luther’s lieutenant, Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560). The Augsburg Confession carefully explains that justification is by faith alone: “Our works can not reconcile God, or deserve remission of sins, grace, and justification at his hands, but that these we obtain by faith only, when we believe that we are received into favor for Christ’s sake, who alone is appointed the Mediator and Propitiatory, by whom the Father is reconciled.” Yet, at the same time the confession gives an apology against antinomianism: “Ours are falsely accused of forbidding good works. For their writings extant upon the Ten Commandments, and others of the like argument, do bear witness that they have to good purpose taught concerning every kind of life, and its duties; what kinds of life, and what works in every calling, do please God.”

    The confession even goes so far as to say that Lutherans “teach that it is necessary to do good works,” but it specifies that “not that we may trust that we deserve grace by them, but because it is the will of God that we should do them. By faith alone is apprehended remission of sins and grace. And because the Holy Spirit is received by faith, our hearts are now renewed, and so put on new affections, so that they are able to bring forth good works” (Augsburg Conf., ¶ 20, in Schaff, Creeds, 3.24-25). So, here, in this Lutheran confession we see the emphasis upon justification by faith alone but also the need for good works, informed by the law. While this is not precisely the same nomenclature that one finds in the Westminster Standards [it] is nonetheless parallel to the Standards’ emphasis on the third use of the law (WLC qq. 95-97; WCF 19.6; cf. Belgic Conf., ¶ 25; Heidelberg Cat., q. 93). What we find in inchoate forms in the Augsburg Confessions, however, emerges quite clearly in the formula of Concord.

    …It is in the Formula of Concord that the Lutherans, legendary for their insistence upon justification by faith alone, also state that “good works must certainly and without all doubt follow a true faith (provided only it be not a dead faith but a living faith), as fruits of a good tree” (Formula of Concord, ¶ 4, in Schaff, Creeds, 3.122.). It is in article six, “Of the third use of the law,” where the document makes its most pronounced statement about the importance of the law and good works: “We believe, teach, and confess that although they who truly believe in Christ, and are sincerely converted to God, are through Christ set free from the curse and constraint of the Law, they are not, nevertheless, on that account without the Law (Formula of Concord, ¶6, in Schaff, Creeds, 3.131.). The document goes on to state that “the preaching of the Law should be urged not only upon those who have not faith in Christ, and do not yet repent, but also upon those who truly believe in Christ, are truly converted to God, and regenerated and are justified by faith” (Formula of Concord, ¶6, in Schaff, Creeds, 3.132.). So, then, it appears from primary sources such as Luther, the Augsburg Confession, and the Formula [of] Concord that Luther and Lutheranism places a heavy emphasis upon justification by faith alone but not to the exclusion of the importance and necessity of good works or the third use of the law. This is not a unique conclusion.

    J.V. Fesko “The Westminster Standards and Confessional Lutheranism on Justification” in The Confessional Presbyterian, Volume 3, 2007, pgs. 22-24.

  13. Reed Here said,

    March 9, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Jack, no. 8: what you’ve written is absolute blathering hog-wash. :-)

  14. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 9, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Zrim, two questions:

    (1) Is it possible that what WSC teaches in the academy is different from what her students are preaching in the wild?

    I certainly have had occasion when my students have given my own words back to me in mangled form.

    I’m just raising the possibility; I don’t have evidence that this is so.

    (2) Lutherans seem to believe that there is a difference between themselves and the Reformed on the 3rd use.

    E.g.:

    While the Lutherans place a great deal of emphasis upon the accusatory nature of the law, the Reformed prefer to see in the law primarily directives for the Christian life. The reality of the simul iustus et peccator does not hold a significant place in their thinking. The Reformed are more interested in incremental sanctification rather than the centrality of justification through the merits of Jesus. The law holds an educational utility in that it actually leads to Christ. For the Reformed, Jesus is more like a help or instrument for another result, namely obedience and motivation. He never really gets anything done for the sinner beyond serving as exemplary model par excellence.

    Lutherans have always opposed the idea that the Law by itself leads a sinner to Christ. Unlike the Reformed, Lutherans hold that believers fulfill the law not as command but as it has been fulfilled and completed in Jesus. Christians therefore are not moved by the law’s threats but are moved to do good works by the Gospel alone. New obedience (AC VI) is an article of faith, in which Lutherans confess that Christ in the believer brings forth good fruit by the work of the Spirit. This reality is rooted squarely upon the article of justification which produces those works ex-nihilo.

    here

    Bavinck likewise (Ref Dog 4, pp. 454-455) posits a difference between the two.

    Now, when I read the first quote above, my reaction is, “Mr. Lutheran, you haven’t properly understood the Reformed tradition.”

    I wonder whether Lutherans and Reformed have properly understood each other; if not, then it would seem that Frame is simply a creature of his situation, arguing against a kind of strawman whose genesis is in a larger denominational argument.

  15. Reed Here said,

    March 9, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Zrim, no. 13: in order to not clog up the comments, please quote a little more judiciously, and not so much at length. Feel free to offer the pertinent sentence, paragraph, or two, and then reference where the context can be found.

    And no, not singling you out. Have made this request of others in the past. It applies to any who regularly post here.

    Thanks for understanding.

    reed depace, moderator

  16. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Jeff,

    1. Of course it’s possible, but is it likely? My family and I sit under WSC grad preaching (with contuinued close relations), and if it’s any measure (and I think that it is) then the suggestion that her grads deny the third use is patently false.

    2. The suggestion from Frame/Bradley wasn’t that there are differences in the nuances and applications, which is admitted, but that there is denial of the third use. That’s just plain false.

  17. Zrim said,

    March 9, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Reed, yeah, sorry about that, point taken. But in my own defense, sometimes hogwash needs extra scribbing.

  18. Reed Here said,

    March 9, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Zrim: HAH!

  19. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Is there agreeement by Dr. Clark, Dr. Hart, Dr. Horton with Professor Frame when he writes:

    “So the definitions that sharply separate law and gospel break down on careful analysis. In both law and gospel, then, God proclaims his saving work, and he demands that his people respond by obeying his commands. The terms “law” and “gospel” differ in emphasis, but they overlap and intersect. They present the whole Word of God from different perspectives. Indeed, we can say that our Bible as a whole is both law (because as a whole it speaks with divine authority and requires belief) and gospel (because as a whole it is good news to fallen creatures). Each concept is meaningless apart from the other. Each implies the other.”

    (h/t TF)

  20. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 11:12 am

    > Jack, no. 8: what you’ve written is absolute blathering hog-wash. :-)

    Thanks for the articulate critique, Reed :-)

  21. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Jack Bradley, #8: “Lane, I appreciate your perspective on WSC theologians, but my experience is that the WSC graduates I know do, most emphatically and categorically, deny the third use of the law. They see it as legalism at best, works-righteousness at worst.

    This is coming from somewhere. I think it is an accurate assessment that Frame attributes it to WSC theologians….”

    I don’t know about the denial of the third use of the Law by WSC grads, but if your general point is that a significant number of WSC grads are influenced by Escondido 2K professors, then that’s a reasonable claim.

  22. March 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    WSC Faculty on “The Law of God and the Christian.”

  23. March 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Horton on the third use of the law.

  24. Cris Dickason said,

    March 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Apologizing in advance for the length, but from the archives of a former student of Mr. Frame at WTS (pre-California). The required pamphlet, “How to Study for My Courses,” contains advice on studying, seminary life, grades, papers, etc. How to evaluate theology – Apply these questions to a theological text (or discussion):

    1. Scripturality – consistent with Scripture
    2. Truth – is it factually or historically accurate (Pannenberg learned x from Bultmann)
    3. Cogency – case adequately argued, premises true, conclusions warranted
    4. Edification – spiritually helping or harming
    5. Sanctity – exhibiting fruit of Spirit or is it gossipy, slanderous, blasphemous, unkind
    6. Importance – an important or a trivial topic
    7. Clarity – terms well-defined, structure intelligible, positions clearly laid out, issues clearly distinguished
    8. Profundity – does the text/person wrestle with difficult or easy questions, does it get to heart of matter (cf. Robert Dick Wilson, “I have not shirked the difficult questions.”)
    9. Form and Style – are they appropriate to the subject (without enforced stodginess)

    And finally, number 10.

    It is also common to evaluate theological texts with regard to (10) Emphasis. It might even be argued that this is the most common sort of evaluation in contemporary academic theology. It is also the most tricky evaluation to establish. Remember (and most critics of theology fail to remember this obvious fact) that nobody can say everything in a single text. Thus all writings, even Scripture passages, are to some extent “one-sided”. “One-sidedness” is the result of human finitude; it cannot be overcome. It is not in itself a legitimate basis of criticism. Nor is it legitimate to criticize someone merely for having an emphasis different from Scripture. If we were required to reproduce in theology precisely the emphasis of Scripture, then we could do nothing but quote Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. If even individual passages of Scripture are “one-sided” with respect to the whole, then surely a theological work has the right to be “one-sided” with respect to the overall emphasis of Scripture. The same goes for evaluations such as “Dr. Smith fails to see x in its relation to y.” That sort of thing usually boils down to an “emphasis” criticism – i.e., Dr. Smith’s treatment is one-sided, misses something important. (p. 15)

    We would be wise, then, in my opinion, not to think of “emphasis” as an independent basis of evaluation. You should not criticize an author merely for “overemphasizing” or “underemphasizing” something. You should rather be carefu1 to show how that “over-“ or “under-emphasis” creates problems of other sorts. And if it creates no such problems, be quiet about it. (p. 16)

    John Frame, “How to Study for My Courses” (WTS Syllabus, Revised, 1978)

    How does Mr. Frame’s handling of the Escondido “distinctives,” or of the law/gospel distinction measure up to these standards?

    Note, replaced underlined words with bold font.

    -=Cris=-

  25. Cris Dickason said,

    March 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Oops, I should not have “block” framed the 1st 9 points, those are slightly rephrased, not full and exact quotations, as with criterion 10.

    Still a poor student (sigh).

  26. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you for posting this, Dr. Clark. It is very reassuring.

    WSC Faculty on “The Law of God and the Christian.”

    “Law and grace are not only major Christian truths, but they are crucial for that life which the truth brings into being and promotes. At times they have to be placed in stark opposition to each other; at other times they have to be inseparably associated with each other. This conference focuses on the inextricable association between law and grace. The Christian life can be deadened by Legalism; it can also be corrupted by Antinomianism. In contrast to both of these dangerous extremes, this conference explores how a robust view of grace and the finished work of Christ usher the Christian into a life of grateful obedience to God‘s law.”

  27. Reed Here said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Jack, no. 20: well, Jack, I was trying to make a point. Your post did not deserve more substantial interaction than what I wrote.

  28. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I know of no Escondido theologian that would come out and deny the third use of the law. Yet, it is possible for one to say they affirm a particular distinctive and yet on closer scutiny see that their underlying theology runs contrary to what they say they affirm. The linked Horton article discussing the third use is not particularly satisfying.

    Dr. Cornelius Venema, in his thorough review of the Klinean Republication Thesis advanced in “The Law is Not of Faith” zeroes in on this conclusion:

    “In my estimation the failure of the authors of The Law is Not of Faith to affirm vigorously the positive function of the law as a rule of gratitude in the Mosaic economy is not accidental. Because the authors of The Law is Not of Faith view the moral law of God to express necessarily the “works principle” of the covenant of works, they do not have a stable theological basis for affirming the abiding validity of the moral law as a rule of gratitude.” ~ MAJT, Vol.21.

    In other words, there is an underlying hermeneutical reason why folks would question their affirmation of the third use of the law.

  29. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    If there be a gap, that gap looks bridgeable to me. To wit:

    Frame: “The terms “law” and “gospel” differ in emphasis, but they overlap and intersect. They present the whole Word of God from different perspectives. Indeed, we can say that our Bible as a whole is both law (because as a whole it speaks with divine authority and requires belief) and gospel (because as a whole it is good news to fallen creatures).”

    WSC Faculty, per Dr. R. Scott Clark: “Law and grace are not only major Christian truths, but they are crucial for that life which the truth brings into being and promotes. At times they have to be placed in stark opposition to each other; at other times they have to be inseparably associated with each other. This conference focuses on the inextricable association between law and grace.

  30. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Mark Van Der Molen, #28: “I know of no Escondido theologian that would come out and deny the third use of the law. Yet, it is possible for one to say they affirm a particular distinctive and yet on closer scutiny see that their underlying theology runs contrary to what they say they affirm.”

    In general principle, I have seen people make essentially the same arguments against Obama and other liberal leftists.

  31. Reed Here said,

    March 9, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    TUAD: guilt by comparison?

  32. March 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    […] so-called Escondido Theology. Greenbaggins has started reviewing Frame’s latest book and has come to the first chapter on the law-gospel distinction. He writes in response to one of Frame’s infelicities: Frame […]

  33. dghart said,

    March 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Mark, actually, Venema’s point isn’t that they don’t affirm the third use. It’s that someone could — not must — conclude they don’t affirm it vigorously.

    So your quote actually does the opposite of what you intend and reveals your vigorous disregard for certain pastors in your own communion.

  34. Jack Bradley said,

    March 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Reed, #27

    Oh, okay, I see now.

  35. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    @31, Reed,

    Merely noting the principled similarities of the arguments being advanced in their different spheres.

  36. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Darryl, contra your predictable impugning of motives, I intended to convey the plain meaning of Venema’s words. Perhaps you could put in a call to Dr. Venema to have him explain to you the meaning of “..they do not have a stable theological basis to affirm the abiding validity of the moral law as a rule of gratitude.” You will find him a a patient man, very able to put things in terms that would be understandable to you.

  37. dghart said,

    March 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Mark, since the question is whether or not some Reformed persons affirm the third use of the law, the question of whether they have a firm basis for doing so is beside the point. They affirm it. And apparently, the basis is both the Three Forms of Unity and the Westminster Standards. How radical!

  38. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 9, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    If the *basis* for the affirmation is beside the point, then you shouldn’t care if the TFU / WS is the alleged basis, or if they just pulled it out of their Klinean hat. Feel free to excuse yourself from that discussion.

    Reformed folk, on the other hand ,do care whether the foundation is firm or not.

  39. dghart said,

    March 10, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Mark, your ongoing suspicion of ministers in your own communion and their vows is remarkable and would have gotten you thrown in the slammer in your beloved Geneva.

    What axe are you grinding and why do people who defend the Reformed faith and affirm the Reformed confessions not measure up? Why especially when John Frame has written books against what the REformed confessions teach on worship and has not been as clear in his defense of justification as the folks at his former seminary? Is it because of a view of the magistrate that none of the Reformed churches hold any more thanks to revisions that all conservative communions accept?

    Your suspicions really are unbecoming and don’t make the least bit of sense.

  40. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Darryl, would you say the same to ministers in your own OPC and other communions who are seeing these problems? I’d be in some pretty rarified company sitting in that Geneva slammer!

  41. Jack Bradley said,

    March 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

    > Frame. . . has not been as clear in his defense of justification as the folks at his former seminary?

    DG, is your misperception due to Frame’s failure to maintain Escondido’s super sharp separation between law and gospel?

  42. dghart said,

    March 10, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Mark, in point of fact, the OPC is generally happy with developments at WSC. Increasingly our ministers are coming from the school and it has been one of the better Reformed seminaries for recruiting OP pastors. Not everyone in the OPC agrees. But the OPC did not agree about Shepherd. Go figure.

  43. dghart said,

    March 10, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Jack, it is because Frame is wrong about Shepherd.

    http://oldlife.org/2011/12/speaking-of-obscure-publishers/

  44. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Darryl, I just would point out that the questions being raised cut across ecclesiastical lines. Disssing the questioners as having personal denominational axes to grind makes one think thou doth protest too much. The wheels of ecclesiastical courts which have begun do grind slowly, but also very fine.

  45. dgh said,

    March 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Mark, what evidence do you have of any questions crossing denominational lines?

    Whatever the evidence may be, you asked a question about concerns about WSC within the OPC. Seeing as how VanDrunen and Fesko served on the justification report, and seeing that Fesko is moderator of the Southern California presbytery, the “Escondido theology” is in the mainstream of the OPC.

    Within the URC, it may be a different matter. But since Kloosterman is no longer in the URC, the churches’ objections largely went away, leaving you to hold the torch. I hope your grip is strong.

  46. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Darryl, you need to pay closer attention to what’s going in the OPC and the URC.

  47. dghart said,

    March 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Mark, I asked for evidence. You tell me to pay more attention. Dude, you don’t think I know my own communion (or hear things)?

    So I’ll call your bluff. Where’s the evidence?

  48. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Darryl, does the overture pending in an OPC presbytery count in your book?

  49. Zrim said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    More super sharp Reformed to the law-gospel rescue:

    Edward Fisher (c.1601-1655). “Now, the law is a doctrine partly known by nature, teaching us that there is a God, and what God is, and what he requires us to do, binding all reasonable creatures to perfect obedience, both internal and external, promising the favour of God, and everlasting life to all those who yield perfect obedience thereunto, and denouncing the curse of God and everlasting damnation to all those who are not perfectly correspondent thereunto. But the gospel is a doctrine revealed from heaven by the Son of God, presently after the fall of mankind into sin and death, and afterwards manifested more clearly and fully to the patriarchs and prophets, to the evangelists and apostles, and by them spread abroad to others; wherein freedom from sin, from the curse of the law, the wrath of God, death, and hell, is freely promised for Christ’s sake unto all who truly believe on his name.” (The Marrow of Modern Divinity; 1645, repr. 1978, 337-38.)

  50. Zrim said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    William Twisse (1578-1646). “How many ways does the Word of God teach us to come to the Kingdom of heaven? Two. Which are they? The Law and the Gospel. What says the Law? Do this and live. What says the Gospel? Believe in Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Can we come to the Kingdom of God by the way of God’s Law? No.Why so? Because we cannot do it. Why can we not do it? Because we are all born in sin. What is it to be none in sin? To be naturally prone to evil and …that that which is good. How did it come to pass that we are all borne in sin? By reason of our first father Adam. Which way then do you hope to come tot he Kingdom of Heaven? By the Gospel? What is the Gospel? The glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ. To whom is the glad tidings brought: to the righteousness? No. Why so? For two reasons. What is the first? Because there is none that is righteous and sin not. What is the other reason? Because if we were righteous, i.e., without sin we should have no need of Christ Jesus. To whom then is this glad tiding brought? To sinners. What, to all sinners? To whom then? To such as believe and repent. This is the first lesson, to know the right way to the Kingdom of Heaven.: and this consists in knowing the difference between the Law and the Gospel. What does the Law require? That we should be without sin. What does the Gospel require? That we should confess our sins, amend our lives, and then through faith in Christ we shall be saved. The Law requires what? Perfect obedience. The Gospel what? Faith and true repentance.” (A Brief Catechetical Exposition of Christian Doctrine, 1633).

  51. Zrim said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937). “A new and more powerful proclamation of law is perhaps the most pressing need of the hour; men would have little difficulty with the gospel if they had only learned the lesson of the law. As it is, they are turning aside from the Christian pathway; they are turning to the village of Morality, and to the house of Mr. Legality, who is reported to be very skillful in relieving men of their burdens… ‘Making Christ Master’ in the life, putting into practice ‘the principles of Christ’ by one’s own efforts-these are merely new ways of earning salvation by one’s obedience to God’s commands” (What Is Faith?, 1925).

  52. Zrim said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Louis Berkhof (1873-1957). “The Churches of the Reformation from the very beginning distinguished between the law and the gospel as the two parts of the Word of God as a means of grace. This distinction was not understood to be identical with that between the Old and the New Testament, but was regarded as a distinction that applies to both Testaments. There is law and gospel in the Old Testament, and there is law and gospel in the New. The law comprises everything in Scripture which is a revelation of God’s will in the form of command or prohibition, while the gospel embraces everything, whether it be in the Old Testament or in the New, that pertains to the work of reconciliation and that proclaims the seeking and redeeming love o God in Christ Jesus” (Systematic Theology, [Grand Rapids, 4th edn. 1941], 612).

  53. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    link for those confused by #48 (as I was).

  54. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    For those who have not read Frame on Law and Gospel, this article might help with background.

    I’m providing the link for information, not to advocate for it.

  55. Jack Bradley said,

    March 10, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Good stuff, Zrim!

  56. Timothy said,

    March 11, 2012 at 12:45 am

    One wonders if Calvin would recognize Frame’s generic Calvinism.

    Maybe WSCali is closer to Calvin than today’s self-proclaimed “Calvinists” who are so generic that it is impossible to distinguish them from Medieval Augustinians.

  57. dgh said,

    March 11, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Mark, you mean the overture written by some who accused Westminster California of Pelagianism? The one that may reflect more of a personal grudge against a former employer and colleagues (boy, that sounds familiar) than actual theological insight? That one?

    I know you work on the floor of the courtroom and don’t sit on the jury, but I’m hoping if we ever meet in a court of law you’re not in the jury stand. You believe the worst on slim evidence.

  58. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 11, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Darryl, I have no idea about the ad hominem items you mention, but doubt a responsible presbytery would entertain them as a substantive answer to an overture that mirrors concerns raised by Venema and others.

  59. dgh said,

    March 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Mark, so you don’t really know what’s going on in the OPC. What I thought.

    BTW, remember that one of the editors of the book in question in the NW is now moderator of a presbytery that was known for taking a very different view of the Mosaic covenant.

    Is that part of your “evidence”?

  60. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Lane, I would like to offer a qualified dissent to the complex thesis that

    some Bible passages are law (what God requires), and some are gospel (what God does in saving us). And some passages are both. It is important to ask the question about the text, so that we know how it functions, and how to preach it.

    I say “qualified”, because I see much good in the LG distinction as you’ve laid it out, but I also see a danger in making the LG distinction (LGD) a touchstone of faithful preaching.

    First, the good. Clearly, there is a difference between the law that threatens those not justified, and the gospel that offers free justification received by faith alone. I terms of preaching, there is a clear distinction between the two.

    And for this reason, we should reject such slogans as “the law is the gospel” as inaccurate and misleading. Inaccurate, for the law is not of faith; and misleading, because such slogans fail to distinguish true gospel from the error of neo-nomianism.

    So far, I’m on board with the LGD.

  61. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    But now in dissent. It is not clear to me that Scripture itself lays out the LGD as a hermeneutical principle. The principle that is articulated in Scripture is that all of it points to Christ (John 5.39). But nowhere can I find the principle that all of Scripture may be binned into law, gospel, or both. Law, Gospel, and perhaps “other” — all of it points to Christ.

    To an extent, the above argument is enough — if Scripture does not demand the LGD as a hermeneutical principle, then finis.

    But permit some additional evidences.

    (1) The Westminster Assembly was fully aware of the LGD found in the Book of Concord. And they clearly distinguished between the function of the Law and the function of the Gospel in the Confession (WCoF 9.1, 19.6). YET, nowhere do they articulate such a principle as is found in Concord:

    It is, therefore, dangerous and wrong to convert the Gospel, properly so called, as distinguished from the Law, into a preaching of repentance or reproof [a preaching of repentance, reproving sin]. For otherwise, if understood in a general sense of the entire doctrine, also the Apology says several times that the Gospel is a preaching of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Meanwhile, however, the Apology also shows that the Gospel is properly the promise of the forgiveness of sins and of justification through Christ, but that the Law is a doctrine which reproves sins and condemns.

    — Formula of Concord, 5.27

    But rather, repentance is considered to be an accompanying grace together with saving faith:

    Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to be preached by every minister of the Gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.

    Although repentance is not to be rested in, as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God’s free grace in Christ, yet it is of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.

    — WCoF 15.1,3.

    In my opinion, Westminster gets this righter than Luther, who gets wrapped around an axle trying to explain how “repentance” is no part of the the “Gospel proper.”

    (2) The quotes that Zrim provides above all demonstrate that the Reformed doctrine distinguishes between the Law and the Gospel as material principles. The Law commands and the Gospel promises.

    But they do not demonstrate, apart from Berkhof in #52 (whom I consider to be an outlier at this point), that the Reformed hermeneutic depends on taking Scripture and dividing into Law and Gospel.

    These are two different claims — that Law-principle and Gospel-principle are different; and that all of Scripture divides up into those two categories.

    So the evidence for the strong LGD as a hermeneutical principle is still lacking.

    (3) When we read Calvin’s commentaries, we do not find him distinguishing all Scripture as Law and Gospel.

    (4) When we read Calvin’s sermons, we find him distinguishing between the Law principle and the Gospel principle. But we do not find him categorizing Scripture into one or the other. Nor does he call for the LGD as the proper way to sermonize; but rather, that the text itself be preached without idle speculation. An example would be Calvin’s sermon on Galatians 4.

    Now so far, it looks like I’m just quibbling. But the real concern is for us all to recognize that the LGD is a helpful tool for the preacher, but it is not the sine qua non of faithful preaching. Many, many reformed theologians have faithfully preached the Gospel without overtly using the LGD to structure their sermons. And Calvin was chief among those.

    My concern is that the LGD not become a kind of diagnostic tool by which men evaluate the sermons of others.

    My further concern is that the LGD in its pure “Lutheran” form casts an odd light on the doctrine of repentance unto life.

    Hence, the dissent.

  62. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    I stand somewhat corrected. Michael Horton reminds us that Beza also held to LGD as a hermeneutical principle.

  63. Jack Bradley said,

    March 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Jeff,

    I think you are right to question LGD as a hermeneutic, as Doug Wilson did a while back during a past exchange with Lane:

    “Lane thinks that I am rejecting the law/gospel hermeneutic. And I am. The law/gospel hermeneutic needs to be rejected — but this is not the same thing as rejecting the law/gospel distinction, which I do not reject. ‘I really think the bottom line on this one is that Doug does not accept the hermeneutical law-gospel distinction (against the whole Reformed tradition), and I do.” The problem with this convenient analysis is that that law/gospel distinction is to be applied to human hearts, and not to the text. The law/gospel distinction is part of the apostolic gospel message — it is not the basis of their hermeneutic. To say it is a hermeneutic is to say that this verse is “law,” and that one “gospel,” and here are the hermeneutical rules to sort it all out. Show me that hermeneutical rule in the apostles. Show it to me in the confessions of the Reformed tradition. And you have not shown it to me if you show me law and gospel. I buy that. What you have to show me is an interpretive grid that sifts all verses out into a law pile and a gospel pile.”

    http://tinyurl.com/8xsjfwc

  64. Jack Bradley said,

    March 11, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I came across another reassuring quote from Horton on the 3rd Use of the law.

    God of Promise, pp. 127-128:

    “While the Reformed firmly insist on the distinction and in fact the opposition of law and gospel with respect to the question of our acceptance before God, they do not believe that the law only accuses everyone at all times. 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 are justified–give us any life.”

    I find this especially reassuring because Horton continues to use the positive word “guide”–which not what the Lutherans (and some WSC grads I know) mean when they define the 3rd Use as only a negative reminder of condemnation–which can only be a hypothetical condemnation for the believer.

  65. March 12, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Furthermore, the LGD is relevant to the issue of justification specifically, not to every single verse in the Bible. In other words, it is not to be used when discussing, say, Paul’s admonition to “reckon yourselves dead to sin and alive to God” (Rom. 6:11) concluding that, since we’re dealing with an imperative it must be classified as “law,” and since the law’s only function is to accuse us and drive us to Christ, therefore this passage is intended by the apostle to show me my need for Jesus. Though there is a whole host of interrelated issues involved in this discussion, suffice it to say here that the law has more functions beyond merely threatening us, and that passages dealing with sanctification, though undeniably “law,” should not be minimized or treated as merely preparatory for the gospel. In short, sanctification proceeds from justification, kind of like how Romans 6 follows Romans 1-5.

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/2012/03/so-much-drama-with-l-g-d.html

  66. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 12, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Mark, you mean the overture written by some who accused Westminster California of Pelagianism?

    Darryl, would you supply some evidence that some ministers made this accusation?

  67. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Jack, thanks for the support. I would not want to associate my argument with Doug’s, for the simple reason that he has difficulty distinguishing “faith” from “faithfulness.” So for him, law and gospel occupy a more overlapping space than they do for me.

  68. TurretinFan said,

    March 12, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I would be interested in JJS’s response to the material quoted in #63. Is that position considered acceptable within the Escondido camp? i.e. can one agree that the LDS is relevant to the topic of justification (as DW seems to agree in that quoted portion) and yet deny the LDH?

    -TurretinFan

  69. TurretinFan said,

    March 12, 2012 at 10:00 am

    LDS and LDH? I meant LGD and LGH. Sorry about that.

  70. torstar said,

    March 12, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Thanks to those who copied and pasted the history of LGD from beloved theologians and confessions; makes a nice Word document after editing.

    I have listened to over 100 hours of Michael Horton’s discussions and read over 1000 pages of his theology and don’t remotely find anything resembling the accusations against him.

    The only conclusion is that people are out to make a $$ off him and/or don’t mind popping off from ignorance (or 2nd/3rd party sources) and/or are jealous of his accomplishments, and don’t mind exhibiting the opposite of Christian charity for a valued brother in the Lord.

  71. March 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    T-Fan,

    I would be interested in JJS’s response to the material quoted in #63. Is that position considered acceptable within the Escondido camp? i.e. can one agree that the LGD is relevant to the topic of justification (as DW seems to agree in that quoted portion) and yet deny the LGH?

    I think the answer to your question is yes. It all comes down to whether the text is about justification or not. If it is, then it is legitimate to look at the issue in terms of the two ways to be justified, i.e., works or grace (law or gospel). But what I have never been comfortable with is looking at every imperative as law, full stop, or looking at every verse as either law or gospel, and then interpreting them through the law/gospel grid. That, to me, is a way too strict LGH. Plus, it assumes that every verse in the Bible is about justification (which is a rather Lutheran assumption).

    So yeah, I think Doug makes a good point that there’s a difference between distinguishing law and gospel in principle while not necessarily turning that distinction into a hermeneutical straitjacket.

  72. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    JJS, full agreement. Thanks for putting it that way.

  73. Jack Bradley said,

    March 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Ditto, JJS.

    Jeff, as far as Wilson’s supposed difficulties distinguishing “faith” and “faithfulness” I would refer you to Credenda’s justification issue:

    http://www.credenda.org/images/stories/pdf/15-5.pdf

    I don’t see how it can be said much better.

  74. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Jack, when I read the credos on p. 23 of that article, my reaction is “I wouldn’t say it that way.” What is lacking in his formulations is the work of the Spirit that produces the fruit of faith.

    I’m not putting myself in the judgment seat here, just explaining why my arguments stand alone from his.

  75. Mark Kim said,

    March 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Interesting. I heard about Frame’s book from a friend of mine at a PCA church I currently attend (I’m a Reformed Baptist, btw). I have no intention of purchasing his book any time soon but I am somewhat acquainted with Frame’s perspective from reading parts of his concise systematic theology and his massive book on the Christian life.

    Though I understand WSC’s legitimate concerns about the NPP, Shepherd, and Federal Visionism, I don’t think you can make a clear cut conclusion that denying the law-gospel distinction in general or rejecting the covenant of works (or, at least, as a purely legalistic covenant) undermines the classic Reformation view of justification by faith alone. It’s not that simple. We know that many theologians in the past within the Reformed tradition (think of Murray or Hoekema) who reject the CoW upheld the historic Reformed view of justification. This can also include many evangelicals (Lutherans, dispensationalists, Ref. Baptists, etc.) who do not embrace the classic federalism of the WCF and its catechisms.

    Even if I agree with the WSC crowd on justification against all the modern perversions of the gospel, I am somewhat hesitant to lump Frame with the NPP/FV crowd.

    Perhaps someone who embraces the NPP or FV view can clarify this, but I believe that many who are NPP or FV believe that justification can be forfeited due to “covenantal unfaithfulness.” I think the real sticking point between those who hold to the traditional Reformed view and those who embrace these modern inventions (and still call themselves Reformed) is on the issue of the permanency of justification. I believe that the WCF 11.5 puts to rest that issue.

  76. TurretinFan said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    In the linked pdf of Credenda Agenda, Wilson is quoted thus: “Orthodusty always wants doctrines that can be counted on to stay put in their museum cases, and so therefore must reduce the glorious sola fide into solus assensus. However, the living Reformed faith has always maintained that saving faith is alive, and it expresses that life through assensus, notitia, and fiducia. And if fiducia is popery, then I’m a Hottentot.”

    He has an undeniable way with words. Nevertheless, what’s the substance of his comment? Surely he must be aware that the Reformed churches don’t teach that faith is only assent. Nor is holding that faith also includes trust “popery.” On its face this, therefore, is a strange comment indeed.

    It becomes less strange when one sees that Wilson seems to treat trust as an obedient act:

    This is why saving faith necessarily lives and acts. One of the principal acts performed by such saving faith is the act of trusting in Christ alone for both justification and sanctification.

    And again Wilson appears to use “obedience” and “fidelity” as appositives for “trust”:

    This means that fides salvifica is related to ongoing fidelity, trust or obedience in the same way that a body is related to breathing.

    And perhaps also similarly clearly, Wilson writes:

    But what kind of faith is being talked about in the phrase sola fide? It is an assenting, knowledgeable, and trusting faith. Another way of putting this is that we are justified by a living faith, an obedient faith.

    But that is not the Reformed understanding of trust, nor is it the Scriptural teaching regarding the relationship of faith and works.

    Wilson pays lip service to the fact that faith and works can be analytically divided, but Wilson appears to analytically merge them. For him, if you don’t have obedience, you don’t have trust: not because trust produces obedience (a view that Wilson appears to criticize as “mechanical”), but because (it seems Wilson thinks) trust is obedience.

    One wonders if Wilson could make the following affirmations and denials without crossing his fingers:

    1. I affirm that trust is love of those ideas to which we assent.
    2. I affirm that this love produces obedience, albeit in this life imperfect obedience.
    3. I deny that trust is fidelity or obedience, except that in itself trust is something commanded by God.
    Finally, in view of his statement: “This saving faith does not exist apart from a true covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It does not exist apart from union with Christ.”
    4. I deny that any except the elect who will inherit glory have union with Christ, a true covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ, or saving faith.

    Wilson’s words are not crystal clear, but I get the sense he would have trouble making those four statements. Why he seems worried of being accused of popery appears to be that he makes faith notion + assent + works, instead of notion + assent + love. Then again, even the papists would reject this idea, instead distinguishing between faith and works, but requiring both for justification.

    -TurretinFan

  77. Jack Bradley said,

    March 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    TF,

    I think Doug puts it in context when he says this (pp. 8-9):

    “Think of it this way. Saving faith is a mother who always bears twins—justification and sanctification, in that order—so that we can see easily that when justification is “born,” his mother does not die, but rather brings his younger brother “obedience” into the world. But we cannot forget an important part of the illustration. The “mother”—faith—is trusting and obedient in how she gives birth. Saving faith is the alone trusting instrument of justification, and, immediately following, that same saving faith the alone trusting instrument of sanctification, and reveals itself always as a faith working through love. Saving faith that does not trust and obey is a saving faith that does not exist.”

    This is how Robert Letham expresses it (Westminster Assembly, pp. 271-272):

    [WCF 11.2] “. . . the section adds that saving faith is never alone in the one who is justified, but is always accompanied by other saving graces. It works through love. It is living faith, for without works faith is dead. . . We are not justified by faith working through love, as Rome held. We are justified only by faith, since only by Christ. The faith through which we are justified has reference exclusively to Christ. However, it happens to bear fruit at all times in love and evangelical obedience. But these latter things have to do with sanctification, the renewal brought about by the Spirit, not with our legal status before the bar of God’s justice. They are inseparable from the faith that justifies, but they are disconnected from the justification received through faith. They define the person justified, not the justification of the person. They describe the one who has faith, but do not constitute his standing before God received through faith.”

    Are you troubled by Letham’s description? If so, I think that’s a problem for you. If not, I don’t think you should have a problem with Wilson’s description.

  78. Mark Kim said,

    March 12, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Yeah, I agree. I always wondered where the Scriptural support exists for equating saving faith (assensus, notitia, and fiducia) with keeping the moral law. I don’t see it. In fact, Paul makes a clear distinction between trust and obeying the law (Rom 3:27-28; Gal 2:16; Phil 3:9). (I don’t take “works of the law” [Gk. ergon nomou] as ritualistic laws of Judaism that distinguished Jews from Gentiles. That is a highly flawed understanding of the Pauline phrase.) Granted that the Reformers and the post-Reformers have always maintained that saving faith is not a dead faith (or saving faith is evidenced by the works of love), but the Reformers and their heirs never viewed faith as synonymous with “evangelical obedience” (cf. Calvin, Institutes, III.XI.13-20).

    The concern that the FV people and their sympathizers have is that traditional Reformed theology really has no buffer against moral libertinism through their law-gospel distinction in justification. That is a false and unfair charge. If you read works written by Reformed folks, both Presbyterians and Baptists, who vehemently oppose both the NPP and FV you will see that they also strongly expound that justification and sanctification, though distinct, can never be separated in the truly regenerate. What worries the anti-NPP/FV people, however, is that the NPP and FV crowd eliminates the notion that faith is the sole instrument in justification and that somehow good works are necessary to maintain a regenerate person’s justified state.

  79. Mark Kim said,

    March 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Jack,

    I can’t speak for TurretinFan, but I don’t have a problem with Letham’s definition as long as it is kept in mind that the “bearing fruit” and “evangelical obedience” has to do exclusively with the process of sanctification and not the free declarative act called justification. Calvin makes it clear that even though genuine faith produces good works, these good works of the regenerate play no role in their justification before God.

    What I think a lot of people here are concerned with is that the FV crowd is going beyond the biblical notion that good works are fruits and evidences of genuine faith.

  80. dghart said,

    March 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Mark, are you looking for more evidence or are you taken aback that this charge would be made? I’m reluctant to give you another flawed source to quote against ministers in your denomination.

    Anyway, I thought you knew more about the criticisms than I did.

  81. Jack Bradley said,

    March 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Mark, I appreciate the feedback. I’m always more than a bit leery about broad generalizations like “FV crowd”. I find it helpful to offer and analyze specific writings, like the two above. I think Wilson and Letham are saying the same thing, and they both adequately define their terms.

  82. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Jack, just to beat the drum a second time, I find Letham’s view to be more carefully constructed than Wilson’s.

    In Letham, we see the careful circumscribing of sanctification as the work of the Spirit. He also carefully notes that “[love and evangelical obedience] do not constitute his standing before God received through faith.”

    Both of those qualifications show sensitivity to the historic issue raised in the Reformation: imputation or infusion?

    Doug’s view is not nearly as careful. For one thing, he omits reference to the Spirit and speaks of obedience and faithfulness as qualities of the person who has faith.

    This leaves the door open to grace-as-infusion, that God’s grace that creates faith also so changes the man that he is now, within himself, more obedient.

    Note that I’m not saying DW holds this view, but that the picture he creates is ambiguous in a way that Letham’s is not.

    And in fact, he ascribes the obedience and faithfulness to the faith of the person under consideration, rather than to the subsequent work of the Spirit in that person. This heightens the ambiguity. For DW, it is important to qualify that “the mother — faith — is trusting and obedient.” Does this then mean that when God creates saving faith in effectual calling, that faith partakes of sanctification? He seems to think no — and yes.

    It’s not clear.

    So yes, I like Letham’s description; and yes, I do have a problem with Doug’s. The omission of mention of the Spirit shows an insensitivity to the infusion/imputation question, by leaving the door open to the possibility of a grace that sanctifies while justifying, instead of a grace that creates faith, which receives the verdict *and* the work of the Spirit.

  83. Jack Bradley said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Jeff,

    You’re entitled to your reading, but I don’t see it. I’d encourage you to read the entire issue.

  84. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Jack, I’ve read the entire issue at this point. What do you have in mind that addresses #82?

    For reference, I’d like to ask a couple of questions.

    (1) Granted that we might “map” DW’s statements over into Letham’s, still and all, they use different words and have different emphases. If one were to focus on the differences, what would be chief among them?

    (2) Same question for DW in comparison to Calvin’s Institutes, 3.2 and 3.14.

    What I have in mind is that when we are already tuned to similarities, it’s easy to say “this is the same as that” without noticing the ways in which they differ. (The same can happen in reverse, when one’s vision is filled only with differences). So I ask these questions to encourage you to skeptically examine your assumption that DW and Letham are saying the same thing.

  85. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 13, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Mark, are you looking for more evidence or are you taken aback that this charge would be made? I’m reluctant to give you another flawed source to quote against ministers in your denomination.

    Anyway, I thought you knew more about the criticisms than I did.

    No, Darryl, it’s neither of those things.

    To put it in your terms, I’m just calling your bluff.

    So where’s your evidence of an OPC minister accusing WSC of Pelagianism?

  86. TurretinFan said,

    March 13, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Jack Bradley:

    I’m pretty sure that Letham could make the four affirmations and denials that I identified. I don’t think Wilson could in good conscience, even if he likes parts of what Letham says. It’s the things Wilson can’t affirm or deny that bother me.

    -TurretinFan

  87. Jack Bradley said,

    March 13, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Jeff & TF,

    I don’t really have an interest in pursuing a new thread. I’m convinced of Wilson’s complete orthodoxy on justification. If you are not, after reading this issue of Credenda, you can hash it out on your own.

  88. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 13, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Jack, that’s fair. It’s not entirely fair to Doug to discuss him in the third person.

    My focus, however, is not on Doug — you’ll notice that I haven’t questioned his orthodoxy, and that’s on purpose — but just on the statements themselves.

    Remove the “halo effect” and pretend that you are examining the statements themselves without knowing their source. Think about their differences and whether you would accept them from a candidate for membership, and then a candidate for the ministry.

    For my part, I would say “yes” and “more study needed”, respectively.

  89. TurretinFan said,

    March 13, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Jack Bradley:

    Of course, you need not defend his orthodoxy on justification (or anything else). There are several ways I could take silence regarding the four statements, but I’ll pick the simplest and least controversial: my concerns stand, remaining unaddressed.

    -TurretinFan

  90. March 13, 2012 at 10:11 am

    It’s more than a little surprising the see folk talking about the self-described, so-called “Federal Vision” as if it were anything other than a corruption of the gospel, contrary to the Word of God as confessed by the Reformed churches. Denoms that have rejected it: URCNA, PCA, RCUS, RPCNA, among others. It’s been studied and rejected. There’s no mystery here. “In by grace (baptism), stay in by cooperation with grace” is not good news. “Stay in by cooperation” is what the Reformers called “works.” Faith, in the act of justification, is ONLY “receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness” and the “alone instrument of justification.” It’s never alone. It always results in fruit but that fruit is ONLY evidence of justification. The FV rejects the Reformed doctrine and says that faith justifies BECAUSE it’s not alone. This is a confusion and a serious error. The FV doctrine of justification through faithfulness is not the gospel nor is it the Reformed doctrine of justification.

    For those just tuning into this controversy, here are some resources.

  91. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 13, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Mark Van Der Molen: “No, Darryl, it’s neither of those things.

    To put it in your terms, I’m just calling your bluff.

    So where’s your evidence of an OPC minister accusing WSC of Pelagianism?”

    Mark, it may not be a bluff. Let’s see Darryl Hart provide the evidence supporting his claim that an OPC minister accused Westminster Seminary California of Pelagianism.

    But what if Darryl Hart doesn’t provide the evidence or won’t provide the evidence? What does that say? Why make a claim if you won’t provide the evidence when asked? At the very least, you’d expect the claim to be withdrawn, right.

    If no response is forthcoming, it’s more than fair to regard the claim as hollow. And that the claim and the one making the claim is merely shallow rhetoric.

  92. March 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Horton (audio) on Calvin’s distinction between law and gospel.

  93. Mark Kim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Thanks Prof. Clark for that audio link by Horton on Calvin’s view of the law and gospel.

    Having completed two Masters theses at my theological school on Calvin’s soteriology I have to say that Calvin stands shoulder to shoulder with Luther when it comes to the law-gospel distinction on justification (though Calvin was generally more positive about the law on the whole than Luther). It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Calvin (in his Institutes and commentaries) denounced any sort of conflation between law and gospel when it came to the chief article of the Christian faith.

    I have read Peter Lillback’s work on Calvin’s view of the covenant. Though he makes some good points in his work against modern scholarship who propose that a covenantal theology was non-existent in Calvin (or the two traditions theory of J. Wayne Baker) I was taken aback a lot of times when he makes Calvin sound like some proto-Federal Visionist.

    What I find interesting is how “Reformed” folk today who embrace the NPP or FV views of the law and gospel tell the other side that their theological heritage is rooted in Calvin. Reading some of the materials written by Calvin there is absolutely no way he would have agreed with the NPP or FV view of the law’s relationship to the gospel (esp. the former)

  94. Mark Kim said,

    March 13, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Prof. Clark,

    Perhaps you can clear this up for me, but I heard from someone that one of the reasons why many Reformed scholars were opposed to Shepherd’s view of justification (during the height of the controversy at WTS-PA) was that Shepherd seemed to suggest that a believer must do good works in order to “maintain” his or her justified status. Would that be a generally correct assessment of one of the major concerns many of the orthodox Reformed had at that time?

  95. TurretinFan said,

    March 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Prof. Clark,

    You wrote: “Denoms that have rejected it: URCNA, PCA, RCUS, RPCNA, among others. It’s been studied and rejected.”

    Yes, but how good were the studies and what exactly was rejected? What seems to be missing is a precise doctrinal formulation which those holding to the erroneous position would reject, but which they ought to accept, such that presbyteries can directly interrogate their members, and determine whether they fall within the scope of the studies and rejections, no?

    -TurretinFan

  96. March 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    […] Green Baggins: Chapter 1 Part One: The Law-Gospel Distinction […]

  97. dghart said,

    March 14, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Mark, I thought you thought I didn’t know what was going on in the OPC. Why don’t you stick to the URC and leave Presbyterianism to us Gentiles?

    Here is an excerpt from the lengthy Kerux (http://www.kerux.com/pdf/Kerux.24.03.pdf) review of The Law Is Not of Faith (it culminates a lengthy introduction to a bloated review that puts the entire book in the context of coming down on the wrong side of Augustine vs. Pelagius):

    “This is unwitting Pelagianism (calling it “typological” does not alter its
    essential and substantial character) and Augustinian Calvinists are correct to see it as a threat to sola gratia as Augustine saw it 1600 years ago.”

    I guess this just proves that no one reads Kerux.

  98. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 14, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Darryl, I asked for evidence that the authors of the overture I mentioned had accused WSC of Pelagianism.

    You answer with the Kerux article who argued that theology that says sinners can “merit” God’s reward is “unwitting” Pelagianism.

    None of the authors of the Kerux article were authors of the overture.

    So, where’s the evidence?

  99. dghart said,

    March 14, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Mark, so let me get this straight. WSC is guilty of infidelity for the slightest infraction of departure from the glories of neo-Calvinism. But if an overture originates from a presbytery where a seminary is located whose founder has a journal that makes complaints about a book similar to those of the overture, it’s only coincidence?

    Once again, your slipperiness is astounding. Just be honest and above board in your disagreements. Make a case that this view is outside the standards of our churches. Don’t simply traffic in innuendo.

    At least the 2kers are upfront about their disagreements. Your complaint seems to be no more than they disagree with what you’ve always thought. I wonder where you would have come down on Calvin and Luther.

  100. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 14, 2012 at 7:33 am

    But if an overture originates from a presbytery where a seminary is located whose founder has a journal that makes complaints about a book similar to those of the overture, it’s only coincidence?

    Now who’s trafficing in innuendo? Is this how you do you history?

    Just be upfront and admit you have no evidence that the authors of the overture accused WSC of Pelagianism. It’s o.k. We all know.

  101. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 14, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Darryl Hart, #100 to Mark Van Der Molen:

    o “Once again, your slipperiness is astounding.”

    o “Just be honest and above board in your disagreements.”

    o “At least the 2kers are upfront about their disagreements.”

    Reading the above is good medicine for the soul.

  102. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Darryl, do you stand with Calvin in this:

    “But it is questioned whether the law pertains to the kingdom of Christ, which is spiritual and distinct from all earthly dominion; and there are some men, not otherwise ill-disposed, to whom it appears that our condition under the Gospel is different from that of the ancient people under the law; not only because the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, but because Christ was unwilling that the beginnings of His kingdom should be aided by the sword. But, when human judges consecrate their work to the promotion of Christ’s kingdom, I deny that on that account its nature is changed. For, although it was Christ’s will that His Gospel should be proclaimed by His disciples in opposition to the power of the whole world, and He exposed them armed with the Word alone like sheep amongst the wolves, He did not impose on Himself an eternal law that He should never bring kings under His subjection, nor tame their violence, nor change them from being cruel persecutors into the patrons and guardians of His Church.”

    John Calvin
    Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses — p. 77.

  103. March 14, 2012 at 10:24 am

    @Mark Kim – Thanks for the encouragement. Re: Calvin and Luther. It’s pretty clear from the sources that he never implicitly or explicitly criticized Luther on justification. He saw himself as teaching the very same doctrine built on the fundamentally the same hermeneutical and theological distinctions. Calvin did criticize Luther implicitly on his principle of worship and he did criticize his intemperate language re the supper and he criticized Luther’s Christology.

    re: Shepherd. It wasn’t a matter of inference. In ’74 (and after) Shepherd said explicitly that we are justified through faith AND works. That language morphed to “faithfulness.” That such a view arose in our circles and was expressed so baldly and was defended (!) illustrates how far we had drifted from the confessional understanding of Scripture. It’s a great distance between WCF 11’s “resting and receiving” and “faith and works.”

    @TF The URC’s has repudiated the FV three times, each time in more detail than the last. The study report was well done. The OPC study report was well done. The RCUS study report was fairly thorough. Despite the technical incompetence of the FV proponents (they weren’t themselves conscious of the ways in which they were departing from the Reformed tradition and confession) there was no mystery as to what they were saying–despite the diversity in their midst. Have you taken the time to read the various reports and criticisms? I spent the better part of 10 years working on the issues and have no doubt that the NAPARC world did the right thing. The FV was and remains a clear and present danger to the peace and purity of the Reformed churches.

  104. March 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

    @TF re precise doctrinal formulations. Really? Did you read the 9 points rejected by the URCs and the PCA?

  105. Reed Here said,

    March 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

    TFan: with Dr. Clark, a bit astonished at your observation.

  106. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Prof. Clark:

    Yes, really. I admit I was a bit more focused on the PCA than the URC (sorry to my Dutch brethren).

    The 9 points are at least the right idea (5 and 7 seem pretty good, actually, and I think 7 might actually address the issues I noted above with Wilson), but I don’t recall (and perhaps I just missed it) the PCA adopting the 9 points.

    Am I mistaken? Has the PCA adopted the 9 points? Have any of the Presbyterian or Reformed churches other than the URC done so? There have been a number of presbyterian study reports rejecting “Federal Visionism,” but I recall them generally being waved off by Wilson and others as missing mark.

    You know that your doctrinal formulation is precise when the other side is no longer willing to go along with it.

    If the PCA had the 9 points or the equivalent, one would have expected that Leithart’s trial would have been somewhat easier, in that he could have been asked to agree or disagree with the 9 points.

    -TurretinFan

  107. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:16 am

    With regards to the ongoing exchange between Darryl Hart and Mark Van Der Molen, here’s a concise synopsis:

    Darryl Hart on the Republication Overture: Smearing the Authors.

  108. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

    TFan: From the 2007 PCA General Assembly. Page 35 (ref p. 2235).

  109. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Let me give you an example, the OPC identified twenty errors ( http://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=478 ):

    1 Pitting Scripture and Confession against each other.
    2 Regarding the enterprise of systematic theology as inherently rationalistic.
    3 A mono-covenantalism that sees one covenant, originating in the intra-Trinitarian fellowship, into which man is invited, thus flattening the concept of covenant and denying the distinction between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace.
    4 Election as primarily corporate and eclipsed by covenant.
    5 Seeing covenant as only conditional.
    6 A denial of the covenant of works and of the fact that Adam was in a relationship with God that was legal as well as filial.
    7 A denial of a covenant of grace distinct from the covenant of works.
    8 A denial that the law given in Eden is the same as that more fully published at Mt. Sinai and that it requires perfect obedience.
    9 Viewing righteousness as relational, not moral.
    10 A failure to make clear the difference between our faith and Christ’s.
    11 A denial of the imputation of the active obedience of Christ in our justification.
    12 Defining justification exclusively as the forgiveness of sins.
    13 The reduction of justification to Gentile inclusion.
    14 Including works (by use of “faithfulness,” “obedience,” etc.) in the very definition of faith.
    15 Failing to affirm an infallible perseverance and the indefectibility of grace.
    16 Teaching baptismal regeneration.
    17 Denying the validity of the concept of the invisible church.
    18 An overly objectified sacramental efficacy that downplays the need for faith and that tends toward an ex opere operato [automatically effective] view of the sacraments.
    19 Teaching paedocommunion.
    20 Ecclesiology that eclipses and swallows up soteriology.

    Is anyone seriously going to admit to 20?
    19 is pretty good, easy and straightforward, but it doesn’t really seem to address the core of the problem.
    Is anyone going to admit to 18?
    For 17 Aren’t they going to say something like “not helpful” instead of “not valid”?
    For 16, without a definition … I imagine that they will just deny that they hold it.
    15 they claim to hold this by distinguishing between decretally elect and others, right?

    And so on …

    Those are not as helpful as something like the 9 points, and – moreover – as far as I know the OPC’s adoption of the report does not entail a judgment on those points.

    -TurretinFan

  110. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Thanks, Jeff. Was adoption of that report adoption of those 9 points? And if so, any idea whether or not Leithart agreed to or dissented from them?

    -TurretinFan

  111. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

    My memory is faulty on that point. I distinctly recall Jeff Meyers declaring that he could uphold the 9 points. I more vaguely recall PL saying that he could also, but I can’t remember whether he had an exception to one of them.

    But yes, the PCA adopted the nine points when it accepted the study. AND, the most significant effect of that adoption will be its use by the standing judicial committee when dealing with appeals.

  112. March 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    T-Fan,

    If the PCA had the 9 points or the equivalent, one would have expected that Leithart’s trial would have been somewhat easier, in that he could have been asked to agree or disagree with the 9 points.

    That’s not how it works. The PCA received the FV Report which included the 9 declarations, but left it up to presbyteries to pursue the judicial aspect of it all. Further, it was the existence of these 9 declarations that helped pass the motion to form a study committee in the PNWP to investigate Leithart. But the thing about the PNWP is that most men here don’t think he is out of accord, and all of them voted against the initial GA Report back in’07. That’s one of the reasons Leithart was so roundly acquitted here.

  113. March 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    T-Fan,

    As to whether Leithart accepted of denied the 9 points, he issued a public letter to the clerk of presbytery on the day the FV Report was received, giving his own teachings in the light of the 9 points. I think that letter is a matter of public record, and may be available at pnwp.org.

  114. Cris Dickason said,

    March 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    TF @ 95 (and 110)

    What seems to be missing is a precise doctrinal formulation which those holding to the erroneous position would reject, but which they ought to accept, such that presbyteries can directly interrogate their members, and determine whether they fall within the scope of the studies and rejections, no?

    TurretinFan

    What you appear to be asking for is a list of questions and/or affirmations that would absolutely and automatically, dare I say, ex opere operato, guarantee that a Federal Vision proponent could be found out, discovered, and then be a known person needing teaching or needing to be kept from church office.

    While that is a laudable goal, it is not achievable in this fashion. Neither human nature, nor Presbyterian and Reformed church polity work this way. The world is a messy place (In Adam’s fall, we sinned all), and sometimes you just need to get your hands dirty in living and working in it. We (special officers) have the confessional standards and the Scriptures on which those standards are based. The elders’ task (RE & TE) is to shepherd the church, and with respect to doctrine, to meet folks where they are and bring them to better, more faithful understanding of God’s word. No one is born, or re-born, knowing the intricacies of doctrine x, y or z. We teach and exhort. We guard and fence the offices that Christ has established. Yes, ultimately we must guard and fence the office of general believer. So there are things a person can say or do that preclude them from church membership and the privileges of the sacraments. But all things are done by a process of teaching, discipleship and discipline.

    Every time we think we can mold the silver bullet that solves everything with respect to FV or this or that, you find that the terminology, or something, has shifted and those determined to pursue error will find a way to squeeze through some crack not previously noticed.

    So, as noted by others (e.g. Dr. Clark), we take those adopted, agreed upon reports and principles and use them in teaching and in discipline, if necessary. But they are meant to be silver bullets or magic wands.

    Nothing replace the hard work of discipleship and discipline (and Candidates/Credentials Committees, and public examinations).

    -=Cris=-

  115. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks for the clarification, JJS!

    http://pnwp.org/images/resources/defense-ex-7-leithart-response-to-pnw-committee-oct-08.pdf << I think this is the letter you have in mind. The letter certainly seems to suggest that Leithart doesn't agree with the 9 points.

    "That’s not how it works."

    Understood. But that is how, if the PCA adopts doctrinal positions on things, it ought to work.

    "That’s one of the reasons Leithart was so roundly acquitted here."

    Not acquitted of holding views contrary to the PCA's 9 points, though.

  116. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Cris:

    “Nothing replace the hard work of discipleship and discipline (and Candidates/Credentials Committees, and public examinations).”

    I’m certainly not suggesting anything does.

    What your response seems to be missing is that in the end (and then periodically thereafter, as needed) what must be provided is something like the URC’s 9 points, which those outside the accepted boundaries cannot accept and which those inside the accepted boundaries can accept.

    That won’t solve the problem of bad people lying about what they believe, but it will provide a touchstone.

    This is an approach that Christian churches have frequently used in the past, and something that it would be valuable for churches (Presbyterian or Reformed) to use today. In Reformed churches, for example, the use of the creed is exactly this sort of thing. In Presbyterian churches, the Westminster Standards are supposed to serve a similar purpose.

    -TurretinFan

  117. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks again, Jeff. If nothing else, this exchange of comments has certainly improved the clarity of my understanding of the FV problem.

  118. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    On a related note, the URC has not said the 9 points themselves can serve as the basis for discipline of officebearers. While the affirmations are to be received with respect, any discipline must be based on Scripture and/or the confessions. Currently, a Synodical committee is examining the question of the “status” of such Synodical affirmations in the federation.

  119. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Pastor Jason Stellman: “As to whether Leithart accepted of [sic] denied the 9 points, he issued a public letter to the clerk of presbytery on the day the FV Report was received, giving his own teachings in the light of the 9 points.”

    Accepting/Denying = Agreeing/Disagreeing

    It’s amusing to see this statement by Pastor Stellman given Sean and Zrim’s refusal to answer whether they agreed or disagreed with Jed Paschall’s well thought-out statement as being in accord with Escondido 2K doctrine.

    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.

  120. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Every time we think we can mold the silver bullet that solves everything with respect to FV or this or that, you find that the terminology, or something, has shifted and those determined to pursue error will find a way to squeeze through some crack not previously noticed.

    Which ironically has been the mirror experience of more than a few folks who would interact with the proponents of ER2k theology. When presented with clear summaries or even direct quotations from their writings, the cries of misrepresentation and misunderstanding arise. As with the 9 points on FV, at some point the churches just need to ignore the whining and move forward after becoming satisfied they have heard and understood what is being advocated.

  121. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Mark Van Der Molen, #121 in response to Cris Dickason, #115: “Which ironically has been the mirror experience of more than a few folks who would interact with the proponents of ER2k theology.”

    Yes! For example, in this query to Pastor Jason Stellman in his blogpost thread HERE, he was asked about the Church of Scotland and gay marriage.

    Q’s to Pastor 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: “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.”

    Clarifying Questions to Pastor Stellman’s response: “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?”

    —–

    No response from Pastor Stellman to these clarifying questions.

    Is there similarity between FV proponents and Escondido 2K proponents with regards to accepting/denying, agreeing/disagreeing to statements? Is there similarity between FV proponents and Escondido 2K proponents in their evasive answers or refusal to answer the clear questions put to them?

  122. March 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    @TF There are lots of FV-related resources here.

    Re: the URCs. Synod has three times rejected the FV doctrines, each time in greater detail. The Nine Points of 2007 were “pastoral advice,” a category that doesn’t exist in the church order, so there is some ambiguity perhaps but the intent of synod was clear: to reject the FV doctrines heartily and thoroughly. The report brought to the last Synod and adopted was quite through and said essentially the same thing as the 9 pts.

    For my money one of the most basic errors of the FV is the confusion of the Two Ways of Being in the One Covenant of Grace.

  123. March 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Have I been evasive? I thought I had answered your questions as best I can (although I started tuning you out after a while since you seemed to be hell-bent on proving some kind of disagreement between Horton and VanDrunen which neither I, nor anyone else on my blog, nor they themselves, recognize. I told you many times to give up and move on.

    You interact like a bully, TUAD. You can’t try to push people around and then call them “evasive” when they become offended at your behavior and desire to move. (snip)

  124. Reed here said,

    March 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    TUAD: you need to back off your insistence here. You’ve been answered. You don’t like the answers. Got it. Move on please.

  125. Reed here said,

    March 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Reminder, Lane does not want on-list objections to moderating decisions. Please contact the moderator off-list if you object to his/her moderating decision. Thanks.

  126. Truth Unites... and Divides said,

    March 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    o Cris Dickason: “Every time we think we can mold the silver bullet that solves everything with respect to FV or this or that, you find that the terminology, or something, has shifted and those determined to pursue error will find a way to squeeze through some crack not previously noticed.”

    o Mark Van Der Molen: “Which ironically has been the mirror experience of more than a few folks who would interact with the proponents of ER2k theology. When presented with clear summaries or even direct quotations from their writings, the cries of misrepresentation and misunderstanding arise. As with the 9 points on FV, at some point the churches just need to ignore the whining and move forward after becoming satisfied they have heard and understood what is being advocated.”

    Mark,

    Two things. One, there were cries of misrepresentation and misunderstanding hurled at Dr. John Frame’s book even though he presented direct quotations from the writings of proponents of E2K theology.

    Two, when you say that churches just need to ignore the whining [of E2K proponents] and move forward, where and what are they moving forward to?

  127. Reed here said,

    March 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Alternatively, the men critiqued by Frame have offered a reasonably documented defense showing Frame’s errors.

  128. truthunites said,

    March 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    @128: Where?

    In Dr. Horton’s Review there were a number of commenters asking for a reasonably documented defense:

    o “I am reading the book right now, “The Escondido Theology”, and I think the “WSC men” need to respond to the criticisms being leveled in it. If in fact those criticisms are without merit, they need to show us why. I think that John Frame’s credibility as a clear thinker and an astute theologian lend some credence to his words.”

    o “This is why a serious (maybe “strong” is a better word) response to Frame will require an actual, direct engagement with Frames material and their own material that Frame makes use of in the book in order to try and make his case.

    Granted they probably don’t want to do this and probably won’t do this “point-by-point” for the whole book. But it would be nice to have several concrete examples concerning the more important charges that Frame levels against them.”

    o “The same exact analogy with FV came to my mind here (although I am not a FVist). In some instances persons like Doug Wilson were being charged with believing “x” based on things Wilson had said/written/whatever. Wilson denied it, but no one on the other side was really saitisfied were they? So shouldn’t these same people be dissatisfied with WSC response? If a FVist “Nuh-uh” isn’t good enough, then why is WSC?”

    o “Dr. Horton,

    I have to admit this is rich with irony. George Grant states in the com box that he is not a theonomist. You then quote a primary source work of his, then conclude he in fact is a theonomist.

    Isn’t this exactly what Frame is doing to you and your colleagues? Quoting your works and making the appropriate conclusions?”

  129. TurretinFan said,

    March 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Prof. Clark:

    You wrote: “For my money one of the most basic errors of the FV is the confusion of the Two Ways of Being in the One Covenant of Grace.”

    My conclusion is similar: I think one of the most basic errors of the FV is the claim that the non-elect can have true union with Christ.

    -TurretinFan

  130. Reed here said,

    March 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    TUAD, you’ve quoted three comments asking Horton for a more detailed response. That doesn’t prove the response he gave don’t actually respond to Frame’s challenges, and that adequately, I’ll let others read the rest of Horton’s response and decide for themselves if your guilt by comparison allegation is fair or not.

    In the meantime, I’ll continue o look for Lane’s interaction with Frame in this series of posts here at GB.

  131. truthunites said,

    March 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Reed, @131. It’s not a “guilt by comparison” allegation. It’s simply showing that your statement of: “the men critiqued by Frame have offered a reasonably documented defense showing Frame’s errors” is not substantiated.

    Where is this reasonably documented defense showing Frame’s errors, Reed?

  132. Reed here said,

    March 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    TUAD, already answered you. See the last sentence in no. 131.

  133. dghart said,

    March 14, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Mark, of course I disagree with Calvin. But so do you. You don’t advocate the execution of adulterers.

    So who is being slippery. You try to hold 2kers to a standard that you don’t even follow.

    2kers have been clear. You just don’t like the answers. Nor do you like that all the Reformed churches disagree with Calvin on the magistrate.

    When will you admit that? And when will you see that you are in the no man’s land of not being forceful enough to buy capital punishment for heretics and not having a Reformed church that takes your view of the magistrate, whatever it is.

    Why don’t you stop being evasive and say what you believe?

  134. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:28 am

    TUAD at #127, let me just generally say that, like that OPC presbytery, it appears the time is upon us for ecclesiastical judgments on this controversy troubling the churches. That can take many forms, i.e., overtures, study committees, appeals, etc. Or it could be as simple as a local church voting with their pocketbook. Or a consistory having a frank discussion with a young man considering entering the ministry. There are a range of responses. Some of these things happen behind the scenes.

    That is not to say that the non-ecclesiastical examination {via blogs and publications} of the E2K movement hasn’t been helpful, or that this type of discussion shouldn’t continue. These discussions have helped clarify where the differences lie. It has exposed some who are so deeply invested in the project so as to be impervious to critique. I’ve also witnessed where it has changed minds and open some eyes about the issues at stake.

  135. dghart said,

    March 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Mark, or it could be the case that figures like Frame and Kloosterman have so misrepresented 2k that they have scared some folks. And despite repeated assertions to the contrary, critics like Kloosterman and Frame traffic in innuendo on matters that 2kers repudiate.

    2kers affirm the Lordship of Christ even if they don’t believe it requires Christian education for church officers.

    2kers affirm the ongoing claims of the moral law (see the defenses of the second commandment by VanDrunen, the fourth commandment by all, and the implications of the second commandment for worship) and yet continue to be branded antinomian (by some who reject the regulative principle).

    2kers also defend the gospel but that doesn’t count (see the work of 2kers on justification).

    2kers also defend the work of the institutional church as the place where God is drawing a people to himself and yet they are denounced for not extending redemption to the arts and politics.

    It is actually those who won’t recognize the valuable contributions of 2kers who are deeply invested in preserving their holy cows.

  136. truthunites said,

    March 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Darryl Hart: 2kers also defend the work of the institutional church as the place where God is drawing a people to himself and yet they are denounced for not extending redemption to the arts and politics.”

    Darryl, please read the following.

    RC Sproul per Lane Keister’s live-blogging: “He [RC Sproul] says that abortion is the greatest moral issue this country has ever faced. Slavery was rightly condemned. Therefore, abortion should be all the more so. The church has the duty to tell the state what it believes about the issue.”

    Question for Darryl Hart: 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?

  137. dghart said,

    March 15, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    truthisdivisive, what do you think? No, it does not.

    Do you really think that after this dust up over HHS and health care and Roman Catholics, the government has no idea what the church believes about abortion?

  138. dghart said,

    March 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Truthisdivisive, just to be clear. This is not about RC Sproul. You don’t conform to 2k views either.

  139. truthunites said,

    March 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Me: “Question for Darryl Hart: 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?”

    Darryl Hart: “truthisdivisive, what do you think? No, it does not.”

    Question for others: RC Sproul’s statement falls outside of the boundaries of Escondido 2K doctrine. Does it fall outside of historic or classical 2K doctrine too?

    Jed Paschall in another thread said that Escondido 2K is a relatively new development. I (and many others) would like to discern what the essential, major differences are between historic, classical 2K doctrine and Escondido 2K doctrine. If RC Sproul’s statement falls outside of historic or classical 2K doctrine, then we know that on this issue or principle, there are no differences between classical 2K doctrine and Escondido 2K doctrine.

    However, if RC Sproul’s statement falls within historic or classical 2K doctrine, then we have identified at least one issue or principle in which Escondido 2K doctrine departs from classical 2K doctrine.

  140. Timothy said,

    March 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    “Escondido 2k” is not a prolific and actual theological system that has all the ducks in a row and as if everyone were on the same page. No, this is blatant disregard for how to actually deal with theologians and the “other” (“I, Thou” relationships).

    Michael Horton for instance has said on numerous occasions that Apartheid is sin and the South African Reformed church was right in declaring it as such.

    So, let us stop the idea that there is some prolific Two Kingdoms theology or hermeneutic that WSCAL is “pushing” and learn to actually read these men in context. Stop reading others and go to the sources. These men are in the tradition and trying to develop it consistently (see Van Drunen’s The Natural Law and Two Kingdoms). They openly say that the Erastian and Establishmentarian policies of the early Reformation were wrong and not consistent with the spirituality of the church or its teaching on these matters. Read them, they say this. They are trying to develop theology according to the Scriptures and not merely repristinate the Reformers.

    These men stand and unite as a Faculty on the Confessions and where it is silent, the school cannot be said as a whole to have ‘this’ or ‘that’ theology.

    The real differences reside not in whether abortion is sin. Every professor at WSCAL would say it is. That which is put forth as a matter outside the jurisdiction of the church courts, by the 2K professors in Escondido, is the Positive Law application in the civil sphere. Natural Law dictates to all men by the Holy Spirit’s work in Providence that abortion is wrong and the Church should declare this according to the witness of Scripture.

    To think a positive-law policy is dictated in Scripture is, according to Two Kingdoms theology, aberrant and outside the bounds of the church. This is where true disagreement may be had and to say otherwise is to bind the conscience of the believer wrongly and be no different than a Papist. There is difference of opinion even at WSCAL on how this would best be worked out in the civil sphere. So, lets stop the ad hoc, ad hominem, straw men approach initiated by Frame and listen with the ear of first naivete.

    Also, it is important to bear in mind that these men are trying to recover what was lost with the eclipse of Reformed orthodoxy and scholasticism in the neo-Calvinist movement (see John Bolt’s work on the fall-out of Kuyper’s descendants, and the rise of Reformed biblicism). Before real progress and moving forward can happen a recovery of the tradition is necessary. They wish to do this without accepting that which they think unbiblical and no longer in accord with the confessions.

  141. truthunites said,

    March 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Timothy, #141: “Michael Horton for instance has said on numerous occasions that Apartheid is sin and the South African Reformed church was right in declaring it as such.”

    A first naivete here. If Michael Horton says that the South African Reformed church was right in declaring to the state that Apartheid is sin, then why doesn’t 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” too, contra Darryl Hart’s contention that it does not?

    “Natural Law dictates to all men by the Holy Spirit’s work in Providence that abortion is wrong and the Church should declare this according to the witness of Scripture.”

    If I understand you correctly Timothy, you’re saying that RC Sproul’s statement of “The church has the duty to tell the state what it believes about the issue [of abortion]” does indeed conform to Escondido 2K doctrine, is that right?

  142. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    It’s odd to me that Timothy can basically say that there is no “Escondido 2K doctrine” as such, and in the next comment he can be asked what the Escondido 2K doctrine conforms with.

    It seems to me a safer and more fruitful practice to ask whether certain theologians would agree with this or that, and then consult their own texts rather than demanding out-of-context hearsay that quickly becomes a proof-text/litmus test for comments-section discussions.

  143. truthunites said,

    March 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Timothy, #141: “To think a positive-law policy is dictated in Scripture is, according to Two Kingdoms theology, aberrant and outside the bounds of the church.”

    Q: When the South African Reformed church declared to the state that Apartheid is sin, did the declaration influence or impact positive-law policy in South Africa?

  144. truthunites said,

    March 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Jed Paschall, #394: “We also need to remember the variety of 2k being formally taught in Escondido is a relatively new development”

    All agree?

  145. Richard said,

    March 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    DJG,

    You’re right. Some of us are setting up a fictional “Escondido 2K doctrine” as a straw man which they use in a “when did you beat your wife” argument. Pretty silly.

  146. truthunites said,

    March 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Jed Paschall, #394: “We also need to remember the variety of 2k being formally taught in Escondido is a relatively new development”

    TurretinFan notices that the variety of 2K being formally taught in Escondido is different as well in his post:

    Varieties of “Two Kingdoms” Positions

    Excerpt:

    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.

  147. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    TU, #145,

    The “formal” 2K education at WSC is taught most explicitly by VanDrunen, and he has compiled an excellent book which would,by and large, mitigate against that claim… as I’m sure you already know. Obviously there have been developments over time, but his point is that 2K theology isn’t a new development but has roots in Christian thinkers throughout the ages.

    The question out there is the relationship between 2K education at WSC and Reformed history, and the 2K educator at WSC has written a book on that very issue… Lucky you, I guess?

    It is a lovely book and I strongly recommend it. Cheers.

    http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Law-Two-Kingdoms-Development/dp/0802864430/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1331844872&sr=8-2

  148. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    “These men stand and unite as a Faculty on the Confessions”

    I suspect that some of the men take exception to portion(s) of the Confession(s), and not all necessarily subscribe to the same Confession.

    Some of the folks associated with E2k would seem to think it unwise for the Westminster Confession to have chapter 23 at all (or the Belgic Confession chapter 36 at all), since it speaks to the duty of the civil magistrate.

    Moreover, most E2kers could not be very comfortable with the implication behind “Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the church of our common Lord … .” (WCF 23:3 American revision) or the implication behind “civil rulers have the task, subject to God’s law, of removing every obstacle to the preaching of the gospel and to every aspect of divine worship.” (BC 26, CRC wording) Churches that adopt that confession are making a public statement about the duty of the civil magistrate, and it is one that invites the civil magistrate to make a determination regarding whether some entity is the church of our common Lord, and whether or not particular speech is gospel preaching and/or divine worship.

    There is something ironic, though about a single post saying both: ““Escondido 2k” is not a prolific and actual theological system that has all the ducks in a row and as if everyone were on the same page” and then a little later “To think a positive-law policy is dictated in Scripture is, according to Two Kingdoms theology, aberrant and outside the bounds of the church.”

    It really seems, from the standpoint of a critic of E2k, that the E2k shifts in and out of being a real theological system with ducks in a row, depending on what kind of issue is being pressed.

    I have not reached a conclusion about Frame’s book, and I really appreciate Lane’s detailed review. One thing that I think is especially helpful about Frame’s book is that it is helping to air these matters, which can potentially lead to clarification and removal of misconceptions and broad-brush-stroking.

    I will add that I was also appreciative of DGH’s attempt to create some statements regarding what, in his view, E2k says about various topics, which I think Reed published here on the blog not that long ago. Those kinds of statements can help people identify where the real differences (if any) lie.

    -TurreitnFan

  149. Zrim said,

    March 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    TUAD, I’ll take Machen over Sproul and the South African Reformed Church:

    “. . . 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. . . .”

  150. truthunites said,

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Zrim: “TUAD, I’ll take Machen over Sproul and the South African Reformed Church”

    Zrim, just know that you’re also taking Machen over Michael Horton too since Michael Horton said that the South African Reformed church was right in declaring to the state that Apartheid is sin.

  151. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Zrim:

    Do you affirm this: “God wants the world to be governed by laws and policies so that human lawlessness may be restrained and that everything may be conducted in good order among human beings. For that purpose God has placed the sword in the hands of the government, to punish evil people and protect the good.”

    – TurretinFan

  152. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    TU, #151

    In fairness, you don’t know that Horton said that. Unless you can give me a reference outside of these comments (which Horton hasn’t weighed in on).

    We do know, however, that he said this in “Where in the World is the Church?”:

    “When ministers become politicians, or politicians invoke God’s name in civil religion; when artists become evangelists or preacher-teachers (or politicians); or public education, art, and science become heavily politicized, there is a deep impoverishment of the society. Educators should be concerned with teaching students, not with lobbying Washington; artists should be devoted to their craft, not to making political or religious propaganda; politicians should be dedicated to civil duties, not to saving the nation spiritually, materially, or morally; and we should expect the church to proclaim the Word, administer the sacraments, and maintain good order and discipline among professing Christians, not to confuse its mission with any of these other important, but distinct, spheres of creation.” pgs. 39-40.

  153. truthunites said,

    March 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    DJG: “TU, #151 In fairness, you don’t know that Horton said that.”

    True, I’m relying upon Timothy who said in #141:

    Michael Horton for instance has said on numerous occasions that Apartheid is sin and the South African Reformed church was right in declaring it as such.”

    Did the South African Reformed church declare that Apartheid is sin to the state? Or did the South African Reformed church declare that Apartheid is sin to themselves?

    If the South African Reformed church declared that Apartheid is sin to the state, and Michael Horton said that it was right for them to do so, then that’s what I’m understanding Timothy as saying.

    If Michael Horton said that it is wrong for the South African Reformed church to declare that Apartheid is sin to the state, I would like confirmation of that as well.

  154. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    TU,

    I get your reliance on Timothy’s comments, and I don’t distrust him – but it seems safer, more contextual, and more honest to deal with texts/quotes that we know Horton has provided for public scrutiny.

  155. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    TU,

    I won’t speak directly for VanDrunen or Hart. I think we can agree that neither one of them want an abortion to happen nor do they shy away from its being a horrific sin (as sin always is). But I guess the question becomes whether or not legalizing it will bring an increase in abortions – or if the people who wanted abortions would get them anyway they could – including unsafely. What was the effect of prohibition on alcohol consumption? I doubt people will grant that analogy given the stakes, but I think it is a question we can ask.

    You said: “But if abortion is wrong, why is it the duty of gov’t to ensure the safety of the wrongdoer?”

    I think the point is that an unsafe abortion is harmful to the baby and the woman, and a clinical abortion (as terrible as it is) is at least physically safer for the woman. Is that a fair point from someone who is seeking to love their neighbor? (which would, obviously, include counseling a person considering the operation if it was made known beforehand).

    By the way, I don’t want a sniper to kill children, but I also don’t want him to kill children and then kill himself. I want the state to execute justice and the church to call him to repentance and belief.

  156. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    DJG: I think the counterpoint is that consequentialism is not a legitimate ground for opposition to laws against murder of the unborn. -TurretinFan

  157. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    My ground is the love of neighbor, and my claim is not one of voting but of legitimate topics of discussion.

    I wonder how you, TFan, would frame some wisdom issues of Christian liberty (weaker brother stuff and whatnot)? Those discussions sound like consequentialism despite them being formally rooted in wisdom and sensitivity. Drinking in front of a weaker brother is an action judged according to its outcome, no? If it causes my brother to stumble then it was wrong, if not then it was acceptable. Is that consequentialism?

    I don’t think consequentialism is a fair category in this discussion.

  158. DJG said,

    March 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I take back that example. It’s overly reductionistic and not helpful.

    I merely restate my ground and claim.

  159. March 15, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    ” I want the state to execute justice and the church to call him to repentance and belief.”

    This is the position of all those who advocate the original WCF and Establishmentarianism in general.

  160. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    DJG:

    No doubt there are points where Christians can reasonably disagree (whether the first Sunday service should be at sun-rise or around noon, for example). But expressing concern regarding the safety of the perpetrators of murder is not an example of a reasonable disagreement.

    -TurretinFan

  161. Zrim said,

    March 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Tfan, as a member of the URCNA I subscribe the Belgic Confession, so yes. I also affirm that “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.” I remain unclear as to how “The church has the duty to tell the state what it believes about the issue [of abortion]” harmonizes with “Synods and councils…are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth…”

  162. Zrim said,

    March 15, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    TUAD, if Horton affirms the South African Reformed Church’s then I disagree with him. So what? Are we now back to your idea that all 2kers have to be carbon copies of each other?

    But if proximity to certain socio-political “sins” is the point—as in the guilt by association tactic proffered by 2k critics that makes 2k responsible for the Third Reich—does it ever occur to worldviewers who want to bring the gospel to bear on social and political structures that neo-Calvinist worldviewry was just as proximate to Apartheid? But 2kers are careful not to blame worldviewers for the “sins” of others. It’s enough to point out that, for all the self-righteous posturing about how Applied Christianity makes the world a better place, there is always an example that puts a damper on such sunny assumptions on the gospel’s worldly relevance. So if Apartheid is a sin then why didn’t the neo-Calvinists do more to eradicate it from the earth? Maybe they’re were just as human as Hitler was and more than they’d want to admit?

  163. March 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    As an aside here it should be worth noting Greg Bahnsen disagreed with the original WCF 23.3 and believed the Westminster Divines to be wrong in their advocating for the Establishment principle.

  164. TurretinFan said,

    March 15, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Zrim:

    Surely it is not intermeddling in civil affairs for the church to tell the government that God wants the world to be governed by laws and policies so that human lawlessness may be restrained and that everything may be conducted in good order among human beings.

    Likewise, surely it is not intermeddling in civil affairs for the church to tell the government that God has placed the sword in the hands of the government, to punish evil people and protect the good, for the purpose of restraining human lawlessness and ensuring that everything is conducted in good order among humans.

    Are we still in agreement?

    -TurretinFan

  165. jeff2552 said,

    March 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Consequentialism is not the same as “weighing consequences.”

    Consequentialism is the specific belief that the rightness or wrongness of any action is determined entirely by its outcome. For the consequentialist, murder could be good, if it leads to a greater total (pleasure | utility | avoidance of pain).

    That’s not where we are. We’ve all already agreed that murder is wrong because God hath said.

    But now, having agreed to this, the question is which course of action will lead to the least amount of murder. And that’s where we weigh consequences.

  166. truthunites said,

    March 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    DJG, #157, 159: “I think the point is that an unsafe abortion is harmful to the baby and the woman, and a clinical abortion (as terrible as it is) is at least physically safer for the woman. Is that a fair point from someone who is seeking to love their neighbor? My ground is the love of neighbor, and my claim is not one of voting but of legitimate topics of discussion.”

    If you make wrongdoing safer, there will be more wrongdoing. Danger is a deterrent to wrongdoers. Making wrongdoing safer encourages wrongdoing.

    Also, love of neighbor doesn’t trump justice.

  167. Timothy said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Truthunites, # 142, Yes. I believe that the church can and should declare abortion a sin when it is a necessary inference from the passages preached upon. The professors at WSCAL would agree to this. I have heard it from their own lips in their classrooms. I apologize I do not have a citation to offer.

    I cannot speak for what RC Sproul said in his conference. This non-ecclesial gathering has no official bearing upon any denomination, nor should bind the conscience of anyone unless he strictly spoke of the 6th Commandment and its necessary implications. If he merely was saying murder of children was sinful and something that all Christians should be concerned with… then yes, this is within a 2 Kingdoms view of Christ and Culture.

    I think a common fear is that when something adiaphora such as policy is spoken upon by a doctor or teacher of the church, even in the context of adiaphora, people hear this as official teaching. As seen in the medieval church’s use of Sacramentals, these ‘useful’ teachings often translate into dogma. This is something the church should fear. The elevation of men’s opinion to the realm of revealed Truth is a crime that the Reformed tradition sought to free us from by sola Scriptura, the RPW, etc.

    This is one of the main differences between Reformed confessionalism and Tridentine doctrine. The Reformed confessions are not stagnant documents but open documents that, when seen as erring, ought to be revised in accord with Scripture. Hence, the defense of revisions to the WCF and Belgic Confession. (Strict Subscription is tied to the priesthood of believers and sola Scriptura, which oddly hasn’t even been brought into the discussion)

    In Context, I believe Horton was describing the Dutch church as declaring Apartheid to be a sin within the church (which they had supported since the Pietists landed in South Africa) and in the culture at large.

  168. DJG said,

    March 16, 2012 at 1:50 am

    TU, #168:
    “If you make wrongdoing safer, there will be more wrongdoing. Danger is a deterrent to wrongdoers. Making wrongdoing safer encourages wrongdoing.”

    There are other forms of friction that will “deter” wrongdoers – like information, ultrasounds, hospital bills, and the like – none of which pose a physical threat to the mother. I don’t quite see danger as our only avenue.

    Also let’s not be ignorant of the competing dangers out there. I went to school with girls for whom the danger of unsafe cocktails were preferred to the danger of dad finding out about their pregnancy. The girls partner can also pose a threat in these situations… there other other dangers out there in some, if not many, of these cases.

    In any case, aren’t you, at least implicitly, recognizing the danger of illegal abortions, and oddly prescribing it as a legitimate deterrent?

    Anyway, you also said: “Also, love of neighbor doesn’t trump justice.”

    Remember the context for my initial claim was in the case of unsafe abortions and particularly the mother either dying or gravely hurting herself in an attempt to kill her baby. My specific means of loving my neighbor in that context is not wanting them to take any lives – and especially not two. I want them to be informed in a safe environment where options can be presented and things can be thought through. What does justice look like here for you? For me, claiming justice here sounds something like “if you are going to break the law through unsafe means, you deserve whatever harm befalls you.” Am I misunderstanding you, or are you forgetting the original context?

  169. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 2:09 am

    “But now, having agreed to this, the question is which course of action will lead to the least amount of murder.”

    No, the question is whether the state is civil magistrate is under a moral obligation to criminally sanction murder. Instead of judging the law by a moral standard (justice) you are proposing to judge it (seemingly solely) by its consequences.

    -TurretinFan

  170. Zrim said,

    March 16, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Tfan, how is the Belgic Confession or WCF “telling the government” anything? In point of fact, a confession is the stated beliefs of the church, by the church, and for the church. They follow the pattern of NT epistles this way.

  171. truthunites said,

    March 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

    (Background. Quoting DJG: “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″)

    And following through to comments 156, 158, 161, 167, 169:

    DJG, wrongdoing ought to be hazardous to the wrongdoer. Why isn’t danger a legitimate deterrent? It’s not the duty of the state to make wrongdoing risk-free. And parents have a general obligation to protect their children.

  172. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Zrim:

    To answer your question:

    When one makes a public statement of what the duty of the civil magistrate is, one doesn’t have to put it in an envelope, address it to number 10 Downing St. and apply the proper postage in order to tell the government something.

    The only way to avoid that result is by employing a hermeneutic of relativism: “this is just what our church thinks, but we’re not making any claims that are morally absolute.” But that hermeneutic is not a fair one to apply to the WCF or BC.

    So, having received my clarification, would you please answer my question yea or nay (if you can) that I posed in #165.

    -TurretinFan

  173. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Although a lot of bluster has been offered by WSC faculty, etc. in response to Frame’s critique, there has been little substantive refutation of his work. Most of the response is ad hominen, which is typical in some Reformed circles….because of course, anyone who criticizes the Reformed people of God must be disgruntled usurpers who deplore the godly seed. Charges that Frame is a cranky old man who is aiming his arrows at WSC because he lost his job is simply a playground sand box level response.

    If he is so mistaken about the theology of Escondido, then simply write a thorough refutation (which should be easy to do, given his incredible assertions, right?). So perhaps Michael Horton, RS Clark, DG Hart, etc. should put up or shut up.

    Surely they’re not afraid of little old Johnny Frame?

  174. truthunites said,

    March 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Reed DePace, #128: “Alternatively, the men critiqued by Frame have offered a reasonably documented defense showing Frame’s errors.”

    Ron Martin, #174: “Although a lot of bluster has been offered by WSC faculty, etc. in response to Frame’s critique, there has been little substantive refutation of his work.”

  175. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 16, 2012 at 10:17 am

    TFan (#170): No, definitely not.

    The justness of a law is according to ethics, which I would argue follow from God’s law. A law forbidding murder is just; a law encouraging murder is unjust.

    The wisdom of a law includes consideration of consequences as well. If a law forbidding abortion results in a greater number of abortions than would otherwise come to be, it is an unwise law. Such a law would be indirectly encouraging about a greater injustice for the sake of “having a law on the books.”

    (I’m not saying this is certainly the case — it’s a hypothetical for the purposes of illustration. Some have produced studies claiming that abortion rates are higher in states with more restrictions on abortion; I haven’t taken the time to examine these studies carefully.)

    Consequences do not determine what is right; but what is right determines how we should evaluate the consequences of our actions.

  176. truthunites said,

    March 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Zrim: “TUAD, if Horton affirms the South African Reformed Church’s then I disagree with him. So what?”

    The “so what” is that Escondido 2K advocates can’t even agree on where the boundaries or foul lines of Escondido 2K doctrine are.

    Horton (paraphrasing per Timothy): “The South African Reformed church was right in declaring Apartheid as sin to the state.”

    Zrim: “Foul Ball!”

    Horton: “Fair Ball!”

    See TFan’s comment: “There is something ironic, though about a single post saying both: ““Escondido 2k” is not a prolific and actual theological system that has all the ducks in a row and as if everyone were on the same page” and then a little later “To think a positive-law policy is dictated in Scripture is, according to Two Kingdoms theology, aberrant and outside the bounds of the church.”

    It really seems, from the standpoint of a critic of E2k, that the E2k shifts in and out of being a real theological system with ducks in a row, depending on what kind of issue is being pressed.”

  177. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Jeff C.:

    Re: #177, if the moral law requires X, the consequences of X are irrelevant, even in the “wisdom” analysis, because the fear of God is true wisdom. Consequences are only to be taken into consideration when the matter is not decided on moral grounds. Thus, for example, whether the service on Sunday morning is at sunrise or near noon can depend on the consequences of such timing, since there is no moral imperative requiring one or the other. But justice demands retribution for murder.

    -TurretinFan

  178. rfwhite said,

    March 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

    174 Ron Marlin: for those who are trying to get their bearings on the WSC response to Prof. Frame, could you provide some links or citations of the bluster [that] has been offered by WSC faculty” in response to Frame’s critique? Thanks for your help.

  179. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Reed,

    Where have any of the men critiqued offered a “reasonably documentated defense”? Do you mean the “….we’re shocked and saddened Frame would say such things….” statement on WSC’s web site? All I’ve basically read in response to Frame is, “Hey, we don’t believe that!” Problem is, he quotes from the primary sources. Thus far, Frame’s criticisms have been mostly dismissed with a wave of the hand.

    Sorry, it’s going to take more than that….

  180. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 11:20 am

    RFWhite,

    You can start with Michael Horton’s response (or, nonresponse) at the White Horse Inn blog, you can also check out DG Hart’s blog. You can also follow those comment threads where those who come to WSCs defense have not even read Frame’s book, yet they’re shooting the arrows. You’ll also note all the camaraderie among those circling the wagons but not responding directly to Frame, “the grumpy old man with an ax to grind”

  181. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

    TFan: Re: #177, if the moral law requires X, the consequences of X are irrelevant, even in the “wisdom” analysis, because the fear of God is true wisdom. Consequences are only to be taken into consideration when the matter is not decided on moral grounds.

    Exactly so. If God commands “do not kill”, then we take that absolutely.

    BUT

    God has not commanded the magistrate to pass law X or Y. The magistrate in therefore in the position of having to decide which laws, X or Y, are the best in order to bring about justice.

    This is the analysis that Calvin uses in Inst 4.20, BTW.

    So laws are *not* matters that are strictly decided on moral grounds, for the simple reason that there is a disconnect between “Do not murder” and “Pass X law that forbids murder.” The first is commanded in Scripture, the second is not.

  182. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Jeff C.:

    Genesis 9:6 mandates that the civil magistrate execute retributive justice against murderers. There is not necessarily a similar command with respect to all laws, but on murder, there is a clear command.

    -TurretinFan

  183. dghart said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Ron Martin, but you assume that Frame has offered a critique worthy of careful refutation. That is a false assumption. You may disagree, but given how flawed his critique is, it is at least plausible that no one should have to respond.

  184. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    TFan: Point taken; I’ll grant that that is a standard exegesis of that passage. But check out Calvin’s commentary also.

    Nevertheless, can we agree to the general principle that there is a distinction between the moral law, which is directly commanded by God, and the laws of man, which are not generally commanded by God?

    To make clear, I am in favor of protecting the lives of all, born and unborn, by just laws. The point of my hypothetical was to get at the general principle that lawmakers do need to consider the consequences of their laws because in general, there are not divine commands that dictate those laws. This is in contrast to the situation in Israel, where divine edict directly specified the laws of Israel.

    (And I do think we have to consider that a law that saves three but kills six would not properly honor the sixth commandment.)

  185. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    DGH (#184): Nevertheless, the consequence of failing to do so is that I will now feel compelled to actually go and read it, since no exhaustive secondary sources are available.

    You’re selling his books, man!

  186. truthunites said,

    March 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Darryl Hart: “Ron Martin, but you assume that Frame has offered a critique worthy of careful refutation. That is a false assumption. You may disagree, but given how flawed his critique is, it is at least plausible that no one should have to respond.”

    Isn’t this comment committing the fallacy of begging the question?

  187. Ron Marlin said,

    March 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Daryl,

    Yeah, right. I’ll use that one next time someone critiques Calvinism or paedobaptistm.

    It’s Marlin, not Martin, btw

  188. Zrim said,

    March 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Tfan, re 173, it’s not a distinction between relativism and absolutism but a difference between being descriptive and prescriptive. Since when was describing the duties of the civil magistrate the same as prescribing them? But this is the same error made when Romans 13’s point about punishing evil and rewsarding good is taken to be some sort of prescription for small government. No, it isn’t, it’s a description of the magistrate’s role. The text is actually prescribing behavior for believers. And that’s really the point of the confessions, to prescribe for the church her relationship to the civil society.

    So you haven’t clarified anything but just continued your confusion. So please tell me, if you can, how “The church has the duty to tell the state what it believes about the issue [of abortion]” harmonizes with “Synods and councils…are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth…” How does a prescription for the church not to intermeddle mean the church should intermeddle?

  189. Zrim said,

    March 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Tirades Undermine and Anonymously Divide, so if 2kers disagree on specific application and it proves that 2k is a shambles, then does that also mean that when paedobaptists disagree on its application for church membership that paedobaptism is a shambles? So your method of demanding that all individual adherents of any theological construct must agree on ever jot and tittle in order for that construct to be coherent is quite incoherent. It doesn’t pass the common sense test. Maybe you’ve been hanging around the logicians too much, those for whom truth is the sum of its logical parts.

  190. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Zrim:

    You still haven’t given me a yes or a no to my question. I assume that this means you still need some further clarification because you are confused about the question. I’ll oblige.

    You ask: “Since when was describing the duties of the civil magistrate the same as prescribing them? ”

    You should think that through again. When you describe X as a duty of Y, you are prescribing X for Y. There might be an exception if you are not endorsing the description, but surely that is not the case here.

    To put the same point from another angle, “X is what Y does” may simply be a description, but “X is what Y ought to do, i.e. is a duty of Y” is certainly a prescription.

    -TurretinFan

  191. Zrim said,

    March 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    So, Tfan, taking Romans 13 as the model, when the whole book is introduced as from Paul “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people…” that isn’t just the church but also the civil magistrate? So when chapter 13 describes the role of the magistrate (i.e. punish evil and reward good) it is then also prescribing it for Nero?

    But it seems to me that if one has basic reading skills he knows that the book is only addressing those called to be his holy people. Try a thought experiment. If I describe a cashier’s job to be giving correct change (amongst other things), have I really just prescribed anything? Or do I need to have actual authority over the gal ringing customers up at Meijer before it can be said that I have prescribed her anything? So it’s a matter of jurisdiction as well, Fan of Turretin, something i know also gives you fits.

  192. TurretinFan said,

    March 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Zrim:

    Still no yay or nay? Alas! Perhaps you are still confused by the question in #165.

    Your example plays on an equivocation in the term “prescribe.” Of course, the church by telling the government what it must do is not saying that the church is over the government, but rather is saying that God is over the government, and God has said thus and such, just as if one is displeased with one’s cashier, one might bring up the cashier’s duty, not by suggesting that one is the law of the land, but by suggesting that the law of the land says that the cashier must give the correct change.

    -TurretinFan

  193. truthunites said,

    March 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Timothy, #168: “In Context, I believe Horton was describing the Dutch church as declaring Apartheid to be a sin within the church (which they had supported since the Pietists landed in South Africa) and in the culture at large.

    This “in the culture at large” part supports what you said earlier in #141:

    “Michael Horton for instance has said on numerous occasions that Apartheid is sin and the South African Reformed church was right in declaring it as such [to the culture at large which presumably includes the state].”

    Q: When the South African Reformed church declared to the culture at large (which presumably includes the state) that Apartheid is sin, did the declaration influence or impact positive-law policy in South Africa?

  194. Zrim said,

    March 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Tfan, I think you’re having trouble reading between lines. From where I sit, the church does not “tell the government” anything. Rather, she tells her own that God is over the government, which is why they must obey and submit, even when displeased.

    But if you think it’s not intermeddling in civil affairs for the church to tell the government what God wants, I wonder just what you think intermeddling is.

  195. TurretinFan said,

    March 17, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Zrim:

    Why must I read between the lines? Why can’t you just come out and say what your answer is? Is there some reason for you to hide your cards for fear I’ll cheat?

    – TurretinFan

  196. dgwired said,

    March 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Jeff, I hope lots of people buy Frame’s book because I believe they will see how silly the book is.

  197. dgwired said,

    March 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Ron Marlin, please give us your bibliography. A lot of books have been written against Calvinism and paedobaptism, and now I learn that you feel compelled to answer every one. Is that possible. Have I missed your books at the library? Or maybe you have answer them all at your blog.

    You seem to imagine that an author replies to every review or negative assessment.

    To borrow your phrase, yeah right.

  198. Ron Marlin said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Sorry Darryl, maybe when your critic is simply a blogger your point would stand, but when it’s one of the top Reformed theologians of our day, and a former WSC faculty member, the criticism cannot so easily be swept aside.

    Thus far, the best you and the WSC faculty can do is ad hominem attacks on Frame, and mocking his no-name publisher. Perhaps you can point me to the actual substantive responses. I haven’t seen any yet.

  199. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    From Horton’s response: “Related to the previous points, John misrepresents me (and my colleagues) as teaching that we should not apply God’s Word to all areas of life.”

    From Zrim’s comment above: “But it seems to me that if one has basic reading skills he knows that the book is only addressing those called to be his holy people.”

    -TurretinFan

  200. truthunites said,

    March 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    @TurretinFan, #201, Please see Zrim’s comment in #163.

    Let’s show how Zrim’s response is inadequate.

    RC Sproul Sr., per Lane Keister’s reporting: “The church has the duty to tell the state what it believes about the issue [of abortion being sin].”

    Michael Horton, per Timothy’s reporting: “Michael Horton for instance has said on numerous occasions that Apartheid is sin and the South African Reformed church was right in declaring it as such [to the culture which presumably includes the state].”

    If Michael Horton thinks that the South African Reformed church was right in declaring Apartheid is sin to the state, then it would be logically and theologically consistent that Michael Horton agrees with RC Sproul Sr’s statement about the church telling the state about abortion being a sin.

    But Darryl Hart in #138 says: “No, it [Sproul’s statement] does not [conform with Escondido 2K doctrine].”

    So then Michael Horton disagrees with Darryl Hart on a basic and fundamental tenet of Escondido 2K.

    Or you can do the reverse side. Darryl Hart says that RC Sproul’s statement violates Escondido 2K doctrine. But RC Sproul’s statement is highly analogous to Michael Horton’s statement about the South African Reformed church being right in declaring Apartheid is sin to the state. So then Darryl Hart disagrees with Michael Horton on a basic and fundamental tenet of Escondido 2K.

    These are hugely significant disagreements between Escondido 2K theologians. Not a “jot and tittle” difference.

  201. sean said,

    March 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    TF,

    The juxtaposition you’re positing between Zrim and Horton, makes no sense. Do you really think Horton is saying that the statement; “all areas of life” is inclusive of Nero and Rome as an audience of Paul’s writing? At the very least you’re confounding the holistic response of Horton with the rightful subjects of the letter-God’s people(Zrim’s point), and claiming that the two statements are in conflict one of the other. Strange. Unless you’re not trying to say they’re in conflict and just decided to be random

  202. Zrim said,

    March 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Tfan, would it appease you to say that God’s Word applies to his people in whatever area of life they occupy? If by “areas of life” one means politics, art, music, science, medicine, economics, education, plumbing, etc., then I’m not sure how God’s word applies to any of it since none of it was made in the image and likeness of God. Only people are so made, and thus God only speaks to them. Which is why it’s silly to speak of “Christian politics/science/medicine/economics/education/plumbing, etc.” I know what Christians doing medicine is, but I’ve no clue what Christian medicine could be. So no matter what common space you and I occupy, God’s Word applies to us in that area of life. And part of doing that space well is to apply the corresponding set of principles and rules to the tasks involved—not the Bible.

  203. March 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    It seems silly to me to (1) make a big deal about all the supposed differences between the “Escondido Theologians,” and to (2) do so by appealing to statements made by people who do not even qualify for that label.

    PS – All respeck to my pal Zrim, but even he would admit that a disagreement between him and Horton hardly proves that 2K is undefinable. All it proves is that we all don’t think exactly alike (and I keep forgetting why that is such a huge problem).

  204. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Recall Dr. Godfrey’s response to Frame’s bullet points summarizing E2k is the claim that only do they not teach such, but that they teach the “opposite” of what Frame says they teach.

    Let’s look at just one key bullet point from Frame and see if Godfrey’s claim holds water:

    Frame bullet point: “God’s principles for governing society are found, not in Scripture, but in natural law.”

    Now compare that Frame bullet point with some representative quotes from WSC faculty members:

    “His revelation speaks to everything but not in the same way. The cultural or civil sphere is normed by God’s general or natural revelation. Special revelation wasn’t given to norm cultural or civil life.” R. Scott Clark.

    “Scripture is not the appropriate moral standard for the civil kingdom. … Scripture is the sacred text given to God’s covenant people whom he has redeemed from sin. . . . Given its character, therefore, Scripture is not given as a common moral standard that provides ethical imperatives to all people regardless of their religious standing.’ David Van Drunen

    “Christ’s kingdom is its own culture: holy rather than common. That does not mean that it is an alternative subculture. In other words, there is no such thing as Christian sports, entertainment, politics, architecture and science. In these common fields, Christians and non-Christians are indistinguishable except by their ultimate goals and motivations.” Michael Horton,

    “God presently rules the world through providence and common grace, while he rules the church through Word, sacrament, and covenantal nurture. This means that there is no difference between Christians and non-Christians with respect to their vocations.” Michael Horton

    “{Guided by} the Lutheran two-kingdom perspective on scholarship, scholars at Christian institutions will not feel the need to introduce questions of faith in literature or chemistry classes, or to require theological precision from every new hire in sociology. Indeed, only in the Bible and theology departments, where faith and theological convictions make the most difference, is close scrutiny of a professor’s profession of faith immediately relevant to academic work”. Darryl Hart

    “The problem with using the Bible in public life is that you bind people who don’t believe the Bible. .. I believe making non-believers obey the Bible is illegitimate as long as they don’t believe the Bible.” Darryl Hart.

    Perhaps Godfrey is not aware what is being taught by some of his colleagues?

  205. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Sean:

    Let me walk you through it.

    a) Horton indicates that he believes that we should apply God’s Word to all areas of life.
    b) Politics is an area of life.
    c) I hope Zrim is ok with me saying that Zrim thinks we should not apply God’s Word to politics, art, music, science, medicine, economics, education, and plumbing. It can be applied to people who do those things, but it cannot be applied to those areas of life. (Zrim, please do correct me if I’m misunderstanding you.)
    d) Indeed, on Zrim’s position, “part of doing that space well is to apply the corresponding set of principles and rules to the tasks involved—not the Bible.”

    Do you now follow the argument? If so, do you agree that there is an apparent conflict? If so, how do you propose that we resolve the conflict? Should we reinterpret Horton to mean what Zrim is saying? And if we do, was Frame really right after all?

    -TurretionFan

  206. truthunites said,

    March 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    @ 205, Pastor Jason J. Stellman,

    (Per Timothy, #141) “Michael Horton for instance has said on numerous occasions that Apartheid is sin and the South African Reformed church was right in declaring it as such [to the culture at large which presumably includes the state].”

    Question 1: Pastor Stellman, as an Escondido 2K proponent, do you agree that the South African Reformed church was right in declaring Apartheid is sin to the culture and state of South Africa?

    Question 2: Pastor Stellman, 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?

  207. sean said,

    March 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    TF,

    I was actually more narrow focused in my response to you. I was literally comparing and contrasting the two statements and some of the context in which they were given, and not, and still not seeing the dichotomy you were trying to posit. It’s ok, I understand what you want to say, I just think the examples you chose were ill-suited to the task. I refer you to Jason’s response, the whole argument assumes a monolith of opinion on application. There isn’t one. Along with Jason, I don’t see why this is a problem. There’s also a subjective/objective consideration that DVD argues for in his application of 2k, which is largely, best I’ve ever tracked, what a lot of the disagreement Jeff C might have with say DG Hart or Zrim, when they’ve had extended conversations about what it means to use and talk about a term such as “Christian plumbing”. They should feel free to correct my interpretation if it misses the mark. Subjectively christians do everything with a subjective ambition, or even self-conscious ambition of giving Glory to God. That subjective ambition however does not change the objective reality of a plumbing application done well or maybe better said, according to specs. That argument than gets extended out into it’s moral play, of doing it honestly and at a fair price, which isn’t the sole province of the christian, when argued from the standpoint of NL. (Imago dei considerations). Anyway, I refer you to Hart’s blog on the issue and DVD’s objective/subjective developments

  208. Zrim said,

    March 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Precisely, JJS, and the point has been made ad nauseum. To wit…

    Tfan, I don’t’ see what the conflict is. I think it’s simply a matter of articulation. It doesn’t matter to me who is saying that the Bible speaks to all areas of life. I’ll go you one further—Scott Clark seems to say as much in the quote Mark provides just above. I think it’s a less-than-precise way to speak. DVD says it well in the quote just below that, as does Horton immediately following. Sometimes 2kers say it well, sometimes it could be better. So what? I’m getting the feeling you think perfection in speech is needed here, or else. Is your Methodist slip showing?

  209. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Mark, Tfan, and Truthdivides, perhaps you haven’t noticed that you disagree with Calvin who believed that adulterers should be executed. I guess that makes you all Arminians (by your powers of deduction). I also don’t think you have acknowledged that you disagree with the Reformed churches (OPC, PCA, URC) who disagree with Calvin on the role of the magistrate.

    Mark, I still don’t think you’ve acknowledged either how charitable Alan Strange was to his 2k brothers.

    It’s a very complicated world out there. Beware how the gotcha’s boomerang on the cha’s.

    At some point, your kvetching simply looks mean spirited.

  210. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Zrim and Jason, for what it’s worth, I likely disagree with Horton and Clark on a number of 2k fronts. We agree on the substance of 2k but not on the application. Which is the point. 2k teaches that believers have liberty where Scripture is silent. Mike voted for Clinton, I voted for Bush the first. Kloosterman probably voted for Bush. Does that mean I agree with Dr. K? Hardly.

    But when you’re in the business of trying to make your opponents look bad, you simply hope that some of the mud hits.

  211. truthunites said,

    March 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Here’s a post from last year about the Leithart trial and Pastor Stellman’s interrogation of Professor Jack Collins: Here.

    Jed Paschall’s comments and reactions are interesting:

    o “It would be one thing if he [Collins] doesn’t know the answer to Stellman’s questions, which would be a sad commentary indeed on who is educating our PCA pastors. However, what it appears to be is hand-wringing and back-peddling in order to avoid a clear answer to the question, which I can’t accept that he is ignorant of.”

    o “I guess I am curious though, how would you respond to my perception that there was a lot of backpeddaling and lack of forthrightness in this exchange between Stellman and Collins.”

    ———

    One could take Jed Paschall’s comments and reactions and apply them with just as much validity to Escondido 2K proponents.

  212. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Truthdivides, your mastery of the comment part of the blogosphere is truly impressive. Too bad it doesn’t extend to thinking through the teachings of the Reformed churches.

    But let me give you a little help here. Stellman was (and remains) on the side of the angels in the Leithart/Federal Vision business. You are citing an exchange where 2k once again vindicated itself in defending Reformed orthodoxy.

    In other words, your evidence boomeranged on you once again. At some point, you have to let your reason get in the way of your animus.

  213. truthunites said,

    March 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    You then fundamentally misunderstood comment #213. I have no problem with Stellman being on “the side of angels” on the Leithart/FV business.

    My point is that Escondido 2K proponents oftentimes behave like what Jed Pascall dislikes about Professor Jack Collins’s behavior.

  214. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Truthdivides, I got your point. But your citation of Stellman does the opposite of what you intend. It shows that 2k proponents are oftentimes opposed to equivocation.

    The only equivocation going on here is yours and Mark VDM’s, and Tfan’s who won’t acknowledge either that you don’t agree with Calvin on executing adulterers (equivocation, strike one), or with the Reformed churches on the role of the magistrate (equivocation, strike two). Have you heard of the one about the log in your own eye?

  215. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    dghart:

    Your comments at #211 are typical for you. Inflammatory, illogical, wrong, and off-topic.

    -TurretinFan

  216. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Sean:

    “I was literally comparing and contrasting the two statements and some of the context in which they were given, and not, and still not seeing the dichotomy you were trying to posit. ”

    I’m not sure I can be of more assistance in helping you see it.

    -TurretinFan

  217. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    TFanatic, how are they wrong or off-topic. You are accusing 2k of an error that you yourself hold, unless you agree with Calvin that adulterers should be executed.

    In case your fanaticism prevents you from seeing this, the point of my comments is to ask what is your standard for judging 2k erroneous? If your standard is Calvin, then that won’t work since all the conservative Reformed churches have left the early modern conceptions of the magistrate behind. If your standard is the Reformed creeds (modified universally by the Reformed churches), that won’t work because again the old notion of the magistrate has died.

    So what I am trying to find out is how arbitrary the criticism of 2k is. What is remarkably lacking in the debates about 2k is just how much 2k is precisely the position of the contemporary Reformed churches. In which case, your beef with 2k extends well beyond certain figures associated with a seminary in California. It extends to the entire trajectory of conservative Reformed Protestantism since 1800.

    So you are extreme and out of the mainstream, not me.

  218. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Zrim: “It doesn’t matter to me who is saying that the Bible speaks to all areas of life.”

    It matters to Horton and it matters to Frame. It also matters to people who are making a serious inquiry into the subject of Frame’s criticism.

    -TurretinFan

  219. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    DGHart:

    I’m not interested in getting dragged into your off-topic discussion. If you want to write about that topic, why don’t you use your own blog for it? I mean, I’m not telling you that you have to go away from here (that wouldn’t be my place) but I’m telling you that you can roll in the mud alone.

    -TurretinFan

  220. sean said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    TF said,

    I’m not sure I can be of more assistance in helping you see it.

    -TurretinFan

    Hey TF, we finally agree on something wholeheartedly.

  221. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    LOL – I think we agreed about something similar at the end of our last conversation too. Oh well.

  222. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Tfanatic, how exactly is the basis for criticism of 2k in a post and discussion of a book critical of 2k off topic? It looks to me like you’re employing that parents sometimes use with children. I’m not a child and you’re not the grown up here.

  223. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    TFan (#207): You are hitting the exact point of difference between Zrim, DGH, and myself.

    It comes to this: We all agree that Christians should obey the Scriptures while engaged in their common endeavors. Let’s call this the Practical Point of Agreement between E2kers and their critics. And a very welcome point of agreement it is!

    Anyways, the next question is, Why should Christians obey the Scriptures? What is the nature of the underlying obligation?

    DGH’s answer is that Scripture governs the “Christian lives” of Christians. It provides an adverb — do your plumbing in a manner that glorifies God — and not an adjective — “Christian plumbing.” (I’m using DGH and not Zrim because I’m less certain about Zrim’s precise beliefs).

    DGH would refer WCoF 1.2, “All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life”, to the “Christian lives” of Christians.

    So: “The Bible speaks to all of life” is false, on his view, because the Bible does not speak to things outside the “Christian lives” of believers.

    My answer is that Scripture governs faith and life. Plumbing is a part of life; ergo, Scripture governs plumbing to the extent that it speaks (and no further). Scripture speaks to plumbing by requiring honest weights and measures from the plumber.

    So: “The Bible speaks to all of life” is true in a qualified way, on my view, because there is no realm of life for which the commands of Scripture may be rightly ignored.

    Now, DGH agrees that I may not cheat my neighbor while plumbing — because the “cheating” is a part of one’s Christian life and therefore governed by Scripture.

    It is my sense that he and I generally agree on practical outcomes. We don’t entirely agree on the political arena. I believe that the second table of the law ought to guide the Christian magistrate; he refers the Christian magistrate to the natural law.

    However, despite pragmatic agreement, we use very different underlying thought structures. His is antithetical to Frame’s way of thinking; mine is relatively congenial.

    Each of us, BTW, views the other as committing an equivocation.

    The truth of the matter is left as an exercise to the reader.

    DGH and Zrim, is this a fair summary?

    Also, please note that I’m leaving out motivations here. A perfectly good answer to the question “Why should one obey the Scriptures?” could be “Out of gratitude for what God has done for us”, or even “Because God is the rightful Lord, and His commands are to be obeyed.” Or both.

    TU (#215): Really?!

  224. Zrim said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Fan of Turretin, you’re wanting to divide and conquer. “The Bible speaks to God’s people in whatever area of life they inhabit” roundly beats “The Bible speaks to all of life.” If Frame affirms the former and rejects the latter, I’d agree. If Horton rejects the former and affirms the latter, I’d disagree.

  225. truthunites said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    @ 216: “It shows that 2k proponents are oftentimes opposed to equivocation.”

    No, what it shows is that Escondidio 2K proponents are oftentimes opposed to equivocation when they’re examining others (such as FV proponents), BUT they will oftentimes engage in equivocation when they’re the ones being examined.

  226. Zrim said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Jeff, I think that’s more or less fair. The problem you and worldviewers still have is that if the Bible governs any part of human life (instead of governing just the people of God who inhabit any area of life) then we shouldn’t be perplexed at its being added to any syllabus or textbook, e.g. Human Anatomy 101. But since it isn’t then you guys either have to feign bewilderment or have to find a way to find a good reason why the Bible isn’t studied in common human anatomy classes.

  227. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Truthdivides, Sorry, but it shows you are not thinking carefully. Maybe you’re too giddy after using a dirty word.

  228. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Jeff,

    We agree that all believers must obey the Bible.

    We disagree about what the Bible reveals. You think that because it says ALL things must be done to the glory of God, somehow the Bible governs ALL things.

    This does not follow. The Bible reveals matters about God, human nature, salvation, and worship that it clearly does not about plumbing and math. If they Bible does reveal ALL things, then why don’t our churches have creedal statements on plumbing and math?

    You don’t seem to like the idea that the Bible is silent about anything. But if you keep in mind that Charles Hodge appealed to the silence of Scripture as part of his justification for opposing a motion to support the Federal government in the Civil War (even though Hodge was a Republican and voted for Lincoln), maybe it will go down easier.

  229. truthunites said,

    March 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Turretinfan, #217: “dghart:

    Your comments at #211 are typical for you. Inflammatory, illogical, wrong, and off-topic.”

    Well, it’s not like we haven’t seen this behavior before from Escondido 2Ker Darryl Hart.

  230. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    The Bible does govern all things.

  231. truthunites said,

    March 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Darryl Hart, #230: “We disagree about what the Bible reveals. You think that because it says ALL things must be done to the glory of God, somehow the Bible governs ALL things.”

    versus the flat contradiction of

    TurretinFan, #232: “The Bible does govern all things.”

    If there’s going to be a debate, it would behoove the participants to not equivocate.

  232. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Tfanatic, so you also disagree with Charles Hodge. Good to know.

  233. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    I realize in your sweeping generalization about “all the conservative churches” you genuinely forgot about the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and the RPCNA. We have vastly different WCF 23:3’s from the OPC and PCA.

    Here is the ARP version:

    The civil magistrate may not assume to himself administration of the word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven; yet, as the gospel revelation lays indispensable obligations upon all classes of people who are favored with it, magistrates as such, are bound to execute their respective offices in a subserviency thereunto, administering government on Christian principles, and ruling in the fear of God, according to the directions of His Word; as those who shall give an account to the Lord Jesus, whom God hath appointed to be the judge of the world. Hence, Magistrates, as such, in a Christian country, are bound to promote the Christian religion, as the most valuable interest of their subjects, by all such means as are not inconsistent with civil rights; and do not imply an interference with the policy of the church, which is the free and independent kingdom of the Redeemer; nor an assumption of dominion over conscience.

    For those interested here is a helpful chart showing the differences among the WCF churches on the subject at hand concerning WCF 23.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2401667/WCF_23_3_Chart.pdf

  234. truthunites said,

    March 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Jed Paschall: “I guess I am curious though, how would you respond to my perception that there was a lot of backpeddaling and lack of forthrightness in this exchange between Stellman and Collins.”

    One might wonder if there’s a lot of backpedaling and lack of forthrightness between Stellman and myself on the following sets of questions I’ve asked him:

    Q’s to Pastor 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: “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.”

    Clarifying Questions to Pastor Stellman’s response: “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.

    Question 1: Pastor Stellman, as an Escondido 2K proponent, do you agree that the South African Reformed church was right in declaring Apartheid is sin to the culture and state of South Africa?

    Question 2: Pastor Stellman, 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?

  235. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Zrim:

    I noticed your comment suggesting that I am trying to divide and conquer, but you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

    a) Either the E2k movement is monolithic or it is divided, both in general and on individual points.
    b) Horton’s response suggests that it is monolithic on a particular point.
    c) But Horton’s response doesn’t jive with Zrim or DGH, as I demonstrated with respect to Zrim above (and we could do the same with DGH).
    d) And if Horton’s response is wrong because in fact some E2K advocates do advocate the point that Frame criticizes, this demonstrates that more of an answer needs to be provided to Frame on such a point.

    All Horton would need to do, of course, is revise his comment to say, “I don’t hold the view the Frame attributes to E2k.”

    -TurretinFan

  236. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    “Tfanatic, so you also disagree with Charles Hodge. Good to know.”

    You are not Charles Hodge. And if you think that the Bible does not govern all, it is you who disagrees with him on that point.

    For it is Hodge who criticized early E2k advocates, the Corinthians, in this way:

    It is evident that among the members of the Corinthian church there were some who retained their pagan notion of religion and who professed Christianity as a system of doctrine and as a form of worship, but not as a rule of life.

    (for the humor impaired — and you definitely don’t know who you are — that comment about the Corinthians being E2k advocates is a joke)

    And, in fact, if you don’t believe that the Bible governs all, you are out of accordance with the WCF (even in the watered-down American version). Hopefully you’ve let your session know about this exception.

    -TurretinFan

  237. jedpaschall said,

    March 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    TUAD,

    I would appreciate if you would use your own arguments, as opposed to mine on matters unrelated in your efforts to discredit 2k. Any difference between Stellman, Hart, any other 2k advocate and myself has more to do with how 2k is applied than some sort of internal inconsistency of 2k doctrine itself.

    Regards,

    Jed

  238. truthunites said,

    March 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Jed, #394 (prior thread): “We also need to remember the variety of 2k being formally taught in Escondido is a relatively new development”

    Jed, what would you say are the essential differences that Horton, Hart, Van Drunen, and Stellman are formally teaching which is different from the 2K doctrine that was taught before, and thus making it a “relatively new development” as you put it?

  239. Todd Bordow said,

    March 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Greg Bahsen wrote in his Preface to the 2nd edition to his theonomy book that there is substantial difference of opinion among theonomists as to the specific application of Old Testament laws. Why can’t theonomists understand the same applies to 2k views?

  240. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Todd: What makes you think that they don’t understand that? – TurretinFan

  241. Todd Bordow said,

    March 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Tfan – Just going by the recent comments that seem to make a big deal about disagreements among “E2kers” in applying a 2k view.

  242. Zrim said,

    March 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Tfan, so monolith or divided? How Fundamentalist of you. But all you’ve demonstrated is that adherents of 2k agree in substance but may diverge in application. But you haven’t even demonstrated that, because it’s been admitted all along. You enlist Hodge against those 2kers who oppose “all of lifery,” but I for one have no problem saying that the Bible is the rule for Christian doctrine, Christian worship, and Christian life.

  243. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 19, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    DGH (#230): You think that because it says ALL things must be done to the glory of God, somehow the Bible governs ALL things.

    This does not follow. The Bible reveals matters about God, human nature, salvation, and worship that it clearly does not about plumbing and math. If they Bible does reveal ALL things, then why don’t our churches have creedal statements on plumbing and math?

    For some time, I’ve been trying to make clear that “governs all things” does not mean “reveals all things.”

    By example: Today, I assigned my students to “create a lab that discovers the relationship between period and length for a pendulum.” I specified only the parameters for their behavior, not every detail about their behavior. They knew the telos, but the means were up to them.

    I governed them by laying out the end, but I did not reveal or specify all things.

    And so it is with Scripture. It governs our plumbing by specifying some parameters about our plumbing. Those are do not steal; use honest weights and measures; plumb to the glory of God. The end.

    Nothing more is said, which leaves the believer at liberty to accomplish the goal of glorifying God in his plumbing by any appropriate means.

    So the logical error here is an assumption that the phrase “governs ALL things” (which Scripture does) should entail “reveals ALL things.” (which Scripture does not do).

    Governance does not entail exhaustive specification. Anyone with children immediately grasps this.

    (Bill Cosby: “Go upstairs, take off your clothes, get into the shower. Turn the water ON. Please Use Soap.” — it’s funny because we teach our children not to live like this.)

  244. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Jeff, I appreciate the distinction but I don’t think Frame does. He argues that general revelation is not adequate to govern culture but that special revelation is. I don’t see how the Bible can be adequate to govern culture or politics unless it reveals specifics (as it did in the OT) about culture and politics. Surely Frame has in mind a governance that you don’t, otherwise, why would he insist on his view of governing all things as a correction to 2k?

  245. Ron said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Jeff,

    Great job on your recent posts, which says nothing about any earlier ones you might have written. I’m just reading bottom up, that’s all.

    I just used my one cheerleading card for the thread.

  246. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Tfananatic, but you didn’t address the point of Hodge’s argument about the Bible not governing a motion on whether the Old School church on whether to support the federal government in the Civil War. Hodge said the church could not take a position because the Bible was silent on the matter of federal versus states rights.

    Sorry, but you disagree with Hodge.

  247. Ron said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Darryl,

    Whether something is “adequate” whether to your tastes or mine is not germane to the question at hand, even if all agreed on what “adequate” entails. Even though it would be hard to ascertain how Scripture has informed the civil code of any society, it’s safe to say that God can bring to pass his purposes in the realm of civil law by natural law and providence alone, apart from special revelation. So what though.

  248. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Ben, I don’t see how your quote from the ARP’s confession undermines the point that all Reformed churches have abandoned the 1648 understanding of the magistrate, the one by which 2k is denounced. The ARP’s revision has the important wiggle room of “in a Christian nation” governing what a Christian magistrate is called to do. I’m betting that the ARP like the Covenanters would not consider the U.S.A. a Christian nation because the Constitution does not recognize Christ as Lord.

    As for the Covenanters, you’re not going to find any help from them.

    They say in their testimony, which is part of their Constitution, that they reject what the original Westminster Confession affirms after the colon in the following.

    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:

    THAT MEANS THEY REJECT THIS PART
    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.

    Again, I say, the modern conservative Reformed churches have left behind Calvin and the Westminster Confession. So please stop judging 2k by standards the Reformed churches don’t affirm.

    BTW, the Covenanters, despite their attachments to the original Confession prior to revisions in the 1980s, I believe, never made fellowship depend on following the original confession. That’s why the RPCNA had warm fraternal relations with the 2k OPC. If only 2kers’ critics could be that charitable and ecumenical. If only they could recognize what’s important about the life and witness of the church.

  249. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Ron, but your point was that no one had responded to Frame. Now you’re changing subjects. What is your response to the responses to Frame? Or is it simply going to be the usual — no response is adequate because your mind is made up that 2k is wrong and wicked?

  250. Ron said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    My point was that no one had responded to Frame? Different Ron here. This is your old friend, Ron D. :)

  251. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    DGH (#246): I am not certain how Frame might put things. On balance, I think the very existence of triperspectivalism speaks to Frame’s belief that God’s word coordinates with natural revelation, rather than over-riding it. That’s how I took Doctrine of the Knowledge of God.

    On the other hand, I recognize that Frame is more comfortable than I am with theonomy. So maybe he really does believe that Scripture specifies everything.

    But on balance, I am comfortable with #245 as a “Frame-family” expression of how Scripture governs all things. And with #245 as a corrective to E2k, in that it re-emphasizes that God’s word is not limited in jurisdiction.

    BTW, the tone of #245 was not intended to be peevish — hope it didn’t convey such.

    Ron: Thank you very much.

  252. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    “Tfan, so monolith or divided? How Fundamentalist of you.”

    I guess the law of the excluded middle is “Fundamentalist” now. How interesting.

    “But all you’ve demonstrated is that adherents of 2k agree in substance but may diverge in application.”

    Is that what I’ve demonstrated? I’m surprised you are willing to concede anything.

    You enlist Hodge against those 2kers who oppose “all of lifery,” but I for one have no problem saying that the Bible is the rule for Christian doctrine, Christian worship, and Christian life.”

    It’s hard to see how you could consistently not have a problem with that, particularly if you don’t think there is something called “Christian life” distinct from doctrine and worship. You certainly don’t seem to think there is “Christian politics,” for example.

    -TurretinFan

  253. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    “Tfananatic, but you didn’t address the point of Hodge’s argument about the Bible not governing a motion on whether the Old School church on whether to support the federal government in the Civil War. Hodge said the church could not take a position because the Bible was silent on the matter of federal versus states rights. Sorry, but you disagree with Hodge.”

    Dear Hart,

    Please show where I said that the Bible is not silent on the matter of federal versus states rights.

    Of course, you can’t show that, because I didn’t say that.

    And you know perfectly well that I didn’t say that.

    What use are your comments here, since they do not correspond to the truth?

    -TurretinFan

  254. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    What use are your comments here, since they do not correspond to the truth?

    The lack of correspondence is revelatory and hence useful.

  255. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    Maybe it’s just because I have “w____v___” glasses on, but how would you define the ARP’s WCF 23.3 use of “Christian Nation” and “Christian Principles” and where the Civil Magistrate is called to “…promote the Christian religion, as the most valuable interest of their subjects” over and against the 1646 WCF’s 23.3:

    …yet he has 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 ordainances of God duly settled, administrated, and observed.”

    They seem fairly uniform to me. What is even more interesting is what the OPC WLC Q.191 says about the requirement of the Civil Magistrate “… we pray, that…the church furnished with all gospel officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate…”.

    So when you were an active officer in the OPC did you register an exception to this? Does this contradict the changes made to WCF 23.3?

    Regarding the Covenanters have you read Samuel Wylie’s, Two Son’s of Oil or James. R. Willson’s Sermon’s on Civil Government? How about Thomas Sproull’s Sermons?

    How do they speak to this issue of the legitimacy of the Civil Magistrate enforcing the First and Second Table of the Law and seeing the Bible as a rule for all of life?

    It is obvious you disdain the original WCF and believe Calvin to be a monster of epic proportions on this issue. I would be curious to understand why you are so virulently dead set against these things?

  256. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    J.G. Vos (a 20th-Century Covenanter) in his excellent commentary on the Larger Catechism has this to say about WLC Q.191

    3. How is the church to be countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate?…(c) The church should be countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate, by being protected in the security and enjoyment of its rights and freedom; also it is proper for the state to “countenance and maintain” the church by remission of taxes on church property, etc. (d) Our standards to not teach that both true and false churches are to be countenanced and maintained by the state.

  257. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Ben, do you agree with Calvin that adulterers should be executed?

    For what it’s worth, I see a big difference between the ARP statement and the original WCF. Why revise if the original was adequate?

    Chapter 23 of the original is clearly Erastian in calling upon the magistrate to convene church assemblies and preside over them. Can you fathom Obama doing this? How about Charles I? The ARP’s statement is not Erastian.

    Actually, if disdain is showing it is yours to 2k proponents whom the Covenanters did not so disdain.

  258. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Tfanatic, you said I was wrong about Hodge. Now I’m right about Hodge? But you said I disagreed with Hodge. I’m confused.

    Also, you said that the Bible speaks to all things. Now you agree with Hodge that the Bible does not address federal versus states rights.

    If your disregard for my views were not so pronounced, you might not be so confusing.

  259. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Mark, once again, very good of you to weigh in. Since your appeal to Strange did not work out so well, now you’re reduced to agreeing with the Tfanatic’s confusing flip-flops.

  260. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Jeff, given the context of politics and church-state issues in this thread and other evaluations of 2k, I don’t know how far you can go in befriending Frame and not also sympathizing with theonomic complaints about 2k. So let me put you on the spot and ask whether the Bible governs society and whether the magistrate should enforce Scripture. I know you say that it should only be the second table of the law. But what hermeneutic allows the magistrate to enforce adultery but not idolatry?

  261. dghart said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Ben, good for you that you’ve read Vos and other Covnenaters. But we don’t confess individual theologians. If we did, you might have to confess Machen, who disagrees with Vos (in the quote you supply).

  262. Zrim said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    And so it is with Scripture. It governs our plumbing by specifying some parameters about our plumbing…So the logical error here is an assumption that the phrase “governs ALL things” (which Scripture does) should entail “reveals ALL things.” (which Scripture does not do).

    Jeff, no, Scripture doesn’t govern our plumbing, it governs us as we plumb. The error is in saying that because the Bible governs the Christian who plumbs that it also governs plumbing, because if it governed plumbing then the unbeliever would need the Bible to plumb. But we both know he doesn’t. In fact, neither does the believer. Both he and the unbeliever need the Bible to know what to believe about and how to worship God and live as a covenant keeper in all vocations and occupations.

  263. Todd Bordow said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    “It is obvious you disdain the original WCF and believe Calvin to be a monster of epic proportions on this issue. I would be curious to understand why you are so virulently dead set against these things??”

    Ben,

    Putting aside the exaggerated language about Calvin (we simply disagree with him on this issue), your question above is a great one; maybe the key to all this. Why are we so dead set against the state enforcing the first Table?

    Our early forefathers notwithstanding, the Biblical answer to the injustices of the world and injustice of governments is the Second Coming, not a return to the punishments of the Mosaic Law, or enforcing true religion by the sword. And because a desire for the state to punish sinners in this life for not following our religion is in conflict with our calling to reach sinners with the gospel, by Biblical command the church’s only mandate concerning unbelievers. So we see theonomy in conflict with the gospel mandate.

  264. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    The Original WCF 23 was most certainly not Erastian.

    From Robert Shaw’s commentary on the WCF:

    In this section it was manifestly the object of the compilers of our Confession to guard equally against Erastian and Sectarian principles. In opposition to Erastian principles, according to which the government and discipline of the Church are devolved upon the civil magistrate, they declare that the magistrate may not take upon himself either the ministerial dispensation of the Word and sacraments, or any part of the government of the Church. But while they deny to the magistrate all ministerial or judicial power in the Church, in opposition to Erastians, yet, to guard against the other extreme, they assert, in opposition to the Sectarians of that age, that it is his duty to employ his influence and authority, in every way competent to him, for the good of the Church, and the advancement of the interests of true religion.

    Ironically the Presbyterian delegation to the Westminster Assembly was so against this charge of Erastianism (which is much different from Establishmentarianism, since WCF 23 explicitly states the Civil Magistrate is to have no say in the keys nor the sacraments) that they wrote a whole response dealing primarily with this issue called Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici.

  265. Zrim said,

    March 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Tfan, how does denying “Christian politics” imply a denial of “Christian life”? The only thing I can imagine is that you think to behave politically is to behave personally. But when I vote for or against something, or even abstain from any political involvement, I’m not behaving personally morally but politically (or apolitically as the case may be). This is the part where you conflate morality and politics, but do you really think that when I vote against a candidate I am behaving personally or morally against him in the same way I act against a man when I steal his money? On that reasoning there is no way to tell someone who I vote against it was nothing personal but a principled disagreement–everything is personal, which might explain you taking 2k push back so personally.

  266. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Todd,

    Theonomy is not at issue here. Calvin was not a Theonomist (certainly not in a Bahnsen/Rushdoony sense) and neither am I. Calvin actually makes his argument for the punishment of Adulterers by the Civil Authority not from a Scriptural basis, but from a natural law basis. That not doing so would result in the legalization of other crimes and societal chaos.

    There are many Establishmentarians who argue against Theonomy (see the Free Church of Scotland’s paper against Theonomy and Rev. David Silversides, a minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland’s sermons concerning Theonomy for more information). Theonomy and Theocracy are not synonyms for one another.

    All civil governments are Theocracies. It just depends on which “god” they serve.

  267. Don said,

    March 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Benjamin P. Glaser #268,

    All civil governments are Theocracies. It just depends on which “god” they serve.

    I don’t think it helps to make up, let’s call them, novel definitions for words.

  268. jsm52 said,

    March 19, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Darryl wrote: Tfanatic, you said I was wrong about Hodge. Now I’m right about Hodge? But you said I disagreed with Hodge. I’m confused.

    Also, you said that the Bible speaks to all things. Now you agree with Hodge that the Bible does not address federal versus states rights.

    If your disregard for my views were not so pronounced, you might not be so confusing.

    Well said. Gave me a chuckle.

  269. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Zrim (#264): We’ve made our positions clear. I would like to be able to bridge the gap through some shared point of agreement, but none presents yet.

    From my position, the plumber needs the Scripture for plumbing, because he has need to plumb to the glory of God. And prior to even the possibility of doing so, he has need for the Savior. At least we agree here: the indicative precedes the imperative.

    You say, “But my uncle is a perfectly good plumber, and he’s a Taoist Muslim.”

    And I respond, “It all depends on how you are measuring good.”

    See, if we specify ahead of time that “good plumbing” means “according to code”, then we’ve already baked Scripture out of the cake. Start with the premise that Scripture doesn’t belong, and you’ll arrive at that conclusion every time.

    But if the only plumbing worth doing is plumbing for the glory of God, well … then the answer is quite different.

    What I worry about with your position is this. If Scripture has nothing to say about plumbing, then there’s no particular reason that Christians should even consider the possibility that Scripture might have something to say about the way they plumb.

    And that seems to be hypothetical antinomianism, which I know that you abhor.

    So I’m seeing cognitive dissonance over there. You believe that Scripture’s jurisdiction doesn’t end when the Christian picks up the Teflon tape. But you also believe that Scripture has nothing to the Christian about the way in which he plumbs.

    A reasonable Christian would take that second statement at face value and conclude that Scripture’s jurisdiction ends at the church door.

  270. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    DGH (#262): I believe that the magistrate is accountable to God because his authority is derived from God. As such, he has need to discover and dispense justice. And the moral law found in the Decalogue is the core of that justice. Hence: the magistrate is bound to uphold (and certainly not contradict) the Decalogue.

    At the same time, the magistrate is not the only authority in town. Were he to pass or enforce laws concerning the first table, he would be treading on the church’s jurisdiction.

    Hence, second table only. And in upholding the second table, he has the authority to command behavior only, and not to bind the conscience. We stop at all red lights because the magistrate has said so, not because it is a moral incumbent found in Scripture.

    But if you seek Scriptural evidence that magistrates of all nations are accountable to God, look to Daniel 4 and Jonah 3.

    In fact, consider the entire book of Daniel as thematically organized around the concept of authority — of man, and of God.

  271. Todd Bordow said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    “Theonomy is not at issue here. Calvin was not a Theonomist (certainly not in a Bahnsen/Rushdoony sense) and neither am I. Calvin actually makes his argument for the punishment of Adulterers by the Civil Authority not from a Scriptural basis, but from a natural law basis. That not doing so would result in the legalization of other crimes and societal chaos.”

    I figured someone would go here after I wrote what I wrote. I was using theonomy in the general sense of theocratic, I certainly to not want to get into a debate over precise definitions here, I think you know what I mean. But if Calvin is using natural law for crime and punishment, why do you react against it when we point out how proper that idea is, even if we disagree on the adultery-death penalty application?

    “All civil governments are Theocracies. It just depends on which “god” they serve.”

    Sorry, I don’t buy this, though I hear it all the time. Madison, Jefferson, Adams and co. did not set up a theocracy. And just because nations like Iran are theocracies doesn’t automatically mean we should want a Christian theocracy. Maybe the problem with the Spanish Inquisition was not just that the wrong guys were doing it, but that it was actually wrong.

  272. Tom said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Todd (#241),

    “Why can’t theonomists understand the same applies to 2k views?”

    If you define 2K broadly, then that is certainly true. E.g., Both Calvin and Bahnsen were clearly 2K in some sense. Were they 2K in the Escondido sense?

  273. sean said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Jeff C says;

    “And I respond, “It all depends on how you are measuring good.”

    Question;

    Does the plumber who plumbs well( in an objective sense, he fixes the problem or plumbs to spec in the most efficient((cost, value, quality all equally maximized)) manner), glorify God whether or not he is either self-consciously plumbing to the glory of God as a religious or personal ambition or if he merely plumbs objectively well while religiously or self-consciously hating God?

    It’s not a trap, I’m trying to understand you.

    “But if the only plumbing worth doing is plumbing for the glory of God, well … then the answer is quite different.”

    Doesn’t this in fact rule out for all intents and purposes a realm of common grace as valid, much less good. Can God rule over a realm for good but not necessarily redemptive purposes, in your scheme?

  274. David R. said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Jeff,

    “Zrim (#264): We’ve made our positions clear. I would like to be able to bridge the gap through some shared point of agreement, but none presents yet.”

    As an attempt to locate a shared point of agreement, how about the following, from the Larger Catechism:

    Q. 5. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
    A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

    Q. 91. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
    A. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.

    Q. 92. What did God at first reveal unto man as the rule of his obedience?
    A. The rule of obedience revealed to Adam in the estate of innocence, and to all mankind in him, besides a special command not to eat of the fruit of the tree knowledge of good and evil, was the moral law.

    Q. 93. What is the moral law?
    A. The moral law is the declaration of the will of God to mankind, directing and binding every one to personal, perfect, and perpetual conformity and obedience thereunto, in the frame and disposition of the whole man, soul and body, and in performance of all those duties of holiness and righteousness which he oweth to God and man: promising life upon the fulfilling, and threatening death upon the breach of it.

    Q. 97. What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?
    A. Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, so as thereby they are neither justified nor condemned; yet, besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them how much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; and thereby to provoke them to more thankfulness, and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule of their obedience.

    Maybe it would help if you explain in what ways your position is consistent with the above while Dr. Hart’s and Zrim’s isn’t?

  275. Todd Bordow said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    “If you define 2K broadly, then that is certainly true. E.g., Both Calvin and Bahnsen were clearly 2K in some sense. Were they 2K in the Escondido sense?”

    Tom,

    Well, neither Bahnsen theonomy nor E2k can claim Calvin, the point was that if the various and sometimes divergent applications of a position discredits that position, as was suggested earlier, then theonomy is also in trouble, as Bahnsen himself made the point that the many divergent applications of theonomy do not discredit the position.

  276. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Theonomy is a word invented by Greg Bahnsen. It has a specific meaning for a specific doctrine. It is not synonymous with theocracy. In fact Greg Bahnsen wrote against the idea of an Established church as understood by the 1646 WCF 23 and the Westminster Divines.

    I am not entirely sure what your point is in using the examples of Iran and the Inquisition. Especially considering neither really has anything to do with the question at hand, Unless of course you believe that the kinds of relationships envisioned between Church and State by Samuel Rutherford in Lex, Rex and George Gillespie in Aaron’s Rod Blossoming and William Symington’s Messiah the Prince are necessarily the same as Iran and the Inquisition.

  277. March 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Re #266. Just to expand: Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici was produced by the London Provincial Assembly (of which many of the Westminster Assembly were members) and it is supposed that JDRE was the completion of the Assembly’s never produced answer to the House of Parliament’s nine queries regarding jus divinum church government. It was the Assembly’s stand against an Erastian ordinance for keeping the scandalous from the Lord’s table that earned the divines a formal censure from parliament of breach of privilege (praemunire), and several upbraiding speeches delivered to them along with the nine captious queries to use Baillie’s description. George Gillespie, one of the Scottish Commissioners, directed the majority of his writing against the Erastian system (most notably his Aaron’s Rod Blossoming, which he famously presented to the Assembly upon his final return to Scotland, along with his three tracts contra Coleman, and his 111 Propositions).

  278. TurretinFan said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    “Tfanatic, you said I was wrong about Hodge. Now I’m right about Hodge? But you said I disagreed with Hodge. I’m confused.

    Also, you said that the Bible speaks to all things. Now you agree with Hodge that the Bible does not address federal versus states rights.

    If your disregard for my views were not so pronounced, you might not be so confusing.”

    DGH: Am I supposed to take this seriously?

    -TurretinFan

  279. Todd Bordow said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Ben,

    I said I didn’t want to debate the precise meaning of theonomy versus theocracy. I get it. The point is theocracy. I think I was fairly clear earlier:

    “the Biblical answer to the injustices of the world and injustice of governments is the Second Coming, not a return to the punishments of the Mosaic Law (theonomy), or enforcing true religion by the sword (theocracy). And because a desire for the state to punish sinners in this life for not following our religion is in conflict with our calling to reach sinners with the gospel, by Biblical command the church’s only mandate concerning unbelievers….”

    As you are aware, in the Spanish Inquisition, the RC church and Spanish monarchy put what they considered blasphemers to death. I am saying that is wrong in itself, not just wrong when the wrong guys do it. I get that it goes against some early reformers, but please let’s not wrangle over words anymore; let’s deal with the position.

  280. Jack Bradley said,

    March 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Alan Strange has a very helpful paper on the relation of general and special revelation, as well as a balanced view of the spirituality of the church (Hodge vs. Thornwell):

    http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=43

    “Because of common grace, even where special revelation may be absent, unregenerate man is able to make some use of this natural law, albeit twisted. Because of the antithesis, unregenerate man perverts natural law apart from the guidance of special revelation. Since general revelation was never sufficient—even before the fall man needed, and had, a word from God—special revelation is even more necessary after the fall, not only for man’s salvation, but also to testify explicitly to the truth seen in general revelation that unregenerate man distorts.”

  281. sean said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Jack,

    Doesn’t Rom 1:18-22. Essentially argue it’s not an deficit of education or information but one of conformity and more so one of willing and agreeable conformity? So, even if you require or make available special revelation, you’ve failed to address the issue of desirousness or even acquiescence in the affections. Doesn’t WCF 1:5,6 make this point, while also making claim that the very light of nature (general revelation) which orders circumstances common to human actions and societies also have bearing on redemptive/sacred institutions and governance of same?

  282. Ron said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Ben, do you agree with Calvin that adulterers should be executed?

    Darryl,

    Shock value has limited appeal and hardly an argument makes. You seem, yet again I’m most afraid, a bit reluctant to produce reasons why such a penalty is no longer good in God’s sight, though you appreciate it at least once was. It would seem that you prefer to shock 21st century ears with the penalty of death for the crime in view without disclosing how the cross made that which was once God’s wisdom now apparently passé, even foolish. Would it be wrong if such a penalty was on the books today? Can you at least equate it to circumcision, not required but not a bad idea? Does natural law forbid such a civil law after all and if so did natural law defy Moses during his time, or has natural law changed over time?

    I know you don’t want to see certain (most?) non-ceremonial laws legislated under this economy; I would just like to see a bit more evidence that you would have preferred many of them under Moses.Your emotive remarks seem to transcend testaments, which concerns me. You seem to suggest that you just find the laws always passé or not to your liking in any intrinsic value. Obviously the cross does away with shadows, but how are civil laws shadows? Did the civil code merely reflect the final judgment, implying that those laws had zero social relevance in their day, only eschatological significance? In any case, you hardly tease out answers to such fair and relevant questions by raising emotive ones. By raising the question about putting adulterers to death you hardly address any questions of relevance.

    Adultery is obviously a violation of natural law. Accordingly, your question to Ben is either worthless (I can’t think of a better word) or it suggests that you think that execution for adultery is forbidden by special revelation, a tall order to fill. I don’t think you’ll find abrogation of that law in John 8.

  283. Jack Bradley said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Sean,

    I don’t quite follow your point.

    DG,

    This is a sincere question, as I try to understand your perspective. Does George McKenna accurately represents your position in his review of your book in First Things:

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/09/002-a-religious-people-13

    Hart thinks the root error of Christians who try to bring their faith into the arena of politics is the failure to understand that it just doesn’t fit. Christianity is “essentially a spiritual and eternal faith.” It is “useless” for resolving “America’s political disputes” and, because of its intolerance of other faiths, “impractical if not damaging to public life.”

    . . . Religion belongs in church, and the purpose of churches is mercy; politics has to do with the state, and the state’s purpose is justice. “To confuse the two is to misconstrue the bad cop (the state) and the good cop (the church).”

    . . . His contention is that Christianity is “a secular faith” because it carves out a sector of life wholly separate from religion. While he sees this as implicit in Christianity from the beginning, he credits Protestantism with bringing it to the fore. By discrediting the authority of the Church in science and other secular areas, the Reformation made it possible to call oneself a “Christian secularist,” which is what Hart calls himself.

    One can understand and even empathize with Hart’s attempt to draw a line separating the secular from the religious. . . Sensible Christians do not turn to Scripture to determine whether to cut short-term interest rates or launch a new Mars explorer. The controversy is about where the line is drawn. Hart’s line is one that would push religion into the far corners of American public life.

    [end quote]

  284. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:33 am

    Jeff, I still don’t know how you say that only part of the Decalogue applies to the state, and all to the church. Israel and the church are expected to enforce both tables. The Decalogue is of a piece. It is a modern conception of church-state relations (a la 2k) that limits the state to the second table.

  285. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Ben, a magistrate that calls and presides over assemblies may not qualify as Erastian in your book. But it clearly different from what the ARP confesses. Hence the revision.

  286. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Tfanatic, no, you need not take it seriously but can chuckle at your own confusion along with Jack Miller.

  287. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:37 am

    Ron, the point is not shock value, though I think the folks scared of 2k by its uncharitable critics would be interested to know that the alternative to 2k means the execution of adulterers and heretics. The point is simply to get some 2k critics to own up to their own departure from Calvin. Honesty is becoming Christians.

  288. Ron said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:43 am

    Darryl,

    Fair enough. I see your point and I find it valid.

  289. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:43 am

    Darryl Hart, #289: “though I think the folks scared of 2k by its uncharitable critics would be interested to know that the alternative to 2k means the execution of adulterers and heretics.”

    I think DA Carson once said: “Damn all false antithesis to Hell!”

  290. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:31 am

    DGHart:

    “Tfanatic, no, you need not take it seriously but can chuckle at your own confusion along with Jack Miller.”

    That’s what I thought. I wish you wouldn’t waste my time with lame trolling.

    -TurretinFan

  291. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:34 am

    “What is THE SUBSTANCE of the Escondido variety of Two Kingdoms?”

    Good luck getting an answer to that.

    – TurretinFan

  292. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Alan Strange has a very helpful paper on the relation of general and special revelation, as well as a balanced view of the spirituality of the church (Hodge vs. Thornwell):

    Thanks, Jack for that link. For those who actually listen to the Prof. Strange lectures I linked previously, he makes the observation that his concern about NL2k is that it appears to be a “regressive” movement, for example making distinctions between church and state, but providing no foundation for *relating* them. He does not see the “integration point”. The Reformed always look to account for the “one and the many”, seeing necessary distinctions but then not rending them utterly asunder from one another. Whereas Christian Reconstruction swings toward merging the many too far into “one”, NL2k has swung in the direction of the “many” with accounting for the the “one”. So for example, NL2k goes so far as separting “faith from politics”, which as Strange points out, is a “very different thing than separating church from state”.

  293. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:13 am

    It could be added that others likewise see these sharp dichotomies in ER2k. Dr. Brad Littlejohn points out in his extensive review of Van Drunen {at Sword and Ploughshare blog} that these extreme dualisms touch on Christology as well, i.e., tending to separate Jesus as Son of God from Jesus as Christ. While understanding that Van Drunen is an orthodox Christian, at times Van Drunen’s formulations sound quite foreign to the Reformed Christianity.

    And similarly, Dr. Brian Mattson sees these separation or “dualisms” as having more resemblance to Greek spirit/matter dualisms than Reformed theology. Mattson notes that while Van Drunen, as a Christian, certainly affirms the resurrection, he questions whether V.D.’s formulations {complete annihilation of creation, no “carryover of cultural product into the new heavens} provide a consistent foundation for doing so.

  294. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Correction in #294 above: NL2k has swung in the direction of the “many” WITHOUT accounting for the the “one”.

  295. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Todd,

    I would think it to be a good idea to study a little what the differences are when discussing Establishmentarianism and Theonomy. They are not the same thing and it muddies the waters and creates confusion when you try and conflate the two. Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Gary North, Ken Gentry, DeMar, etc… were all against national confessionalism and the Establishment Principle and agreed with the 1788 revisions to the confession.

    As far as the Spanish Inquisition goes I struggle to understand why you keep bringing it up as if it has any relevance other than shock value. The Roman Catholic and Presbyterian ideas of State/Church relations are diametrically opposed to one another.

  296. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Perhaps this book could be helpful:

    http://www.puritanshop.com/shop/one-kingdom-under-god-thomas-halliday/

  297. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Dr. Hart,

    It is not about “my book” but what the original writers of the Confession understood Erastian to mean. You may disagree with them on that point, but the historical record sings a different tune. I would recommend taking a look at William Cunningham’s section (starting on page 557) in the second of his two-volume “Historical Theology” concerning the Erastian Controversy and the differences between Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Papists, and Erastians on the concept of Church and State.

    As far as the ARP WCF 23 goes ARP WCF 31 “Of Synods and Councils” still gives the right to the Civil Government to call Synods and Councils when they desire.

    …it may be proper for magistrates to desire the calling
    of a Synod of ministers and other fit persons, to consult and
    advise with about matters of religion; and in such cases, it is
    the duty of churches to comply with their desire.

    Also from ARP WCF 31:

    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.

  298. March 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Re. #279, to add some resources on JDRE, John R. de Witt’s book, Jus Divinum: The Westminster Assembly & the Divine Right of Church Government, is still a great study after all these years and in print in an economical reprint.
    http://tinyurl.com/87o785n
    See also David Hall’s introduction to the Naphtali Press edition of JDRE (Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici: The Divine Right of Church Government {Naphtali Press: 1995}, out of print).
    I would mention the forthcoming Minutes of the Assembly by Van Dixhoorn, but you will need to sell your first born to get it.

  299. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Jeff, where you worry that my view results in hypothetical antinomianism, my concern is that yours ends up making the Bible a handbook for temporal life. And the problem with that is that that it distracts from its actual intent, which is to show sinners the narrow way to eternal life. And from where I sit, this really is the great concern of 2k, namely that the gospel gets co-opted at best or lost at worst amid the well intended but even more misguided need to be relevant on this-worldly terms. When I hear worldviewers speak I also hear Jesus’ rebuke that the religious leaders of his time diligently studied the Scriptures but missed entirely that they WERE ALL ABOUT HIM. I have to believe that part of their diligent study would’ve been favorable to worldviewry and this tortured effort to say it has something (surely something!) to do with plumbing. And so this really is a sola point. The Bible is about Jesus alone, not Jesus and plumbing. Maybe worldviewers are tempted to say this is too radical a claim, but did Jesus really have to die because he said the Bible is about making it more or less relevant to worldly cares? Seems to me that would’ve at least taken the edge off things. Or did he die because he made radically exclusive claims about himself related to the Bible? Is worldviewry Calvinism’s version of Judaic folly?

  300. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Jack, re 285, I think Sean’s point is what to do about abiding human sin (even if it isn’t, it’s mine in response to you and Strange). If special revelation corrects general revelation then what corrects the sinful reader? So it does seem to me that general revelation and special revelation are indeed sufficient for the tasks for which they were ordained (to govern civil life and to govern ecclesiastical life respectively). They are both God’s books and as such are sufficient. Deficiency lies within the sinful reader of both. If you think special revelation has the kind of power to correct everything (including general revelation) then you have the problem of a visible church divided. IOW, if the Bible settles spiritual matters without any hiccups then I submit to you Rome versus Geneva and Wittenburg. The Bible is indeed clear, but the 500 lb. gorilla in the room is human sin. Same for general revelation. It is perfectly clear and doesn’t need the aid of special revelation. The implicit nature of general revelation doesn’t make it any less clear. And if the explicit nature of the Bible does for general revelation what Strange claims, then why bother at all with general and just use the Bible to govern civil life?

  301. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Zrim,

    What is THE SUBSTANCE of the Escondido variety of Two Kingdoms?

  302. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

    TU&D:

    If they told you that, they would have to give up the canard that E2k is being misrepresented by its critics. So, don’t hold your breath.

    -TurretinFan

  303. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Ben, the language of the ARP is still in the context of a Christian nation. It also invokes the language of civil rights such that the execution of a Christian magistrate’s duties must not violate the rights of citizens. Whether or not you agree with that understanding of the magistrate, it is a long way from Westminster and Geneva.

    Why won’t you admit this, Ben? Is it because it is an inconvenient truth?

  304. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    In Zrim’s comment, we see yet another separation or dichotomy–here between special and general revelation– as if they have no relation or integration with each other.

    Edwards explains the relationship simply enough:

    It seems much the most rational to suppose that the universal law by which mankind are to be governed should be a written law. For if that rule, by which God intends the world shall be regulated and kept in decent and happy order, be not expressed in words that can be resorted to and be supposed to be expressed no other way than by nature, man’s prejudices will render it, in innumerable circumstances, a most uncertain thing. For though “it must be granted that men who are willing to transgress, may abuse written as well as unwritten laws, and expound them so as may best serve their turn upon occasion, yet it must be allowed that in the nature of the thing, revelation is a better guard than a bare scheme of principles without it. For men must take more pains to conquer the sense of a standing, written law, which is ready to confront them upon all occasions. They must more industriously tamper with their passions and blind their understandings, before they can bring themselves to believe what they have a mind to believe, in contradiction to the words of an express and formal declaration of God Almighty’s will, than there can be any pretense or occasion for, when they have no more than their own thoughts and ideas to manage. These are flexible things, and a man may much more easily turn and wind them as he pleases, than he can evade a plain and positive law, which determines the kinds and measures of his duty and threatens disobedience in such terms as require long practice and experience to make handsome salvos and distinctions to get over.” [Ditton on The Resurrection] And upon this account also, that it is fit in every case, when the law is made known, that also the sanctions, the rewards and punishments, should be known at the same time. But nature could never have determined these with any certainty.

  305. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Tfananitc, your dismissive and spiteful demeanor is showing again. We have talked about this by email (I’m surprised you did not reproduce it in your exchange with Craig French). Have you ever considered that if you actually tried to have a serious discussion of the matter and not simply find fault with 2k, you might not receive sarcastic replies? Either way, many of your responses to 2k are not only lame, but blind, deaf, and dumb.

  306. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

    DGHart: Your failure to honor the truth and your continued trolling are noted. -TurretinFan

  307. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Mark, how does Edwards’ quote have anything to do with 2k? If you will recall, Edwards was a subject of the British monarchy which had no written constitution. Do you really think he was taking a shot at the law and order of the United Kingdom?

  308. Jack Bradley said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Zrim said: “Same for general revelation. It is perfectly clear and doesn’t need the aid of special revelation.”

    Zrim, I know this is the standard 2K belief. Suffice to say that this is the point under contention.

    Zrim wrote: “Deficiency lies within the sinful reader of both [gen & special rev] . . . the 500 lb. gorilla in the room is human sin.”

    Of course. And so our reading of both will always be less than perfect.

    Zrim wrote: “And if the explicit nature of the Bible does for general revelation what Strange claims, then why bother at all with general and just use the Bible to govern civil life?”

    Apparently you haven’t really been following the discussion thus far.

  309. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Mark, also please be honest in your invoking of Strange. He calls 2k dear brothers in Christ who need to be heard. Can you say that?

    It looks to me like you have a dualistic reading of Strange (and most disagreeable truths). And if you think dualism is so bad, why does the apostle Paul make such a stark distinction between matters of the world, and those of the spirit (in 1 Cor. for starters).

    Tell the whole truth, not a selective version that only works for you. I thought honesty was a Christian virtue.

  310. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Truthconfuses, you ask about the substance. Have you read VanDrunen on the 2 kingdoms or Stellman? If not, then read them.

  311. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Jack, once again you show your powers of conversation. But how about engaging the point instead of dismissing mine as out of the loop?

  312. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Zrim (#301): …my concern is that yours ends up making the Bible a handbook for temporal life.

    But the difference between our concerns is this: I have shown how antinomianism flows from your words. The fact that you are NOT antinomian is due to the fact that you simply hold yourself in tension (and revel in the “mystery” :) ). You simultaneously affirm that the Bible must be obeyed while plumbing, and that the Bible has nothing to say about plumbing. If both are true then “obedience while plumbing” is vacuous.

    Whereas, you have not to date shown at all how “making the Bible a handbook for temporal life” flows from my words. In fact, my words make clear how and to what extent the Bible speaks to all of life, and that extent does not permit making the Bible say anything more than what it actually says.

    The “not a handbook for temporal life” is present at the core of my view.

    I wish that you could acknowledge this point; it would help the dialogue along.

  313. Jack Bradley said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Zrim, I think my engagement with your point is commensurate with the level you’ve engaged with the points under discussion.

  314. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Jeff, it is not clear to me how you have shown antinomianism flows from my points, especially when one of those points is that the Christian life can be summed up in the word “obedience.” You might also recall that I’m not the one who wants to carve out space for civil DISobedience, which is what makes the charge of “public square antinomianism” of the anti-2kers especially curious.

    But you have always consistently and clearly denied that general revelation is sufficient to govern civil life. And since there are only two books, general and special, that leaves special to pick up the slack of an insufficient general. How the Bible doesn’t then become to some degree or another a handbook for provisional life isn’t clear to me, no matter how much you explicitly deny it. It is the clear implication of your points. But since clarity and implication seem to be a blind spot…

  315. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Mark, so what does Edwards do with Paul who says the law is indeed written on the heart?

    For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

    Edwards may say that what is implicit isn’t clear or sufficiently known and so what is needed is that which is explicit and written in stone. But Paul doesn’t say that at all. Doesn’t Paul beat Edwards?

  316. sean said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Zrim,
    you accurately conveyed my point to Jack as it regarded Alan Strange’s remark.

  317. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Jeff, sorry, but it’s still not clear on you view how the Bible speaks to all of life. The Bible on your view speaks to honesty. Christian plumbers are to be honest. But the Bible doesn’t speak to what plumbers get paid to do directly — fix leaks and other matters related to the flow of water in a building. Your view is inspirational. Isn’t it inspiring that the Bible speaks to all of life! But it easily disappoints. Isn’t disappointing that the Bible doesn’t say anything about technical matters of federated republics.

    And I still don’t know what hermeneutic allows you to apply only parts of the Bible (decalogue) to the magistrate but not others. It strikes me as an equivocal 2k position. Christians don’t have the option of obeying the sixth commandment but not the second. Churches don’t have that option either. Neither did Israel.

    So where does this partial biblical view come from and how is it really different from NL?

  318. Todd Bordow said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Ben,

    You keep missing the forest for the trees.

    You asked in #257,

    “How do they speak to this issue of the legitimacy of the Civil Magistrate enforcing the First and Second Table of the Law and seeing the Bible as a rule for all of life?…I would be curious to understand why you are so virulently dead set against these things?”

    I am answering your question on why many of us do not believe it is legitimate for the civil magistrate to enforce the First Table. I don’t know how to make it any plainer.

  319. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Gentlemen, sorry that I can’t be more clear. I don’t sense that we’ve made any progress here.

  320. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Sean, then I wonder how Jack, who claimed not to follow your point, can say I haven’t been following the discussion so far. Jaaaaaaack?

  321. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Jeff, it’s all right. Sinners are the deficient ones who struggle with clarity (not God’s revelation), which has been my point. So thanks for helping make it.

  322. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Zrim, Paul goes on to speak of the “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness”, such that what is written on the conscience is sufficient to leave men without an excuse. That point was pressed on Van Drunen by Dr. Mark Dever in his 9 Marks interview, and even Van Drunen had to admit that Romans is talking about sufficiency of natural law to condemn men, but it is not making a claim of the sufficiency of natural law in terms of governance. You may want to listent to that interview. Yes, that may seem inconsistent with Van Drunen’s overall natural law project, but I’ve never alleged there is coherence in this movement.

    Also, note that our Canons of Dort confess that the glimmerings of natural light in men is insufficient to order civil society “aright”. The “spectacles of Scripture”, as John Calvin called them, are necessay to aid sinful man in seeing things more clearly. That is consonant with the Edwards quote.

  323. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Zrim, why so rude of late? Have I offended you in some way?

  324. jsm52 said,

    March 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    DGHart:
    “Tfanatic, no, you need not take it seriously but can chuckle at your own confusion along with Jack Miller.”

    That’s what I thought. I wish you wouldn’t waste my time with lame trolling.
    -TurretinFan

    This too gave me a chuckle…

  325. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Ron Marlin, #180: “Reed,

    Where have any of the men critiqued offered a “reasonably documentated defense”? Do you mean the “….we’re shocked and saddened Frame would say such things….” statement on WSC’s web site? All I’ve basically read in response to Frame is, “Hey, we don’t believe that!” Problem is, he quotes from the primary sources. Thus far, Frame’s criticisms have been mostly dismissed with a wave of the hand.

    Sorry, it’s going to take more than that….”

    Ron, take a look at this post:

    Frame’s Thirty-Two Point List … and Dr. Godfrey’s Response

    Excerpt: “Dr. Godfrey claimed that his purpose in writing a response was to set the record straight: ” We do not wish to engage in a protracted discussion of these things with John, but we do find it necessary to set the record straight.” But what has been straightened or clarified? Nothing except that point 21 is essentially on the money but just not worded the way that they would like.

    Also, it is clear that the faculty of WSC does not appreciate criticism. But love of criticism is a rare trait indeed. One can hardly blame them for that. In sum, Dr. Godfrey has swung and missed in his attempt to “set the record straight.” He has neither identified any errors in Frame’s characterization, nor any errors in Frame’s criticism itself.”

  326. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Zrim:

    Do you agree with DGHart on those affirmations and denials? Do you have any exceptions to what he has said?

    -TurretinFan

  327. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Mark, I’ve never understood how it could be that the natural law is sufficient to eternally condemn but insufficient to provisionally govern.

    But I take your CoD reference to be Article 4 under the Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine, which reads:

    Article 4: The Inadequacy of the Light of Nature

    There is, to be sure, a certain light of nature remaining in man after the fall, by virtue of which he retains some notions about God, natural things, and the difference between what is moral and immoral, and demonstrates a certain eagerness for virtue and for good outward behavior. But this light of nature is far from enabling man to come to a saving knowledge of God and conversion to him–so far, in fact, that man does not use it rightly even in matters of nature and society. Instead, in various ways he completely distorts this light, whatever its precise character, and suppresses it in unrighteousness. In doing so he renders himself without excuse before God.

    That sounds like point is that the light of nature is adequate to save, which is affirmed, and that the point is driven home by saying man doesn’t even use it right to order society. Also affirmed. But the whole thing is a point about abiding sin. The Bible is sufficient to order the church, but sin still gets in the way of that; the truth is also suppressed in unrighteousness by Spirit-indwelt Christians looking to the Bible in order to order the church.

    Note that Article 5 goes on to say that “the law is inadequate.” Is the point that the law is deficient? Of course not. It’s “inadequate” because it depends upon sinners to do it: deficiency lies within people, not God’s revelation.

  328. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Jeff, add the deficiencies of cyber space being used by deficient sinners. No rudeness intended, just an insufficient play on words.

  329. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Tfan, I’d have to take another, closer look. But I don’t recall having any qualms when those were originally posted.

  330. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Zrim: Thanks, i would appreciate it if you did. There are some that I have no qualms about myself (in fact, I suspect, most I don’t have qualms with) but a few that give me the proverbial heebie-jeebies. – TurretinFan

  331. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    TurretinFan, #293: “What is THE SUBSTANCE of the Escondido variety of Two Kingdoms?”

    Good luck getting an answer to that.

    – TurretinFan”

    Thanks for the good luck wishes. By the way, where is my post that ended with that question?

  332. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    TurretinFan, #333: “There are some that I have no qualms about myself (in fact, I suspect, most I don’t have qualms with) but a few that give me the proverbial heebie-jeebies.”

    Which ones give you the proverbial heebie-jeebies?

  333. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    TU&D: All in good time, my friend. – TurretinFan

  334. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Article 5 speaks of the insufficiency of the law for salvation.

    So yes, we are agreed that due to abiding sin, there is all sorts of distortion. Hence, we should agree on the insufficiency of natural law to order things “aright”, i.e., determining that ideal standard to which we should aim. So while it is also true that we can distort the more clearly stated written revelation { exhibit A = Er2k}, that does not obviate our confession that the revealed Word of God is a gracious aid to our understanding of God’s binding will on all men.

  335. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Jeff Cagle, #326: “Zrim, why so rude of late? Have I offended you in some way?”

    Zrim, #331: “Jeff, add the deficiencies of cyber space being used by deficient sinners. No rudeness intended, just an insufficient play on words.

    Hopefully that insufficient play on words is enough of an explanation for Jeff Cagle (and others.)

  336. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Tfan, I did the work of unearthing the posts. I’m going to declare it on you to uncover your heebies and at least some of your jeebies. Natural law tells me this is only fair.

  337. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    LOL Zrim, I guess that’s fair.

    I just figured that you pointed to them as the substance of the position, but then you’re not sure that you actually agree with them, so I thought you might like to check if they really represent the substance or not. I’m not feeling the love from brother Darryl right now, so I have kind of a low motivation to respond to points that will be simply about his own unique theology, as opposed to the actual substance.

    -TurretinFan

  338. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    truthtattlestales, who made you umpire and score keeper of this blog?

    Is your presence simply to make others with whom you disagree look bad?

    Here’s a counterproposal: these tactics make you look petty.

    So why not return to the PG bathroom humor?

  339. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Mark, you still lose me. The point isn’t that the light of nature is insufficient for its designed task. It’s that human beings misuse the light of nature to do its designed task. Just like the law isn’t deficient to earn salvation, it’s that sinners can’t do it. Men without sin can though, namely Jesus. Little wonder to me that 2kers cannot be found amongst the FVers.

    But saying that the light of nature is insufficient for its designed task is like saying a golf club is insufficient to play golf, as in blaming one’s equipment. But we all know that the one who does that is simply making an excuse for his natural inabilities to play golf well.

  340. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Tfan, I don’t know why I’d point to them as an example of the substance of 2k if I wasn’t sure that I actually agree with them…because I’m pretty sure that I do. But you make too much of love. If you want to understand 2k you must fight with The Darryl. Picture him in a bow tie and stroking a kitty cat if it helps.

  341. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Tirades Undermine and Anonymously Divide…never mind, I just wanted to say that.

  342. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Zrim re:343, never quite pictured Darryl as Austin Powers until now. – TurretinFan

  343. Reed Here said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Sheesh, are we starting to feel love here or what? ;-p

  344. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Tfan, I think you mean Dr. Evil. Powers wouldn’t be caught dead in a bow tie, baby.

  345. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Zrim, got it. All good.

  346. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Correct, Zrim.

  347. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    @ 341,

    o Nobody did.

    o You make yourself look bad.

    o Accepting your invitation.

  348. Reed Here said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    TUAD: stop with the potty language.

  349. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Zrim:

    Here is my response. I didn’t just now write it, but I just now published it.

    http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2012/03/darryl-harts-affirmations-and-denials.html

    -TurretinFan

  350. greenbaggins said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Zrim, it wouldn’t hurt to dial down the rhetoric a bit. I understand, and am sympathetic with the fact that it’s 2K being attacked, and I have, as a result of that, given the 2K’ers more latitude on their responses. However, 344 wasn’t really necessary (even though I suspect you simply meant it as poking fun).

  351. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Ben, I’m waiting. May I exhale yet?

  352. greenbaggins said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Darryl, can you make sure that a current email address is attached to your next comment? Thanks

  353. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Lane, I’d be glad to but your site (must be run by Tfanatic) won’t take my real addresses anymore. I’ve interacted with Paige. But I still get error messages when I use my personal addresses.

  354. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Reed et al,

    Here is Tfanatic’s conclusion to my affirmations and denials (after the sort of kvetching one gets from copyeditors):

    “The biggest problem is that Hart’s affirmations could almost all, with some nuance, be adopted by someone who holds to the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646). Yet, it is clear that one of the things that defines the Escondido Theology is an opinion that the WCF 1646 was not simply too narrow, but that it was wrong. While there are some areas where Hart’s affirmations and denials probably represent real differences, they are not presented in a way that actually highlights those differences. Perhaps, however, this response will help Hart to work on some updated affirmations/denials that will actually get to the substance of the disagreement.”

    This proves my point that 2k is being judged by a standard — the original Westminster Confession — that none of our Reformed churches professes. This proves nothing.

    This post strikes me as a perfect instance of pounding sand.

  355. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Green Baggins, #354: “I understand, and am sympathetic with the fact that it’s 2K being attacked, and I have, as a result of that, given the 2K’ers more latitude on their responses.”

    (1) This muddles things in the sense that it’s often other 2K’ers who are “attacking” Escondido 2Kers.

    (2) So you’re not sympathetic when Dr. John Frame is being attacked?

    “However, 344 wasn’t really necessary (even though I suspect you simply meant it as poking fun).”

    “Dear Old F**T” was simply meant as poking fun too.

  356. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Dr. Hart,

    I was reminded in this comment thread why I stopped bothering to discuss this particular issue online with you. You are not interested in actually discussing anything, just in being snarky and purposefully obtuse.

  357. Richard said,

    March 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    TUAD, this should warm your 1K heart, right?
    http://news.yahoo.com/rick-santorum-disagrees-pastors-statement-non-christians-230317782–abc-news.html

  358. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Ben, I have engaged you on Calvin, the Divines, and the contemporary churches (like the ARP). You have brought much more to the table than others. But you then take a few shots, like “oh wait,” and then open up the canon fire as in suggesting that I disdain Calvin or that I am purposefully obtuse.

    How is it obtuse to hold your feet to the fire and ask you if you do agree with Calvin on the magistrate and the execution of adulterers? How is it obtuse to try to defend 2k by showing that no Reformed church holds Calvin’s or Westminster’s views?

    How is it actually charitable or even conducive to debate for you to condemn in such personal ways?

  359. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Richard, #360,

    I don’t know if I’m a 1Ker.

    Thanks for the interesting article. I’m rooting for Santorum actually.

  360. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Lane, WordPress appears very recently to have changed their posting policy so that one must post with a WordPress or Facebook login, rather than the usual Name+e-mail+blog address.

    I don’t know whether the change is because of admin policies or WordPress policies, but that’s why everyone’s names have changed.

    That, plus we conspired to confuse you. :)

  361. jsm52 said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    It seems that to comment, after you enter your email address, click on the WordPress icon on the right and “sign in” on the page you are sent to. After signing in you’ll be redirected back to GB to continue your comment. This will work for any valid WordPress username.

  362. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Tfan, thanks. A couple of things stood out.

    1) Affirmation: the church is called to gather and perfect saints through word, sacrament and discipline.

    Denial: the church is not called to meddle in civil affairs.

    “Meddle” is a pejorative term. Just as sermons should not be “tedious,” the preaching of the gospel should not “meddle.” Nevertheless, the Bible speaks to many things and preachers should preach the full counsel, not holding back because certain topics have obtained political interest. Indeed, the advent of a political debate may make preaching on certain topics more timely and necessary. The fact that something has become of interest to the civil government does not mean it is taken away from the pulpit.

    Later you said that there is a good way to meddle and a bad way. But the problem you have is that neither the original formulations nor the revisions make such a distinction. There is only meddling or not meddling. There is no more a good way to meddle than there is a good way to disobey. (Some would that civil disobedience is fine so long as it is non-violent, but the Bible no where condones disobedience so long as its polite; it’s always and ever a vice and never a virtue.)

    You also seem to zig when 2k zags over the posture to take when matters become politicized. When that happens, it’s not that a topic becomes timely and necessary, it’s that’s a clue to exercise restraint. In other words, the preacher shouldn’t get giddy about being relevant (hello, evangelicalism) but conservative and cautious (goodbye). You’ll note that this is also not the same as saying a topic “is taken away from the pulpit.” It’s to say that the man who fears God should proceed with caution instead of excuberance. Why anyone, especially those who concive themselves as conservative, would have any issue with that is a puzzle to me.

  363. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    4) Affirmation: church members have a duty to obey the laws of civil magistrates.

    Denial: church members may not rebel against or disobey the magistrate.

    Denial: church members must not obey the magistrate rather than God.

    There is an obvious conflict amongst these affirmations/denials. Namely when obedience to God conflicts with obedience to the magistrate, everyone (not just “church members”) must obey God.

    There is a general rule that we should obey the King, i.e. the civil magistrate. There are times when it may be permissible or obligatory for us to disobey the King. The same morality applies whether a person is a “church member” or not.

    Was this a heebie or a jeebie? Either way, it isn’t obvious to me that there is a conflict amongst these affirmations and denials. What I see is a plain reading of Scripture which sets out two clear principles: obey magistrate and obey God. Because of these principles of obedience, what is actually conflicting is to speak in the affirmative of disobedience. The Bible no where condones any kind of disobedience.

    So I wonder if you find an obvious conflict between the fifth commandment and something like Luke 14:26: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” See, the Bible is full of these kinds of apparent conflicts. But what something like 2k does is make sense out of what it means to have a dual citizenship. One is to honor his parents, even if they are unbelievers. One is to forsake his family, even if they are believers (should they stand between himself and undivided devotion to Christ).

  364. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Hart (#357):

    You misrepresent the situation. The problem with your affirmations/denials is that they are vague. If I can adopt them and you can adopt them, they don’t really identify what distinguishes us. I know that something distinguishes us, because you claim that the WCF 1646 was wrong and I claim it was right. Your affirmations/denials don’t capture that.

    That’s different from what is wrong with your theology. What is wrong with your theology is that is that it is contrary to Scripture, which is (as both of our standards say) the only infallible rule of faith and life and the final arbiter in all such disputes.

    The reference to the WCF 1646 is a demonstration of the inadequacy of your affirmations/denials to actually elucidate. Rather than taking swipes at me personally, why don’t you go back to the drawing board and work out some more nuanced affirmations and denials that actually represent the distinctive elements of your theology.

    Or better yet, why don’t you go through Frame’s list the way I went through yours, explaining the sense in which you agree or disagree with his thirty-two propositions. That has the potential of actually shedding light on what you believe and why what you believe is right (if it is) or not (if that’s the case).

    -TurretinFan

  365. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Zrim, do you remember Dr. Michael Horton’s remarks about civil disobedience? Here they are again.

    Michael Horton: “Good questions about civil disobedience. That’s not really germane to the “two kingdoms” idea, though. 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. For example, churches one day in the US may lose their tax-exempt status if they are explicitly pro-life. That’s not persecution, since that status is not a divine right to begin with. 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”

  366. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Zrim:

    Slow down, brother. You write: “Later you said that there is a good way to meddle and a bad way.” I think you may have misread me, or perhaps I made a typo. Perhaps you would point me to the place where I said that there is a good way to meddle?

    -TurretinFan

  367. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    re: 366

    The conflict was first observed by the apostles. Jesus told them to obey the Sanhedrin, but the Sanhedrin was telling them to disobey Jesus. They resolved the conflict by obeying Jesus and disobeying the Sanhedrin.

    -TurretinFan

  368. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Darryl Hart: “This post [by TurretinFan] strikes me as a perfect instance of pounding sand.”

    Folks would like to obtain THE SUBSTANCE of Escondido 2K. Darryl Hart, do you regard your series of Affirmations and Denials as fully representing THE SUBSTANCE of Escondido 2K such that nothing else has to be added to it, subtracted from it, qualified, nuanced, or modified in your original Affirmations and Denials of 2K?

    There was this following exchange by TFan myself in the comment thread:

    Me: “It would be helpful to know if Darryl Hart regards his three-part series as constituting a significant part of THE SUBSTANCE of Escondido 2K. He did reference David Van Drunen’s and Jason Stellman’s works as well.

    Also, it would be helpful to know if Van Drunen, Horton, Stellman, and R.S. Clark agree with all of Darryl Hart’s three-part series.”

    TurretinFan: “It really wouldn’t be that helpful, because with qualifications I too can agree with them. If I can agree with them, they can’t represent the substance of E2K.”

    Me: “Well, how is anyone to obtain the substance of Escondido 2K? This is crazy. They’re claiming that there’s E2K substance, but where is the E2K substance?”

    TurretinFan: “It’s under, behind, and around the affirmations, much like the Lutheran consubstantiation.”

  369. Reed Here said,

    March 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    TUAD: your pestering is tiresome. Maybe you could enlighten us to the value of knowing whether or not there is a monolithic/absolute/comprehensive position known as Escondido 2K which all these men affirm in blood.

    Or maybe you could simply acknowledge what is obvious – there is no such thing!

    Then, go on to make your hay.

    But, please for the sake of the rest of us actually trying to find something useful in the discussion here, please quit posting comments that seek for something that is not in existence.

  370. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Reed, #372: “please quit posting comments that seek for something that is not in existence.”

    Reed, it will be helpful for you to note that proponents of Escondido 2K claim/assume that THE SUBSTANCE of Escondido 2K is in existence. To wit:

    Darryl Hart, #212: “Zrim and Jason, for what it’s worth, I likely disagree with Horton and Clark on a number of 2k fronts. We agree on the substance of 2k but not on the application.”

    Zrim, #244: “But all you’ve demonstrated is that adherents of 2k agree in substance but may diverge in application.”

    Based on these comments by Darryl Hart and Zrim, I simply ask:

    What is THE SUBSTANCE of the Escondido variety of Two Kingdoms?

  371. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Reed, #372: “please quit posting comments that seek for something that is not in existence.”

    So Reed, are you saying that THE SUBSTANCE of Escondido 2K does not exist? That there’s no substance to Escondido 2K?

  372. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    “How is it obtuse to hold your feet to the fire and ask you if you do agree with Calvin on the magistrate and the execution of adulterers?”

    It’s irrelevant to the question, of course.

    “How is it obtuse to try to defend 2k by showing that no Reformed church holds Calvin’s or Westminster’s views?”

    a) The relevance of this is limited, unless the standard in theological discussion is simply the contemporary state of an arbitrarily bounded group of denominations.

    b) And, in fact, it’s not true as has been pointed out to you before.

    -TurretinFan

  373. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Darryl Hart: “1) Affirmation: the church is called to gather and perfect saints through word, sacrament and discipline.

    Denial: the church is not called to meddle in civil affairs.

    TurretinFan, et al,

    Does the denial above signify a departure from past 2k doctrinal confessions? Would it be fair to observe that this denial is a key distinctive of Escondido 2K doctrine? And that this marks Escondido 2K doctrine as being very different from the 2K doctrinal confessions of the past?

  374. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    TU&D: No. It’s vague, as I wrote in my post.

    -TurretinFan

  375. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    TurretinFan,

    The section below “the church is not called to meddle in civil affairs”:

    “Meddle” is a pejorative term. Just as sermons should not be “tedious,” the preaching of the gospel should not “meddle.” Nevertheless, the Bible speaks to many things and preachers should preach the full counsel, not holding back because certain topics have obtained political interest. Indeed, the advent of a political debate may make preaching on certain topics more timely and necessary. The fact that something has become of interest to the civil government does not mean it is taken away from the pulpit.

    Moreover, the church is called to preach the gospel of repentance and the forgiveness of sins through faith in the name of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

    So you’re saying that Darryl Hart’s use of the word “meddle” is a vague term? Okay.

  376. sean said,

    March 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    TFan says;

    “a) The relevance of this is limited, unless the standard in theological discussion is simply the contemporary state of an arbitrarily bounded group of denominations.”

    Arbitrarily bounded? Is this an argument that the confessions are arbitrary? Or just that the group, that includes the PCA and OPC, is/are arbitrarily bounded by their confessions? Or what exactly are you saying with this statement?

  377. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Zrim, I don’t think we are in disagreement that the issue with insufficiency of natural law is the noetic effect of sin in men. It is in that context that the Canons identifies that WE cannot use it “aright”.

    So your golf analogy would need to be expanded a bit. While the club itself may not be the problem, the E2k golfer stands there like the Monty Python Black Knight with his arms chopped up, insisting he can swing his club just fine.

    “It’s only a flesh wound! Fore!”

  378. jedpaschall said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    TUAD,

    If I felt like there was any value in spending time in laying out what 2kers sympathetic to WSCAL all hold in kind I would be happy to lay those out, but you consistently have used the comments I have made as fodder for further diversions. By your standards how would we account for diversity in any movement after all there is broad unity and diversity within the following theological camps (listed irrespective of theological merit):

    1) Calvinism
    2) Theonomy
    3) Kuyperianism/Neo-Calvinism
    4) Federal Vision
    5) Union vs. Justification Priority
    6) New Perspective on Paul

    I could go on. So the fact that 2k is unified around basic principles which you will find common to writers such as DVD, Hart, Clark, Horton, and Stellman, et. al. yet find diversity in how these principles are applied in civil matters, such as how homosexuality, or abortion, or civil disobedience are properly handled says nothing about how valid or invalid 2k as a school of thought actually is. We could demolish just about any theological camp on this basis, and frankly it would be a fallacy to do so. So I am just not sure what you are trying to demonstrate by this whole line of questioning. Based on the interactions I have seen here, I am not sure that you ask because you want to understand the 2k position, or just blast it further whether or not there is sufficient grounds to.

  379. Reed Here said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    TUAD: go pester someone else.

  380. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Reed, no offense, but you’re pestering me.

  381. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Jed Paschall, Zrim, or Darryl Hart:

    When the South African Reformed church declared that Apartheid is sin to the state (which is part of the culture), is that declaration a violation of THE SUBSTANCE of E2K or a violation of AN APPLICATION of E2K?

  382. Reed Here said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    TUAD: nice effort. Doesn’t fly.

  383. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Reed,

    Is that graphic a recent picture?

    ;-)

  384. Reed Here said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Yeah, I took it after five days of reading your posts. ;-)

  385. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I wonder what John Frame’s mug looks like after reading all those pages and pages of Escondido 2Ker writings?! Balding hard, I would imagine.

    ;-)

  386. jedpaschall said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    TUAD,

    It is not a violation of the principles of 2k, neither is it of the Reformed confessions. I suspect that 2ker’s may disagree over whether or not it is a valid application of 2k principles. I don’t have a problem with it, but I am not the authority on 2k, just a layman. But I still don’t see what this line of questioning demonstrates. What is your intention in the barrage of questions of what is “in” and what is “out”, when you can just as easily read the sources and connect the dots yourself?

  387. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Me: “When the South African Reformed church declared that Apartheid is sin to the state (which is part of the culture), is that declaration a violation of THE SUBSTANCE of E2K or a violation of AN APPLICATION of E2K?”

    Jed Paschall: “TUAD, It is not a violation of the principles of 2k, neither is it of the Reformed confessions. I suspect that 2ker’s may disagree over whether or not it is a valid application of 2k principles.”

    Thanks for your reply, Jed. I’m glad to hear that such declarations are not a violation of the principles (or substance) of Escondido 2K.

    Would you say that there is Christian liberty as regards to the differing applications of Escondido 2K? For example, take the issue of civil disobedience. Some E2K’ers may be perfectly fine with civil disobedience while other E2K’ers may not be, and neither camp of E2K’ers can bind the consciences of the other. Is that right?

  388. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    @389, Jed,

    Because I don’t know what’s a “fair ball” or a “foul ball” or what’s “in/out” within E2K doctrine. Hence, I’m trying to understand it better. Furthermore, you think too highly of me if you think I can connect the dots of Escondido 2K doctrine together. It’s proving to be rather elusive.

  389. jedpaschall said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    TUAD,

    Based on the past debates over items such as civil disobedience, I think that there is sharp disagreement amongst 2k advocates, but at the end of the day, as Horton has indicated, nothing currently espoused by 2k theologians settles that debate. So, yes, at the end of the day, regardless of disagreement we tend to place a good deal of weight on the believer’s liberty of conscience in the 2k camp.

    This is part of why the discussions on 2k are so acrimonious as I see it. Often we aren’t dealing with what 2k doctrine prescribes per se, but rather how one of it’s adherents would apply 2k doctrine to a contemporary situation. So what ends up getting debated are one man’s opinions versus anothers, not the higher level doctrinal, exegetical, and historical bases for 2k theory. The fact of the matter is what unites 2k is fundamentally ecclesiology – what is the mission of the church as prescribed in Scripture and in our confessional standards.

    While 2k gets a whole world of flak, often based on gross misunderstanding of what 2k doctrine actually affirms, 2kers are among a precious few in the contemporary Reformed scene who are calling for a more historical practice amongst Reformed churches. The fact of the matter is what constitutes “Reformed” in many Reformed congregations any given Lord’s Day looks nothing like what historically, or confessionally constitutes Reformed ecclesiology. There are a boatload of historical reasons behind this, but what ends up getting debated with so much vitriol are the secondary social issues that exist outside the church, while what is more important – what occurs on the Lord’s Day – is almost totally neglected. This is, to me a travesty, and it constitutes the true parting of the ways between Frame and WSC, and this aspect of the debate deserves much more attention than how the church responds to this or that worldly issue (which is by no means unimportant), since it concerns what happens within our own walls. At the heart of 2k doctrine is the church taking its mission seriously, and not taking on tasks and functions to which she was never called in the first place.

  390. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Sean (#275): you asked earlier,

    Does the plumber who plumbs well( in an objective sense, he fixes the problem or plumbs to spec in the most efficient((cost, value, quality all equally maximized)) manner), glorify God whether or not he is either self-consciously plumbing to the glory of God as a religious or personal ambition or if he merely plumbs objectively well while religiously or self-consciously hating God?

    And I would say, “Probably not.”

    I’ve seen DGH before float the idea that a well-hit grounder is objectively glorifying to God by its excellence.

    But I have two problems with that. First, I wonder where the Scriptural support is. Just because God’s creation was “all very good”, does not mean that man’s endeavors are “all very good” as well.

    Second, we recognize that on a human plane, ‘objective standards of excellence’ are man-made. There is not a Platonic ideal of plumbing to which earthly plumbing conforms in its excellence.

    Rather, plumbers try to meet certain criteria — and those criteria can change according to circumstances and cultures. There’s nothing objective about ‘good plumbing’; the objective question is only whether the plumbing meets code.

    But the code is not good of itself.

    Doesn’t this in fact rule out for all intents and purposes a realm of common grace as valid, much less good. Can God rule over a realm for good but not necessarily redemptive purposes, in your scheme?

    I don’t deny that God’s law is written on the hearts of all men. I just deny that there is any point in creating an artificial barrier between the natural law and the decalogue, which are supposedly the same in content.

    That is, rather than invalidating the common grace realm, I hold that the decalogue as moral law is binding on all men.

  391. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    David R (#276), you have me so far. :)

    I would say that DGH and Zrim’s position(s?) are inconsistent with WLC 91 and 93.

    91, because they hold that God’s revealed will — which is taught in the Scripture per WLC 5 — is only addressed to believers, and not to all men. Compare also to WCoF 19.2, 5.

    93, because they hold that unbelievers ought not be held accountable to the decalogue because they are not believers; and yet, the decalogue is clearly coextensive with the moral law.

    I would say that my own position attempts to remedy the inconsistency.

  392. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Tfanatic, your response is arbitrary and still does not address the point that stands like a 600 pound gorilla in these debates. The OPC, PCA, RPCNA, ARP have all revised the Westminster Divines on the civil magistrate. You consistently interpret the issue as one between me or other 2kers and the Reformed tradition. But the entire conservative Reformed world disagrees with your following the original Westminster. This is not beside the point or irrelevant or a misrepresentation of the situation. The Reformed churches have modified their confessions on the civil magistrate. The Dutch churches have also revised Belgic. You disagree with all of these churches.

    If you believe that you and Westminster are following the Bible, that’s your call, but it is only your call among the living. But to continue to paint contemporary 2kers as outside the tradition is dishonest.

  393. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Tfan, truth and others, the constant complaint is that 2k is hard to find or understand and yet 2kers have published widely and often, so much so that John Frame can devote an entire book of criticism. Also, if you’re trying to find the substance of 2k, you could resort to Frame’s summary. But to complain that 2k is obscure and hard to pin down is unfair and prejudicial.

    I also offered my affirmations and denials when Reed asked for a summary. This was at least one indication of a 2ker’s willingness to try to inform. And yet, you have continually charged 2kers (and me) with being uncooperative.

    Now Tfan says that my affirmations and denials are vague but this seems to be his conclusion merely because he can agree with many of the points and doesn’t want to contemplate apparently that he could agree with me.

    If anything is hard to pin down, it is the critique of 2k which continually misrepresents the history of Reformed reflection on the civil magistrate and tries to portray 2k as extreme and radical.

    I have said it before and will say again, even before the Covenanters revised their Constitution and rejected the language of WCF 23.1 which Tfan affirms, even before this, the RPCNA explored a merger with the OPC which had already adopted the American revisions to the WCF. In other words, the RPCNA had a very different view of the civil magistrate than the OPC did and did not let that difference keep them from fraternal relations with the OPC. I do not see that same generosity or acknowledgement of orthodoxy for 2kers from 2k’s critics.

  394. dghart said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Jeff, first I’d say that a ground ball may glorify God because the mountains as part of God’s creation also glorify God. Scripture talks repeatedly about parts of creation, even those parts without a soul, glorifying God. My cats somehow glorify God and I’m sticking with that.

    You also misrepresent my view about the decalogue and Scripture addressing all men. Just because all men are accountable to the moral law does not mean that the magistrate is supposed to enforce God’s revealed will. Plus, you yourself exempt all men under the magistrate from having to follow the first table. Again, your position on the first table is similar to 2k.

    Also, the moral law functions vastly differently in the lives of believers and unbelievers. For unbelievers it condemns and points to Christ. The moral law, also written on men’s hearts, restrains evil. But the moral law has no 3rd use for unbelievers. And when some talk about societies or nations as being Christian polities, it seems to me they need to clarify how the moral law is functioning in that context.

  395. jedpaschall said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    DGH,

    If anything is hard to pin down, it is the critique of 2k which continually misrepresents the history of Reformed reflection on the civil magistrate and tries to portray 2k as extreme and radical.

    I am with you here, if we look back at that discussion over at your blog on civil disobedience I brought up Reformed Resistance Theorists such as Beza and Knox who advocated views on NL that have heavily influenced DVD’s thinking on the place on NL in the ordering of society, even where he (among other 2kers would depart from the Resistance Theorists on the matter of civil disobedience). There is no monolithic “Reformed” stance on the magistrate, or how the church should relate to government and civil affairs. It seems to me that the Reformed tent is big enough to accommodate a variety of views, and this is almost totally lost in the current debate.

  396. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    DGH: You also misrepresent my view about the decalogue and Scripture addressing all men. (1) Just because all men are accountable to the moral law does not mean that the magistrate is supposed to enforce God’s revealed will. (2) Plus, you yourself exempt all men under the magistrate from having to follow the first table. (3) Again, your position on the first table is similar to 2k.

    Well, the misrepresentation is not intentional. You go beyond (1) when you say that Scripture is not addressed to unbelievers, and that Scripture is intended only for believers, and that common grace revelation is sufficient for the common realm, and that Scripture is not the book for the common realm.

    I interpret that to mean that the decalogue is out of place in the public square.

    Now, perhaps I’m confusing you with Zrim.

    (2) Yes, I do … for a different reason.

    (3) Yes. In fact, my position on the Trinity is the same as 2kers as well. :)

    DGH: Also, the moral law functions vastly differently in the lives of believers and unbelievers. For unbelievers it condemns and points to Christ. The moral law, also written on men’s hearts, restrains evil. But the moral law has no 3rd use for unbelievers. And when some talk about societies or nations as being Christian polities, it seems to me they need to clarify how the moral law is functioning in that context.

    I would have thought they would be speaking of the 2nd use of the law. But that’s really a question for Benjamin.

    Do you believe in the 2nd use of the law?

  397. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Jed (#398): It seems to me that the Reformed tent is big enough to accommodate a variety of views, and this is almost totally lost in the current debate.

    I’m OK with a variety of views. While I challenge DGH and Zrim — and even challenge them wrt WLC 91 and 93 — I do *not* believe that they are outside the Reformed tent. (sheesh! almost missed the *not*)

    What concerns me is that E2k seems to have its sights set higher, to make law-gospel and 2k views a matter of gospel faithfulness.

    Hence talk of “latent legalism” and “inconsistency with gospel proclamation” and “the necessity of the law-gospel distinction.” That kind of talk makes me very nervous; it suggests confessional conviction attached to propositions not accepted as confessional by the church.

  398. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    I’m OK with a variety of views. While I challenge DGH and Zrim — and even challenge them wrt WLC 91 and 93 — I do *not* believe that they are outside the Reformed tent. (sheesh! almost missed the *not*)

    What concerns me is that E2k seems to have its sights set higher, to make law-gospel and 2k views a matter of gospel faithfulness.

    That was one or more of the concerns on Frame’s list of 33 points. Some of the Escondido folks, for example, do not think it proper to call “Reformed Baptists,” “Reformed,” and how many times have we ourselves seen Edwards deprecated!

    – TurretinFan

  399. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Sean:

    Brother, you and I have a way of talking past one another. I will give it the old college try in terms of trying to clarify what I meant by:

    “a) The relevance of this is limited, unless the standard in theological discussion is simply the contemporary state of an arbitrarily bounded group of denominations.”

    You asked:

    Arbitrarily bounded? Is this an argument that the confessions are arbitrary? Or just that the group, that includes the PCA and OPC, is/are arbitrarily bounded by their confessions? Or what exactly are you saying with this statement?

    I’m saying that picking the PCA and OPC and excluding the PCUSA and its recent offspring whose name eludes me (on the one hand) and the RPCNA, ARP, FCC, PRC, and so on (on the other hand) (not to mention the CREC) and likewise excluding various Scottish and Irish denominations of Presbyterian heritage and various continental churches of Reformed heritage is just an arbitrary selection of “churches that I think generally agree with me.”

    But no, I’m not saying that confessions themselves are arbitrary. Nor am I saying that it is arbitrary for the churches to bind themselves by their confessions. I’m saying that using a handpicked selection of contemporary churches as one’s standard is arbitrary.

    I should add that it is also not what the confessions themselves suggest. All the Reformed confessions (perhaps excluding the most liberal confessions of groups like the PCUSA) acknowledge that the standard in theological disputes is Scripture, not the Confession. We Christians hold to Sola Scriptura not Sola Ecclesia, even if the ecclesia is a very good one, like the PCA or OPC.

    – TurretinFan

  400. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    “Tfan, truth and others, the constant complaint is that 2k is hard to find or understand and yet 2kers have published widely and often, so much so that John Frame can devote an entire book of criticism. Also, if you’re trying to find the substance of 2k, you could resort to Frame’s summary. But to complain that 2k is obscure and hard to pin down is unfair and prejudicial.”

    It’s only unfair if it’s untrue. If it’s true, it’s fair to point out the vague ways in which (widely and often) E2k is couched. When asked here what the substance of E2k was, you waved your hands towards a group of books. It seems that either E2k is hard to pin down for you, or you are deliberately obscuring the answer.

    Moreover, brother Reed seems to have got the idea that there is no such thing as the substance of E2k. One supposes that he gets that idea from your comments about E2k not being monolithic. And we are ok with the fact that E2k is not monolithic, and yet the absence of the monolith simply provides a reason why the substance of E2k may be obscure, it does not change the obscure to clear.

    “I also offered my affirmations and denials when Reed asked for a summary. This was at least one indication of a 2ker’s willingness to try to inform. And yet, you have continually charged 2kers (and me) with being uncooperative.”

    It seemed like a step in the right direction, until we got affirmations like “Jesus is Lord,” which everyone except the most anti-Lordship-salvation zealot would accept.

    “Now Tfan says that my affirmations and denials are vague but this seems to be his conclusion merely because he can agree with many of the points and doesn’t want to contemplate apparently that he could agree with me.”

    I wouldn’t mind agreeing with you, brother Darryl, but we both know we don’t agree. And if your affirmations and denials are couched in ambiguous terms, you haven’t identified the issues.

    “If anything is hard to pin down, it is the critique of 2k which continually misrepresents the history of Reformed reflection on the civil magistrate and tries to portray 2k as extreme and radical.”

    Even if this were true, it’s certainly no defense of E2k.

    “I have said it before and will say again, even before the Covenanters revised their Constitution and rejected the language of WCF 23.1 which Tfan affirms, even before this, the RPCNA explored a merger with the OPC which had already adopted the American revisions to the WCF. In other words, the RPCNA had a very different view of the civil magistrate than the OPC did and did not let that difference keep them from fraternal relations with the OPC. I do not see that same generosity or acknowledgement of orthodoxy for 2kers from 2k’s critics.”

    Again, this is total ad hominem. Try to focus on your defense of E2k, not at criticizing your critics.

    -TurreitnFan

  401. March 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Lane, the article posts on GB are generally thoughtful and I appreciate your willingness to moderate and amend. But I have to say, on topics like this, I find much of the commenting here offensive at worst, and while there are good posts, juvenile would not be an inapt description of much of the school yard “discussion” here. I know the moderators take a light hand, but 1. you need to disallow anonymous posting, and 2. get over the light hand thing on moderating. The commenting seems to generally be a supreme waste of time. Out of 400 post a handful may actually be helpful to discussion; but who has the patience to find them? The reader that comes upon the blog has a multiple 100 to 1 shot of simply getting offended rather than being edified; and edification is the end game, right? There has got to be a better way to do this.

  402. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    “Tfanatic, your response is arbitrary and still does not address the point that stands like a 600 pound gorilla in these debates.”

    The 600 pound gorilla is not the fact that most American churches have revised their confessions, but the fact that you seem to want to do anything that comes close to a serious discussion of the actual theological issues.

    When we answer your affirmations and denials, we don’t get better ones. We get flak. We got constant attacks on critics of E2k, but no actual defense of your Secular Christianity.

    -TurretinFan

  403. Reed Here said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Tafn: inappropriate, almost hijacked usage of my comment to TUAD. As I said to him,

    “Maybe you could enlighten us to the value of knowing whether or not there is a monolithic/absolute/comprehensive position known as Escondido 2K which all these men affirm in blood.”

    Clearly I mean something much more substantial than “substance.” Unless of course you are affirming TUAD’s ridiculous and relentless campaign to identify what I’ve described above. In that case then I think you’re being goofy like TUAD. ;-)

    Argue on the merits that the position is inconsistent, fine by me. Most of TUAD’s questions (the ones following the trajectory characterized by my statement) are silly.

  404. Ron said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    note change in italics

    Chris, I resonate with much of what you said with just one exception. It’s my experience that it’s not so much a matter of whether one is anonymous or not. TF, for instance, remains anonymous but his behavior is for the most part impeccable. Others who choose not to disclose their identity don’t do so well sometimes, but the same can be said of others who are known, even well known. It’s not a matter of church officer, lay person, anonymous, celebrity or even RC for that matter. It’s easy to delete inappropriate posts no matter who authors them and the mods have to do their best. On occasion one might feel led to make a plea for mod-intervention, but we are all guests here and if our plea is not received as valid, then we must leave it there.

  405. Jack Bradley said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    FWIW, I definitely agree with Chris about disallowing anonymous posting. It only encourages snarkmeisters.

  406. Ron said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Out of 400 post a handful may actually be helpful to discussion; but who has the patience to find them?

    Chris, is that all? No prob. Simply push Ctl-F, type “turretinfan said” and you’ll find all the substance you want. :)

  407. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Mark, re 380, and the anti-2k project Frame is pressing (and you seem all too happy to indulge) is like some sort of Spanish Inquisition.

  408. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    Jeff, re 400, I’ll repeat what I have said before: theonomy (and its variations) gets in the way of its adherent’s otherwise orthodox confession of justification sola fide. The law-gospel distinction is essential to sola fide, and it is also at play in 2k. On the one hand, I’d want to be cautious about implying anything undue against those who explicitly and forthrightly confess sola fide. On the other, and by the same token, I think it’s warranted to maintain that theonomy (and its variations) has a worrisome blind spot for the law-gospel distinction when it comes to ecclesiology.

    But it would be good to see some worry on your part about what kind of havoc a fixation on law and a mishandling of messianic fulfillment can do to gospel proclamation. It’s also worth contemplating how latitudinarian one can really be in light of the sort of 2k revisions made by the conservative P&R churches. Is the upshot really that theonomy (and its variations) have equal standing, or that 2kers who seek to follow those revisions are being unduly pushy? Maybe there’s plenty of good ecclesial ground to stand on in marginalizing theonomy (and its variations)? What ecclesial ground is there to marginalize 2k?

  409. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Tfan, re 402, what I think you’re seeing when some Reformed contest that those who diverge from confessional Reformed understanding on the sacraments can be construed as Reformed is a function of wanting to see an intolerance on things doctrinal while wanting to see tolerance on things indifferent. Baptism is the second mark of the true church and all P&R forms make it clear that sacramentology is of the essence of the Reformed faith. There seems to be plenty of confessional ground to marginalize those who dissent. Calvin did so, and since for you to be orthodox is to follow Calvin, I wonder why to follow him here is so worrisome to you.

  410. Ron said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Jack Bradley said:

    FWIW, I definitely agree with Chris about disallowing anonymous posting. It only encourages snarkmeisters.

    Sure, and who is Jack Bradley?

  411. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    “Calvin did so, and since for you to be orthodox is to follow Calvin, I wonder why to follow him here is so worrisome to you.”

    Brother Zrim, that is Darryl’s propaganda, not my position. I agree with Calvin on an awful lot, but certainly not everything. Contrary to Darryl’s misrepresentations, I have even blogged about at least one of my disagreements with Calvin.

    But I think the point that Frame isn’t misrepresenting sticks on these points of his 32.

    -TurretinFan

  412. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    The Law-Gospel distinction has literally nothing to do with the discussion between the Establishmentarian doctrine of the original WCF 23 and the anti-Establishmentarian doctrine of E2K.

  413. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    TurretinFan, #403: “Moreover, brother Reed seems to have got the idea that there is no such thing as the substance of E2k. One supposes that he gets that idea from your comments about E2k not being monolithic. And we are ok with the fact that E2k is not monolithic, and yet the absence of the monolith simply provides a reason why the substance of E2k may be obscure, it does not change the obscure to clear.”

    Reed, #406: “Maybe you could enlighten us to the value of knowing whether or not there is a monolithic/absolute/comprehensive position known as Escondido 2K which all these men affirm in blood.”

    “Clearly I mean something much more substantial than “substance.”

    Reed, I definitely did not know that you meant “something much more substantial than “substance.”” In fact, I don’t even know what that would be.

  414. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Brother Reed:

    It seems you and I understood TU&D’s request differently. I apologize for misusing your comment contrary to your intent.

    You wrote: “Argue on the merits that the position is inconsistent, fine by me.”

    I assume you also agree that it is fair to ask the proponents to identify what the substance of their position is, particularly when they allege that they have been misrepresented.

    It is hard to argue on the merits when the merits are not actually being argued by the other side. Instead, when we respond on the merits we get claims like DGH’s claim that we are just “pounding sand.”

    -TurretinFan

  415. TurretinFan said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    #411 corresponds pretty nicely with Frame’s point 28.

    It seems like the more we talk here and the more we compare the comments here with Frame’s points, the more Frame’s 32 points are accurate.

    Now, that’s different from whether Frame’s response to them is right. But at least it is a step in the direction moving us from just hand-waving dismissal to actual interaction on the substance/merits.

    -TurretinFan

  416. Zrim said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Ben, if the civil magistrate is ruled by law and the church is ruled by gospel then how can questions about what role the magistrate plays in relation to the church be completely irrelevant? But maybe you think the magistrate is about grace as much as it is about law and the church is about law as it is about grace. If that’s the case, then back to my point about the worrisome blind spot about the relationship of LGD to ecclesiology. I mean, I don’t want my sheriff showing grace instead of law to my daughter’s killer, and I don’t want my elders exacting law instead of gospel on heavy laden sinners.

  417. truthunites said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    TurretinFan: “[Zrim’s] #411 corresponds pretty nicely with Frame’s point 28.

    Made me want to look up Frame’s Point #28. Here it is:

    28.Only those who accept these principles can consistently believe in justification by faith alone.

    vis-a-vis

    Zrim: “Jeff, re 400, I’ll repeat what I have said before: theonomy (and its variations) gets in the way of its adherent’s otherwise orthodox confession of justification sola fide. The law-gospel distinction is essential to sola fide, and it is also at play in 2k.”

  418. Ron said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Zrim, that seems a bit simplistic to me. You say you don’t want the church exacting law instead of gospel on heavy laden sinners, but how do sinners often get heavy laden to begin with, always by natural law? No one thinks that a broken and contrite heart is in desperate need of more law. And what about sinners in the church who might not be heavy laden in the least but are behaving without constraint as a matter of life style, turning the grace of God into license to sin? Regarding the sheriff and the victim, sure the sheriff has his job as qua sheriff, but is a law enforcer forbidden to step outside his official capacity and give the gospel, or must he call the local preacher? I never saw delighting in the law as being odds with basking in glories of the gospel and I believe you must feel the same way.

  419. Ron said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    TUAD, great catch re:420.

  420. Ron said,

    March 20, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I guess credit really goes to TF, though he expected us to actually go back and read Frame’s 28. So thank you TUAD for putting the cookies on the table for me otherwise I would have missed it… Shame on me, I know.

  421. truthunites said,

    March 21, 2012 at 12:26 am

    @Ron, #422, 423,

    A lot of credit should also be extended to Zrim as well. If it wasn’t for his comment in #411, then there wouldn’t have been anything for TFan to catch.

    —-

    TFan, #418: “It seems like the more we talk here and the more we compare the comments here with Frame’s points, the more Frame’s 32 points are accurate.”

    Well, at least we can put Frame’s point #28 as being reasonably accurate.

    So then look at WSC President Bob Godfrey’s statement to Dr. Frame here:

    “In response all of us on the WSC faculty wish to state clearly that we reject all of these thirty-two points as a fair or accurate presentation of our views.”

    Maybe Dr. Godfrey shouldn’t reject Dr. Frame’s Point #28. Thus mandating a revision to his statement above.

  422. Todd Bordow said,

    March 21, 2012 at 2:28 am

    “What concerns me is that E2k seems to have its sights set higher, to make law-gospel and 2k views a matter of gospel faithfulness.
    Hence talk of “latent legalism” and “inconsistency with gospel proclamation” and “the necessity of the law-gospel distinction.” That kind of talk makes me very nervous; it suggests confessional conviction attached to propositions not accepted as confessional by the church.”

    Jeff,

    No one is suggesting that if one does not adhere to Horton or DVD’s 2k views one is not confessional, unless you can show me an example of those men making such a statement. (I have never actually seen an example, only the accusation.) But both sides of this 2k debate consider that these matters pertain to gospel faithfulness. That is not to suggest one side or another denies the gospel, but erroneous views of the kingdom, or the church’s mandate, do affect our faithfulness, positively or negatively, to our responsibilities to preach the gospel and present a clear understanding of what the gospel entails.

    For example, if the Great Commission includes the command for the church to teach governments of nations to enforce God’s laws in Scripture, then I as a gospel minister am being unfaithful to God’s command, at least in that particular area, by refusing to do so. If such a thing is not mandated, then one is adding to the gospel mandate, so in that area he is unfaithful to the command by distracting the church from her true mandate. Either side deserves strong rebuke from the other side depending on your view.

    And to be clear, no one has suggested that if you do not hold to a law-gospel hermeneutic you have compromised the gospel. But confusing law and gospel or not distinguishing them properly will greatly affect your understanding of the gospel and ability to teach it properly.

    I don’t have a problem with Frame writing his book seeking to expose what he believes are serious errors among some WCS profs and alumni; (I don’t think “Escondido Theology” is a proper designation, and strongly critiquing Horton while defending Joel Olsteen raises some questions,) but these kind of books need to be written.

    I think some of this also has to do with personality types. Some like to keep peace and avoid conflict whenever possible, and some like to fight for what they consider important with rather strong language. I am prone to the latter, you may be to the former. Both are virtuous.

    I was just reading Dabney’s forceful language against those who bring politics into the pulpit on the Lord’s Day.

    “God has reserved for our spiritual concerns one day out of seven, and has appointed one place into which nothing shall enter, except the things of eternity, and has ordained an order of officers, whose sole charge is to remind their fellow-men of their duty to God…But when the world sees a portion or the whole of this sacred season abstracted from spiritual concerns, and given to secular agitations, and that by the appointed guardians of sacred things, it is the most emphatic possible disclosure of unbelief. It says to men, “Eternity is not of more moment than time; heaven is not better than earth; a man is profited if he gains the world and loses his soul, for do you not see that we postpone eternity to time, and heaven to earth, and redemption to political triumph—we who are the professed guardians of the former?” One great source, therefore, of political preaching may always be found in the practical unbelief of [the preacher] himself; as one of its sure fruits is infidelity among the people. He is not feeling the worth of souls, nor the “powers of the world to come,” nor “the constraining love of Christ” as he should; if he were, no sense of the temporal importance of his favorite political measures, however urgent, would cause the wish to abstract an hour from the few allowed him for saving souls.”

    Strong language indeed (practical unbelief?), but stirring nonetheless. Now about his view of slavery…

  423. Jeff Cagle said,

    March 21, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Todd (#425): But both sides of this 2k debate consider that these matters pertain to gospel faithfulness.

    I don’t. That is to say, I do not believe that an amil- or postmil- or even historic premil- view of the kingdom is necessarily connected to one’s gospel faithfulness, that is “to clearly present what the gospel entails.”

    And the proof, in my mind, is the fact that prior to recent times, there was hardly a distinction between postmil- and amil- views. In fact, the question of whether Calvin would have been postmil- or amil- is not even settled.

    And I do not believe that endorsing full-blown theocracy is necessarily connected to gospel faithfulness. Enter Calvin once more.

    And I do not believe that endorsing E2k is necessarily connected to gospel faithfulness. I am very, very satisfied that you and DGH and Jason Stellman and Zrim are faithful to the gospel. In fact, you do a very nice job articulating and upholding it.

    The business of connecting 2k views to gospel faithfulness is like unto the business of connecting “Christian worldview” to specific lists of dos and don’ts. It intrudes on Christian liberty, in a matter of faith.

  424. paigebritton said,

    March 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Hey there, Chris (#404),
    Thanks for the heads-up about moderating, re. pseudonyms & quality control. Don’t know if Lane saw your comment, but FWIW, he does ask us to disallow anonymous posters. Sometimes this is done privately by the moderators, so the rest of the readers may not know what we know.

    Echoing what Ron said above, we’re mainly to watch for ad hominem and off-topic comments, which is sometimes a tricky judgment call leaving nobody pleased. Also we’re not eating and sleeping GB, so we might miss things during a given stretch. If you have concerns about tone or off-topic posts, you (or anyone) can always email me (it’s paige then a dot then britton and it’s a gmail address).

    As to the edification level of the comments, alas, it’s going to be weeds mixed with wheat here. I generally just read what Jeff Cagle says if I want to learn something on a long thread.

    pax,
    Paige B.

  425. Mark Van Der Molen said,

    March 21, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Jeff @ #426, the issue of eschatology is one significant factor driving this movement. An individual in the Q&A session following Prof. Strange’s Lecture #3 posited that that E2k is perhaps the result of “reverse engineering” a hyper a-millennialism.

    Which reminded me of one of the more pithy and amusing lines I’ve read in this discussion {from Blog and Mablog}:

    The Reformed theology I have read and studied and loved built a great civilization. The Reformed theology of the truncated brethren, consistently applied, would have trouble building a taco stand.

  426. Zrim said,

    March 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Ron, re 421, sinners of whatever degree don’t need more law but more gospel. The gospel relieves the heavy laden and corrects the wanderer. All the law ever does is condemn. And the point about sheriffs isn’t that sheriffs who are Christian cannot give a reason for the hope that lies within (but phooey on egalitarian every member ministry that says we’re all ordained evangelists), rather it’s that law norms his task. So while there’s nothing wrong with a sheriff sharing the gospel with a thief, the job he’s actually tasked with is to lock him up, not show mercy. And while there’s nothing wrong with a pastor letting magistrates do their work of locking up, the work he’s actually ordained for is to forgive, not pile on. If you still want to fault that as simplistic, ok, but simplicity is another thing altogether and has always been a Reformed virtue. Law and gospel are simple concepts, even as they are also very profound. If it is astounding that the gospel corrects the wayward then I can only think that it is because one has complicated what is simple.

  427. Zrim said,

    March 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

    So, Jeff, I wonder if you think it’s too much to ask that the gospel actually inform all domains of spiritual life? I just find it odd that you would want to work so hard to make sure we can say that the Bible speaks to every area of civil life but then dissent when it is suggested that the gospel informs every area of spiritual life (ecclesiology, eschatology, doxology, etc.) It’s the sort of irony that comes when Frame wants to say that the Bible is sufficient for politics but dissents on the RPW. And why are you making Calvin the standard here? Maybe wanting full-blown theocracy wasn’t the best way to have the gospel inform the matter (as in faith comes by the sovereign Spirit and not the point of the sword), which is to say maybe Calvin was wrong? It seems to me a man who wanted his grave unmarked wasn’t the sort who would agree that he was the sort of standard Calvinists make him.

  428. Zrim said,

    March 21, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Mark, what have you and Wilson against tacos? Jesus was born into poverty and his disciples never built anything but churches filled with ordinary and even compromised sinners. What cultural Calvinists esteem is typically what Jesus and his men eschewed. More theology of glory v. theology of the cross.

  429. sean said,

    March 21, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Jeff C says;

    And I would say, “Probably not.”

    “But the code is not good of itself.’

    Sean says;

    Well, holding aside an argument against a poorly written code, if I just address the issue of the proper application of a 1/4′ pipe threaded correctly into a 1/4′ fitting and this done in a maximally objective way, which is possible, than aside from allowing a distinction for the subjective/objective consideration as it regards motivation, this is essentially a denial of the possibility of a common realm that is good without being redemptive or salvific. Maybe this is brought in bolder relief when speaking of soulless creation.

    Sean says;

    “Doesn’t this in fact rule out for all intents and purposes a realm of common grace as valid, much less good. Can God rule over a realm for good but not necessarily redemptive purposes, in your scheme?

    Jeff C says;

    “I don’t deny that God’s law is written on the hearts of all men. I just deny that there is any point in creating an artificial barrier between the natural law and the decalogue, which are supposedly the same in content.

    That is, rather than invalidating the common grace realm, I hold that the decalogue as moral law is binding on all men.”

    Sean says;

    Well, best I understand then your position can’t hold a common grace realm apart from subjective considerations and since the regenerate still fail to uphold the law in it’s perfection, in your scheme, it seems that there is no animate creation with a soul glorifying of God apart from the redeemed’s works accepted as perfect in Christ. Not sure how you regard the animate or inanimate creation that lacks a soul, ability to glorify God.

  430. Ron said,

    March 21, 2012 at 9:29 am

    “Ron, re 421, sinners of whatever degree don’t need more law but more gospel.”

    Zrim,

    That is such a remarkable statement one would think you must mean something other than what your words convey, or else I have completely mistaken your meaning. Given the fact that “whatever degree” of sinner is in view, which suggests to me all sinners without distinction, do you really want to say that no sinner needs to hear law other than what he’s getting? Since you don’t know how much law all people are getting from the Word, I must conclude you think that there is no reason whatsoever to preach the law found in Scripture, such as found in Matthew 5:17-48, given that natural law condemns all men. Just preach the good news apart from the law is how I’m reading you, no matter what the circumstance. Feel free to elaborate or clarify, or am I already reading you rightly?

  431. TurretinFan said,

    March 21, 2012 at 9:29 am

    “Jeff, No one is suggesting that if one does not adhere to Horton or DVD’s 2k views one is not confessional, unless you can show me an example of those men making such a statement.”

    Todd, see #411 above.


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