Considering Rev. Bordow’s Defense of R2K #2

Rev Bordow writes,

“An objection often arises: if the gospel call includes a calling to people to repent of specific sins, wouldn’t that include a call to repentance for civil authorities who allow or approve of abortion and gay marriage? To answer that objection, one can first examine the New Testament for such examples of public policy rebuke, but find none. The Apostles never once condemn a policy of the Roman government, although there were an abundance of opportunities to do so by highlighting certain evil policies of the  government.”
Bret responds,1.) Actually there is a rebuke in the New Testament of a Magistrate, if not for public policy, at least for scandalous public behavior.

Matthew 14:For Herod had taken John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife.For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.

Here we find clear precedent for speaking to the Magistrate against their sins, whether in public behavior or in public policy. But, as R2K, what Rev. Bordow will offer is that John the Baptist was the last of the OT prophets and so his example can not be counted because the Intrusion Ethic was not yet completed at this time. How convenient.

2.) Also there is this rebuke of public policy by St. Paul,

Acts 16:35  And when it was day, the governors sent the sergeants, saying, Let those men go. 36 Then the keeper of the prison told these words unto Paul, saying, The governors have sent to loose you: now therefore get you hence, and go in peace. 37  Then said Paul unto them, After that they have beaten us openly uncondemned, which are Romans, they have cast us into prison, and now would they put us out privily? nay verily: but let them come and bring us out.38 And the sergeants told these words unto the governors, who feared when they heard that they were Romans.

The Magistrates had pursued a public policy that was not just and here St. Paul rebukes them. Rev. Bordow is just wrong in his assertion.

The Rotting Cancer of Equalitarianism

Isn’t your philosophy authoritarian?

Accusations of authoritarianism follows from an equalitarian ideology which assumes the equality of all men so that no man is worth listening to more than another, no idea is more valuable than another, no child wiser than its parents, no code higher or more authoritative than another.

But it happens that in the course of human history much has occurred and much has been learned which constitutes a fund of experience we disregard at our peril. All of us are not as wise as our ancestors. We can become wiser only by listening to their experience before going on to add our own, just as a child must first listen to his parents before he can safely lead a life of his own.

What is more serious, the destruction by the equalitarian virus of this proper and necessary kind of authority also destroys proper and necessary discipline. Lack of it in the home is, in my opinion, far more often the cause of juvenile delinquency among both rich and poor than the so-called exclusion from family or community groups which today obsesses psychiatrists and sociologists.

Perhaps an ideology which offers ice cream to soothe mutinous convicts, and which condones murder and robbery among backward peoples under the guise of “freedom,” should not be expected to create respect for duly constituted authority in the home. Yet all children, and especially delinquents, need to be taught respect for and obedience to parental authority if we are ever to have law and order in the adult world.

Interestingly enough, the delinquent who is capable of being saved wants the voice of authority to rebuke and guide him more than he wants pity and tears. Parents are usually to blame both in failing to set an example that can be respected and in failing to speak with the tone of command. Men or nations that have been told often enough that in spite of all their training, experience and wisdom they are no better than the untrained, inexperienced and ignorant child or race will come in time to believe it, and consequently to lose the force and assurance which generates obedience.

Finally, by a series of insidious steps the equalitarian virus produces that most disastrous of all diseases, the complete appeasement of evil. At some point, all ability to discriminate is lost, all resistance to wrong ceases, all indignation dies, all evil is met with sobbing pleas which evil most naturally greets with contemptuous laughter, and the red death of a Godless communism settles on the earth.

I cannot protest too strongly against the tendency of the equalitarian virus to undermine all authority in our society from the home through the school on into our attitude toward international affairs.

Carleton Putnam

Considering Rev. Bordow’s Defense of R2K

I’m reading a longish paper by Rev. Bordow that is an apologetic for R2K. I started reading it in light of an article I came across recently,

The reason a bestiality article reminded me of Rev. Bordow is a statement he once made.

“Not being a theonomist or theocrat, I do not believe it is the state’s role to enforce religion or Christian morality. So allowing something legally is not the same as endorsing it morally. I don’t want the state punishing people for practicing homosexuality. Other Christians disagree. Fine. That’s allowed. That is the distinction. Another example – beastiality (sic) is a grotesque sin and obviously if a professing member engages in it he is subject to church discipline. But as one who leans libertarian in my politics, I would see problems with the state trying to enforce it; not wanting the state involved at all in such personal practices; I’m content to let the Lord judge it when he returns. A fellow church member might advocate for beastiality (sic) laws. Neither would be in sin whatever the side of the debate. Now if the lines are blurry in these disctinctions,(sic) that is always true in pastoral ministry dealing with real people in real cases in this fallen world.”

It is easy to see why the article would remind me of Rev. Bordow’s quote. This prompted to look at his defense of R2K and I thought I would post some of that defense here and interact with it. After all, as Rev. Bordow quoted me in the paper in question it is the least I can do to interact with the paper.

Rev. Bordow writes,

I will begin with the accusation that my position allows believers to sit by quietly allowing the state and culture to perpetuate evil. The SOTC position is not escapist. The Bible is clear that Christians are to do good to all (Gal 6:10) and be good neighbors to those in need, whether locally or nationally. So Christians are not commanded to withdraw from culture and politics, but to do what they can to help others, according to their consciences and abilities. That may mean getting involved in a Crisis Pregnancy Center, it may mean becoming a political supporter of a candidate they think will do the most good, or it may mean simply helping his neighbor when he is sick.
But that calling for individual Christians to seek temporary good for others must be distinguished from the mandate Jesus gave his church as an institution, summarized in Luke 24:46&47: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” There is no other mandate in the New Testament given to the visible church concerning unbelievers besides preaching the gospel to them.”
Bret responds,1.) This sounds pious until one begins to scratch the surface. What Rev. Bordow is not telling us is that while Christians “can get involved to help others, according to consciences and abilities,” what he isn’t telling you is that this position, practically speaking, makes the Christian autonomous in their decision making. For example, some Church members, according to Rev. Bordow’s reasoning, might conclude that it is a help to others to champion the cause of removing all Bestiality laws. Alternately, some Christian might conclude that it is a help to others to become the campaign manager for Joseph Stalin. What would the Church say to such members in Rev. Bordow’s worldview?Absolutely Nothing.

You see, in Rev. Bordow’s worldview the Church has no role to speak into believers lives as to what they support or do not support in the common square. That is entirely up to their consciences and abilities. So, while Rev. Bordow does allow for Christians to be involved in the common square for the help of others he allows “help” to be defined by any standard.  So you see, the R2K position of Rev. Bordow does have all the potential to perpetuate evil.

2.) Note also that in his last sentence Rev. Bordow has largely dispensationalized the Old Testament. The Old Testament is gone away because of the R2K “Intrusion Ethic.” Jesus died so that we would not apply God’s Law to the Nations.

3.) It’s just not true that the only mandate the NT gives the Church for unbelievers is to preach the Gospel to them. To say such a thing is to suggest that the Church does not have a mandate to champion the politicus usus of God’s law.


Michael Scott Horton and Roger Williams Agree On The Idea Of Christendom

Throughout the Middle Ages, the national covenant that Israel made with God at Sinai was regularly invoked as an allegory for Christendom. Crusades against “the infidel” (often Muslims) were declared by popes with the promise of immediate entrance into paradise for martyrs. Kings fancied themselves as king David, leading the armies of the Lord in cleansing the Holy Land. The very idea of a Christian empire or a Christian nation was a serious confusion of these two cities. It was against this confusion of Christ’s kingdom with Israel’s theocracy that Luther and Calvin launched their retrieval of Augustine’s “two kingdoms.”

Michael Horton
A Tale of Two Kingdoms

Consider now the words of Roger Williams’ (he of Anabaptist fame) to the reformed Westminster Assembly:

Since the Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ…We Querie, where you now find one footstep, print or pattern in this doctrine of the Son of God for a national holy covenant… If you repaire to Moses… we ask, are you Moses or Christ’s followers? Or do you yet expect the coming of the Son of God to set up the Christian Israel, the holy nation, the particular congregation of Christian worshippers, in all parts of the world? (1 Pet 2. Heb 12, etc) (Querie VII)

Roger Williams
Queries of Highest Consideration,’ presented to the Dissenting Brethren, and the Westminster Assembly

1.) I have been insisting for quite some time that R2K is a return to anabaptist thought. This symbiosis between Horton and Williams aids in demonstrating my contention.

2.) Horton is just wrong — seriously wrong — in his reading of Augustine’s Two Cities (kingdoms). It is amazing that a “scholar” like Horton could make this kind of mistake. He is also in error to say that Calvin and Luther were reviving his (Horton’s) misreading of Augustine’s Two Kingdoms. Another humongous error on his part.

Augustine’s two Kingdom certainly were not equal to Horton’s notions of the realm of grace and the realm of the world. Augustine’s two Kingdoms included the idea of a realm consisting of those who are animated by the spirit of Anti-Christ as that realm was juxtaposed with those, living cheek by jowl with Christ’s enemies, who instead were animated by the Spirit of Christ.

Michael Scott Horton & Cyrus Ingerson Scofield On The Imprecatory Psalms

“The imprecatory Psalms, invoking God’s judgment on enemies, are appropriate on the lips of David and the martyrs in heaven. However, they are entirely out of place on the lips of Christians today, guided as we are not by the ethics of intrusion but by the ethics of common grace.”

Michael Horton
Systematic Theology, p 961-2.

“The imprecatory Psalms are the cry of the oppressed in Israel for justice a cry appropriate and right in the early people of God, . . . but a cry unsuited for the church, a heavenly people who have taken their place with a rejected and crucified Christ.”

Scofield Reference Bible, p.599
Note on Luke 9:52 55

Now it is possible that someone, like Dr. Brian Lee, might protest that the the positions of Horton and the Scofield Bible differ significantly. Someone might note that Horton says the imprecatory psalms are appropriate on the lips of the martyrs in heaven, while Scofield says they are unsuited for a heavenly people.  However, the truth of the matter is that these quotes don’t differ in the least.

When Scofield writes “they are unsuited for a heavenly people,” one must keep in mind that in Scofieldianism the “heavenly people” stands in contrast to the “earthly people.” The difference is between the people of heaven (The Church) and the people of the earthly kingdom (Jews). With that knowledge we understand that Horton and Scofield are two choir members singing from the same sheet of music. They are saying the exact same thing.

Scofield is NOT saying that the Martyrs in heaven can not use Imprecatory praying.

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