Over at Matt Tuininga’s blog, the inveterate critic of 2k, Mark Van Der Molen, makes an interesting point. In response to the charge of theocracy that came from his assertion that the state needs to be subject to God’s law, he wrote: “theocracy is the merging of church and state into one power.” In other words, anti-2kers are never guilty of theonomy or theocracy as long as they affirm a separation of church and state.
This is accurate. No Theonomist, nor any Kuyperians believe that Church and State should be rolled into one. Darryl shows he is out of his element and his naiveté by not understanding the distinction between an ecclesiocracy and a Theocracy. No Christian desires an Ecclesiocracy while all Christians understand that Theocracy is an inescapable category.
Classic Reformed theology has always stated that God is Sovereign over both Church and State and yet Church and State remain distinct institutions with distinct roles and authority for distinct, though interdependent spheres of authority. Even in the Old Testament there is no Ecclesiocracy as Church and State were distinct in the Old Covenant. Kings were not Priests and Priests were not Kings. (Remember the story of Uzziah.)
This is an important admission since many critics of secularism, as anti-2kers are, deride Jefferson’s language of a wall of separation between church and state. Whether it’s a wall dividing church and state, or simply a constitution, the separation of church and state puts anti-2kers in the awkward position of affirming a fundamental point of 2k, namely, the separation of ecclesiastical and civil powers. It is a good thing for them that they do since in Western Christianity only Roman Catholics have taught the unity of church and state.
Yes … it puts us in the same awkward position of the Old Testament where there existed an affirmation of the Separation of roles and functions of Church and State. The same Old Testament that R2K insist was naught but a “intrusion ethic.” So, we anti-R2K’ers agree with the Old Covenant that there must exist a distinction between ecclesiastical and civil powers. The civil power holds the sword and the ecclesiastical power holds the Keys but both are obliged to handle their instruments of power consistent with God’s revealed word.
At the same time, in the United States we have the language of the separation of powers within the federal government. The judicial is separate from the legislative, which is separate from the executive, and so on. But this separation is not really a separation in the way we think about separation of church and state. The reason is that Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court are all part of one government.
Actually it is much the same. All three branches of the Government are distinct and yet all are under the same Constitution. Each of the three branches have their own roles but neither of the three Branches may violate the authority of the Constitution. Just so, with Church and State. Each are under the Same God. Each have their own roles but neither Church or State may violate the authority of God.
More of Darryl,
And this appears to be the case for critics of 2k who pine for Calvin’s Geneva where the Company of Pastors were an agency of the city’s government. The pastors handled spiritual matters and reserved the right of excommunication, a spiritual capital penalty. But Calvin was an officer of Geneva’s city government since the city council appointed him, paid his salary, and gave him his legal status.
In which case, an affirmation of the separation of church and state doesn’t really get us very far if the church is merely going to be a branch of government.
1.) Darryl is saying Calvin was wrong and that Geneva was a unbiblical model. Sinful Calvin. Sinful Geneva. I’m sure glad we have a clearly superior model working for us now in these uSA that we can look to for an example.
2.) In an ideal social order the Pastors serve God by obeying God’s revelation for the Church and civil magistrates serve God by obeying God’s revelation for the Civil realm. The Pastors don’t work for the Government and the Magistrates don’t work for the Church. Both, however are subject to God in His revelation. This isn’t that difficult.
Sigh … that we live in an age where even putative College professors can’t understand the simplest of matters.