Nevertheless, Kuyper did make “Christian” versions of many things in the world: Christian schools, newspapers, and political parties tended to obscure the earlier Protestant confidence in the realm of nature as possessing sufficient life and justification for its existence without having to be organized as specifically Christian. This Kuyperian spirit has been especially attractive in some circles in North America, because it is world-embracing and eschews the pietistic retreat from society, and yet it should not be too hastily concluded that one can find a distinctively “Christian” philosophy, political theory, or aesthetic. If these are indeed realms of common grace and natural revelation, they do not require a specifically Christian explanation. Looking for one will only tend to polarize Christians from non-Christians until believers are at last exiled again from the public square forced to pursue their “Christian” philosophy in their own spiritual ghetto.
Dr. Michael Horton
“Where in the World is the Church? A Christian Viwe of Culture and Your Role in It”
Moody Press, 1995 , page 32.
This is an older quote from Mike and it may be the case that he has changed his mind about this, though I would be surprised if he has. I have my doubts about his having changed any given this quote from Mike that is very recent.
“Christians, of all people, should be concerned about the pressing issues in culture and society today. However, even in the same church, where people share the same faith, worldview, and values, there will be different applications, policies, and agendas.”
1.) Mike speaks of an earlier Protestant consideration, pre-Kuyper, of a nature realm that possessed sufficient life and justification for its existence without having to be organized as specifically Christian.
And yet guys like John Knox, who certainly represent the earlier Protestantism that Mike speaks of, could insist that Mike’s natural realm be organized as specifically Christian.
“For it is a thing more certain that whatsoever God required of the civil magistrate in Israel or Judah concerning the observation of true religion during the time of the Law, the same doth he require of lawful magistrates professing Christ Jesus in the time of the Gospel, as the Holy Ghost hath taught us by the mouth of David, saying (Psalm 2): ‘Be learned, you that judge the earth, kiss the Son, lest that the Lord wax angry and that ye perish from the way.’ This admonition did not extend to the judges under the Law only, but doth also include such as be promoted to honours in the time of the Gospel, when Christ Jesus doth reign and fight in His spiritual kingdom, whose enemies in that Psalm be most sharply taxed, their fury expressed and vanity mocked. And then are kings and judges, who think themselves free from all law and obedience, commanded to repent their former blind rage, and judges are charged to be learned. And last are all commanded to serve the Eternal in fear, to rejoice before Him in trembling, to kiss the Son, that is, to give unto Him most humble obedience. Whereof it is evident that the rulers, magistrates and judges now in Christ’s kingdom are no less bound to obedience unto God than were those under the Law.”
John Knox, The appellation of John Knox from the cruel and most injust sentence pronounced against him by the false bishops and clergy of Scotland, with his supplication and exhortation to the nobility, estates and commonality of the same realm (Geneva, 1558) in idem, On rebellion, ed. R. A. Mason (Cambridge, 1994), pp 91-2.
I could repeat these kinds of quote many times over from Reformed men that long predated Abraham Kuyper and at least call into question Mike’s assertion of a earlier Protestant confidence in a natural realm that could be organized neutrally.
2.) Mike almost dismisses the idea of the possibility of Christian philosophy. With such a casual dismissal Mike dismisses the work of Christian Philosophers who believed that they were advancing Christian philosophy. Mike dismisses the work of men like Augustine, Cornelius Van Til, Gordon Clark, C. Gregg Singer, Francis Schaeffer, Ronald Nash, Greg Bahnsen, and any number of other Christian philosophers who insisted that they were advocating Christian Philosophy. This dismissal made so casually is a bit shocking even considering that it comes from a R2K advocate.
3.) The polarization that Mike warns against arising between believers and pagans is the natural consequence of Christianity contra non-Christianity. Is Mike saying that we should jettison Christian thinking so that we can get on better with the non-Christians? And in terms of ghettoizing isn’t the consequence of clash of belief systems the eventual marginalization of those who lose that clash, whether Christian or non-Christian?
Take R2K for example. It is in the midst of a worldview warfare against Historic Reformed doctrine and should it lose it will be ghettoized. Similarly, if Historic Reformed doctrine loses in this worldview warfare against R2K it will be ghettoized. Ghettoization is always the consequences of those who lose worldview clashes. For example, look how ghettoized that the Church in Russian was as a result of losing the worldview warfare with the Bolsheviks. Were Mike alive then would he have been writing things like, “The Russian Church needs to jettison Christian thinking so that we can get on better with the Bolsheviks?
4.) In Mikes second quote he advances the strange idea that people who have the same worldview will have different applications, policies, and agendas. How is it possible Mike, to have the same exact world and life view and yet contend for different applications, policies, and agendas? Can two people have the same Christian worldview and find that one desires the legalizing of abortion while the other desires that abortion be made a crime?
Certainly there might exist slight nuance differences and strategy differences among those who share a worldview but to say that those with the same worldview have different agendas is quite curious speech.