I John 5:9-10 … God’s Testimony & Man’s Response

Subject — God
Theme — God’s Testimony of Christ
Proposition — God’s Testimony of Christ reveals that men have no reason not to believe upon Christ.
Purpose — Therefore having seen God’s testimony of Christ let us challenge all men everywhere to believe Christ.

Intro

Re-cap from previous weeks.

Background

In 5:9-13 John Comes to some concluding thoughts on what he has been saying regarding the “Son of God.”

In 5:1-4 the emphasis was on Faith in God’s Son
In 5:5-12 the discussion has been on the necessity to accept God’s testimony regarding the Son

In his concluding thoughts in this section regarding the Son of God John specifically states the content of God’s testimony concerning His Son, thus eliminating any misunderstanding concerning the Son.

I.) God Has Given Testimony Concerning His Son (9)

Note the continued emphasis on objective evidence. The greek word for “Testify” is used 10 times in verses 6-11 teaching us that John is concerned with the validity of the divine testimony to Christ.

This necessity for Testimony was essential in God’s economy. Jesus himself lays claim to it.

17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

In vs. 9 the testimony of man that is being referred to is likely John the Baptist’ testimony.

John 5:31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.

But John, noting that Jesus has Man’s testimony, insists that God’s testimony is greater. And this line of thought is consistent with the words of Jesus in John’s Gospel.

37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,

This greater Testimony was given, as John says, with “The Spirit, water, and the blood.”

But this Testimony of God would also include

God’s voice speaking from heaven sanctioning the Work of His Son.

Baptism

“and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Entry into Jerusalem

John 12:18 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

Mt. Transfiguration

5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,[a] with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

So, John seeks to establish the validity of Jesus and His ministry by appealing to the very requirement that God’s word gives us for seeking to establish truth. All of this reminds us that our faith appeals to objective evidence and not merely subjective inclination. We do not have faith in faith (existentialism), rather the faith we have rests in the Testimony of God.

Illustration — The Faith that will walk off a 50 story bldg. vs. the Faith the Scripture advocates. Not faith in faith.

Now, this evidence is true, but the evidence itself does not convert. Remember the story of the Rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16

He said, ‘I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house; for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, so they won’t also come into this place of torment.’

“But Abraham said to him,
‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

“He said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.’

The Rich man want’s Lazarus to go back and Testify to his brothers, but Father Abraham says not even that testimony or the testimony of line rising from the dead would by itself lead to persuasion.

The point here is that Divine testimony to the truth of Christ does not guarantee that people will believe in Christ. The proof of something does not always lead to persuasion. God’s testimony is valid but that testimony and that evidence does not by itself convert because before the testimony and evidence can be seen for what it is men must be given eyes to see and ears to hear.

So, when we are dealing with those who know not Christ, our role is to do what John has done and to lay out the testimony… the evidence … the proof, but the persuasion belongs to the Holy Spirit.

And as John says in the next verse, some will not receive the wittness of either man or God.

II.) The God Given Testimony Has Been Accepted By Some And Rejected By Others (10)

A.) Accepted by Some

What John writes in 5:10 harmonizes nicely with what Paul writes in

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Once we look to Christ, once we are born of God, the witness — the testimony is not merely external to us but we have the Testimony of God in us. Sooner could we deny our own Mothers than we could deny Christ or the Christian faith.

By way of application we might say that in having this testimony in us becomes the great animating engine for our whole lives and all that we do. This testimony is a restless passion that desires all to bow the knee to the glorious Lord Christ. This testimony fills us with the longing to Know him ever more that we might make Him known. This testimony in us works in us to love God’s law and to desire to set forth the beauty of God’s grace in reconciling Himself to sinners. The Testimony of God in us, makes we ourselves the Testimony of God to others regarding the person and work of Christ.

Note also in vs. 10 that for John that Faith is the constant bond between the believer and Christ.

Here we have the doctrine of faith alone emphasized. This idea of faith alone is central to Biblical Christianity.

B.) Not Accepted by Others

John says of those who refuse to believe God have made God out to be a Liar.

Liar is another one of those words that John likes

I John 1:10, 2:4, 2:22, 4:20, 5:10

Sometimes he applies the “Liar” label to men (i.e. — men are liars), and other times he says that men who act a certain way are calling God a “Liar.”

1:10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

5:10 Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.

Now to make God a “Liar,” is to attribute to Him a cornerstone attribute of Satan.

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

So, those who make God out to be a “liar” have inverted reality. They have become those who call evil, “good,” and “good,” evil.

We see hear a foundation premise on the part of the unbeliever that colors their view of all the rest of their reality. If they have made God out to be a liar then all of reality for them, in principle, is a tissue of lies. One cannot make God out to be a Liar and discern the true truth about anything else.

Note that when they make God out to be a liar they have attributed to God the foundational characteristic of Satan who our Lord said was “a liar from the beginning.” With this characterization of John of unbelievers in Christ “making God out to be a liar,” we see both the tendency for the unbeliever to call “evil,” “good,” and “good,” “evil” and we see the antithesis in action. Either a person accepts God’s testimony of Christ and so is epistemologically whole in their ascertaining of the rest of reality or they don’t accept that testimony of Christ and so have taken up league against God. In making God out to be a liar, they have made themselves walking incarnations of lying and liars. They are indeed, children of their Father the Devil, who was a murderer from the beginning.

Such a sin as “Making God out to be a liar,” is the sin of the Garden and is the sin that all those outside Christ are chiefly guilty of. For man to “make God out to be a Liar,” means that such men have claimed for themselves the position of Deity because in making God a Liar they are accepting their Word over God’s word on who God is.

This is the Reformed Anti-thesis once again. Those outside of Christ who do not believe the God of the Bible have made God out to be what Satan is… a Liar. The contrast between belief and unbelief could not be made more stark.

Calvin offers here,

“John makes the ungodly to be guilty of extreme blasphemy, because they charge God w/ Falsehood. Doubtless nothing is more valued by God than His own truth, therefore no more atrocious wrong can be done to Him, that to rob Him of this honor.”

The truthfulness of God is not a take it or leave it proposition. If God’s testimony is rejected man will become twisted and distorted much like old Gollum living in the roots of the Misty Mountains. If God’s Testimony is accepted then man will become increasingly human.

We conclude then this section by noting with John Stott that

“Unbelief is not a misfortune to be pitied; it is a sin to be deplored.”

Conclusion,

Re-cap

Socialism Bromides #2 — Without Entitlement Programs Some People Will Starve

A principle that is consistently trustworthy is that if the State takes upon itself some particular responsibility many people will not take it upon themselves to be concerned about their responsibility to provide for themselves whatever it is the government is providing for and further will come to the point that they can no longer imagine people being able to function without the State being responsible for whatever responsibility they have seized from the citizenry.

So, for example, if the State promises to provide a retirement pension (i.e. — Social Security) there will be people who are no longer concerned about their responsibility to save for their own retirement, and there will be many people who begin to believe that without Social Security retirees will starve to death. People, then who are against Socialist programs like Social Security are then believed, quite wrongly, to be for retirees starving to death.

This is a theme that has been played up quite recently, as applied to Medicare. Any thought of initiating a program to privatize Medicare to some degree was linked to the conviction that people would be thrown off cliffs if the Government was not completely responsible to provide for elderly health insurance.

The premise is that if anybody wants to do anything to put an end to entitlement programs that clearly are not working that person is for letting or even helping people die. The idea hawked by Socialists and by those who support socialist programs is that people who are against Socialistic programs and wealth redistribution schemes are cruel-hearted monsters who don’t like people.

This is ironic when in point of fact it is the Socialists who are the cruel-hearted monsters. Socialists who devise these schemes are subsidizing (giving money to, and rewarding) outcomes that we should all want to see eliminated. It is the very definition of cruel-hearted to devise a program that will increase the number of people who will need that program because of the attraction of free money. When Socialists create a Social Security program they create more people dependent upon the State for their retirement since people believe that the State will provide for them in their old age. Socialists and Socialist entitlement programs, like Social Security, are the non-compassionate cruel-hearted ones because by their creation of entitlement programs they enlarge the pool of people who will become dependents upon the State.

The idea that people will starve to death without these entitlement programs is myth and such an idea is only used in order to demonize those who are opposed to creating a class of people who are dependent upon the state and to scare people into voting against those who desire to return freedom and responsibility to the electorate.

The lie that without entitlement programs people will starve to death (or be thrown off cliffs) is seen in the reality that before these entitlement programs came into existence people did not starve to death and were not thrown off cliffs. Social Security was made law in 1933. People prior to 1933 were not dropping like flies in this country from starvation prior to 1933. No, the creation of Social Security (and other like entitlement programs) is never because of the impoverished people it is putatively designed to help. The creation of Social Security (and other like entitlement programs) is done out of the desire to make people dependent upon the State, thus creating a constituency of voters who will consistently vote for people who promise to keep the entitlement subsidies flowing.

The irony is that if anyone is guilty of wanting to starve people to death it is those who create entitlement programs. I worked for my first seven years of the ministry with people who were dependent upon entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare and what I saw were people who were given just enough money to remain dependent upon the State but not enough money to actually flourish.

America existed for its first 150 years without entitlement programs. Families and Churches took upon themselves the responsibility to take care of one another without the State’s interference. If we ever return to a time when entitlement programs end we will return to a time when Families and Churches once again are strengthened to do what the State currently does.

Is Voting For Ron Paul A Pursuit of Societal Salvation?

“The zeal of facebook Christians to abandon biblical principles of voting and statecraft in order to justify voting for Ron Paul tells us something: you do not have to believe in “big government” in order to believe in the Messianic State. It is only because men look for societal salvation in small princes, rather than in the name of the Lord, that they cast the law of God behind their backs in order to elect a man who refuses to bow to Christ’s royal prerogatives over civil government. Thus the civil government that the Ron Paul voters want would be every bit as “Messianic” as the one that their opponents lust after.”

Daniel Ritchie, Facebook, January 4, 2012

Here we have a quote that reveals the zeal of a modern day facebook Christian who doesn’t like the putative zeal of Christians who he thinks do not have the right kind of zeal — the kind of zeal that he has.

Before we get into the disagreements with Mr. Ritchie, I want to note that while at this point, I intend to vote for Rep. Ron Paul if I can I do acknowledge that there are issues he supports that I do not think are Christian. Paul’s recent vote supporting homosexuals in the military is not the vote a Christian man would have made. Also, Ron Paul’s fuzzy stand on illegal immigration is a head scratcher. I also would that Rep. Paul would clearly articulate that the Constitution as it currently stands outlaws Abortion, and because of that States should overturn laws on their books that are contrary to that Constitutional requirement. I also do not believe that Dr. Paul’s Libertarian instincts will work in a country that has been balkanized by both it’s legal immigration policy pursuit since 1965 and it’s benign neglect of illegal immigration. The balkanization is seen also in the country being divided by the agenda that has been pursued by the cultural Marxist elite vis-a-vis a more traditional and historic understanding of Americanism. In short, I think the Libertarian instinct will only work in a country that shares a common world and life view. Because of the world and life view balkanization that exists in this country America as a country is no longer a nation.

Now having noted my direct disagreements with Rep. Paul, I want to spend a few lines pointing out Daniel Ritchies errors.

1.) Not all Christians who intend on voting for Ron Paul have abandoned biblical principles for voting and statecraft. When one is being threatened to be eaten by a wolf one is not abandoning biblical principles for voting and statecraft by voting for the person who promises to kill the wolf, even if he has body odor and is personally uncouth. Our greatest need of the hour in order to restore biblical statecraft is for someone to slay the Leviathan State. This is the platform on which Dr. Paul is campaigning. Biblical statecraft will not be restored until the Leviathan state is slain. First things first. To suggest that any Christian who intends to vote for Ron Paul is abandoning biblical principles for voting and statecraft is like a Jew complaining that the person who stopped the rape of his wife was not circumcised. It is true that there are faults with Dr. Paul, but currently he is the gentleman who promises to help us with our most current and pressing problem. Mr. Ritchie just isn’t thinking correctly.

2.) Mr. Ritchie assumes that those Christians who intend to vote for Congressman Paul, intend to do so because they believe in the Messiah State. This is an unwarranted assumption on Mr. Ritchie’s part. It may be the case, that Christians intend to vote for Rep. Paul because they do not believe the Biblical notion of State can be retrieved unless the current incarnation of the State is put to rest. The current God-State is sucking up all sphere sovereignty that has Biblical warrant to exist. All because I vote for a man who promises to draw proper sphere sovereignty boundaries for the Nation State does not mean that I believe that the result will be a Messianic State. Such a vote only means that I am using Rep. Paul as a bludgeon to restrict the ambitions of the current Messianic State. Mr. Ritchie’s reasoning is without merit.

3.) Christians who intend to vote for Ron Paul are not necessarily looking for societal salvation. In point of fact, I fully expect for Rep. Paul to fail in his agenda since I believe that this nation, short of remarkable providence, is beyond the point of no return. Personally, I am voting for Paul, because I believe a President Paul would be less inclined to use draconian measures than the other Statist candidates to stop the break up of these united States that I foresee happening. That is hardly the reasoning of a Christian who is looking to Rep. Paul to provide societal salvation.

4.) I do agree with Mr. Ritchie that every government is obliged to “Kiss the Son,” lest the magistrates perish in the way. I also agree with Mr. Ritchie that as Christians our support should be for those candidates who promise to “Kiss the Son.” However, I also believe that in our situation when all the other Magistrates for President are for “Kissing the Devil,” it is the better part of wisdom to vote for a man who intends to de=fang the Leviathan State then voting for those who want to sharpen the Devil’s fangs.

Absurdum est ut alios regat, qui seipsum regere nescit

“It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself.”

http://realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/01/19/gingrich_slams_cnns_king_for_question_about_ex-wife.html

America’s temperature was taken last night at the Republican debate and the temperature reveals she is dead. Newt Gingrich plays the role of an indignant outraged candidate who insists that he is “appalled” by the media’s questioning of his adultery committed during his first marriage. Only in America could a man who is a serial adulterer get to play the role of the righteously indignant. Keep in mind that the very same type of people who were giving Newt a standing ovation were the people who were so outraged when it became known that President Clinton was having forbidden and unlawful carnal knowledge of Monica Lewinsky.

But, Newt can receive a standing ovation in spite of his serial adultery because the American citizenry sees the double standard of the media. The press taught us that women in Clinton’s lives were nuts or sluts and so since President Clinton received a pass from the media for his trailer park behavior why shouldn’t their candidate receive a pass from the media for the trailer park behavior of their candidate? The media to this day has not vetted candidate Obama. We know very little of his Marxist past. What of his relationship with renown Marxist Frank Marshall Davis? How did Obama’s attachment to the teachings of Marxist extraordinaire Saul Alinsky mold and shape him? How tight were Barack Hussein Obama and 60’s Marxist radical Bill Ayres?

If Clinton and Obama receive a pass from the media for their sultry and blemished past why shouldn’t the past of all the candidates get a pass … including the serial adulterer Newt Gingrich? If Clinton and Obama and Newt get a pass from the media for their past why should anybody care that Rick Santorum’s wife spent a good deal of her life during her 20’s shacking up with a abortion doctor that was 40 years her senior? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Now, understand, I don’t think that any of them should get a pass. And I don’t think it is unfair if Newt’s adulteries are exposed for all the world to see while others with pasts more egregious are ignored. What is “unfair” in all of this is that the press would purposely hide any of the candidates past that needs to be known by voters. So, if Newt gets hung out to dry, and others don’t … Newt is only getting justice and has nothing to complain about except the fact that the others didn’t get justice. Newt’s past not being exposed by journalists only piles up the injustices, it does not make everything fair. Fair would be asking not only Newt the hard questions about his serial adultery but it would also be demanding that Obama tell us about his Marxist past.

Secondly, we have to understand why there is such a double standard in the media. The media is governed by a humanist world and life view and therefore they have an interest in destroying anybody who becomes the champion of those segments of the citizenry whose worldview is different than the major media. The media holds the putatively conservative candidates (even if those candidates are only conservative in their rhetoric) to a different standard so that the media can destroy those candidates who are advancing a worldview that is contrary to their own. Notice, most often this is done to support the sexual revolution. Herman Cain is seen as conservative and so what is brought forth are all of his sexual liaisons. Newt Gingrich is seen as conservative so the media brings forth his alleged demand for a “open marriage.” Before that they tried to destroy Clarence Thomas with salacious stories of pubic hairs on coke cans. The media, in destroying these candidates, is at the same time destroying a worldview that at least rhetorically opposes the humanist pan-sexual worldview.

However, as delighted as the media is in pulling the rug out from under supposedly conservative candidates we, as Christians, should even be more delighted even though there is clearly a double standard. Christians can be satisfied by a “listen to what I say, don’t look at what I do” candidate being exposed because we don’t want blatant hypocrisy being the face that represents our convictions.

So, for my part I would say that Newt’s serial adultery disqualifies him from my vote. God does grant forgiveness but God granting forgiveness does not mean that there are no consequences to his adulterous actions. And one consequence, in my way of thinking is that given the fact that he could not rule his own home well, then he should not be entrusted to rule the country. In the words of Albert J. Nock, “really, when one thinks of it, what a preposterous thing it is to put the management of a nation, a province, even a village, in the hands of a man who cannot so much as manage a family.”

McAtee Contra Hart

Darryl writes over at oldlife,

http://oldlife.org/2012/01/can-epistemologically-self-conscious-calvinists-get-along/

A letter to the editor in a recent issue of New Horizons set me thinking once more about the objections to two-kingdom theology that prevail among those Reformed Protestants most attached to Dutch Reformed figures or ideas.

The letter to the editor that Darryl references can be found here on page 21,

http://www.opc.org/new_horizons/NH2012/NH2012Jan.pdf

However, before we turn to that just a brief comment about Darryl’s subtle insistence that basic historic Calvinism is uniquely Dutch Reformed. I’m sure the following Presbyterians would be amazed at the idea that it is uniquely Dutch Reformed who held to the absolute sovereignty of the Lord Christ over every area of life. With just a few quotes I will come to the defense of the Presbyterians who likewise held the same beliefs in the Lordship of Jesus Christ as the best of the Dutch Reformed.

First we have the Presbyterian A. A. Hodge who according to Darryl must speak with a Dutch accent,

“It is our duty, as far as lies in our power, immediately to organize human society and all its institutions and organs upon a distinctively Christian basis. Indifference or impartiality here between the law of the kingdom and the law of the world, or of its prince, the devil, is utter treason to the King of Righteousness. The Bible, the great statute-book of the Kingdom, explicitly lays down principles which, when candidly applied, will regulate the action of every human being in all relations. There can be no compromise. The King said, with regard to all descriptions of moral agents in all spheres of activity, “He that is not with me is against me.” If the national life in general is organized upon non-Christian principles, the churches which are embraced within the universal assimilating power of that nation will not long be able to preserve their integrity.

A. A. Hodge, Evangelical Theology, p. 283-84

And again from the son of the Charles Hodge,

If professing Christians are unfaithful to the authority of their Lord in their capacity as citizens of the State, they cannot expect to be blessed by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in their capacity as members of the Church. The kingdom of God is one, it cannot be divided.

Princeton President A. A. Hodge, Respected Presbyterian

Then there is Darryl’s favorite Presbyterian, J. Gresham Machen, who could write,

“Modern culture is a mighty force. It is either subservient to the Gospel or else it is the deadliest enemy of the Gospel. For making it subservient, religious emotion is not enough, intellectual labor is also necessary. And that labor is being neglected. The Church has turned to easier tasks. And now she is reaping the fruits of her indolence. Now she must battle for her life.”

J. Gresham Machen
1912 centennial commemorative lecture at Princeton Seminary

“Instead of obliterating the distinction between the Kingdom and the world, or on the other hand withdrawing from the world into a sort of modernized intellectual monasticism, let us go forth joyfully, enthusiastically to make the world subject to God.”

~J. Gresham Machen

Then there is the granddaddy of all Presbyterian John Calvin,

Calvin’s commentary on Luke 14:23 (in Volume 32, i.e. Harmony of the Gospels, Volume 2, at page 173):

Luke 14:23. Compel them to come in. This expression means, that the master of the house would give orders to make use, as it were, of violence for compelling the attendance of the poor, and to leave out none of the lowest dregs of the people. By these words Christ declares that he would rake together all the offscourings of the world, rather than he would ever admit such ungrateful persons to his table. The allusion appears to be to the manner in which the Gospel invites us; for the grace of God is not merely offered to us, but doctrine is accompanied by exhortations fitted to arouse our minds. This is a display of the astonishing goodness of God, who, after freely inviting us, and perceiving that we give ourselves up to sleep, addresses our slothfulness by earnest entreaties, and not only arouses us by exhortations, but even compels us by threatenings to draw near to him. At the same time, I do not disapprove of the use which Augustine frequently made of this passage against the Donatists, to prove that godly princes may lawfully issue edicts, for compelling obstinate and rebellious persons to worship the true God, and to maintain the unity of the faith; for, though faith is voluntary, yet we see that such methods are useful for subduing the obstinacy of those who will not yield until they are compelled.”

Look, Iron Ink is chock full of quotes from Presbyterians who would be indicted and brought up on charges by church courts staffed with Radical Two Kingdom “theologians” like Hart, Horton, Clark, and Van Drunnen. I only wanted to cite a few Presbyterian quotes so that Darryl couldn’t get away with his insinuation that only Dutch Reformed types have these kinds of ideas. Christians throughout the centuries have been quite attached to Presbyterians figures who had the same Calvinist ideas as their Dutch Reformed counterparts.

All that to say that it is Darryl and his jolly band who are the innovators. They have no historical legs to stand on when it comes to the kind of Presbyterianism they are trying to create whole cloth and then read back on Presbyterians of years gone by. R2K is a 20th century innovation on Reformed theology and one can only hope that the Escondido theology will go the way that Mercersburg theology went long ago. I suspect that when all is said and done, Darryl Hart and Michael Horton will be 21st century equivalent of Phillip Schaff and John Nevin. Darryl and Mike, like Phillip and John, will be curious footnotes in the history of Reformed theology.

Darryl continues,

The assertion in question stated that “our epistemological self-consciousness must be thoroughly present at every point of the discussion of [interactions between Reformed Protestants and Roman Catholics].” The letter took exception to comments Michael Horton made about Immanuel Kant and the moral law that provides a basis for believers’ cooperation with non-believers in the common realm: “Even the philosopher Immanuel Kant retained an infallible certainty of ‘the moral law within’ after rejecting supernatural religion.” William Dennison, the letter writer, rues Horton’s assessment of Kant and argues that “any true Van Tilian should be deeply disturbed by such a statement.”

The point worth reflecting on here is not the rival assessments of Kant or whether Horton was actually endorsing Kant. It is instead the impression created that epistemological self-consciousness will lead to a rejection of Kant. I myself remain worried about the kind of pride and even self-delusion that the project of epistemological self-consciousness may nurture. In fact, this past Sunday at the URC in Anaheim the congregation confessed sins corporately in ways more in keeping with the “heart is desperately wicked, who can know it” than with the possibility of bringing Christian truth to bear on all parts of our waking existence.

1.) If you read William Dennison’s letter to the Editor you will realize that the point that Dennison is hammering home is that people like Darryl and Mike seem to be giving up on the Reformed idea of antithesis which was such a staple of Cornelius Van Til’s teaching. Mike’s column,

http://www.opc.org/nh.html?article_id=721

and Darryl’s rejoinder both fail in speaking to the idea of the antithesis. Both Mike and Darryl brush off such concerns as Dennison’s as insignificant. Mike suggests that Christians could join with Kant in the R2K compartmentalized common realm since both Kant, the anti-Christ philosopher, and Christians retain an infallible certainty of ‘the moral law within.’ Horton’s reasoning here plays havoc with the Van Tillian illustration that “No matter how much you sharpen a saw that is set at the wrong angle, it will not cut straight.” Kant, being a Christ hater, was a sharp saw that could not cut straight and yet both Mike and Darryl suggest that the sharp saw that is Kant can cut straight in the undifferentiated common realm along with Christian saws that are cutting true.

2.) I’m not sure how a public confession of sins is an acknowledgment that, in principle, the epistemologically self-conscious Christian can’t know what is and isn’t sin. Is Darryl really suggesting that corporate confession of sin proves that the whole project of being epistemologically self conscious is bogus? Is Darryl telling us that corporate confession of sin during corporate worship proves that in the common realm it is impossible to bring Christian truth to bear on all parts of our waking existence?

This comment by Darryl reveals once again for R2K theologians the Kingdom is completely “not yet.”

Darryl writes,

The thing is, I am pretty confident that Mike Horton is self-conscious of being Reformed and of the claims of Christ upon his thoughts and actions. I am not sucking up to Mike. I am simply raising the possibility that epistemological self-consciousness does not produce uniform judgments. One epistemologically self-conscious believer may recognize value in Kant’s morality, another may esteem Hegelian idealism. But does a disagreement in judgment mean that one party is guilty of epistemological appeasement? Will the epistemologically self-conscious agree on whether or not to eat meat offered to idols?

1.) Hearing that Darryl worries about the kind of pride and even self-delusion that the project of epistemological self-consciousness may nurture, one wonders if Darryl worries at the same time about the kind of pride and self-delusion that may be nurtured in his project of embracing the seeming certainty that epistemological self-consciousness is not possible? I mean that is what this boils down to isn’t it? Van Til repeatedly emphasized the necessity of epistemological self-consciousness while Darryl is suggesting that each man must do what is right in his own unique epistemological self consciousness. One epistemologically self-conscious Christian likes Kant, another epistemologically self conscious Christian likes Hegel. Vive la différence!

2.) Darryl’s first sentence in the blockquote above is open to challenge. Indeed, whether or not Mike Horton is self-conscious or not is the very point William Dennison was challenging in his letter to the Editor. Dennison was asking if someone Reformed and Presbyterian could actually be betraying the epistemological self-conscious legacy of Reformed and Presbyterian Cornelius Van Til. An epistemologically self conscious theologian would not do that. Further, the whole debate between the innovation that is R2K and standard historic Calvinist theology is a debate, at least in part, over the question of whether or not the R2K innovators are indeed epistemologically self conscious. Would epistemologically self conscious people create a nature / grace dualism and then suggest that everything in the nature compartment is governed by a never delineated Natural law?

3.) And yes … per Paul the epistemologically self conscious Christian will have no problem with eating meat offered to idols though he may demur for the sake of his weaker non epistemologically self conscious brother.

The two-kingdom payoff is that most of the proponents of 2k that I know have a long list of theological reasons for such advocacy. In other words, 2k is not simply a capitulation to secular society as if 2kers are going along to get along. Instead, 2k stems from serious reflection on the truths revealed in Scripture and confessed among Reformed churches. I get it that many don’t see it that way. But disagreement with other ways of construing the relationship between church and state, or between the eternal and temporal realms (such as neo-Calvinism or theonomy) does not mean that 2k lacks epistemological self-awareness. In fact, some of us would claim that 2k takes more biblical and theological claims into account than other efforts to bring a Reformed w— v— to bear on politics.

1.) True, R2K is not simply a capitulation to “secular” society. Doubtless R2K is many other things besides being a capitulation to “secular” society. It is nice to have that admission from Darryl.

2.) The long list of theological reasons for advocacy of R2K has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. For the most recent weighing see John Frame’s new book “The Escondido Theology,” or alternately just read around here at Iron Ink. There is no “there” there in R2K theology.

3.) It is interesting that Darryl seems to have slightly retreated here. In this piece Darryl admits that R2K is one way of construing the relationship between the eternal and the temporal realms. There have been many other pieces from R2K types which have insisted that their way of construing the relationship between the eternal and temporal realm is the only way.

4.) Darryl focuses on politics but of course the idea of Reformed Weltanschauung extends beyond politics.

Darryl writes,

So if the epistemologically self-conscious may have different assessments about the value of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony or about the merits of Quantum Theory, is epistemological self-consciousness any guarantee of victory in debate? I don’t know how it could be (and I am awfully aware of this knowledge thanks to a second cup of coffee).

Or alternately some Christians who claim to be epistemologically self conscious are in point of fact not.