Examining Dr. VanDrunen Interview with Reformed Forum — Part II

We continue to demonstrate the grave and serious deficiencies of R2K theology as expressed in this interview with Dr. David Van Drunen done with a view of hawking his upcoming book, “Politics after Christendom: Political Theology in a Fractured World.”


G.) 37:00b Mark – Also at this point in the interview DVD returns to a central theme in his “theology” and that is his insistence that the Noahic covenant has zero redemptive significance. This position has, in the past, been challenged repeatedly. DVD however can not give this position up because it is the lynch pin of his innovative system. The Noahic covenant was not a redemptive covenant and so must be common. This position allows DVD to pivot to say that the Noahic covenant is the covenant that all mankind operates and functions in during their lifetime when those who are believers are not operating and functioning within the Church. One implication of this for DVD and R2K is that the Church and the Kingdom are identified as exact synonyms. There is nothing outside the Church realm as existing in the public square that is an expression of the Kingdom of God. Everything outside the church realm as existing in the public square is a common realm relating back to the common Noahic covenant. The common Noahic covenant teaches us that there is no such thing as Christian politics, Christian economics, Christian Education, Christian family, etc. since all these function within the common Noahic covenant and not as ancilliaries to the Kingdom of God.

That DVD is in error regarding his assertion that the Noahic covenant “doesn’t make any promises of Redemption,” can be seen inasmuch as the Noahic covenant is in point of fact highly redemptive, both in looking back to creation and looking forward to Christ.

First one finds the flood being presented in similar terms as the chaos of Gen. 1:2, and the ark’s landing on dry land and Noah’s commission by God to be fruitful and multiply both echo the original creation narrative. The rescue of Noah was a Redemptive rescue and this is hinted at when Noah offers sacrifice to God upon being released from the Ark. If the Noahic covenant was truly common would we see a blood sacrifice associated with it?

Second, the Noahic is Redemptive if only because it ends in a “new creation — restoration.” The Noahic covenant is a proleptic and typological event that portrays the final and ultimate redemption to be found in Christ. The Noahic covenant is thus, contrary to DVD’s assertion, Redemptive.

The fact that the Noahic covenant is Redemptive is pointed to in I Peter in such explicit terms it is difficult to believe that anybody could hold the Noahic covenant as common. The flood water symbolizes Baptism which is the sign and seal of Redemption by Jesus Christ.

I Peter 1:20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Eight were saved (Redeemed). The flood water symbolizes Baptism which is the sign and seal of Redemption by Jesus Christ.

Now, no one would argue that the Noahic covenant didn’t have implications for what R2K calls the “common realm,” but clearly the Noahic covenant is a Redemptive covenant. Noah points us back to creation and speaks of its renewal, but points us forward to the ultimate renewal in Christ. It is thoroughly redemptive, not merely “common.”

If the Noahic covenant made promises of Redemption, contrary to DVD, then his whole R2K project fails. Let it fail.

H.) 41:20 Mark – Here DVD admits that he has changed the nomenclature so as to tamp down 2K speak in favor of using covenantal type language. However, this is merely a stylistic move on his part to the end of making the whole R2K project palatable. It’s like calling a “Milky Way” candy bar a “Snickers” candy bar. You can call it anything you like but it remains a “Milky Way” candy bar. DVD is changing the wrapping but retaining the R2K content. I couldn’t help but giggle when DVD’s conversation partner noted that this was a “winsome” move.

I.) 43:35 Mark – Here DVD launches into his understanding of the Nature vs. Grace dialectic as it pertains to R2K. Historically, the Reformed have typically advanced the idea that grace restores nature thus communicating that the effect that grace has upon nature is to increasingly and incrementally bring it back to its original intent as opposed to the continuing spiral of non-definition that occurs when nature is left unnourished by grace. What DVD tells us he wants to do is to introduce a dualistic component to the nature and grace dialectic. DVD insists that the historic Reformed idea that “grace restores nature” is too simplistic and what is needed is a bit more complexity. As such DVD offers this new arrangement on the relationship between nature and grace; “Common grace preserves nature while Special grace consummates nature.”

Notice, that this arrangement is really necessary for the millennialism that informs R2K. Whereas in the previous arrangement of grace restoring nature there is a teleogoical purpose for grace as it nourishes and so restores nature. DVD’s new arrangement deletes that. Now instead of a teleological movement towards restoration there is only preservation. To preserve something is to merely make sure it doesn’t go bad. It has no effect to restore what may have been lost. This idea of common grace preserving nature is the perfect Amillennial metaphor. It strikes me that if this kind of language was adopted one end effect would be to institutionalize R2K Amillennialism in Christian theology. This is something that no postmillennialist or even optimistic Amillennialist could ever countenance.
The second to the two tropes that DVD provides is “special grace consummates nature.” This arrangement demonstrates again that for the R2K crowd there is no continuity between the work of grace in successfully expanding the Kingdom unto Christi’s return and Christ’s return. Instead, what we find packed into this notion that “special grace consummates” nature is the Amillennial eschatology which teaches that the end will be a catastrophic in-breaking into a common grace preserved world not preserved well enough.

J.) – 48:00 Mark – Here DVD once again mis-charaterizes historic Calvinism by suggesting that some Calvinists (non-R2K Calvinists) think that they, by their own trans-formative efforts, can transform the world into Christ’s Kingdom. DVD suggests that we don’t realize how great of a change must be made to see the world transformed. Of course DVD is in error (once again) here. No historic Calvinist has ever believed that by our efforts we bring in the Kingdom. For DVD to even hint at that is nothing but a gratuitous slur. Historical Calvinists have always believe that God brings in His Kingdom incrementally, over time (parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Leaven) and that God’s people are one of the means by which God does His work wherein grace restores nature. Historic Calvinists are under no illusion how great a work of grace is required for God to expand His Kingdom until it covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. One of the greatest works of grace that must be done for the expansion of the Kingdom is the defeat of R2K thinking which in anticipating defeat insures defeat – which in diminishing the Kingdom to the Church insures the Kingdom will never extend beyond the Church.

K.)48:35 Mark – Briefly, DVD mentions his “new language” in refernce to his R2K project thus again testifying that DVD is giving us a completely innovative Reformed theology which has NEVER been seen before. This isn’t your Grandfather’s Calvinism. This isn’t even Calvin’s Calvinism.

L.) 56:00 Mark – Here DVD takes the opportunity to slam Christendom as an attempt by Christians to make this world our home. DVD prefers the Pilgrim and Exile theme. Of course if we were to adopt DVD’s R2K “theology” we would insure that the Kingship of Jesus Christ would always be the tail and not the head in our social orders. If we were to adopt DVD’s R2K “theology” not only would Christendom continue in abeyance but also we would be supporting the rise of Kingdoms in our social order that existed in defiance of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. No Christendom means the presence of Islamadom, Judaidom, Humanismdom, or Hindudom. A theology simply cannot remove Christendom as an option without at the very least making way for the rise of anti-Christendom and at the worst aiding and abetting the rise of anti-Christendom. This explains partially, the absolute wickedness of R2K.

This review was not intended to be exhaustive. There is much more that could be commented upon. I wanted to hit with what I thought were the really low points of the interview.

Let’s close with general observations. First, we would note that R2K theology front-loads the “not-yet” of our eschatology “now-not yet” paradigm while diminishing the now-ness of our eschatology. R2K is a project that demands that the now of the “now-not yet” does not exist, or if it does exist it exists as only a spirtiual (read Gnostic) reality. Per R2K, all that “now” stuff of “now-not yet” is for the eschaton. The R2K boys seemingly delight in the crucifixion absent the resurrection, ascension and session of the Lord Christ. They seem to believe that all our lives now as Christians, while on earth, is in the service of a defeated Savior who only reigns “spiritually.” Secondly, the R2K boys are quick to accuse those who disagree with them as having a “theology of glory,” but fail to see their own theology of “The fact that we are convinced that we are defeated means we are Christians.” The R2K boys complain about those who disagree with them of trying to “immanentize the eschaton,” while missing the irony that in their retreatism and defeatism they are doing the work of immanentizing the eschaton of some other false God.

R2K is completely innovative. No Reformed person has believed it until Meredith Kline and his acolytes came along. I am praying in Charlotte that it will follow the way of Federal Vision, the New Perspective on Paul, and other novel innovations that have arisen as of late.

Examining Dr. VanDrunen Interview with Reformed Forum — Part I

It is no surprise to anyone that I absolutely loathe R2K as taught by Westminster California as well as other incarnations of it (i.e. – D. G. Hart, Matthew J. Tuininga, T. David Gordon, Carl Trueman etc.). I am absolutely convinced that it is the kind of “theology” (the word used only by way of courtesy) that will guarantee a further Babylonian Captivity of the Church resulting in its eventual Institutional enervation. Further, I believe that those who are pressing R2K on the church are enemies of Biblical Christianity whether intentionally or unintentionally. Charity requires to believe that these folks have the best of intentions. Wisdom requires me to remind myself that good intentions pave the road to hell.

Having said that there is a new book rolling out this April by Dr. David Van Drunen (hereafter DVD) titled, “Politics after Christendom: Political Theology in a Fractured World.” In this book Dr. DVD continues to purse the R2K agenda as it applies to “Christian” political theory. I have already had one go at a quote from this book which can be found here,


Today, I took the opportunity to listen to an 68 minute interview with Dr. DVD with Camden Bucey on the Reformed Forum dealing with the forthcoming DVD book, which can be accessed here,


On the whole, the R2K project remains the same. The only difference I found in this interview regarding Dr. DVD’s R2K is that whereas in the past the Reformed Deep State has tried to cram R2K down the Reformed Church’s gullet, this time around the Reformed Deep State has opted to dress R2K in evening wear and seek to convince the viewers that R2K has undergone modifications and that DVD is walking back some of the previous imbecilic tenets once characteristic of R2K. Don’t you believe it. The language has softened, the sharp edges have been sanded off, and the theology is wearing a Monique Lhuillier Glitter Firework Gathered Bodice Evening Gown but this is the same ugly toothless R2K that these guys have been marketing since they began.

In order to analyze this we will give the time stamp on the linked interview and make some appropriate comments.

A.) 15:17 Mark – Here DVD starts waxing eloquent about the importance of inter-disciplinary studies in order to get a integrated understanding of reality. I agree with that. But remember this is a man who does not believe that there is such a thing as a distinctly Christian Philosophy, Politics, Economic, Legal theory, etc. So, how can someone get an integrated understanding of reality who doesn’t believe that reality can be integrated consistently along explicitly Christian lines? Indeed, some R2K aficionados talk about R2K in terms of the “hyphenated life.” Integrated indeed.

B.) 19:00 Mark – Here DVD is talking about the death of Christendom and the new world we are living in where not everybody in the community is a member of the Church. He talks about how even churches have embraced the idea of “freedom of religion” for a social order. We would note here that DVD is talking about Pluralism, which grew out of the Enlightenment.

What DVD doesn’t seem to understand is that freedom of religion is a myth. Christianity as a religion requires (as one example) marriage as to be between a man and a woman. We no longer have freedom of religion for Christianity because that has been taken away by the State religion of humanism. So DVD talks about the end of Christendom, and about that he is, unfortunately, right but DVD presumes now that the public square and the Government is no longer conditioned by a public religion. He fails to see that, like ancient Rome, our pluralism (freedom of religion) is conditioned upon being servile to the Humanist State. There is no freedom of religion. There is no pluralism. Everything is inside the State and all is for the state. In the Humanist State we live and breathe and have our being.

R2K has always been in support of Enlightenment liberalism. R2K supports the Enlightenment project of pluralism. DVD notes the end of Christendom and doesn’t admit that what we have now is Humanism-dom. The public square is NOT common but rather is committed to advancing the Kingdom of Humanism.

C.) 24:40 Mark – Here DVD advanced the notions without qualification that governments are legitimate. Here we must take exception. While it is certainly true that some governments are legitimate it is in nowise true that all governments are legitimate. One wonders, for example, what John Knox would have said to the idea that the Queen Mary was legitimate no matter what? Keep in mind that it was Know who pointedly told Queen Mary that any monarch, regardless of gender, could be defied if they became tyrants. So much for DVD’s idea that all governments are legitimate.

D.) 26:00 Mark – Here DVD argues that governments are common. Now, keep in mind that nothing has changed in DVD’s understanding that governments by definition can NOT be Christian. So, when DVD says that governments are common he is saying that governments are a-religious. That is what common means. Governments as common in R2K speak means that they are to operate according to the universally shared Natural law and not particularly consistent with God’s revealed law. To this idea, we take strong exception. Governments are not common, if by common one means that they are not distinctly beholden to some theology and religion. There is no government that is not pinned on or descending from or a reflecting of or beholden to, or shaped by some religion or theology.

E.) 29:00 Mark – Here DVD tries to soften his idea that government is common by insisting that government is also accountable. Later he teases that out to say that Government is common but not neutral. This might sound like an advance from the 26:00 minute mark but keep in mind here when DVD says that government is not neutral what is being left unsaid is that which makes government not neutral is not Christianity but Natural law. It is Natural law that ensures that government is not neutral. However, as we have asked before, “Whose Natural Law?” The Muslim’s Natural Law? The Jew’s Natural Law? The Hindu’s Natural Law? The Christian’s Natural Law? DVD wants to suggest that Natural Law will work to make government not neutral but the fly in the ointment is that Natural Law is not a stable standard by which to adjudicate the public square. In this section he also talks briefly about the government and justice but what is justice apart from some religious / theological standard by which to measure justice?

F.) 37:00 Mark – Here DVD tries to have his proverbial cake while eating at the same time. He invokes a number of theologians who he says agrees with him on his general paradigm of the Noahic covenant as common (Voss, Kuyper, Bavinck) and then turns around and says that he is doing something that has never been done before theologically. So, at one and the same time DVD is in the grand tradition of Voss, Kuyper, Bavinck, and others while also being sui generis in his theology. It’s like saying, “I’m completely consistent with those who have gone before except when I’m not,” or, “I am a traditionalist, except when I’m innovative.” Not only does DVD give us Two Kingdoms to embrace but he also gives us two fences to straddle.

Nations & Nationalism As God’s Design Part I; The Biblical-Theological Case

In Genesis 10 we have recorded the table of Nations. Chapter 10 ends with these words:

32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, BY THEIR NATIONS; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood.

Genesis 10 is the effect of the cause that is listed in chapter 10 and is placed out of order in order to put chapters 11 and 12 in stark contrast. (Nimrod and Babel seeking to make a name for themselves and Abraham being promised by God to make a name for him.)

Clearly the emphasis in chapter 10 is the distinction of the Nations as Nations.

In chapter 11 the nations are not explicitly mentioned but given the context of chapter 10 and 11:4 which speaks of the desire to “make a name for ourselves,” as combined with the Unitarian tongue (language) and lip (worldview) it is clearly the case that Babel seeks to integrate what God had intended segregated. The sin of Babel is the attempted destruction of the nations that God had ordained by way of idolatrous uniformity. If Babel had been successful, family, tribe, clan, nation, and race would have been extinguished.

This conclusion is reinforced in Chapter 12 and the calling of Abraham. God promises to make a name for Abraham as well as promising that in Abraham “ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED.”

With this we see that God deals covenantally with Nations and that the maintenance of nations as nations is everywhere implied.

Naturally, Scripture focuses on Israel as a Nation (since it is from Israel that the savior of the Nations will arise), but there are places in the old covenant where we continue to see God’s intent for the maintenance and eventual conversion of the Nations. Of course, “Kings,” implies “Nations,” since no man is a King who is not the King of a people (i.e. – Nation). In Psalm 2 we see the intent of God to deal with nations. The Kings, as representatives of the Nations, though they conspire to throw off God — much like the men of Babel so desired – are told to “Kiss the Son,” though they perish in the way. Indeed, these nations as nations are promised as an Inheritance to the great Son spoken of in Psalm 2. That promise of the Nations as Nations as give to the Son comes to fruition as we shall see in later Revelation.

Elsewhere in Scripture, in the book of Isaiah, we continue to see God’s intent to save the nations as nations. Chapter 2:

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’S house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.

3 And many people shall go and say, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 

4 And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

And in the book of Revelation this prophecy is fulfilled. Chapter 21:

25 Its gates will never be shut at the end of the day because there will be no night there. 

26 And into the city will be brought the glory and honor of the nations.

The Dutch scholar Doctor Klaas Schilder comments on this:

The universality of this covenant requires that not one race or people be left out. Yet during the old Testament times, there was one nation singled out of the many as the chosen people, such separation was but an ad-interim. We may look upon the covenant as then a march toward fulfillment, towards times when all nations from the uttermost parts of the earth would belong to the covenant.

Calvin Seminary Professor Dr. Martin Wyngaarden was getting at much the same thing when, picking up these themes from a few chapters later in Isaiah, he wrote in his book The Future of the Kingdom in Prophecy and Fulfillment: A Study of the Scope of “Spiritualization” in Scripture (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011) on page 94:

Now the predicates of the covenant are applied in Isa. 19 to the Gentiles of the future, — “Egypt my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance,” Egypt, the people of “Jehovah of hosts,” (Isa. 19:25) is therefore also expected to live up to the covenant obligations, implied for Jehovah’s people. And Assyria comes under similar obligations and privileges. These nations are representative of the great Gentile world, to which the covenant privileges will, therefore, be extended.

And again, on pp. 101-2:

More than a dozen excellent commentaries could be mentioned that all interpret Israel as thus inclusive of Jew and Gentile, in this verse, — the Gentile adherents thus being merged with the covenant people of Israel, though each nationality remains distinct.

For, though Israel is frequently called Jehovah’s People, the work of his hands, his inheritance, yet these three epithets severally are applied not only to Israel, but also to Assyria and to Egypt: “Blessed be Egypt, my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel, mine inheritance.” 19:25.

Thus the highest description of Jehovah’s covenant people is applied to Egypt, — “my people,” — showing that the Gentiles will share the covenant blessings, not less than Israel. Yet the several nationalities are here kept distinct, even when Gentiles share, in the covenant blessing, on a level of equality with Israel. Egypt, Assyria, and Israel are not nationally merged. And the same principles, that nationalities are not obliterated, by membership in the covenant, applies, of course, also in the New Testament dispensation.

All the way through the old covenant we see that God is a Nationalist, which is to say that God intends to deal with nations as nations. There is nothing in Scripture which suggests that God desires the elimination of Nations. This being the case, we cannot help but conclude that those in the Church who desire to see the Church as the place where the Nations are eliminated have turned the Church into the Devil’s playground in order to rebuild Babel on Holy Ground.

However, we are far from done here with this Biblical Theology of Nations.

The whole account of Jonah is instructive because in Jonah we find in the OT a archetype of Christ collecting the Nations as Nations. Jonah is a Christ figure who goes to an alien people and brings to them the proclamation of judgment and salvation. Upon Ninevah’s repentance Assyria is not joined to Israel but is, at least for a period (Nahum suggests it didn’t last long) a nation with Israel that comprises “the people of God.”

Later in Acts 15 we have a kind of repeat of the conversion of Assyria as James cites Amos to confirm that the Nations are coming in unto God, as Nations, to be what Israel failed to be:

13 After they had stopped speaking,  James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me.

14 Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Nations a people for His name.

15 With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 ‘After these things I will return,
And I will rebuild the  tabernacle of David which has fallen,
And I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will restore it,

17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
And all the Nations who are called by My name,’

18 Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.

This is a key passage, not only to demonstrate that the Church has come of age and now fulfills the role of OT Israel as the singular people of God, so that OT Israel is now obsolete in terms of the necessity to join Israel in order to be numbered among the covenant people, but also to demonstrate that the Church is comprised as a confederacy of Nations, each Nation being covenanted unto God as branches in the Olive tree all with the intent of being the new Tabernacle of God. The Church has reached maturation with a plurality of Nations serving as God’s one covenant people.

Of course, this was always the intent as already noted above. In Abraham the Nations of the Earth are blessed as they themselves as Nations are grafted into the Olive Tree. The Great Commission anticipates this as Jesus commands the disciples to disciple, teach, and baptize the Nations. In the Olivet discourse (Matthew 25:31-46) Jesus speaks of judging the Nations and separating the goat Nations from the sheep nations. Jesus initially is intent on collecting the lost house of Israel, but when national Israel, in their national leadership, refuses their Messiah Jesus speaks very clearly, in John chapter 10:

16 I have other sheep (nations), which are not of this fold (Israel); I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock (Church) with one shepherd (Christ).

Our Lord Christ teaches here that the one Church will be comprised of different folds so as to form one flock. There is, as such, a “one and many” principle in the Church. The Church is one entity that is comprised of many different nations, each retaining their identity as nations though all belong to the same flock.

Consistent with the covenantal thinking we find in the Old Testament about the Nations as Nations streaming to the Mountain of the Lord, Isaiah, envisioning the eschatological end, records:

2 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.

3 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

And He will judge between the nations,
And will 
render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.

Note here that the consequence of the conversion of the nations as nations is that the Nations as Nations live at peace. Nations are existent into the Last Days and during those last postmillennial last days the Nations will stream to the Mountain of the Lord.

This is consistent with what we find in the book of Revelation where the Nations are assembled not only as Nations in the Last Days but into the very eschaton itself. Chapter 21:

22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 

23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 

24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 

25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 

26 And they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 

27 And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Note here that the Nations have not been folded into a conglomerate church so that they are indistinguishable in the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem will, consistent with Jesus’s words in John 10 quoted above, be a city that is inhabited by one fold (the Church) distinguished by many flocks (the nations).

Also note this is not a minor theme as promissory in the Old Covenant or as fulfilled in the New Covenant.

Micah speaks in the same manner as Isaiah. Chapter 4:

1 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.

2 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

3 And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.

And Revelation 22 speaks again of the Nations as Nations being present there in the New Jerusalem in the Escahton:

1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 

2 In the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Everywhere in the Scriptures we find the Nations as Nations part of God’s eschatological intent. As such it is necessary to conclude that any goal that focuses on the elimination of nations in the name of a misinterpretation of Ephesians 2 or Galatians 3 or Colossians 2 is a goal that is in contradiction to the intent of the Gospel’s intent to save the Nations as nations. To put it bluntly and without horns or teeth, a Reformed or Evangelical “Gospel,” that is intent on going all U2 and using the Church to aid and assist the bleeding of all colors into one is doing the work of anti-Christ.

As we have seen above, none of this is unique to this author. In point of fact this explanation has been the default position of Reformed theologians throughout history. Here is one such example from the most illustrious Biblical theologian in conservative Reformed history, Geerhardus Vos, exegeting a passage wherein his unexpected championing of the Nations and races lets off a classic Vossian riff. From his Dogmatic Theology:

Romans 11:17, 19, with its “branches broken off” metaphor has frequently been viewed as proof of the relativity and changeability of election, and it is pointed out that at the end of vs. 23, the Gentile Christians are threatened with being cut off in case they do not continue in the kindness of God. But wrongly. Already this image of engrafting should have restrained such an explanation. This image is nowhere and never used of the implanting of an individual Christian, into the mystical body of Christ by regeneration. Rather, it signifies the reception of a racial line or national line into the dispensation of the covenant or their exclusion from it. This reception, of course, occurs by faith in the preached word, and to that extent, with this engrafting of a race or a nation, there is also connected the implanting of individuals into the body of Christ. The cutting off, of course, occurs by unbelief; not, however, by the unbelief of person who first believed, but solely by the remaining in unbelief of those who, by virtue of their belonging to the racial line, should have believed and were reckoned as believers. So, a rejection ( = multiple rejections) of an elect race is possible, without it being connected to a reprobation of elect believers. Certainly, however, the rejection of a race or nation involves at the same time the personal reprobation of a sequence of people. Nearly all the Israelites who are born and die between the rejection of Israel as a nation and the reception of Israel at the end times appear to belong to those reprobated. And the thread of Romans 11:22 (of being broken off) is not directed to the Gentile Christians as individual believers but to them considered racially.

Clearly Vos, like Schilder, like Wyngaarden, and many many others understood and taught that Covenant theology requires us to read the texts in such a way that allows for the maintenance and integrity of the Nations as Nations. Nations do not vanish in Biblical Christianity, and to seek to drive them away in pursuit of a New World Order cosmopolitanism is to enter into the ring to fight against the design and intent of the God of the Bible.

We close by bringing to the stand French Reformed Theologian Pierre Courthial in his book, “A New Day of Small Beginnings”:

In giving the Church a mission to the nations, Jesus does not diminish the importance of the individual… At stake is the salvation, well-being, and peace of the nations, that is, societies as God would have them. The Son of God must ‘rule all nations’ (Rev. 12:5). The nations must bow down before the Lord and come to walk in His light (Rev. 15:4; 21:24). These nations, with their cultures, traditions, and religions turned away from the God of Holy Scripture, are called to be converted to a sure salvation. This conversion of a nation does not happen apart from the individual lives of faithful Christians, but precisely through the influence of such lives. Moreover, each nation’s conversion is to reflect the uniqueness of that nation.

Having considered briefly, the Biblical theological case for Nations in Part I, in Part II of this essay we will examine the ideological and philosophical roots of the counter narrative so prevalent today that the Church is supposed to be the place where the Nations as Nations go to die. We will look at the beginnings of the doctrine that God is most glorified when men extinguish their genealogical heritage and surrender their ethnicity out of love for a strange Jesus. And, space permitting, we will consider the implications of this doctrine that God intends to save the Nations as Nations.

McAtee Contra Yarhouse

One gay historian identifies four forms of homosexuality across cultures and throughout history.60

The first is age-structured homosexuality. This is seen, for example, in age-related initiation ceremonies in some societies in New Guinea.

The second form is gender-reversed homosexuality. An example of this might be the North American Indian berdache (sometimes referred to as “two spirit” suggesting both a masculine and feminine spirit reside in the individual).

The third form of homosexuality across cultures is role-specialized homosexuality. According to Herdt, an example of this can be found in the Chukchee shaman whose vision quests direct him to engage in same-sex behavior for a time.

The fourth and final form of homosexuality can be seen in the modern gay movement. What is unique about this form of homosexuality, according to Herdt, is that it is a movement made possible by “disengaging sexuality from the traditions of family, reproduction, and parenthood.” The modern gay movement became a “social and historical likelihood” based upon this separation and in a cultural context of personal, sexual self-actualization.61

This self-actualization is organized around the self-defining attribution “I am gay.” This first trajectory, then, involves locating oneself as a member of the modern gay movement.62 It entails private sexual identification as gay and typically a public sexual identity as gay. It embraces a gay identity as a normative outcome for sexual identity development among those who are attracted to the same sex. Same-sex behavior, then, is believed to be a normal and natural expression of identity, of who one is as a person.

Dr. Mark Yarhouse
A Christian Perspective on Sexual Identity

1.) Note that with the first three examples, we have put before us, third world tribal pagan people groups. This is significant because what is being advocated with the budding acceptance among Christians of sodomy is the inherent testimony that sodomy has only been historically practiced as acceptable among third world tribal pagan (i.e. – non-Christian) peoples.

2.) Note that what is not said about the “Berdache” among the North American Indians, is that this was a word attached to this phenomenon by Westerners upon witnessing this aberration as among the savages. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica,

Europeans viewed any gender variation outside of the male-female binary and any sexual practices and behaviors other than the culturally accepted relations between men and women as deviant. For them, the term berdache was one of judgment, one that condemned individuals who occupied those roles, as well as the cultures that accepted them. As colonization continued, berdache people and traditions were pushed out.”

So, our Christian Fathers witnessed this behavior and immediately labeled it as deviant and condemned it. They doubtless did so because they understood it was a behavior that was contrary to God’s revelation. However, some 400 years later we have Christians like Dr. Mark Yarhouse and countless other movers and shakers within Evangelicalism who are seeking to return the Church of Jesus Christ to a time when tribal third world non Christian people groups embraced this deviancy as a norm.

Note the Encyclopedia Britannica goes on to inform the reader,

In American Indian cultures, many nations accepted the practice of multiple sex and gender roles. According to American cultural anthropologist Serena Nanda, American Indian cultures generally did not use sexuality in their definition of gender roles.

So, like those early American Indian cultures, who were challenged with a Christianity, which rightly rejected this division of sexuality from gender roles, the modern American Church is seeking to practice, under the tutelage of the leadership of their clergy corps, a 17th century third world pagan American Indian ethic.

3.) Now turn your attention to the only sodomy that has arisen in the context of 1st world Christian civilization. That sodomy is a sodomy that has arisen by the very reality that Christianity has undergone declension. This is seen in the fact that, historically speaking, this newer version of sodomy has arisen in the context of the breakdown of the American family – a breakdown that can only be accounted for by the removal of Christianity and its ethos from the chief governing structure of Christianity; to wit, the Trustee family. We are explicitly told by Herdt that the modern sodomite movement is to be explained by, “disengaging sexuality from the traditions of family, reproduction, and parenthood.” In other words the modern sodomite movement in the West could not have expanded without the corollary contracting of muscular Christianity. Those traditions of “family, reproduction, and parenthood,” were traditions that existed upon and descended from a Christian world and life view. We have been pulling out the strands of that Weltanschauung and the consequence has been the breathing into life of normalization of institutional sodomy – and that in the Church. The family has become almost completely atomized and the result is the sovereign self-actualized and autonomous individual practicing the perfect ethic of anti-Christian and anti-community behavior.

From the Mailbag; Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Western Worship Has Got To Go

Dear Pastor,

“I was told in a theology of ministry course that I am taking as an elective that the church in its worship should not be attached to western European models.”

Can you tell me what was heretical about what I said happened in my theology of ministry course?

Thanks in advance,

Confused in Bible College

Dear Confused,

1.) It is impossible to not have some culture influence our worship. As Western Man has been saturated with Christian worship for over 1000 years and as Western men are the ones who have dedicated the most time to thinking about what Biblical worship looks like I think it is reasonable for Western men to continue worshiping in Western Christian categories.

2.) If it will not be Western man who will it be? The juju syncretism of the Philippines and Mexico? The Haitian Witch Doctor culture in the Church? Certainly your Prof can’t be so stupid as to think there is worship from nowhere. Well, if culture is going to affect our worship which culture has been most shaped by Biblical categories?

3.) If non-Westerners want to worship according to their culture then let them build their own churches and offer strange fire to the Lord.

4.) In all this we must remember that theology is that which determines culture. So… it is not just a matter of culture influencing worship. It is a matter of theology influencing worship. Why not follow a culture which has been shaped by Christian theology?

5.) In the end he’s just saying, once again, that all cultures are equal and no culture should have pride of place.

6.) Enjoy with me the irony of this chap teaching this while your sitting in your very Western classroom, reading very Western books, under the tutelage of a man trained himself in the Western system in a college that would never exist had it not been for the creation, by the West, of the University system.