begin to take your name in vain.
Make sure and read the comments.
begin to take your name in vain.
Make sure and read the comments.
This conversation may be getting old to some. If it is just ignore it. Still, I think it provides the advantage of really teasing out the differences between radical two Kingdom Theology and Biblical Theology. It is interesting, that according to John Witte, in a recent book that he has put out chronicles that the young Calvin embraced Luther’s two Kingdom theology but, Witte points out, as Calvin matured he increasingly moved away from Luther’s Two Kingdom Theology.
It is essential to keep in mind as we examine this that since Two Kingdom Theology hold that only people are Christians that applying the appellation ‘Christian’ to anything else is an absurdity. Therefore they reject the idea of ‘Christian Family,’ ‘Christian Schools,’ ‘Christian Scholarship,’ ‘Christian Law,’ and ‘Christian Culture.’ Now while we agree that the term ‘Christian’ should apply primarily to individuals we think it obscene to suggest that God’s word doesn’t speak to how to establish Christian families, schools, scholarship, law culture, and any number of other areas. What the Two Kingdom types want God’s people to apply to these areas is not God’s Redemptive Word as found in Scripture but rather God’s Creative Word as found in Natural Law. So Natural law holds sway in where we do all our non-spiritual living and God’s Redemptive word holds sway in the Church where we do our spiritual living.
Below I have created by latest conversation with Sean and Zrim. The italicized parts I included from a previous post because they help the conversation make sense. The blockquote is the most recent and input from Sean or Zrim and the non intalicized non blockquote sections are my responses.
I agree that Romans 1 and 2 can’t be made to contradict one another and I haven’t appealed to it as such, i’ve referenced it in just the way Paul makes use of it, to acknowledge commonality with the Gentile(when the gentile does…..). I fear you confuse sin with crime.
It’s true that the there is commonality with those who do not have the law. There is commonality but not neutrality. I fear you confuse the two. The commanality that exists between the two is denied by those who do not have the law, choosing instead to insist that the common ground that belongs to God is in fact their ground that belongs to them and their deity. I do not confuse sin w/ crime but I do recognize that sin often leads to crime. In order to say anymore about that you’ll have to develop just how I am confusing the two.
“Including when it deifies the belief that no god should be the god of the public square. All tribes are equally particular in their civil application of their beliefs about God. (i.e. — Humanismdom, Islamdom, Christendom, Pluralismdom etc.). All cultures have a sense of the ‘taboo’ thus revealing that their culture is an expression of the cultic religious system.”
They all reflect a commonality in that they reflect however imperfectly the imago dei. Again sin and crime needs to be distinguished.
They all don’t reflect equally, however imperfectly, the imago dei. You have just made the multiculturalists argument that all culturals are equal, which is what I would expect a R2Kt pluralist to make. Christian culture (wherever it might exist) does indeed imperfectly reflect the imago dei, just as fallen individuals who have been redeemed imperfectly reflect the imago die, but because it has been Redeemed it is far superior and to be preferred above all other imperfect reflections of the imago dei.
”All culture are organized cultically. The attempt to have a non-cultic culture would result in a cultic culture that is an expression of the non-cultic cult.”
Not in a culture that rightly distinguished common from holy, sacred from secular. In that instance it is not a deifying of the common but rightly distinguishing cult from culture and insisting that cultural and cultic institutions rightly adhere to their respective bounds.
Did it ever occur to you that cult and culture, sharing a root word, are intimately bound up with one another? Certainly one can distinguish between the two but to divorce and compartmentalize between the two such as you are doing is utter nonsense. In a culture that rightly distinguished common from holy, sacred from secular, that ability to distinguish would be a testimony that such a culture that does make such distinguishing is a Holy culture. It is the set apart culture because it is operating the way that God wants it to. It is the culture to be preferred above all other cultures. It is the Holy culture because it makes distinctions between Holy and Secular. It is the sacred culture because it is the true culture. You haven’t avoided what you so desperately want to avoid. All cultures are organized cultically.
“I am confident that disobedience to the State when it positions itself as God in significant non-cultic realms (like deciding some people group are sub-human and are to be liquidated) is biblical reason for obedience to God rather then men.”
I overstated with the “only”, unintended, I have no objection to overcoming certain tyrannical acts, particularly when those acts emanate from a state who is using forcible coercion to apply it’s cultic distinctions(identity movement, naziism) (regard of other ethnicities as sub-human, diminishing the imago dei). This is simply upholding the distinction between common and holy and affirming the imago dei.
Ah, so now, in your non-cultic culture any behavior that that you deem cultic by what is non-cultic is ok. Et Tu Brutus? That is a major inconsistency on your part. Anything that I would advocate the State do to not do would likewise simply be affirming the imago dei and an avoidance of diminishing the imago die. In the end you’re position is not any different then mine. The only difference is that you are willing for a culture to defy God up to a later point then I am. I draw lines way before when they start putting yellow stars on people and you don’t start drawing lines until they actually are putting them in the ovens.
“There is a Theocratic city to come but we must not under-realize our eschatology and forget that there is a Theocratic city that is now. Christ has come. Christ brought His Kingdom. Christ bound the Strong man. The Theocratic city now rules. Our living and advocacy in every area of life should reflect hegemony of our Theocratic King.”
Well, this is an obvious confusion of kingdoms, and the defining of the kingdom as something other than spiritual in this age, it’s a misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom ala “jewish dreams”, and an example of overrealized eschatology.(christendom)
And here we begin to see your gnostic theology. In your view any aspect that belongs to Christ’s Kingdom cannot be corporeal since Christ’s Kingdom is by definition incorporeal that is to say Spiritual. Christ has brought a Spiritual salvation and that salvation does not apply to things you perceive to be non-Spiritual. Does Christ bring Salvation to our Political structures? ‘No’, you say because they are not Spiritual. Does Christ bring salvation to our economic relationships? ‘No,’ you say because they are not Spiritual. Does Christ bring Salvation to our Families? ‘No,’ you say because they are not Spiritual. Does Christ bring salvation to our understanding of the World as conveyed in Schools? ‘No,’ you say because they are not Spiritual. This is nothing but gnosticism.
“By being obedient to Him in every area. By not only praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ but also by realizing that with the ongoing coming of His already present Kingdom opposing Kingdoms must crumble. By resolving that when appropriate they must obey God rather then man. By being willing to endure a theology of the Cross as a result of the opposition to pursuing the glory of God in every area of life.”
Not sure we disagree here, depends if you have in mind a golden age in which cultural institutions this side of the second advent are undergoing reclamation. In that case you’ve violated your theology of the cross.
I do have in mind a Triumphant age in which cultural institutions this side of the second advent submit to Christ’s always present Lordship. And I would contend it is only post-millennialists who have a theology of the cross because it is only post-millennialists that the enemies of Christ would bother to persecute for the Kingdoms sake. It’s easy to talk about a Theology of the Cross when you don’t do anything that would make anybody want to persecute you.
It is interesting that W2K views, in the context of Reformed confessionalism, are often called “Gnostic” or “Fundamentalist” or “Dispensational,” at least to me. I deliberately rejected broad Evangelicalism years ago on the same sorts of grounds. What I find similar to broad Evangelicalism (indeed, most western religion) and the principles of theonomy/transformationalism is that heaven implies earth, that the gospel itself has a direct bearing on and obvious implication for earth, that the eternal and temporal are not really all that distinct. (What’s this mean for something like the Creator/creature distinction?) But if everything is sacred then nothing is.
This is an important observation and it is why I insist that while everything is Holy there must remain a ‘Holy of the Holy’ in the administering of Word and Sacrament. In just such a way your last sentence loses its force. I agree that the eternal and the temporal are distinct. I don’t agree that the eternal and the temporal are divorced and compartmentalized as if heaven and earth have nothing to do with each other. In the end I think there are two dangers to avoid. One danger is conflating the two so that they are indistinguishable. This is the danger that I believe the Church embraced in the Medieval ages. The other danger is divorcing the two so that they are isolated from one another. This was the danger of the Ana-Baptists and frankly it is the danger of the R2Kt people. Only in Reformed thinking was heaven and earth reconciled so that they neither became completely identified with one another on one hand nor were completely divorced from each other on the other hand.
This is why I say that consistent theonomy seems necessarily to have to be co-belligerent with something like the religious right, which is itself simply the conservative version of modern Liberalism; I am not sure why some theonomists, like the ones here, reject the RR. Like I said, I have spoken with theonomists who seem to understand this and readily admit co-belligerancy. It’s also why I think very often in Federal Vision you find deep roots in theonomy and postmill’ism—it seems consistent with the idea of monocovenantalism or the collapsing of kingdoms and covenants.
I reject the christian right because it is not particularly Christian nor definitively ‘right.’ It is, as you say, just a ‘conservative’ version of modern liberalism. Now, there may be some issues with which I will share a co-belligerancy but that is a far different thing then accepting the Christian Right. Shoot, on the right issue Zrim I would even be co-belligerent with you.
And just so I don’t get tarred with that broad brush you’re swinging, I reject the Federal Vision project as it pertains to justification. I’m still working my way through the bi vs. mono issue, but your comment there was insightful and has set me to thinking about some connections.
Actually Rom 2 argues for a common value system amongst all peoples(reflection of the imago dei).
And Romans 1 argues that the common value system is suppressed in unrighteousness among the peoples who changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made by man. You cannot appeal to Romans 2 in such a way that it contradicts Romans 1.
The error occurs not in that a culture reflects what people think about God, The problem occurs when a group/tribe becomes too particular(read cultic) in it’s civil application of their beliefs about their God.(i.e. christendom, emperor’s cult, islamists, theocrats of any particular stripe) or when it deifies it’s political beliefs or leaders.
Including when it deifies the belief that no god should be the god of the public square. All tribes are equally particular in their civil application of their beliefs about God. (i.e. — Humanismdom, Islamdom, Christendom, Pluralismdom etc.). All cultures have a sense of the ‘taboo’ thus revealing that their culture is an expression of the cultic religious system. All culture are organized cultically. The attempt to have a non-cultic culture would result in a cultic culture that is an expression of the non-cultic cult.
We can’t build a common realm that is sanitized of the gods. but God did ,build a common realm that is sanitized of the gods. we just struggle with confusing what God did with what we want(see Babel).
That is just an assertion. I see nowhere in Scripture where God commands a common realm that is sanitized of all the gods including himself. If such a realm existed who would make sure that the realm stayed sanitized? Wouldn’t that entity that was in charge of making sure the non god realm remained sanitized of the gods then become the God of the realm policing the other gods from going to far? Certainly it would, and further it would become a cultic expression which in turn would create a culture.
Of course this would be called pluralism which is a culture in defiance of the the One King Jesus who is over all.
“We must oppose the adherents of other systems pressing for the advance of their gods in the putatively common realm and push for secularism in culture.
And behold, Secularism becomes the cult which creates the culture.
And of course since Secularism is a no thing it will be defined by as Secularism by those religious adherents who are smart enough to realize that they can’t get their cult in by its proper name and so they will push it under the name of ‘secularism.’ This is what Humanism, with such genius, has done incrementally in this country for generations.
Hmm, actually the God of scripture takes credit for and exhorts obedience toward that state. In fact the only time that gets real thorny for the christian is when the state gets cultic in a particular manner (emperor’s cult)
Actually the God of Scripture often commends those who rise up against tyranny. We must read all the Scriptures and not simply wrench Romans 13 out of context of the whole of Scripture. If you want to some good reads on this I would advise Rutherford’s ‘Lex Rex,’ or Vindcae Contra Tyrannos, or George Buchanan’s De Jure Regni Apud Scotos’ for starters.
I am confident that disobedience to the State when it positions itself as God in significant non-cultic realms (like deciding some people group are sub-human and are to be liquidated) is biblical reason for obedience to God rather then men.
Well, it seems i’m not the only one susceptible to assertions, or ideology that trumps, in this case, Rom 13.
Not only are you the only one susceptible to assertions, and ideology that trumps reality, but in this case you are the only one who is significantly mishandling Romans 13.
And I thought God handled Babel quite well.
Absolutely! Just like in using Ehud he overthrew the Tyrant quite well as well. See these other links for posts on Christians resistance.
God can work directly in overthrowing tyrants as He did at Babel or He can work indirectly in overthrowing tyrants as he did with Ehud and others. Why even, John The Baptist got involved in the non-cultic realm when he chastened Herod for his adultery. Apparently John the Baptist wasn’t infected with R2Kt virus.
But don’t you see, you certainly assert it, the spirit of the age is cultic, it seeks to take the common and make it holy, the secular and make it sacred, in service of which cult is of no import. What is worldly activity if not the absentmindedness of another city? a heavenly city where there is one who renders ultimate judgement. The spirit of this age imbibes of this age as if there were no other. It’s not that their isn’t or wont be a theocratic city, it’s just that it isn’t rightly exercised in this age outside of the word preached and the sacraments rightly administered.
Christ is Lord over all and as such when all is handled as unto Him all is Holy. Now, I still quite insist that there remains a ‘Holy of the Holy’ as it were, located in the cult proper (Word and Sacrament) but as God’s people bring to bear the authority of Christ over all that Christ has dominion over all is Holy unto Him. You would divorce sacred from putatively secular by compartmentalizing between the two and yet even those who are at the height of secularity, must kiss the Son lest He be angry and they perish in the way.
The Spirit of this age tries to pretend that the age to come isn’t impinging upon the Spirit of this age and that the Spirit of this age is doomed for the full realization of the defeat it has already suffered in principle. The Spirit of the age does all it can to deny the real impact that the age to come has upon what it once called its domain, and it raises up people even within the Church to defend its existence.
There is a Theocratic city to come but we must not under-realize our eschatology and forget that there is a Theocratic city that is now. Christ has come. Christ brought His Kingdom. Christ bound the Strong man. The Theocratic city now rules. Our living and advocacy in every area of life should reflect hegemony of our Theocratic King.
By believing in Him who He sent, and living their lives quietly, working with their hands, and being obedient to those in authority over them.
By being obedient to Him in every area. By not only praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ but also by realizing that with the ongoing coming of His already present Kingdom opposing Kingdoms must crumble. By resolving that when appropriate they must obey God rather then man. By being willing to endure a theology of the Cross as a result of the opposition to pursuing the glory of God in every area of life — even when those inflicting the persecution are fellow Christians.
More assertion, although I’ll agree that their is no legitimate cultic city this side of glory except as it exists spiritually and in tension within the redeemed community.
Not an assertion. Show me one organized culture in history that has been neutral.
Well, if there is a religious agenda attached/implied in the educational system it does not therefore establish an argument for a christian theistic system but rather an argument against any kind of cultic religious system.
Culture is ALWAYS a reflection of the cultic religious system of any society. You cannot have culture without cultic religious systems. Culture always descends from what a people think about God. Hence, cultic religious systems are inescapable categories that cannot be avoided. You cannot build a common realm that is sanitized of the gods. Christians may disobediently decide to hold Christ’s Lordship in abeyance in the common realm but that does not mean that the adherents of other systems will not press for the advance of their gods in the putatively common realm. The idea that there exists a realm that is not beholden to and derivative of some god or god concept wherein his or its adherents do not incarnate their worship as a substance called culture is the very pinnacle of foolishness. Indeed the pluralistic culture that those who hold to such a ‘idea’ want to see built would be a self-defeating testimony to their own attempt to build a non-cultic culture, as the State would have to play God among the gods to make sure that all of the gods kept their place.
The argument that humanistic secularism qualifies as an religious worldview doesn’t work. The existence of Hindu, Islamic, et al cultic transformative religious theocracies is simply another argument against any cultic theocratic society this side of glory.
Asserting that humanism doesn’t qualify as a religious worldview is just an assertion. With the God as the State implementing positivistic notions of law while hiring priests (teachers) to catechize the youth in Government Churches (schools) and providing the sacrament of social security # as a counterpart to Baptism where a child is united with ‘God’ and voting as a counterpart to communion where the participant is united to God by way of a ritual act, Humanism certainly qualifies as a worldview. Any contention that it doesn’t is just a case where ideology trumps reality.
The bigger question is this; if God created/recreated the “city” outside of Eden (the judicial mandate against Cain but limiting retributive justice) or the recreation of the world post noahic deluge. Is not the non-cultic city good?
The non-cultic city didn’t look so non-cultic at Babel.
Scripture teaches that Satan is the God of this world which I understand to mean that Satan is God of the present wicked age that is in opposition to the age to come which Christ has brought. If Satan is God of this present wicked age then clearly this present wicked age, having a god (which is no god) is a cultic city that stands in opposition to the age to come that Christ has brought with its own cultic character. Christ has in principle destroyed this present wicked age and His people live out that victory in obedience to His Kingship.
To say that there is a non-cultic city is to say that there is a realm where neutrality obtains. Not true.
It may not be holy, but it is established and bound(beginning and end) by God Himself(or was God just providing the “church” an antogonist?). And if it(the city) is God’s and therefore good, who are the transformationalists and theonomists really at odds with?
If this present wicked age is to be overcome by the age to come which has already, in principle overcome it, then who are the R2Kt virus people really at odds with?
And the Apostles get martyred…hmmm. Does a transformed society really string up those to whom they owe all this wonder?
One doesn’t get to transformed without going through transforming Zrim my friend. So, yes, on the way to transformed people may very possibly get ‘strung up.’ It’s the postmillennialists, because of their advocacy of Christ’s Lordship who are persecuted for the Kingdom. I’m never quite sure why anybody would want to persecute an a-mill person unless they somehow were mistaken for being post-mill — I mean, why would anybody find an a-mill believer to be threatening enough to want to persecute?
Does your prebytery know you are really a Methodist?
Does your Session know you are really a cultural relativist?
Seriously, theonomy (hard and soft) is the propserity gospel of statecraft. “Transformation” is the power-word of the spirit of this age: transform your inner-being, your society, your relationships, your health, etc. There are just so many versions of “health and wealth.”
Seriously, Radical two Kingdom theology is the cultural anti-nomianism of the Church. R2Kt is the means by which a-millennialism thinks it can achieve self-fulfilled prophecy. “If we don’t engage the culture, then it will get worse and worse and that will force Jesus to come back.”
Oh, and by the way, it was the Holy Spirit who used your, so called, ‘power word of this age.’ “Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Guess the Holy Spirit should have checked with you R2Kt guys before inspiring that word.
You should get your own show on Christian TV.
Will you be my Vanna and turn the pretty letters?
R. Scott Clark asks,
Why should Christians engage the culture? Because it’s a creational law. We were commanded to name things. We are commanded to steward creation.
And what does Redemption accomplish except to Redeem ALL of Creation? Now if Redemption has that effect on Creation by what standard will creation, upon redemption, live if not from God’s revealed word?
This is why Theonomy is just like Barthianism. Neither one of you folks believe in nature. You’re both quasi-gnostic. It’s no surprise that both groups have trouble with the covenant of works and you end up confusing law and gospel. Barth did. You guys do it regularly. You’re both making fundamental theological mistakes.
This is nothing but a series of unsubstantiated assertions. You’d think a Ph.D. at one of the flagship Reformed Seminary’s in America could do better then making unsubstantiated assertions.
First, Barthianism holds that God is so other — so Transcendent — that his Word doesn’t really have meaning unless one has some kind of mystical encounter with the Word. How Bob can associate that with an expression of basic Christianity that holds that all should be governed by God’s revealed Word just reveals how desperate Bob is to do guilt by association.
The fact of the matter is that it is R2Kt that is quasi gnostic. God is concerned about the Spiritual realm of the Church but He is, at best, only indirectly concerned with the ‘yucky material realm.’
Bob is making the fundamental hermeneutical mistake of gnostically divorcing Redemption from Creation. God likes matter Bob — he made it and he has determined to Redeem it. According to Bob’s hermeneutic the Old and Worst covenant found God more engaged with the Creation realm then he is in the new and better covenant. In the Old Covenant God was concerned with gross ceational things like laws, and parameters for magistrates, and just weights and measures. However in the new and improved covenant God is glad to be done with the yucky material creational realm.
Great hermeneutic Bob.
The pattern for our life in this world is not Israel. They were the pattern for the CHURCH not for civil life. The USA isn’t Israel. No civil entity is Israel. That’s the point of WCF 19. That’s why we confess “general equity” and not “the abiding validity….etc”
And you know as well as I do that there is a raging debate over just what ‘general equity’ means. Clearly Israel was a pattern for the Kingdom, which has the Church at its center but the Kingdom includes every area over which Jesus reigns.