Natural Law And Cultural Engagement

But apologetic confrontation with unbelieving thought is not the only kind of interaction that Christians have with unbelievers. Christians are called not only to break down every pretension that sets itself up against Christ (2 Cor. 10:5) but also to live lives in common with unbelievers in a range of cultural activities. Christians may and even should make music, build bridges, do medical research, and play baseball with unbelievers. Believers are called to live in peace with all men as far as it lies with them (Rom. 12:18), to pray for the peace of the (mostly pagan) city in which they live (Jer. 29:7; 1 Tim. 2:1-2), and to interact in the world with people whom they would not admit to membership in the church (1 Cor. 5:9-11). There is a place for a believing musician to explain to an unbelieving musician that music is meaningless unless the triune God exists, but when they are rehearsing together in the community orchestra such a Van Tillian apologetic confrontation would be highly inappropriate—the task at that time is cooperation at a common cultural task. The same thing is true in regard to working on a construction site with non-Christians or grilling burgers with an unbelieving friend at a neighborhood cook-out or thousands of other ordinary endeavors. To try to put it briefly, we have different sorts of encounters with unbelievers at different times. Sometimes we have opportunity to engage in apologetic discussions, in which our modus operandi is confrontation and exposure of the futility of unbelief (though always in love). Other times (and probably most of the time for the ordinary Christian who is not a professional apologist) we have common tasks in which to engage alongside unbelievers, in which our modus operandi is trying to find agreement and consensus so that shared cultural tasks can be accomplished as well as possible in a sinful world.

Dr. David VanDrunen

Here VD offers as an appeal to Natural law the fact that it provides a means by which Christians and non-Christians can live their lives together. I’m not sure I understand how this serves as an argument for Natural law given that Christians who believe that Biblical law is to be the standard still manage to successfully engage in the kind of activities that VD mentions without embracing Natural law. Biblical law Christians understand that there is a time and a place for playing one’s flute in the local symphonic band and for invoking the law of anti-thesis when discussing how music has genuine meaning only if one presupposes the God of the Bible. I am not sure how believing in Natural law helps one to co-operate in common cultural task over and above believing that Biblical law helps one to co-operate in the common cultural task. Christians need to be salt and light and they cannot be salt and light unless they are positioned in places that are putrid and dark.

There is something else though that we need to mention here. The agenda of Westminster West teaches that the Scriptures do not speak to Musicology, Bridge building, Medical research, or playing baseball. According to the radical two Kingdomists the anti-thesis doesn’t exist in these areas and as such it is not possible to take captive thoughts in these areas to make them obedient to Christ because Christ doesn’t give biblically revealed thoughts on these disciplines. I am not sure that according to radical two Kingdomists that it is true that music doesn’t make sense apart the reality of the Triune God since the Scriptures are not about music.

As to VD’s statement that, ‘Christian modus operandi (must) try to find agreement and consensus so that shared cultural tasks can be accomplished as well as possible in a sinful world,’ we must emphasize that the agreement and consensus that we can find is only where the non-Christian is being inconsistent with their otherwise God hating Worldview. In other words, the fact that we can play beautiful music together with non-Christians in a local symphonic band is because the non-Christians, being gifted with common grace, have not yet worked out their God hating convictions to their inevitable conclusions. It is at least an open question if it would be biblically right, before God, to play in a symphonic band that was committed to preforming pieces and concerts that were dedicated in communicating that music was meaningless, just as it would be disobedience before God to support an art gallery that was committed to anti-art or stocked with works like Andrew Serrano’s Piss Christ.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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