Herbert Goforth Marcuse,
Keep in mind that I am not opposed to two Kingdom theology. I am opposed to radical two Kingdom Theology. Princeton certainly was two Kingdom (as am I) but they certainly were not, in any shape way or form, radical two Kingdom. For pete’s sake Herbert, much of Princeton was post-millennialist. You can’t be post-millennialist and be radical two Kingdom theology.
The idea that there is no neutrality is something I got from Jesus who said, “He who does not gather with me, scatters” and “You can not serve two masters” (he didn’t mention that it was possible to be neutral and so serve no masters). There is no such thing as neutrality Herbert … no such thing in any realm or sphere. One cannot go to the ‘common realm’ and think that in the common realm positions will be pursued and ideology developed (which is the animating catalyst for those positions) that is not beholden to some God or some Theology. Culture is not neutral, never pluralistic, and is always the public declaration of a peoples cultus and theology. This is why we can speak of ‘Christian Culture,’ ‘Hindu Culture,’ Muslim Culture, or even Balkanized culture (synonymous with R2Kt culture). Indeed, even the position that culture is neutral, that it should be pluralistic, and is not the public declaration of a ethnos’ cultus and theology is a declaration of that people’s cultus and theology — and it is a declaration of a cultus and theology that is not Biblical. When you attempt to pluralize the public square Herbert (something that can never be achieved for very long without brute force — think Tito’s Yugoslavia or Stalin’s Soviet Union) the consequence is that there must be a god that arises that serves as the god of the gods. This god is THE god in the culture and it makes rulings on how far the other gods can and cannot go in the public square. This god in the radical two kingdom virus theology is the State. This theology most assuredly cannot be rescued by ‘natural theology’ if only because in order for ‘natural theology’ to work you must have a homogeneous people who are sin bent in the same direction and so agree on what natural theology reveals. And yet, it is this very homogenization that radical two Kingdom theology is against as it argues mightily for the pluralization of the public square. Herbert, lift your eyes and look at the horizon. Natural law is being used to condone homosexual marriage. Natural law will not get us out of the morass that our culture is in, for by appealing to natural law theory every man will be well grounded to explain that what is right in his own eye is indeed supported by Natural law. And this is because, Herbert, those who advocate natural law theory don’t really believe that those who are receiving the natural law revelation are suppressing it and making a false version of it to support their own sin perversion.
Just this week, at a book sale, I was leafing through a recently released volume on Natural law from one of those chaps at the Acton Institute. In his book I noticed that he cited all kinds of churchmen (Rutherford, Althusius, etc.) who used Natural law. Such citations, given as proof for why we need to return to natural law theory, don’t really hold water for the men they cite were writing and working in an epoch and time dominated by a thing called Christendom. This is important for it explains why their works were able to be received by Europe and by their countrymen. They were received and accepted because there existed a certain homogeneity that Christendom had created. Take their works and arguments and put them in a pagan and non-Christian environment and they would be just laughed at. Natural law theory doesn’t take the noetic effects of sin seriously Herbert.
Herbert, you wrote something in your letter I wanted to quote directly because I find it so interesting,
It is your mockery of Christians, and not just nominal Christians — but the keepers of the “old Princeton” theology, the keepers of Reformed theology in America (that I find so objectionable). You actually make a mockery and a caricature of yourself by attacking them so harshly. And you contribute to the caricature that “feminists and homosexuals” have of Christians, by simply being another Jerry Falwell, pointing the finger and saying “Listen, America,” and America “listened” and now we have George Bush, the stupidest president in history. And you give them the spectacle of Christians killing other Christians in the public forum.
First, I hope that I have cleared up for you that ‘Old Princeton’ certainly was not infected with the R2kt virus. Now, neither do I claim ‘Old Princeton’ for my position but the post-millennial strain that you can find in the likes of Warfield, Archibald Alexander, J. A. Alexander, and the Hodges bodes better for my theology then it does for the R2kt.
Second, as I have mocked with equal gusto the moral majority and the Falwells of the world as I have the R2kt gang I hardly think your charge hits home.
Thirdly, as I think it is a disastrous thing for the R2kt gang to be speaking for Christians in the public square, on this particular issue I hardly worry about the spectacle of my exposing the lack in their reasoning for all to see. If I am really the embarrassment that you claim me to be I shouldn’t think you should be to worried about my effectiveness, though I am humbled by your concern for my reputation.
Fourth, are you suggesting that the way to win God’s enemies is by them seeing how reasonable we are? What standard shall we use in order to determine what is reasonable Herbert? Allow me to suggest that Homosexuals and feminists will only find Christians to be ‘reasonable’ when Christians quit holding that such ideology and lifestyle is sin in the same way that Jews and Muslims will only find Christianity reasonable when we quite insisting that Jesus is the divine Son of God who is the Messiah. There is nobody alive Herbert that wants to be liked more then me but I just can’t sacrifice fidelity to Christ in exchange for being seen as reasonable by homosexuals and feminists.
Fifth, we might be in agreement about the ‘stupidest President in history.’ Still, you have to keep in mind that I was saying that 8 long years ago.
You close by noting that ‘I really should trust that God can save his world, with or without my help.’ I thank you for that reminder. Now, allow me to sign off with a reminder to you. While it is the case that God can save His already saved world with or without my help it is also the case that, for reasons that are quite beyond my ability to fathom, He has condescended to involve His people in His ongoing work of saving His saved world. For His people to retreat in this work because, “God can save His world, with or without them” has a gnostic whiff about it.
You might want to beware of that whiff Herbert.
Thanks for your friendship and your love for me that impels you to warn me of my failures.
4 thoughts on “A Open Response To HGM — RtKt”
What of the name, “Herbert Goforth Marcuse”?
Can you comment on its significance?
Herbert Marcuse was a cultural Marxist who believed that the public square should be stripped of Christianity. I added ‘Goforth’ to give it a missionary flavor.
Thanks for stopping by John,
I am so appalled – that you went to a book sale without me.
It was held at Calvin and was selling recent releases for 40-50% off.
I picked up
Bavinck’s IV volume of Dogmatic Theology
Lying; An Augustinian Theology Of Duplicity — Paul J. Griffiths
The Gospel In A Pluralist Society — Leslie Newbigin
Panentheism; The Other God Of The Philosopher — John Cooper
Conceiving Parenthood; American Protestantism & the Spirit of Reproduction — Amy Hall
Christ & Culture Revisited — D. A. Carson
Now to actually get them all read.
I did read this week,
The Atheism Of The Early Church — R. J. Rushdoony
Jesus & Israel — One Covenant Or Two? — David Holwerda
Both excellent reads