“The political passivism implicit in Machen’s understanding of the church, however, must not be rendered a justification for Christian escapism (something charged against the Lutheran doctrine of the two kingdoms also). Machen himself was active in politics precisely because he knew the church should not be. Christians who look to the church to engage in political reforms invariably fail to explore other means by which they as citizens, along with believers and nonbelievers, may engage in the political process. In other words, to say the church has no responsibility for politics is very different from describing what duties Christians themselves have as citizens and neighbors. As they are called, Christians have a duty to seek the welfare of the city (Jer. 29:7). What Machen’s example teaches is that Christians have no right to expect the church as a corporate body to seek the city’s welfare other than through the spiritual means of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.”
D. G. Hart
The Difference Between Christians & The Church
Modern Reformation — 2004
Dr. D. G. Hart is another gentleman who is a carrier of the R2Kt virus. Dr. Hart has written a whole book on the subject entitled, “A Secular Faith: Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State.”
Like D. R. Scott Clark, Dr. D. G. Hart is a intelligent man until he gets on this subject. I have read several of his books with great profit, just as I have read several articles by Dr. R. Scott Clark with profit. However, all that is beneficent in what they write is largely negated by their work on this subject.
Take Hart’s quote above. In the quote he notes that individual Christians can work and proclaim in the “common realm” while the Church cannot. Having pointed this out before the problem with this is that it results in a “each man doing what is right in his own eyes.”
Let’s take the last time this approach was pursued on a large scale in 1930’s Germany. According to Hart’s theory individual Christians should have spoken out against National Socialism. The problem here though is that Hart’s theory also countenances individual Christians speaking out in favor of National Socialism or Communism or any number of other Biblically judged aberrant systems. In Hart’s theory there is no place that any individual Christian can hear an authoritative “Thus Saith The Lord,” since the Scriptures don’t speak to these kinds of issues and so each individual Christian is free to do what is right in their own eyes. And so, in a conversation touching the 1930’s Hart, Clark and other R2Kt infected people, even now, if they are consistent, cannot say it was wrong, according to God’s Word, for individual Christians to support National Socialism or Communism in post WWI Germany. They might be able to say that as individual Christians they believe it was wrong, but if another individual Christian came along and said it was right it would remain a matter or “just two opinions,” since God’s word doesn’t speak to these kind of issues.
Now R2Kt types will appeal to the wisdom of Natural Law to serve as an arbiter on the kinds of issues that the Church can’t speak to but as we’ve said before Natural Law is invoked by everybody for everything. Without looking I’d be willing to bet that even some National Socialist theorist in the 1930’s invoked Natural Law to support the Nationalist Socialist regime in 1930’s Germany.
If the R2Kt virus becomes epidemic its hard to guess what the toll will be on the Church and on the culture.