From Chit Chat to Conversation — Dr. Darryl & Pastor Bret

Mr. Bret,

I’m not sure what you should expect from a church other than to preach the word of God. If you can find a text to oppose historicism or taxation, then I suppose you can preach it or argue with your minister about preaching it. Since you seem to have connections to MARS, I wonder how the Dutch-American faculty there feel about socialism back in the old country. In fact, it is curious to me that European evangelicals are far more comfortable with big government than American evangelicals are (consider the lefty at WTS, Carl Trueman). Could it be that the biblical warrant against a big government is not as clear as you think?

I’d also recommend that you spend some time with J. Gresham Machen on politics and faith, just to see someone who generally enjoys good press among Reformed types but whose politics might be a tad different from yours.

But in the end, I don’t know how you can live with yourself living in this land where bad theology haunts every corner. Shouldn’t you move somewhere for pyschological relief?

Mr. Darryl,

First, I have absolutely positively no connection to MARS beyond thinking it a decent Seminary. I have no idea what they at MARS think about socialism in the old country, though I think it might explain a good deal how, in about a century, the Netherlands went from Kuyper as Prime Minister to where they are now. Presuppositions matter and bad ideas have consequences.

Second, I am glad that you concede that “if you can find a text … than I suppose you can preach it.” Now is that a first class conditional “if” or some other kind of “if”? As someone who has been around the Scriptures much of your life you certainly have an opinion on whether or not such texts exist.

Third, as whether constrained government is a Scripturally warranted as I might think, instead of getting into a long and extended explanation here I will refer those interested to Charles McCoy’s “Fountainhead Of Federalism,” or John Witte’s The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism, or Lex Rex by Rutherford or something similar. Unlike big government types like Carl Truman Calvinism has a long history of finding texts that warrant teaching that government should be constrained and shouldn’t be allowed to take up prerogatives of God.

Certainly a text against Centralized government that takes up the prerogatives of God and seeks to be God walking on the earth would be “Thou Shalt have no other gods before me.”

Ever wonder if the fact that there remain so few European Evangelicals is explained by the fact that they are comfortable with socialism?

I’ll make a deal with you Darryl. I’ll work on finding psychological relief if you’ll work on finding something that will give you psychological turmoil.

Still, in the end, I find my relief in a Sovereign God who is sustaining and governing all that comes to pass and who does all things well. Since that remains true everywhere why would I have to move to find some psychological relief?

Nice chatting with you Dr. Hart.

God grant Reformation to the Church.

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.

4 thoughts on “From Chit Chat to Conversation — Dr. Darryl & Pastor Bret”

  1. First, with all due respect to Dr. Hart (and I imagine someone like myself would owe him a great deal of it), since when do the champions of Sola Scriptura determine the moral legitimacy of anything by surveying the comfort level of European evangelicals? Socialism is by definition decapitalizing and is therefore a systematic violation of at least the 4th, 8th, & 10th commandments. Those are moral laws (with civil implications of course), that I hope Dr. Hart agrees are still worth preaching.

    Second, The Apostle Peter (who still enjoys pretty good press amongst the Reformed) struggled for a time with judaizing gentiles in Galatia. On Dr. Hart’s reasoning, we must suppose Christianity’s teaching of sola fide is not (or has not always been) as clear as we thought. OR, another very viable option might be, that perhaps someone like Carl Trueman or even the giant Machen (and I am scarcely an expert or even a novice on his politics) needs (or needed) a faithful brother to correct him in his error. Whichever it be, let’s not make our determination by poll but rather Sola Scriptura.

    Lastly, Dr. Hart reveals what is at the root of the R2Kt school of thought, and it is not pretty. In fact it is shameful. At the end of the day, R2Kt exists to provide “psychological relief” by alleviating our duty to press the antithesis between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, especially in certain realms or life which might get us into trouble. I wonder if Dr. Hart would have counseled Paul to leave Athens to seek “psychological relief” instead of confronting its bad theology.

  2. I always wonder what these guys do with Acts 19. Paul spends a good deal of time teaching in Ephesus and suddenly economic implications start to raise their head from his teaching. Suddenly the goddess of the culture (Diana) is finding her market drying and the guys making money on silver forms of Diana get hacked off. Imagine the ripple effect on the whole economy the change in Christianity was bringing.

    The thing is that those idols were obvious but the idols of ideology aren’t quite as in your face as a little silver idol on the mantle piece. Therefore not resisting idolatry when it comes to ideology is easier to get away with it seems.


  3. Bret, just some rambling observations I have:

    It seems like the R2k position is upset with Moral Majority types who try to ramrod faith issues through legislative sessions and ballot-box initiatives, with their “Take America back for Christ” mantras. That usually just means putting so-called Christians into the same civil offices already in existence, offices with tremendously vast powers. The results are, for the most part, predictable.

    Theonomists, however, tend to be minarchists, who don’t think government should be poking its head in every social nook and cranny. Theonomy does advocate legislative reform through the proper institutional channel (not the church), but I’m unaware of any theonomist who thinks that such reform can happen without a prior moral/cultural reform. Maybe such a person exists, but I think he puts his legislative cart before his cultural horse.

    So we might find common ground with R2K in that regard, except that the R2Kers tend to accept pluralist compromises. This doesn’t seem any different from the Moral Majority problem — the status quo is kept, just in a different way. I mean if all you want your church to do is “preach the Word,” how can you accept a pluralist compromise that goes against the only thing you argue the church can do?

    Let’s take a political example that’s not overheated. Central banking. Never heard a preacher preach against this, so maybe R2K is working. But it’s hard to imagine R2K arguing that a central bank is, just maybe perhaps, a Biblically justifiable institution, a possibility we have to allow for since European evangelicals aren’t complaining about it. With this issue there’s an obvious 8th commandment violation (inflation) with deliberate misuse of weights and measures (fiat currency), plus fraud (fractional-reserve banking), all of which is covered in the Westminster Catechism. So we can go biblical or confessional in our critique of such an institution. Either the way, the problem seems very obvious, with my apologies to European evangelicals who think their central bank is hunky-dory.

    Or we can go to George W. calling Islam a “religion of peace.” Sure, that’s a statement made by the most powerful political figure in the world, in a complicated global-political context. It is also, obviously, a lie. It is high praise for a wicked idol. Now at what point is R2K not going to compromise in the public sphere with that? When Sharia courts are being setup in Europe? Or could those be tolerated via compromise as well? (I’ll have to check whether or not European evangelicals are okay with Sharia, since this might complicate the biblical warrant against idolatry.)

    Seems to me that the R2Kers’ concerns about the church’s area of authority are emphasized too heavily in an era in which such an emphasis is out of place and even harmful. If anything, state authority is incredibly far beyond its boundaries, while the church — other than the evangelicals in the Republican party, who are basically lackeys anyway — is wimpy and being encroached upon by the state. What is an R2Ker going to tell the state when his colleague in Canada gets thrown in jail for merely whispering that homosexual acts are sinful? Is he instead going to turn to the church and say “Respect your bounds!”?

    Moreover, in a post-Christian era in which all manner of idols are tolerated and even praised as “religions of peace,” you don’t go on and on about the neutrality of the public sphere without confusing the Christian to whom you just told “Christ is the ruler of heaven and earth” and “the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” So it’s the fullness thereof except the public sphere, in which our tax-exempt status might keep us from preaching all of the Word because we could get in trouble with the state for preaching something it doesn’t like? Who is really encroaching on whom here?

  4. Joshua,

    Great points all!

    1.) The reason you’ve never heard a sermon against Central banking is

    a.) Ministers never study economics and so they themselves aren’t aware of things like Fiat money, fractional reserve, Jekyll Island, Breton Woods, confiscatory taxation, etc.

    b.) Ministers don’t understand how the idolatrous State works. They kept thinking that it’s only idolatry if everyone is commanded to fall to the ground when an image passes by and the band strikes up (cmp. Daniel 3). They don’t get it that how money is handle by the state gives us a defacto Idol.

    2.) I believe if R2kt virus types refuse to identify idolatry in high places (Bush’s praise of Islam) and condemn it as wrong they have revealed that they don’t really believe in the authority of the Church in its proper sphere.

    3.)I do believe there will be those who will say that R2Kt requires us to be muted about Homosexuality. Consider the Lee Irons case. Lee is just taking R2Kt to its logical conclusion.

    4.)Of course there answer to Jesus being Lord over the common realm is that he is Lord in a different way. That is He is Lord through His Natural Law but not Lord through His revealed Word as He is in the Church.

    Thanks for your participation here Joshua,


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