We continue to consider Dr. Darryl Hart’s article in “The American Conservative,” where he insists that a naked public square, bereft of the religious impulse, is true conservatism. And of course his insistence on this is made quite apart from any religious impulse arising within him in the way of influence.

Hart’s essays seems to suggest that since different competing religions in the public square results in “a political urge is to blend religions together.” On this score I quite agree with Dr. Hart. The impulse is always towards religious syncretism in public square when you open it up to all religions (public square polytheism). However, Dr. Hart’s solution to strip the public square of religion (public square atheism) leaves us in a place that is just as bad. Dr. Hart has not reckoned with the reality of what happens when one attempts to have a religion-less public square. What happens is not the disappearance of religion in the public square but rather what happens is that a vacuum is created in which, at least in our setting, the Idol-State fills and becomes the defacto established religion. This is what we have today in spades. The Government schools, putatively stripped of religion, are now factories producing humanist citizens to work in our humanist social order. Dr. Hart’s ideas for a naked public square would yield the same results that have been produced in our “naked public square” government schools. This is not a conservative view.

It is interesting to note that it appears that one aspect in which Hart’s essay can find application, is in finding a way to eliminate the balkanization of America’s public square. Is there belief by “Augustinian Christians” that if we extracted religion (an impossible task as we have already noted) from the public square then the citizenry (or at least Christians) would be far less inclined to be divided over sectarian lines as those sectarian positions express themselves in the public square? At the very least they would certainly be less divided in Church as such public square issue would never come up in Augustinian Churches since, according to Radical Two Kingdom advocates, the Church is not the place to speak on what is happening in the public square. Dr. Hart’s “Conservative views” have the felicitous effect of silencing the Church’s voice in a public square that is wrestling over issues like “abortion,” “Homosexual marriage,” and state sanctioned theft.

It is of note that Dr. Hart, as a Augustinian Christian, is advocating for the public square the putative Augustinian Christian position that he lays out in his article. Apparently Hart finds no contradiction or irony in trying to bring his Augustinian Christian influence to bear on the issue of the public square, all the while insisting that Christians should not influence the public square.

Hart continues his article by comparing and contrasting “Republican Christianity” (Hart’s villain in his write up) with Augustinian Christianity (Hart’s champion in his piece). Dr. Hart suggests that “Augustinian Christianity” is more virtuous because it spoke up least in the public square for King Christ and did not try to have a relevant or influential impact on Dr. Hart’s “common realm.” Hart even tells us, “don’t let appearances deceive: the Americans who are the most devout may be the ones least likely to talk about their faith openly.” We learn here that those who are most mute in the public square for the cause of Christ are the ones who are the most pious.

There is another matter here that we must turn to, and that is Dr. Hart’s appeal to the “secular.” Dr. Hart seems to believe that there is some realm or sphere that is not normed by faith convictions. For Hart, as for most R2K advocates, the common realm is a realm that is, by definition, not shaped nor having the capacity of being shaped, by Christianity. It is a secular (neutral) realm that exists and moves by impulses that are not faith defined or faith conditioned. According to Hart, because this is so, we must not try to introduce faith into this common realm. Hart speaks of the problem of Protestantism being “secularized,” or of “secularization,” and yet Protestantism wasn’t secularized, but rather it became syncretistic — which is to say that it imbibed the presuppositions of other non-Christian faith systems and so incrementally surrendered the faith. Similarly the problem has never been secularization — as if the Christian faith moved from Christianity to neutrality — but rather the problem has been “paganization,” where the Christian faith moved from Christianity to humanism. Dr. Hart’s analysis is weak because Dr. Hart’s categories are fallacious.

Dr. Hart then turns to a historical treatise that describes, in his opinion, where America went wrong by embracing Republican Christianity vs. Augustinian Christianity. In Part III we will take up Dr. Hart’s historical analysis.

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.


  1. “Dr. Hart’s “Conservative views” have the felicitous effect of silencing the Church’s voice in a public square that is wrestling over issues like “abortion,” “Homosexual marriage,” and state sanctioned theft.”

    I don’t see how the Church can be Salt and Light in a fallen culture when academics are saying that the Church is to be silent.

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