R2K For Dummies

Periodically I get requests for just the highlights of R2K. Here is a list I compiled. Mark Van Der Molen gets a hat tip for some of the language below. This could be refined even more and sharpened in terms of the sequential outworking of R2K, but it provides a tolerable beginning for rookies trying to get up to speed.

1.) Posits that there are two Kingdoms here on earth in which the righteous dwell.

2.) Those two Kingdoms are referred to as the Church realm (grace realm) and the common realm. Grace does not restore nature and nature is never mixed with Grace

3.) For R2K those two realms are hermetically sealed off from each other. Still, Christ rules each realm, but in a hyphenated manner. In the common realm (The Kingdom of the Left hand) Christ’s Lordship is put on display indirectly via Natural law. In the realm of grace (The Kingdom of the Right hand) Christ’s Lordship is put on display directly via special revelation. Because this is true, Natural law is the norm that norms all norms in the common realm, and special revelation is the norm that norms all norms in the realm of grace.

4.) The Grace realm (The Kingdom of God’s right hand) is ruled by Christ via God’s special revelation (Bible) and is reflective of the Abrahamic covenant. The church alone is the present institutional manifestation of Christ’s redemptive kingdom.

5.) The Common realm (The Kingdom of God’s left hand) is ruled by Christ via God’s Natural law and is reflective of the Nohaic covenant. As the Noahic Covenant makes no distinction between believers and unbelievers, the state should not require nor promote any particular religious commitment to norm participation in the social order in the common kingdom. The state has no duty or goal to aid the advancement of the spiritual kingdom, and indeed it would be wrong for it to do so.

6.) Since the Church as its own realm it is not ever to speak of matters pertaining to the common realm. That is not the Church’s business, domain, or calling. The Church cannot and must not speak to issues that exist in the common realm. The Church must only speak to the redemptive realm and to individual personal morality that does not coincide with the public square. This means that ministers have no business praying at Town Meetings, writing Letters to the Editor about public square issues, or officiating at common realm events. Ministers as ministers belong to the Church and must not speak beyond the Church as ministers.

7.) Because the common realm is common it is non-sensical to speak of “Christian culture,” “Christian family,” “Christian education,” Christian law,” or Christian anything. The common realm can not be animated by the Christian faith. If it could be it wouldn’t be “common.” R2K denies that there is or ought to exist such a thing as Christian culture. In point of fact, R2K denies any and all ideas of Christendom. One of the practitioners of R2K has even said “that Christendom was a mistake.” and with a parting shot adding, “good riddance.”

8.) Some R2K advocates will even say that Christians in the common realm should not appeal to the Bible in their discussion with the pagan about policy matters for the common realm social order. We as Christians should instead appeal to Natural law which all men in the common realm have in common. So, from a Natural law view we might say incest is wrong, when arguing on policy in the common realm, but we cannot say it is wrong from a general equity Biblical case law view.

9.) The Old Testament Moral law applies to believers in their personal private lives, and though it might apply to the common realm, the Church cannot do the applying. That is left to the believer alone to do. R2K advocates individual Christian involvement in common realm affairs, but it refuses to give a “thus saith the Lord” declaration on any of that involvement. So in practical terms, this means that one set of Christians could start a Christian Marxist club, and another set of Christians could form a Christian Limited Government club, and both sets of Christians would be equally honored in the Church, because the Church does not get involved in these common realm issues. Indeed, it is even possible that members of both clubs would be members of the same Church.

10.) The moral law from the ten commandments applies to all men in all places at all times but the ten commandments do not. This is accomplished by abstracting the meaning of the ten commandments from the ten commandments themselves. (Don’t ask me how they do that. I don’t know how they do that. I just know that they do that.) Moral law becomes largely synonymous with Natural law.

11.) Christians, as such live as “hyphenated beings” in this world. When reading R2K one has to watch for this dividedness (i.e. — dualism) in everything they write. Because of this dividedness you will find their speech full of contradictions that can be maintained because of their inherent worldview dualism. One example of this dualism is when we hear R2K practitioners saying things like, “according to this dual ethic, namely, the natural law-justice ethic governing life in the common kingdom and the grace-mercy ethic governing life in the spiritual kingdom, ours is a divided existence.” (Quote in italics is a paraphrase.)

12.) Not all amillenialists are R2K but all R2K are militant amilleniallists. Their amillennialism informs them that Christ can not and does not have an embodied, temporal, corporeal victory that mirrors the submission of all Kingdoms and disciplines to the authority of Christ in and over this world and so their theology is designed to ensure that embodied victory can not come about. To understand R2K one must understand something of militant amillenialism.

13.) R2K was developed and honed as the antidote to theonomic postmillennialism.

14.) Because of this “theology” some R2K types will tell you that they can and would not discipline a Church member who advocates for (as an example) same sex marriage in the common realm because the Church has naught to do with the common realm.

15.) R2K employs a “intrusion ethic” in order to dismiss the continuing validity of the general equity of the Old Testament Judicial laws. The idea of the R2K “intrusion ethic” is that the ethic of Old Testament Israel, as based upon the Judicial laws (and the Judicials were the case law applying the Moral law) was a ethic that reflected the theocratic Kingdom of God come near. When that Theocratic Kingdom failed, because of Israel’s unfaithfulness, that theocratic Kingdom, with its Kingdom ethic, was taken off the earth and won’t appear again until the consummation. Therefore, we are, according to R2K thinking, immanentizing the eschaton, when we appeal to the abiding validity of the general equity which belongs to the Judicial law. The Law delivered at Sinai under the Mosaic Covenant was a republication of the Covenant of Works in effect only during the time of the Israel theocracy.

16.) R2K advises to obey Caesar in every situation and policy UNLESS Caesar decrees that the redemptive realm must be shut down and worship must cease. Only then can the Church tell Caesar to take a hike. If Caesar mandates homosexual marriage, as one example, then Christians must support Caesar in this and only work against such policy within the confines of what Caesar determines to be law.

17,) Principles of mercy and forgiveness do not govern the common kingdom. The common Kingdom is governed by the Lex Talionis (eye for an eye … tooth for a tooth).

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.

7 thoughts on “R2K For Dummies”

  1. The church can and should speak in both the realms of nature and grace. The state shouldn’t speak at all (ideally).

    Christian statism is a mistake, but that goes back to Constantine.

    Interesting, I didn’t know R2K was so dominant within Amillenialism. I thought it was a Lutheran movement for the most part.

    Wow, R2Kers come across as spiritual pacifists.

    Good article.

  2. “16.) R2K advises to obey Caesar in every situation and policy UNLESS Caesar decrees that the redemptive realm must be shut down and worship must cease.”

    This is a major flaw in their project. The SS knocking on a door and asking if any Jews are being hidden inside is a card that needs to be continually played. It is true and they don’t like it and call it an emotional appeal. But, it reveals a fault that they don’t like being delineated.

  3. As one poster noted, this is typical Lutheran Amillenial (LCMS) BS theology. Utterly irrelevant when it comes to real change in a culture. It is theological escapism, about as bad as you can get.

    The ‘two kingdom’ stuff also is pure Roman Thomism, writ large. Thank God for van Til, frankly. He blew this garbage out of the water, and no one who is reformed, should dare to think this biblical.

    It has all the earmarks of Dispensationalism, the worst reasons for joining a monastic community, a ‘disengagement from life’ that is as anti-incarnational as one can get, and is totally self-centered.

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