R2K Chronicles; Open Mouth … Insert Foot

When I was a boy my Father used to often tell me, “Better to stand there and look like a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The wonderful thing about the proponents of Radical Two Kingdom theology is that they have laid out for us, from their own mouths, declamations that the champions of Biblical thinking couldn’t make up if we were trying to twist their words and so misrepresent them. In this chapter we take a handful of those quotes and simply allow the reader the pleasure of the shock value of the quote. Following the shocking quotes we will spend a few sentences unwinding the torpidity of the quote cited. We will start with the more benign of the outrageous quotes and work our way toward the more “you’ve got to be kidding me” quotes.

The first quote comes from Dr. T. David Gordon who recently retired as a Professor at Grove City College.

“Theonomy, therefore, is not merely an error, though it has manifestly been regarded as erroneous by the Reformed tradition . It is the error du jour, the characteristic error of an unwise generation. It is the error of a generation that has abandoned the biblically-mandated quest for wisdom on the assumption that the Bible itself contains all that we need to know about life’s various enterprises. It is the proof-textual, Bible-thumping, literalist, error par excellence. It is not merely the view of the unwise, but the view of the never-to-be-wise, because it is the view of those who wrongly believe that scripture sufficiently governs this arena, and who, for this reason, will never discover in the natural constitution of the human nature or the particular circumstances of given peoples what must be discovered to govern well and wisely. “

Dr. T. David Gordon
R2K Aficionado
http://storage.cloversites.com/outpostreformedministries/documents/The%20Insufficiency%20of%20Scripture.pdfTheonomy is the “error” that R2K is seeking to slay. If it were not for theonomy, R2K would not have come into existence. Theonomy is R2K’s raison d’être. The attempt to demolish theonomy is the attempt to justify the existence of R2K.Gordon insists in the quote above that theonomy is the error that has been “manifestly regarded as erroneous by the Reformed tradition” and yet the original high profile malefactors against theonomy admitted that theonomy had long been an expression of the Reformed tradition. “The view (theonomy) is not really new; it is just new in our time. It was the usual view through the Middle Ages, was not thrown over by the Reformers, and was espoused by the Scottish Covenanters who asked the Long Parliament to make Presbyterianism the religion of the three realms—England, Scotland and Ireland.”

Dr. R. Laird Harris
Presbyterian Church in America teaching elder
New Testament scholar
Presbyterian Covenant Seminary Review (Spring 1979), p. 1

Dr. Harris reinforces for us here that if it is anybody who is an erroneous “Johnny-come-lately” to the Reformed tradition it is Radical Two Kingdom theology.

Likewise the Grand-daddy of R2K — the man who laid the R2K groundwork for all his disciples to craft into the house of R2K, Dr. Meredith Kline once admitted that theonomy was the expression of the Westminster Confession of Faith and of the Reformers;

“If, providentially, anything good is to come of the Chalcedon disturbance, perhaps, paradoxically, it will come from the very embarrassment given to churches committed to the Westminster standards by the relationship that can be traced, as noted above, between the Chalcedon position and certain ideas expressed in the Westminster Confession. Perhaps the shock of seeing where those ideas lead in Chalcedon’s vigorous development of them may make the church face up to the problem posed by the relevant formulations and reconsider the Confessions position on these points. . . .” 

Dr. Meredith Kline 
Review of Theonomy in Christian Ethics — p. 173

Kline admits that theonomy is the theology expressed in the Westminster Confessions and he and his sui generis R2K theology is the reconsideration of the Westminster confession on the points in dispute between R2K and theonomy. In other words the R2K lover Dr. Gordon, per the original R2K lovers Dr. Harris and Dr. Kline couldn’t be more in error when he insists that theonomy has manifestly been regarded as erroneous by the Reformed tradition. Indeed, the heterodox R2K champion Dr. T. David Gordon is the one who is holding to a position (along with Harris and Kline) that has been manifestly regarded as erroneous by the original Reformers and their theological heirs.

Not only that but Gordon, breathing out his R2K presuppositions demonstrates certain consistencies in the weakness of R2K theology. In that Gordon quote we see that R2K doesn’t really take total depravity seriously. This is seen when Gordon insists that those who are not R2K have made the error of “abandoning the biblically-mandated quest for wisdom,” and notes that in suggesting what a fool’s errand it is to look to the “testimonies and the Scriptures,” to find God’s wisdom about “all of life’s various enterprises,” and this despite the testimony of God’s own word;

Psalm 19:7-8, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;” and “in Christ in whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).”

Gordon, like most R2K mavens effectively denies total depravity when he suggests that apart from special revelation fallen man via natural revelation can “discover what it is to govern well and wisely.” Where now the Reformed and theonomic doctrine of man has fallen? Where now the Reformed and theonomic doctrine of total depravity? R2K fanboy Gordon would have fallen man discover on his own, quite apart from the wisdom of special Revelation, how to govern himself well and wisely.

Then to add insult to injury R2K Dr. T. David Gordon piles up the pejoratives in denigrating theonomists all the while being guilty himself of casting aside doctrines. Gordon accuses that the doctrine that theonomists hold insure that theonomist are unwise, and will never be wise when in point of fact it is just the opposite. It is Gordon’s R2K beliefs wherein Gordon and the R2K crowd become Natural Law thumping fundamentalists who are unwise and never to be wise if only because they surrender the ongoing validity of God’s special revelation law. If I have to fall on one side or the other of thumping the Bible or thumping Natural Law, I will fall on the side of the Bible thumping every time.

And as to the idea of R2K Gordon that theonomy represents the “Un-wise and never to be wise generation,” lets consider the rest of these R2K quotes.

II.) R2K Torpid Quote #2

“Not being a theonomist or a theocrat, I do not believe it is the state’s role to enforce religion or Christian morality…Another example—bestiality is a grotesque sin and obviously if a professing member engages in it he is subject to discipline. But as one who leans libertarian in my politics, I would see problems with the state trying to enforce it; not wanting the state involved at all in such personal practices…A fellow church member might advocate for bestiality laws. Neither would be in sin whatever side of the debate.”

Rev. Todd Bordow
Puritanboard, 2012.
Trained at WSC – California

1.) Per R2K Bordow it’s not the state’s role to enforce religion or Christian morality even to the point of lifting laws against sex with animals. This is R2K’s position on public governance and morality. We would remind R2K Bordow that if it is not the state’s role to enforce Christian morality then all that is left for the state is either the enforcing of non-Christian morality, non-Christian immorality, or Christian immorality. Clearly R2K Bordow’s desire that bestiality be de-criminalized means that Bordow desires that the state created a legal atmosphere where non-Christian immorality is the norm.

2.) We should note here that as neutrality is an impossibility it is therefore not possible for the state not to enforce a religion. Indeed, the American state does enforce a religion and that religion is the religion of humanism. Bordow’s advocacy of the State not enforcing a religion or a morality indicates a constant failure of R2K and that is the idea that there can be state neutrality in terms of religion and morality in the public square. As all law is an expression of religion all legislation is a codification of some religion or religious impulse. R2K Bordow’s insistence that the state should not enforce religion leaves only the religion of irreligion as the religion that is enforced by the state. In the OT that was characterized as “each man doing what is right in his own eyes.” When the OT writers penned that phrase it wasn’t seen as an optimal position.

3.) R2K Bordow hints here what we will be seeing more clearly as we move on and that is that R2K is in all actuality the theological foundation for Libertarian politics. It is my conviction that R2K embraces the politics of Libertarianism and then backfills their theology in order to fit their politics. More on that later.

III.) R2K Torpid Quote #3

This one never gets old;

“Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do. Christians don’t get a pass from civil law just because they follow a higher law.”

Dr. D. G. Hart
R2K — Hyphenated Life Creator
Old Life Blog, January 12, 2017

Hart may be one of the most extreme R2K-philes living in R2K la-la land. He could only be considered “smart” as making his way in an academic setting. If he worked anyplace else there would be signs outside his office warning; “Only fools go where angels fear to tread.”

1.) Tyrants who execute Christians who obey God rather than man are not violating God’s law. Tyrants who execute Christians who obey God rather than man are operating consistent with God’s law.

2.) Nero was a just man operating consistent with God’s law in executing the Apostle Paul.

3.) Civil law is a higher law than God’s law.

IV.) R2K Torpid Quote #4

“Question: ‘Suppose that it were legal in our country for a man marry his sister. If this were the case, and a man who attended your church wanted to marry his sister, would your church perform the wedding?’

Answer;

Is God’s law against marrying your sister in the Old Covenant one that was always in force and should always stand?….In the New Covenant Scriptures no mention is made of the impropriety of marrying one’s sister. Although the practice is illegal in many countries, which makes it sinful for Christians living in those countries to do (Romans 13:1), it seems that if you and your sister are both believers and you live in a country that deems marriage between siblings to be a lawful practice, then your marriage would be holy in God’s sight.”

Rev. Steve Lehrer,
“New Covenant Theology, Questions Answered”
Educated @ WSC — Escondido
Home of R2K

1.) God’s law pertaining consanguinity no longer apply in the New and better covenant because in the new and better covenant Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension works so that retards are not born of such sibling unions.

2.) Note the Libertarian impulse again. For Lehrer and Bordow and R2K in general the real law is the Libertarian faux non-aggression principle (NAP) law. For R2K, generally speaking, as long as one’s behavior doesn’t hurt someone (by a humanistic standard) then it is perfectly fine for that person to engage in that behavior. Incest and bestiality doesn’t hurt anyone therefore incest and bestiality are perfectly fine in R2K la-la land — God’s law-word be damned.

3.) Note also the misunderstanding of Romans 13. R2K consistently gets Romans 13 wrong insisting that the Magistrate is in reality God walking on the earth. Romans 13 does not teach such a thing. More on that in another chapter.

V.) R2K Torpid Quote #5

“Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm domestic partnerships as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.”

Dr. Mike Horton
White Horse Inn
WSC Professor – Escondido, Ca.
R2K Training Center

1.) Allow us to practice the art of reductio-ad-absurdum here;

a.) Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm sex-trafficking as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.

b.) Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm pedophilia as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.

c.) Although a contractual relationship denies God’s will for human dignity, I could affirm menage-a-trois’ as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.

I mean where does this kind of “reasoning” stop? If it ever does stop, having given up God’s standard, by what standard does it stop?

VI.) R2K Torpid Quote #6

Twin spin from Mike Horton;

“Hearts have changed. Part of that is due to the fact that we all are friends with LBGT neighbors who are decent people.”

Dr. Mike Horton  
White Horse Inn
WSC Professor – Escondido, Ca.
R2K Training Center

LBGT are decent people? Yes, and John Wayne Gacy made the kiddies laugh at the birthday parties when he entertained them dressed up as a clown.

They tell me that Stalin was a gracious host at his most lavish dinner parties.

VII.) R2K Torpid Quote #7

“Shall we enact laws against abortion? Christians may, in our wisdom, decide it is best to do so. But neither the Church nor her preachers can say unambiguously that such laws must be enacted. She lacks the authority, and the wisdom, to do so. Perhaps such a law will backfire; perhaps it will lead to more abortions, to more deadly abortions. Perhaps it is politically unwise, though being morally just. If she bases her actions on what God’s word teaches, the church must remain agnostic on such questions.”
 
Dr. Brian Lee,
WSC graduate and R2k disciple

https://www.patheos.com/topics/politics-in-the-pulpit/the-church-should-not-weigh-in-on-ballot-issues-brian-lee-110314?p=2

1.) Dr. Lee just threw any preaching on the 6th commandment out the window in terms of application. Lee would have us preach on murder being sin but God forbid that the clergy would say something like, “because murder is sin we should insist that the state pass laws forbidding murder as a crime.”

2.) Clergy cannot say unambiguously that laws against abortion should be enacted but apparently Brian Lee as a member of the clergy can unambiguously say that clergy cannot unambiguously say that laws against abortion should be enacted.

3.) What shall Dr. Rev. Brian Lee do with I Timothy 1:9?

“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,”

4.) Once an abortion is deadly how can an abortion become “more deadly?”

5.) We now rank what might be politically wise above what is morally just? Can you say “political pragmatism over life?”

VIII.) R2K Torpid Quote #8

It is not the magistrate’s duty to police every sort of violation of natural law and sin. For example, no one but theocrats want the state enforcing obedience to the first table of the law. The magistrate’s natural sphere of concern and authority is in the second table. Civil authorities have a right and duty to arrange a calendar (e.g. public holidays) of working and resting according to the creational pattern, to prevent and punish theft, to prevent and punish murder, and to regulate public sexual morality. Marriage is a form of regulation of sexual morality.

Dr. R. Scott Clark, Natural Law
The Two Kingdoms, and Homosexual Marriage
The Heidelblog, October 27, 2008

Here Clark subtly casts aspersions when he says, “no one but theocrats want the state enforcing the first table of the law.” Clark seems to insinuate, with that remark, that theocrats are some kind of odd-ball minority but the fact is that throughout history Calvinist theocrats have been the norm for Calvinists. Once again, by insisting that Magistrates should not have responsibility to enforce the first table Clark reveals an implicit Libertarian political bias serving as a template to form his “theology.”

Just a few examples are to follow though these quotes could be piled one on top of another.

The French Confession is theocratic – (John Calvin — author)

XXXIX. We believe that God wishes to have the world governed by laws and magistrates,[1] so that some restraint may be put upon its disordered appetites. And as he has established kingdoms, republics, and all sorts of principalities, either hereditary or otherwise, and all that belongs to a just government, and wishes to be considered as their Author, so he has put the sword into the hands of magistrates to suppress crimes against the first as well as against the second table of the Commandments of God. We must therefore, on his account, not only submit to them as superiors,[2] but honor and hold them in all reverence as his lieutenants and officers, whom he has commissioned to exercise a legitimate and holy authority.

1. Exod. 18:20-21; Matt. 17:24-27; Rom. ch. 13
2. I Peter 2:13-14; I Tim. 2:2

[Second Helvetic Confession on magistrates is theocratic].

” In like manner, let him govern the people, committed to him of God, with good laws, made according to the word of God in his hands, and look that nothing be taught contrary thereto. … Therefore let him draw forth this sword of God against all malefactors, seditious persons, thieves, murderers, oppressors, blasphemers (1st commandment violators), perjured persons (3rd commandment violators), and all those whom God has commanded him to punish or even to execute. Let him suppress stubborn heretics (who are heretics indeed), who cease not to blaspheme the majesty of God, and to trouble the Church, yea, and finally to destroy it.”

Original 1647 Westminster Confession was theocratic;

The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies (first table) and heresies (first table) be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.

The original Belgic Confession of faith was theocratic;

“For this purpose He (God) hath invested the magistracy with the sword, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. And their office is, not only to have regard unto and watch for the welfare of the civil state, but also that they protect the sacred ministry, and thus may remove and prevent all idolatry and false worship; that the kingdom of antichrist may be thus destroyed, and the kingdom of Christ promoted.”

Should one have any doubts that Calvinism qua Calvinism has always been theocratic they only have to refer to Martin Foulner’s “Theonomy and the Westminster Confession.” Clark’s quote is torpid because it insinuates that somehow it is only odd-ball Calvinists who are theocrats when in point of fact it is only odd-ball R2K fanboys who still claim to be Calvinists and yet are not theocrats.

J have produced this chapter because I wanted folks to see where consistent R2K “theology” goes. With R2K one gets from the clergy and seminary Professors a refusal to advocate for anti-abortion laws, a stated desire to legalize domestic partnerships (just so long as we don’t use the word ‘marriage’), an affirmation that incestuous marriages could be considered holy in God’s sight, the refusal to criminalize bestiality, the insistence that LGBT people can be decent blokes, the accusation that all who dare disagree with R2K are unwise and never to be wise, and the insistence that Magistrates have no business enforcing the first table of God’s law.

How can anybody, with a straight face, call this “Calvinism” let alone “Christianity?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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