Should Theology be in the Domain of Politics? — McAtee Undresses Wolfe

Over on X Stephen Wolfe offers a typical Natural Law kind of statement by posting;

“Christians need fewer theologian writing about politics. Politics, for Christians, should mainly be a discipline of non-theologians.”

Stephen Wolfe

From here Wolfe quotes from Francis Junius, a man who was trained to be a minister but left disgusted with the politics in the Church and his native country surrounding the controversy between Arminius and the supporters (including his own Uncle) who supported Calvinism.

“If any theologian labors concerning the matters relating to the ordering of human society, he wastes himself, and does the most serious injury to the God who calls him, to the Church for whose sake he has been called, and to her calling by being a busybody and meddling in others’ business which is insatiable ambition.”

Francis Junius
The Mosaic Polity — pg. 20

A few observations here.

1.) Wolfe’s position here, amazingly enough, apes the position of Radical Two Kingdom Theology (R2K). R2K, like Wolfe here, insists that ministers should stay away from politics. Don’t talk about abortion from the pulpit. Don’t talk about sodomy from the pulpit. Don’t advocate for sabbath laws in the social order from the pulpit. Don’t give reasons from the Bible as to why magistrates are in sin for pursuing an immigration policy that dilutes both the religion of the people and the original stock. Wolfe wants all this to himself and others like him. Wolfe desires for the elimination of “thus sayeth the Lord,” ringing from the Church. This is the same exact position of David Van Drunen –he of R2K fame.

2.) Wolfe being a Thomist and following the Natural Law school basically advocates here for the same kind of philosophy/ideology/theology that emanated from the pagan Enlightenment. Wolfe doesn’t need any stinking theology in order to arrive at his politics. Indeed, per Wolfe, politics should belong to non-Theologians (as if that were even possible). Wolfe is echoing the Endarkenment project and is advocating that man — starting from himself, by the use of right reason and natural law– can come to truth without any Scriptural revelation.

3.) Allow me to say, once again, that there are exactly zero academic disciplines that can be pursued apart from theology. Whether one is talking about sociology, education, judicial realm, arts, philosophy, politics, history etc. etc. etc. theology is inescapable and is the beginning point for all disciplines. There is no pursuing any discipline without theological a-prioris. This includes the Natural Law Thomists types who hide from themselves the theology that they are working from while insisting that they are not doing theology. Wolfe does this in his book, insisting in his book that he is not doing theology. I promise you… all any of us do, all the time (including Dr. Wolfe) is theology. It’s just either purposeful disingenuousness or a blindness of epic proportions to deny this.

4.) There are whole books out there connecting theology to politics. Martin Foulner’s “Theonomy & the Westminster Confession” is one such book. Dr. Glenn R. Martin’s “Prevailing Worldviews of Western Society Since 1500,” is another. R. J. Rushdoony, Francis Schaeffer, Gary North, and C. Greg Singer all connected what they wrote on politics to theology. Pray tell,  what does Wolfe do with the Black Robed Regiment in the American colonies during the run up to the War for American Independence?

Now Wolfe, hating the presuppositional school as being a Natural Law theologian (and I feel the same way about his philosophy as he does about my theology,) like his R2K bedfellows doesn’t want the presuppositionalists swimming in a pool (politics) he thinks should be exclusive to him and his R2K pool buddies but I’m here to tell you that he’s in over his head and is drowning.

5.) I understand how frustrated Wolfe is by so many clergy who are absolute dorks who are resisting him. However, the problem with these dorks is not limited to politics. These dorks rot at politics because they rot at theology. They shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a pulpit. Frankly, I’m surprised that God has struck many of them dead where they stand in their pulpits for resisting the Lordship of Jesus Christ over nations. However, the conclusion here isn’t to restrict a theology that touches every area of life (including politics) from the bailiwick of the pulpit.

6.) I have liked some of the conclusions that Wolfe has arrived at but I absolutely loath … despise … hate the man’s Natural Law methodology. We see the instability of it again in Wolfe’s echoing of the R2K school in his desire to eliminating theology from politics. Here we have R2K who insists that they are the voice of God’s Natural Law, and Wolfe who insists he is the voice of Gods’ Natural Law, and these two are at each other’s throats as to what Natural Law teaches. If the R2K Thomists, and the Wolfe crowd Thomists can’t agree on what Natural Law teaches how is anybody else going to read the tea leaves of Natural Law rightly.

Natural Law went the way of the Dodo bird because men began to see that it was clearly a thin and weak reed to lean on. Natural Law was eclipsed because it sucked wind as a theology/philosophy that could provide stability for a social order. The reason then, and the reason now, Natural law sucks so badly as a epistemological foundation is that it is completely subjective to whomever is reading Natural Law. This is proven, in spades, by the fact that the R2K fanboys, and the Wolfe fanboys, who both love them some Natural Law can’t stand to be in each other’s presence when it comes to working out what Natural Law really means.

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.

3 thoughts on “Should Theology be in the Domain of Politics? — McAtee Undresses Wolfe”

  1. This does point out the hypocrisy of R2K. Intensely fighting Christian Nationalists is engaging politics. Just not on Christ’s side.

    Also I have a 2 hour podcast to recommend. The topic is the evangelical leaderships defection to the managerial class. Host is traditional Catholic, guest Dutch Reformed

  2. “3.) Allow me to say, once again, that there are exactly zero academic disciplines that can be pursued apart from theology. ”

    True. Here is an example of a broken clock being right twice a day: the pope Boniface VIII, one of the most arrogant papal figures ever, in his struggle against the secular rulers made, in his 1302 bull “Unam Sanctam,” the quite correct observation that those who say that the church should not interfere in worldly politics are promoting a practically MANICHEAN position, which posits strict dualism between the worlds of matter and spirit – and thus spiritual authorities should stay away from matters of this world:

    “Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2], unless he invent like Manicheus two beginnings, which is false and judged by us heretical, since according to the testimony of Moses, it is not in the beginnings but in the beginning that God created heaven and earth [Gen 1:1].”

    But these words are then immediately followed by this infamous declaration:

    “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    And the accusation of Manicheanism could be flung back at the popes: if the earthly rulers were being semi-Manichean when they said that they should not be pestered by church authorities (the separation of church and state), the popes themselves were being semi-Manichean when they polemically asserted that earthly rulers were inherently inferior to popes (if not actually demonic) because they dealt with mere lowly matters of flesh:

    “Indeed, as de Rosa writes of a later Pope who faithfully followed Hildebrand’s teaching, “this was Manicheeism applied to relations between church and state. The church, spiritual, was good; the state, material, was essentially the work of the devil. This naked political absolutism undermined the authority of kings. Taken seriously, his theories would lead to anarchy”.[195]”

  3. And the same way, (dogmatic) pacifism too can be shown to have Manichean implications:

    “This brings me to the second point, the notion that all war is wrong. That notion rests on the presupposition best expressed by the great Quaker orator, “Force is no remedy.” The ground is different from that discussed above, and in some respects inconsistent with it. The former rests on materialistic arguments; this, on the contrary, is a perverted spiritualism. So far as I can understand it the claim that force is no remedy involves the notion that, since realities are spiritual, all attempts at achieving ends by material means are doomed to failure. This argument, then, rests on the idea of the godlessness of all the world of Nature; ultimately it is Manichean, seeking spirituality purely in abstraction, logically destructive of the Incarnation and the Resurrection of the Body.”


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