The Problems Of R2K — Part I

Premise of Radical Two Kingdom “theology.”

1.) The idea of God’s Kingdom is exactly synonymous with the Church so that when once says “Kingdom” one must hear “church” and when one hears “Church” one must hear “Kingdom.”

What then of the rest of the creational reality? Well, all that is not Kingdom/Church  is a separate and distinct non-redemptive common Kingdom that is isolated from the the redemptive realm where the Kingdom/Church is located and where one finds the happenings of redemption.

From this premise a dualism follows in the Christian’s approach to reality. R2K advocate D. G. Hart has labeled this “the Hyphenated life,” which is a gussied up version of “a life lived as dualism.”  Our epistemological foundation in the redemptive realm is scripture while our epistemological foundation along with all other men, regardless of their claiming or not claiming Christ, in the common realm is Natural law. The two Kingdoms have two different laws and never the twain shall meet. Those in the hyphenated (Dualistic) life are split personalities being governed differently in each distinct realm.

R2K seeks to argue for R2K by harmonizing the the pre-fall cultural mandate given by God to Adam to govern creation and subdue it with a innovative read of the post-fall Noahic covenant where the assertion is maintained that after the flood the same cultural mandate was given again to Noah as a representative of the whole human race. Post-fall Noah, unlike pre-fall Adam is a covenant head of the whole fallen human race who together work to operate jointly in this  common grace Noahic covenant that is absent of any redemptive particulars. Those redemptive particulars are to be found only in the Abrahamic covenant which is markedly and dualistically distinct from the Noahic covenant.

The covenant of grace, distinct as it is from the common grace Noahic covenant, is the Kingdom/Church redemptive covenant and finds its ultimate fulfillment (unlike the Noahic covenant) in Jesus Christ. Note here that we have two covenants (common and particular) that are operating on parallel and never intersecting tracks with one another. This accounts for the dualism that is characteristic of R2K.

Whereas all mankind (including believers) belong to the Noahic covenant, only Christians belong to the redemptive covenant that is characterized by R2K as “Church/Kingdom.” There in the redemptive covenant God’s plans are worked out for His  new creation. In the R2K common realm God’s has no plans except for destruction at the end of the age.

So, in the R2K paradigm Christ is both the mediator of the new covenant (redemptive realm) and He is the Mediator of the creational realm (common realm). However, these two realms never touch in the Christian’s life. When the Christian operates in the redemptive realm then he must operate as a Christian. When the Christians operates in the common realm he must operate on the same eschatological and teleological basis as all other men regardless of their religion. This explains why in the R2K world there can be no such thing as Christian culture, Christian education, Christian Law, Christian families, or Christian Nations. For R2K all of these realities (culture, education, law, family, nations, etc.) belong to the common Kingdom and by definition therefore can not be Christian since that realm is not religiously conditioned but is conditioned by the common realm natural law accessible to the conscience of all men.

R2K is so consistent on this matter that they note that the common realm Kingdom will completely be consumed by fire (II Pt. 3:1-13). This means that, contrary to what we read in Revelation 21

24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.

that per R2K it is only individuals who are redeemed and nothing of what they cultural built to the glory of God.

So, what we see here, and what I am at pains to point out, is the Radical Two Kingdom’s radical dualism, or what D. G. Hart likes to style as “the hyphenated life.” With this radical dualism we are back to the Platonic upper realm and lower realm. For R2K the Upper realm is grace and the lower realm is nature, and never the two shall meet.  All men alike, believer and unbeliever, together function in the common realm, ruled as they all are in that realm by Thomistic Natural law theory. All of this realm is going to burn and so as Christians while we are to be nice Christians we realize that nothing that we do in building up this common realm for Christ’s glory will last because it can only always be common.

Because the common realm is common special revelation found in Scripture need not apply in this realm. One implication of this is that God’s Law-Word is not to be applied in the common realm. R2K advocates have even gone on record as saying that Magistrates have no responsibility to enforce the first table of God’s law. More and more the second table seems negotiable for the R2K advocates. The appeal magistrates are to make in the common realm is to Natural law and not to special revelation. In the R2K paradigm Christ only rules through His word and spirit in the redemptive realm. Of course, all this dualism can not help but create a schizophrenic Christian that is only resolved on the last day when our existence in the common realm is deleted because the common realm has been torched.

Dr. Robert Letham has been helpful here;

“The two-kingdoms idea has the merit of pointing to two radically different eternal destinies. It also highlights the reality that, until Christ returns, the church and its members are pilgrims and strangers in a world that has been deeply affected by sin and rebellion against God. However, it is in contrast to Herman Bavinck, who held that Christians of all people are, in another sense, at home in the world, since it was created and is directed by the triune God, with Christ its Mediator. Moreover, as Beach remarks, the two-kingdoms view splits the Christian believer into a dualism: under Christ’s authority in the kingdom of God but neutral in the common kingdom. It appears to undermine the Bible as the supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice.”

The unbiblical and non-Christian dualism that R2K posits is inconsistent with God’s record. God’s Word teaches us that Christ is Head over all things for the Church (Eph. 1:20-23). R2K mutes the explicit mediatorial kingship of Jesus Christ over all creation and in its place places an explicit mediatorial kingship of a natural law that is only as good as the beginning presuppositional lenses through which that natural law is read as by fallen men.  What is surrendered in order to embrace R2K is the cosmic kingship of Jesus Christ over all Kings (Psalm 2, 110) and all authorities, reducing the offices of Jesus Christ to His Great High Priestly office and our great Prophet. R2K strips the totalistic Kingship of Jesus Christ preferring a Gnostic King Jesus. R2K takes from our theology munus triplex and gives us munus duplex instead.

So, we see that R2K has a anthropological problem inasmuch as it ascribes to fallen man, who suffers from original sin and total depravity, the ability apart from the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, to read aright general revelation via the usage of Natural law. This is a denial that the carnal mind is at enmity with God (Romans 8:7) and a denial of basic Reformed anthropology. However, R2K also has a Christological problem as we have seen. Christ has effectively been stripped of His Kingly office except as existing in a very Gnostic fashion. This is not all though. The Christology of R2K is also defective in as much as Christ is divided. We could and should salute the idea that Christ is the one King, ruling by one law, over distinguished jurisdictions (family, church, civil-social, etc.) but we can never salute the idea that R2K gives us offering a Christ as the one King ruling over dualistic and divorced jurisdictions that have no relation to one another. Dualism is not Biblical and has long been the bugbear of the non-orthodox. Let the reader consider that Scripture teaches a continually expanding subjugation of Christ’s enemies (Mt. 13:31-38) so that the very last enemy that is abolished is abolished at His coming (I Cor. 15:20-26).

Next, we have to face the fact that R2K breaks down on its claims that the common realm is common. Do the Mullah’s of Iran agree that the R2K common realm is common? Does the Talmudist read natural law the same way as J. V. Fesko, or T. David Gordon and other R2K-philes. Do the trannies of Drag Queen story hour read natural law in the common realm the way that R. Scott Clark insists that it has to be read? In brief are the shock-troops of Lucifer in agreement that the common realm is common? This doctrine of a common realm seems to give up the idea that the church is to be about the business of destroying arguments, leading to every thought being taken captive to Christ (II Cor. 10:106). For R2K the church should be about the business of finding common ground in the common realm with those who share the common ground of hating Christ and His legislative word. Where is the “all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth,” in all this? Where is “the gates of hell shall not prevail” in R2K theology? Why this theology of dualism as opposed to a theology of the one and the many where Christ is the one ruler over many distinct realms?

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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