Law — Gospel or, Gospel — Law — Gospel?

Text — Titus
Subject – Apostolic Methodology of relating law to Gospel in Titus
Theme – Analysis of the apostolic methodology of relating law to Gospel in Titus.
Proposition – . will hopefully cause us to understand how it is that the Law and Gospel come to us as believers.

Purpose — . Therefore having considered the Apostolic methodology of relating law to Gospel let us rejoice that the Holy Spirit is a teacher who gives us exactly what we need as we look to Jesus Christ for our all.

I sat down to write an introduction to this sermon and instead found a whole different sermon. So, this morning I want us to consider the methodological approach of the Apostle in this book to Titus.

This is not something that should put us off. If we believe that the very words of Scripture are inspired then it ought not to be difficult to believe the way the text is organized and pieced together is inspired as well.

As we consider this section in Titus 3 we are reminded again of the great emphasis we find in Titus on living out the Christian life (vs.8, cmp. Also 2:7, 2:14, 3:1). But we need to again remind ourselves of

1.) That the Apostle still clearly teaches that salvation, narrowly considered, is completely free (3:5)

2.) how the Apostle then provides the motive for works emphasis in an epistle where the Gospel is treated as completely free.

As we have said before, the motive for good works in Titus is not found in moralism considered as an end in itself (consider 2:10). Neither is the motive found in reminding them they are essentially good people – quite to the contrary the Apostle reminds them not of how noble they intrinsically are but rather he reminds them of how ignoble they once were (3:3).

The motive that the Apostle keeps returning to is what God has done in Christ for them (1:1-3, 2:11-14, 3:4-7). The motive he appeals to is one that we all Christians, but we especially who own the Heidelberg catechism should be familiar with – and that is the motive of gratitude.

Methodologically speaking, the Apostle writing to Titus and through him to the Christians in Crete and to us today uses a Kind of Gospel, Law, Gospel approach.

Note in Chapter 1:1-4 we begin immediately with the proclamation to Titus that Christ is Savior (4). That is Gospel. God has done it all by fulfilling His promises of eternal life (1:2).

From there he goes into instruction about what the Christian life should look like in both the leadership (1:5-16) and in the rank & file (2:1-9). That is Law. What God requires.

At that point, he gives them the Gospel again (2:11-15) as he returns to the foundation of why he can make the law appeal that he makes.

From there, in the passage we are considering this morning he returns to a law like appeal (3:1-3). Then immediately (3:4-7) he reminds them again of the Gospel of Grace that God has bestowed upon them that is to provide the motive for their anticipated affirmative response.

So throughout out this book, as believers are instructed through Titus the structural methodology that is used is to remind them of the Gospel in which they stand.

For example,

“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.”

Then as to methodology, there is an appeal to a certain behavior or lifestyle that should characterize the believers because of how the Gospel has changed them.

So, when dealing with believers we see the pattern, at least here in Titus of,

First, — What God gives – The Gospel

Clearly what God gives is entirely free (3:5). In Salvation, God does all the doing. The triune God receives no assists from us in salvation narrowly considered.

Secondly, — What God requires – increasing conformity to the law out of gratitude for all that God has given.

This methodology is not a great deal different then what we find in Exodus 20 where the Covenant God, dealing with His people, reminds them of Gospel (What God has done) .

“I am the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of Bondage.”

And from there God goes on to instruct them in what he looks for from His people as a consequence of His unmerited favor.

Thou Shalt Not ..

And here we must remember that as by God’s grace we obey and increasingly conform to Christ, according to Scripture, all of that is worked in us by God’ grace.

Continue to work out your salvation in fear and trembling for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

So . in trying to rightly weigh this structural methodology we would observe.

When the gospel is preached among God’s people, but the law is neglected, God’s people reject discipline, believing Holiness to be disconnected from forgiveness.

Conversely, when the law is preached among God’s people, but the gospel is neglected, God’s people swing to one of two extremes.

1.) Either they become confident in their own ability to please God and so become self-righteous,

2.) Or they despair of ever being reconciled to God and so become depressed.

God’s people thus need both Gospel & Law and Gospel, and Law & Gospel in order to go on with Christ.

Now, having said all that we must emphasize that is the way that God speaks to His people. I would submit to you this morning that God speaks in a different way to those who are not yet part of the covenant community.

Cmp. Romans 1:17 – 3:21

To those yet apart from the covenant community, he does not speak in terms of Gospel and Law and Gospel, but rather in terms of Law and Gospel.

The first word that comes to the unbelieving is what God requires. That is law, and the purpose of the law at this point is not so that the people hearing it would, out of their own ability, move to conform to God’s expectations, (because they can’t) but rather that the people who are hearing it would, out of the illumination of the Holy Spirit’s work, see how hopeless it is that they would ever meet God’s perfect standard and so flee to Jesus Christ who alone can give them the righteousness that is acceptable before God.

Paraphrasing one of the Puritans,

“The law is the needle that pulls through the scarlet thread of the Gospel.”

So, as speaking to God’s People we speak Gospel and Law and Gospel.

BUT

As speaking to those outside of the covenant community we speak Law and Gospel.

Now, where things get complicated is in understanding that in every covenant community there are wheat and tares and so the minister may decide to speak to His people at different times with different voices. Some sermons may be Law – Gospel, while other sermons might be Gospel – Law — Gospel.

Now, combine that with the reality that in all of God’s people there resides the tendency to both covenant keeping (putting on the new man) and covenant breaking (having to put off the old man). Even in the Christian there is this self-understanding that we are live in ways that are not pleasing to God (Romans 7), and so the necessity exists at times to even speak to God’s people in terms of Law & Gospel and not Gospel & Law and Gospel.

It is because we remain at the same time sinner at the same time saint that there is a need for the law to be spoken in our lives both in the structure of Law-Gospel and the structure of Gospel – law — Gospel.

The old man of sin that the believer continues to contend with has to be spoken of in terms of Law – Gospel. That is a law word of condemnation. It is the new man rooted in Christ that is spoken to in terms of Gospel – Law — Gospel. That is a word of guidance.

This is just to say that the believer, as he struggles against the Adam that yet remains in him needs to hear the law as usus pedagoicus, while the believer as he makes it his goal to please God needs to hear the law as a moral guide to life.

At those times when we speak in the voice of Law and Gospel, the law is being used (usus pedagogicus) in its tutorial work of convicting us again as sinner, exposing perhaps areas that are still in rebellion in our lives, and leading us again to the Gospel of Jesus Christ who alone can save us. This is a different use than when use the law as a guide to life (usus didacticus). When we use the law that way we are speaking in terms of Gospel and Law and Gospel, which is the way it strikes me that Paul is speaking here in Titus.

Now, we should add that all that we have said this morning is one area that makes Reformed people Reformed and not any number of other stripes.

Gerhardus Vos, a Dutch Theologian of note who lived early in the 20th century, could hint at all that we have teased out this morning by saying,

” The preaching of the law in relation to the concept of the covenant has a somewhat different significance for Reformed Theologians than for Lutherans. The latter scarcely allow a place to the law before the fall. Both before and after regeneration the law has only a negative character, serving to generate repentance and mortification of the old man of sin (That would be speaking in terms of Law Gospel as we have used it this morning). For the Reformed it also serves that purpose, BUT that is not all. Even those among the theologians who strictly separate law and gospel and make the latter to consist wholly of promises – as a matter of fact, those theologians more than others – put emphasis on the fact that the law, as the comprehensive norm for the life of man, also determines man’s relation to the gospel. (This would be speaking in terms of Gospel – Law as we have cited it this morning.) At this point we observe the intensely moral seriousness of the Reformed point of view. Nothing can occur in man’s life where God’s law does not immediately apply and is not impressed strongly on the conscience.”

The law holds an essentially different place for the Lutherans than for the Reformed. Theoretically both agree with the threefold use of the law. The difference lies in the fact that the Lutherans only relate the third use of the law to the remnants of the old nature of the believer, while the Reformed relate it to the new man, who finds in the law a positive rule of life.”

Geerhardus Vos
Redemptive History And Biblical Interpretation

And this observation is not just true of Lutherans but also of many others in evangelicalism.

Now, I would submit that all that we have looked at this morning is exceedingly important. It is important because it is clearly Biblical but it is also important because it seems within the Reformed community there are signs of cracks and breakup and part of the reason that this is so is because people want to insist that the methodological structure for preaching as it pertains to God’s people has to be either one of Law – Gospel  OR one of Gospel – Law – Gospel when in point of fact, as we have seen this morning, that it might very well be either structure at different times (while avoiding the tendency to want to mix these into one product called Glawspel) if only for the reason that we remain at the same time sinner and at the same time saint.

One thing that should be now concluded is that it is a hermeneutical error to believe that Law and Gospel are in absolute antithesis as the Luthern hermeneutic seems to suggest. Indeed at one point in the Westminster Confession of Faith we can read,

WCF 19.VII. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with itthe Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.

As sinners we need to continue to hear Law – Gospel. This is the good news for who we are as considered in the eschatological ‘not yet’ of this present evil age. This is good news for all of us in Christ who remain sinners and covenant breakers and continue to struggle as Paul did in Romans 7.

As saints we need to continue to hear Gospel – Law – Gospel. This is the good news for those who are considered as living in the NOW of the age to come. This is the good news for all of us who because of the Spirit of Christ’s work so earnestly desire to be covenant keepers and who continue to press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of Christ Jesus.

As we live in this semi-eschatological age we need both the paradigms of Law – Gospel and Gospel – Law — Gospel.

I would conclude this morning that anyone who says it has to be one or the other paradigms to the neglect of either is in danger of ministering to only half of who we are (either sinner or saint as opposed to at the same time sinner at the same time saint). This can only have the unhappy consequence of retarding our maturity in Christ.

Addendum — Implications beyond the personal and individual

 We have noted that Lutherans disregard the law in the capacity of sanctification by a methodology (Law/Gospel) which treats the Church only as unbelievers. This can also be true of  Baptist/Evangelical churches.

The Reformed methodology is the only one which does not treat believers as aliens to the covenant, and so the Reformed methodology is the only one which affirms our nativity and belonging to the covenant. This implies much in the social order/ people dimension.

This informs us that a people group covenanted to God are identified by God’s law. This means that non-Christian peoples in non-Christian social orders do not have the rights, privileges and immunities that belong to a people (nation) covenanted to God.  Those in the covenant have a very different relation to the law than do others. Which of course, means that even if all men are subject to the same law, as subjects, the application of that law is subjective. Not arbitrary, but determined relative to covenanted identity.

In terms of covenant nations, this view would necessarily result not in any universal ‘human rights’, but in ideas like “the rights of Englishmen.”
Constitutions,  among these kinds of people groups, delineate between peoples and affirm rights and privileges limited to people of specific identities because those people are in the covenant (and Covenant is not possible apart from law) with God as a people.

By contrast, we should imagine the Lutheran view of law which treats all men as being strangers to the covenant — because it only speaks to them as guilty of law-breakers — as producing only liberal socialist sort of social orders where the state is required to be God walking on the earth. If people cannot have the law delivered to them as Christians (usus didacticus) then the rights, privileges, and immunities of God’s law do not belong to them in any unique way vis-a-vis the way those law given rights, privileges, and immunities belong to any other people group.

Hat Tip — Ehud Would helped me think through the Implications section

 

Martin Symposium Paper; “Christ as Savior and King”

In 2008 I was asked to present a paper at Indiana Wesleyan University’s inaugural Martin Symposium.  This was originally posted on Iron Ink around that time but for some reason, I have posts that disappear from Iron Ink. Fortunately, I  backed them up and now I can repost them.

Dr. Glenn R. Martin chaired and taught in the Social Sciences Department at Indiana Wesleyan University where I attended between 1977-1982. Martin was the Arminian version of R. J. Rushdoony and he was the man who first introduced me (a very rough around the edges 18 year old) to presuppositional and Weltanschauung thinking. He was my mentor and though I have left the Arminian expression of Worldview Thinking for the more consistent expression of the same found in Reformed thought and theology Dr. Martin will always remain the man who made all the difference for me.

His posthumously published book is entitled “Prevailing Worldviews,” where on the back cover you will find an endorsement by yours truly.

My endorsement reads,

“Dr. Martin’s ability to combine passion with intellect in the cause of King Christ is something which the Church yet stands in desperate need. Likewise, Dr. Martin’s critical thinking skills as displayed in his ability to analyze and offer solutions from a Christocentric position is an elixir that the Church must drink again if the West and its culture would again be of any consequence.”

If all the World could be Arminian the way that Dr. Glen R. Martin was Arminian I would be close to being content. Unfortunately, as is often the case with geniuses the University that employed him has done their best to drop him down the memory hole. Martin’s presuppositional Worldview thinking is not a piece with Arminian Barthianism and postmodernism that is characteristic of Indiana Wesleyan University today.
Christ As King – A Brief Overview
Dr. Glenn Martin’s guiding premise was the Lordship Of Jesus Christ over every sphere of reality. He expressed this constantly by his call to think in such a way that begins and ends with the God of the Bible regardless of what sphere or discipline one is contemplating in their thought life. This paper is an attempt to speak to the Church’s responsibility to proclaim the Mediatorial Kingship of Jesus Christ.
Beginning with God’s revealed word we would contend that the purpose and mission of the Church, in submission to Christ’s office as Prophet, is to proclaim Christ in His Mediatorial capacity as High Priest and King of Kings. The Church’s purpose and mission to proclaim Christ necessitates a return to an emphasis where Jesus is once again placarded to men in His Mediatorial offices as Prophet, Priest, and King.
That Scripture has such a purpose and mission for the Church is seen in what is commonly referred to as the great commission (Mt. 28:18-20).
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen
Here we find Jesus, having completed His High Priestly work on the Cross, now in His office as King, speaking as one with all authority. From His office of King He commissions the first representatives of the post-resurrection Church to bring the Priestly (baptizing) and Kingly (teaching to observe all things) work of Christ to all the nations.
In I Corinthians 15 we find one of the greatest explanations regarding the implications of the High Priestly work of Christ in providing His Church’s salvation. The Apostle can start by noting,
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…
Yet even in this Chapter, we find lineaments putting forth the Kingly office of Christ.
25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.
The Kingly Rule of Christ mentioned here by the inspired Apostle obviously has a ‘now, not yet’ quality that is put together in such a way to suggest interesting eschatological conclusions, but regardless of one’s eschatology, clearly the Church is reminded by Paul’s inspired words in I Corinthians 15 that discussions regarding the gospel includes the idea of the absolute Kingship of Jesus Christ.
Again in Ephesians 1, the idea of Christ as Priest and King are brought forth in tandem. Early in the Chapter we are told, in reference to Christ’s Priestly office that,
In Him (the beloved) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.
This is followed just a few verses later by a reference to Christ’s Kingly work where we are reminded that the working of God’s mighty power was,
worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
Once again, we see that our great High Priest is King over all for the sake of the Church. Since this is true the Church cannot proclaim a Gospel that does not include the news of Christ’s absolute Mediatorial Kingship.
In Acts 5:31 Peter can put these two offices together by noting of Jesus that,
“God hath exalted Him to His right hand to be Prince and Savior.”
Again in Acts 17:7 those who opposed the Gospel had no doubt that the Gospel pronouncement was not limited to Jesus vested in His High Priestly office but also included the authority of Jesus in His office of High King. The envious Jews in Thessalonica framed their objection to those who brought the Gospel by charging that,
“Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.”
Indeed throughout the book of Acts, the twin themes of the Preaching Church were the Kingdom of God and the Resurrection. These twin themes lend support to the observation that the Church’s purpose and mission are to proclaim Christ in His Mediatorial capacity as High Priest and King of Kings.
Most importantly, the idea that the purpose and mission of the Church include the good news of Christ as Priest and King is seen in the complex of the redemptive events in the person and work of Christ. Jesus was crucified as a sin offering accomplishing that component of His Priestly work of salvation while in His Ascension Jesus’ Kingship was inaugurated. The Church can hardly speak of one of these offices without immediately referencing the other. The offices are certainly distinct but they are in no way divorced.
So, if we are to begin and end with God in our thinking regarding His Church we must conclude that the primary mission and purpose of the Church is to proclaim Christ in His Mediatorial capacity as High Priest and King of Kings.
The teaching of Scripture on the primary purpose and mission of the Church is too often in abeyance in modern America. The Church’s proclamation on Christ’s Mediatorial Priestly office wherein He is Savior has been eclipsed by categories foreign to that message. The Church’s proclamation on Christ’s Mediatorial Kingly office wherein He is Lord has been replaced by a view where Jesus’ Kingship is of the Gnostic-like variety. We shall deal with these in reverse order.
The Gnostic King Jesus; His Incredibly Shrunken Realm
In the abstract most evangelicals would mouth the words that ‘Jesus is Lord,’ but when that confession has the expectation of being made concrete in this world the Lordship of Jesus begins to dissipate. I submit that the Evangelical Church has embraced a type Gnostic King Jesus who is Sovereign in the Spiritual ethereal realm but whose Kingship has little to do with the corporeal material realm in which man does his daily living.
The way this has developed in the West was by embracing a Theology / Epistemology where a sacred realm was created where the Lordship of Christ is unquestioned, leaving a putatively secular neutral realm where believers in Christ and believers in other “gods” co-operate according to the dictates of shared autonomous reason.
“The ‘form-matter’ dualism (of classical philosophy) was transferred into the medieval variant, the ‘nature-grace’ schema. Natural philosophy or natural reason…was given full autonomy in the area of ‘common ground.’ Both believers and unbelievers can use this hypothetically neutral reasoning faculty to discover identical truths in the realm of nature. Grace, the realm of faith, was alone closed to the reasoning powers of the pagan world. Revelation was needed to provide men will full knowledge of faith, the sacraments, and the Church.”1 (Gary North, Foundations of Christian Scholarship pg. 129)
The problem of course with this arrangement is at least threefold. First, by appealing to ‘reason’ what happens is that man’s intellect is made autonomous in the common realm and so the starting point for all his thinking is self-referential. Instead of beginning and ending with God, he begins and ends with himself. In essence man, either in his individual _expression or in his corporate _expression, is now Lord of the putatively neutral realm.
The second problem with this idea is the notion that man can have any realm where he can operate without a pre-commitment to some theological apriori. Man can do nothing in any realm without being informed by some faith commitment. I believe that Dr. Martin required his students to read Thomas Kuhn’s ‘Structures in Scientific Revolution,’ in order to awaken them to the reality that man can not escape his apriori faith commitments.
The third problem is that in assuming that a shared common or neutral realm can exist, apart from the Lordship of Christ, one destroys the idea of the anti-thesis that one finds in Scripture. From Genesis 3:15 through the end of Holy Writ God’s Word teaches a warfare worldview where the seed of the serpent and their Lord contest against the seed of the woman and the Lord Jesus Christ. Where the anti-thesis is in total eclipse, this side of the eschaton, there the Lordship of Jesus has been surrendered.
Now because of this compartmentalization, we have a sacred realm where Christ is Lord and the standard is His eternal Word, while at the same time having a secular realm where autonomous man is Lord where the standard is his relativistic word. In the former realm, man begins and ends his thinking with God. In the latter realm, man begins and end his thinking with the autonomous self. The consequence of this is a contemporary Church that is filled with individuals who claim a Jesus who saves their non-corporeal souls but who have not been taught to think God’s thoughts after him in every area of life and who have not been taught that Jesus as King, has a Word on how to incarnate and bring their salvation into the material world through the holy callings in which they are called. Jesus thus is a Gnostic King with an incredibly shrunken realm. He saves our souls but leaves our material realm largely untouched.
This dualism with its sacred-secular dichotomy has survived successfully as long as it has in America for two reasons. First, because of the remaining influence of a Christian World and life view on the societal and institutional infrastructures the autonomously manufactured common realm has been able to function. The leavening of Christendom in American, through the beginnings of the Holy Commonwealth, which did not allow for the kind of bifurcation that we have spoken of, has taken centuries to completely eradicate. Such is the strength of Biblical Christianity.
Second, the ‘secular’ realm has survived because the sacred realm (Christianity) has increasingly redefined itself in order to accommodate the demands of the ‘secular’ realm. This second eventuality was recognized over 70 years ago,
“[i]t will be remembered that the theory of evolution found its bitterest and most persistent opponents among the theistic religionists. Only gradually and with reluctance has orthodoxy readjusted its theology to make room in it for the theory of evolution. There are many Theists today who believe in evolution, but they have had to make over their idea of God considerably. Indeed, they have not yet succeeded in making a satisfactory adjustment. It is still to be seen whether or not Theism will survive the shock which the theory of evolution has given it.” (2) Charles F. Potter; Humanism, A New Religion (New York, Simon & Schuster, pg. 15
Theism has survived the shock but its survival has more often been in spite of the visible Church’s lack of proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every area of life, rather than because of its resistance to alien worldviews.
This Evangelical and American trend to compartmentalize reality into Sacred and Secular categories is the legacy of the work of Thomas Aquinas and later in Protestantism by Bishop Butler. Aquinas held that while the will in man was fallen the intellect was not. With this understanding of an incomplete fall of man, pandora’s box was opened releasing all the villainy that autonomous man could achieve with his reason divorced from revelation.
This has led to an approach described by Dr. Greg Bahnsen.
“The Thomistic approach assumes that fallen man is capable of reasoning in a proper way (prior to repentance of sin and submitting to the Savior) and that knowledge and intelligible interpretation of experience are philosophically possible apart from God’s revelation (i.e. – possible in terms of a basic perspective different from the Christian Worldview). Man’s own intellect, when used at its best, is thus granted the ability and the right to pass judgment on the credibility of God’s word (it’s worthiness of faith). Reason – set up as a judge, not simply a tool – takes a privileged position alongside faith.(3)
pg. 47 Van Til’s Apologetic, Bahnsen
The consequences of such an approach are manifold. First, as we have seen, the Lordship of Jesus Christ ends up being limited to the arbitration of human reason deciding where Christ will be allowed to be explicitly Lord. Man, in determining the sway of Jesus’ Lordship, becomes his own Lord. This was brought home to me again when in a recent discussion with a prominent Reformed Theologian I was informed that “There is no ‘Christian’ economics,” and this despite the fact that his own confession gives a statement on theft that would make a good beginning in formulating a Christian economics.
“In God’s sight theft also includes cheating and swindling our neighbor by schemes made to appear legitimate such as: inaccurate measurements of weight, size or volume; fraudulent merchandising; counterfeit money; excessive interest; and any other means forbidden by God…” (HC LD 42)
The second consequence of such a Thomist approach is that in removing the Lordship of Christ from the ‘secular’ realm one removes His law standard in that realm and at the same time replaces it with the legal standard of some other lord. As Dr. Martin was fond of saying, ‘Nature abhors a vacuum,’ and since that remains true the removal of Christ as Lord from the Secular realm means a replacing of all objective standards found in the revelatory scriptures of the King for subjective standards found in Sharia law or positivistic law, or Hindu caste law, depending on one’s self-referential desires.
From Light To Darkness
In the days of the Reformation the principle was submission to God; in these days it is a revolt against God. That is why there rages again today one universal war in church, state, and the world of learning, one holy battle over the supreme question: to submit unconditionally to the law of God, or not. Groen Van Prinsterer – Lectures on Unbelief and Revolution(3)
The embracing of a different standard can be seen by the shift in the approach of the Revolutionary West to educational disciplines beginning especially with the endarkenment (sometimes euphemistically referred to as the enlightenment) and continuing through to the present. This shift has made itself known in the various disciplines with their emphasis upon increasing humanistic, evolutionary, naturalistic and Statist type training standards that are derived from some pagan lord. We will consider just four of those fields in order to provide a kind of Whitman’s sampler of the shift that the Church is facing as it contemplates its necessity to once again proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every area of life.

Education

In the area of Education, the Unitarian, Horace Mann led the way in America moving education away from its Biblical moorings exemplified in the Puritan requirement for an education that was rich with Scripture.
“It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep man from the knowledge of Scriptures, as in former times, keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these latter times, by persuading from the use of tongues, so that at least the true sense and meaning of the original might be clouded and corrupted with false glosses of deceivers; and to the end that learning may not be buried in the grave of our forefathers, in church and commonwealth, the Lord assisting our endeavors;
It is therefore ordered by this court and authority thereof…to teach all…children to read and write…they shall set up a grammar school, the masters thereof being able to instruct youths so far as they may be fitted for the university.(4)
In doing so they used books like the New England primer that had children learning the letter ‘A’ by reciting “In Adam’s fall, we fell all.” The Puritans were interested in educating their children under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
But starting in the 19th-century men like Henry Barnard, John Swett, John Dewey, William H. Kilpatrick, and Harold Rugg followed in Mann’s wake, setting in concrete a humanistic evolutionary, naturalistic, Statist, teaching model that the discipline of pedagogy and Education now holds as the definitional Standard. The guiding assumption of modern education has been expressed at various times by its leadership.
Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth. In this way, the teacher is always the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of heaven.”(5) Pedagogic Creed, School Journal vol. 54 (January 1897), pp. 77-80
Dewey, as a signatory to Humanist Manifesto I wasn’t thinking of a proper social order that yields allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eighty years later this kind of thinking was still holding sway in the Educational Establishment.
Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.”(6) Dr. Chester Pierce, Harvard University, keynote address to the Association for Childhood Education International, Denver, Colorado, April 1972
There were voices of protest in the Church against this denial of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the realm of education,
“I am as sure as I am of the fact of Christ’s reign that a comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed, will prove the most appalling enginery for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, which this sin-rent world has ever seen… It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from the public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes the least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter how small a minority the atheists or the agnostics may be. It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it is carried out in all parts of the country, the United States’ system of national popular education will be the most efficient and wide instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen” (A. A. Hodge, “Popular Lectures on Theological Themes,” 1889, pages 281-283) (7).
The Church, as is her custom, ignored her prophets.

Jurisprudence 

In the area of Law, men like Christopher Columbus Langdell, Roscoe Pound, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Benjamin Cardozo moved the discipline of law away from its Biblical moorings evinced in Puritan Commonwealth documents like “Abstract of the Laws of New England,” towards standards that evinced a humanistic, evolutionary, naturalistic and Statist paradigm. In the late 1800’s Langdell did yeoman’s work moving law training away from a century of Lawyers in America concentrating on what the Constitution said to Darwinian inspired notions of where the law was perceived to be moving (case law training). By Langdell’s work, the Constitution came to be seen to be evolving under the guidance of an imperial judiciary. Roscoe Pound followed Langdell at Harvard Law School and strengthened Langdell’s notions of law set inside a evolutionary Weltanschauung. At one point Pound wrote,
We have . . . the same task in jurisprudence that has been achieved in philosophy, in the natural sciences and in politics. We have to rid ourselves of this sort of legality and to attain a pragmatic, a sociological legal science.” (8) Mechanical Jurisprudence” by Roscoe Pound, Columbia Law Review, vol. 8, no. 8, December 1908, p. 609
It would take paragraphs to tease out all that is wrong about this quote but at the very least here Pound, following Langdell, subtly advocates using the Law in an evolutionary sense (hence the need for a pragmatic nature) so as to serve pagan-elitist perceived changing societal norms. Secondly, Pound presupposes that Law can be a ‘legal science’ as if that ‘legal science’ can exist without being derivative of some Theology or some God concept. Science of any form is just a handmaid to some Theology. Pound’s irrational search was for an objective point of reference based upon changing subjective norms. Pound’s desire to attain a pragmatic, sociological legal science presupposes a pagan theological paradigm (legal positivism) that is in anti-thesis with a Biblical paradigm.
Oliver Wendell Holmes served on the US Supreme Court from 1902-1932, in defining truth Holmes could write that it was, “the majority vote of the nation that can lick all the others.” Holmes’ view of law paralleled his view of truth as he rejected absolutist transcendent moral categories for law opting instead for a kind of cultural relativism.
“The justification of a law for us cannot be found in the fact that our fathers always have followed it. It must be found in some help which the law brings toward reaching a social end.” (9) Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Collected Legal Papers. NY: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1920. P. 225, “The Law in Science—the Science in Law.” Cited in Barton, Original Intent. P. 229.
Once again, we see an evolutionary view of law where Law is understood not as something static or eternal but rather as a something that is constantly in flux serving always changing social ends.
Finally, for purposes illustrative to show that some other Lord has usurped the Crown Rights of King Jesus in the field of Law and to establish that a neutral realm is a myth we cull a couple quotes from former US Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo who said, “I take judge-made law as one of the existing realities of life.”(10) The Nature of the Judicial Process 10 (1921) What is judge-made law except that it is a man-made law with man as Lord? In another place Cardozo stated,
“If there is any law which is back of the sovereignty of the state, and superior thereto, it is not law in such a sense as to concern the judge or lawyer, however much it concerns the statesman or the moralist.”(11) Benjamin Cardozo Problematics, supra note 2, at 1638
Here Cardozo clearly has citizens living, moving and having their being in the State.
The Church has the clear responsibility of proclaiming to God’s people that the transcendent reference point for Law is found in the Law-Word of King Jesus and it is the Church’s shame that her pulpits are full of men who are mute to this responsibility.

Sociology 

Sociology, in our culture, is a given but the word itself wasn’t coined until the 19th century by Auguste Comte. Comte came up with Sociology as a way to explain men’s behavior apart from Biblical Christianity. In America men like Lester Frank Ward, William Graham Sumner, Albion Small, and Franklin Giddings were pioneers in anchoring the humanistic, evolutionary, naturalistic, and Statist paradigm of Sociology (whether leftist or rightist) on the American consciousness.
Sumner was a Darwinist influenced by Herbert Spencer. That Sumner pushed an evolutionary, humanistic and statist sociology is seen in his teaching.
“Nothing but might has ever made right, and if we include in might (as we ought) elections and the doctrines of the courts, nothing but might makes right now…. if a thing has been done and is established by force (that is no force can reverse it), it is right in the only sense we can know and rights will follow from it which are not vitiated at all by the forces in it. There would be no security at all for rights if this were not so.” (12) Folkways: A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals
It seems that Chairman Mao’s famous aphorism that ‘power comes out of the barrel of a gun’ was just a pithy reduction of the American sociologist Sumner.
Franklin Giddings sociological paradigm shared with Comte’s the idea that mankind had progressed in an evolutionary fashion through certain stages. Whereas Comte had three stages, Gidding’s discerned four stages of human evolution: zoogenic, anthropogenic, ethnogenic and demogenic. Like Comte, he believed that he lived in times that were an expression of the higher end of the evolutionary scale.
Ironically, Frank Lester Ward used Darwin and Spencer to fight the Social Darwinism of the Gilded Age. Ward revealed how in debt he was to Darwin’s evolutionary thinking and perhaps Hegel’s dialectic in his Address as the President of the American Sociological Society at its First Annual Meeting.
(Sociology) has gone farther even than physics, which has thus far only discovered the law of gravitation, but has not yet discovered its cause or principle. Sociology has not only established the law of social evolution, but it has found the principle underlying and explaining that law. Just as in biology the world was never satisfied with the law of organic evolution worked out by Goethe and Lamarck until the principle of natural selection was discovered which explained the workings of that law, so in sociology is was not enough to formulate the law of social evolution, however clear it may have been, and the next step has been taken in bringing to light the sociological homologue of natural selection which explains the process of social evolution. That principle is not the same as natural selection, but it serves the same purpose. It also resembles the latter in growing out of the life-struggle and in being a consequence of it; but, instead of consisting in the hereditary selection of the successful elements of that struggle, it consists in the ultimate union of the opposing elements and their combination and assimilation. Successively higher and higher social structures are thus created by a process of natural synthesis, and society evolves from stage to stage. The struggling groups infuse into each other the most vigorous qualities of each, cross all the hereditary strains, double their social efficiency at each cross, and place each new product on a higher plane of existence. It is the cross-fertilization of cultures.(13)
In this quote, we see several naturalistic, and humanistic presuppositions. First, Ward cites that sociology has ‘established’ the law of social evolution, which is the Hegelian synthesis between the thesis and anti-thesis of competing social structures. This presupposes a purely naturalistic mechanism that locks the God of the Bible out of the equation. Second, Ward’s presupposition of a closed world is seen in the whole notion of a sociological evolution that needs a homologue to biological natural selection.

Psychology 

The individualistic attempt to do in an anti-Christian fashion what Sociology attempted to do on a corporate level started as phrenology and eventually developed (?) into what we today call Psychology. Today, Psychology like Sociology is a given in the American mindset, and like sociology in its origin, it was anti-Christ to the core. Psychology became part of the America psyche thanks to work of men like Freud, Jung, Rogers, Maslow, Skinner and a host of others. The various fields of psychology and sociology have spawned countless fields in the West the way Spielberg’s Gremlins multi-duplicated with the addition of water, and with just as much danger.
Clearly, neither sociology nor psychology dwells in a neutral realm and as such the Church needs to proclaim the crown rights of King Jesus over these realms of thought.
I would submit that regardless of what discipline we inquire into (including Christian Theology) we find that Secular Humanist presuppositions and assumptions holding the field so much so that a foundational challenge to these positions is often taken as an un-Christian attack on good wholesome teaching by those in the Church who spent their formative years being trained in the “Secular” realm where reason was King and in a Church where God’s law-word was either ignored or reinterpreted through the assumptions of Secular Humanism. All of this is why in 1961 Harry Blamire could say,
“There is no longer a Christian mind….As a thinking being, the modern Christian has succumbed to secularization. He accepts religion – its morality, its worship, its spiritual culture; but he rejects the religious view of life, the view which sets all earthly issues with the context of the eternal, the view which relates all human problems – social, political, cultural – to the foundations of the Christian Faith, the view which sees all things here below in terms of God’s supremacy and earth’s transitoriness, in terms of heaven and hell.” (14) Harry Blamires The Christian Mind pg. 4
Blamires’ point wasn’t that there weren’t still some people living who thought like Christians, rather his point was that the context for conversations among those people in different disciplines didn’t exist in such a way that the influence of Christian thought could be brought to bear upon a set people or culture. Blamires’ point seemed to be then that those who did think like Christians were so isolated in their various fields that for all intensive purposes the Christian mind was in eclipse.
The purpose of establishing these matters by our light dusting is that,
1.) There is no such thing as a neutral or secular or common realm. Neutrality is a myth. Therefore the Church must proclaim the Lordship of Jesus in these areas.
2.) ‘Neutral’ realms are always reflective of some Theology and are derivative of and beholden to some God concept.
3.) If the transcendent and absolute standard of King Jesus is not the standard by which we measure in the putative secular realm then some other standard of some other Lord will become the standard by which we measure in the ‘secular’ realm.
Though these disciplines have ‘evolved’ over time, there is little evidence that on a large scale they have ‘evolved’ in a Biblical direction. The covenant seed continues to be trained in ways that compromise their confession that Jesus Christ is King.
The reason that the Church needs to return to a proclamation of Jesus Mediatorial Kingship is first because it is the Church’s unique privilege and responsibility to proclaim King Jesus in more than an abstract or gnostic fashion.
Second, none of our other cultural institutions are going to do it since they have already largely been compromised by the Spirit of the age. We are now several generations into this kind of evolutionary, humanistic, naturalistic and statist Weltanschauung and if Reformation and awakening is to come there has to be some institution that is sounding the tocsin seeking to alert God’s people that Jesus is not a gnostic King and that God’s people are responsible to think His thoughts after Him in every area of life and measure by the King’s standard.
From Darkness To Light
This is a proclamation though that the Church must make in the face of severe resistance for our churches are often led by professionals who have been trained in an unbiblical Worldview, who, because of that, will likely feel ideologically threatened by such a bold proclamation. As just one example, see how threatened people feel, if, from the pulpit or the lectern, it is insisted that the Lordship of Jesus requires parents to pull their children that God has given them out of Government Schools since such education is universally premised upon false gods and as such is idolatrous.(15) Secondly, proclamations of the Lordship of Jesus Christ will also face resistance because frankly much of the Church in America is filled with people who prefer to be entertained and who would leave for other Churches if it were required of them to do the difficult work of thinking. (16) Thirdly, proclamations of the Lordship of Jesus Christ will face resistance because the implications of submitting to that Lordship could be personally and professionally ruinous for people. Imagine Biology Teachers showing up in school prepared to teach something as innocuous as intelligent design. Finally, proclamations of the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the Church will face resistance because many church goers don’t like and aren’t equipped for the confrontation that this doctrine brings in a culture where other lords are in usurpation against King Jesus.
The remedy for all of this is easy to advocate but harder to implement. The remedy, as we have suggested, is first, found in eliminating the notion of a secular realm, if by secular realm we mean a realm that is unaffected or unmoved by some Theology. While Dr. Martin was correct to insist that there is no institutional hierarchy there can be no doubt that Theology remains the Queen of the Sciences, the protestations of modernism notwithstanding. In order to provide solution to the current problem of compartmentalization we must first recognize that no realm exists nor can exist that is not derivative of some Lord or lords and hence some Theology. One’s belief about God drives everything. Everything about us is the outward manifestation of our inward beliefs about the character and nature of some God. As a Christian people we must wake up to the fact that everything, that happens around us from School curriculum, to magazine covers, to Presidential Speeches, to forms of government, to what is considered chic in apparel, to hairstyles, to music, to parenting styles, is driven by some faith commitment which in turn descends from some God concept. The only question is which faith commitment and which God. Neutrality is a myth. Once that is recognized we must go on, as Dr. Martin tirelessly repeated to re-interpret every area of life in light of the Scripture.
Second we must expose the aberrant theologies that are currently being incarnated into this realm we call secular and presume to be neutral. The realm that we now call secular in all actuality is a humanist realm largely ruled by the State and it won’t be satisfied until all Christian notions of ‘sacred’ are either completely isolated to what happens in the Church building on Sunday or isolated to a very private sphere of personal holiness. In heralding the Lordship of Jesus Christ the Church must expose Humanism for the faith system that it is. Like all other faith systems humanism does have a sense of the Sacred (The Nation State absolutized). Humanism is a faith system, like all faith systems, that is replete with Priests (Psychologists to whom moderns make their confession), sacraments, (abortion and the vote) catechisms (school textbooks), and martyrs (Matthew Shepherd). Since it is a Worldview System in opposition to the God of the Bible it’s sense of the Sacred and its Holy is what Biblical Christians would consider profane and unholy. In Secular Humanism, Man, considered either individually or collectively, is that which is ultimately Sacred, and since Man absolutized handles all that he handles apart from God, all that Man absolutized makes sacred is therefore automatically profane from the view of a Christ submitting Christian. If the Church is to return to the proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ from the pulpit then it must at the same time seek to demolish every stronghold and pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. In our times and in this country that means an extended assault on humanism; the defacto established religion of this country. Does the Church and its ministers have the courage to do that?
Thirdly, understanding that Theology remains the core discipline that informs all other disciplines every college student should be required to start with the core discipline of Theology before moving on to other disciplines that are but seeking to express and incarnate the core discipline in sundry ways. Failing the pursuit of that solution, at the very least Professors ought to be required to reverse engineer their disciplines so that the students have the opportunity to see how their discipline is growing up out of the soil of Scripture.
Fourthly, ministry students should be required to take classes that seek to integrate Theology, Worldview thinking, and Christian Ethics.
These four solutions are nothing but the re-articulation of Dr. Martins’ call to know what we believe and why we believe it and what we don’t believe and why we don’t believe it.
Impact
Where the Church and God’s people take seriously Jesus office as King in an unrestricted sense there a cultural context is created that makes it easier for the gospel to be heard by unbelievers. Think of context and text when reading a book. The context helps the reader to make sense of the text that he is immediately reading. The text itself would be nonsense if it were set in an entirely different context. In the same way when the ‘Gospel’ goes forward in a cultural context that is informed by the unrestricted Kingship of Jesus, there the text of ‘Jesus Christ as the great High Priest’ makes more sense. Where Jesus in His Kingly office is lived out there isn’t such a huge disconnect between the message of Jesus Christ crucified and the reality of a culture that is defying King Jesus at every turn. When we don’t live out allegiance to Jesus in His Mediatorial office of King we make it more difficult for people to hear the strains of the message of the great commission because we are helping to create a social order context that is in opposition to the gospel proclamation. Consequently when we disconnect the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate to have dominion under King Jesus what we inevitably end up creating are Christians who view their salvation as unrelated to their cultural endeavors, or who see their cultural endeavors as unrelated to their salvation. The result would be to give us both an anti-nomian Church and an anti-nomian culture.
When we find the proper tension between these offices we discover that people who have been saved and brought into the Kingdom, now seek to bring that salvation wherein they have been saved into every area of life, so that those spheres may experience salvation. In obedience to King Jesus those who have been saved by Jesus as their great High Priest now bring salvation to the gardens they tend, and the children they raise, and the books they write, and the Churches they attend, and the judicial decisions they hand down, and the art they paint, and on and on. So, as Jesus in His Priestly office saves individuals, they bring that salvation to their corporate life in obedience to Jesus in His Kingly office, which in turn, as we noted above, provides a general cultural context where it is easier for unsaved individuals to comprehend the Gospel.
Now if the objection is raised that what I am contending for is a kind of naturalistic program for the Church where I deny the supernaturalistic agency of God for men to be Redeemed and instead am relying on cultural infrastructure to convert lost men, I would respond by saying that God appoints means to ends. The salvation that the Spirit of Christ brings to men, while a spiritual reality, happens inside a physical and corporeal context. I would say that it is gnostic to suggest that we can get to the spiritual reality without considering the physical context. Men will never be saved by the proper cultural infrastructure but it is certain that their natural individual resistance to the message of Christ crucified will be accentuated and emboldened by cultural infrastructure that is built in defiance of King Jesus.
God putting the offices of Jesus together they must not be cast asunder. The Church must return to proclaiming the Crown Rights Of King Jesus in every area of life.

How Is It That We Are “Not Under Law?”

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

When St. Paul writes about not being “under the law,” he is not at that point teaching us that being Christian means being antinomian. The not being under the law that Paul is referencing here has to do with the freedom from the condemnation of the law that is a reality for all those outside of Christ. Man, as being mortal is always governed by some law and so it is literally not possible to be free from law in the sense of having a lawless existence.

Freedom from the condemnation of the law is the good news the Gospel brings. Outside of Christ, we are forever burdened by the accusation of God’s law that we are guilty of not keeping God’s law. In Christ, we are free from that accusation (and the condemnation following) that we are guilty of because of our violating God’s law, and we are free from the condemnation of God’s law precisely because Christ is the one, in His crucifixion, who, as our substitute, already received in Himself the penalty and condemnation that was properly designed for us due to our breaking of God’s law.

Having been set free from the condemnation of God’s law we are now at liberty to walk in terms of God’s law without any fear because there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We are those who no longer walk consistent with our sinful former appetites but who now walk according to our law honoring desires as we are new creations.

That God’s law still functions in our life is the great presupposition of Scripture. After all, how could we ever successfully honor the call to lay aside sin

in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.  (Ephesians 4:22)

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us … (Hebrews 12:1)

unless there was a standard by which we could know whereby that sin is determined? If we are not under law in the sense that the law no longer exists for the Christian then there is no possibility for us to sin, since without law sin does not exist. If we are not under law in the sense that the law no longer exists for the Christian then right and wrong and good and bad really are only existential social constructs with the result that every Christian does what is right in their own eyes. 

The Divine Right of Judiciaries?

It was Samuel Rutherford in “Lex Rex,” who put a shimmy in the idea of the Divine Rights of Kings. This idea posited that as Kings were anointed by God none could gainsay their authority. When the King spoke it was ipso facto law. This was a Rex Lex (King is Law) model. Rutherford stood that on its head and insisted, to the contrary, that God’s law was King over Kings.

Over time the doctrine of the Divine Rights of Kings transmuted in England to, “Divine Rights of Parliament.” Actually, it was this thinking that the Colonialists in 1776 squared up against. English Parliament was acting in such a way that communicated that there was no authority above their authority. The Colonialists begged to differ.

You can even find epochs where some have argued that Presbyteries were acting like they believed in a doctrine we might call “the Divine Right of Presbytery.” John Milton complained once that, “New presbyter is but old priest writ large.” He was complaining about the instinct of Presbyters to invest themselves with “The Divine Right of Presbytery.”

Now we are living in a time when we have to put up with this old idea but now as invested in our Courts. We have arrived at a doctrine of “The Divine Rights of Judiciary.” Witness the Obergefell decision. No Federal legislative body has passed laws saying Marriage no longer means marriage and yet SCOTUS and its sycophants are insisting that a mere ruling from these Black Robed Clowns means that the States have to embrace their decision as if it has the force of law. It doesn’t. It’s their opinion and that is all it is.

Even if a Federal Legislative body codified not-marriage as marriage that wouldn’t make it legal. It is not possible for legislation that seeks to legislate non-reality into existence to be legitimate. Legislation that calls a cow-pie, a jelly-roll doesn’t make it a jelly-roll. And legislation that calls perversity “marriage” doesn’t and can’t make it marriage.

Inasmuch as many many of our Institutions have rebelled against God’s Law and have rebelled against the “Divine Right of God,” in that much we no longer owe these usurpers our obedience.

SCOTUS Gives White Kids A Lift Up With Quota Requirements

 
White kids everywhere were rejoicing when it was announced today that the US Supreme Court decided that University of Texas admission official may legally consider the race of student applicants in a limited way in order to build a diverse student body on the UT campus.

Knowledgeable White students realize that the implication of this ruling is that their chances of making it into historically black schools like Grambling State University and Alcorn State University were now dramatically improved thanks to the SCOTUS ruling.

Wise Latina female Supreme Court Justice Sotomayer was quoted as saying, “It’s long past time that White children have the same opportunity at these prestigious Universities that others have had.”

 
 The decision was a surprising win for advocates of affirmative action, who say the benefits of diversity at the nation’s colleges and universities are worth completely ignoring the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection that forbids and makes no provision for the government making decisions based on racial classifications.

Some Supreme Court watchers and legal experts believe that the implications of this decisions will mean more white point guards on NCAA division one teams as well as a influx of White and perhaps even Asian defensive lineman on University football teams.  Sports professionals insisted that one implication of this decision would be the diminution of quality at these positions in the future. One General Manager of an NBA team said, “I look for the output at the point guard position in the NBA to decline over the next 15 years.

The Obama Administration’s response to the SCOTUS decision was mixed. White bread White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said to reporters that, “I look forward to the day when a Kenyan can hold this position. Diversity is the strength in the Spokesperson business.”