“The pluralism of the Noahic covenant requires members of the human community, Christians included, to cultivate the virtue of tolerance. Tolerance is a proper feature of justice in our fallen but pressured world.”
Politics After Christendom
The above quote was posted as a tweet on twitter by a clergy member who has a Ph.D from the vaunted London School of Economics and is reputed to be an intellectual pillar of the Church. Said minister is quoting this in an approving manner. Apparently it is from a new book that is to be released in April by Van Drunnen on a Reformed Church already punch drunk from his theology of contradictions.
I post this post, first, in order to shred this quote and secondly to demonstrate again how torpid our current clergy corps is. This quote and the mindset that developed it (Van Drunen) as well as the mindset that embraces it is reflective of how far the modern Reformed church has fallen if only because such a “theology” as this represents is completely innovative and has never been held by any Reformed clergy at any time or in any place. In other words the idea that Christians are not supposed to rule in the public square and that it is wrong for Christians to advocate that Christian magistrates rule consistently with God’s Word (as opposed to ruling by the invocation of Natural Law) is an innovation that has zero historical legs prior to the last fifty years. It is complete balderdash.
So, let us examine, first what this quote means in language that isn’t technical. In R2K “theology” (we only call it theology by way of courtesy) the Noahic covenant was a covenant that applied to all mankind and not merely the redemptive line. As such it was a common grace covenant. The implications of this therefore are that in the public square we must realize that God does not rule by His Law-Word as expressed in Scripture but rather rules by Natural Law. Further, because the public square is the space of common grace where all men interact, therefore the public square must be characterized by tolerance (principled pluralism — so called). This means that no one God should be uniquely God of the public square since the God of the Bible, via the Noahaic covenant has ordained that the public square is a realm of common grace and not saving grace and therefore it is to be legislated by a judicial framework that is NOT uniquely Christian but rather one that can be common to all men; to wit, Natural law.
Therefore tolerance is the virtue of all virtues as it relates to the public square. The Noahic covenant included all mankind and therefore is the basis of a required tolerance in and for the public square.
Now, of course what this theory must embrace for the common square is the idea that neutrality obtains in the common square. All men, regardless of their religion, can come into the common square and because they all have access (despite the contested presuppositions of their various religions) to a Natural law that they each and all share. The great premise of this haberdash theology is that the presuppositions of the various religions as owned by various men does not impact the way that they each and all interpret Natural law. In R2K “theology” common grace gives to all men the ability to agree on how natural law should be interpreted and understood. On a prima facie basis this should be instantly recognized to be thorough-going fantasy theology.
Now, as to the Noahic covenant let us note a few matters in order to eliminate the idea that it was a common grace covenant made with all men through Noah.
1.) The Noahic covenant, contra Van Drunen is thoroughly redemptive, both in looking back to creation and looking forward to Christ. Consider that the whole scenic panorama of Noah hearkens back to Adam. Noah is a second Adam who has, by God’s grace, been placed in a garden type setting after God conquers chaos (cmp. Gen. 1:2). Noah, like the first Adam is commissioned to be fruitful and multiply like Adam. All of this is a kind of repristination of the creation account and the Noahic covenant, as part of the covenant of grace, finds Noah as the representative Adam standing in for all mankind. As such it points us back to creation and yet forward to Christ because this new Adam (Noah) falls thus communicating there is a champion seed of the woman yet to come. This is about as redemptive as it gets.
2.) The Noahic covenant comes immediately after the flood which is in I Peter likened unto a Baptism. That is redemptive language. Now, combine this 2nd Adam, who has gone through the flood waters of Baptism, immediately offers sacrifice to God upon landing and it beggars the mind to suggest the Noahic covenant is not a redemptive covenant.
3.) The Noahic covenant is redemptive because inasmuch as the Noahic covenant promises continued life for mankind, in that much there will be those elect within all mankind who will be called and placed in the covenant of Grace. In other words, the general or common aspect of the Noahic covenant serves the larger purpose of maintaining a population out of which the Redeemed will be plucked.
The idea that the Noahic covenant is a common grace covenant related to creation and not redemption does not withstand sustained examination.