Examining Dr. VanDrunen Interview with Reformed Forum — Part I

It is no surprise to anyone that I absolutely loathe R2K as taught by Westminster California as well as other incarnations of it (i.e. – D. G. Hart, Matthew J. Tuininga, T. David Gordon, Carl Trueman etc.). I am absolutely convinced that it is the kind of “theology” (the word used only by way of courtesy) that will guarantee a further Babylonian Captivity of the Church resulting in its eventual Institutional enervation. Further, I believe that those who are pressing R2K on the church are enemies of Biblical Christianity whether intentionally or unintentionally. Charity requires to believe that these folks have the best of intentions. Wisdom requires me to remind myself that good intentions pave the road to hell.

Having said that there is a new book rolling out this April by Dr. David Van Drunen (hereafter DVD) titled, “Politics after Christendom: Political Theology in a Fractured World.” In this book Dr. DVD continues to purse the R2K agenda as it applies to “Christian” political theory. I have already had one go at a quote from this book which can be found here,

http://ironink.org/?p=8036

Today, I took the opportunity to listen to an 68 minute interview with Dr. DVD with Camden Bucey on the Reformed Forum dealing with the forthcoming DVD book, which can be accessed here,

https://reformedforum.org/ctc633/?fbclid=IwAR2RPcamfPPkxuj7P-QdiRY-uI-jMPZhjXXGum2McMtlqu28N92wVdiDAP8

On the whole, the R2K project remains the same. The only difference I found in this interview regarding Dr. DVD’s R2K is that whereas in the past the Reformed Deep State has tried to cram R2K down the Reformed Church’s gullet, this time around the Reformed Deep State has opted to dress R2K in evening wear and seek to convince the viewers that R2K has undergone modifications and that DVD is walking back some of the previous imbecilic tenets once characteristic of R2K. Don’t you believe it. The language has softened, the sharp edges have been sanded off, and the theology is wearing a Monique Lhuillier Glitter Firework Gathered Bodice Evening Gown but this is the same ugly toothless R2K that these guys have been marketing since they began.

In order to analyze this we will give the time stamp on the linked interview and make some appropriate comments.

A.) 15:17 Mark – Here DVD starts waxing eloquent about the importance of inter-disciplinary studies in order to get a integrated understanding of reality. I agree with that. But remember this is a man who does not believe that there is such a thing as a distinctly Christian Philosophy, Politics, Economic, Legal theory, etc. So, how can someone get an integrated understanding of reality who doesn’t believe that reality can be integrated consistently along explicitly Christian lines? Indeed, some R2K aficionados talk about R2K in terms of the “hyphenated life.” Integrated indeed.

B.) 19:00 Mark – Here DVD is talking about the death of Christendom and the new world we are living in where not everybody in the community is a member of the Church. He talks about how even churches have embraced the idea of “freedom of religion” for a social order. We would note here that DVD is talking about Pluralism, which grew out of the Enlightenment.

What DVD doesn’t seem to understand is that freedom of religion is a myth. Christianity as a religion requires (as one example) marriage as to be between a man and a woman. We no longer have freedom of religion for Christianity because that has been taken away by the State religion of humanism. So DVD talks about the end of Christendom, and about that he is, unfortunately, right but DVD presumes now that the public square and the Government is no longer conditioned by a public religion. He fails to see that, like ancient Rome, our pluralism (freedom of religion) is conditioned upon being servile to the Humanist State. There is no freedom of religion. There is no pluralism. Everything is inside the State and all is for the state. In the Humanist State we live and breathe and have our being.

R2K has always been in support of Enlightenment liberalism. R2K supports the Enlightenment project of pluralism. DVD notes the end of Christendom and doesn’t admit that what we have now is Humanism-dom. The public square is NOT common but rather is committed to advancing the Kingdom of Humanism.

C.) 24:40 Mark – Here DVD advanced the notions without qualification that governments are legitimate. Here we must take exception. While it is certainly true that some governments are legitimate it is in nowise true that all governments are legitimate. One wonders, for example, what John Knox would have said to the idea that the Queen Mary was legitimate no matter what? Keep in mind that it was Know who pointedly told Queen Mary that any monarch, regardless of gender, could be defied if they became tyrants. So much for DVD’s idea that all governments are legitimate.

D.) 26:00 Mark – Here DVD argues that governments are common. Now, keep in mind that nothing has changed in DVD’s understanding that governments by definition can NOT be Christian. So, when DVD says that governments are common he is saying that governments are a-religious. That is what common means. Governments as common in R2K speak means that they are to operate according to the universally shared Natural law and not particularly consistent with God’s revealed law. To this idea, we take strong exception. Governments are not common, if by common one means that they are not distinctly beholden to some theology and religion. There is no government that is not pinned on or descending from or a reflecting of or beholden to, or shaped by some religion or theology.

E.) 29:00 Mark – Here DVD tries to soften his idea that government is common by insisting that government is also accountable. Later he teases that out to say that Government is common but not neutral. This might sound like an advance from the 26:00 minute mark but keep in mind here when DVD says that government is not neutral what is being left unsaid is that which makes government not neutral is not Christianity but Natural law. It is Natural law that ensures that government is not neutral. However, as we have asked before, “Whose Natural Law?” The Muslim’s Natural Law? The Jew’s Natural Law? The Hindu’s Natural Law? The Christian’s Natural Law? DVD wants to suggest that Natural Law will work to make government not neutral but the fly in the ointment is that Natural Law is not a stable standard by which to adjudicate the public square. In this section he also talks briefly about the government and justice but what is justice apart from some religious / theological standard by which to measure justice?

F.) 37:00 Mark – Here DVD tries to have his proverbial cake while eating at the same time. He invokes a number of theologians who he says agrees with him on his general paradigm of the Noahic covenant as common (Voss, Kuyper, Bavinck) and then turns around and says that he is doing something that has never been done before theologically. So, at one and the same time DVD is in the grand tradition of Voss, Kuyper, Bavinck, and others while also being sui generis in his theology. It’s like saying, “I’m completely consistent with those who have gone before except when I’m not,” or, “I am a traditionalist, except when I’m innovative.” Not only does DVD give us Two Kingdoms to embrace but he also gives us two fences to straddle.

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 “Examining Dr. VanDrunen Interview with Reformed Forum — Part I”

  1. Actually I liked his definition of the term “Christendom” and his fair treatment of it historically as the Church and State working somewhat harmoniously under God together. But then he loses it and his implicit embrace of pluralism comes out and it is almost like this commitment gives him cause to celebrate the death of Christendom at the hands of modernism which he holds as superior. He even admits as much at 19:10-30. The whole section from 16:30 – 20:04 reveals his commitment to pluralism and his rejection of what he admits is an “integrated view”. From this commitment to a “dis-integrated” view stems forth all DvD’s error. And the other thing that characterizes this interview is his “seeking but never attaining” a truth that you can assert with certainty even though he asserts it as dogma. In essence, we preach uncertainty and we preach it certainly.

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