Examining Dr. VanDrunen Interview with Reformed Forum — Part II

We continue to demonstrate the grave and serious deficiencies of R2K theology as expressed in this interview with Dr. David Van Drunen done with a view of hawking his upcoming book, “Politics after Christendom: Political Theology in a Fractured World.”


G.) 37:00b Mark – Also at this point in the interview DVD returns to a central theme in his “theology” and that is his insistence that the Noahic covenant has zero redemptive significance. This position has, in the past, been challenged repeatedly. DVD however can not give this position up because it is the lynch pin of his innovative system. The Noahic covenant was not a redemptive covenant and so must be common. This position allows DVD to pivot to say that the Noahic covenant is the covenant that all mankind operates and functions in during their lifetime when those who are believers are not operating and functioning within the Church. One implication of this for DVD and R2K is that the Church and the Kingdom are identified as exact synonyms. There is nothing outside the Church realm as existing in the public square that is an expression of the Kingdom of God. Everything outside the church realm as existing in the public square is a common realm relating back to the common Noahic covenant. The common Noahic covenant teaches us that there is no such thing as Christian politics, Christian economics, Christian Education, Christian family, etc. since all these function within the common Noahic covenant and not as ancilliaries to the Kingdom of God.

That DVD is in error regarding his assertion that the Noahic covenant “doesn’t make any promises of Redemption,” can be seen inasmuch as the Noahic covenant is in point of fact highly redemptive, both in looking back to creation and looking forward to Christ.

First one finds the flood being presented in similar terms as the chaos of Gen. 1:2, and the ark’s landing on dry land and Noah’s commission by God to be fruitful and multiply both echo the original creation narrative. The rescue of Noah was a Redemptive rescue and this is hinted at when Noah offers sacrifice to God upon being released from the Ark. If the Noahic covenant was truly common would we see a blood sacrifice associated with it?

Second, the Noahic is Redemptive if only because it ends in a “new creation — restoration.” The Noahic covenant is a proleptic and typological event that portrays the final and ultimate redemption to be found in Christ. The Noahic covenant is thus, contrary to DVD’s assertion, Redemptive.

The fact that the Noahic covenant is Redemptive is pointed to in I Peter in such explicit terms it is difficult to believe that anybody could hold the Noahic covenant as common. The flood water symbolizes Baptism which is the sign and seal of Redemption by Jesus Christ.

I Peter 1:20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Eight were saved (Redeemed). The flood water symbolizes Baptism which is the sign and seal of Redemption by Jesus Christ.

Now, no one would argue that the Noahic covenant didn’t have implications for what R2K calls the “common realm,” but clearly the Noahic covenant is a Redemptive covenant. Noah points us back to creation and speaks of its renewal, but points us forward to the ultimate renewal in Christ. It is thoroughly redemptive, not merely “common.”

If the Noahic covenant made promises of Redemption, contrary to DVD, then his whole R2K project fails. Let it fail.

H.) 41:20 Mark – Here DVD admits that he has changed the nomenclature so as to tamp down 2K speak in favor of using covenantal type language. However, this is merely a stylistic move on his part to the end of making the whole R2K project palatable. It’s like calling a “Milky Way” candy bar a “Snickers” candy bar. You can call it anything you like but it remains a “Milky Way” candy bar. DVD is changing the wrapping but retaining the R2K content. I couldn’t help but giggle when DVD’s conversation partner noted that this was a “winsome” move.

I.) 43:35 Mark – Here DVD launches into his understanding of the Nature vs. Grace dialectic as it pertains to R2K. Historically, the Reformed have typically advanced the idea that grace restores nature thus communicating that the effect that grace has upon nature is to increasingly and incrementally bring it back to its original intent as opposed to the continuing spiral of non-definition that occurs when nature is left unnourished by grace. What DVD tells us he wants to do is to introduce a dualistic component to the nature and grace dialectic. DVD insists that the historic Reformed idea that “grace restores nature” is too simplistic and what is needed is a bit more complexity. As such DVD offers this new arrangement on the relationship between nature and grace; “Common grace preserves nature while Special grace consummates nature.”

Notice, that this arrangement is really necessary for the millennialism that informs R2K. Whereas in the previous arrangement of grace restoring nature there is a teleogoical purpose for grace as it nourishes and so restores nature. DVD’s new arrangement deletes that. Now instead of a teleological movement towards restoration there is only preservation. To preserve something is to merely make sure it doesn’t go bad. It has no effect to restore what may have been lost. This idea of common grace preserving nature is the perfect Amillennial metaphor. It strikes me that if this kind of language was adopted one end effect would be to institutionalize R2K Amillennialism in Christian theology. This is something that no postmillennialist or even optimistic Amillennialist could ever countenance.
The second to the two tropes that DVD provides is “special grace consummates nature.” This arrangement demonstrates again that for the R2K crowd there is no continuity between the work of grace in successfully expanding the Kingdom unto Christi’s return and Christ’s return. Instead, what we find packed into this notion that “special grace consummates” nature is the Amillennial eschatology which teaches that the end will be a catastrophic in-breaking into a common grace preserved world not preserved well enough.

J.) – 48:00 Mark – Here DVD once again mis-charaterizes historic Calvinism by suggesting that some Calvinists (non-R2K Calvinists) think that they, by their own trans-formative efforts, can transform the world into Christ’s Kingdom. DVD suggests that we don’t realize how great of a change must be made to see the world transformed. Of course DVD is in error (once again) here. No historic Calvinist has ever believed that by our efforts we bring in the Kingdom. For DVD to even hint at that is nothing but a gratuitous slur. Historical Calvinists have always believe that God brings in His Kingdom incrementally, over time (parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Leaven) and that God’s people are one of the means by which God does His work wherein grace restores nature. Historic Calvinists are under no illusion how great a work of grace is required for God to expand His Kingdom until it covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. One of the greatest works of grace that must be done for the expansion of the Kingdom is the defeat of R2K thinking which in anticipating defeat insures defeat – which in diminishing the Kingdom to the Church insures the Kingdom will never extend beyond the Church.

K.)48:35 Mark – Briefly, DVD mentions his “new language” in refernce to his R2K project thus again testifying that DVD is giving us a completely innovative Reformed theology which has NEVER been seen before. This isn’t your Grandfather’s Calvinism. This isn’t even Calvin’s Calvinism.

L.) 56:00 Mark – Here DVD takes the opportunity to slam Christendom as an attempt by Christians to make this world our home. DVD prefers the Pilgrim and Exile theme. Of course if we were to adopt DVD’s R2K “theology” we would insure that the Kingship of Jesus Christ would always be the tail and not the head in our social orders. If we were to adopt DVD’s R2K “theology” not only would Christendom continue in abeyance but also we would be supporting the rise of Kingdoms in our social order that existed in defiance of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. No Christendom means the presence of Islamadom, Judaidom, Humanismdom, or Hindudom. A theology simply cannot remove Christendom as an option without at the very least making way for the rise of anti-Christendom and at the worst aiding and abetting the rise of anti-Christendom. This explains partially, the absolute wickedness of R2K.

This review was not intended to be exhaustive. There is much more that could be commented upon. I wanted to hit with what I thought were the really low points of the interview.

Let’s close with general observations. First, we would note that R2K theology front-loads the “not-yet” of our eschatology “now-not yet” paradigm while diminishing the now-ness of our eschatology. R2K is a project that demands that the now of the “now-not yet” does not exist, or if it does exist it exists as only a spirtiual (read Gnostic) reality. Per R2K, all that “now” stuff of “now-not yet” is for the eschaton. The R2K boys seemingly delight in the crucifixion absent the resurrection, ascension and session of the Lord Christ. They seem to believe that all our lives now as Christians, while on earth, is in the service of a defeated Savior who only reigns “spiritually.” Secondly, the R2K boys are quick to accuse those who disagree with them as having a “theology of glory,” but fail to see their own theology of “The fact that we are convinced that we are defeated means we are Christians.” The R2K boys complain about those who disagree with them of trying to “immanentize the eschaton,” while missing the irony that in their retreatism and defeatism they are doing the work of immanentizing the eschaton of some other false God.

R2K is completely innovative. No Reformed person has believed it until Meredith Kline and his acolytes came along. I am praying in Charlotte that it will follow the way of Federal Vision, the New Perspective on Paul, and other novel innovations that have arisen as of late.

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.

2 thoughts on “Examining Dr. VanDrunen Interview with Reformed Forum — Part II”

  1. It’s VERY good to see you blogging again.

    I might add that the eschaton is NOT just the Church in perfected glory but with the double predestination view of Church in glory AND the reprobate righteously judged for the eternal display of God’s glorious Justice. That God is both merciful and just. Mercy and severity. This impacts how one views law and punishment in the “not yet”. Law and justice are to be to the glory of God, not just some expedient to keep things going while Christ plucks His chosen sheep from a creation gone awry. Thus it is necessary that we look to the scriptures for wisdom and justice in every area, civics included.

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