Thank you Colin for the question. I think I can do that. In examining R2K (Radical Two Kingdom “theology”) we must understand that what drives it first and foremost. The answer to that is its eschatology.
1.) R2K is a eschatology (doctrine of the end expected) of defeat. Their eschatological model teaches that Christianity can not to be triumphant in this world beyond the Church (grace) realm. Indeed, defeat is hard baked into their eschatological model inasmuch as their eschatology doesn’t even allow Christianity to contend in the common realm against the various other gods and religions. If Christianity can’t even contend anyplace but the Church then obviously defeat is the eschatological consequence.
2.) When we consider the ecclesiology (doctrine of the Church) of R2K it is absolutely essential to keep in mind that for R2K “the Church,” and “the Kingdom of God” are exactly synonymous. The Church and the Church alone is where one finds the Kingdom of God. Now one could fix this as the Roman Catholics do by bringing in everything from the common realm into the Church in order to make it ‘Holy’ but R2K doesn’t make that move. Instead R2K does just the opposite of Rome and keeps everything else outside the Church restricting the Kingdom to being the Church and the Church alone. Everything outside the Church (Kingdom) is called “common.” So, this means
8.) civil-social (Government)
each and all are not in any way related to the Kingdom of God but are to be considered “common.”
Now, R2K makes a smooth seldom noticed move here. What I have just described is almost the position of the Anabaptist. The difference is that the Anabaptist insisted that all these were “worldly” except as they existed inside the Anabaptist community of faith. So, the only difference between the Anabaptist and R2K here is that while the Anabaptist called these Institutions “worldly,” R2K calls them “common.” One wonders if there is some linguistic legerdemain going on here? Is the R2K word “common” just a fig leaf covering their Anabaptist “worldly?”
3.) Also touching ecclesiology R2K is adamant about the “Spirituality of the Church.” Now when this doctrine was used by Reformed types like the covenanters the purpose was to keep the snout of the Magistrate out of controlling the Church. R2K has flipped that so that the purpose of the Spirituality of the Church is to keep the Church’s snout out of influencing the Magistrate.
The spirituality of the Church teaches that given the unique calling and teleos of the Church under the mediatorial Kingship of Christ the church is limited in its authority to handling the keys of the Kingdom and is tasked differently than the State. The Church is tasked with the ministry of grace while the State is tasked with the ministry of justice. This is interpreted by R2K as a cone of silence upon the Church as Institution when it comes to speaking to Caesar. There is truth in this but the way R2K handles the “Spirituality of the Church” does not allow for the nuancing necessary when the State begins to speak authoritatively via legislation in a manner contrary to God’s speaking in Inscripturated Revelation. In my estimation we need to return to a doctrine of the “Spirituality of the Church” that is a tool to keep the State from seeking to usurp the unique authority of the Church.
The impact of this doctrine of the spirituality of the Church the way that R2K handles it means that you will seldom if ever hear a R2K minister speak to social issues like Marxism, Abortion, Just War, Sodomy, redistribution of wealth plans, etc. For R2K society could be burning down around us and the pulpit would be silent about the Lordship of Jesus Christ on these issues.
4.) R2K calls it “the hyphenated life.” A less diplomatic way to put it would be R2K is characterized by a Gnostic type dualism. Because R2K divides all of life between the church realm (upper story) and common realm (lower story) the consequence is that there are dualisms everywhere in R2K.
For example, in R2K there are two authorities. There is the authority of God’s Word for the Church realm and then there is the authority of Natural Law for the common realm. God rules explicitly by His Word in the realm of grace but does not rule explicitly in the common realm but rather rules by Natural law. As such the Clergy should keep only to the Church realm issues not preaching or teaching on issues taking place in the common realm.
For example, while the Church might forbid homosexuality in the Church, outside the Church, Church members could freely state that they could affirm domestic partnerships as a way of protecting people’s legal and economic security.
For example, in the Church Christ is Lord but outside the Church in the common realm Caesar is Lord. Here is a quote from a R2K devotee that demonstrates this dualism,
“Nero did not violate God’s law if he executed Christians who obeyed God rather than man. If Paul continued to preach after the emperor said he may not, then Nero was doing what God ordained government to do.” ~ D.G. Hart
The Gnostic part of the dualism is seen in the denial by R2K that anything in this life (family, culture, civilization, etc.) follows us into the Kingdom of God. Also, inasmuch as nothing but the Church (grace) realm can be Christian there seems to be a despising of the corporeal by R2K theology. The Creational realm is not renewed but is destroyed. This is Gnostic.
5.) The soteriology (doctrine of salvation) of R2K is hyper individual to the point of being atomistic. We might say that for all practical purposes it is Baptistic. Individuals get saved but the whole idea of covenantal categories that include children in salvation is negated by R2K’s insistence that the family can not be Christian. Also R2K’s denial that family follows into the New Jerusalem is a denial of covenantal categories. Next, in terms of soteriology, while Reformed theology has typically taught that God’s salvation is cosmic so that as salvation comes to peoples and nations so it comes to their Institutions, cultures, and civilizations. R2K denies all of this insisting that salvation is only personal, individual, and private.
There is more that could be said Colin but if you look for these five categories when you listen to or read Reformed ministers you can begin to get a sense when you are cheek by jowl with a heterodox R2K “theologian” or “minister.”
In the end R2K is a “theology” that is contrary to the Three Forms of Unity and if the R2K lads had integrity they would step forward and ask for exceptions to the Heidelberg catechism on this score. The Heidelberg Catehcism explicitly teaches that Christ is,
“our eternal King,7
who governs us by his Word and Spirit,
and who defends and preserves us
in the redemption obtained for us.”
But R2K teaches that Christ does not govern us by His Word and Spirit in the common realm but rather in the common realm we are governed by Natural Law.
Those who are R2K are outside their confessional vows and should step forward to take exceptions.