Linkage Between R2K & The Enlightenment

In speaking of the Enlightenment author Rudolph Soan wrote;

“A natural law, a natural state, a natural society, and a natural religion shown as the great ideas on the intellectual horizon, and carried away the world of the 18th century in a movement of passionate endeavor. These battles prepared the way for the rise of modern Humanity.” 

This quote demonstrates for us how it is R2K is a return to the Enlightenment project. R2K, with its full throated praise for Natural law and fallen man’s ability to read Natural Law aright as pertaining to all spheres save for the Church indicates its commitment to a Christ-less natural social-order as governed by a natural state under the auspices of a natural religion that serves as the great North Star for a religion-less people.

Of course the implication of all this R2K “thinking” is that natural law for the public square supersedes God’s law, and as against a Godly social order R2K posits that as we live in the common realm, we live and move and have our being in the humanistic natural state.

In the words of R. J. Rushdoony;

 Because of its hostility to faith, the Enlightenment stressed reason as a great arbiter as well as the supplanter of Revelation. Natural law replaced Gods law, the state as Gods’ ministry of justice was replaced by a state defining law, creating law, declaring what is Good and evil for itself, and natural society, that is, life lived in terms of nature; replace life as envisioned by God’s law. Religion instead of being ordered by God’s grace and law, instead of being derived from revelation, now found its source in nature.

R2K, being a “theology” inspired by Enlightenment categories, makes the very same move for the common realm.

R2K is not Calvinism, nor is it basic Christianity. Instead R2K is Christianity reinterpreted through the lens of Enlightenment categories. In brief, R2K is heresy.

Beeke and David Dickson Destroy R2K Innovation

Completed Jonathan Beeke’s work “Duplex Regnum Christi; Christ’s Twofold Kingdom in Reformed Theology.” Like all Academics Beeke’s work seeks to be irenic but when read closely, Beeke’s work tears the guts out of Radical Two Kingdom dualism theology. It exposes the glaring weaknesses of the completely innovative theories of the R2K chaps like Van Drunen, Tuiniga, Littlejohn and their ilk.

Beeke’s work needs to get into the hands of polemicists who will use this work as a crowbar to pry apart the “theology” of R2K and if needs be to knock R2K on the proverbial cranium a few times.

If you are in the ministry and are infatuated with R2K I highly recommend you read this work if you can find it. (It’s now out of print.) If you’re and Elder in a local Church I highly recommend you read this work so you will not be buffaloed by the Escondido Spirit of the age.

I reproduce a few of the highlights of Beeke’s work here;

“Lastly, it should be observed that Dickson did not limit the regnum mediatorium (mediatorial reign) to the incarnate Son’s rule over His church. While Dickson certainly believed that the focus of the specific kingdom is the mediatorial and redemptive work of Jesus Christ within His church, he nevertheless stressed that the kingdom ‘committed’ to the God-man (i.e. – the regnum mediatorium) is ‘over everything in the world’ (in omnia quae in mundo sunt). This again buttresses one of the primary arguments of this study, namely, that the Reformed orthodox did not primarily differentiate the twofold kingdom of Christ as to its scope (i.e., determining what areas of each life each kingdom pertained to), but as to the mode of Christ’s rule (as Dickson argues, whether the Son rules immediately as one person of the Trinity, or mediately as God-man). Evidence of this mediated kingdom, give to the Son by the Father, is also found in Dickson’s co-authored work ‘The Sum of Saving Knowledge.’

Jonathan Beeke

Regnum Duplex Christi


This is the money quote. This is a thumb in the eye of R2K but the way it is so academically stated one would never know the Beeke just torpedoed the R2K project with this observation. Read it carefully. Beeke just said that dividing the world up into a “common realm” where Christ ruled by Natural Law vis-a-vis a “grace realm” where Christ ruled by Revealed Law was not the way the Reformers understood the idea of Two Kingdoms.

Beeke goes on to write and by doing so wreaks absolute mayhem and havoc with the theory of R2K;

“Despite the essential differences that Dickson sees between the church and magistrate, he nevertheless argues, like many Reformed orthodox that cura religionis is proper to the duty of the magistrate. According to Dickson then,

‘The Lutherans, Anabaptists, Arminians, Quakers, and all sorts of heretics, and sectaries err, who maintain (under the pretext of Christian Liberty) that the civil magistrate is not in duty to punish any man with the sword for errors in doctrine, but that they ought to be tolerated and suffered, providing such persons as own them do not trouble or molest the commonwealth.’

In defense of this claim, Dickson points to the godly example of OT kings (such Hezekiah, Josiah, Asa, and Jehoshaphat), as well as key scriptural passages such as Isaiah 49:23 (where in his view it is foretold that under the NT kings ‘shall be nursing fathers to the church, and queens nursing mothers’). Because the magistrate is to suppress all blasphemy and heresy according to the example of these godly kings, the civil leader is custodian of both tables of the law  (custos utriusque tabluae). Dickson’s language is particularly forceful here; with the ‘assistance of the church and her censures,’ the magistrate duty is TO FORCE (if necessary) ALL SUBJECTS TO CONFORM TO THE ‘TRUE WORSHIP, SOUND DOCTRINE, AND DISCIPLINE OF THE CHURCH. Dickson concludes:

‘If then [the magistrate] may punish evil doers who offend against the second table and force and compel them to obedience by the sword of justice which God hath put in his hand, much more may he punish idolaters and blasphemers who offend against the first table and force and compel them to obedience, seeing there are many sins against the first table which are more heinous and odious than the sins against the second table.’


Dickson’s conclusion is admittedly surprising for the modern reader: According to this 17th century Edinburgh theologian, the Roman Catholic practice of forcefully compelling others to convert was not ‘sinful’ in principle, but was wrong only because the Church of Rome taught a ‘superstitious and idolatrous religion. For those ‘who have the true religion among them,’ however, this practice is legitimized, even if, Dickson acknowledges, ‘our blessed Saviour and His apostles did not use such means for propagating the gospel.'”

Jonathan Beeke

Duplex Regnum Christi — pg. 212-213


Just in case you missed it I will repeat again a portion of the above quote for those R2K types who are slow of learning. All of this is from David Dickson who was a 17th century Reformed Theologian who was platformed @ Edinburgh as the 6th Divinity Professor at that prestigious Reformed school. Dickson, though not widely known now, was a major figure during his time.

Dickson, in the quote you’re about to read, reveals that R2K is just outright lying when it wants to suggest that it has “recovered the Reformed confessions” when it comes to Reformed Two Kingdom theology. Dickson, at the same time, also blows apart the worldview of classical Liberalism which is really the worldview genesis of R2K.

Ask yourself as you read this quote, “where do the R2K acolytes fall in Dickson’s list cited? Are Van Drunen, Horton, Clark, Hart, T. David Gordon, Matthew Tuiniga, and Littlejohn (to name but a very few) Lutherans, Anabaptists, or Arminians, or are they numbered with all sorts of heretics and sectaries who err?

‘The Lutherans, Anabaptists, Arminians, Quakers, and all sorts of heretics, and sectaries err, who maintain (under the pretext of Christian Liberty) that the civil magistrate is not in duty to punish any man with the sword for errors in doctrine, but that they ought to be tolerated and suffered, providing such persons as own them do not trouble or molest the commonwealth.’

David Dickson

Truth’s Victory Over Error — p. 173-174

Clearly, if Rev. Dr. David Dickson was correct, then at the very least we can say that R2K is not Reformed theology.

Covenantal Unity From Genesis to the New & Better Covenant

“Thus while Calvin described Adam’s arrangement in paradise as gracious — Calvin maintained it was distinct from the one covenant of grace first promised to fallen Adam in Genesis 3:15 and successively to the OT and NT Church. Underscoring the unity of the covenant of grace from its first postlapsarian (fall) declaration until the present, Calvin writes;

‘The covenant made with all the patriarchs is so much like ours in substance and reality that the two are actually one and the same. Yet they differ in the mode of dispensation.'”

Jonathan Beeke
Duplex Regnum Christi — p. 90

1.) Per Beeke on Calvin the covenant of works was a gracious covenant though gracious to a different degree than the covenant of grace. We might note the difference as prelapsarian creational grace vs. postlapsarian redemptive grace.

2.) The covenant of grace is a unity. Therefore, we can say that any theory of the covenant (such as R2K’s theory) that insists that the Mosaic covenant was a return to a covenant of works “in some sense” is significant error. It is at the very least heterodox and even more likely heresy — at least as it lies in the hands of the R2K “theologians.”

3.) The New and Better covenant remains a unity with the covenant unfolding in the OT. It is the realization of all that was heretofore only promised. If the New and Better covenant brought in by Christ was completely divorced from the unfolding of the covenants (progress of covenantal redemption) then we would have to say that the saints in the OT were not saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Historical Reformed Two Kingdom Theology & the Magistrate’s Relation to the Church

“The duplex regnum Christi (twofold kingdom of Christ) as advocated by the Reformed orthodox is not simply — and certainly not principally — a church/state distinction. It is not that that the Reformed orthodox merely distinguished the twofold kingdom as to God’s essential power over the state and Christ’s mediatorial power over His church. Rather, this 17th century distinction is couched in Christological terms, and, more specifically, its basis of distinction is the manner of Christ’s work — that is, whether He is considered to rule essentially as God, or personally and mediately as God-man. For this reason, many of the Reformed orthodox could claim a universality to both the mediatorial and essential kingdom of Christ. As seen in the representative context covered in the following chapters, in this way the Reformed orthodox could consistently argue that the magistrate has a task given to him by Christ (who is mediator and defender of His church); in their mind, however, the magistrates responsibility is limited to the defense, protections, maintenance, and promotion of Christ’s church.

It is also apparent that the doctrine of Christ’s twofold kingdom did not lie dormant following the first generation of Reformers, but even into the 17th century there were continued and ongoing development. An equation of the regnum essentiale (essential reign)/ regnum mediatorium (mediatorial reign) distinction with the early Protestant political/spiritual kingdom distinction is simply not plausible; certainly this is evident were one to only apply the question regarding duration to it. As the following chapters argue, the duplex regnum Christi, as related to the varying political contexts within which it was expressed, experienced ongoing maturation and refinement in both its terms and significance.”

Jonathan Beeke

Duplex Regnum Christi — p. 118

1.) When Beeke writes; “in their mind, however, the magistrates responsibility is limited to the defense, protections, maintenance, and promotion of Christ’s church,” the explanation as to how this is a limitation on the Magistrate is found in the fact that the Magistrate does not handle the keys to the Kingdom and the state can not be a institution responsible for personal conversion. The State remains part of Christ’s Kingdom but it is not responsible for handling the realities of grace (Word & Sacrament).

2.) If Beeke is correct here then R2K with its view on 2k theology is a retrogression to an earlier more immature understanding of 2k theology, though that assessment is definitely an insult to that earlier Reformed 2K covenant theology of Bucer, Calvin and Bullinger, whom would have never countenanced the complete innovations of R2K.

You R2K fanboys out there, read that Beeke quote again… read it carefully because it completely torpedoes the Jesuit Van Drunen’s R2K project.

3.) Clearly, this quote establishes that the 2nd generation Reformers understood that the Magistrate was responsible to uphold not only the 2nd table of God’s Law but also the 1st table. These theologians of the 17th century would have been appalled by R2K’s argument that Magistrates are NOT to uphold the 1st table of God’s Law or are not to particularly defend, protect, maintain, and promote Christ’s church among the citizenry.
We see here again that R2K’s reckoning of covenant theology with its constant cry of God ruling “by left hand and right hand,” as that is misinterpreted and misapplied by R2K “theologians,” is an aberration to what covenant theology in Reformed historical context taught. The invoking of that “ruling by left hand and right hand” language is more of a Lutheran construct as attested to by Beeke elsewhere in his book;

“The primary distinction of the 17th century Reformed scholastics was no longer Luther’s ‘God’s left hand vs. God’s right hand,’ or even Calvin’s ‘spiritual-as-distinct-from-political-kingdom,’ but instead a kingdom and rule as it pertains to the Logos as the 2nd person of the trinity, to be distinguished from a kingdom and rule as it pertains to the theanthropos, the God-man Jesus Christ.”

Jonathan Beeke
Duplex Regnum Christi — p. 106

Scripture, Westminster Divines, & Claims of R2K Wingnuts

“The truth is, Scripture was never meant to be read as a handbook to civil government. That is one reason why the Westminster Divines appealed to “general equity,” natural law. The Statement mentions general equity four times and natural law twice.”

R. Scott Clark
American Reformed Court Jester

This is something that Clark does by way of habit. He says things that are manifestly not true. Here he suggests that the Westminster Divines did not believe that Scripture provided tons of insights for civil government. This is a huge dissimulation on Clark’s part. Consider if you will that,

The Westminster Divines also appealed to Scripture over and over again as to guide how the Magistrate is to implement Christian religion;

Westminster Larger Catechism Q. #191 – What do we pray for in the “second petition” of the Lord’s prayer which is Thy Kingdom Come?

A – the Kingdom of God is to “be countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate.”


Q-108 which asks what are the duties required in the second commandment.

A – “the disapproving , detesting, opposing all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.”

The magistrate’s place and calling requires him to remove all false worship and all monuments of idolatry.


Q-118 “What is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?”

The answer says that it is directed to other superiors, because “they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge.”

Now, this may not be a “handbook to civil government” type stuff but it clearly demonstrates that Clark is wrong (again) on the idea that the Westminster confession doesn’t give precise instructions on the role of the Civil Magistrate.

If you value coming to truth on this subject then by all means avoid Dr. R. Scott Clark and R2K “theologians.”