What They Think About Theonomy

I know that this is perhaps getting old, but at the risk of beating a dead horse I offer another example of R2kt reasoning.

Mr. Dove,

I read theonomists and Jim Wallis to be saying that the Bible should be the norm for public life (as opposed to some formulation of general revelation). Because saints, either individually or collectively in the church, are the ones who have some inkling (by virtue of the HS) to understand the Bible correctly, the move to make the Bible the norm then also elevates those people and officers who are subject to the Word and minister it. I do not believe that God granted jurisdiction of civil society to the church in this age of redemptive history. He has to some believers whose vocation is that of public servant. How those folks balance their duties to the Constitution and to the Bible is tricky, just as tricky as it was for JFK to juggle the Constitution and the papacy, and for Mitt Romney to juggle the Mormon elders and the Constitution.

Dr. D. G. Hart
Response to letter inquiring whether he thought theonomists desired ecclesiocracy

To say that the Bible should be the norm for public life and to say that God has granted jurisdiction of civil society to the Church in this age is to say two very different things. A person could hold to the former without ever holding to the latter. Theonomists do believe that the Bible should be the norm for public life but they do not say that God has granted jurisdiction of civil society to the Church in this age. What Theonomists say is that the Church ought to be able to speak to a culture’s magistrates using its moral and spiritual power, just as John Knox spoke to Queen Mary, and just as the Black Robed Regiment spoke to King George III.

Second, Dr. Hart appeals to Natural law (some formation of general revelation) as being that which should provide the norm or the standard of right and wrong for the public square. The problem is though that this appeal to “some formation of general revelation” hardly takes the idea that “men suppress the truth in unrighteousness” seriously. Because non christians suppress the truth in unrighteousness Natural law can be and has been used to excuse any number of aberrant behaviors. As one example, Natural law told the Deists that God was a watchmaker being. Next on this score we might ask, “who’s formation of general revelation?” The Muslims or the Humanists formation of general revelation is going to be something profoundly different from the Christians formation of general revelation. The idea of appealing to some form of general revelation in order to be a universal norm completely leaves out any thoughtful consideration on how theological presuppositions inform how people come to their conclusions regarding general revelation.

Third, notice how Dr. Hart yokes theonomists with socialists (Jim Wallis), as if they were somehow equal. The problem here is that Dr. Hart doesn’t even ask what presuppositions are driving each to handle the scriptures in the way that they do. What Dr. Hart has done here is akin to yoking the Higher-Critical school as personified in Harry Emerson Fosdick with the Historical grammatical school as personified in J. Gresham Machen and then saying that they both do the same thing inasmuch as they both interpret the Bible. The problem with the Higher-Critical school and the problem of the socialists like Jim Wallis is they start out with presuppositions alien to the Scriptures themselves. The fact that the Higher Critical school of interpretation and the Socialists each handle the scriptures in a way contrary to its intent hardly justifies yoking them with those who do seek to handle the scriptures according to its intent. To yoke theonomists with Jim Wallis is either very close to being not very nice at all on Darryl Hart’s part or it is an example of not understanding why completely different schools of thought exist.

Fourth, one wonders why an elected believer would find it tricky to balance the bible with the constitution. Now if it would be ‘tricky’ because of the raw politics of the situation I would agree, but if it is ‘tricky’ because it is difficult to know how to be obedient and disobedient at the same time to God’s revealed Law-Word then that is another matter. I wonder if it would be found tricky because an elected believer, according to those who hold that pluralism is what cultures should be comprised of, would be in the position of making sure that Christianity didn’t make to much progress.

Finally, I am actually sympathetic to the point Dr. Hart makes about elevation. Perhaps this is why teachers are judged more harshly. Still, every godly culture has had its elevated teachers whether it was Knox, or Calvin, or Witherspoon, or any number of others and we must realize that if we do not seek to have elevated godly leadership — men who desire to handle the scriptures in a God honoring way — then we will have elevated ungodly leadership.

Two Kingdom Clarification


“All church power is wholly moral or spiritual. No church officers or judicatories possess any civil jurisdiction; they may not inflict any civil penalties nor may they seek the aid of the civil power in the exercise of their jurisdiction further than may be necessary for civil protection and security.

OPC Book Of Church Order

Recently, Dr. Darryl Hart cited this quotation from the OPC BCO in defense of Radical Two Kingdom theology (R2Kt — aka. – The Virus). Note that this quote has to do with the “Nature and Exercise of Church Power.” As I understand it this is stating how the Church as the Church employs the use of the Keys. According to this the Church as the Church may not use the sword in its use of power. Dr. Hart will be pleased to know that because of my belief in two Kingdom theology (notice the absence of the word “radical”) I find this perfectly acceptable. The power of the Church is that of moral and spiritual persuasion and not that of physical compulsion.

But having gladly admitted something I’ve never denied, that admission doesn’t change the problems with R2Kt virus. R2Kt virus goes on to say that the Church as the Church must not even seek to use moral persuasion when it comes to issues that are non-salvific (narrowly defined) that apply to the public square. According to R2Kt virus thinking the Church as the Church cannot speak to these issues because the Bible doesn’t speak to these issues. Now, certainly, non-ecclesiastical Christian societies may speak to these issues but the Church is absolutely forbidden to use its moral and spiritual power of persuasion and declaration to speak to principalities and power of this present wicked age that seek to make anti-Christ policy in the public square. Further according to R2Kt virus thinking pluralism is what the Church should desire in the public square. R2Kt virus supports a plurality of gods in the public square where Sovereign King Jesus is just another member in the cultural god club.

The quote from the BCO above does not provide ground fire for that agenda of the R2Kt crowd. No Reformed minister worth his salt would disagree with that statement but many Reformed ministers worth their salt would disagree that the BCO quote above proves that the kind of R2Kt that is being advanced in some quarters is acceptable. The quote above is not bizarre in the least. What is bizarre is to try and take that quote and stretch it to the point where it becomes a defense for the R2Kt virus.

Now, as this pertains to the civil realm I am perfectly pleased with the old Puritan commonwealth view that the State and the Church were coordinate power centers that were both under God’s authority and so were both responsible to sovereign God. These coordinate power centers could be delineated but they could never be divorced if only because those in the civil realm were members of the Churches and those in the Churches were members of the commonwealth. Further we know that R2Kt was not practiced in the commonwealth the way that it is being pushed in Escondido if only because of the legendary election day sermons where Reformed ministers would preach sermons speaking to the issues before their people as the electorate.

Still, in the Puritan commonwealth arrangement the lines between Church and State were clearly drawn and it was understood that the Church ministered grace while the State ministered justice. Where the commonwealth worked well there was no confusion between these coordinate power centers, nor was there a collapsing of one into the other so that they were indistinguishable but neither was their a divorce of the two as if the Church could not speak to the civil magistrate using its spiritual and moral voice of persuasion. So seriously did the commonwealth take the distinction between the two Kingdoms that ministers were not allowed to hold civil public office and Civil magistrates could not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Clearly these were people who understood the distinction between the two Kingdoms and yet they never would have countenanced Radical Two Kingdom Theology.

Clearly, I have no affection for the change by American Presbyterians of the Westminster confession done between 1787-1789 on the issue of the Magistrate. I think it moved the confession substantially in a non-Reformed direction. Given the political climate at the time, (how ironic that) the change is understandable, but I still believe that that change has wrought all kinds of damage to the Reformed Church.

Finally, while we are on this, let it be said that no Reformed person (not even the hated and dreaded theonomists) desire a ecclesiocracy. I say this because there seems to be some confusion in some quarters that what Theonomists and Theocrats desire is a government where the Church is running the show. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a mistake to think that a ecclesiocracy is the inevitable end of what Theonomy teaches.

I do not apologize in the slightest for thinking and calling R2Kt a virus. I remain convinced that should it become epidemic in the Church today it will have the result, as many viral fevers do, of leaving the patient (in this case, the Church) impotent.

Not all that is written by those who are infected with the virus should be avoided but the reader should be aware of this viral strain so that it can be identified when it crops up in works not immediately associated with this subject.

Things That Don’t Have Anything To Do With The Kingdom Of God — A Suggested Litnany Reading For Morning Worship

State sanctioned Baby killing?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent.

State sanctioned Jew killing in the past?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent.

Legislatively pursued destruction of the Christian Family?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent.

Government Education on the basis of a hostile anti-Christ presuppositional base?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent

State taking up God’s prerogatives as seen in policy after policy decision, thus revealing that it believes that it is God walking on the earth?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent.

Destruction of what is left of Christedom?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent.

More than that Christians should be for this destruction of Christendom since pluralism is God’s will for us.

Cloning and Embryonic stem cell research?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent.

Computer chips implanted in the brain to alter our thinking and personalities?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent.

Mood altering drugs in order to alter our thinking and personalities?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent.

Aggressive pursuit of unjust war resulting in the premeditated deaths of thousands of civilians?

Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God. The Church must be silent.

Oh Sovereign God, who has bidden us to keep our mouths shut in the common realm except as individuals, and who has given us no clear guidance from thy most Holy Word on these matters, continue to give us natural law wisdom with which to confound those who believe not in you nor in natural law, and who believing that you are dead likewise believe all ideas of objective truth are dead. Grant us grace O Sovereign and wise God to continue to be divided on these common realm issues and bless us to put aside our divisions on common realm matters when we come in this sanctuary to hear you speak on those matters that really concern you. Thank you that you have saved us with a grace that keeps us from bringing that salvation into the common realm.

In the name of the great King Jesus we pray — The name of Him who is Lord over Heaven and Earth but Lord in the common realm in a different way.


More R2Kt Virus From The Macarthur Conference

Question & Answer format,

Question — Presumably from a Pastor

Q. — “How do I shepherd my people with respect to the upcoming presidential election, especially with no clearly pro-life candidate?

Answer — From John Macarthur

A. — “My answer is it has nothing to do with the kingdom of God!” He (Macarthur) then made some deprecatory quips about Jimmy Carter taking the office of president too seriously [sorry, past my historical familiarity to go into detail — Stenographer]. “In all seriousness, you do what your conscience tells you to do. But one thing: if you’re going to have your brain operated on, you might like to have a Christian. But I’d rather have someone in there who knew what a brain was, and had done it before. This subject of presidential politics, really, though, is really nowhere on my priority list. I voted for Huckabee in the primary, that was my best shot based on other’s thoughts; but the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world are entirely separate entities. I think we’re experiencing Romans 1 wrath in the church (I have a message on Focus on the Family about this) right now. When God turns a nation over, there’s a sexual revolution, then a homosexual revolution, then the minds stop working… and you vote those realities into law. I’m not surprised this nation has the kind of interest in the kind of leaders it has. But to clarify, I’m not indifferent: whenever I can actively vote for something that is righteous I do that.

You can find it on Evers’s blog here:


1.) Nothing to do with the Kingdom of God?

First off all this does have a great deal to do with the Kingdom of God if only because Kingdom of God people are going to be voting in this election. If this has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God, or for that matter if anything has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God then why should the Kingdom of God people have anything to do with it. Shouldn’t we only have to do with those things that do have something that explicitly has something to do with the Kingdom of God?

What is going on here once again is the compartmentalization between God’s Kingdom which is some kind of gnostic ethereal abstract spiritual thing and the living that goes on in every other realm except the Church which belong to the carnal (Kingdoms of this world) realms. This distinction between the carnal realm and the spiritual realm (Kingdom of God vs. Kingdoms of the World) can never be overcome except for a eucatastrophic in-breaking by Jesus in His second advent. This completely denies the whole idea of the Kingdom of heaven being like a mustard seed. This completely denies that age to come in the coming of Jesus has invaded this present evil age with the intent that the Kingdoms of this world shall be the Kingdoms of our God. If this is true why should we pray “thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?” Why should we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven if what happens on earth has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God? The Scripture refers to the magistrate as being “God’s minister” and in our system the people are the magistrate over the magistrate which means the people are God’s ministers and no more so then when they are voting. Are we to believe that as God ministers we should not look to the Scriptures for insight and wisdom on how to exercise the office of minister in a Kingdom of God fashion?

Certainly those who are running for President and who have not looked to Christ and so who are not looking to God’s law-word for wisdom have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God but Christians who belong to Christ are of the Kingdom of God and when they vote they ought to bring the Kingdom of God to bear on the Kingdoms of this World.

2.) Jimmy Carter was an anti-Christ and his presidency only proves that Biblical Christians are gullible.

3.) This thinking suggests that there is no conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent in carnal realms. In those realms the seed of the serpent is and always will be predominant. This sure sounds like ana-baptist thinking to me. I expect it from the Baptist Macarthur. I don’t expect it in the other quarters where it seeps from.

4.) Do what your conscience does?

Who is the Lord of the Conscience? Is the conscience an independent realm that can become a standard over God’s Law-Word? This is common realm anti-nomianism pure and simple. Does God’s Law-Word have nothing to say to his people for their consideration as they determine who they should cast God’s vote for?

5.) Brain Surgery

This is sophistry. Sure I’d prefer a Hindu Brain surgeon to a Christian anti-nomian minister doing my Brain surgery but all things being equal I’d prefer even more a Christian Brain surgeon doing my brain surgery. (Personal note — I will not go to a doctor who is Muslim, Hindu, or Buddahist for anything serious if I can help it since I believe Worldview makes a difference in medicine.) If Macarthur’s point is that he would prefer a wise turk to a stupid Christian as President, well, who wouldn’t, but Christians have the opportunity in this election cycle to vote for a wise Christian for president. Macarthur is using Nimrod logic.

6.) Huckabee is a Statist. The fact that Macarthur voted for him based on other people’s thoughts indicate that the ‘other people’ who advised him are not thinking with a Christian Worldview.

7.)Then he ends by saying he is not indifferent and votes for righteousness when he can, which contradicts everything he just said. How does he determine righteousness except by God’s Law-Word? And if all of this has nothing to do with the Kingdom of God how could he even speak in categories of righteousness or unrighteousness?

This guy is supposed to be a leading light in Evangelicalism?

God help us.

The vapidity of this Macarthur statement is just mind numbing.

The Doctor Makes A Housecall — Chatting w/ Dr. R. Scott Clark

The esteemed Dr. R. Scott has decided to visit IronInk and leave commentary. It should be immediately noted how thrilled I am with the venerable Doctor’s visitation. It is not often that a gentleman of such stature visits humble environs such as IronInk and so we are pleased to welcome him to our domicile and hope that he will think himself free to come again with his friends for future visits. We all have a great opportunity to learn in this exchange.

Below I interact with some of his gracious comments. We still do not agree but I trust that the readers will find our disagreements anything but disagreeable.

”There’s no incipient dualism in the two-kingdoms ethic, it’s full-blooded, self-conscious dualism! It’s the same sort of dualism one finds in the apostle Paul and our Lord Jesus who distinguished between “this age” and “the age to come” and the “the kingdoms of this world” and “the kingdom of God.” Not all dualisms are of the Platonic/Ontic sort. There is a proper, Christian body/soul dualism. That’s the same thing as a spirit-matter dualism — which is sub-Christian because it denies the goodness of created matter.”

First, in order to clear things up I think Dr. R. Scott Clark meant to have a negation between the word “That’s” and the word “the” in the last sentence. I think it is supposed to read, “That’s not the same thing as a spirit-matter dualism…” Still, it is possible that it was some kind of Freudian slip and that Dr. R. Scott Clark spoke the truth that what he is advocating is indeed “the same thing as a spirit-matter dualism – which is sub-Christian because it denies the goodness of created matter.”

Second, I find no full blooded self-conscious dualism at all in the Apostle Paul or in our mutual Lord Jesus. When Jesus distinguished between “this age” and “the age to come” he wasn’t positing two realities that were hermetically sealed off from one another. Dr. R. Scott Clark seems to be positing the Reformed anti-thesis between “This age” and “The age to come” as if the transforming of this “present wicked age” by the “age to come” is impossible. The evidence that the “age to come” is present in this present wicked age is found in passages like Colossian 1:13-14 where the Colossians are told that “they have been delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the Kingdom of the Son of God’s Love.” Here is a passage that reveals that even now believers are living in the “age to come.”

With the Death, Resurrection, Ascension and Session of Jesus the “age to come” has arrived. Now, to be sure, there remains a “not yet” component to the “nowness” of the “age to come,” but certainly there can be no thinking that the “age to come” is hermetically sealed off from believers to some future point and I see no reasoning in the Scriptures that lead us to believe that the “age to come” is only located in the Church. Such thinking would reveal a under-realized eschatology.

Christ has brought the “age to come” and has placed us in it. By the proclamation of the Gospel by Christ’s “age to come” people the Gospel goes triumphantly forward with the result that the present “age to come” continues to overcome “this present evil age.” With the death of Jesus the strong man who is the king of “this present evil age” as been bound and Jesus is now, through the obedience of His people, pillaging the belongings of the strong man so that eventually the Kingdoms of this world which already belong to Christ shall become the Kingdoms of our Christ. We know this will happen because all authority has been given to King Christ in heaven and earth and He has instructed us to pray that “His Kingdom come and His (“age to come”) will be done on earth (not just in the Church) as it is in heaven.”

Look, God’s people have been saved with an “age to come” salvation. That “age to come” salvation affects all of our living in this present wicked age. This is why we can be told to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. “Age to come” people think different thoughts then people who belong to this “present wicked age,” because they begin and end all of their thinking in all areas of life with the God of the Bible. Scripture teaches God’s “age to come” people are to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. Are we to believe that the call to be transformed is somehow limited to being transformed every place except the public square which is to remain part of “this present wicked age” until the hermetically sealed off “age to come” arrives?

Second, I can’t agree with Dr. R. Scott Clark about the body-soul dualism. Certainly, I agree that we have to make a important and necessary distinction between body-soul but to say that a dualism exists between body and soul is a bridge to far. I prefer to speak of the body-soul being part of a modified uni-chotomy. This is an important disagreement to note for the difference between insisting that a body-soul dualism exists and insisting that man is a modified unichotomy is a difference that finds itself expressing itself in our differences between the relations of “this present evil age” and “the age to come.” That can be seen in what has been already advanced. I am arguing for a distinction between “this present age” and “age to come” seeing that we need to speak of a modified unity here that allows for clear distinctions without involving ourselves in the error of collapsing the two into one another. Dr. R. Scott Clark seems to be arguing for a hard and fast dualism between “this present age” and “the age to come,” thus not allowing for any eschatological perichoresis between the two.

”As to individuals v the church and social transformation. As far as I am concerned Christians as private persons may form non-ecclesiastical societies to achieve any number of admirable ends. The church as the visible, institutional society, however, instituted by Christ has three marks: the pure preaching of the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, and the administration of church discipline.”

First, I quite agree with the three marks. I would say that under the first mark is included the preaching of God’s whole counsel which would include speaking to cultural issues where God’s work speaks to those cultural issues. So, we have agreement here.

Second, I also agree about non-ecclesiastical societies. What I don’t agree on is that the Church has no role to speak when non-ecclesiastical societies war with one another. Let us say that there is a non-ecclesiastical society formed to advance the cause of “Christian” socialism in our country. Another non-ecclesiastical society organizes to advance the cause of some form of “Christian” Fascism in our country. Now the Church ought to be able to be a voice that authoritatively shows, from the Scriptures, why both are wrong, going on to speak to what God’s word has declared about Biblical economics and Biblical government.

Christ came to save all of man – body and soul – and to think that preaching only applies to man’s soul or to his personal ethic misses the wholeness of the salvation that Christ came to bring.

”There’s no reason why the church as such must be engaged in social transformation any more than may result in the preaching of the holy gospel. The outcome of the preaching of the gospel and the administration of sacraments and discipline belongs to the Spirit and to most a-millennialists there is no promise of massive social/cultural transformation. We may be wrong. If so, praise God. The major issue is to see that the church as such is focused on those three things for which she has a explicit commission.”

Again, I quite agree. Our difference lies in what we understand to be “explicitly commissioned.” Jesus commissioned his royal courtiers to teach the peoples to “observe all things wherein I have commanded you.” I take the “all things” to be far broader than you take the “all things.” This is especially so when you consider that Jesus said that he did not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets. As you know these were men who were consumed with what justice looked like in the public square. These were men who longed to see social / cultural transformation. It is my conviction that Scriptures teach that Jesus came to bring an “age to come” salvation that works like leaven to bring about social and cultural transformation in this present evil age.

”One more time: Christians as private persons, not necessarily only as individuals, may form societies to achieve desirable ends. They ought, however, not to enlist the visible church as an entity to accomplish anything other than that required by the Lord.”

I offer my thanks to Dr. R. Scott Clark for re-articulating his basic convictions. As I am a person who is kind of slow, it is important for smart people to repeat themselves to me so I can catch what they are saying. Still, even after hearing this basic commitment re-articulated I can not agree with it.

Even if you put people into non-ecclesiastical societies it does not solve the problem of creating an ‘each man (or non-ecclesiastical society) doing what is right in their own eyes. In your arrangement there remains no “Thus Saith The Lord” in order to adjudicate between competing non-ecclesiastical societies. All we are left with is opinions. Should homosexual marriage be allowed? The non-ecclesiastical society formed by soon to be Dr. Lee Irons and his lovely wife Misty say’s “yes.” The non-ecclesiastical society formed by Mark Chambers says “no.” Who is to decide? By your reasoning there is no answer that can be considered absolute. By your reasoning the Church is forbidden to speak to that issue and a host of others. By your reasoning we are left adrift on the sea of Natural law subjectivism.

And the really ironic thing Bob is the more the Church refuses to speak to what God’s word clearly speaks to the more the culture insists that we should keep our mouths shut about everything. The political conversation today, as seen again in the latest dust-up between B. Hussein Obama and Dr. James Dobson reduces to the ability to be able to authoritatively say whether or not there is a right and wrong that all people must adhere to and your advice is that the Church can’t speak to that question because it is political.

That may sell in Escondido Dr. R. Scott Clark, but it isn’t going to get off the ground in these parts.