Defending ReformedTheology From R2Kt Attacks

Dear Herbert Goforth Marcuse,

Let’s start with a definition of culture.

Culture is the outward manifestation of a people’s inward beliefs.

Culture thus reflects and incarnates the God and the theology that it worships. As such culture is hopelessly theological and while in itself not redemptive it does reflect some kind of theology. The R2kt insists not only that culture is not in and of itself redemptive (something all Reformed Christians agree with) but goes on to insist that it isn’t theologically rooted and imbued, as if it is a-theological. This is more than unfortunate.

Your letter seemed to affirm the idea of a ‘wall of separation between Church and State. The Puritans never agreed with the pagan idea of a wall between church and state. The puritans believed that there were two distinct realms, (one responsible for ministering grace while the other was responsible for ministering justice) but that the realms were complimentary and interdependent. The Puritans never held that the Church should have a wall between itself and the State and later protestants wanted a wall only in order to keep the State from meddling in the affairs of the Church, not to keep the Church from influencing the State. Frankly, the idea of a ‘wall between Church and State’ is a pagan idea and one that isn’t possible anyway as the current arrangement in this country reveals where the Church is located in the government schools and serves as the State Church.

The idea that ‘by looking for religious significance not in this world but in the world to come, liturgical Protestantism lowers the stakes for public life while still affirming politics’ divinely ordained purpose’ is an idea that creates a kind of platonic dualism with religious significance, including what happens in Church, being placed in the upper story while the ‘common realm,’ including what happens everywhere but what happens in Church, is located in the lower story. This is why it is often accused of gnosticism. This argument completely divorces nature from grace seeing them as two completely different and irreconcilable realities. Now, to be sure, there is always the danger of over identifying nature with grace not making the necessary distinctions between the two but the danger of one extreme doesn’t justify embracing the danger of R2kt virus. The danger of immanentizing the eschaton isn’t solved by making the eschaton so transcendent that it touches only the cultus.

Second, you quote somebody who talks about politics as the divinely appointed means for restraining evil but ‘evil’ is a theological category. In order to know what evil is we need Christian theology to inform the magistrate as to what evil is. As one example of the problem here, Natural law, in a community of homosexuals, is not going to restrain the evil of sexual license. So, even your quote above advocating R2Kt virus must presuppose my position in order to deny my position.

Third, since Theocracy is an inescapable category and since we are living under one even now, I see nothing un-Biblical in desiring a Theocracy that is increasingly reflective of Biblical categories then one that is increasingly reflective of the values of Marx, De Sade, and Freud. I am amazed at your disparaging attitude that Christians should desire the Kingship of Jesus in the communities in which they live.

Fourth, Woodrow Wilson had divorced Christian anthropology and soteriology from His eschatology and as such he was a defacto operating humanist. Accusations against him don’t lay a glove on post-millennialism. In a biblical post-millennial theology it is Christ who is bringing His Kingdom to earth and not in your words, ‘his followers who are trying with their human effort to build utopia.’ Therefore your criticism on that count doesn’t stand either, though as a functional a-millennialist I am not surprised that you would accuse post-millennialism of being just another brand of Oneida type utopianism.

Fifth, it is true that the R2Kt virus does define morality but only on an individual and personal level. They may say that murder is wrong but they dare not, if they are consistent, proclaim from the pulpit during the preaching of the Word, that killing Jews is wrong for that is something that belongs to the political realm and so not something that the Church should speak to since the Church’s responsibility is to proclaim personal salvation as found in Christ. As such, Church members are free to advocate killing Babies or not killing Babies in the public square and if R2kt virus types are consistent they will not be disciplined. Now, it may be that they will be inconsistent and speak to the issue but given their position if they are consistent they will follow their own theology and recognize that the Church as the Church has no voice on these matters.

You may indeed voice your concerns as a Christian in the public square on a host of issues. You may even contend that your position is THE Christian position proving it from scripture. BUT theoretically it is the case that a person who shares membership with you at the local R2kt Church can voice just the opposite view as yours, likewise proving it from Scripture and likewise insisting that theirs is the truly Biblical position. And since the Church as the Church can’t speak to such issues believers are left without a Word from the Lord and with each man doing what is right in his own eyes.

Give my best to the family,

Pastor Bret

A Open Response To HGM — RtKt

Herbert Goforth Marcuse,

Keep in mind that I am not opposed to two Kingdom theology. I am opposed to radical two Kingdom Theology. Princeton certainly was two Kingdom (as am I) but they certainly were not, in any shape way or form, radical two Kingdom. For pete’s sake Herbert, much of Princeton was post-millennialist. You can’t be post-millennialist and be radical two Kingdom theology.

The idea that there is no neutrality is something I got from Jesus who said, “He who does not gather with me, scatters” and “You can not serve two masters” (he didn’t mention that it was possible to be neutral and so serve no masters). There is no such thing as neutrality Herbert … no such thing in any realm or sphere. One cannot go to the ‘common realm’ and think that in the common realm positions will be pursued and ideology developed (which is the animating catalyst for those positions) that is not beholden to some God or some Theology. Culture is not neutral, never pluralistic, and is always the public declaration of a peoples cultus and theology. This is why we can speak of ‘Christian Culture,’ ‘Hindu Culture,’ Muslim Culture, or even Balkanized culture (synonymous with R2Kt culture). Indeed, even the position that culture is neutral, that it should be pluralistic, and is not the public declaration of a ethnos’ cultus and theology is a declaration of that people’s cultus and theology — and it is a declaration of a cultus and theology that is not Biblical. When you attempt to pluralize the public square Herbert (something that can never be achieved for very long without brute force — think Tito’s Yugoslavia or Stalin’s Soviet Union) the consequence is that there must be a god that arises that serves as the god of the gods. This god is THE god in the culture and it makes rulings on how far the other gods can and cannot go in the public square. This god in the radical two kingdom virus theology is the State. This theology most assuredly cannot be rescued by ‘natural theology’ if only because in order for ‘natural theology’ to work you must have a homogeneous people who are sin bent in the same direction and so agree on what natural theology reveals. And yet, it is this very homogenization that radical two Kingdom theology is against as it argues mightily for the pluralization of the public square. Herbert, lift your eyes and look at the horizon. Natural law is being used to condone homosexual marriage. Natural law will not get us out of the morass that our culture is in, for by appealing to natural law theory every man will be well grounded to explain that what is right in his own eye is indeed supported by Natural law. And this is because, Herbert, those who advocate natural law theory don’t really believe that those who are receiving the natural law revelation are suppressing it and making a false version of it to support their own sin perversion.

Just this week, at a book sale, I was leafing through a recently released volume on Natural law from one of those chaps at the Acton Institute. In his book I noticed that he cited all kinds of churchmen (Rutherford, Althusius, etc.) who used Natural law. Such citations, given as proof for why we need to return to natural law theory, don’t really hold water for the men they cite were writing and working in an epoch and time dominated by a thing called Christendom. This is important for it explains why their works were able to be received by Europe and by their countrymen. They were received and accepted because there existed a certain homogeneity that Christendom had created. Take their works and arguments and put them in a pagan and non-Christian environment and they would be just laughed at. Natural law theory doesn’t take the noetic effects of sin seriously Herbert.

Herbert, you wrote something in your letter I wanted to quote directly because I find it so interesting,

It is your mockery of Christians, and not just nominal Christians — but the keepers of the “old Princeton” theology, the keepers of Reformed theology in America (that I find so objectionable). You actually make a mockery and a caricature of yourself by attacking them so harshly. And you contribute to the caricature that “feminists and homosexuals” have of Christians, by simply being another Jerry Falwell, pointing the finger and saying “Listen, America,” and America “listened” and now we have George Bush, the stupidest president in history. And you give them the spectacle of Christians killing other Christians in the public forum.

First, I hope that I have cleared up for you that ‘Old Princeton’ certainly was not infected with the R2kt virus. Now, neither do I claim ‘Old Princeton’ for my position but the post-millennial strain that you can find in the likes of Warfield, Archibald Alexander, J. A. Alexander, and the Hodges bodes better for my theology then it does for the R2kt.

Second, as I have mocked with equal gusto the moral majority and the Falwells of the world as I have the R2kt gang I hardly think your charge hits home.

Thirdly, as I think it is a disastrous thing for the R2kt gang to be speaking for Christians in the public square, on this particular issue I hardly worry about the spectacle of my exposing the lack in their reasoning for all to see. If I am really the embarrassment that you claim me to be I shouldn’t think you should be to worried about my effectiveness, though I am humbled by your concern for my reputation.

Fourth, are you suggesting that the way to win God’s enemies is by them seeing how reasonable we are? What standard shall we use in order to determine what is reasonable Herbert? Allow me to suggest that Homosexuals and feminists will only find Christians to be ‘reasonable’ when Christians quit holding that such ideology and lifestyle is sin in the same way that Jews and Muslims will only find Christianity reasonable when we quite insisting that Jesus is the divine Son of God who is the Messiah. There is nobody alive Herbert that wants to be liked more then me but I just can’t sacrifice fidelity to Christ in exchange for being seen as reasonable by homosexuals and feminists.

Fifth, we might be in agreement about the ‘stupidest President in history.’ Still, you have to keep in mind that I was saying that 8 long years ago.

You close by noting that ‘I really should trust that God can save his world, with or without my help.’ I thank you for that reminder. Now, allow me to sign off with a reminder to you. While it is the case that God can save His already saved world with or without my help it is also the case that, for reasons that are quite beyond my ability to fathom, He has condescended to involve His people in His ongoing work of saving His saved world. For His people to retreat in this work because, “God can save His world, with or without them” has a gnostic whiff about it.

You might want to beware of that whiff Herbert.

Thanks for your friendship and your love for me that impels you to warn me of my failures.

Pastor Bret

Dear Pastor — Is Theonomy Like Circumcision?

The coming of Christ, the true Son of God, abolishes national Israel. Since the coming of Christ, there is no more reason for the theocracy. Whether they mean to or not, theonomists are an affront to Christ. They want to have the theocracy that Christ abolished by his coming. He fulfilled the purposes of Israel. To claim those purposes for ourselves is to reject Christ himself.

Read Gal 5:1-5 and replace “circumcision” with “theonomy”.

First, the coming of Christ does indeed abolish national Israel. That is why we don’t see any relevance of that piece of sod in the Middle East for eschatology. However, saying that the coming of Christ abolishes national Israel and saying that the coming of Christ abolishes the law are two quite different statements. The case law that Theonomy appeals to is naught but the moral law applied to concrete situations. If one insists that the case law is abolished one is left saying that the moral law only continues to inform in a completely abstract fashion, or one is left to inconsistently saying that while the moral law applies concretely to individuals it doesn’t apply concretely to the public square where it was specifically given and never rescinded to apply to.

Second, as Theocracy is an inescapable category, the coming of Christ has nothing to do with its elimination. All governmental arrangements are theocratic since all law orders that provide the framework for all social orders are derivative of some expressed or implied Theology. Saying that theocracy is eliminated by the coming of Christ is like insisting that oxygen has been eliminated by the coming of Christ. You can say it all you want but it doesn’t make it so.

Third, we would say that it is not theonomists who are an affront to Christ but rather those who would deny the proper place of His Kingship. They argue against God’s concrete law and they turn around and plead for a Kingship of Jesus that is abstract and debatable. (Debatable because Jesus’ Kingship as expressed by their natural law theories is a Kingship that looks different according to which natural law theorists you speak with.)

You letter however, does reveal the anti-thesis between Christians who are theonomists and Christians who desire to read them out of the Kingdom. It is difficult to see how, if each insists that the other is an affront to Christ how they can co-exist together.

Fourth, theonomist, most assuredly do not desire the Israelite Theocracy that Christ abolished. They want the Theocracy that comes from bearing allegiance to Christ in this age and in this place. Silly boy, why would we ever build fences around our roofs as the Israelite Theocracy was required to? No, the Israelite Theocracy is abolished, but the law of God lives on since it is, after all, Holy, just and good.

Fifth the purpose of Israel is not abolished. The overarching purpose of Israel was to testify and be witnesses to God’s hegemonic glory. That remains the overarching purpose of the Church today. Certainly you are not saying that this purpose is abolished are you? That would be true Reformed Dispensationalism if you were. One way the overarching purpose continues to be pursued is by properly esteeming God’s law (we still meditate on it both day and night), which means that we do not seek to use it as a ladder to climb into the presence of God but rather out of gratitude we seek to conform ourselves in every area of life to God’s law revelation.

Sixth, thus it is quite clear that theonomists do not reject Christ himself, though once again we see the anti-thesis here between Classical Reformed Theology and more recent Reformed innovations. We see it because it is the conviction of many a theonomist that it is the Reformed innovations that are rejecting Christ himself. So, each side continues to hurl invective at one another.

1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,[a] and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become a theonomist, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes a theonomist that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

First, while it might have been convenient for your argument if the Holy Spirit had inspired the writer to write ‘theonomy’ instead of ‘circumcision’ such is not the case and the suggestion of replacing one word for the other is completely gratuitous and may border on faulting the Holy Spirit for not using the word that you would prefer.

Second, while Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the ceremonial law has been fulfilled (not abolished) and so no longer in force it does not make the same case for the moral law which the civil law is but the concrete embodiment of.

Third, your position consistently embraced would (and some would say does) result in public square anti-nomianism.

Fourth, you come perilously close to bearing false witness about Theonomists since no theonomist has ever come close to teaching that we are justified by the law as the Judaizers taught that the Galatians would be justified by circumcision. Do you have no conscience against bearing false witness or do you not have to be concerned about that since your comments are in the public square and the law does not apply to the public square? Once again, I would recommend Samuel Bolton’s book to you that teaches a very standard Reformed and Puritan view of the Law.

I hope this helps you think your way through these matters more precisely,

Pastor Bret

Dualing Blogs — Confessional Outhouse vs. Iron Ink

Over at the Confessional OH the R2k boys are offering up hackneyed versions of Eric F. Wakeman’s recent visitation to friendly environs of Iron Ink. Here is his report.

I visited the blog of a CRC minister that was referred to me by a friend in mid-Michigan. This minister is a theonomist who calls Two Kingdom Theology (2Kt) a “disease”, and makes gratuitous assertions about a connection between 2Kt and gnosticism.

First, as I don’t know what people understand ‘theonomy’ to mean, I seldom refer to myself as a ‘theonomist’ as the guys at the Confessional Outhouse suggest. I really couldn’t say I am a theonomist until EFW first tells me what he thinks theonomy is. Personally, I would be satisfied with arrangements that follow the classical Reformed take advocated by Samuel Bolton in the ‘True Bounds Of Christian Freedom.’ Unfortunately, R2Kt types object to the classical Reformed take on the law and so they hastily stick the label of ‘Theonomist’ — a label that they have worked so assiduously to turn into a pejorative — upon people who dare to take exception to their novel Klinean Reformed dispensationalism.

Second, since none of my commentary was composed of assertions my commentary couldn’t suffer from being gratuitous.

One thing that EFW has right in the quote above is that I do think that R2Kt is a disease that if not quarantined will either contribute to the death of what remains of Christendom (an eventuality that they are perfectly at peace with) or will work to redefine what Christianity is.

Unfortunately I took the bait and attempted a dialog. In return I recieved more gratuitious assertions, strawman arguments, and ad hominem attacks. Finally, I made assertions regarding what I believe concerning the nature of the two kingdoms and the Church’s role in them. Responding to this, this pastor pulled my post and hacked it apart so as to take my words out of context and do more grandstanding to show just how totally right he is for being a thenomist and how ludicrous my thinking on 2Kt is. He was even so kind as to make more assertions… this time telling me (or more correctly, those who read his blog) what I believe (which I can understand since much of my original post, that which contained my own assertions of belief, was removed or ‘reorganized’). To add insult to injury, he assured his audience that he does not care to support his claims concerning the connection between 2Kt and gnosticism.

Starting from the bottom up, I most certainly did show the connection between R2Kt and gnosticism. Eric was so put off that he completely read past the connection made.

Second all are welcome to go to this link

The Family Values Candidate Just Sprung A Leak

and see if EFW is accurate in his accusation that I ‘hacked apart (his words) so as to take his words out of context. Examining his original post will also answer the scurrilous accusation that I removed or ‘reorganized his words.’ I think I only deleted his request for gnostic proof, and I did that because I had already provided that in the part I put in bold at that link. What EFW slanderously accuses me of only serves his purpose to look as if he is the injured party. Once again, much of Eric’s post was not removed. Only his request for gnostic proof was removed and that because I had already answered that request.

The fact of the matter is, is that EFW and his R2Kt was taken to the woodshed. In what could be taken as an attempt to mitigate that embarrassment EFW now accuses me of misquoting and misrepresenting him. Something that an examination of that link will thoroughly disprove.

Interestingly enough, several days ago there was a post concerning the political grandstanding and underhandedness of the Obama campaign. This being the culture a Theonomist would care to redeem, one must wonder exactly what that redemption will look like in that great millenium of political victory when ministers like this one rule the world ‘by the power of the Holy Spirit’. His concern, it was suggested in response to some of my comments, was the third use of the Law. I care not for it, he said, but he wants to see its fruits.

Ummm… the end of grandstanding and underhandedness?

Of course those who subscribe to a 2Kt believe in the third use of the Law, and I pointed this out (that was one of those points he didn’t see fit to publish on his site). Furthermore, I am in awe of the ironic state of affairs in which this pastor finds himself; on the one hand he argues for application of the Law to the culture at large, and yet he violates it in his argumentation of that very point.

First, look at the link provided and see for yourself whether or not I didn’t publish his point about the third use of the law.

EFW’s second point touching irony therefore doesn’t stand since I posted his comments.

This is highly irritating.

I do not believe it would be right for me to direct y’all to this site, nor do I think I ought to give his name. But there is a lesson to be learned here, and it is my hobby horse: everybody has a system. We’ve all thought this stuff through and I have no doubt that many who disagree with me are bright, intelligent, well-intending souls. They are just wrong. On the other hand, I’m happy to go toe-to-toe with those with whom I disagree knowing that I’ll either be strengthened in my belief or be corrected where I err. This, of course, requires argumentation that is soundly logical and respectful. We can debate and discuss with attention to one another’s presuppotions therein, but I stop when I feel the need to call names, mischaracterize, or call into question the salvation of those with whom I disagree (at least those who are presumably in the Church).

Well this is a hobby horse we can both ride into the sunset EFW. You have misrepresented our discussion in order to make yourself smell like Mr. Clean when in point of fact you have the deposits of the Outhouse covering you. Who has done the misrepresentation? Who has shown a lack of respect by these ungrounded accusations? Who has cast aspersions that are not true?

The fact of the matter is that EFW is infected with the R2Kt and hence he is severely wrong.

It would seem to me that given my disappointment with the rancor and putrid state of affairs in the realm of politics (though it doesn’t surprise me, it is politics after all) that I as a Christian could possibly (attempt to) set an example to the world. Must we always agree? Absolutely not. I love to argue. Should we attack (percieved) inconsistencies in the ideas of others? I hope so. Should we attack one another as stupid, as “against the Kingdom of God” or practice illegitimate forms of debate such as those cited above? Lets not.

Look, the R2kt virus is against the kingdom of God. I have no doubt it is well intended. I have no doubt that people mean well by advocating it. But at the end of the day it is against the Kingdom of God.

Second, all the illegitimate forms of debate I’ve been accused of have been shown to be so much grandstanding and ad hominem by EFW.

Whether we all agree on 2Kt, Calvinism, Covenantalism (or what have you) or not, we agree that the saints of God ought to conduct themselves in a way that reflects the application of the redemption which God has accomplished through Christ on the cross. This board has gotten heated at times as these topics are likely to do, and we’ve had brothers correct brothers and get corrected back and so on, but we have stayed away from the sort of political grandstanding that I witnessed recently.

Oh for pete’s sake. Give me a break. The piousness is getting so thick you can shovel it with a pitchfork. If there is any grandstanding you are witnessing it in this post I am responding to.

And that is exactly what it was. Political grandstanding for an audience. Why do I subscribe to 2Kt? Because ministers ought not attempt to utilize the tools of the kingdom of men such as mischaracterization, slander, and blantant dishonesty to further our Lord’s Kingdom. The Lord will bring in an innumberable harvest in the elect, but He will do so by His appointed means. We do Him no favors when we privelege cultural transformation over seeing to the faithful execution of those means. They’re weak in the eyes of men and even those in our own reformed camp sometimes sound as though they believe them inadequate to the task, but they’re all we’ve got.

I am working on being calm here. Someone mind hitting a gong and telling me to find my calming mantra?

We must ask here what makes a tool a tool of the Kingdom of men? EFW has gone all pious and spiritual on me and yet all he has done is mischaracterize and slander me while offering blatant dishonesty to further his argumentation. He has, by dishonest means (look at the link) sought to advance his R2Kt kingdom.

Second, I quite agree that God will bring in His elect by His appointed means of Word and Sacrament. I have never said that people are saved by any other means. To imply that I have is yet one more example of EFW’s dishonesty, slander, and mischaracterization. I am hoping that EFW is 20 something years old.

Third, it is completely gratuitous of EFW to suggest that classic Reformed Theology privileges cultural transformation over Word and Sacrament as the means of God’s harvest. The problem with EFW is that he can’t see a link between God’s harvest of men and how men harvested bring God’s salvation to every thing they touch.

Fourth, I quite agree that the means of grace seem weak in the eyes of men and I quite agree that they are the means that God has appointed by which men will be saved. Personally, I know of no orthodox Reformed people who would disagree with that statement. The implication that I would disagree with that is an example of dishonesty, slander and mischaracterization on EFW’s part.

Local Pastor Aids CDC In Fight Against R2k Infection

If my difficulty in hearing what you’re saying is built upon a pretext it is this: Christ came to build His Church. He didn’t call His people to an overthrow of the social order. In fact, He specifically told His inquisitors that His kingdom was of a different nature.

He told Pilate that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.’ This text is often cited wrongly in support of the idea that Jesus’ Kingdom was of such a nature that it was irrelevant to this world. The problem with such interpretation is that it doesn’t fit what John does with the word ‘world’ through much of his Gospel. For John, the word ‘world’ is often used to designate this world as it lies in the thralldom of Satan. Hence Jesus speaks of the Spirit who the Father will send — The Spirit that the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him (The Spirit) or knows Him. As just one more example, Jesus can say in 14:30 that ‘the ruler of this world is coming.’ For John the word ‘world’ often works in the same kind of way that the phrase ‘this present wicked age’ works for the Apostle Paul. Because this is so we shouldn’t stumble over reading Jesus saying that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world, anymore then we would stumble if we read Jesus saying, ‘My Kingdom is not of this present wicked age.’ Of course His Kingdom was not of the world as it lies in the thralldom of Satan. But that doesn’t mean that His Kingdom, which is not of this world, isn’t a Kingdom that will overcome this world.

B. F. Wescott wrote on John 18:36 saying,

“…Yet He (Jesus) did claim a sovereignty, a sovereignty of which the spring and the source was not of earth but of heaven.” So, agreeing with the Greek scholar Wescott we say that ‘My Kingdom is not of this world,’ means it (quoting Wescott again) does not derive its origin or its support from earthly sources.”

Second, in responding to your statement immediately above allow me to suggest that you forget the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. One line in that prayer is, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Now, if we are to pray that God’s present Kingdom continues to come that implies that we are praying against other Kingdoms that would exalt themselves over God’s Kingdom. To pray for God’s Kingdom to come is to pray against Kingdoms that rise up in defiance of that always present and always coming Kingdom. E. F., my friend, go read of that Stone in Daniel 2. It is definitely not an a-millennial Stone, but rather it is a rolling post-millennial stone that gathers no moss but instead overthrows and crushes everything in its path, including a-millennial naysayers.

The postmillenial obsession with the culture… transformation of the culture… influencing the culture… what you have sounds like a contradiction.

Well, when people use pretzel logic, I’m sure straight thinking gets accused of being contradictory.

I am not obsessed with culture. I am obsessed with the global and cosmic implications of the finished work of the King-Priest Jesus. I am obsessed with my ruling liege-Lord who provides such a rich salvation that it overflow the banks of individual lives and hearts that have been visited with His salvation. I see this salvation start trickling, pouring and cascading in the cultural street so that the salvation of the good High King Jesus becomes a flood that rolls over all of humanity and all of its institutions bringing life where the desert of wickedness had previously been.

I am obsessed with people coming to Jesus. I am obsessed with the Church swelling as God calls in His elect. I am obsessed with the glory of the crucified and ascended Jesus.

If my belief that Christ will ultimately have victory over sin and death and create a new order in His second and victorious coming is Gnostic I guess I’ve misread something. Your implied assertion that I do not believe that Christ and His disciples had all power is a misunderstanding of two kingdom thinking: I believe that said power is of a different nature than the power to transform secular culture. The power of the Holy Spirit will empower His Church to continue faithfully preaching the Gospel message.

First, there is no such thing as secular culture. It is a phrase that has been invented and repeated ad nauseum to convince people that culture can be a-religious. Culture is but the outward manifestation of a people’s inward beliefs. As all belief is theological, all cultures are theological. There is no such thing as ‘secular culture.’

Second, you believe ‘the power of the Holy Spirit will empower His Church to continue faithfully preaching’ with a message that in the end utterly is triumphed over as the Church becomes a isolate fort surrounded by the ‘injuns’ that can only be rescued by a deus ex machina eschatological in breaking. You believe that Jesus returns to a tare field in order to pick the wheat out. I, on the other hand, believe that Jesus returns to a wheat field to pick out a few irksome tares. I likewise believe that the ‘power of the Holy Spirit will empower His Church to continue faithfully preaching,’ but unlike you, I also believe that the Gospel will both succeed and bear fruit that will remain. I don’t confuse the Gospel for the culture but neither do I fail to believe that the Gospel has implications. That a people freely declared Holy will increasingly become what they have freely been declared to be and that with that personal and individual transformation all that they touch will be affected by the salvation that has visited them. Salvation doesn’t end with Jesus coming into people’s hearts. Neither does salvation end with doing Church just right. The salvation that Christ brings to individuals gets in their marriages, their families, their schools, their economic structures, their juridical and legal institutions, their art and science and every other realm over which Jesus is King.

Quit being embarrassed by Jesus cosmic Lordship.

Furthermore, my comments regarding the personal holiness of believers and our call to be salt and light refer directly to the third use of the law. The third use of the law, unfortunately for you, does not call those outside the Church to be transformed, but those inside.

Look, E. F. if you have a problem with transformation you need to take it up with Romans 12. In writing to the Church at Rome the Holy Spirit speaks,

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The Holy Spirit speaks something similar in Ephesians 4:23-24 and while you have your Bible open you might want to also look at II Cor. 3:18 and Romans 8:28-29. Honestly, I can’t understand for the life of me the resistance of R2k types to the idea that the Christian life is one of ongoing transformation into the image of Christ.

The motivation for Gospel ministry for Amils such as myself is the glorification of our Lord through the steady use of the means of grace to the end that all of the elect may be brought into this redeemed culture called the Church. The postmil seems to have much more to do with reforming the existing political and social order.

As it is the case with all Amillennialists you are seriously confused. The postmillennialist is with you every step of the way in your first sentence above. The difference is that postmillenialists believe that the Gospel as vastly wider and more powerful implications then our Eeyeore cousin amillennialists. Notice also the amillennial tendency to compartmentalize nature and grace. This is platonic (gnostic) thinking.

Where did Christ command us to “baptize all cultures (especially Constantines Christendom)”? I thought that call was to people of every tribe and tongue… gotta return to Matthew 28 and reread I guess…

How very American and non-covenantal of you to read the text that way. No, you have no trouble reading what the text says … it is what it means you need to spend some time on.

I’m not Gnostic, you’re just a member of “the cirumcision group”.

I beg your pardon… Both my son and I still have our foreskins. Similarly we both believe that salvation is completely gracious.

Further gnostic comments will not be posted. Go find someplace else to evangelize people into the belief that Jesus is Lord in a abstract way over the realm where we do 95% of our living.