R. Scott Clark’s Opining on Christian Nationalism Rejected — Part II

Just as Machen, though sick with pneumonia was bound and determined to keep his word to travel to South Dakota to preach and support a new Presbyterian work there, so I have lifted myself up out of my post-operative open heart surgery rest and recovery regimen in order to answer the absolute inanities of R. Scott Clark and Keven DeYoung on the subject of Christian Nationalism. Aren’t you impressed?

There is nothing quite so as stirring and enlivening to one’s spirit and health has to have the opportunity to lance, like so many piece of vegetable and beef on a shish-kabob, the non-Christian musings of the highly functioning lobotomized clergy class.

R. Scott Clark notes the desire of DeYoung to have “some form of Christian Nationalism,” and then as the cheek to say that no one has ever answered his previous queries as to what it means to modify “nationalism” with “Christian.” Clark, ever the intellectual autistic that he is, insists that no one has ever given him a coherent response as to what it means to speak of “Christian” plumbing or “Christian” math. All I can say here is that if he has seen no coherent response to this it is because he is looking with his eyes shut. Here is my response to that question a couple years ago. It is not the first time I have answered this question for he who runs “The Heidelfog.”

Not Getting R. Scott Clark’s Inability to Get The Obvious

Also, if R. Scott Clark would read my book he would see that I provide an answer for him again in that book in the chapter titled, “Transformation of Culture.” So, either R. Scott Clark is lying when he says he has seen no coherent response to his queries about how math, softball, or nations can be Christian or else his worldview won’t allow him to see an answer that everyone else can easily see.

Clark then insists that he is not a defeatist. All I can do is offer that such a statement is a real knee-slapper. Everything that Clark contends for in terms of his R2K social order project guarantees that Christianity will return to the catacombs. As I argue in my book in the chapter “Militant Amillennialism” R2K’s eschatology requires defeat. Quoting from my book, I note,

“The R2K eschatology is what I call a militant amillennialism. The Amillennial eschatology does not allow for the victory of the Gospel and Biblical Christianity in space and time. In Amillennial eschatology the return of Christ is a return characterized by a church that is under assault and is greatly diminished in the world. Christ returns to rescue the Church much like the US Cavalry rides in to save an almost depleted Fort Custer as surrounded by the Indians ready to make their final push to take the Fort. The R2K Amillennialists really believe this and so it is baked into their eschatology. Because they do not believe that victory is possible they have developed a theology under the tutelage of men like David Van Drunen, R. Scott Clark, Mike Horton, D. G. Hart, and others that by definition does not allow for victory. By creating a common square that, by definition, can not ever be anything but common the R2K Amillennialist has created a self-fulfilled eschatology. Since by definition the public square cannot be anything but common the public square cannot see the triumph of Christ in space and time in the public square. The is militant Amillennialism.”

Clark next insists that all he is arguing for is a return to the American project which means the restoration of secular government while pursuing a desire to re-frame the classical Reformed distinction between nature and grace.

We would note here that when Clark tells us that he desires to return to the American project what he is telling us is that he desire to return to the vision of the Enlightenment crowd numbered among the founding fathers. This is a vision that affirms neutrality as seen in the insistence that the State (as well as the national institutions) remains neutral when it comes to the issue of religion. Clark continues to not understand, and no power short of conversion can make him understand, that neutrality is a myth. Jesus Himself said that “he does not gather with me scatters.” Jesus Himself said that, “he who is not with me is against me.” Jesus Himself said, “You cannot serve two Masters.” Clark desires to serve Jesus as Master while having a neutral state that does not serve Jesus as Master.  This is not only not Christianity that Clark is pushing this is anti-Christianity. Let it be said clearly that there is no such thing as a secular State/Government if by secular you mean a State/Government that is ruling apart from a standpoint of religion and ruling apart from some god or god concept. Clark’s idea of secular is the idea that Roger Williams (He of Anabaptist fame) instantiated in Rhode Island. R. Scott Clark as more in common with Roger Williams than he does John Calvin.

Clark next invokes the sainted Abraham Kuyper. Clark would be better served reading Philippus Jacobus Hoedemaker’s critiques of Kuyper on this score. After Clark is finished reading Hoedemaker he can then buy a copy of Wm. T. Cavanaugh’s, “The Myth of Religious Violence.” From that work he can learn that all his chicken little screaming about violence from Christian magistrates is just so much hooey.

Clark then offers a real eye-popper when he writes;

 “As a historian, I am endlessly puzzled by the desire, expressed by Wolfe and others, for a return to a state-church. What do they imagine the outcome will be? They claim that they will get it right this time, though virtually all other attempts before them have failed. This reminds me very much of the Marxist claim that we should give that another run because the right people have not tried it yet.”

I too am a historian, though I never earned a terminal degree in the field. (If Clark is an example of a Historian with a terminal degree I thank God I never went on to get the terminal degree.) History was one of my under-grad degrees. I took all the historiography courses. I examined the different schools of history. I read the heavy hitters. So, as a historian I am endlessly puzzled by Clark’s inability to see that a state-church is an inescapable category. Our nation is covered with state-churches, supported with state-funds, manned by state-educated state-Priests. Somewhere in the vicinity of 90% of American children (ages K-12) attend these state-churches being indoctrinated thoroughly with the state religion. Yet, Clark is so jejune that he can suggest that we, in America, do not have a state-Church. It is amazing. Clark complains that too many people are like Marxists and yet the man can’t see that our state-Church pushes some one form or another of Marxism.

R. Scott Clark’s Christianity is completely novel. No Reformed person before Meredith Kline thought anything like this. As Dr. Stephen Wolfe has written regarding R2K;

“Van Drunen (Clark belongs to this school of thought), for example, resolves the ‘contradictions’ of traditional two kingdoms theology with a theological system that affirms post WW II norms of secularism, multiculturalism, and anti-nationalism. His political theology might rightly be called ‘post WW II consensus theology,’ and I suspect that historians, looking back at it, will conclude that his theology is highly historically conditioned.”

Van Drunen, D. G. Hart, R. Scott Clark, Mike Horton, Sean Michael Lucas, Matthew Tuininga, David T. Gordon, and countless others are spewing a “theology” that is perhaps 80 years old at best. It is completely novel and it is a theology that none of the Reformers or their descendants would recognize as Reformed. Yet, despite the truth of that these posers are all over the place screaming that they alone are orthodox. Jesus refused to turn stone into bread but these highly educated dunces have gladly complied.


“Christian Academia” and it’s Inability to Think Christianly

“The deterioration of the historic roots of Christian orthodoxy upon the campuses of Christian learning is straightforward. Christian academicians isolate individual concepts and methods of choice from non-Christian thinkers and adopt them into their own ‘Christian’ worldview. In contrast, the directive that needs to be followed is that every concept and method presented by a non-Christian thinker must be subjected to a holistic critical analysis within the structure of the thinker’s own system.”

William Dennison 
In Defense of the Eschaton; Essays in Reformed Apologetics — pg. 78

Dennison’s point here is that before conceptual strands of thought as from non-Christians and non-Christian Weltanschauungs can be adopted by Christians and made a part of a Christian world and life view what first has to be done is that non-Christian conceptual strand of thought must be engaged, via a transcendental analysis, in order to see how that strand of conceptual thought is functioning in that non-Christian Weltanschauung. It may be the case that while the conceptual strand in and of itself is acceptable, it is functioning in a way that is not acceptable for a Christian as it exists in a Christian worldview.

In brief before adopting a conceptual strand from an alien worldview that conceptual strand must go through a surgical debridement process wherein the necrotic material from the original dysfunctional worldview wound is removed from the conceptual strand being adopted by the apologist who is doing the surgery. The conceptual strand must be cleansed of its former association before it can be grafted on to the healthy tissue of Biblical Christianity.

Dennison uses Plato’s doctrine of the immortality of the soul as an example. All Christians believe in the immortality of the soul but the Christian can not take Plato’s doctrine of the immortality of the soul en toto and just own it as a Christain doctrine. Only after putting  Plato’s pagan doctrine of the immortality of the soul through surgical debridement can that doctrine be accepted as being fit for a Christian worldview.

Dennison is insisting (rightly so) that Christian academia is NOT doing this and is instead too often borrowing from the Egyptian’s thought world without ridding the conceptual strand of its Egyptian skubala. What Christian academia too often is doing is that it takes elements from Romanticism or Darwinism or Existentialism, or Post-modernism, or Empiricism, or Barthianism, or Rationalism, or Freudianism or Skinnerism or any number of other anti-Christ worldviews and without putting the conceptual strands through a Biblical Transcendental analysis debridement process just affix these pagan conceptual strands to a Biblical Christian World and life view with the result that their “Christian” World and life view is not at all Christian. At least not consistently so.

Ask the Pastor — What Should We Make of the Current Higher Education Scene?

Dear Pastor,

Can you elaborate on the concept that University academia is inherently flawed and anti-Christian? I have always noticed that the Christians I know that have been to University tend to be more political leaning in one way, more sympathetic to humanistic ideas, anti-death penalty, more sympathetic to homo ‘rights’ etc etc.

Obviously you can be a Christian and be extremely infected with worldly ideas…which Universities of course specialise in propagating. What would be the practical alternative in an ideal world?

Thanks in advance,



Dear Felix,

Thank you for writing.

The modern University system is flawed and anti-Christian because, in the great percentages of cases, it is owned and operated by the Cultural Marxists. As such, when you attend a University you are paying top dollar to be propagandized into one form of Marxism or another. Christian parents who pay to send their children to University are shelling out 20K a year for the privilege of having their children indoctrinated against Christianity. Christian Universities and Colleges are usually the worst because they take the same doctrines and teachings and cover them with a thin patina coating of “Christianity,” thus convincing students that the Marxist faith is, in point of fact, the Christian faith. Because this is so, I wouldn’t send my dog to modern Christian Universities – Colleges, never mind God’s covenant seed.

Second, there is the whole student debt angle. Many students graduate University with house mortgage type debt and a lousy degree. This insures that they will remain controlled and ineffectual as they are beholden to what jobs they can find and as they will be so consumed with working to pay off their debt that they will likely not take the time to ever think for themselves. Once you’ve interacted with professional Academicians one easily begins to see why our church and culture is in the shape it is in.

However, Felix, this is not anti-intellectualism on my part. It is, rather, anti-humanist intellectualism on my part. It is simply the case that by in large Christian intellectualism is dead on the vine. Harry Blamires made this point over a generation ago in his book, “The Disappearance of the Christian Mind,”

“We are all caught up, entangled, in the lumbering day-to-day operations of a [social] machinery, working in many respects in the service of ends which we as Christians reject. This situation, the present [schizophrenic] situation of thousands of thinking Christians is the end product of a process that began the day Christians first decided to stop thinking Christianly in the interests of national harmony; the day when Christians first felt that the only way out of endless public discussion was to limit the operation of acute Christian awareness to the spheres of personal morality and spirituality.

From that point, the spheres of political, cultural, social, and commercial life became dominated by pragmatic and utilitarian thinking.”

The only way the Christian mind will be recovered is to not marinate our children’s minds in the paganism that is typical of Universities, Colleges, and Seminaries Christian or otherwise.

Third, there is the whole Frat house – whore house college experience which emphasizes College as a Summer camp – Animal house experience. Hardly healthy.

Yes, I fully realize Felix, that exceptions to all this exist but the exceptions are indeed exceptions. We are floating in a sea of Academic Humanism.

What are the alternatives …

1.) Autodidact
2.) Education by Extension (College Plus)

In college plus one can get the Bachelor’s degree without being indoctrinated.

3.) Forget formal education and become Entrepreneur.

One more point on this score that you did not ask about but I want to mention. Christians, in order to overcome this current situation, simply have to get over the whole idea of “accreditation.” Educational establishments like to tote that they are “accredited.” Christian needs to start asking, “Yes, but accredited by who?” You see, the point I’m making is to ask why Christians think it is important that their children attend schools accredited by the humanist enemy who wishes to destroy us. Consider Gordon College. Recently, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ Commission on Institutions of Higher Education considered whether Gordon College’s ban on “homosexual practice” runs contrary to its Commissions Standards for Accreditation.

Why would Gordon College care? If the Cultural Marxists don’t want to Accredit our schools that should be a reason for rejoicing. Christians, should they desire to return to Academic and Intellectual respectability, simply have to give up trying to curry the favor of Humanist Accreditation agencies.

Charles Hodge — 19th Century Old Princeton Theologian On the Failure of Government Schools

“As children are bound to honor and obey their parents, so parents have duties no less important in reference to their children” (352).

The “Bible does require that education should be religiously conducted…(Deut.6:6,7 11:19 Ps.78:5-7 Prov.22:6 Eph.6:4)…These are not ceremonial or obsolete laws. They bind the consciences of men just as much as the command, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ If parents themselves conduct the education of their children, these are the principles upon which it must be conducted. If they commit that work to teachers, they are bound, by the law of God, to see that the teachers regard these divine prescriptions…This is an obligation which they cannot escape…Christianity requires that education in all its departments should be conducted religiously” (354,355).

“If a man is not religious, he is irreligious; if he is not a believer, he is an unbeliever. This is as true of organizations and institutions, as it is of individuals. Byron uttered a profound truth when he put into the mouth of Satan the words ‘He that does not bow to God, has bowed to me.’ If you banish light, you are in darkness. If you banish Christianity from the schools, you thereby render them infidel…This controversy, therefore, is a controversy between Christianity and infidelity; between light and darkness; between Christ and Belial” (355,356).

Charles Hodge (1797-1878)
Systematic Theology, James Clarke and Co., 1960, Vol.3, pgs.352-356.

“Children are not to be allowed to grow up without care or control. They are to be instructed, disciplined, and admonished, so that they are brought to knowledge, self control, and obedience. This whole process of education is to be religious, and not only religious, but Christian. It is bring[ing] them up in the training and instruction of the Lord which is the appointed and the only effectual way of attaining the goal of education. Where this means is neglected or any other substituted for it, the result must be disastrous failure. The moral and religious element of our nature is just as essential and as universal as the intellectual. Religion, therefore, is as necessary to the development of the mind as knowledge. And as Christianity is the only true religion, and God in Christ the only true God, the only possible means of profitable education is the nurture and admonition of the Lord…it is infinite folly for men to assume that they are wiser than God or to attempt to accomplish a goal through any means other than those which he has appointed.” (Comments on Eph.6:4).

Charles Hodge (1797 – 1878)
Commentary on Ephesians, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1994, pg.204.


It needs to be said here that homeschooling is not the magic bullet that cures the failure of Government schools. Homeschooling that is done outside the context of an epistemologically self conscious curriculum and teachers will inevitably result in not being a whit better than the curriculum and teaching that is offered in Government schools.

Further successful homeschooling will require a dearth of modern entertainment forms in the home, at least until such a time as the child is old enough to reinterpret the entertainment through a Biblical gird. (And by that time that takes place there likely will be little desire for modern entertainments.) It will require a extremely careful selection of playmates for one’s children. It will require pain staking care regarding what church is selected. It will require a close monitoring on the worldview that is adopted by one’s children. Most of all it requires casting all upon the mercy of the Lord Christ to have grace upon our children. Even when parents have been as faithful as they know how to be we must all end by admitting that “we are unprofitable servants.”

Too often I fear that people think that homeschooling is a magic bullet that by itself will rescue our children from the evil one. It won’t. It may me a better means of education than Government schools but I’ve seen to much homeschooling to think that by itself it is going to impact the culture.

R. L. Dabney Writes On Government Education circa 1873 … Is Proved Right in 2014

“Said Daniel Webster…‘In what age, by what sect, where, when, by whom, has religious truth been excluded from the education of youth? Nowhere never. Everywhere, and at all times, it has been and is regarded as essential. It is of the essence, the vitality of useful instruction’”

Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898)
“State Free Schools” and “Secularized Education” in Discussions Vol.4,
Ross House Books and Sprinkle Publications, 1979 [1897], pg. (219).

By now people well know my opposition to Government schools. Of course my opposition is only a reflection of my reading and observations. In what follows in this post I am combining my reading of Dabney with the observations of Bobbi Leigh Swagger, a person who is closely connected to Government schools and what goes on there. Knowing about Government schools is part of Bobbi Leigh’s vocation and career. Hopefully, the result of the combination of the abstract (my reading) with the concrete (real life accounts from Bobbi Leigh) will make a bigger impact on Christians to the end of getting their children out of Government schools if at all possible.

“We propose now…that tuition in Christianity is essential to all education which is worth the name…we mean in the fullest sense that Christianity must be a present element of all the training at all times, or else it is not true and valuable education…The human spirit is a monad, a single, unit, spiritual substance, having facilities and susceptibilities for different modifications, but no parts. Hence, when it is educated it is educated as a unit…it is impossible to separate the ethical and intellectual functions…knowledge is really valuable only as it is in order to right actions… The nature of responsibility is such that there can be no neutrality…‘He that is not with his God is against him.’ He who does not positively comply with the ever-present obligation does ipso facto violate it, and contract positive sinfulness. Hence as there cannot be in any soul a non-Christian state which is not anti-Christian, it follows that any training which attempts to be non-Christian is therefore anti-Christian. God is the rightful, supreme master and owner of all reasonable creatures, and their nearest and highest duties are to him. Hence to train a soul away from him is a robbery of God, which he cannot justify in any person or agency whatsoever” (220,221).

Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898)
“State Free Schools” and “Secularized Education” in Discussions Vol.4,
Ross House Books and Sprinkle Publications, 1979 [1897], pg. (220, 221).

“There can be, therefore, no true education without moral culture, and no true moral culture without Christianity” (222). R. L. Dabney

1. Just found out that a school in one of the former Cotton States just took down the walls of the bathroom stalls in the school because the kids were fornicating in the bathrooms. Oh, by the way this was a Middle School.

Bobbi Leigh Swagger

(I’m still working on understanding how it is that a child who would fornicate in a bathroom stall would suddenly find some scruples and modesty about fornicating without a stall.)

“Education is the nurture and development of the whole man for his proper end. The end must be conceived aright in order to understand the process” (230).

Is “a really secularized education either possible or admissible?…No people of any age, religion, or civilization, before ours, has ever thought so…Pagan, Papist, Mohammedan, Greek, Protestant, have all hitherto rejected any other education than one grounded in religion, as absurd and wicked” (230,231).

R. L. Dabney

“In one school district in which I operate they recently sent kids home with a test that said:

True or False: Christopher Columbus came to America and boiled the natives alive to make soap.”

Bobbi Leigh Swagger

“True education is, in a sense, a spiritual process, the nurture of a soul…Every line of true knowledge must find its completeness in its convergency to God, even as every beam of daylight leads the eye to the sun. If religion be excluded from our study, every process of thought will be arrested before it reaches its proper goal…[What if an unbeliever claims to be merely] teaching some purely secular course, without any such maiming of his subjects or prejudicing of Christianity? If his teaching is more than a temporary dealing with some corner of education, the fact will be found to be that it is tacitly anti-Christian; overt assaults are not made; but there is a studied avoidance which is in effect hostile. There can be no neutral position between two extremes, where there is no middle ground, but ‘a great gulf fixed’…The training which does not base duty on Christianity is, for us, practically immoral.”

R. L. Dabney (232-236)

In the Lone Star state I recently spoke with a parent who told me that her 9th grade daughter came home on Friday telling her mom that the teacher told them that Pocahontas married John Smith.

The child brought her own book about Pocahontas back to the school on Monday to show her that only in a Disney movie did Pocahontas fall in love with John Smith. The teacher said,

“I asked around, and none of the history teachers here agree with your version. They all think she married John Smith, so you must be wrong.”

Bobbi Leigh Swagger

The Christian creed of responsibility: “According to this, obligation to God covers all of every man’s being and actions. Even if the act be correct in outward form, which is done without any reference to his will, he will judge it a shortcoming. ‘The plowing of the wicked, is sin’ [Prov.21:4]…Our Savior has declared that there is no moral neutrality… The comparison of these truths will make it perfectly plain that a non-Christian training is literally an anti-Christian training” (238).

R. L. Dabney

In Connecticut I interviewed a Mother who told me her child was being summoned to the Dr. today for a psychological evaluation because her son had been cutting himself in 5th grade, stressed out over their new standardized tests.

Bobbi Leigh Swagger

(By the way folks … 5th grade means we are talking about a 9 or 10 year old.)

The “direction of the education of children…[is] properly a domestic and parental function…[God] looks to parents, in whom the family is founded, as the responsible agents of this result…He has also in the fifth Commandment connected the child proximately…with the parents, which, of course, confers on them the adequate and the prior authority…It thus appears that naturally the parent’s authority over their children could not have come by deputation from either State or visible Church…[But] the dispensation of Divine Providence in the course of nature shows where the power and duty of educating are deposited…No parent can fail to resent, with a righteous indignation, the intrusion of any authority between his conscience and convictions and the soul of his child. If the father conscientiously believes that his own creed is true and righteous and obligatory before God, then he must intuitively regard the intrusion of any other power between him and his minor child, to cause the rejection of that creed, as a usurpation…If this usurpation is made by the visible church, it is felt to be in the direction of popery, if by the magistrate, in the direction of despotism” (243,244).

R. L. Dabney

What “Protestant concedes therefrom that his religious rights were either conferred, or can be rightfully taken away, by civil authority?…The State or Church has no more right to invade the parental sphere than the parent to invade theirs…Did our republican fathers hold that any people have ever the right to subvert the moral order of society ordained by God?…So far is it from being true that the civil authority is entitled to shape a people to suit itself; the opposite is true, the people should shape the civil authority.” (245,246).

R. L. Dabney

In another case in the nutmeg state a Mom pulled child out after she showed up at the child’s school to get the child for a doctor’s appt…she had a doctor’s note/summons in her hand and they wouldn’t let her have her kid. Period.

Bobbie Leigh Swagger

Concluding with Dabney,

The State has no right to oppose the theological beliefs of Christians, but they do oppose these beliefs when they educate souls as they do, “because a non-Christian training is an anti-Christian training” (238).

“Since all truths converge towards God, he who is not to name God…can only construct a truncated figure…And no person nor organism has a right to seem to say to a responsible, immortal soul, ‘In this large and intelligent and even ethical segment of your doings you are entitled to be godless’” (239,240).

“In fact the Church does not and cannot repair the mischief which her more powerful, rich, and ubiquitous rival, the secularized State, is doing in thus giving, under the guise of a non-Christian, an anti-Christian training” (241).

Closing observations

1.) Keep in mind that R2K insists that there is no such thing as Christian Education.

2.) Obviously, not all Government schooled children will all have equally bad horror stories about their time in Government schools. Some accounts will be less bad than other accounts but all will be bad. Even in my own time we were taught the occult and given death studies. We also did the whole communist re-education thing in writing biographies.

3.) Even if Government schooled children have a comparative “good” schooling experience nothing can take away the fact that your children are being educated into a Worldview where God is hated and is seen as irrelevant.