The War Heats Up — McAtee Corrects R. Scott Clark #2

Quoting from Scott’s Libel against McAtee and Kinism piece;

Some are now also entertaining the heresy of Kinism, which is a feature of the darker corners of the Reconstructionist/theonomic/postmillennialist sub-cultures. The central tenets of Kinism, as given by one of its proponents are these:

Bret Responds,

Kinism a heresy?

“The ancient fathers… were concerned that the ties of kinship itself should not be loosened as generation succeeded generation, should not diverge too far, so that they finally ceased to be ties at all. And so for them it was a matter of religion to restore the bond of kinship by means of the marriage tie before kinship became too remote—to call kinship back, as it were, as it disappeared into the distance.”

Augustine – (A.D. 354 – 430)
City of God, book XV, Chpt. 16

“Regarding our eternal salvation, it is true that one must not distinguish between man and woman, or between king and a shepherd, or between a German and a Frenchman. Regarding policy, however, we have what St. Paul declares here; for our, Lord Jesus Christ did not come to mix up nature, or to abolish what belongs to the preservation of decency and peace among us….Regarding the kingdom of God (which is spiritual) there is no distinction or difference between man and woman, servant and master, poor and rich, great and small. Nevertheless, there does have to be some order among us, and Jesus Christ did not mean to eliminate it, as some flighty and scatterbrained dreamers [believe].”

John Calvin
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 11:2-3

“Fourthly, mutual love serves the purpose of mutual refreshment. Animals of the same species frequently walk together and citizens of the same nation stay together when they are in a strange country.”

Wilhelmus a’Brakel

17th Century Dutch Kinist Theologian

” [The] differences between the Caucasian, Mongolian, and Negro races, which is known to have been as distinctly marked two or three thousand years before Christ as it is now. . . . [T]hese varieties of race are not the effect of the blind operation of physical causes, but by those cause as intelligently guided by God for the accomplishment of some wise purpose. . . . God fashions the different races of men in their peculiarities to suit them to the regions which they inhabit.”

Charles Hodge (1797-1878)
Systematic Theology, Volume 2, Chapter 1, Section 3 (1872–73)

“Brethren according to the Flesh.”

Romans 9:3

Paul had two classes of brethren; those who were with him the children of God in Christ; these he calls brethren in the Lord, Philip, i. 14, holy brethren, &c. The others were those who belonged to the family of Abraham. These he calls brethren after the flesh, that is, in virtue of natural descent from the same parent. Philemon he addresses as his brother, both in the flesh and in the Lord. The Bible recognizes the validity and rightness of all the constitutional principles and impulses of our nature. It therefore approves of parental and filial affection, and, as is plain from this and other passages, of peculiar love for the people of our own race and country.

Charles Hodge
Commentary Romans 9

Causes of Separation in 1973 (PCA separates from PCUS) 

  • The Racial Amalgamationist, who preaches that the various races should be merged into one race and differences erased in oneness.
  • The Communist, who would have one mass of humanity coerced into oneness by a totalitarian state and guided exclusively by Marxist philosophy.

    John Edwards Richards
    One of the founders of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

    Look, I could go on with these quotes from the Reformed Fathers for dozens and dozens of pages. The snippet I have given above is enough to demonstrate the idea of Kinism and kinist like convictions completely eviscerates R. Scott Clark’s individual declaration that Kinism is heresy. One would think a Church historian would be more familiar with, well, er, uh … Church history.

    RSC next complains about a couple Kinist convictions listing them first;

    1. That sin is a universal deformity in human nature, and that no perfect society is possible this side of Heaven. That Christians should work to limit human error by seeking those conditions which are inherently productive of a harmony of interests, both in marriage and in society at large. That a harmony of interests naturally exists between people who are similar.

      Bret responds,

      Can there be any disagreement that a harmony of interests naturally exists between people who are similar? Dr. Clarence McCartney, co-worker with Dr. J. Gresham Machen, didn’t think so.

      Love imagines that it can overleap the barriers of race and blood and religion, and in the enthusiasm and ecstasy of choice these obstacles appear insignificant. But the facts of experience are against such an idea. Mixed marriages are rarely happy. Observation and experiences demonstrate that the marriage of a Gentile and Jew, a Protestant and a Catholic, an American and a Foreigner has less chance of a happy result than a marriage where the man and woman are of the same race and religion….”

      Dr. Clarence MacCartney
      20th Century Presbyterian Minister

      Next RSC complains about this Kinist tenet;

    2. That the God of the Old Testament, who forbade interracial, interreligious marriages to His covenant nation, is the same as the God of the New Testament. That marriage between parties who are not naturally congenial is unequal yoking. That unequal yoking in marriage or in society at large is destructive of Christian harmony, association, and growth.

      And then RSC critiques,

By “congenial” the author means “of the same race” and the “yoking” to which he refers is marriage. This was previously known as segregationism. Anyone old enough to remember or able to read a history text knows who George WallaceOrval Faubus, or Hendrik Verwoerd were and what they did.

Bret responds,

They could also possibly be educated enough to read a history text and so know who E. Earl Ellis was;

“Segregation has the potential to develop into a partnership of mutual respect … Southerners often wonder whether integrationists are as interested in good race relations as in forcing a particular kind of race relations. The unfortunate fact is that ardent Christian integrationists, however conscientious, are one cause of the worsening race relations in the South today. Their moral superiority complex, their caricature of the segregationist as an unchristian bigot and their pious confession of the sins of people in other sections of the country have not been wholly edifying.”

E. Earl Ellis
1957 Christianity Today Article

And maybe Scott has heard of Dr. F. H. Henry? Dr. Carl F. H. Henry wrote that civil rights legislation ending segregation would be morally problematic,

“Forced integration is as contrary to Christian principles as is forced segregation.  A voluntary segregation, even of believers, can well be a Christian procedure.”

Dr. F. H. Henry
1957 Christianity Today Article

And maybe Church Historian RSC has heard of Church Historian Phillip Schaff?

“Wherever the governmental idea holds the mercenary so completely in check and yields to the influence of Christian morality, it may be a wholesome training school for inferior races, as it is in fact with the African negroes, until they are capable to govern themselves.”

Phillip Schaff
Slavery and the Bible, p. 24

So, whether RSC likes it or not, what Kinists defend is not so much this strange thing called “Kinism” as it is a defense of Biblical Christianity and its impact on peoples and social orders as held universally by the Reformed Fathers prior to the middle of the 2oth century or so. If RSC wants the Reformed Church after 1950 he can have it. I’ll take the Reformed from 1518 forward.

RSC next writes,

This is not to suggest that all Christian Reconstructionists, theonomists, or postmillennialists are Kinists. That is not true. Indeed, Joseph Morecraft, a leading theonomic Reconstructionist, and postmillennialist, has publicly denounced Kinism. It is also true that outside of those sub-cultures, one is not very likely to encounter Kinism, however,  inside those sub-cultures, it is more common. I learned about the existence of Kinism while researching the doctrine and practice of Doug Wilson, who has engaged in dialogue over the years with Kinists. The Anti-Defamation League has a helpful who’s who of the Kinism movement….

Bret Responds,

I’m sure that RSC has heard of the Gordon H. Clark quote that “we don’t come to truth by counting noses.” That Morecraft or Wilson or any other who are counted among those reputed to be pillars within the Church have abandoned the Biblical Christianity of their fathers in an attempt to do what RSC is doing in his desire to deny nearly all of Church history on this score really shouldn’t surprise anyone. There is a long historical record of Christians seeking to trim their sail in order to fit into the zeitgeist.

Next, we would note the utter astonishment that RSC would go to the ADL, an organization known to oppose the advance of Biblical Christianity to critique Christians is almost as insane as a boy saying that he is a girl.

RSC next writes,

The first I remember seeing anything about Kinism was on the website Little Geneva, which published a 2003 correspondence between Harry Seabrook and Wilson on slavery, racism, and Kinism. The former was an advocate of Kinism, and the latter has criticized aspects of Kinism. He has also engaged another notorious advocate of Kinism, who was removed from the Christian Reformed Church in 2019 for teaching this heresy. (Here RSC links to a Lansing State Journal article that references the Church I serve.) Charlotte Greco writes in the Lansing State Journal that this minister was dismissed from the Christian Reformed Church in 2019 for impenitently teaching Kinism. The CRC became aware that he was teaching Kinism in 2016 and finally declared it heresy, at Synod, in 2019. Rod Dreher has recently documented other examples of Kinism in connection to certain so-called Christian Nationalists.

Bret responds,

1.) Only a man with the stature of Bret L. McAtee could serve as a bridge in order to bring Doug Wilson and R. Scott Clark together so that they can stand on common ground. Clark loathes Doug Wilson and yet I have brought them together in a common cause. Who says I am not a peacemaker?

2.) Clark is in error. I was NEVER removed from the Christian Reformed Church because,

a.) I was never in the Christian Reformed Church per their own standards

b.) Upon my request for release I was merely released from the Christian Reformed Church. This means I was NEVER disciplined by the Christian Reformed Church in ANY sense. A release means merely that a minister is released from the denomination.

Now, how one can be released if they were never part of the denomination is something you’ll have to ask the CRC. At the time I was told this was the way to go, so in order to get out that is the way I went, repeating all the time…”But I’m not in the CRC.”

Bottom line is I was NEVER removed if by removed one means I was disciplined by the Church. There was never any discipline in my case. Never any Church court trial. Never any pronouncement of guilt or innocence because I WAS NEVER TRIED.

Now that the CRC used me in order to try and cleanse itself and that the CRC wanted to give the impressions that they disciplined me there is no doubt.

But let it be said again and loudly… I WAS NEVER “REMOVED” FROM THE Christian Reformed Church.


I was merely released from their ministry upon my request. They called that release a “dismissal.”

3.) No Church counsel has ever declared Kinism to be heresy, unless you count a neo-Marxist denomination a Church counsel. Besides, even if they did they would be merely declaring themselves to be heretics since Kinism is, prior to WW II, what the Church has believed in all times and in all places where the Church has been orthodox.

Now as it pertains to RSC’s claims about the Lansing State Journal;

1.) Does Scott always believe everything he reads in liberal fish wrap Newspapers?

2.) I was NOT dismissed for impenitently teaching kinism.

a.) Dismissed here deceptively implies disciplined. All it means is “released.”

b.) I was released (dismissed) because I requested a release from that bat skubala crazy heretical denomination.

c.) Even the Pastor who was assigned to be the head of the governing body that was supposed to be overseeing the Church I STILL serve argued passionately that I should be given a honorable release, but the Classis in its infinite heretical wisdom instead of giving me a honorable release gave me a dismissal release.

However, my release was per my request and not due to the Classis saying… “Hey, we need to discipline this guy.”

R. Scott Clark is desperately confused. Are we surprised given what we have seen already?
Am I going to have to finally sue somebody over all this? McDurmon a year or so ago cast the same libel.

RSC Writes next,

This issue was put before me in recent months as a couple of friends contacted me to ask about it or topics related to it. There is a self-published paperback volume that is being shared, in some small circles, devoted to attacking any sort of two kingdoms or (as I would rather say) twofold kingdom approach to Christ and culture and Christian ethics. Never mind that the phrase “twofold kingdom” is a direct translation of Calvin’s expression, duplex regimen.

Bret responds,

1.) The paperback volume in question that Scottie refers to is my paperback volume demolishing R2K. The title of my little book is, “Saved to be Warriors; Exposing the Errors of Radical Two Kingdom Theology.” You can buy it at Amazon. If my book is causing Scott this much heartburn you know you have to read it for yourself.

2.) It is a lie that my book was self-published. I wouldn’t know where to begin to publish my own book. My book was published by the Academically respected, and promising contender, “Pantocrator Press,” an imprint of World Bridge Publishing located in the Netherlands. The publisher is the world renown Reuben Alvarado.

3.) Scott lies when he says my book attacks all expressions of Two Kingdom theology. In point of fact in the second sentence in my Introduction to this book reads;


“There is little argument here with historic Reformed 2K theology.”

Look, I’m trying to be not to over the top regarding RSC but one has to wonder if the man even knows how to read or failing that perhaps he has ZERO reading comprehension skills?

4.) The book may be running in “small circles” but the circle is obviously a circle that has enclosed Scott much like the flames of old encircled heretics at the stake.

We close with another expression of vanilla Reformed Kinist theology as before the rise of the neo-Marxist Civil Rights movement.


“If from this we may conclude that ethnic pluriformity is the revealed will of God for the human race in its present situation, it is highly questionable whether the Christian can have part in any program that would seek to erase all ethnic distinctions. That such distinctions may be crossed over by individuals may be granted, but it is at least questionable whether a program designed to wipe out such differences on a mass scale should be endorsed by the Christian. It is this line of argument that the average Christian segregationist uses to back his view. He fears that the real goal of the integrationist is the intermarriage of the races, and therefore the breakdown of the distinctions between them. Many who would be willing to integrate at various lesser levels refuse to do so, simply because they feel that such will inevitably lead to intermarriage of the races, which they consider to be morally wrong. . . .

The mass mixing of the races with the intent to erase racial boundaries he does consider to be wrong, and on the basis of this, he would oppose the mixing of the two races in this way. Let it be acknowledged that a sin in this area against the Negro race has been perpetrated by godless white men, both past and present, but this does not justify the adoption of a policy of mass mixing of the races. Rather, the Bible seems to teach that God has established and thus revealed his will for the human race now to be that of ethnic pluriformity, and thus any scheme of mass integration leading to mass mixing of the races is decidedly unscriptural.”

Dr. Morton H. Smith (1923-2017)
(For more see: Dr. Morton H. Smith on Christianity, Race, and Segregation)


The War Heats Up — McAtee Corrects R. Scott Clark #1

Well here I find myself reminding myself of the maxim that “there is no such thing as bad publicity,” which is a good thing because bad publicity seems to be the majority report when it comes to reporting on me or matters concerning me.

Most recently, Dr. R. Scott Clark (RSC) wrote part I of what one can only presume is at least a two part (and maybe more) blog posts series on Kinism. In this post by RSC I am referenced more than once, though RSC demonstrates the ability to do so without actually mentioning my name. I have reached, it seems, the status wit Scott of “he whom shall not be named.”

I provide the link hesitantly because I hate to think of providing RSC any traffic, but because my quoting of him will seem so fantastic as to not possibly be true, I want to give those following along the ability to read for themselves what I am citing RSC as writing.

The CRC Is Right About Kinism (Part One)

Now, we should note at the outset that this post by RSC is a backhanded attempt to smear me so as to discredit my recently published book that demolishes Scott’s cherished Radical Two Kingdom “Theology.” IMO, Scott goes this route because he cannot deal with or overturn the actual arguments found in my “Saved to be Warriors; Exposing the Errors of Radical Two-Kingdom Theology.”

As anybody who has a pulse now knows, R2K is bleeding out fast. The substance of it is being slammed in so many quarters that it is taking more hits then the World Wide Wrestling Entertainment Federation’s “The Big Red Machine Kane,” who has lost more wrestling matches than anybody in WWEF history.

Most recently RSC tried to sell the idea that an overture sent to the PCA asking the Denomination to petition the FEDS and State governments;

“to renounce the sin of all medical and surgical sex change procedures in minors by the American healthcare system because they result in irreversible harm.”

Was out of order and not proper per RSC’s unique reading of the Westminster Confession of Faith. However, Scott seemingly thinking nobody was watching, got a smackdown of epic proportions. I don’t care for Scott and even I hurt for him watching this smackdown;

In reading through the above it becomes apparent, once again, that Scott plays fast and loose with any text he reads if he thinks he can manipulate the text to his ends. It is very postmodern of him to handle texts the way he does. That inability becomes a theme also in his latest diatribe against myself and Kinism which we turn to next.

Well, enough by way of introduction let us get to the meat of RSC’s libel against myself and Kinism.

First, Scott provides us with some definitions:

  1. Theonomy holds that the civil magistrate should enforce the Mosaic judicial laws, that they did not expire with the Israelite state.
  2. Christian Reconstructionism expects a coming collapse of civilization and a new, Christian civilization to be reconstructed along theonomic lines.
  3. Postmillennialism looks forward to the conversion of all the nations and an earthly glory age of considerable length (one writer suggested 40,000 years) before the return of Christ.

    #1 Above is not accurate because Theonomy holds that the civil magistrate should enforce the Mosaic judicial laws, in their general equity. Please note dear reader that if this is not true in some manner then we have no solid basis for criminalizing bestiality. And indeed it has been, in the past, the very view of some who share RSC’s R2K convicition;

    “Not being a theonomist or theocrat, I do not believe it is the state’s role to enforce religion or Christian morality. So allowing something legally is not the same as endorsing it morally. I don’t want the state punishing people for practicing homosexuality. Other Christians disagree. Fine. That’s allowed. That is the distinction. Another example – beastiality (sic) is a grotesque sin and obviously if a professing member engages in it he is subject to church discipline. But as one who leans libertarian in my politics, I would see problems with the state trying to enforce it; not wanting the state involved at all in such personal practices; I’m content to let the Lord judge it when he returns. A fellow church member might advocate for beastiality (sic) laws. Neither would be in sin whatever the side of the debate. Now if the lines are blurry in these disctinctions,(sic) that is always true in pastoral ministry dealing with real people in real cases in this fallen world.”

    Rev. Todd Bordow
    R2K Pastor

    In short, the final word on Scott’s #1 above was written in 1996 by Martin Foulner and is titled “Theonomy and the Westminster Confession.” Foulner shows clearly in that book that many of the Westminster Divines if they were not Theonomists they were clearly something very close to what we call today Theonomy.  To my knowledge 27 years later no one has answered Foulner’s book.

    On RSC’s #2 above, RSC makes it sound horrid that a social order would be governed by God’s law. What is wrong with a social order governed by God’s law? If not God’s law Scott then who’s law? Now as it regards the Scott’s complaint about the Reconstructionist idea of a coming collapse of civilization one can only wonder if RSC reads the newspaper.

    Finally, in regards to RSC’s #3 we can take the time to list just a few of the Reformed luminaries throughout history who have owned the dreaded eschatology called “Postmillennialism.”

    The greatest theologian in the first 1500 years of the Church (Augustine) was postmillennial;

    In his book Prophecy and the Church Dr O.T. Allis gives this accurate outline of Augustine’s eschatology. “Augustine taught that the millennium is to be interpreted spiritually as ful­filled in the Christian church. He held that the binding of Satan took place during the earthly ministry of our Lord (Luke 10:18); that the first resurrection is the new birth of the believer (John 5:25); and that the mil­lennium must correspond there­fore to the interadventual period or Church Age” (pp. 3-4).

    Augustine, taking Rev. 20:1-6  as a recapitulation of what preceded in the book of Revelation and living, as he did, in the first half of the first millennium, understandably enough, took the 1000 years of Rev. 20 literally and anticipated the Second Advent of Christ  to take place at the end of that time-frame. He did not believe that Revelation 20:1-6 described a new age following sequentially from the events set forth in Revelation 19. Augustine believed this interadventual period might end about 650 A.D. with a great outburst of evil, the revolt of Gog, which would be fol­lowed by the coming of Christ in judgement.

    In short, Augustine regarded the millennium as a present spiritual reign by Christ in the earth and that the Second Advent of Christ would be at the end of this period, that it would be Postmillennial. So, Augustine believed he was living in the postmillennial age.

    Besides Augustine we can count the following as just a Whitman’s sampler of those who have been postmillennial of one stripe or another throughout history;

    Thomas Goodwin
    Richard Sibbes
    John Howe
    Samuel Rutherford
    George Gillespie
    David Dick­son
    Robert Leighton
    John Browm of Wamphray
    Jonathan Edwards
    Thomas Chalmers
    Three Hodges: Charles., A. A., and C. W
    W. G. T. Shedd
    R. L. Dabney
    B. B. Warfield

    In summary then, RSC’s complaint against Postmillennialism is just him carping about his own Church history.

    Hey, I thought that RSC made his stripes by being a Church Historian. Why am I having to tell him all this about Church history?



Continuing to Critique Wolfe on Nationalism

“Here we come to Wolfe’s concept of the “nation,” which is left surprisingly ambiguous. We learn from Wolfe that the “nation” is not to be identified with the post-Westphalian nation-state,23 or with racial groups in the modern sense,24 but rather with “one’s own people-group” and “sharing . . . particularity with others.”25 Exactly what, though, demarcates one nation from another? The argument in this section unfolds at a dizzyingly high level of abstraction, with specific comparative examples in short supply. Wolfe acknowledges, to be sure, that “[t]he idea of nation is notoriously difficult to define”26—but more is required than the book provides. Surely, for instance, my college is not a “nation,” no matter how many of the phenomenological conditions for nationhood (similar customs, similar backgrounds of residents, common sense of place) it possesses.”

John Ehrett
Was Nietzsche Right?
American Reformer

1.) I have been saying this ever since I read Wolfe’s book and listened to his interviews so naturally I like it when people agree with me. Let’s be honest here, this is the only criticism of Wolfe’s book that is needed to demonstrate that it is not a serious work on Christian Nationalism. If you can’t or won’t define what a nation is then any musings on Nationalism of any stripe is just so much hooey. This is the first indicator that Wolfe’s book isn’t really a serious work on Nationalism.

2.) A second indicator that Wolfe himself isn’t really a serious Nationalism scholar is seen in a Tweet is pushed out some time ago.

“Isn’t it interesting that neo-Calvinists emphasized improving what is earthly but never mentioned the improvement of the body.”

Now, keep in mind that Wolfe takes pains in his book to promote his Natural Law Bona Fides at the expense of neo-Calvinism. Wolfe desires to ground his vision (such as it is) in Natural law theory and so neo-Calvinism has to go.

This is all well and good and understandable given Wolfe’s persuasion. However, the Tweet above is just not true and a scholar would not have shoved that Tweet out since a scholar would have known that one of the leading neo-Calvinists (Bavinck) of the 20th century wrote a long section in his “Reformed Ethics” on the necessity to improve the body.

Part B. Our Duties toward Ourselves

18. General Bodily Duties to Self
&36 General Duties (Self-Preservation)
&37 Duties toward Bodily LIfe
19. Basic Necessities of Bodily Life
&38 Food and Nourishment
&39 Clothing
20. Bodily Duties to Our Souls
&40 Our Duty to Life Itself
&41 Attending to Bodily Life in the Seventh through Ninth Commandments
&42 Duties toward the Soul

3.) Wolfe’s book on Christian Nationalism is more Rorschach test than it is a scholarly work on Christian Nationalism. I have said that repeatedly since I read the book and it is with pleasure that I notice a recent reviewer of Wolfe’s book has said the same thing.

“As a result, I anticipate that Wolfe’s book will prove to be a Rorschach test.”

John Ehrett
Article Critiquing Wolfe

I understand that there are those who desperately desire a path so as to return to a healthy Christian Nationalism. Dr. Stephen Wolfe’s book, with its Thomistic nature vs. grace Natural Law paradigm does not provide that path. What Wolfe has done for us in this publication is to make it clear that Thomistic thinking remains a non-starter when it comes to philosophy of any kind. It has also made it clear that presuppositionalists who are chomping at the bit for Christian Nationalism are, at best, only going to dine with the Thomistic Natural Law guys, with their version of Christian Nationalism with a very very long spoon.

Hoedemaker and McAtee on the Relation of Reason to Revelation

“What is this (human) reason, to the guidance of which, in the opinion of the majority of our voters, we cannot surrender ourselves (to) in the area of statecraft?

The understanding is the ability to form correct ideas, to distinguish them, to compare them, and to join them together in new judgments, whether in the form of conclusions or of compound and generic concepts. Reason is sometimes regarded, in distinction from understanding, as the ability of man to come in contact with the transcendental world, to form and apply ideas. However, if, as happened in the debate of the Lower House, reason is set against revelation, then this distinction is lost, and besides that, everything that does not stem from revelation is attributed to reason, giving rise to confusion of concepts which with an eye to all kinds of Romanist errors, has it dubious aspects.

Here reason is 1) a capacity for knowledge: the eye of the spirit with which man perceives, and the hand with which he processes what he perceives; 2) an area of knowledge under which to allocate everything that a natural man, a heathen, an unbeliever, in a word, someone who does not allow himself to be illuminated by the light of revelation, becomes acquainted with.

Let us not for the moment forget that because one can also speak of general revelation, the word ‘revelation’ is equivocal and restrict the use of the word either to the speech of God, by which He makes Himself known, His plan and will, or to Holy Scripture, in which that knowledge is contained, for this word is used in all three meanings. It is purely Romish to make it (revelation) so independent of reason as the organ of all human knowledge that it falls outside the forms of thought of our understanding, is independent of the laws to which our thinking is subject, and that, with respect to investigation of Holy Scripture, reason has no function to fulfill.

Now then, if were to set everything that man comes to know apart from Scripture against the knowledge which is the fruit of special revelation, and thus obtain, as it were, two areas indicated by the contrast ‘reason or revelation,’ ‘nature or grace,’ then we would already be on our way to Rome. It is in this connection that the proposition ‘revelation corrects reason’ becomes very questionable: one forgets that it is not reason but the misuse of reason, not the natural knowledge of God but the mutilation of that knowledge, of which this can be said. Revelation supplements reason.

We confess, it is true, that the understanding has been darkened by sin, but add in distinction to the Roman Church and to Luther: just as much in the area of natural as of the spiritual life! Our fathers used to say that, with man as with a fish, the corruption caused by sin manifests itself first in the head. Consider the Dreyfus affair and the English with regard to South Africa.

How, then, does reason stand in relation to revelation? Article 1 of our [Belgic] confession of faith gives us the answer. According to our confession, there is a natural knowledge of God which nevertheless needs to be supplemented. ‘But God makes Himself known even more clearly in His Divine Word.’ Natural and supernatural revelation are not mutually exclusive. **Armed with the latter, man sees not differently, but only better and further.

With this view, now, both nature and Scripture come into their own.

It goes without saying that in our investigation into the realm of minerals and plants, it is not Scripture to which we primarily turn, although we do not neglect the data that Scripture offers us. We operate this way in the sphere of state life as well. There have been excellent regents, well-appointed states in ancient times, the former walking by the light of nature, that latter established according to the data that all men possess.

Now, then, what place does the Bible occupy in the entirety of this human knowledge? God reveals Himself, and the way of redemption. He acts in Israel as King, Lawgiver, Judge. This revelation spreads its light on man’s origin and destination, and on the various relations in which he acts. It teaches us to see that the state and life in the state are not supreme; that Christ founded His church, why He did so, etc.

All this compels us, then, not to give up nature, experience, or history to unbelief, not to have any part of a division between nature and grace, reason and revelation: and with regard to reason, only contest the sovereignty which leaves the most important part of our knowledge out of consideration. Like Groen (van Prinsterer), we do not fight against reason on the behalf of revelation, but against the philosophical systems that seek to fashion constitutional law after they have first mutilated and falsified the concept of God.

I conclude this part of our investigation with a quotation from Groen’s Verspreide Geschriften (Scattered Writings), where he says ‘Revelation opposes the supremacy of the understanding (Reason) which does not recognize a higher principle outside itself, and itself must oppose everyone who believes in Revelation…. The main question is: does one have to submit to a higher Being who desires respect for His own laws, or is one bound to nothing and no one but oneself, which must end in arbitrariness.’ 

We therefore run no danger of looking in the Bible for a handbook of constitutional law or of giving up the independence of science to which it is dedicated. What the Bible means for that constitutional law, we will discuss in the next chapter.”

P. J. Hoedemaker
The Politics of Antithesis; The Antirevolutionary Government of Abraham Kuyper 1901-1905 — p. 53-55

1.) Reason cannot operate apart from revelation of some God or god concept. Even if reason is said to be operating independently of some revelation at that point the revelation that reason is operating in submission to is the revelation of man as autonomously considered. At that point, man, serving as his own god, melds both his revelation that he provides for himself with the reason he uses to engage that self-revelation. Revelation thus, like reason, is seen as an inescapable category. It is never a matter of whether or not revelation is being appealed to. It is, instead, always a matter of which revelation is being appealed to. That revelation can be explicitly appealed to or it can be implicitly present. The Biblical Christian is more likely to explicitly appeal to Scripture as the basis of his revelation while the humanist will typically try to hide the fact that he has a revelation that his reason is pinioned upon. The humanist will typically say something like; “this is just the way things are.”

2.) Reason is thus only as good as the Revelation that it is based upon. Where “reason” gets matters right when based on a Revelation that is in hostility to the God of the Bible and His Word, that reason is only getting it right by way of coincidence. After all, very few people have been able to be 100% in error, 100% of the time. Also, we should say that sometimes pagan reason can get matters right because it is using borrowed capital from the Christian revelation it denounces generally speaking and it generally uses this borrowed capital without even realizing that it is doing so. One glaring example of this is when the haters of Christian revelation dare to talk about the categories of “right,” and “wrong.” Those who are haters of Christian revelation, were they consistent, would never use those categories.

3.) Hoedemaker points out the difference between Rome and Protestantism on this matter. Rome sees that “reason” and “revelation” are two paths to truth. “Reason” is used in non-spiritual areas whereas “revelation” is appealed to for truth in the realm of grace. This is where Natural law finds its logical appeal, though there have been many Protestants who have embraced this bifurcation of reason and revelation.

4.) The only place I take exception to Hoedemaker above is indicated by the **, where he offers, “Armed with the latter (supernatural revelation), man sees not differently, but only better and further.” I would contend that when fallen man is viewing natural revelation through the prism of a false “supernatural” revelation man does see differently. Conversely, the Christian does see not only better and further vis-a-vis those who despise God’s special revelation, but he does see differently.

5.) The Groen van Prinsterer quote gets at everything. We do not fight against  reason as it exists within a Christian construct. We only fight against “reason” so called as it exists in a God’s revelation hating construct. One can not genuinely call “reason,” reason if that pseudo reason is arising out of a philosophical system context wherein the concept of God has first mutilated and falsified. Any putative reason arising in that context is referred to as reason only out of politeness. Such a reason poisons everything that it engages.

6.) Of course this quote, especially the last Groen van Prinsterer quote completely demolishes R2K.

McAtee on Rev. Dewey Roberts’ Complaint About An Aspect of Federal Vision

On the whole I have been quite pleased with Rev. Dewey Roberts’ book “Historic Christianity and the Federal Vision.” I am glad he wrote it. I would recommend that people read it. I am glad I have read it. I do complain vigorously against his chapter wherein he seeks to tie Theonomy and Dr. Bahnsen to Federal Vision. That chapter alone threatens to make people question his integrity on everything else he has written in the book because people are apt to think… “If he got it so wrong on theonomy how can I trust his analysis in the rest of the book?”  I was able to get past that because I know the Institutional Reformed world has been wetting their beds for 40 years now over the issue of theonomy and I can’t expect someone who belongs to that Institutional tribe to not also be a bed wetter on the subject of theonomy. As such, I can denounce that particular chapter while still supporting people reading this volume.

One other problem I have with Rev. Dewey Roberts’ book critiquing Federal Vision is that he is repeatedly complaining about how FV talks about Covenant Faithfulness being the way to salvation,” as if there is something wrong with the idea of being covenantally faithful as the way to salvation, or that such a notion is a wrong headed idea. Now certainly if one talks about the necessity of covenantal faithfulnes being the way to salvation apart from forensic Justification then there is a parting of the ways with Reformed orthodoxy since to talk like that puts us back in Pelagian-ville. However, once united to Christ it is the case that covenantal faithfulness is the way to salvation.

Rev. Roberts’ complains against FV;

“The doctrine of final Justification is based on the view that the members of the covenant must live in obedience to God’s laws in order to be finally vindicated. Covenant faithfulness is taught as the way to salvation.”

Rev. Dewey Roberts
Historic Christianity & The Federal Vision — pg. 347

Now, Roberts has expressed his concerns that such an arrangement could well make for self-righteousness as people who believe this would be prone to pride because they become convinced that they can fully meet all the law’s stringent requirements. And there is reason, given the old man in all Christians to want to be careful about communicating that error I am sure. However, the opposite problem that Roberts doesn’t speak much to is the antinomian implication found in Roberts seeming advocacy that covenant faithfulness should not be taught as the way to salvation. Do we really want to teach God’s people that covenant faithfulness is not the way to salvation for the forensically justified?

To solve this perhaps we should resurrect the way the Puritans used to speak on obedience. They would make a distinction between “evangelical obedience” which is required of all saints with the result that covenant faithfulness was indeed the way of salvation for those in Christ, and “legal obedience” which was an obedience that was not resting on Christ’s obedience for us and in our stead. That kind of obedience can never be characterized as covenantal obedience and it cannot be required as the way of salvation because it bespeaks reprobation with its implicit belief that one’s obedience is making God a debtor who will owe the obedient one salvation.

Now, it could be the case that Rev. Dewey Roberts would agree wholeheartedly with all this but it seems to me as I read this book the way he complains about FV expecting that covenantal faithfulness as the way to salvation is seen as not wholesome to Rev. Dewey. However, to complain like Rev. Dewey has to my mind suggests that covenantal unfaithfulness is perfectly acceptable as the way to salvation. Now, again, it must be said that covenantal faithfulness as the way to salvation is never going to meet the standard of faithfulness that is required to be characterized as absolutely and fully faithful but at the same time the covenanted who are moving ever upward in terms of faithfulness on their way to salvation by God’s grace alone understand always, in the context of their obedience, that their only hope is nothing less than Jesus and His righteousness. Indeed, it is because they understand that truth that they so earnestly desire to be found to be covenantally faithful on their way to salvation.

I mean we really don’t want to teach, do we, that for the Saints the way to salvation is covenantal unfaithfulness?