From Chit Chat to Conversation — Dr. Darryl & Pastor Bret

Mr. Bret,

I’m not sure what you should expect from a church other than to preach the word of God. If you can find a text to oppose historicism or taxation, then I suppose you can preach it or argue with your minister about preaching it. Since you seem to have connections to MARS, I wonder how the Dutch-American faculty there feel about socialism back in the old country. In fact, it is curious to me that European evangelicals are far more comfortable with big government than American evangelicals are (consider the lefty at WTS, Carl Trueman). Could it be that the biblical warrant against a big government is not as clear as you think?

I’d also recommend that you spend some time with J. Gresham Machen on politics and faith, just to see someone who generally enjoys good press among Reformed types but whose politics might be a tad different from yours.

But in the end, I don’t know how you can live with yourself living in this land where bad theology haunts every corner. Shouldn’t you move somewhere for pyschological relief?

Mr. Darryl,

First, I have absolutely positively no connection to MARS beyond thinking it a decent Seminary. I have no idea what they at MARS think about socialism in the old country, though I think it might explain a good deal how, in about a century, the Netherlands went from Kuyper as Prime Minister to where they are now. Presuppositions matter and bad ideas have consequences.

Second, I am glad that you concede that “if you can find a text … than I suppose you can preach it.” Now is that a first class conditional “if” or some other kind of “if”? As someone who has been around the Scriptures much of your life you certainly have an opinion on whether or not such texts exist.

Third, as whether constrained government is a Scripturally warranted as I might think, instead of getting into a long and extended explanation here I will refer those interested to Charles McCoy’s “Fountainhead Of Federalism,” or John Witte’s The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism, or Lex Rex by Rutherford or something similar. Unlike big government types like Carl Truman Calvinism has a long history of finding texts that warrant teaching that government should be constrained and shouldn’t be allowed to take up prerogatives of God.

Certainly a text against Centralized government that takes up the prerogatives of God and seeks to be God walking on the earth would be “Thou Shalt have no other gods before me.”

Ever wonder if the fact that there remain so few European Evangelicals is explained by the fact that they are comfortable with socialism?

I’ll make a deal with you Darryl. I’ll work on finding psychological relief if you’ll work on finding something that will give you psychological turmoil.

Still, in the end, I find my relief in a Sovereign God who is sustaining and governing all that comes to pass and who does all things well. Since that remains true everywhere why would I have to move to find some psychological relief?

Nice chatting with you Dr. Hart.

God grant Reformation to the Church.

Coffee Chit Chat Time Between Dr. Hart and Pastor Bret

Dr. D. G. Hart, renown teacher, author and theologian in the Reformed church today stopped by for metaphorical coffee and a chat yesterday. I recorded our session so that readers could benefit.

Dr. D. G. Hart writes,

Jetbrane: you write: “R2Kt virus goes on to say that the Church as the Church must not even seek to use moral persuasion when it comes to issues that are non-salvific (narrowly defined) that apply to the public square. According to R2Kt virus thinking the Church as the Church cannot speak to these issues because the Bible doesn’t speak to these issues.”

I don’t know of anyone who holds this implication of what you perceive to be the 2k view. The church may use its power of persuasion all the time (and does every time a minister steps into the pulpit and proclaims the word of God). The question is one of jurisdiction. When the church declares the word of God, in worship or in its courts, it is using powers of persuasion all over the place.

So, D. G., does this mean that I can expect Reformed Churches that believe in R2K theology to preach from the pulpit on the evils when the State seeks to take on the prerogatives of God? Does this mean that I can expect Reformed Churches that believe in R2Kt to proclaim from the pulpit that God’s prohibition against theft applies to confiscatory taxation of the citizenry by the State? Does this mean that that I can expect Reformed Churches that hold to R2k views to proclaim from the pulpit clearly against the evils of abortion and homosexuality? Does this mean that I can expect Reformed Churches that hold to R2k to speak against ideologies like socialism, feminism, fascism, historicism, multi-culturalism, etc. that so influence our culture that are anti-Christ at their core?

I would like to attend services where some of these public square issues are addressed by graduates of Westminster West. But, given what you say later that won’t ever happen because you believe that the Church is not charged with speaking to those issues since that would be like trying to discipline other people’s children.

What is more the 2k position in no way denies that the Word of God speaks to matters of morality that affect civil society. Clearly the Bible says things about lying, cheating, stealing and killing, and the state makes laws about such things. But simply because the church ministers the word of God on these “issues” does not mean the church has jurisdiction over civil or political affairs. The 2k position says that it doesn’t. (It’s like a father who disciplines children; his status as an administrator of offspring discipline does not give him the authority to administer discipline to children of another father.)

First of all let’s keep in mind that two Kingdom theology can not be equated with what is being passed as two Kingdom theology by R2k types. Two Kingdom theology when handled by the Puritans was Two Kingdom but not Radical two Kingdom. Your version of two Kingdom theology is not THE version of two Kingdom theology.

Second, in the first blockquote you insisted that my perceptions of R2K are nowhere present and yet in the second blockquote you prove that my perceptions are correct. In the portion you quoted from an earlier statement of mine I said, “R2Kt virus goes on to say that the Church as the Church must not even seek to use moral persuasion when it comes to issues that are non-salvific (narrowly defined) that apply to the public square,” and now you are saying that the Church may not speak to the civil realm because that would be like a Father disciplining children that were not his. I would say that my perception in the italicized portion immediately above has been confirmed by no less of an authority then you.

D. G., you keep injecting elasticity into that word “jurisdiction.” When the Church speaks to public square issues it is not taking jurisdiction. Jurisdiction belongs to the civil realm. What the Church is doing is providing godly counsel. Using your illustration, when the Church seeks to speak to the public square of the culture it is not the case of the Church taking jurisdiction if only because the Church can be (and usually is) ignored. If the Church had jurisdiction she couldn’t be ignored. Rather it is the case of offering advice to the parents of other children who are tearing up the shared living space.

Keep in mind that when you say that Church doesn’t have the responsibility to speak to the public square that is just another way of saying that it doesn’t have the responsibility to correct bad theology. I say this because all action in the public square is the result of and manifestation of bad theology. I can’t understand why any Christian would say that it is not the Church’s role to correct bad theology wherever bad theology is found.

Third, I realize that R2Kt will speak to the personal and individual ethics of those who confess Christ. I’ve nowhere denied that. What I’ve denied is the willingness of R2Kt types to correct the bad theology of the Public Square that leads to a creation of a culture that impresses and shapes Christians to think in a anti God honoring way. This unwillingness to speak to these issues then is compounded when some of these same Christians send their children to be indoctrinated into a pagan covenant by sending them to the State Churches.

One more correction, the 2k view says nothing about pluralism being desirable. It does concede that pluralism exists and it argues that it gives the church a way to minister in a pluralist setting without seceding or rebelling against the existing powers. But many 2k people would argue that they’d prefer to live in a less pluralistic society.

I’ve read other R2k people advocate pluralism. I will notch this up to disagreement in the R2K camp.

But… FYI… pluralism doesn’t exist, or if it does exist it exists in the same way that pluralism existed in ancient Rome, which is to say that it exists as long as nobody takes their God or gods seriously and instead resolve to live, move and have their being in the State.

Where you and I differ probably the greatest is over your contention that the 2k view will make the church impotent. Here you hold up Mass. Bay as a model of separating the two powers, civil and ecclesiastical, and I suppose as maintaining its vitality. But the 2k view argues that the collapsing of membership in the civil society and in the church, as all state churches do, does not make the church potent. In fact, it was one of the chief ways by which the church became corrupted.

Look at what happened to the Puritans’ Half Way Covenant. Infant baptism was not simply a church matter — as in the 2k view — but also a civil matter — as in the anti-2k view. And what happened to the Puritan churches then. They had to fudge biblical teaching to accommodate the demands of civil society. (This, btw, is also what happened even to churches after the separation of church and state. When the PCUSA was the most vigorous in asserting its public influence — say as its four-square support for the 18th Amendment or when John Foster Dulles was Secretary of State — it was a church fairly impotent theologically.)

All because one generation fudged doesn’t mean that the whole system is wrong. The problem isn’t the system but rather those who fudged their theology in the system. The problem was a lack of willingness to do Church discipline compounded by a pure church doctrine and the insistence that membership be anchored in a conversion “experience.”

We have not escaped the problems of a State Church D. G. Our unofficial official state Church is now the government schools. We have embraced putative pluralism in exchange for established churches and what we got in return was a state religion. We ditched the religio licita of Christianity and ended up embracing the religio licita of Humanism where the civil realm and the church realm remain collapsed.

Still, I am not arguing for a established state church as you seem to think I am. I am arguing that the Church speak to the bad theology that incarnates itself in our culture.

But let’s look for a point of agreement. Let’s agree that the Church must get its theology right before it can council the culture. I would go on to say that once we have it right it must speak to the bad theology that surrounds it in the culture. In my estimation Churches should be as or more concerned with teaching their people the wrongness of non-Reformed theologies as they are concerned with teaching their people the ungodliness of the theology that incarnates itself in our culture.

So the 2k view holds that the church is most vigorous when she is spiritual and eschews the temptation to reform society or back legislation or shape public policy. That seems to be what Paul was getting at when he talked about preaching and the cross being foolishness to the Greeks — the great political theorists — but the power of God unto salvation.

You keep on using that word “spiritual.” I do not think it means what you think it means. Spiritual realities are always behind legislation and public policy and so if the Church was being spiritual she would speak to these issues. Finally, the salvation that God brings is cosmic. It is not narrowly defined as being limited to the salvation of souls but rather extends to include the renewal of all things. That is the kind of salvation that we need to be concerned with.

What They Think About Theonomy

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

Mr. Dove,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Kingdom Clarification


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

OPC Book Of Church Order

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Loves You And Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life

“God Loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” So said a high profile ‘evangelist’ 50 odd years ago and that script has been hardwired into Evangelicals the way Bill Gates hardwires his machines with Internet Explorer. But is it true? Does God Love everybody and have a wonderful plan for his or her lives?

About a year ago this issue came up when I attended a Mormon open house designed to turn their best face toward John Q. Public. A blanket invitation was given in the local newspaper and I decided that it might be interesting to see what the Mormons look like when they have all their makeup on. Upon arriving one was greeted with the requisite punch and cookies as well as the ubiquitous Mormon smile. After the general bonhomie settled down they invited us into an all purpose room to watch a promotional film for the Mormon ‘faith.’ The lights went dim, the VCR whirred and the beautiful people came on screen. Imagine my surprise when one of the first things out of the TV people’s mouth was … “God Loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” (or something very much like that). Now in my exuberance I yelled out … “Stop the tape, Stop the Tape,” which they very obligingly did (when somebody is trying to impress you with how nice they are you can get away with murder). They assured me that they were glad for my questions wherever they came in the program and encouraged me to go ahead and ask my question. And so I did. I asked them, “If God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life then what is the purpose of becoming Mormon?” I mean, if God already is so hotsie totsie for me in my non-Mormon state then why should I change anything?


More Silence.

Of course the Mormon oi poloi are taught to evangelize according a very set pattern and if you get them out of that rut (which my question accomplished) they take on the statuesque demeanor of a herd of deer frozen in the mystery of fast approaching headlights. Perhaps some other time I will tell the rest of my ‘Mormon Open House’ story but the point that I made that night in that simple question with the Mormon tribe is the same point that Evangelicals need to consider when they embrace the notion that God loves everybody. The news to the lost that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life pre-empts the attempt made later in the conversation to set the Evangelical hook regarding repentance for what need is there for repentance if God already loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life?

Now, it might be the case that people will say at this point that repentance is implied in the statement about God’s universal love for everybody. To which my rejoinder would be, ‘Well if repentance is required before God loves people then it obviously is the case that those who are not repentant God doesn’t love, and therefore it is not true that God loves everybody.’ Then my rejoinder might go on to wonder if God doesn’t love the non-repentant then what is His dispositional state towards the non-repentant? Could it be a disposition of opposition? Could it be the case that the Psalmist is correct when he says that God hates workers of iniquity? And if those who are un-repentant are by definition workers of iniquity (what else could they be working) then it might be just as appropriate to say those who show up for your open house that ‘God hates you and unless you repent He has every intent to punish you for your iniquity working,’ though I wouldn’t suggest leading with either sound bite.

But we don’t say that and we never get to it. We don’t say that because even the hearing of that grates against the hardwiring even though the Psalmist can confess that he hates God’s enemies with a perfect hatred. To suggest that God Hates people is just not something that we have grown up being taught and early-learned ways of thinking are difficult to re-program. Another reason we don’t say it is that we think Evangelism is akin to selling cars and nobody buys a car when the Salesman starts off by saying, ‘if you don’t buy this you will be damned.’ So, thinking that we have to make the sell and close the deal, we look out for the esteem of the buyer and avoid those truths that would violate their esteem. Now, the idea that God hates both sin and the sinner, I am sure you would agree, definitely falls into the esteem-crushing category. But then perhaps that is what we mean when we talk about ‘the stone that makes men stumble and the rock that makes them fall?’

Why do we find it odd though to hear the words, ‘God hates workers of iniquity?’ Even we mortals who love certain truths find the countervailing truths and the people who hold them to be loathsome. For example, if we love the notion that abortion is wrong we are foursquare opposed to those who love the notion that abortion is right. Every truth that we embrace and cherish comes with the notion of despising the opposite. If we love freedom we will hate slavery AND those who would seek to enslave us. If we love Christian Education we will hate non-Christian education AND those who would seek to force non-Christian Education upon people. To love something is always to hate its opposite. A person cannot love without hating at the same time. Even the Scripture recognizes this when we are taught to ‘cling to that which is good and to hate that which is evil.’ And again the Psalmist can say, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104). There is such a thing as Biblical Hatred and it is defined as the revulsion we have towards those things that are the opposite of what we are commanded to love.

Now, if this is true for we mortals, how much more so is it true of God? God’s love is ultimately set upon Himself in His Trinitarian Self and all those that despise Him God despises since He hates those who hate what He loves. If God loves in one direction then God hates in the opposite direction. If He loves the good He hates the wicked. If He loves the glorification of Himself He hates those who would steal His glory. If He loves His people then His wrath is upon those who oppose His people. If He loves workers of righteousness then He hates workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5, 11:5). His Hatred, like ours, is but the reverse mirror image of His Love. As a principle it is impossible to Love without also hating, for to love that which is estimable is to hate that which is desultory.

But here is where it gets interesting. In matters touching Evangelism God’s Hate is often based on His love. That is to say in many cases His Hate is serving His love. Augustine, the 4th century Church Bishop had this in mind when he said, ‘Even when God hated us He loved us.” When God through the proclamation of the Gospel reveals His opposition to people who are by nature children of Wrath (Eph. 2:3) it is often with the purpose that His people would flee to Jesus for safety from His present wrath (Rmns. 1:18). That is to say that in God’s economy the reason God makes known His wrath against workers of iniquity is so He might pour out His love out upon those who take refuge in the self-appeasement He has provided in His Son. We who proclaim such a message do not take some kind of maniacal pleasure in God’s opposition to sinners, enjoying seeing people squirm, but rather the reason we declare God’s wrath (and what is Wrath but hatred expressed?) is so that His people would discover their sin and dreadful situation and flee to Jesus and in Jesus learn that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. When we proclaim God’s opposition it is with the express purpose that people might discover His unmerited favor.

We proclaim God’s hatred of the workers of iniquity so that we might proclaim to them that God’s hatred for those who look to Jesus has already been extinguished in the cross. That is to say that workers of iniquity can now become beloved of God because the hatred God had for them was poured out upon their substitute in the work of the Cross where His wrath against His people is exhausted. We also tell them though that if they will not look to Jesus and become part of a local covenant community (Church) then the Wrath of God remains on them. If we start by telling unbelievers that God loves them then the Cross makes no sense in the telling. The Cross only makes sense in the context of God hating sin and workers of iniquity. If God does not hate sin and workers of iniquity then the Cross was certainly stupid and definitely un-necessary.

If the objector now insists that God only loves people who repent then he ought to quit telling people who haven’t repented that God loves them because what he is saying is different then what he means and it certainly isn’t what Scripture teaches. What Scripture teaches is that God Loves and receives all those who labor and are heavy laden and are looking to Him for rest. What Scripture teaches is that God Loves people who are broken and contrite in heart. What Scripture teaches is that God loves those in the far country who come to themselves. Scripture does not teach that God loves everybody and has a wonderful plan for their lives and saying such things is putrid evangelism that gets in the way of someone who God is pursuing through their seeking and detracts from God’s Glory.

So, lets be done with ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.’ The use of it is getting in the way of those of us who are trying to communicate something besides limp wristed notions of both God and love. If nothing else the present state and condition of the Church in the West testifies to the effectiveness of using that winning insight for the last 50 years. Indeed, it would be nice to be done with canned approaches in general. Certainly I am not advocating that the first thing out of our mouths to an unbelieving acquaintance is the truth of God’s hostility towards them. Shoot, given our culture the first thing may be time explaining the notion of God, the wickedness of autonomy, the reality of right and wrong, the idea of a Bible and other such topics.