Worldview Demagoguery

One of Dr. K’s fans posted here part of a letter by a Reformed pastor who is also in agreement with the good doctor on the threat that 2k supposedly poses to vigorous and full-fledged Reformed Protestantism. That excerpt read:

We agree with Dr. Kloosterman’s assessment of what will happen in the Reformed community, as we know it, if these natural law, two-kingdom views espoused by Dr. Van Drunen and others, take root. We urge every reader of this magazine to exert the mental energy that will be required to follow the lines of argumentation that Dr. Kloosterman will present in upcoming articles. It is necessary for the peace of the church and survival of the Reformed faith with its Calvinistic world and life view. Please do not underestimate the importance of the struggle we are facing.

What is curious about this understanding of 2k’s threat is that again it does not accord with reality (or in denial, if you will). To be sure, Dr. K has also been guilty of construing the debate over Christianity and culture in fidelity-to-the-gospel proportions. But when you least expect it, he also provides evidence that undermines his very claims about the stakes of 2k. In an article for Christian Renewal where he discussed the Federal Visionists’ identification of baptism with regeneration, Dr. K appealed to one of those communions allegedly on the verge of losing its Reformed soul to the trickery of 2k:

Our purpose here is to warn readers about the inevitable deformative effects, within confessionally Reformed churches, of correlating a child’s physical birth (to believing parents) with that child’s spiritual birth from above. This view is an over-correction of another, admittedly deficient and non-covenantal, “revivalist paradigm” so common among evangelical Protestants, which denies to a child of believing parents any status or blessings different from those enjoyed by a child born to unbelieving parents. For a helpful analysis of these and related views, see the “Report of the Committee to Study the Doctrine of Justification” presented in June, 2006, to the 73rd General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Important to note here is that David VanDrunen chaired the committee responsible for this report and he contributed significant sections to it. Had Dr. K known this, he may not have cited it so favorably.

But since he did, Dr. K has proven the worried letter writer quoted above wrong. One of the communions where 2k is on the loose has not abandoned the Reformed faith but has actually stood remarkably well for the doctrines of grace (among others). What is more, in the case of VanDrunen himself, the logic of 2k does not lead to an abandonment of Reformed orthodoxy.

Not to be missed either is the 600 pound gorilla in the room of worldview triumphalism and lamentation. That would be the beast known as the Christian Reformed Church. Much as I enjoyed my time in that communion and regard highly many of its pastors and scholars, the CRC is emerging precisely as the communion that the fervid letter writer fears—a communion where the peace of the church and the survival of the Reformed faith are up for grabs. Now, the reasons for this state of affairs may not be solely the effects of worldview thinking and overreaching. But isn’t it a tad curious that the one communion where worldviewism is alive, well, and bursting at the seems (from neo-Calvinist steroids?) is the CRC? So where is the evidence that 2k leads to infidelity? And where is the acknowledgment from 2k critics that worldviewism also goes wobbly and is no guarantee of Reformed faithfulness?

At the very least, the critics of 2k should consider the evidence before predicting the effects of 2k on Reformed churches. But more helpful would be for the worldview critics of 2k to consider why a Reformed world-and-life-view has prompted former conservatives in the CRC to leave for other denominations or federations (out of respect to our good friends in the URC).

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4 Comments

  1. Bart
    Posted November 1, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Hart,

    Keep up the good work. I’ve been having some great discussions with my reformed friends over this issue ever since Dr. Van Drunen’s book came into our hands. I attend a small classical Christian college that has a “worldview statement” that I would prefer to be put to question, especially since it precludes any truly classical learning.

  2. Benjamin P. Glaser
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    So Dr. Hart did we cancel each other out in the Toomey/Sestak and Corbett/Onoroto races?

  3. dgh
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Ben,

    I didn’t know the church held elections (or what on earth does politics have to do with it?).

  4. Benjamin P. Glaser
    Posted November 2, 2010 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Some of us don’t take ourselves seriously all the time. The internet has failed again to capture intent.

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