2K Cherries 2Hot 2Handle

The allegedly controversial character of 2k theology has prompted Lane Keister over at Greenbaggins to cease his review of John Frame’s recent book. He has also decided not to allow any more discussions of 2k at his blog. I understand Lane’s decision. I also concede that my sarcasm has contributed to his decision. For some reason, mocking someone’s objections does not bring out the best in those who object.

At the same time, some objections do no deserve a reasonable response. In fact, some who object to 2k have so made up their minds about the idea and its proponents that they will hear nothing in defense of the doctrine; they won’t even read the books written on 2k.

From the perspective of this 2k advocate who also doubles as a historian, two undeniable historical developments exist that 2k critics won’t accept — sort of like denying that the North defeated the South in 1865; you may not like it, but how do you deny what happened at Appomattox?

The first fact is that the critics of 2k do not advocate the execution of adulterers or heretics. This is pertinent because 2k critics fault 2kers for departing from Calvin and his holy Geneva. The problem is that the Baylys, Rabbi Bret, Nelson Kloosterman (and his favorite disciple, Mark Van Der Molen), Doug Wilson, and anonymous respondents at Greenbaggins don’t advocate the laws in Calvin’s Protestant Jerusalem. To the credit of theonomists, they sometimes do advocate the execution of adulterers and even recalcitrant adolescents. But 2k critics do not have the stomach for all of Calvin’s policies and laws. In which case, they have no more claim to Calvin as a standard for religion and politics than 2kers do. Yet, here’s the key. 2kers are honest. They actually admit that they disagree with Calvin. They actually acknowledge the deficiencies of those who try to follow the Old Testament for post-resurrection civil governments.

The second fact of cherry-picking proportions is that all of the Reformed churches that belong to the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council have rejected the teaching of both the Westminster Confession and the Belgic Confession on the civil magistrate. Not only have the mainline churches revised these confessions, but so have the conservative churches. (Ironically, Frame thinks I am unaware of the American revision of WCF in his review of A Secular Faith. This is ironic because if Frame were as aware of the revision as he thinks he is, he would see that 2k is not outside the confession that Presbyterians profess.) These revisions do not necessarily mean that every officer and member of these churches is an advocate of 2k. It does mean that the modern Reformed and Presbyterian churches have come to terms with modern governments and the disestablishment of Christianity in ways inconceivable to Reformed Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. And this means that the critics of 2k are either unaware of how little standing the original WCF chapter 23 or Belgic Art. 36 has in conservative Reformed churches. Or if they know of confessional revision and use the original documents to denounce 2kers, they are dishonest.

Or perhaps they are simply foolish (and impolitely so). One of the additional points I made about the importance of the Reformed churches’ teaching on the magistrate was this:

I have said it before and will say again, even before the Covenanters revised their Constitution and rejected the language of WCF 23.1 which Tfan affirms, even before this, the RPCNA explored a merger with the OPC which had already adopted the American revisions to the WCF. In other words, the RPCNA had a very different view of the civil magistrate than the OPC did and did not let that difference keep them from fraternal relations with the OPC. I do not see that same generosity or acknowledgement of orthodoxy for 2kers from 2k’s critics.

The fanatic of Turretin’s response was this: “Again, this is total ad hominem. Try to focus on your defense of E2k, not at criticizing your critics.”

How this is ad hominem I do not know, though my Latin is rusty. But even if in some fifth or sixth definition of ad hominem my comment qualifies, I do not see how this point is beside the point. 2k critics treat 2k not only as if it is entirely outside the bounds of confessional orthodoxy, but they also react to 2k as if it is a threat to the gospel. They believe it is antinomian, destroys Christian schools, and abandons society to relativism. But the RPCNA, even when they still affirmed the original WCF 23, did not consider teaching on the civil magistrate a deal breaker. Critics of 2k, like John Frame, do.

And some people like Lane Keister wonder why 2kers like me become sarcastically indignant. But for those wanting to keep the debate going, they are welcome here.

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  1. sean
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink


    If your representatives fail to employ such measures, are you willing to stand in the Gap and take the stand for your God and lead the way at risk of your own freedom and possibly life to enact God’s law and remedy?

  2. Posted March 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    The pastor’d duty is to follow the teaching of Scripture and, if possible, always submit to governing authorities. (Rom. 13)… not too controversial.
    Darryl has no authority to tell the pastor what he “should” do other than the above in conjunction with his session, presbytery, and Assembly – who have the God-ordained responsibility in such matters… not too controversial.
    If he cannot obey, and in the agreement with his church, then petition the governing authorities for an exemption. This seems the logical godly course in that the pastor says he cannot obey this law without violating God’s higher law, yet he still must consider how to walk in this matter in a way that is still seeking to be subject to the governing authorities… not too controversial.
    What if the governing authorities do not allow for an exemption? The pastor and his church have already said they cannot obey. They therefore submit to the penalty that would be applied due to non-compliance with this law. Scripturally, not too controversial…

  3. TUAD
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink


    Suppose your “2K” church submitted to the civil authorities and hosted a same-sex civil union or same-sex marriage ceremony in your church’s sanctuary. Would you rejoice that God’s will was done in the “2K” separation of church and state?

  4. TUAD
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Jack Miller: “What if the governing authorities do not allow for an exemption? The pastor and his church have already said they cannot obey. They therefore submit to the penalty that would be applied due to non-compliance with this law.

    What say thee, Zrim, ye faithful disciple of Darryl Hart’s “2K” doctrine, to Jack Miller’s suggestion that the church exercise “non-compliance with this law”? The church would be practicing civil disobedience by disobeying the civil magistrate in refusing to host a same-sex civil union ceremony.

  5. sean
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink


    When are you gonna drink your own potion? When are you gonna be consistent? When are you gonna be the difference maker? The Gap stands unmanned. In case you really are that wooden, see Jack’s answer and for what it’s worth I’m glad you can’t muster to your cause.

  6. Posted March 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    TUaD, DGH seems to have sufficiently answered your hypothetical. I would only add that if after all humble petition is exhausted and is denied that the church has no choice but to obey God rather than men and refuse. I know you want to construe that as civil disobedience (and thus stoke the feel-good fires of being on the right side of righteousness–huzzah and go religion!), but again, it seems like a poor way of speaking since the Bible frames things in terms of obedience.

  7. Brendan
    Posted March 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink
  8. Posted March 30, 2012 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    Truthdivides, please tell the pastor I also have some tips about champagne for the reception if he needs them.

  9. Alexander
    Posted March 30, 2012 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    Tuad: I have to say I think you’re being a bit rude and perhaps owe certain people, namely dgh and Zrim an apology. They have answered your questions; you have refused to answer questions posed to you.

  10. Posted March 30, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Darryl, with a name like “The Emmanuel Temple House of Praise and Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God,” something tells me the reception may not include the sacraments of earth. Drunk with the Spirit and all that.

  11. Posted March 30, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Did this not all start with Paul just wanting to have a beer (while admiring your bow ties) with you Darryl? What I really like about oldlife is that you get no threats of moderating comments or “rules for engagement in dialog.” And Darryl can give sarcastic comments back with the best of em!! Plus Darryl always exposes himself to any negative comments without using “pulling rank” like rhetoric at the interlocutors who are hounding him. I’m just brown nosing again. This is like old times at oldlife.

  12. Posted March 30, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I better quit commenting though because I might be mistaken for one of those goose stepping Hartzi’s. And I am probably bad PR for oldlife. As McMark stated to me, “I like being ignored.” I think there is wisdom in that.

  13. Posted March 30, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    John Y., but this is all about me, right?

  14. Posted April 1, 2012 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    I think I get your point Darryl. The irony is that when you lest want to make it all about you it becomes all about you. Or, we just miscombobulate it all in our psyches. It is a strange and fallen world we live in.

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