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.

This entry was posted in Adventures in Church History, spirituality of the church and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

164 Comments

  1. mark mcculley
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Doug Wilson: “Nothing is clearer – the New Testament opposes anything like the abolitionism of our country prior to the War Between the States. The New Testament contains many instructions for Christian slave owners, and requires a respectful submissive demeanor for Christian slaves. See, for example, Eph. 6:5-9, Col. 3:22-4:1, and 1 Tim. 6:1-5.

    “The reason why many Christians will be tempted to dismiss the arguments presented here is that we have said (out loud) that a godly man could have been a slave owner. But this ‘inflammatory’ position is the very point upon which the Bible speaks most directly, again and again. In other words, more people will struggle with what we are saying at the point where the Bible speaks most clearly. There is no exegetical vagueness here. Not only is the Bible not politically correct, it was not politically correct one hundred thirty years ago.

    “Our humanistic and democratic culture regards slavery in itself as a monstrous evil, and acts as though this were self-evidently true. The Bible permits Christians to own slaves, provided they are treated well.

  2. mark mcculley
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Doug Wilson: “If the law is not clear on a particular point, and the state has a question about what God’s law requires, it is powerless to interpret Scripture on its own authority. Instead, the state must take the question to the church, which has been charged with protecting, interpreting, and teaching the law of God. The leaders of the church are instructed to make a judgment as to what the law requires, but the church does not thereby take up the sword. Rather, the judgment is passed back to the state, and the magistrates then wield the sword in a manner consistent with the judgment of the church.

    “It is not enough that the civil government give Christianity a place at the table, even if it is the most honored place. … Nor is it sufficient that the magistrate render ‘personal submission to the spiritual government’ of the church. While our rulers should be members of Christ’s covenant household … a Christian who is also an executive, legislator, or judge owes a duty of submission different than that of the ordinary layman.”

  3. sean
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    I had a question as it regards the erastian/establishmentarian distinction. I thought I understood them in principle and certainly I get the point in the english reformation in opposition to the anglican church and in america to the episcopalian. But, for the life of me I can’t get my head around the denial of the erastian implications of the original WCF. Am I missing something here?

  4. Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    The use of sarcasm in printed disputations is risky – there’s so much verbal and non-verbal context that is missing.

    Also, sarcasm has been hijacked by the flesh. Using it in the Spirit requires skill, charity and humilty.

  5. Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Must one affirm everything in Calvin in order to recognize that someone else has drastically departed from Calvin? Moreover, must one affirm everything in Calvin in order to be considered squarely in line with Calvin? What are the essential properties of Calvin after all? One may affirm Calvin’s hermeneutic as it applies to the perpetual application of the general equity of the law while departing from his handling of specific texts as they apply to post resurrection civil government, like those pertaining to adultery and heretics. I happen to agree with Calvin on those particular points but not agreeing with him is hardly sufficient to place oneself in the same boat as radical 2K, let alone outside the principles of Calvin. Why one departs from Calvin on such issues is logically relevant.

  6. Jeremy Meeks
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Gary – ALL printed disputations are risky for exactly the same reason…there is much lost in transmission. Sarcasm can be used in sinful ways, but so can polite talk. I have no clue how you could posit that sarcasm has been “hijacked by the flesh”. Was that a post-apostolic event? Seems Paul was quite prone to it at times (see: Galatians). Skill, charity and humility are good traits, but not antithetical to sarcasm.

  7. Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Ron, you don’t have to follow Calvin on everything or anything. But it would help if you acknowledge that our churches don’t follow Calvin or the Westminster Divines on the role of the magistrate. If you do that, then 2k doesn’t look radical or extreme.

  8. Posted March 22, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    Your argument strikes me as being akin to that of the Baptist who argues against the practice of infant baptism by pointing out that the Paedobaptist doesn’t feed his infant the Supper. At best, all that argument can succeed in doing is pointing out an inconsistency in the Paedobaptist’s practice. It doesn’t overthrow the doctrine of infant baptism. It’s one thing to be happily inconsistent and quite another thing to be so consistent as to go off the deep end with radical conclusions. The former applies to Arminians and possibly the Kloostermans of the world, whereas the latter is more akin to Open Theists and what I believe to be your brand of 2K. But as I tried to point out, one can reject Calvin’s application of the law in certain instances because they believe that those particular laws were indeed abrogated yet while simultaneously affirming the principles of Calvin’s application of all OT texts. That’s why I say “possibly the Kloostermans” because I haven’t discussed with him why he might interpret this or that law as he does. I did have a very brief exchange with him when I first read an article he had published in either NH or OS, can’t remember which. I expressed my gratitude to him. In any case, I think he operates under a very different epistemic foundation than WSC and very akin to how I would operate just without some of the same conclusions. Again, I don’t know why we depart from one another, other than to say we do. You know my bent though and he doesn’t own the T word as I do. In the end, for me anyway, the issue is not so much how a non-2ker applies this or that law but what his governing hermeneutic is for applying the law in general. I tend to think that a desired end game of pluralism is driving your foundational premises rather than foundational principles leading you to conclusions about texts.

    But while I have you, is death for crimes such as Adultery forbidden by natural law or special revelation? If so, did natural law change over time or was Moses at odds with natural law? May such laws be instituted in a way pleasing to God just as long we don’t justify them with Scripture?

    Cheers,
    Ron

  9. Posted March 22, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    “Ron, you don’t have to follow Calvin on everything or anything. But it would help if you acknowledge that our churches don’t follow Calvin or the Westminster Divines on the role of the magistrate. If you do that, then 2k doesn’t look radical or extreme.”

    Darryl, there are of course matters of degree. Not to follow in a straight line and to march in the opposite direction are not the same thing.

  10. Posted March 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Ron, you keep bringing up Baptist arguments about paedobaptism. Your analogy would be more plausible if we had a bunch of churches that still affirmed the original WCF and Belgic but had lots of ministers advocating that the magistrate should protect all religions. Then you’d have ministers who were at odds with their churches’ confessions. But that’s not the situation. We have churches that deliberately revised their teaching on the magistrate. And now we have some members and ministers who are shocked to find that 2kers don’t follow the original WCF and Belgic.

    As for the execution of adulterers, since Jesus (as I recall) stopped the stoning of a harlot, and since Paul did not advocate the execution of sexual sinners at Corinth, I’m fairly confident I’m in good company even if Christ and Paul did not follow your interpretation and application of the Old Testament.

  11. Posted March 22, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Ron, who sits on the Tribunal of Degree?

  12. Zrim
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Ron, how does credo-communion make for an inconsistent paedobaptist? Paedobaptism and credo-communion are actually consistent. Credo-baptism and paedocommunion are mirror errors. It’s odd that you’d give the Baptists this bone. And the fact that you use this as a way to impugn 2k as inconsistent is curious. And the point remains that all the NAPARC churches are inconsistent with Calvin and the original confessions. So why would anyone who is a member in a NAPARC church fault another who actually follows NAPARC’s lead in rejecting Calvin and the original confessions?

    Also curious is how those who have the Kuyperian impulse to make the Bible speak to all of civil life never seem to ascribe to Kuyper the epithet of “radicalism” when he more explicitly and forcefully spelled out that he’d rather be considered un-Reformed than to agree with Calvin, the Reformed confessions and theologians on the civil magistrate. We all have Kuyper to thank in getting Belgic 36 revised and reformed according to Scripture. Why do those who actually thank him get all the vitriol but he remains ons volk?

  13. Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    I have never in my life drawn the analogy I just drew for you. In the past I might have said that the abrogation principle from non-theonomists is baptistic, but that is not even close to what I pointed out today. Accordingly, something tells me that you are no longer in read-and-process mode. The point was that there is quite a difference between what could be chalked up to as an inconsistency by Nelson Kloosterman et al., and the radical departure we find in WSC. To point to a possible inconsistency, which might not be (see above), and try to equate that in kind with a radical departure would seem to be an attempt to avoid any meaningful discussion.

    As for the execution of adulterers, since Jesus (as I recall) stopped the stoning of a harlot, and since Paul did not advocate the execution of sexual sinners at Corinth, I’m fairly confident I’m in good company even if Christ and Paul did not follow your interpretation and application of the Old.

    Regarding Jesus’ action, or non-action, I will simply point you here. As for Paul, your argument is from silence, which is not a crime in and of itself, but it becomes an informal fallacy when one considers the burden of proof that is presupposed by a Reformed hermeneutic, that continuity obtains unless otherwise demonstrated. To hold up chapters like Romans 13 as “proof” and then requiring God to write what you might hope for in the places you think appropriate is to put Him to the test. Not a good idea.

    Ron, who sits on the Tribunal of Degree?

    Is that where you want to rest your case? Let’s review the bidding. Your argument thus far has been two-pronged: If non-E2K doesn’t follow the Divines to the precise letter, then they may not speak of E2K’s departure as being radical. Subsidiary argument: If most of the Reformed churches take at least some exception to the Divines, then E2K which may take as many exceptions they like without seeming radical in their departure. Then you played your final wild card, which reduced to: it’s impossible to know how much departure is extreme. (Maybe consult natural law?) Well, in any case, given such strictures, how can there be any fruitful discussion? And if you’re not interested in discussion, why pretend?

    Given that nobody sits on a “Tribunal of Degree” I guess we’re to believe that nobody can successfully refute your position. But at least your requirement for such a Tribunal presupposes that you have departed in larger degree than most. I’m pleased to leave the matter there.

  14. Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Ron, you have actually used the silence of the NT on baptism in many of our exchanges. It’s in the ballpark and here at Old Life I sit on the Ballpark Tribunal.

    As for the Tribunal of Degree, I didn’t say that no one can decide. My point was that your notion of extreme may not be mine. And since you’re a theonomist, we do have extremely different tribunals.

    But thanks for the lessons in logic. I didn’t know the OT included laws of reasoning.

  15. Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Zrim, calling Mark Van Der Molen (Nelson Kloosterman’s John the Baptist)!!!

  16. Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Ron, how does credo-communion make for an inconsistent paedobaptist?

    Hi Zrim,

    It doesn’t. You’ve heard the argument against paedobaptism from Baptists I trust. Some often argue against infant baptism in a way that reduces to: “If infant baptism is biblical, then paedocommunion would also be biblical. But since you, Mr. paedobaptist, reject infant communion because it’s unbiblical, then you should reject infant baptism too.” Rather than show Baptists why I believe paedocommunion is false and how infant baptism is not based upon the same assumptions as infant communion, I simply choose to point out to them, for argument’s sake that is: If padeocommunion is true, then all that could prove is that I’m inconsistent with my Reformed views and that I should embrace infant communion too. Or, if they prefer, they can just consider me a paedocommunionist for time’s sake so we can get back to discussing the practice of baptizing infants. The point being, an inconsistency on my part would not imply an incorrect paradigm for the practice of baptism. Full circle… Klooserterman might have the paradigm right without being 100% consistent, hence one possible reason for his having a different view of the application of certain laws from Calvin. Or maybe he thinks like DGH, that those particular laws were somehow abrogated yet holds to a more epistemically based theory of civil law.

    It’s odd that you’d give the Baptists this bone.

    I don’t give them a bone really. I just get the bone off the table so to get to the issue at hand. Treat me as an inconsistent paedobaptism or even a paedocommunist so we can get back to discussing infant baptism without interruption.

    So why would anyone who is a member in a NAPARC church fault another who actually follows NAPARC’s lead in rejecting Calvin and the original confessions?

    One need not find the changes in the Standards as doing away with theonomy. Enough theonomy was left behind, left in the standards that is.

  17. Zrim
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I prefer “Baptizer.”

  18. Zrim
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Ron, the RCUS in 1987 adopted two recommendations as pertains theonomy, the second which said, “It is the position of the RCUS that the Heidelberg Catechism teaches that the ceremonial and judicial laws instituted by Moses have been entirely abolished and done away with by the coming of Christ, as far as it relates to obligation and obedience on our part. The moral law, however, has not been abolished as it respects obedience, but only as it respects the curse and constraint.”

    It’s hard to see how that sort of statement leaves any oxygen for theonomy.

  19. Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Zrim,

    Actually, I was referring to the Westminster Standards in their revised form. But since you mentioned it, isn’t Q&A 100 of the HC still operative? I’m not as familiar with the 3FoU but that one comes to mind.

  20. Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Also, Article 36 of the Belgic Confession, but again these are not my confessions.

  21. Zrim
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Ron, if the revisions to the WSs deconstruct theocracy how can they possibly leave any air for theonomy? Re HC 100, it is operative, but theocratic execution has given way to ecclesial excommunication. I know you hate that, but it is the 2k answer. And I’ve yet to hear of any Reformed congregation stoning blasphemers or handing them over to sheriffs to be lethally injected. So speaking of consistency, is that what a theonomist wants to see, unrepentant blasphemers executed>

  22. Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Re HC 100, it is operative, but theocratic execution has given way to ecclesial excommunication. I know you hate that, but it is the 2k answer.</”

    Zrim,

    This “giving way” is not in accordance with the HC, of course. In other words, there is not a formal revision of the standards. It’s simply an exception taken by some. Regarding the Westminster Standards, the “general equity” of the law is collapsed by the same the sorts of people into excommunication; yet not without many problems. After all, there was excommunication under the older economy, a “cutting off” (an exile of sorts), that was not accompanied by OT execution. Yet in God’s wisdom both were operative, presumably with distinct purposes. Accordingly, it seems a bit dubious that excommunication is equitable to execution, if for no other reason than the translation does not preserve the general equity of the civil sanction in view. The two aren’t even close to being equitable because, at the very least, repentance lifts the penalty of excommunication, which was not the case for capital crimes under Moses. By collapsing execution into excommunication the general equity of the sanction is not preserved but rather obliterated.

    In any case, let’s not blur the two different ways you are handling the HC and Belgic Confession on the one hand and the Westminster standards on the other. Your interpretation of the WCF has to do with a very unsustainable interpretation as just shown above. Whereas with the Dutch Confesssions you forgo any appeal to the standards themselves but rather to exceptions, which you don’t try to reconcile with the wording of the standards, hence the “giving way” as you call it. In other words, you are interpreting the Westminster standards different than I but simply taking a less covert exception to the Dutch standards.

    And I’ve yet to hear of any Reformed congregation stoning blasphemers or handing them over to sheriffs to be lethally injected.

    Your argument is based upon a false disjunction. King Jesus did not give the responsibility of the sword to the church and there are no civil laws in this land against blasphemy as such. Accordingly, those things you don’t hear about don’t undermine theonomy. In fact, that we don’t hear about such things corroborates theonomy, or at least is consistent with it.

    So speaking of consistency, is that what a theonomist wants to see, unrepentant blasphemers executed.

    You know we do, but only after making an earnest and prayerful plea to the sinner to receive Christ as offered in the gospel. It appears that you think that by simply announcing the severity of the punishment you somehow discredit any biblical case for it. If the penalty seems extreme to you, then maybe it’s because the sin in question no longer does. I truly hope not. At the very least, one may disagree with the penalty without mocking it. I suspect that is how the anti E2K proponents who are not theonmic respect the discussion over such laws and sanctions. With reverence and fear.

  23. Truth Unites... and
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    In the comment thread of this post, Escondido Principle of Separation of Christianity and State – Reviewed, Zrim wrote the following:

    “So why do anti-2k theocrats so uncritically adopt the unbiblical language and concepts of the pro-life movement when they want the Bible to inform all of life?”

    To which I responded: “First, many of the folks opposed to Escondido 2k are 2k themselves. This leads to the next observation: folks opposed to E2k make sure to distinguish E2k as E2k or R2k or something similar. Folks supporting E2k call it 2k, which assumes that their version of 2k is “mainstream” 2k. It’s kind of a funny dance. And I’m sure that both you and TFan observe this same dance. Third, just because folks oppose E2k doesn’t make them theocrats.”

    I know that this post does not call folks who oppose E2K as theocrats. I appreciate that. But please know that many people who oppose E2K are 2Kers themselves, and hence the reason why they add the qualifier or descriptor of “Escondido” or “Radical” to the 2K part.

  24. Jeremy Meeks
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Could I maybe be so bold as to request from some of you who use “R2K” “E2K” “Escondido 2K” to give guys like us a breakdown of all the ways you are different so we’ll know what you are talking about. You all seem to love the terms, yet I see little definition.

    (p.s. – please all get together somewhere and decide on one…that would be super helpful)

  25. Truth Unites... and
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Jeremy, E2K and R2K and Escondido 2K are interchangeable.

    Here’s a post by TurretinFan about: Varieties of “Two Kingdoms” Positions.

    Excerpt:

    “It seems that some contemporary theologians – names typically associated with Westminster West (located in Escondido, California) – are advocating a position with respect to the two kingdoms that takes matters even further away from the classical Reformed position. Their position seems to include such ideas as that the American “blue laws” related to the Lord’s day, criminal punishment for adultery, and the like are not proper. The position appears to reflect an idea that there should be a radical separation of church and state, and consequently is sometimes referred to as “r2k,” although the adherents of the position do not appreciate that label.

    I say “seems to include,” because there does not appear to be a lot of clear positive statements of their positions. I wonder if any of my readers know of, and can locate for me, their positive Biblical or logical argument for their position. I can find this sort of thing with respect to the American Reformed position, and I can find very excellent works ably defending the classical Reformed position, but I cannot locate anything of substance for the Escondido position.

  26. Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Better formatting:

    “Re HC 100, it is operative, but theocratic execution has given way to ecclesial excommunication. I know you hate that, but it is the 2k answer.

    Zrim,

    This “giving way” is not in accordance with the HC, of course. In other words, there is not a formal revision of the standards. It’s simply an exception taken by some. Regarding the Westminster Standards, the “general equity” of the law is collapsed by the same the sorts of people into excommunication; yet not without many problems. After all, there was excommunication under the older economy, a “cutting off” (an exile of sorts), that was not accompanied by OT execution. Yet in God’s wisdom both were operative, presumably with distinct purposes. Accordingly, it seems a bit dubious that excommunication is equitable to execution, if for no other reason than the translation does not preserve the general equity of the civil sanction in view. The two aren’t even close to being equitable because, at the very least, repentance lifts the penalty of excommunication, which was not the case for capital crimes under Moses. By collapsing execution into excommunication the general equity of the sanction is not preserved but rather obliterated.

    In any case, let’s not blur the two different ways you are handling the HC and Belgic Confession on the one hand and the Westminster standards on the other. Your interpretation of the WCF has to do with a very unsustainable interpretation as just shown above. Whereas with the Dutch Confessions you forgo any appeal to the standards themselves but rather to exceptions, which you don’t try to reconcile with the wording of the standards, hence the “giving way” as you call it. In other words, you are interpreting the Westminster standards different than I but simply taking a less covert exception to the Dutch standards.

    “And I’ve yet to hear of any Reformed congregation stoning blasphemers or handing them over to sheriffs to be lethally injected.”

    Your argument is based upon a false disjunction. King Jesus did not give the responsibility of the sword to the church and there are no civil laws in this land against blasphemy as such. Accordingly, those things you don’t hear about don’t undermine theonomy. In fact, that we don’t hear about such things corroborates theonomy, or at least is consistent with it.

    “So speaking of consistency, is that what a theonomist wants to see, unrepentant blasphemers executed.”

    You know we do, but only after making an earnest and prayerful plea to the sinner to receive Christ as offered in the gospel. It appears that you think that by simply announcing the severity of the punishment you somehow discredit any biblical case for it. If the penalty seems extreme to you, then maybe it’s because the sin in question no longer does. I truly hope not. At the very least, one may disagree with the penalty without mocking it. I suspect that is how the anti E2K proponents who are not theonomic respect the discussion over such laws and sanctions. With reverence and fear.

  27. Posted March 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that part of the problem is the false assumption that there is a unified 2k theology at WSC in whole and in the particulars. Dr. Godfrey doesn’t line up in a number of areas with DVD, for instance. One might want to listen to the audio from the winter conference a few years back on Two Kingdoms, probably available at the WSC website.

    Example from above:
    “It seems that some contemporary theologians – names typically associated with Westminster West (located in Escondido, California) – are advocating a position…

    Their position seems to include such ideas as that the American “blue laws” related to the Lord’s day, criminal punishment for adultery, and the like are not proper.”

    I’m not aware of any statement or publication that affirms a WSC unified position. f there is, let me know. DVD’s books are the most extensive and in those works (3 books) he doesn’t advocate a 2K position for WSC. He posits a case for a 2K position that he argues is in the historical stream of Reformed thought, as well as earlier theologians. He doesn’t advocate those positions as the exclusive Reformed position or understanding, but merely as residing within that tradition. This entire discussion goes in circles due to the acceptance of a premise that doesn’t exist. If there are questions re: 2K positions, I think, at the least, it would be most helpful to use specifics from DVD’s books for questions.

  28. Posted March 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    TUAD, you’ve pounded for substance. It’s curious to me how you breeze over the substance of my remark only to get tangled up in terms.

  29. Posted March 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Ron, the church is the new Israel, so if theos want the abiding validity of the law of God in exhaustive detail then it seems to me they really shouldn’t want the pagan magistrate to carry out their dirty work. They should take matters into their own hands, like Israel did, and execute their unrepentant blasphemers. 2kers at least have the chutzpah to carry out their own excommunication and not make excuses about the pagan state.

    So, no, 2k is not addled by a low view of sin. In point of fact, that is the affliction of theos who overlook the effects of abiding sin and indulge the notion that Christianity has made the world a better place. I might be willing, though, to indulge the theory and point to the fact that executing trespassers is scandalous to the post-resurrection age because the church has historically been 2k to the extent that it understands the enormity of Christ’s advent. The new covenant is radically new. It should be a scandal to anybody that trespassing the law of God requires death, not because of a low view of sin, but a high view of Christ, BECAUSE JESUS ALREADY DIED. Theonomy makes hay out of the radical and indescribable reality of Christ. Theonomy is bereft of reverence and fear because it undercuts Christ’s messianic fulfillment. It’s worthy of nothing but mockery.

  30. Posted March 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Zrim,

    Your points are becoming a bit too scattered and, frankly, fallacious for my tastes.

    Best wishes,
    Ron

  31. Ben P, Melbourne, AU
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Good to see that Frame’s “irenic” work is leading to such harmony in the Reformed world that a minister may not even subject the book to a public review without some sort of affray.

  32. Jeremy Meeks
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Jack, I was planning on responding, but your post was so well done I have nothing left to say.

  33. Truth Unites... and
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Jack Miller: “It seems to me that part of the problem is the false assumption that there is a unified 2k theology at WSC in whole and in the particulars.”

    Okay. Assuming all agree with you, then let no one use 2K or Escondido 2K any more. Instead, let’s use Radical 2K or R2K to refer to the version of 2K that Darryl Hart and Zrim espouses. Or is Militant 2K or Extreme 2K to be preferred over Radical 2K?

  34. Ron
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    TUAD,

    How did you advance a position, any position, with yor comment(s)?
    Please consider refraining from this nonsense.

  35. Truth Unites... and
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Brother Ron,

    Your gentle answer is loving and kind.

    The position being advanced is in regards to Jack Miller’s response which was much appreciated by Jeremy Meeks. To wit: “the false assumption that there is a unified 2k theology at WSC in whole and in the particulars” and “This entire discussion goes in circles due to the acceptance of a premise that doesn’t exist.” So let’s dissolve the semantic confusion by using terms that’s understood by everyone. Given that “Escondido 2K” is criticized by other 2K’ers, it’s no good to call “Escondido 2K” by the generic term “2K” which Darryl Hart and Zrim and others use. Furthermore, since it’s been pointed out that “Escondidio 2K” is a misnomer too, since some Escondido professors, notably President Robert Godfrey, are not “Escondido 2K”. So as I suggested in my prior comment, let’s drop both “2K” and “Escondido 2K”.

    What’s left? Radical 2K. Or R2K. Ron, in your comments above you wrote:

    o “I happen to agree with Calvin on those particular points but not agreeing with him is hardly sufficient to place oneself in the same boat as radical 2K, let alone outside the principles of Calvin.”

    o “The point was that there is quite a difference between what could be chalked up to as an inconsistency by Nelson Kloosterman et al., and the radical departure we find in WSC. To point to a possible inconsistency, which might not be (see above), and try to equate that in kind with a radical departure would seem to be an attempt to avoid any meaningful discussion.”

    o “Your argument thus far has been two-pronged: If non-E2K doesn’t follow the Divines to the precise letter, then they may not speak of E2K’s departure as being radical. Subsidiary argument: If most of the Reformed churches take at least some exception to the Divines, then E2K which may take as many exceptions they like without seeming radical in their departure. Then you played your final wild card, which reduced to: it’s impossible to know how much departure is extreme.

    o And although not a comment above, in your last post on your blog, you titled it “Michael Horton, Abortion and R2K.”

    So it’s evident that you’re preferred choice of terminology is Radical 2K or R2K for short. Which I’m perfectly fine with as well.

    Lastly, I merely suggested Militant 2K and Extreme 2K as possible alternatives because they are synonyms to Radical 2K. Militant because the church is sometimes referred to as “the Church militant.” Or Extreme 2K because this variety of 2K is the most extreme strain of 2K that’s ever been heavily advocated.

    So in regards to Jack Miller’s comment above, here’s a suggestion: Let’s all use R2K from now on. This avoids the confusion with other variants of 2K. And it avoids the error of “Escondido 2K” since not all of Westminster Seminary West are on board with what Darryl Hart, et al are advocating and promoting.

  36. Posted March 23, 2012 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    Ron, I’m sorry you found it scattered and fallacious, but my point seemed rather simple: why would anyone advocate for the execution of sinners if Jesus already took the penalty? The implication seems to be that his death wasn’t sufficient.

  37. mark mcculley
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    Zrim: It should be a scandal to anybody that trespassing the law of God requires death, not because of a low view of sin, but a high view of Christ, BECAUSE JESUS ALREADY DIED.

    Hebrews 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these…. 25 Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

    Hebrews 10: 26 For if we go on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. .. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God… 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    John Howard Yoder: “It is the clear testimony of the New Testament, especially of the epistle to the Hebrews, that the civic ceremonial requirements of the Old Covenant find their end—both in the sense of fulfillment and in the sense of termination—in the high-priestly sacrifice of Christ. “Once for all time” is the good news. Not only is the sacrifice of bulls and goats, turtledoves and wheatcakes at an end. The fact that Christ died for sins, once for all time, puts an end to the expiatory system, whether it is enforced by priests in Jerusalem or by executioners anywhere else.”

    mcmark: I am not 2k, so Zrim should not be held accountable for my remarks. I think Christians are only to participate in the one kingdom. I can understand theonomic theory about another kingdom in their postmillenial future, but until they tell us how they propose to disenfranchise non-Christians now, it’s difficult to take them seriously..The death required in the Noahic covenant is about bloody sacrificial atonement and the religious worship of the one true God.

  38. Posted March 23, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    why would anyone advocate for the execution of sinners if Jesus already took the penalty? The implication seems to be that his death wasn’t sufficient.

    Zrim,

    I suppose there are several ways to answer your question. Certainly you allow for some temporal penalty to be meted out by civil magistrates. Accordingly, we only differ on the questions of what those penalties should be and how is one to justify his answer. A second way of response might have to do with the doctrine of Limited Atonement. Did Jesus die for everybody’s sin? No, you say. So, at the very least, may the courts punish those who do not profess Christ and relieve the penalty later? In the case of death as a penalty, if the person is elect they’ll receive salvation before they pass on. These sorts of answers are simply an attempt to to step inside your position to show that you don’t live up to your own strictures. Certainly you don’t think that propitiation and satisfaction alleviates a need for all civil justice. No, your complaint is with the degree of penalty to be meted out and using the Bible to justify sanctions.

  39. Zrim
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Ron, as I’ve said before, I want my sheriff to be normed by law (and, contrariwise, my pastor by gospel). So with a view like that, it seems obvious that nobody is saying that law should be suspended by the civil magistrate, even for believers. When Pat Robertson wanted Karla Faye Tucker’s execution pardoned on the grounds that she was a Christian, unbecoming seems to be an apt description. And so theonomists working as hard to put down criminals as Dispensationalists work to spring them seems to be two sides of a skewed coin. Which raises the point that as credo-baptism is the mirror error of paedocommunism, theonomy is the mirror error of Dispensationalism—the former representing an extreme failure to do justice to the discontinuity between the old and new covenants, the latter the continuity.

    But 2k isn’t nearly as interested in enlisting Christianity to help create and sustain the Good and Just Society as it is in reconciling sinners to God. Which is why I still wonder what you think the meaning of Jesus’ death is in all this. Your answer completely side steps my question. What was its purpose? Shouldn’t ministers of the gospel be less interested in making sure criminals get their just desserts and much more interested in brokering peace between them and God?

  40. Posted March 23, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Dr. Hart,

    What do you think of Calvin’s reasoning as to why he stopped the stoning of the harlot in John 8(which incidentally is not in your Bible unless you use the KJV or NKJV)?

    We are not told that Christ absolutely acquitted the woman, but that he allowed her to go at liberty. Nor is this wonderful, for he did not wish to undertake any thing that did not belong to his office. He bad been sent by the Father to gather the lost sheep, (Matthew 10:6;) and, therefore, mindful of his calling, he exhorts the woman to repentance, and comforts her by a promise of grace.

  41. mark mcculley
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Ron: A second way of response might have to do with the doctrine of Limited Atonement. Did Jesus die for everybody’s sin? No, you say. So, at the very least, may the courts punish those who do not profess Christ and relieve the penalty later?

    mark: Again, not speaking for Zrim, but if there are now no other expiatory sacrifices and Christ’s is the last and only one, no regime/cult has the authority to offer other sacrifices. I doubt that you will find anyone on this site who agrees more with you than I do that Christ’s atonement is limited to the elect alone. Only the sins of the elect alone were imputed to Christ. But that being said, Hebrews teaches us that there are no other sacrifices. If Christ didn’t die for you, then there is no expiation for you.

    So where does this leave us? You could say that the death penalty is not now (and never was?) an expiatory sacrifice, but that doesn’t seem very theonomic of you. If we insist that the one true God demands the blood in Genesis 9 (as in the Mosaic legislation), how can we avoid saying that this blood is not expiatory, at least in type?

    question for Zrim: I know you made the claim before that paedo-communion and credo-baptism are “mirror” errors. Can you explain that? Either you never got to the explanation before (and it’s just one of your soundbites!) or you did and I was too dumb to get it. Or I forgot it. I am getting old. Thanks.

  42. Mike Mihok
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I may be simple minded, and I don’t comment on blogs often, but it seems thalt executing adulterers puts the kibosh on any hope for future repentance. Where exactly does the death penalty fit into baptism and making disciples?

  43. Posted March 23, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Tu, Jeremy, and Jack, why can’t we use 2k? Was anyone talking about 2k in the Reformed world before the folks whom Frame critiques? And if others want to claim the 2k mantle, they need to explain how their version is moderate or mainstream compared to some radical or extreme version. And this is precisely the point. Calvin and the Westminster Divines’ view of the magistrate is no long moderate or mainstream considering the revisions to the WCF and Belgic.

  44. Posted March 23, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Ben,
    I have no problem with Calvin’s comment. But it hardly suggests that the OT standards are still in place in the NT.

  45. Posted March 23, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Darryl wrote: Tu, Jeremy, and Jack, why can’t we use 2k?

    I don’t have a problem at all with using the term 2K. I’m simply batting back the idea that there is a monolithic “Escondito” 2K view (as defined by its critics) that must be defended.

  46. Zrim
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Mark, what I mean by them being mirror errors is simply that credo-baptism misses the continuity of the old and new covenants and paedocommunion misses the discontinuity. The sign and seal of the covenant is still to be administered to children of the covenant (continuity), but it changes in that it is administered not only to male but also female children and goes from bloody ordeal to watery marking (discontinuity). Baptism has in view that they will participate in the Supper (continuity), but not until they have demonstrated a credible profession of faith (discontinuity).

    So, it’s a point about dis/continuity. Theonomy is right that sin is serious and needs to be dealt with seriously. But it doesn’t seem to grasp 1) that it has been in Christ and so 2) dealing with it in sinners post-cross changes as radically as the sign and seal of covenant membership changes.

  47. Zrim
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Mike, simple minds think alike. Bingo.

  48. Ron
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Mark, at the very least death as penalty keeps the transgressors from committing the transgression that warranted death. Secondly, it’ a deterrent for evil doers. Finally, to suggest that the death penalty was a shadow of Christ’s death is not worthy of comment

  49. Jeremy Meeks
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    DGH – My sentiments exactly. I’m 100% with you on this one. I was trying to point out the ridiculous nature of people coming up with all kinds of competing 2k terms that make it sound like there are various, well defined schools of the 2k brand.

    “And if others want to claim the 2k mantle, they need to explain how their version is moderate or mainstream compared to some radical or extreme version.” – Amen to that. I tried to get that point across to TUAD.

    “Calvin and the Westminster Divines’ view of the magistrate is no long moderate or mainstream considering the revisions to the WCF and Belgic.” – Agreed. And thankful as well.

  50. TUAD
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Darryl Hart: “Tu, Jeremy, and Jack, why can’t we use 2k?”

    Darryl, read Ron’s argument to you:

    “Your argument thus far has been two-pronged: If non-E2K doesn’t follow the Divines to the precise letter, then they may not speak of E2K’s departure as being radical. Subsidiary argument: If most of the Reformed churches take at least some exception to the Divines, then E2K which may take as many exceptions they like without seeming radical in their departure. Then you played your final wild card, which reduced to: it’s impossible to know how much departure is extreme.”

    Do you agree with Ron? If so, that’s why it’s not helpful for you to use 2K. If you don’t agree with Ron, then why not.

One Trackback

  • By Christ the King - Coffee House Inquisition on April 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    […] reason it never becomes a reality is because we have set aside the social Kingship of Christ and accepted the secular dogma of separation of Church and […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>