Can Frame, the Baylys, Kloosterman, Wilson, and Rabbi Bret Really Object to This?

David VanDrunen (whose Dutch heritage should count for more than it does among the nattering nabobs of neo-Calvinist negativism) recently conducted an interview with the folks at Credo Magazine. Two of his answers are particularly useful for explaining 2k (thanks to the Outhouse).

The first:

I like to describe the two kingdoms doctrine briefly as the conviction that God through his Son rules the whole world, but rules it in two distinct ways. As creator and sustainer, God rules the natural order and the ordinary institutions and structures of human society, and does so through his common grace, for purposes of preserving the ongoing life of this world. As redeemer, God also rules an eschatological kingdom that is already manifest in the life and ministry of the church, and he rules this kingdom through saving grace as he calls a special people to himself through the proclamation of the Scriptures. As Christians, we participate in both kingdoms but should not confuse the purposes of one with those of the other. As a Reformed theologian devoted to a rich covenant theology, I think it helpful to see these two kingdoms in the light of the biblical covenants. In the covenant with Noah after the flood, God promised to preserve the natural order and human society (not to redeem them!), and this included all human beings and all living creatures. But God also established special, redemptive covenant relationships with Abraham, with Israel through Moses, and now with the church under the new covenant. We Christians participate in both the Noahic and new covenants (remember that the covenant with Noah was put in place for as long as the earth endures), and through them in this twofold rule of God—or, God’s two kingdoms.

The “transformationist” approach to Christ and culture is embraced by so many people and used in so many different ways that I often wonder how useful a category it is. If by “transformation” we simply mean that we, as Christians, should strive for excellence in all areas of life and try to make a healthy impact on our workplace, neighborhood, etc., I am a transformationist. But what people often mean by “transformationist” is that the structures and institutions of human society are being redeemed here and now, that is, that we should work to transform them according to the pattern of the redemptive kingdom of Christ. I believe the two kingdoms doctrine offers an approach that is clearly different from this. Following the two kingdoms doctrine, a Christian politician, for example, would reject working for the redemption of the state (whatever that means) but recognize that God preserves the state for good purposes and strive to help the state operate the best it can for those temporary and provisional purposes.

The second:

I don’t think the church has any different responsibilities in an election year from what it has at any other time. The church should proclaim the whole counsel of God in Scripture (which includes, of course, teaching about the state, the value of human life, marriage, treatment of the poor, etc.). But Scripture does not set forth a political policy agenda or embrace a particular political party, and so the church ought to be silent here where it has no authorization from Christ to speak. When it comes to supporting a particular party, or candidate, or platform, or strategy—individual believers have the liberty to utilize the wisdom God gives them to make decisions they believe will be of most good to society at large. Politics constantly demands compromise, choosing between the lesser of evils, and refusing to let the better be the enemy of the good. Christians will make different judgments about these things, and the church shouldn’t try to step in and bind believers’ consciences on matters of prudence. It might be helpful to think of it this way: during times when Christians are bombarded with political advertisements, slogans, and billboards, how refreshing it should be, on the Lord’s Day, to step out of that obsession with politics and gather with God’s redeemed people to celebrate their heavenly citizenship and their bond in Christ that transcends all national, ethnic, and political divisions.

Since recent kvetching about 2k included the charge that the outlook has little substance and is hard to define, VanDrunen’s brief and clear responses should put to rest that particular complaint (especially for those too lazy to read the books that keep piling up on the 2k shelf). These remarks should also end criticisms of 2k since I can’t imagine how anyone could object to them. Actually, I can imagine that some will object but have a hard time thinking that the objections will be anything but perverse.

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132 Comments

  1. Posted March 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Don, what on earth does DVD’s graciousness have to do with this? If he’s a nice guy then you’ll think about dual citizenship?

  2. Don Frank
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    I lean more towards Schmemann, who I believe captures the warp and woof of Scripture in a far more satisfying way. I think it is safer for the church to do so as well.

  3. Posted March 31, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Don, thanks for the clarification. I’m not sure that Reformed Protestants need to look to an Eastern Orthodox theologian to capture the meaning of Scripture. That’s not to say that Schememann is not worth reading. But I’m not sure how Presbyterians would follow him.

  4. Don Frank
    Posted March 31, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    Maybe its time to move beyond the Reformation. Things have changed, you know. As to the PCA, I’m not an elder in the PCA, so I’m not gonna sweat it.

    As to DVD, I was a bit harsh and wanted it to be known it was not personally directed at DVD – just his theology. Yeah, I’ll take a closer look at dual (I cringe to even use the word) citizenship.

  5. Don Frank
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Rzim, and anyone else who may be listening,

    I am happy to see that you also rely on the writing of our early church fathers to formulate your thinking as the church has always done throughout the centuries. I must admit that reading Augustine’s “City of God” was challenging, but tremendously helpful in shaping my thinking along Scriptural lines rather than the zeitgeist of today’s secular culture.

    Having said that, it appears that you, or perhaps someone who provided you with that quote from Augustine, seem to think that Augustine’s thought differs from the thoughts expressed in the passages I quoted. I’d like to examine the quote you lifted in some detail to show you why I think he is totally consistent with the thought clearly expressed in my quoted passages. Please let me know where you might disagree.

    Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

    In this paragraph, it seems clear that Augustine is simply saying that we, as Christians, are not to be driven by a desire to exhibit external differences from those in our culture who surround us, like the Amish and other religious sects do.

    And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.

    In this paragraph, Augustine now begins to explain how we live outwardly in this common world just as non-heavenly citizens of this world in that we vote, we go to school, we maintain our yards, we go to work, we marry and have children, etc.. But yet, there is something that stands out among us as extraordinary such that it seems as though we are just “passing through” and that we are driven internally to live differently – as aliens. In the next 3 paragraphs, Augustine analyzes the key differences between citizens who are first and foremost citizens of heaven, and those who are only citizens of this world, i.e., non-heavenly citizens.

    They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

    To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

    Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body’s hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

    It seems crystal clear to me that Augustine is not saying, like DVD, that GOD HAS DIFFERENT PURPOSES for this temporal world from the eschatological kingdom, and that we can therefore live as dual citizens, i.e., as though we pursue the same ends in the temporal world as non-heavenly citizens do. If that were the case, why on earth would we be “persecuted,” “not understood,” “put to death.”

    A thousand times, NO. If we as heavenly citizens do not recognize the desire of this temporal world’s citizens to eliminate God from our daily lives, our culture will most assuredly be turned over to a false religion, just as it has already been in Europe. Rather, Augustine is saying that WE as heavenly citizens are to HAVE A DIFFERENT PURPOSE for living than the non-heavenly citizens of this world. Christ our King, who is risen from the dead, makes that purpose exceedingly clear in His first sermon ever, to those who will listen.

    13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. 16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

    Matt 5:13-16 (ASV)

  6. Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Don, don’t you think it would be good for you to read DVD before objecting to him so much? Also, is not the state of marriage and non-marriage different? Are you ever going to acknowledge that the new creation may actually be different from this world order? It sure seems to me with procreation removed from the human project, the new world order is going to have a different purpose.

  7. Adam
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Don,

    Whoever you are arguing against with the Augustine quotes, I don’t think it’s 2K as espoused by DVD. Again, I don’t think you have allowed yourself to actually understand DVD on his own terms. For instance, you say, “rather, Augustine is saying that WE as heavenly citizens are to HAVE A DIFFERENT PURPOSE for living than the non-heavenly citizens of this world. Christ our King, who is risen from the dead, makes that purpose exceedingly clear in His first sermon ever, to those who will listen.” I could be wrong, but I don’t think DVD or other 2Kers would disagree with you on this. The lives of saints in this world are to be shaped by their heavenly citizenship. They aren’t to be of this world but are simply called to live side by side in this world with non-believers. They live with a different purpose than non-heavenly citizens. There is not debate there at all.

    I also don’t think you can explain the following quote away while ignoring Augustine’s use of the word “citizenship” on the behalf of the believers that are passing through this world: “And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country.”
    So, where’s the disagreement?

  8. Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Don, the quote I provided isn’t Augustine. It is from chapter 5 of what is commonly referred to as “A Letter to Diognetus,” or even more specifically “The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus.” It dates to the late 2nd century. Van Drunen enlists it in NL2K to make the case for two kingdom theology and dual citizenship. That confusion aside, though, your concern seems to be that the notion of dual citizenship erodes the antithesis. But I don’t see how that really happens. What see dual citizenship doing is making sense out the actual lives we lead six days out of seven. It’s actually that seventh day, with its peculiar activites, that highlights the antithesis.

    But you also express great concern for the religious state of culture. This seems odd to me coming from someone so strident in wanting to put so much emphasis on our otherworldly citizenship. But 2k is also about emphasizing our eternal citizenship but also without worrying overly about how irreligious the land of our pilgrimage is. It worries more about the kingdom of God in the earth becoming secularized or compromised. And one way that happens is to try and create antithesis in our six days instead of letting the seventh day do all the heavy lifting it was designed to do. Have you ever heard of working smarter instead of harder?

  9. Adam
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    “If we as heavenly citizens do not recognize the desire of this temporal world’s citizens to eliminate God from our daily lives, our culture will most assuredly be turned over to a false religion, just as it has already been in Europe”

    I’m curious as to what you mean by this quote, because it seems like you are saying it is the job of the saints (heavenly citizens) to keep culture (America?) from false religion. Is this why it is dangerous for the saints to live as dual citizens? Doesn’t the common culture naturally subscribe to false religion (ie Cain, Lamech, Pharaoh) on its own?

    The saints aren’t transforming culture or keeping it from going down the toilet; God, through common grace, is upholding the world in his providence until the full number of the saints have been saved. For now, the saints know that common culture will persecute them and seek to take for themselves the name of the Lord. Life as a dual citizen, suffering in the tension of the already and not yet, isn’t easy, but isn’t that the gist of the Sermon on the Mount?

  10. sean
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Don,

    You really should read DVD, in his ‘Living in Two Kingdoms’ he distinguishes between a subjective ambition of living unto the glory of God, which the redeemed pursue as their ambition. While in the objective, the actual execution of, or simply participation of a human endeavor, we seek the same performance/efficiency(my words not his) as the unregenerate. (i.e. in plumbing, their is no objective economical difference between two equally skilled plumbers fitting a 1/4 threaded pipe to a 1/4 fitting). The expectation of the work and legal compulsion(conscience)-honest work at a fair price is the EXACT same for both the regenerate and unregenerate. The christian ‘difference’ is a subjective one of self-consciously, though not perfectly, doing so unto the glory of God. Though even the unregenerate can and does, unwittingly or even in pursuit of self-worship, execute the same task to the same level of proficiency and gives glory to God in the objective(the act of plumbing well) even while he hates God. This distinction between the objective and subjective, if you’d give it a hearing, would go a long way to resolving the tension for you.

  11. Don Frank
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    All,

    I have said I will read DVD, but, in the meantime, I will continue to call your attention to my concern with what I know of his theology already, in light of what I regard as a much higher and more Scriptural view of creation than Darryl’s simple conclusion based on non-marriage in heaven. I say simple, because Scripture is clear that marriage is a shadow of true marriage between Christ and the Church, just as this present creation is a shadow of the fulfillment of new creation.

    My concern with the direction that Adam and Zrim want to take is that I am convinced that most Christians, especially those who are not as “spiritually” aware as you are, will, as they “live side by side in this world with non-believers” be quite easily persuaded by the Babylonian religion (i.e., all religions are of equal value) of secular culture, because, as Augustine points out, we occupy “animal bodies which by its corruption weighs down the soul.” (If you have not read James Smith’s “Desiring the Kingdom” on this topic, I commend it to you.) The point he makes is that we are more persuaded by liturgies, not necessarily linked to religion, which shape our identity. Living side by side with non-believers (except purely on external-citizen matters) cannot help but to shape the identities of believers and non-believers alike if the Church is not seen as the ultimate way of life, intellectually as well as in daily liturgy (not simply Sunday).

    This is the reason I say it is entirely false to say along with DVD that God rules in two distinct ways. He rules in one way, through the Church, and that is why He says that He hates the form of this world with its Babylonian religion. Unless you believe this, I do not see how you can be faithful to Christ’s command to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to OBSERVE ALL THAT I COMMANDED you.

    I hear what you are saying, Sean, but, as I say above, you are under-estimating the power of our culture to influence believers in a subjective way. We are not primarily moved by intellectual arguments, as Smith points out, but by the liturgical habits we exercise day to day.

  12. Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Don, so you fear the effects of 2k on believers, that they’ll go soft on the world’s religions. But what of your going soft on the Reformation? Have you considered how the theological distinctions that were important to the Reformers are of less import to you with your expansive view of one-kingdom?

    Also, if you are right that the Great Commission implies one kingdom (which I don’t think you are), then why do Paul and Peter tell Christians to submit to pagan rulers whom God has ordained? I really would be curious how you harmonize Romans 13 and 1 Pet. 3 with your view of one world government.

  13. Posted April 3, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Don, I understand your concerns, but I have to tell you that I also find them disturbingly medieval and fundamentalist. I don’t use the f-word as a scare tactic, but I really don’t see how your view doesn’t end up helping to create and sustain the Christian ghetto. And I don’t see how you make one whit of sense out the actual lives we all live. Unless you’re in a monastery yourself, my bet is that you do indeed live side by side with unbelievers. You owe that to the Protestant Reformation you seem to want to get over. But maybe that’s why you want to circumvent it—you’re more inclined to a medieval theology, piety and practice where the church is all.

    But to the extent that it is Protestant all the way down, 2k actually believes that this is God’s world, even as the church is the only way out of it. It really believes that creation is very good and that Jesus is Lord over every square inch of it and its inhabitants, which is why there is no reason to fear either one. All through your comments I detect a steady undercurrent of fear of what God has ordained. Interestingly, you suggest that a world-affirming piety is fine for those of us who are “spiritually aware,” but for those who are not-so-spiritual it is a formula for impiety. But Protestantism does not make a distinction between spiritual elites and the second class (more of your medieval slip is showing). It only makes a distinction between the spiritually dead and the spiritually alive. And it demands that the spiritually alive mature in the knowledge of Christ, part of which means not to call anything unclean God has called clean. And so this is the great irony I see between paleo-Calvinist 2kers and their neo-Calvinist detractors: the former actually speak and live as if God is sovereign over every square inch, the latter, for all their pious “all of life” chatter, speak and behave as if he really isn’t.

  14. Don Frank
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    You guys are seriously mis-hearing me, and I don’t think it is because of how or what I’m saying, but the way you are hearing it. I think that this same tendency to mis-hear what I am convinced is fully consistent with Scripture, is the reason why you all seem to think that a 2k approach is necessary to begin with.

    I have not gone soft on the Reformation, and I do not want to go back to the one world government of the evil Roman church. What I said to you earlier is that it is time to move beyond the Reformation, not forgetting what the Reformation heroes of the faith have done by the grace of God, but recognizing that the problem that the Reformers faced is far and away different than the problem we face today — in a world where Islam is fast becoming the majority religion followed only by the weak-kneed church of the west which is gladly accommodating the secular religion that believes that death can be defeated by more and better medicine, psychiatry, education, and the godless optimism of a human race unified under democracy.

    And I am not advocating pietistic living as Zrim is accusing me of. Again, you are not hearing me with a Scriptural mind set when I say that Christianity is not a religion but a way of life. I am not talking about living a moralistic life – I’m talking about living the spirit-filled life that all of Scripture and all the faithful Church fathers exhort us to live.

    What I have been advocating is just the opposite of what 2k says. God has not prescribed 2 ways or kinds of rule under which we are to live our lives every day. He has prescribed one way only, and that way begins every Sunday as the Church, ascending into heaven, puts aside all earthly cares. The very life of the Church is a proclamation of the Lord’s death, and confession of His resurrection. Faith itself is the acceptance not of various doctrines, however true, but of Christ Himself as the Life and the Light of life. The starting point of Christian faith is not belief, but love.

    The purpose and rule of the Church is to reorient us, body and soul, to this truth, so that we live, body and soul all week long as those who have died and been reborn; not to provide a respite from the secular world so we can simply keep going until we get to some other-worldly dimension of existence; not to get spiritual help in living this life more piously.

    When we enter “secular” life on Monday, we don’t do so under the false notion that God “rules the natural order and the ordinary institutions and structures of human society, and does so through his common grace, for purposes of preserving the ongoing life of this world.” THERE IS NO LIFE LEFT IN THIS WORLD BUT CHRIST WHO IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. In this world, suffering and disease are indeed “normal,” but their very “normalcy” is abnormal. They reveal the ultimate defeat of man, which medicine, democracy, education, etc., no matter how wonderful, can ultimately overcome.

    Because we have the death and life of Christ in us, we enter the “secular” world by faith working in love (Gal 5:6), crucified to the world yet alive in Christ. Thus, our purpose is not to “preserve the ongoing life of this world” as DVD would have you believe, but to preserve the love of God in this dead world as Scripture would have us believe. This is what makes us extraordinary, as Zrim’s quote says, and helps us be the best plumber, nurse, doctor, etc. that we can be.

  15. Posted April 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Don, if we don’t rejoin our neighbors every Monday-Saturday with the understanding that “God rules the natural order and the ordinary institutions and structures of human society, and does so through his common grace, for purposes of preserving the ongoing life of this world,” then with what understanding do we do so? Your answer is by faith working in love, crucified to the world yet alive in Christ. Sorry, but while it sounds pious, I’m just not really sure what that really means.

    It sounds to me like you have an allergy against any suggestion of believers simply participating and preserving the common life to which all people are called. And from my experience, those who speak the way you do, namely with a visceral rejection of the sort of doctrines of creation and preservation such as DVD puts forth, tend virtually always to have notions of redeeming creation. Instead of having modest notions of preservation and participation they have earnest aspirations of redeeming and transforming. Maybe that’s what you mean by characterizing our secular lives as “by faith working in love, crucified to the world yet alive in Christ.”

    I remain puzzled as to how you could get from the “A Letter to Diognetus” any idea that Christianity is a way to become excellent plumbers and artisans. Its point is about a people having dual citizenship, being at once residents and aliens—the straddling of this age and the age to come is what is extraordinary. But you do tip your hand when you proclaim that Christianity isn’t a religion but a way of life. While a way of life is certainly resident within it, it is assuredly mistaken to characterize it as a way of life. This is the way the Kantians, liberals, and evangelicals might distill Christianity, but it isn’t how Protestants do. Christianity is about reconciling God to sinners.

  16. Don Frank
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, Zrim, faith working through love seemed to work pretty well for Paul as an understanding for joining his neighbors in the tent making business. It may sound pious, but it is what we are commanded to do. It also seems to be the way Christ decided how to divide the sheep from the goats.

  17. Zrim
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Don, heavens to Murgatroyd. When Paul spoke of faith working through love in Galatians it was in the context of justification, as in our relationship to God. It had nothing to do with common vocation. Why do I get the feeling you think “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” means we can make better mousetraps?

  18. Don Frank
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Zrim,

    You are hearing what you want to hear again. You want to hear me say that so you can discard me into one of your labeled trash pots. I never said Christians make better mouse traps. Some might, some might not, but it has nothing to do with whether they are Christians or not. What counts, according to Paul, is that they do it out of love for their neighbor whose food is being consumed by rodents who are yet “subjected to futility” (Rom 8:20) and not yet “delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom 8:21) .

    From all that I have read and witnessed of 2k thinking and behavior, I become more and more convinced that it is a sub-Christian approach to deal with the world on the world’s terms and “live.” The Gospel of Christ, on the other hand, commands us to deal with the world on Christ the Lord’s terms and die, that we may live with Him, right now and eternally.

  19. Posted April 4, 2012 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Don, please read the Bible and not your own reading of Schmemann into the Bible. Just this morning in one of my pious moments (rare though they may be), I was reading Paul on the resurrection and the differences between natural and spiritual bodies, the former being buried, the latter rising from the grave.

    The difference between this world and the next is not simply indicated by the Bible’s teaching on marriage. It is all over Paul’s teaching, which took seriously the difference that the resurrection makes. BTW, we’re not there yet. Which means we need to live with 2 kingdoms.

  20. Posted April 4, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Don, the point isn’t to dismiss you into a labeled trash pot. It’s to make sense out of what you’re trying to say. It sounds like you want a theory to make sense out of the common lives we lead. But when you’re given one from the likes of DVD that corresponds to law you are repulsed and instead reach for a theory that corresponds to gospel. So where you are repulsed I am confused, because when I make mousetraps it has more to do with catching mice than being a fisher of men.

  21. Don Frank
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Zrim,

    Thanks for the laugh. Catching fish with a mouse trap — that’s funny.

  22. Posted April 4, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Don, exactly. Common life normed by gospel is as whacky as fish on bicycles. Maybe whackier.

  23. Don Frank
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Darryl,

    You’ve missed your target again. Please don’t tell me that you read the Bible from a pure Darryl Hart and the Holy Spirit alone perspective. I did not know you were charismatic :)

    You know, as well as I do, that what I have been saying has been taking on an ecumenical, sola scriptura momentum that the hard core confessionalists want to ignore by sticking their heads into a by-gone Reforamtional era hole in the ground.

    But since you mention Schmemann, I think this quote from him responds nicely to your discontinuity-way of thinking:

    And it is only when the Church in the Eucharist leaves this world and ascends to Christ’s table at His Kingdom that she truly sees and proclaims heaven and earth to be full of His glory and God as having “filled all things with Himself.” Yet, once more this “discontinuity,” this vision of all things as new, is possible only because at first there is continuity and not negation, because the Holy Spirit makes “all things new” and not “new things.” It is because all Christian worship is always remembrance of Christ “in the flesh,” that it can also be remembrance, i.e., expectation and anticipation, of His Kingdom. It is only because the Chursh’s leitourgia is always cosmic, i.e., assumes into Christ all creation, and is always historical, i.e., assumes into Christ all time, that it can therefore also be eschatological, i.e., make us true participants of the Kingdom to come.

    Such then is the idea of man’s relation to the world implied in the very notion of worship. Worship is by definition and act a reality with cosmic, historical, and eschatological dimensions, the expression thus not merely of “piety,” but of an all-embracing “world view.” And those few who have taken upon themselves the pain of studying worship in general, and Christian worship in particular, would certainly agree that on the levels of history and phenomenology at least, this notion of worship is objectively verifiable. Therefore, if today what people call worship are activities, projects, and undertakings having in reality nothing to do with this notion of worship, the responsibility for this lies with the deep semantic confusion typical of our confused time.

    I don’t expect you to appreciate this quote Darryl, but I’m hoping some of your more attuned readers might.

  24. Adam
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Assuming the higher ground in a conversation doesn’t automatically place one there, Don. Read the primary sources and get a better understanding of what you’re arguing against.

  25. Don Frank
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    DVD, a primary source???

  26. Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Got it, Don. I go to Paul on the resurrection, you go to Schmemann on worship. No offense to Schmemann, but I think even he’d agree we have to go with Paul.

  27. Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Don, I believe DVD would be a primary source for DVD. Don’t you think?

  28. Don Frank
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Yes, and I will go there.

  29. Eric Rasmusen
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Here is something to object to:

    “But Scripture does not set forth a political policy agenda or embrace a particular political party, and so the church ought to be silent here where it has no authorization from Christ to speak.”

    Thus, if one political party endorses the murder of Jews as its political policy agenda, the Church ought to be silent? Or, for a more current example, if one political party endorses sodomy, the Church, despite Romans 1, has no authorization from Christ to speak?

  30. Eric Rasmusen
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    “In the covenant with Noah after the flood, God promised to preserve the natural order and human society (not to redeem them!), and this included all human beings and all living creatures.”

    It puzzles me that Van Drunen would rely on the Noachic covenant. Recall its most memorable feature:

    Gn 9: 1, 3-4: ” And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”

    and the reaffirmation of this in the New Testament:

    Ac 15:19-20: “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood.”

    Does R2K therefore say that Christians should not advocate in the public sphere for laws regarding abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. but should strenuously pursue bans on blood sausage?

  31. Posted February 3, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Eric – if one political party endorses sodomy, the Church, despite Romans 1, has no authorization from Christ to speak?

    Erik – In a two party system. what if the other major party also endorses things that are offensive to Christians?

    Eric – Does R2K therefore say that Christians should not advocate in the public sphere for laws regarding abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc. but should strenuously pursue bans on blood sausage?

    Erik – In the Acts passage who does “them” refer to?

  32. Zrim
    Posted February 3, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Eric, Christians may, churches are another matter:

    WCF 31.5: “Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.”

    This is where TVD and other political Protestants charge cowardice, etc.

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