New Schoolers, Neo-Calvinists, and Fundamentalists

After Darrell Todd Maurina kicked up some dust with his post at the Baylyblog on 2k, he made the following comment:

Men such as Dr. Darryl Hart have accused me in the past of holding the same position as the Bible Presbyterians and Carl McIntyre. That is an important accusation and it needs to be rebutted. If men such as Clark, Horton, Hart, and Van Drunen manage to successfully argue that they are in the heritage of Old School Presbyterianism while their opponents are New Schoolers, great damage will be done to the cause of those who oppose “Two Kingdoms” theology within the conservative Reformed world.

Well, if you look at the historical scholarship, Darrell, it gets even worse than you imagine. Consider first of all one inference that George Marsden drew in his first book, a study of New School Presbyterianism:

The most striking illustration of the similarities between nineteenth-century New Schoolism and twentieth-century fundamentalism is found in the sequel to the Presbyterian division of 1936. The newly formed Presbyterian Church of America itself was divided over a complex set of issues remarkably similar to those of 1837. The majority in the new denomination, led by J. Gresham Machen until his death . . . and then by his immediate associates at Westminster Seminary, took clearly Old School positions on each of the issues. The minority, which withdrew to form the Bible Presbyterian Synod, was led by the militant fundamentalist, Carl McIntire. McIntire, who had envisaged the Presbyterian Church of America as part of a wider “twentieth century Reformation,” soon found that he was not at home in a strict Old School tradition. The specific programs for which he fought were 1) toleration of a doctrine (dispenstational premillennialism) that the majority in the Church considered incompatible with the Westminster Confession of Faith; 2) continuation of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, rather than forming an official denominational mission board; and 3) adoption by the General Assembly of a statement that total abstinence from all that may intoxicate is “the only truth principle of temperance – exactly the same statement first adopted by the New School General Assembly of 1840. These programs, together with McIntires’s claim to represent “American Presbyterianism (a former New School phrase), his avid (anti-Communist) patriotism, his zeal for revivalism and legalistic reforms, his emphasis on interdenominational cooperation, and his lack of concern for strict Presbyterian polity – all indicate a continuation of the distinctly New School traditions with the fundamentalist wing of Presbyterianism. . . .

Perhaps the greatest difference between the New School evangelical movement and fundamentalist was that the nineteenth-century movement was largely successful, while the twentieth-century movement was not. The New School was not characterized by an almost total repudiation of the cultural and scientific advances of the age. Rather, it met those challenges without losing its own respectability. The New School thus advanced toward the center of American cultural and religious life, while fundamentalism was forced to retreat to the hinterlands. This, of course, is a crucial difference and makes a characterization of the New School as proto-fundamentalist s misleading as proto-liberal. The New School was in many respects a constructive and progressive religious intellectual movement with marked success in shaping American culture at large. (247, 249)

In case Darrell and other New School-like Protestants get bogged down in McIntire’s peculiarities, the point here is not that Maurina or the Baylys are dispensationalists or tee-totalers. The point is that they put the nation and its politics ahead of their theological and confessional commitments the way New Schoolers did. They want an American Presbyterianism, a faith that shapes America. In contrast, the Old School was willing to consider Reformed Protestantism as something independent or a matter than transcended the nation. The New Schoolers were Americans first and Americans second. Old Schoolers (at least some of them) were Presbyterians first and Americans second. If the United States and Presbyterianism are not the same, the order in which you put “Presbyterian” and “American” matters. (For Presbyterians from Canada or Ireland that makes perfect sense.)

But for those inclined to think that Dutch-American (notice the order) Reformed Protestants escape these parallels and analogies, consider this point that James Bratt made in an article about Kuyper and Machen:

Put in Dutch Calvinist terms: if forced to choose, Machen would let the Christian cultural task give way to the confessional church; Kuyper would force the confessional church to take up the cultural task. Put in American Presbyterian terms, Kuyper had some strong New School traits where Machen had none. To be sure Kuyper’s predestinarianism was at odds with the New Schools Arminian tints and his movement had a low impetus for “soul-saving,” but his organizational zeal was like Lyman Beecher’s in purpose and scale, his educational purposes at the Free University recalled Timothy Dwight’s at Yale, and his invocation of the “city on a hill” to describe the church’s place in a world recalled the charter image of Puritan New England which was ever the New Schools’ aspiration. In fact Kuyper honored New England as the “core of the American nation” and shared its definition of Christian liberty as a communal opportunity to do the right thing. At that Machen would only shudder. He indicted the “angry passions of 1861″ by which New England trampled on southern rights, and defined Christian liberty as the individual’s protection from the wrong thing. When put to the test, Machen endorsed the political model of Thomas Jefferson. At that Kuyper would only shudder back. (“Abraham Kuyper, J. Gresham Machen, and the Dynamics of Reformed Anti-Modernism,” Journal of Presbyterian History Winter 1997 75.4, 254)

So if folks like Maurina are going to talk about lines of historical continuity in the Reformed world, they may want to get their ducks in a row. And by the likes of these historians who taught/teach at Calvin College, the ties among Lyman Beecher, Abraham Kuyper, Carl McIntire, Francis Schaeffer may be stronger than the anti-2kers imagine.

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144 Comments

  1. Philip Larson
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    But isn’t it strange that lots of folks who disagree strongly with 2K do so from a PALEO-Reformed view, not the newer “Old School.” (Sorry–just emphasizing, not trying to yell.)

  2. Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Phil, and isn’t it odd that those “paleo-Reformed” people obey a godless regime and so live like they are 2k even when they detest 2k? Isn’t it schizophrenic? Or do you have meds for that?

  3. Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your post, Dr. Hart. I am listening carefully.

    I wrote my essay for a reason, and hearing from those who know the history of the Old School/New School division is part of that reason. You are a recognized expert on J. Gresham Machen. If the bottom line in these discussions ends up being that I am more in line with Kuyper than with Machen, I need to deal with that.

    But if so, there are going to be a lot of “VanderSomethings” in Grand Rapids who will do a lot of head-scratching at the idea that I am more Dutch Reformed than any of them (or I) ever thought.

    I not only read but studied under some of the professors who taught about the Americanization process of the Christian Reformed Church. I’ve been in correspondence with some of my former colleagues and critics on the “other side” of the Christian Reformed battles from a decade ago who are reading these discussions here and on the BaylyBlog. Let’s just say these debates have generated interest far beyond the blogosphere.

    It used to be said that newspapers are the first draft of history. Maybe that now needs to be said of blogs.

  4. Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Marsden’s book can be had for considerably less on abebooks.com.

    His books do hold their value used similar to Hart’s, however.

    Marsden was raised in the OPC.

  5. Posted April 22, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    DTM, don’t forget that this also makes you more like Carl McIntire (which goes with your previous affirmations of Francis Schaeffer).

  6. Posted April 22, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    I reposted your piece and added a photo of McIntyre. The guy marching to his right looks understandably incredulous.

  7. Posted April 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    DTM – It used to be said that newspapers are the first draft of history. Maybe that now needs to be said of blogs.

    Erik – The day that some numb-n**s publishing under a name like “boogerbob” makes Presbyterian and Reformed history is the day I go back to happy-clappy evangelicalism.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj9Rs56u8YY

  8. Posted April 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    DGH, I’m curious if you’ve seen John Bolt’s article in the April 2013 CTJ, “The Imitation of Christ as Illumination for the Two Kingdoms Debate”?

    It sheds some light, I think, on the Kuyper/Bavinck relation to two kingdoms this article hints at, or more precisely, affirmation of two kingdoms. Here’s a key summary paragraph, wrapping up a section on Bavinck:

    “In conclusion: War is sometimes justifiable and necessary. Because the weapons of war are forbidden to the church in its mission, a doctrine of the two kingdoms is an essential component of a biblically based Reformed ethic.”

    Bolt comes at the issues a bit differently than you do, but I think it is a helpful article, and generally articulates two kingdoms in a way that Kuyperians might find a bit more agreeable.

  9. Posted April 22, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Brian, I haven’t seen it but will look for it.

  10. Posted April 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    “In conclusion: War is sometimes justifiable and necessary. Because the weapons of war are forbidden to the church in its mission, a doctrine of the two kingdoms is an essential component of a biblically based Reformed ethic.”

    Interesting, although if we’re to not wantonly murder civilians or slit the throats of the wounded or execute prisoners of war, what else shall stay our hands? Philosophy, ethics?

    Reason? [I’m not even going near the Amalakite thing. This ain’t that kind of party.]

    In a previous thread, Mr. Maurina observed quite rightly that the glib soundbite is the enemy of sorely needed sincere discussion. So I do thank you, Brian, for actually disclosing the point rather than “you wouldn’t be saying that if you read Joe Slobotnik’s book” or “my point is somewhere behind this link.” I’m going to chew on this one because I do get the point. More importantly, it makes the comments at this blog worth reading because you learn something. Getting your assumptions challenged is what this is for, I reckon, unless Darryl’s gonna hang up his shingle and make us start tithing.

  11. Posted April 23, 2013 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Erik Charter posted April 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm: “DTM – It used to be said that newspapers are the first draft of history. Maybe that now needs to be said of blogs. Erik – The day that some numb-n**s publishing under a name like “boogerbob” makes Presbyterian and Reformed history is the day I go back to happy-clappy evangelicalism.”

    Actually, I was thinking of blogs like Old Life and Heidelblog when I made my comment about the “first draft of history.” And it was intended positively. I wouldn’t be reading this if I didn’t think it was useful.

  12. Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    DTM,

    Boogerbob is alive and well here. Trust me.

    From a historiographical perspective anonymity is a problem, The Federalist Papers notwithstanding.

    That’s why I use my real name here. If I am going to discuss life & death religious matters the least I can do is be courageous enough to use my real, full name and accept the consequences.

  13. Posted April 23, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    “…The point is that they put the nation and its politics ahead of their theological and confessional commitments the way New Schoolers did.”

    And, we might also mention, ahead of Scripture. The bulk of American Evangelicals are in the same boat on that point. http://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/

  14. Posted April 23, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    TVD, Bolt begins by saying ‘there’s a huge blogosphere discussion, which I basically renounce because little of substance gets advanced there.’ Though, perhaps I can convince the good folks at CTJ to post this article online for blogosphere dissection or illumination.

    Bolt’s argument is nuanced. I didn’t mean that soundbite as conclusive, just suggestive. His argument is that Christians enter the civil sphere in a somewhat chastened state, and absolutely not partaking in the redemptive ministry of the church. I.e., there is a connection in kind between war-making powers, and police and taxation and regulation powers. A just-war seems reasonable, but most Reformed folks would recognize a “Christian war” as heretical. So should we be given pause, serious pause, before wading into other state enforcement of our biblical goals.

    That’s my read… hopefully DGH will give the article a good read and post enough for us to discuss more thoroughly here. I think it deserves it.

  15. Bob Morris
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Darryl, You have often said that I talk about myself too much. Maybe so. Maybe my running my mouth about me will help you help me? —-I surely need help! I think you are a very intelligent man, my Christian Brother, and great representative of much of the OPC and all of complicated Presbyterian history— Old, New, sides, life, MacIntire to Machen, WTSes, Marsden father and son, etc.etc. Help! I don’t know how to classify myself in all this OLTS deluge! Please take time and tell me WHO I am! Theologically, of course. Love OBM. PS In my dotage I am about trying to help Elaine’s and my fellow Seniors at Alexian Village in every way I can with BOTH earthly and heavenly issues. Most important of the 2 are the heavemly. Or did you think I am just an American ONLY? PPS Whoever I am do you think it is OK 4 me to appreciate a lot of what the other Darrell says? (TM). :)

  16. Bob Morris
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    I think Carl McIntyre was best man at Bob Marsden’s (George’s Dad) wedding. So? I think it is a bad mistake to think Carl Mc. and Francis Schaeffer (their later years) should be mentioned in the same sentence. Love OBM

  17. Richard Smith
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Bob Morris: So? I think it is a bad mistake to think Carl Mc. and Francis Schaeffer (their later years) should be mentioned in the same sentence. Love OBM

    RS: Welcome back, sir. If you think it is a bad mistake to think Carl Mc. and Francis Shaeffer should be mentioned in the same sentence, then why did you do so? While I understand what you are saying, it struck me with some humor.

    Bob Morris: Or did you think I am just an American ONLY? PPS Whoever I am do you think it is OK 4 me to appreciate a lot of what the other Darrell says? (TM).

    RS: One can appreciate what both Darrell and Daryl say, it is just that we don’t have to believe all that both say without getting a charley horse between our ears. Keep pursuing the truth and His glory at the Alexian Village, even while you are eating. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

  18. mikelmann
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    But OB, they were in the same small denomination, after all.

    You sound like someone who would be comfortable in the broadly evangelical wing of the PCA. That’s my honest evaluation, but I only know you through Old Life.

  19. Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Reformed folks would recognize a “Christian war” as heretical. So should we be given pause, serious pause, before wading into other state enforcement of our biblical goals.

    That’s my read…

    Thank you, Brian. My point would not be disagreement as much as in parallel, that sequestering religious belief* is tantamount to defaulting to the bad guys. If conducting war humanely or justly is a contradiction in terms to some people, they still must concede that slitting the throats of the wounded or executing prisoners is even worse than whatever’s in second place.

    [This isn’t to say I don’t appreciate the argument that the preacher at an execution may be accused to be assenting to it.]
    ____________________
    *Religious belief not necessarily “special revelation,” the teachings of the Bible or Augustine or Mencken, but “general revelation,” natural law if you will, which even if it doesn’t require theism, tends to work better with it.

  20. Matt
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    DTM, you seriously need to tell Bayly to take a chill pill. Have you seen his latest blog? Like that’s really going to help the discussion along!!!

  21. Posted April 23, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Erik, we fully agree on use of real names, and the problems associated with not doing so.

    Also, on the broader issue of this thread — I hope it’s clear to everyone that I do not place “Americanism” ahead of Christian convictions. On the contrary, in some conservative circles, I get blasted for not taking a “my country, right or wrong” approach. I’m pretty severe in my criticism of much of what is going on in the United States, and phrases like “Sodom and Gomorrah” are not unheard of in my vocabulary, and especially the severe warnings I give to my own daughter and niece about American wickedness. I’ve even been accused at times of being more pro-Korean than pro-American, and on moral issues (not other political issues) I think that’s an accurate comparison between the two nations. While South Korea has lots of problems, they are winning many of the moral and cultural battles that American Christians lost long ago. The recent recriminalization of virtually all abortions in South Korea is just one example.

    While Dr. Hart will correctly point out that there is a long history of “Jeremiads” against American evils in 19th century liberal and New School circles, I do not believe I can be correctly accused of being an “America firster.” I’m not saying anyone here is accusing me of that, but I do want to avoid misunderstandings before they start. In no way, shape, or form do I believe that God has any special place for America in His Word.

  22. Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    DTM,

    Can I get your social security number, date of birth, employment address, and bank account number (with routing number) as well? I need to know how to collect on the judgment if I win a future lawsuit…

    I’m kidding (as long as you behave).

  23. Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Matt,

    I’ll handle this. I’m going to leave several choice comments on Bayly Blog.

    Oh wait, I’m banned. I’ll have to do it here.

    “or over a decade, now, liberal men in Reformed denominations such as the PCA, OPC, and URC have fought like dogs to silence any witness by their churches that might look like a salvo in the culture war.”

    How many times do I have to explain we’re cats, not dogs. And most of us are political conservatives.

    “these men demonstrate a cunning servility to the growing decadence of these United States. Wielding millions of words, they work assiduously to cloak themselves in Scripture and the subordinate standards as they scurry about silencing God’s Word and Law in the public square.”

    Us, millions of words? Have they met DTM?

    “Since almost no one reads history today, it’s been relatively easy for these men to choose tidbits from here and there which are purported to support their project.”

    That speaks well of Bayly’s followers.

    “R2K men aren’t used to having the spotlight turned on their tendentious abuse of church history, the subordinate standards, and the writings of Reformed fathers.”

    Yeah, we’re really afraid. That’s why anyone can comment freely on Oldlife and it takes about an hour of disagreeing with Bayly to get banned from his blog.

    “Picking and sorting their way backward through Protestant history…, feverishly searching for support for their queer trade of disengagement, they hit gold with the ante-bellum Southern Presbyterian defense of slavery. Hiding behind that very pious phrase, “the spirituality of the church,” it seems not to bother them in the least that this rubric used to defend slavery continues to this very day to cause Reformed doctrine to be a stench in the eyes of godly black Americans. I’ve been told this myself by a godly black Reformed pastor, and having read Dabney’s bio of Stonewall Jackson containing his defense of slavery, I have no difficulty understanding their well-informed position..”

    Talk to your friend Doug Wilson about that subject.

    “My own personal defense is that my ancestors were Presbyterian ministers and elders in Pennsylvania’s Adams County who fought with the Union Army and voted Republican.”

    Defense against what? How does what one’s ancestors did defend one of anything?

    “There’s not much across prior centuries of Reformed and Presbyterian history that can be employed in support of R2K.”

    Yeah, that’s why Van Drunen wrote a whole book about it.

    ” The church is forbidden to speak to the civil magistrate in the good old U S of A—that’s the law of our land, you numskulls. How dare you be so unpatriotic as to question the wisdom of our founding fathers! Shut up already! Close your Bibles, go home, and catechize your children. Wait for Sabbath worship. You can have your religion in private, but drop it when you step out of your house Monday morning.”

    Forbidden? Who has the power to forbid him or anyone else to do what they want politically?

    Really smart for a pastor to denigrate catechesis and Sabbath worship.

    “Forget all that, though: you won’t find any R2K men mentioning such inconvenient truths in their howls at the moon under Darrell Todd Maurina’s post.”

    Most of which he has probably deleted.

    “R2K men are intellectuals first and Christians second.”

    Stop trying to butter me up.

    This is one of the most ridiculous things I have read in a long time. People actually follow this guy?

    http://baylyblog.com/blog/2013/04/simple-truths-about-r2k-terror

  24. Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    The other thing that’s ironic is how Bayly talks about political activism as being akin to suffering for the gospel. Is he not aware of any distinctions between law and gospel? (I know Doug, I know, you think they’re the same). These guys are way more fired up about the law than the gospel. Suffering for the gospel may mean trusting Christ for salvation, minding our own business, working with our hands, seeking to live peaceably with all as much as it depends on us, avoiding sin, being good church members, and suffering the consequences if the world doesn’t like it. Suffering for the gospel does not mean insisting on dominating the culture.

  25. Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m not one to suffer fools, but battling fools is like having a second full time job. If we were in Vietnam I would be asking for a little R&R in Hawaii about now.

  26. Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Bob, I think you’re an evangelical who thinks he’s Reformed.

  27. Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Erik, it doesn’t look like anyone can comment. Tim is afraid, very afraid of hearing any dissent. I know ad hitlerum arguments are unbecoming, but Tim would have been a good member of the Gestapo.

  28. Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    in some conservative circles, I get blasted for not taking a “my country, right or wrong” approach. I’m pretty severe in my criticism of much of what is going on in the United States, and phrases like “Sodom and Gomorrah” are not unheard of in my vocabulary

    I would think that’s not a difficult POV to carry, Mr. Maurina. Are there any “City on a Hill” types who don’t think that that City is NOT currently circling the bowl, morally speaking?

    Neither was it ever my understanding of Winthrop or Reagan’s use of “City on a Hill” that it was not implicitly a caution as well, that it’s certainly within our power to blow it. Aside from the occasional tomato can who is easily mocked, are there any theocon types who don’t think we’re in the moral crapper?

    [BTW, I’d say the SKorea abortion ban is more a reaction to their low birthrate than a moral struggle, but I’d like to be wrong.]

  29. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    I know ad hitlerum arguments are unbecoming, but Tim would have been a good member of the Gestapo.

    Ouch.

  30. Tad Otis
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    I watched you on that old game show and you were sportin’ a doggone pony-tail! You looked like some kinda Commie pinko. I hope you’ve cleaned up if your out and about speakin’ for this great land! Luv her or leave her, baby!

  31. mikelmann
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Guys, there is a silver lining. Henceforth serious-minded people will distance themselves from treatments of 2k like those we have just seen. And, DTM, you’re fine to dialogue with but both the contents of your post and your choice of where to publish it will tend to discredit what you say about 2k in the future.

  32. Posted April 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Mikelmann,

    Next thing you’ll be suggesting that attempting to publish my meditation on the Song of Solomon in “Penthouse Letters” is somehow inappropriate.

  33. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    EC: Next thing you’ll be suggesting that attempting to publish my meditation on the Song of Solomon in “Penthouse Letters” is somehow inappropriate.

    Dude.

  34. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Tom,

    I watched you on that old game show and you were sportin’ a doggone pony-tail! You looked like some kinda Commie pinko. I hope you’ve cleaned up if your out and about speakin’ for this great land! Luv her or leave her, baby!

    That would be funny if it were actually funny. It was a nice try, but I think you done played this riff out, bro—Jesus just told me to get a Glock, hunt you down, and put you out of our misery. We got some serious theologizing to get down to.

    If you would kindly send me your address and where you’ll be next Tuesday at around 7PM GMT, I could clean you up and still make it back in time for our Orgy/Bible Study. And hey, the rest of you Christians–back off. Vengeance is Mine saith the Lord, and He just told me to change my name to “Vengeance.” Or to “Mine.” I’m still foggy on the details. But I’m on this.

  35. Tom Van Dyke
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    EC: From a historiographical perspective anonymity is a problem, The Federalist Papers notwithstanding.

    That’s why I use my real name here. If I am going to discuss life & death religious matters the least I can do is be courageous enough to use my real, full name and accept the consequences.

    Heh. Just ran across this and thought of you. Words to live by:

    Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon: “Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s game because they almost always turn out to be — or to be indistinguishable from — self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”

  36. Posted April 24, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    mikelmann posted April 23, 2013 at 10:35 pm: “Guys, there is a silver lining. Henceforth serious-minded people will distance themselves from treatments of 2k like those we have just seen. And, DTM, you’re fine to dialogue with but both the contents of your post and your choice of where to publish it will tend to discredit what you say about 2k in the future.”

    Mikelmann, I’m not unaware that the venue in which an article appears affects how the article is perceived.

    I dealt with that repeatedly at Christian Renewal in the early 1990s when moderate conservatives in the Christian Reformed Church said they liked my work but didn’t like the people with whom I chose to work. My response was twofold: first, that it seems quite narrowminded for a “moderate conservative” to say that we shouldn’t work with people unless we’re in full agreement with them first, and second, to make very clear that just because I work with somebody doesn’t mean I am in full agreement with them on everything.

    A third argument which I didn’t use very often in public was that the moderate conservatives were doing a much better job of complaining about what the more militant conservatives were doing, but weren’t actually doing very much themselves. I’d rather work with people who are doing something, even if it’s not necessarily what I would do, than sit around complaining while doing nothing about a problem.

    However, I think your stated objection may get addressed soon, and would already have been addressed if I had consented to requests over the last week for permission to publish my essay elsewhere. I have not yet made any decision, but you may see the essay show up a number of other places, either in full text, in a shorter summary format, or in a different form entirely which takes into account things I didn’t address but which probably need to be addressed.

    So far I haven’t agreed to republication because there are some points on which I think reworking either is necessary or could be helpful. I’m listening to what people say here in public and what people have said privately via email or phone calls.

    For example, it’s been called to my attention that the use of the term “Two Kingdoms” in the current debate needs to be more clearly distinguished from the way that Covenanters and Augustinians have historically used that term. That’s a valid point, though it will of necessity take the essay into places I did not want to go because I originally viewed them as side points or tangents.

    Also, with regard to Dr. Hart’s critique here, I think he has raised some important issues that are separate from but closely related to my key point about whether a “Two Kingdoms” approach is either required by or a logical development from the American revisions to the Westminster Confession.

    I concur with Dr. Hart that it is impossible to fully understand the Old School-New School division, particularly in its subsequent manifestation in the BPC-OPC split, apart from the issue of whether to be an “Americanized” church which sees itself as being a cultural influence, as opposed to being a church that views cultural considerations as unimportant to or even as a distraction from its primary purpose.

    Dr. Hart’s comments referencing the work of Dr. Bratt, and other things which could be said with regard to the work of several other Christian Reformed writers, make sense to me. Similar factors were at work in the RCA-CRC division and subsequent development, though raw ethnocentric bigotry, linguistic issues, Masonry, and questions of social class were much more at play in the separate development of the RCA and CRC.

    Ironically, that is a double-edged sword, and citation of a rather narrow approach in Dutch confessional history cuts rather strongly against the “Two Kingdoms” people.

    I have been accused repeatedly since the early 1990s by the stricter leaders among the seceders who now make up the United Reformed Churches of placing too heavy of a focus on cultural factors than confessional factors, and therefore of being too tolerant of aberrant practices going on at Westminster-West. Criticisms of Westminster-West are not new, they’ve been going on for a long time, and some of the “Two Kingdoms” criticisms are symptoms of much deeper discontent. Let’s just say there were a lot of people who were very surprised that the ex-CRC churches in Southern California which are now members of the URC decided to join the URC; those churches were expected to join the OPC or PCA, not the URC, and if that had happened, things would be very different today in the URC.

    Perhaps that means that in the context of the late 1800s and the first half of the 1900s I would be too “American” for the Christian Reformed Church and would have been told, politely or otherwise, to go join someplace like Seventh Reformed Church in the RCA.

    If true, so be it. I have little or no interest in being Dutch. I am very interested in being Reformed.

  37. Posted April 24, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    DTM – “However, I think your stated objection may get addressed soon, and would already have been addressed if I had consented to requests over the last week for permission to publish my essay elsewhere.”

    As a “Mad” subscriber I’ll be looking for it.

    DTM – “So far I haven’t agreed to republication because there are some points on which I think reworking either is necessary or could be helpful. I’m listening to what people say here in public and what people have said privately via email or phone calls.”

    Did you have to have your tinfoil hat on to receive those phone calls?

    DTM – “That’s a valid point, though it will of necessity take the essay into places I did not want to go because I originally viewed them as side points or tangents.”

    When did you start fearing side points or tangents?

    DTM – “Also, with regard to Dr. Hart’s critique here, I think he has raised some important issues that are separate from but closely related to my key point about whether a “Two Kingdoms” approach is either required by or a logical development from the American revisions to the Westminster Confession.”

    Along with making points about how you might want to actually read the books you are criticizing.

    DTM – “I concur with Dr. Hart that it is impossible to fully understand the Old School-New School division, particularly in its subsequent manifestation in the BPC-OPC split, apart from the issue of whether to be an “Americanized” church which sees itself as being a cultural influence, as opposed to being a church that views cultural considerations as unimportant to or even as a distraction from its primary purpose.”

    Guess what? Machen and McIntyre were both Americans. You’re confusing Orthodox Presbyterians with the Christian Reformed.

    DTM – “and therefore of being too tolerant of aberrant practices going on at Westminster-West. Criticisms of Westminster-West are not new, they’ve been going on for a long time, and some of the “Two Kingdoms” criticisms”

    Have you read Hart & Godfrey’s history of “Escondido”?

    “Aberrant”? Really?

  38. Tad Otis
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Preach it Dr. Maurini! No one has stuck it to these guys since the Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell exposed their so called “Calvernism”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBbcGIrgOds

    Hold your head up high when they link you to The Rev. Dr. Bailey. He’s exposing them Commie Pinkos allright! Pony-tail wearers!

  39. Tad Otis
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Tom,

    I would be honored to give my life to you and your fine firearm (even if it is made in Austria and not in the good old US of A.)

    I am becoming concerned, as I am sure you are, that these darn furreners are taking over one of the last vestiges of what it means to be a great American — the shooting rampage.

    These fellas in Boston were from a place I can’t even pronounce, let alone spell. Let’s get back to the good old days of Americans gunning down Americans. Love her or leave her!

  40. kent
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Preach it Dr. Maurini! No one has stuck it to these guys since the Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell exposed their so called “Calvernism”

    Exactly… nobody has been as inspiring about unveiling the secrets since this gem…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRmSJzEeMb0

  41. Bob Morris
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Darryl, I think my plea for help in identifying myself, 2K & Neo-Cal-wise, is a bit out of the present OLT loop. I always (since my 1950s WTS days) thought I was both evangelical AND Reformed. Still do! But then these words are at least partly ruined. C.S. Lewis wrote clearly about “ruined words”, starting with “gentleman”. More recently, he (&we) could add RW: “Fundamentalist”. In 1920s and for a short time it meant the 5 Fundamentals of basic Christianity. Now it stands for any mad activists—even Islamic terrorist. I think “terrorist” has become a ruined word in the Age of Obama. Should these politics interest us Christians and our descendants? Is “politics” a RW? Other examples of RWs— “Correct” as in “Politically Correct’. “Marriage” as in the self contradictory “Same-sex Marriage”. You know the list better than OB! Could we add “2K”??? The ACLU belives in 2 Kingdoms— with an ugly moon-high wall between! That is not me! You? I believe in the 2Ks as does Pete Lillback in his signed gift book to me “The Wall of Misconception”. Very different from ACLU! Could you take another crack at defining OB? Hopefully in simpler, non ruined words? BTW. Carl McIntire and Francis Schaffer were pretty much on the same page in the 1920s and 1930s, but CM. would find MUCH fault with FS’s books written from L’Brea 1950s and later. Do I really need to go into detail on this? Love, OBM

  42. kent
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    But then these words are at least partly ruined. C.S. Lewis wrote clearly about “ruined words”, starting with “gentleman”….

    Schaeffer’s did that for me with his repeated comments on “connotation words.”

    I will never come to a conclusion on what to make of his overall work, but I’m sure someone would have an opinion somewhere out there.

  43. Tad Otis
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Kent,

    I would expect no less from a CANADIAN! Can anyone say “Soshelized Medicaid”? You Canadian Commie Pinkos can’t be trusted on theology and more than you can be trusted on political scientology.

    Clearly God only hated Esau because he embraced the grievous R2K error. Him and God were good up until that point. Everyone knows that one verse is all the evidence you Calvernists can muster from the good book.

  44. Tad Otis
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Bob Morris – “The ACLU belives in 2 Kingdoms— with an ugly moon-high wall between! That is not me!”

    Preach it Rev. Dr. Bob Morris! I join you in mooning these radical R2Kers!

    You mentioned L’Brea at the end of your post. Years ago old Tad took his family to see those tar pits. That Los Angeles is one godforsaken place, what with that Disney Company enticing our youngsters to practice witchcraft AND radical tree huggin’.

    You keep standin’ in the gap at that forren’ soundin’ place you live at!

  45. Sito Dat
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Clearly God only hated Esau because he embraced the grievous R2K error. Him and God were good up until that point. Everyone knows that one verse is all the evidence you Calvernists can muster from the good book ——Tad Otis

    You should be careful about using God for your humor. His name is to be treated with holy and reverence. You may be closer to touching the ark than you think.

  46. Tad Otis
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Sito Dat,

    What kinda crazy furrener name is that?

    Me and God are good. How do I know? I have a Baptist Revivalist minister who regularly meets with me to probe old Tad Otis’s spiritual state.

    He asks me questions like: “What do you think of America, Tad?”, “How do you feel about them gays havin’ the right to marry?”, and “Who are you supportin’ in the Republican Party primary?”

    My answers are always very orthodox and thus I know I stand right with the God of Abraham, Isaak, and Jacob.

    Ask Dr. Maurini if these are not the kinds of questions a good minister should be askin’. He’ll confirm they are.

  47. Sito Dat
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    “Me and God are good” — Tad Otis

    Mark 10:18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

    Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

  48. kent
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    “You should be careful about using God for your humor. His name is to be treated with holy and reverence. You may be closer to touching the ark than you think.”

    (slowly nodding in sadness…)

  49. Posted April 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Old Bob,

    How about this? You’re confused.

  50. Tad Otis
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Here’s how Old Tad replies to stubborn forreners who cross him:

    “Well I’m proud to be an American, where at least I knows I’m free…”

    Take that and smoke it your your hashish pipe, Sito.

    And Kent. Maybe your Canadian soshelized Medicaid doctor can proscribe something for your tears. Maybe some of medicated wacky-tobacky you libs are so fired up about!

  51. Tad Otis
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Oh, the ringleader of the R2Kers “D.G. Hart” finally sticks his head above the water of the Old Life loch like Old Nessie. What does D.G. stand for? “Done Gone liberal”? Hee, hee…Not even my good friend Richard Smith could come up with as funny a line as Old Tad just done.

  52. kent
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon: “Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s game because they almost always turn out to be — or to be indistinguishable from — self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”

    More correct would be 46 year olds.

  53. Tad Otis
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Old Tad for one does not have infinict free time. It’s heatin’ up down here in Southern Missoura and there’s bait to be sold. Might even have to place an add in Dr. Maurini’s paper.

  54. Tad Otis
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    That Dr. Marini is one of the finest fundamentalist Baptist preachers & newspaper men around. Down here we call him the “Honest Abe Kuyper of the Ozarks”. Don’t let his furren soundin’ name fool ya. He’s one hundred percent Amerian patriot, I can guarantee you that!

  55. kent
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Is nobody gonna copy half of the US Constitution on this thread just yet?

  56. Posted April 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one who thinks that Tad is running the risk of deserving a massive wedgie for mercilessly clobbering a dead horse?

  57. David Palmer
    Posted April 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Dr Hart I strayed on to Bayly Blog, it might have been from her.

    Tim Bayly has posted a couple of incredibly aggressive posts, certainly in tone not worthy of a Christian. I suspect the notion “righteous anger” might have slipped into his mind

    He claims R2K people, by which I presume (perhaps unjustly, but he avoids names) he means you among others are

    arguing the passage of sodomite marriage rites

    Could you please advise whether you are arguing for the passage of sodomite marriage rites, and further whether any 2K people from Westminster West are doing so.

    I for one regard this as a very a very serious allegation.

  58. Posted April 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    David, if I or folks from Westminster CA were advocating gay marriage, it would have made the Aquila Report.

  59. David Palmer
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you Dr Hart, I would have been disappointed had you said otherwise. I’ve read a good few of your books with pleasure.

  60. Bob Morris
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Darryl, I AM confused? I think I have recently begged you to tell me who I am. Theologically. OLT-ly. All you said was that I am an evangelical who thinks I am Reformed. Short AND confusing replty! Now you just told me what I told you. :) Confused! Help! I think you are submerged in RUINED WORDS? Definition: (Thanks, C.S.L.) “Words are RUINED when they have to be carefully explained every time one is used.” I already stated 2 examples— You used both in your mini “response” to my plea: “evangelical” and “Reformed”. Some examples of RWs in addition to ones I already listed. (They are legion in media, “education” and OLT! “Christian” is the saddest victim I can think of right now. Then there is “Truth”. Some modern dictionaries include: “Truth is what most people believe”. Wow! (a flat earth was once believed widely! True?) For starters— Who are “most people”? Those here at our Alexian Village? Tennessee residents? Reformed folks? Americans? Earthlings? I had a co-prof, head of history dep’t, yet—- tell me, “Bob, there is NO SUCH THING as truth!. I gave him the well worn great response: “Ray, is that statement true?” Ray: “Don’t be silly, Bob!” I guess I was supposed to know that Ray was simply saying, “Folks often disagree!” Well, Darryl and fans, any comment? Love, OBM. I always have a PS—- Darryl, You seem to have a lot of free time at Hillsdale (Those long and thoughtful, nearly daily posts!) So— How ’bout a longer response showing you read me?

  61. Posted April 25, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Bob, I do read you and respond. You don’t like the responses. If it’s any consolation, I have written a book about you (or folks like you) — From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin. I don’t expect you to read it. But if you do, you might find I actually do respond to the royal you.

  62. Bob Morris
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Darryl, Do you think “evangelical” and Reformed” (Year of our Lord, 2013) are ruined words (a la CSL). For once I can live with your simplest of all responses, You’ll love this!–YES of NO. Love RKM (OBM)

  63. Bob Morris
    Posted April 25, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    P.S. (Hadda come!) Poor Darryl! Probably has only ONE (Two if you count YOU) to think of him as “royal”. Thanks for using this word for me! OBM has, in addition to my Elaine, 4 “kids”, their 3 mates, 25 grandkids, 7 grandkids-in-law, and 6 great grands to think I am royal. That makes 46! I don’t count OBM as #47. :) “Truth” is what most people believe! :)

  64. Posted April 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    There’s a good chance Tad’s meth lab will explode any day now so there’s no need to be troubled by him.

  65. Posted April 25, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    David,

    He’s referring to an incident from 1999 that doesn’t involve anyone here (see my blog entry from today).

    Nothing like timely journalism. Bayly scooped everyone on that 13-year-old story.

  66. Posted April 25, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Bob, evangelical certainly is ruined. I’m working to revive (yikes!) Reformed.

  67. Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    It’s always fun to see one misguided historian (DGH) cite another misguided historian (JB) in support of an errant thesis. Reminds me of climate change skeptics. It’s at best anachronistic to connect American Presbyterian New Schoolism with Dutch Reformed neo-Calvinism. Does anyone really doubt the confessionalism of the neo-Calvinists in the context of liberalism in Europe at the end of the 19th century? Sounds to me like a mutual admiration and mutual citation society.

  68. Posted April 29, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Terry, it’s always interesting to hear a non-historian question people who are licensed to do history. As to your question, the CRC of the NL did precisely question the confessionalism of neo-Calvinism.

  69. Posted April 29, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    It’s an interesting day when I find myself agreeing with something that Dr. Gray says. That doesn’t happen too often, and I hope I won’t get accused of supporting some of Dr. Gray’s other views because I like his post here. 😉

    Perhaps the term “confessional” requires definition.

    If we’re using the term “confessional” in a Dutch pre-World War II context, which appears to be the intent, it clearly applies not only to the main seceding denominations (Gereformeeren (GKN), Christelijke Gereformeerden (CGKN), Gereformeerde Gemeenten, Oud Gereformeerden, etc.) but even to the Gerefomeerde Bond within the Hervormde Kerk, which unlike conservatives within the PC(USA), retained a strongly confessional character and is today far to the right theologically of the United Reformed Churches. The modern Bonders have much more in common with men like Dr. Joel Beeke than men like Rev. Parker Williamson, and that would have been even more true in the days of Kuyper. Furthermore, all of those denominations had members connected to a greater or lesser degree with various “confessional” political parties.

    In that environment, when the CGKN questioned the confessional commitment of the Kuyperians, they were doing so out of Puritan presuppositions objecting to Kuyper’s views on presumptive regeneration, not arguing that Kuyper was New School in an American context. Furthermore, the CGKN and the Gereformeerde Gemeenten had their own political parties and certainly were not opposed to bringing a distinctively Reformed view to the politics of their day.

    Dr. Bratt’s comments on parallels between Kuyper and the American New School are interesting. I think there may be more to his point than is generally acknowledged. I think it’s fairly obvious that widely-read men like Kuyper were aware of ecclesiastical and political debates in North America, and it’s probably true that there are places where Kuyper intentionally or unintentionally borrowed from North American politics and theology. What major theologian and politician in a small country or denomination does not read and borrow from what has proven to be successful in other large and influential countries or denominations?

    However, that doesn’t mean Kuyper’s theology looked very much like American New School Presbyterianism. If it did, certainly there would be some record of a controversy at Princeton with the Old Schoolers objecting to him being invited to give the Stone Lectures, would there not?

  70. Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Neocalvinists, Christian Culture Warriors, Theonomists, and Postmillennialists all share the same error that the Jews had in Jesus’ day — they expect, even demand, to see the Messiah’s reign over every square inch in this age as opposed to in the age to come. This will come as a shock to these folks, but most of the goodies in the Christian life come in the future, after we die. I know, it’s going to be hard now to get out of bed tomorrow morning, but it’s still good news when you think about it.

  71. Posted April 29, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Darryl (DGH), It’s one of the advantages of being a renaissance man. 😉 I do theology too. I can critique licensed Roman Catholics, Armininians, Liberals, hyper-Calvinists, 2K advocates, dispensationalists, process theologians, open theists, etc. Come to think of it, I can criticize liberal politicians and defend American constitutionalism. And I do music, especially progressive rock and worship music (psalmody, hymnody, and even some of the contemporary stuff). Sometimes I venture into education and social theory and environmental science and energy policy and computer networking and information technology… Most of this without a license.

    I do know enough historians personally to see personal agendas creep into their academic life. Of course, there’s nothing really wrong with that. It’s all quite consistent with a Van Tilian/Kuyperian/Presuppositional/Reformed epistemological/Post-modernist perspective. You just have to read and listen with the author’s inevitable bias in mind. Surely, you don’t deny telling the history of the OPC from the perspective of an Old Side/Old School confessionalist. The OPC isn’t just what it is, but there is a underlying true heartbeat that you measure every event against…any New School impetus, for example, is some kind of deformation.

  72. Posted April 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Terry,

    When do you start to tell us that the rightful 21st century successor to Machen is John Frame?

  73. Posted April 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Terry, in case you missed it, I was quoting two neo-Calvinists in the post. I wasn’t writing the history. And you may be surprised at how well Kuyper turns out in Calvinism: A History.

    Sometimes it’s better to disagree than to question motives — but that is where neo-Calvinism lurks.

  74. Posted April 29, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    D.G.,

    Working my way through you & Godfrey’s history of Westminster West on the Kindle. It’s weird to hear what Hart & Godfrey were doing from Hart & Godfrey but I guess someone has to write the book. What kind of degree did you do at Westminster East?

    Do you have your suspicions about who the generous people were who endowed Professorships? No need to tell me, I’m just curious if this is known in P&R circles. I suspect DTM knows, of course.

  75. Posted April 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Darryl, neo-Cals don’t always get it right. And just because you have Calvin College in your pedigree doesn’t mean you’re a neo-Cal. And, don’t forget, I agree with you on much of your critique of CC’s and CRCNA’s ecclesiastically oriented social justice-ism–just a short step from social gospelism. I have little to quibble with Marsden about. Although it’s interesting that some people track New School Presbyterianism into Fundamentalism while others track it into Liberalism.

    My hesitation about Jim comes from two places. I think he mis-characterizes supralapsarianism in Dutch Calvinism in Modern America failing to distinguish between order of decrees and order of execution of the decrees. Seemed like a basic doctrinal error to me. Also, I was at Calvin for 11 years. I came under the district impression that I was one of only a handful of people who actually believed the Canons of Dort. CC is not a Reformed orthodoxy stronghold. Here’s where I agree with you as well. To be a historical Kuyperian to have to be a Confessionalists. To be a good CC Kuyperian/neo-Calvinist you only have to be a transformationalist. In fact, for many at CC and in the CRCNA being Reformed only means transformationalist. The docs and pies aren’t all that important.

  76. Posted April 29, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Darryl, looking forward to the new book. Will there be a Kindle or iBook edition?

    Just don’t expect me to believe everything you say.

  77. Posted April 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Erik, maybe Van Til, but Frame is too creative/original to be anyone’s successor. Machen is more in the spirit of Old Princeton where they always boasted that they hadn’t taught anything new, just faithfully passed on the tradition. C. Van Til is the one deviation from Machen’s Old School Presbyterianism. It suggests that he recognized those Dutch neo-Calvinist ways more than Darryl seems to want to admit. Perhaps Machen picked up Van Til because he really was interested in epistemology.

  78. Posted April 29, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Terry, you used the word “misguided” to modify historian. As a 2ker I believe historians all the time to be accurate who may be misguided theologically. Apples and oranges (except for the w-wists where every idea is doctrine).

  79. Posted April 29, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Terry, you don’t cite peer-reviewed journals? Only Pro Rege and Kerux?

  80. Posted April 29, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Darryl, I never said you or Bratt never get it right. That goes for non-Christian historians as well. Common grace and image of God are part of the neo-Cal package. 2K-ers don’t get exclusive claim to the common. But as you are fond to point out sometimes the Christians don’t quite get it right. That goes for Hart and Bratt as much as anyone else.

  81. Mike K.
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Where would Vos be classified regarding neo-Calvinism/Kuyperianism?

  82. Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Terry, but your suspicion is awfully convenient for you. If historians present you with something with which you disagree, they are misguided. Do you actually go to the sources or make a historical argument (it is a free country)? No. You go to motive — er — w-w.

    This looks a lot like what Jason and the Callers do with the difficult parts of Roman Catholic history.

  83. Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Mike K. Vos is generally a spirituality of the church guy except for a couple pages in The Church and the Kingdom where he gets of the 2k wagon and goes Kuyperian. Here is how I put it in a paper that has not been published:

    Of course, Kuyper used the doctrine of common grace to work out parts of this cultural task, not without defects at least in the eyes of such Dutch Calvinists as Foppe Ten Hoor or Klaas Schilder. But even despite the creative genius of Kuyper’s teaching, the task of making a specific activity Christian, such as medicine or history, looks amazingly difficult without an explicit norm. Explicit norms, of course, are what special revelation is supposed to reveal. Yet, one searches in vain not only for such norms — either in Kuyper or the Bible — but also for the precise spheres of cultural development upon which Kuyper wants Calvinism to work its transforming powers. In fact, the Bible itself is not always audible in its call for the cultural transformation that Kuyper wanted except in those broad, cosmological passages two which he appealed, such as Colossians 1:16-20, John 1:1-4, Matthew 19:28, Romans 8:19-23, and Revelation 4:11. One of the better admissions of Scripture’s silence comes almost by mistake in the writings of Geerhardus Vos, the Dutch Calvinist who taught at Princeton and tried remarkably well to keep Kuyperianism and Old School Presbyterianism together. In a discussion of the kingdom of God and the church, Vos, in good Kuyperian fashion, talks of God’s rule in the spheres of science, art, family, the state, commerce and industry. “Whenever one of these spheres,” he explained, “comes under the controlling influence of the principle of the divine supremacy and glory, and this outwardly reveals itself, there we can truly say that the kingdom of God has become manifest.” Then, Vos added tellingly, “Now our Lord in his teaching seldom makes explicit reference to these things. He contented himself with laying down the great religious and moral principles which ought to govern the life of man in every sphere. Their detailed application it was not his work to show.” If Christ the king was silent about these spheres, how can his subjects go beyond their ruler and still say they are doing the work of the king?

  84. Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    ” Then, Vos added tellingly, ‘Now our Lord in his teaching seldom makes explicit reference to these things. He contented himself with laying down the great religious and moral principles which ought to govern the life of man in every sphere. Their detailed application it was not his work to show.’

    LOL (awkwardly).

  85. Posted April 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    “Great religious and moral principles.” Hmmm…

    Sounds like the starting point for liberal theologians as well.

  86. Posted April 29, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Darryl, re: the Vos quote. You take the Lord’s silence to mandate our silence. I’m not at all sure that’s what Vos intended. BTW, you can be for the spirituality of the church and still be Kuyperian. In fact, all good Kuyperians do that. It’s called sphere sovereignty. We’re not talking about anything that church as church does. We’re talking about what believers do in God’s world under the Lordship of Christ. I don’t want the church doing science or politics any more than you do. Of course, some Christians are called by God (have vocations) in those areas. And they acknowledge Christ as King even there (as you and all your 2K buddies do as well).

  87. Posted April 29, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Terry – BTW, you can be for the spirituality of the church and still be Kuyperian. In fact, all good Kuyperians do that. It’s called sphere sovereignty

    Ahem…

    http://www.crcna.org/news-and-views/group-views-climate-change-kenya

  88. Posted April 30, 2013 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    Erik, I said “good” Kuyperians. The folks from OSJ and World Renew do not, it seems to me, believe in sphere sovereignty. While I am more than happy to see Christians at work in these areas, I don’t think it’s the work of the church. I think Abraham Kuyper would have agreed with me.

    So, I don’t really know what “ahem” means here. I and others in the CRCNA have been critical of these non-ecclesiastical entanglements that the CRCNA and its agencies are involved in.

    Just because Kuyper was Prime Minister doesn’t mean that he thought the church as church ought to be engaged in politics. You guys can’t seem to grasp that point.

  89. Posted April 30, 2013 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    I’ve yet to read a convincing argument for the “church as organism” vs. “church as institute” that is rooted in Scripture and the Confessions, but you can suggest one if you wish. Someone prior to Kuyper would be helpful since I would like to judge Kuyper in light of that earlier argument.

  90. Posted April 30, 2013 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    Where you see “spheres” which together make up your “every square inch” we see common vs. sacred. Your approach gives me more of a headache.

  91. Posted April 30, 2013 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Terry, you believe in sphere sovereignty until you require Christians (church sphere) to send their children to Christian schools (family sphere). And it is at those Christian schools and universities where Christians try to do Christian politics and science. Come on, Terry. No abstractions. Let’s deal with the real world.

  92. Posted April 30, 2013 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Darryl, in my view education is an area of Christian liberty. There are important things that you can’t do without institutional commitment, but it’s a communal activity that one ought to freely enter into. Personally, I’m partial toward home-schooling especially for younger children (oops, operating without a license again.)

    Erik, sphere sovereignty results from a simple argument. God is sovereign over all but he has not made any one institution sovereign over all. The church has a limited mandate, the state has a limited mandate, the family has a limited mandate. These can be found in scripture. Other societal order is recognized more empirically, but the principle holds there as well even though the institutional bounds are less clearly set out (if at all) in the Bible. But since Creation is revelation we can begin to grasp it as we study God’s world.

  93. Zrim
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Terry, if academia is liberty then what of CRC CO 71:

    “The council shall diligently encourage the members of the congregation to establish and maintain good Christian schools in which the biblical, Reformed vision of Christ’s lordship over all creation is clearly taught. The council shall also urge parents to have their children educated in harmony with this vision according to the demands of the covenant.”

    The URC’s Article 14 has similar language. And speaking from personal experience and the real world, to express scruples is enough to get elder nominee names scrubbed, not to mention what happens in the PRC (shudder). As an educator who thinks education is liberty, one would think you’d see the legalistic downsides of worldviewry and how 2k can help.

  94. Richard Smith
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Terry M. Gray: Erik, sphere sovereignty results from a simple argument. God is sovereign over all but he has not made any one institution sovereign over all. The church has a limited mandate, the state has a limited mandate, the family has a limited mandate. These can be found in scripture. Other societal order is recognized more empirically, but the principle holds there as well even though the institutional bounds are less clearly set out (if at all) in the Bible. But since Creation is revelation we can begin to grasp it as we study God’s world.

    RS: This is a very important thing to grasp. It seems what most people don’t understand (here, on this blog) is that the state is going beyond its sphere and is encroaching on the sphere of the Church and of the family with its new laws on homosexuality. It is not that the Church is encroaching on the state by telling the state what true morality is, but the state is encroaching on the Church and family.

  95. Zrim
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Richard, where is the state is going beyond its sphere and is encroaching on the sphere of the church?

  96. Posted April 30, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Terry – Darryl, in my view education is an area of Christian liberty

    Try getting elected to office in the URC with that view.

    I am a URC elder almost on a technicality. I was ordained in a newly organized church as one of three elders (plus the pastor) and the pickings were pretty thin at the time. Given that my kids are in public school it is unlikely I will ever serve again. Fortunately we have other good men that I trust to serve.

  97. Posted April 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Richard – It seems what most people don’t understand (here, on this blog) is that the state is going beyond its sphere and is encroaching on the sphere of the Church and of the family with its new laws on homosexuality

    How? Is the state making churches marry homosexuals, ordain homosexuals, or accept homosexuals as members?

    Is the state forcing us to accept homosexuals as members of our families?

    Oh, I forgot, all of us are the state in your muddled view.

  98. Posted April 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Like it or not marriage and family are common institutions. Pagans hook up & create little pagan offspring just like Christians hook up and create little Christian offspring.

  99. Posted April 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Both of you guys (Terry & Richard) immanentize the eschaton. Jesus Christ is a big deal, but that doesn’t necessarily turn Christians into Ron Burgundy (or Darrell Todd Maurina):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKKtnSVeY9o

  100. Posted April 30, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Hey Richard,
    Look there. We agree. :-) The state is encroaching on the sphere of the Church and of the family… The state is to be at the service of the family because the individual is not born to the state but within the family. Though the same idea applies to the Church. God’s people are to be at the service of the individual in need of Christ’s presence. Which makes the Church not only a universal family born of God the Father but also the individual family born of the servant leader of the home. It is we who let the state do what the father ought, but also we often leave the Church to do what we ought as well.
    Blessings,
    Mike

  101. mark mcculley
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Vos— “Now our Lord… contented himself with laying down the great religious and moral principles which ought to govern the life of man in every sphere. Their detailed application it was not His work to show.”

    Hart (unpublished)— If Christ the king was silent about these spheres, how can his subjects go beyond their ruler and still say they are doing the work of the king?

    SH: John Courtney Murray suggested that civility should be understood as “a disposition to conduct politics not as open warfare among conflicting interest groups, but as skilled and self-disciplined public ‘conversations.’ ” As such, civility is not just a political necessity, but a religious virtue. Its faithful exercise makes each of the communities participating in the American “public church,” as well as their respective members, more disposed to regard each other as mutually interdependent, as bound to each other, in Martin Marty’s terms, “by explicit or tacit agreement to mutual communication of whatever is useful and necessary for the harmonious exercise of social life….”

    SH:”Civility” thus is in our pluralistic context an indispensable precondition for building the Kingdom of God in America I must admit I thought that after John Murray Cuddihy’s The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Levi Strauss and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity, no one would be able to recommend civility without apology again. For as Cuddihy points out, civility is that part of the modernization process that requires the separation of private affect from public demeanor. It is the great bourgeois project to adapt the individual’s inner life to the socially appropriate.

    SH: “Niceness” is as good a name as any for the informally yet pervasively institutionalized civility required of members of the civic culture. Intensity, fanaticism, inwardness—too much of anything, in fact—is unseemly and bids fair to destroy the fragile solidarity of the surface we call civility. .”
    Civility is not merely regulative of social behavior; it is an order of “appearance” constitutive of that behavior. This medium is itself the message. “The Jews, ” writes Maurice Samuel, “are probably the only people in the world to whom it has ever been proposed that their historic destiny is—to be nice.”

    SH: Of course, you may well object that being nice is not a bad alternative to being killed. But the Holocaust is but the other side of assimilation into the new and oppressive order of civility.

  102. Richard Smith
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    MichaelTX: Hey Richard,
    Look there. We agree. The state is encroaching on the sphere of the Church and of the family… The state is to be at the service of the family because the individual is not born to the state but within the family. Though the same idea applies to the Church. God’s people are to be at the service of the individual in need of Christ’s presence. Which makes the Church not only a universal family born of God the Father but also the individual family born of the servant leader of the home. It is we who let the state do what the father ought, but also we often leave the Church to do what we ought as well.
    Blessings,
    Mike

    RS: Michael, it is good to agree on one thing. Blessings to you as well.

  103. Richard Smith
    Posted April 30, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Zrim: Richard, where is the state is going beyond its sphere and is encroaching on the sphere of the church?

    Erik Charter: Richard – It seems what most people don’t understand (here, on this blog) is that the state is going beyond its sphere and is encroaching on the sphere of the Church and of the family with its new laws on homosexuality

    How? Is the state making churches marry homosexuals, ordain homosexuals, or accept homosexuals as members?

    Is the state forcing us to accept homosexuals as members of our families?

    Oh, I forgot, all of us are the state in your muddled view.

    RS: Gentlemen (in charity), you might want to take a look at what is going on. The state is making a lot of moral statements about homosexuality and passing laws regarding hate speech that will be in the church before long. There are labor laws that will be passed that will require churches (if you want to retain tax exempt status, and go beyond that as well) not to preach against homosexuality as well as hire them as staff. They will force churchs (as far as they can) to perform homosexual weddings because that would be discrimination if you don’t. After all, if you deny a ceremony to an African American you should not be able to deny this to a homosexual. You can mock it if you want, but it will catch up to you before long.

    Erik Charter: Both of you guys (Terry & Richard) immanentize the eschaton. Jesus Christ is a big deal, but that doesn’t necessarily turn Christians into Ron Burgundy (or Darrell Todd Maurina):

    RS: No, EC, no immanentizing the eschaton at all. It is simply being faithful in all spheres of life rather than telling the non-church spheres to to hell if they don’t want to come to your building on Sunday. If you would listen to DTM rather than mock him you might actually learn something even if you disagree. Mocking people as a sport is not dealing with an argument at all. You really should also listen (read) to Terry Gray much more closely and not mock him so much either. If you would read carefully the least that would happen is that you would understand what he is saying so you could offer an intelligent (to some degree) response.

  104. Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Darryl, Zrim, scroll up to the last time we had this conversation about Christian schools. CRC emphasizes education in keeping with the demands of the covenant. I have no problem requiring that of church members. Often it’s a Reformed Christian school but it doesn’t have to be. Notice also the implicit recognition of sphere sovereignty. The church doesn’t establish Christian schools, the parents and members do. In our CRCNA we have Christian schoolers, public schoolers, and home-schoolers even among office bearers (including the pastor). No one out here reads the Church Order as narrowly as you all seem to read it.

  105. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Terry, I read it the way my own URC elders read it, which is to say that the church is called to promote and sustain a particular form of academia for covenant children. And while perhaps otherwise fit for office, those who take exception ought not even be considered for nomination. That’s to maintain order, but it’s to maintain an order per a form of legalism that simply cannot be biblically justified.

    It may be that in the CRC there is a disconnect between what the Order says and how things are practiced in real life. I’m glad for the liberty exercised there (I experienced it), but maybe it’s time for the language to catch up with the practice? One step in that direction is distinguish between catechism (binding) and curriculum (adiaphora).

  106. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Richard, without specific citations of what you are suggesting about the state encroaching on the church, you just sound like a neo-con talking about the Muslims coming to eat our first borns. It resonates with certain fears, I know, but where’s the beef?

  107. Richard Smith
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Zrim: Richard, without specific citations of what you are suggesting about the state encroaching on the church, you just sound like a neo-con talking about the Muslims coming to eat our first borns. It resonates with certain fears, I know, but where’s the beef?

    RS: Says the Ostrich. Zrim, I have no idea how you can honestly say that, but I suppose your theory requires you to do so. Meanwhile, the political process will continue unabated in setting up the extreme views of homosexuality as fact in the public schools and then the churches.

  108. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Richard, so, no you don’t have any specific citations to back up your claim that the state is now or intends to encroach on the church’s conscience? I’m just supposed to accept your chicken little routine because, well, everybody just knows the gays are coming and the state is lending a sword. But if the state which has dropped fornication and adultery laws hasn’t required churches to hire fornicators and adulterers or perform divorce ceremonies then what makes you think it’s going to be any different with homosexuals?

  109. mark mcculley
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Go underground. Don’t tell them you are a church. Even though you can see into their souls,rs, they can’t see into yours. Sure, they might kill your outside, but no way can they “set up a view” in your soul.

    Don’t worry so much. John the Baptist only lost his head.

    Remember. We are not talking about our sins now. Nor the forgiveness of our sins. They need us to talk about their sins.

    They come to us for gospel talk? We go to them with the law talk?

  110. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Hey Zrim,
    Sorry to butting in here and I know very few may agree with my Church’s teachings on this, but I believe it to be the clear will of God to anybody who truly looks into it to understand the Church’s stand against all contraceptives and abortifacience, which we are subsidizing in multiple ways.

    ” The new Mandate would requiring nearly all private health insurance plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs—drugs that interfere with implantation in the womb and therefore destroy the life of a human being in the earliest stage of development.”

    That is from: http://standupforreligiousfreedom.com/mandate/

    Some may not agree with my stand, but I believe it to be a grave sin against God to tell him to get the hell out of the place of creation in the womb and let us just have fun with out you here to give new life. I don’t want to pay for anyone telling Him such a terrible thing, even if they haven’t thought of it that way before. We harm the world and those around us in many ways by not knowing what we ought. That is just how it it. Fallen world right? We are being renewed in our minds, but we are not there yet.

    Peace,
    MichaelTX

  111. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    MichaelTX, chiming in is fine but what does the mandate about contraception have to do with the gay marauders of Richard’s imaginations?

    Still, I’ll take your church’s language about education over the neo-Calvinist’s any day.

  112. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    I was responding to your question: Where is a “specific citations to back up your claim that the state is now or intends to encroach on the church’s conscience?”

  113. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    Here’s one that applies directly:

    A bill requiring public schools to teach the “historical contributions” of homosexual Americans was approved by the California legislature on Tuesday, July 5. The bill also prohibits any school material or instruction that reflects adversely on homosexuality, bisexuality or transgenderism, and prohibits parents from removing children from classes over offensive material.
    From: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/california-passes-bill-mandating-pro-gay-teaching-in-schools-no-parent-opt/

    We must remember “the Church” is God’s people, therefore to infringe on the conscience on the individual in these regards and force them to use their tax dollars to fund and empower these administrations is moving into the Church, which has no walls.

    Peace MichaelTX

  114. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    My atheist and other assorted unbelieving colleagues are always telling me how sick they are of Christians imposing their views politically on how they should live.

    Such as ramming creation theory into public schools and inflicting religious beliefs as normative for behaviour.

  115. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    kent,
    That is understandable of them, especially in education. Our problem is we have a public “discipleship” program we are all funding, therefore we all want our consciences respected. Now we are moving the same idea into health care.

  116. Posted May 1, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    kent,
    State and nationally funded education is a relatively resent part of our government. It basically began in the 1920’s. Previous to that all education was essentially local and private. You talked to your neighbors not your representatives. Much better I think.

  117. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    MTX, thanks, but that involves the state carrying out an educational effort (something within its sovereign sphere in America, btw). My question was where the state is encroaching on the church in the specific ways Richard keeps suggesting. Sometimes it seems like whenever something is happening that Xns don’t like it gets awkwardly interpreted as some form of untoward encroachment or even persecution.

  118. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Thanks MTX:

    I feel like I”m back in a commons room watching the Patriots/Colts and 10 Pats fans are screaming on every play how the refs are being unfair (to put it mildly) to their team and 10 Colts fans are screaming they are getting ripped off on every play, but in the opposite way.

    And another 10 non-Pats/Colts fans are taking their hatred for one of the teams and yelling how the refs are damaging their team through a league conspiracy to stomp all over small markets.

  119. Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    I suppose that is one difference in me and your understanding of what the state is sovereign to do. I do not believe it is the states right to educate. I believe it is the state’s right to protect the right of the people to educate. I think that is in large part how our laws are screwed up in this area.

  120. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    MTX, I didn’t say the state is sovereign over or has an inherent right to education. I’m simply pointing out that in our civil arrangement the state is involved in education, and in what you provided all we see is it carrying out that task per its (ahem) worldview.

    But I’m still waiting to hear where the state the state is now or intends to encroach on the church’s conscience with regard to homosexuality.

  121. Richard Smith
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    kent: My atheist and other assorted unbelieving colleagues are always telling me how sick they are of Christians imposing their views politically on how they should live.

    Such as ramming creation theory into public schools and inflicting religious beliefs as normative for behaviour.

    RS: But why are you not sick of their ramming godless theories and their own beliefs of behavior down our throats?

  122. Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    I got ya. I suppose my point is that having “our civil arrangement” where “the state is involved in education” is the problem. Education is God’s call on the parents and therefore also the people of the Church. When it is given this responsibility it mucks it up, because it is not equipped by God for it, but the family and the Church are. The state must inherently surgically remove parts of education which God intends to be part of the education/discipleship of our children. This causes the attack on the right of the people and the Church that I and folks like Richard, if I understand him, realize to be occurring in our nation.
    Clearer?

    Peace, MichealTX

  123. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Richard, I have a job that takes up most of my waking hours, and leisure hours are often hampered by mulling over the work.

    And I try to live my life as a sinner saved by grace and am trying to adjust my life to meet what I believe are practical standards of personal piety, aided by Calvin and Horton and other noteworthies.

    And I fail miserably at it, the standards are impossible. I am ever so thankful for a forensic righteousness won through faith in the obedience of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And I will press on to live in gratitude for the grace that covers my guilt.

    So I have little time to worry about what straw men are doing out there, and people whom I will never meet, and all those floods and rounding up of Christians in North America and nuclear wars that never happened.

  124. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    kent,

    Love your heart brother. Just remember “I can do all things who Christ who strengthen me.” Don’t let that Fool of Old make you think God in Christ has not given you what you need to overcome the world. the flesh and the Devil, himself. His a great liar and he speaks all around us.

    Keep moving and learnin,
    MichaelTX

  125. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    MTX, like I suggested to Terry, there is a distinction between curriculum and catechism. The family and church are indeed called to the latter (not the state), but I see no problem with the state carrying out the former. Nor do I see any problem with families or private citizens carrying out the task of curriculum. With Reformed sensibilities about needing a clear or implied warrant from Scripture, what I find hard to justify is the idea that families and churches are biblically mandated to carry out curriculum.

    Much of the problem comes from assuming academia is about people making, which is actually the ordination of the home (soul redeeming the church, but there is overlap). What religious and secular worldviewers have in common is the assumption that schools do more than train minds to think, namely to also make human beings and shape worldviews. That’s why they fight over the homosexual stuff. But those of us who understand that academia is about the 3Rs can endure an educational system that is worldviewish in either direction—so long as the 3Rs are getting done we know that worldview is made at home and we will always have to push back and de-program something, whether it’s an affirmation of sexual deviancy or one that nurtures bigotry and paranoia. All in a day’s work.

  126. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I think I can basically agree with the idea you are presenting there. The problem remaining though is that education doesn’t teach how to think, quite often, but what to think. In a perfect world maybe your thoughts would work. In my world I teach my kids both, and they will move forward learning without me when that is God’s will. For now He has put them in my home and called me to be faithful. I do not believe this is the call on all parents, but it is mine.
    Peace Zrim,
    MichaelTX

  127. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Thanks MTX.

    The main problem I have with my Reformed faith is that those outside of it live public lives that put the Protestant evangelical community to shame. Serious Mormons and Catholics were and are amongst the best teachers, coaches, co-workers, bosses and overall lives lived that have influenced me directly (very ruefully for all kinds of labyrinthine reasons…)

    And there are so many other areas we lag at that are important in a temporal and eternal focus.

    But I have my gifts and temperament and life to lead and this path is optimal at present.

  128. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Zrim,
    The Lord gives us what we are called to as He wills it. May He keep you faithful with what He has given you and may you continue to seek Him for more wisdom and understanding. I could use some more too. Pray for me.

    Blessings,
    Mike

  129. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Sorry,
    That was to kent.

  130. Posted May 1, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    kent,
    You may not know, but I am Catholic. Just so you know. One king calling us all. May we listen to Him faithfully.
    Peace, MichaelTX

  131. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks MTX, yes, I know that about you, I have a mind that quickly files these things.

    And I keep our diffs in mind, trying to achieve more than due respect…

  132. Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I got a testimony over at my blog. I fully joined the Church in Easter 2012. So, I’m a bit new at it.

  133. Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks,
    I’m still trying to get to know everybody over here.
    Blessings all and thanks for the patience.
    MichaelTX

  134. Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    @Zrim, who said ” we will always have to push back and de-program something.”

    The one lesson from my k-12 public school education that was the most difficult to un-learn was not moral dissolution, but that mediocrity was acceptable. That was the lesson most strongly ingrained in me by k-12 ed., not sexual deviancy or other sorts of things. I don’t know what the case is in k-12 Christian day schools, if generalizations can be made.

  135. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    David, good point. It’s getting harder and harder to advocate for an educational system that doesn’t do the 3Rs very well.

  136. Richard Smith
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    kent: Richard, I have a job that takes up most of my waking hours, and leisure hours are often hampered by mulling over the work.

    And I try to live my life as a sinner saved by grace and am trying to adjust my life to meet what I believe are practical standards of personal piety, aided by Calvin and Horton and other noteworthies.

    RS: But of course, let us only be concerned about the practical standards. But remember that God does not settle for what we think of as practical. Usually, not sure about you, but practical simply means what I think I can or want to do. God’s standard is to love Him with all of our being.

    Kent: And I fail miserably at it, the standards are impossible. I am ever so thankful for a forensic righteousness won through faith in the obedience of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And I will press on to live in gratitude for the grace that covers my guilt.

    RS: Sounds like hard work.

    Kent: So I have little time to worry about what straw men are doing out there, and people whom I will never meet, and all those floods and rounding up of Christians in North America and nuclear wars that never happened.

    RS: But of course if you only think that the problems are straw men, it may be that you have already been encroached upon. But I suppose that is something that is not practical to worry about.

  137. Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    David & Zrim,

    Gotta agree with both you guys on that one.

  138. Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Terry M. Gray posted April 29, 2013 at 6:23 pm: “Also, I was at Calvin for 11 years. I came under the district impression that I was one of only a handful of people who actually believed the Canons of Dort. CC is not a Reformed orthodoxy stronghold.”

    You sure got that one right.

    One of my theology professors at Calvin told me, I believe correctly, that the Christian Reformed Church can be explained by sociology, not theology.

  139. kent
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    RS: Sounds like hard work.

    Yes, reality is hard work.

  140. Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Zrim. 3R’s, eh? You’ve got to be kidding. Public education today is indoctrination in PC. My work as a college teacher suggests that public K-12 education isn’t so good even at the 3R’s–not one of them. It’s truly shocking how many college students can’t read for content, write a coherent sentence, or do simple math.

  141. Zrim
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Terry, I’ve already admitted the wanting state of public education–my work in standardized student assessments and isn’t exactly inspiring. But what I’m still curious about is a biblical justification for the church to “promote God-centered schooling” (URC CO 14) or the “…council shall diligently encourage the members of the congregation to establish and maintain good Christian schools…” (CRC CO 71). If I can admit the poor state of that for which I advocate, can you admit the biblical justification for that which you still seem wanting to defend is thin at best?

  142. Posted May 3, 2013 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Zrim, I don’t think I need Biblical justification for Christian education (although there is certainly Biblical warrant for training children in the faith). The notion of worldview, a philosophical notion, is what gives mandate to a worldview directed education, i.e. education is done from a perspective.

  143. Zrim
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Terry, my point isn’t about biblical warrant for Christian persons to pursue Christian education (i.e. academia). It’s about the institutional church speaking as if it is biblically warranted. I agree that the Bible calls for doctrinal instruction, but where does it call for academics? Maybe you don’t think there is any difference between catechism and curriculum, but that would only reveal the Reformed penchant to baptize the intellect. So here’s a test for your claim of educational liberty: how about editing CRC CO 71 with something more akin to RCC Catechism 2229?

  144. Posted May 5, 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Article 71
    The council shall diligently encourage the members of the congregation to establish and maintain good Christian schools in which the biblical, Reformed vision of Christ’s lordship over all creation is clearly taught. The council shall also urge parents to have their children educated in har- mony with this vision according to the demands of the covenant.

    Zrim, I still think you are reading it too narrowly–encourage… Urge… Not to attend Christian schools but to educate in harmony with thus vision. Christ’s Lordship over all creation is catechism, confessional, and Biblical. Seems to me even 2K people confess it.

    Again the CO says that this is the work of members of the congregation and not the work of the church.

    If truth be told, I’d say that the CO doesn’t need this article in keeping with sphere sovereignty, but if its going to be there I like the latitude that it allows.

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