Two-Kingdom Tuesday: The Gospel Makes the State Liberal

I have been kicking around for a while the way that some have kicked around the doctrine of the two kingdoms. (I myself prefer to call it the spirituality of the church, following the Old School Presbyterian tradition, which receives constitutional status, for instance, in the OPC’s Form of Government (3.4), which reads: “All church power is wholly moral or spiritual. No church officers or judicatories possess any civil jurisdiction; they may not inflict any civil penalties nor may they seek the aid of the civil power in the exercise of their jurisdiction further than may be necessary for civil protection and security.”) What still leaves me strangely intrigued is the Bayly Bros. kvetch that 2k (read: the spirituality of the church) leaves the resurrection without policy implications. Does this mean that states, counties and townships should establish new policies for burial procedures so that mourning visitors to cemeteries will not be injured when headstones suddenly pop out of the earth?

What it seems to mean is that the gospel must have direct bearing on government, particularly on the rule of law, what conservative politicians usually call, law and order. Here is how the Baylys put it:

How does a pastor preach the Law to Christ’s Kingdom without spillover into other kingdoms? How are we to preach God’s Law so that the Christian understands God’s demands without leading the unconverted to think he can keep the Law as well? How do we preach on cultural sins to Christians without addressing any kingdom beyond Christ’s? How do we parse the person, dividing earthly citizenship from citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ? How do we parse the Law, applying it carefully in Christ’s Kingdom yet avoiding its implications for the kingdom of man?

The two-kingdom concept seems simple enough initially. Two kingdoms: the kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. Two forms of authority: divine and eternal; human and temporal.

In one sense it’s elementary, so basic I doubt any Christian would deny it. There are human kings and the King of Glory, kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of God.

The problem comes in knowing how to deal with the inevitable collisions between kings and kingdoms.

If Christianity is about law, morality, and uprightness, then this view of the state and its functions, combined with a desire for a faith-based political activism that goes in the public square and takes no prisoners makes perfect sense.

What is baffling about this understanding of the gospel, however, is that it is all law and no forgiveness. And without forgiveness the gospel is not good news – a gospel of law, human righteousness, and condemnation of sin is not a gospel.

I was reminded of this point quite poignantly during a recent worship service where the New Testament lesson came from the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Matthew 18 reads:

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

It is hard to listen to this passage and not worry that the world will hear contemporary Christian activists as unforgiving scolds. What is more pressing is whether our heavenly father thinks of such law-and-order believers? Will he look at them as unforgiving servants? Is it not possible that all the faith-based hectoring and finger-pointing in the public square is unbecoming of those who have been forgiven? Isn’t the point of this passage that the Christian’s public face should be one of forgiveness and acceptance?

Does this mean that the state, to be truly Christian, should be like the church, doling out forgiveness for sin? Should the state have mercy on repentant doctors and mothers guilty of abortion? Is that really what faith-based activists want? Isn’t this what the Democrats for the most part give us? In fact, the idea that the state should conform to the church is the way that many evangelicals wind up on the political Left. They believe that the ministry of mercy and compassion will fix the halls of power; the state should be about love, forgiveness, and compassion.

To counter the left, Rightist evangelicals invariably respond with a Christian message of law and order and thereby give the impression that the gospel is one of making people moral (or the world safe for Mormonism – thank you, Ken Myers for that bon mot).

In which case, the Religious Right is right to think that the state should execute justice rather than mercy. But they are wrong to think that the state’s functions are the fundamental building blocks of Christianity.

The problem we face today is that in so wanting the state to uphold standards of law and justice, and in trying to make a Christian case for this, we have turned the church into the state. That is, Americans have generally come to associate the conservative Protestant churches with those believers who advocate law and order (i.e., social conservatism) because the message these Christians invariably promote in public is not one of gospel but of law.

What we are now living through is a crisis of justification, not only within the churches who have members who should know better, but also one within the state, where Christian citizens have disregarded 2k in pursuit of a righteous society. Which came first, the chicken of moralism in the church or righteous activism in the state? It is hard to tell. But in both cases, the opposition to antinomianism has produced the over compensation of neo-nomianism. In both cases as well, sanctification precedes justification, good works and personal righteousness precede forgiveness and imputed righteousness. It is any wonder that justification-priority folks think the sky is falling?

What critics of 2k need to remember is that the doctrine is not about liberal or conservative politics. It is is essentially an effort to preserve the good news that Jesus Christ died to save sinners from the guilt of sin and the penalty of the law.

Advertisements

90 thoughts on “Two-Kingdom Tuesday: The Gospel Makes the State Liberal

  1. And once again, amen. I have friends that fill the spectrum, both politically and religiously, from socialists to Tea Party activists and Dominionists, and from hardcore atheists to Christian fundamentalists. Among my Christian friends there’s a similar spectrum ideologically, and I see in both a similar confusion of their ecclesiology and of course their soteriology. I especially appreciate your pointing out the underlying similarity of both the left and right wing versions of American Christianity, whether evangelical or mainline. We may technically be a disestablishment nation legally but certainly not psychologically in many people’s minds. Even non-Christians overseas see America as a “Christian nation” and think and act accordingly, either in a positive way or in a negative way, depending on their notional emotions. Equating a particular ethnos with a religious mythos is deeply embedded in our human psyche and only a New Covenant understanding and transformation can overcome it. But until that miraculous day, we’re still divided by walls of hostility. And especially sad is how many Christians spend so much time acting as wall-builders contrary to Christ’s work.

    Like

  2. …a gospel of law, human righteousness, and condemnation of sin is not a gospel.

    1. Dr. Hart, you are going to have to take that up with the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:12-16)
    2. Zechariah did not seem to find any conflict in understanding gospel salvation as both relief from earthly enemies (Luke 1:69-75), and forgiveness of sins (vs 77).
    3. How does Christ execute the office of a king? (WSC 26) I believe there is something in there about conquering all His and our enemies. I believe as well that this kingly office is “redemptive” (WSC 23) which would place it in the “gospel” column, right?

    Like

  3. Ron,

    You seem to be suggesting that a categorical distinction between law and gospel is not something very Pauline. But I trust you’ve read the book of Galatians. How much clearer could the apostle possibly be as when he plainly and clearly makes a stark divide between Hagar and Sarah, between slavery and freedom? But a condemnation of sin is law (not gospel); forgiveness of sin is gospel (not law). Is that really so hard?

    Like

  4. After reading the Bayly’s post and the subsequent comments, I couldn’t help but wonder if they would maintain their particular brand of transformationalism if the tables were turned, and our churches were under the threat of persecution that faced the early church, and many churches around the world today. Would a persecuted church take such a keen interest in the transformation of her society? Or would that church seek to strengthen and encourage those embattled saints that God has entrusted to her to hold fast to their confession and not to forsake the testimony of Jesus?

    You don’t hear much of the transformationalist shtick coming from the church in areas of the world where having any association with the church has such dire consequences. Not many conferences in Sudan, Saudi Arabia, or North Korea about how societies can be transformed to rule in conformity with God’s law (unless it’s Sharia Law). These believers aren’t out making waves in the culture at large, since any attention they might attract could even further limit their ability to gather for the sake of worship. Largely, they try to lead lives that are as quiet and as peaceable as possible so that they can worship and go about their lives without fear of harsh reprisal. In these areas, where the cost of being a believer is so palpable, the emphasis on the need for God’s gracious sustainance for basic faithfulness lacks the triumphalism that the Baylys seem to gravitate toward.

    Are we beleivers in the West, whose persecution is more subtle than our brothers in foreign lands so different? I think that many take up arms in the culture wars because there is so little cost in fighting, and to many in this country it is lauded as part and parcel of the patriotic ethos that made this nation. But while these pastors take up their arms and march into battle to attack the ills of our time at their source, how are those embattled souls under their care faring? Since when has the simplicity of the ministry of Word and Sacrament and Discipline been anything less than sufficient means by which Christ establishes, sustains, and grows his church through the ages and so many forms of persecution? It would be nice if they could take off their culture-warrior garb, and focus more on shepherding God’s people with the means He has provided.

    Like

  5. Jed,
    since you brought up a question, I’d like to tweak it, then offer it back to you if you don’t mind.

    Which stance is more compliant with the ways of the world (I mean where the rubber hits the road and the Christian lives and works among his unbelieving neighbors):
    2-K theology with a Darryl Hart twist, or David Bayly’s emphasis? Essentially, which stance would give occasion for persecution?

    Like

  6. Ron, so you’re pretty comfortable with the law? You’ll have to take that up with God.

    Craig, are you presuming that Christians are to seek persecution? Doesn’t Paul say that we should seek to live quiet and peaceful lives? Maybe you have a Messiah complex.

    Like

  7. Craig,

    If I am following your question rightly, I would say that some form of persecution is the norm for the Christian. Persecution can occur overtly where life and limb are threatened for confessing Christ, and then it can come to us more subtly by the enemy’s constant bombardment with worldliness. So on one hand, it matters little what stance you take, you will, as a believer face persecution.

    However, there is a form of persecution that Christians can unnecessarily bring upon themselves by confusing their role in the broader society. Here I think is the inherent danger of the Bayly bros emphases, they open the door for persecution by taking upon themselves the role of political/social agitators in a way that I personally see no biblical or confessional warrant for. It’s not as if they are making waves in society by saying that salvation can be found in Christ alone, non-xians who are at all informed expect us to proclaim this. They are out, using their platform as pastors, men ordained to shepherd Jesus’ sheep, to decry public policy, and insist that society at large conform in some way to God’s law.

    I guess in one sense they aren’t entirely unwarranted in insisting that we all are liable under the Law. However, the remedy is the gospel, not policy. Instead of living as peacefully as they can in this society, their public rhetoric seems to indicate that they are out to win the culture war for Jesus. The problem I see with this is that Jesus hasn’t called his church or her ministers to win a culture war, or to transform the world per se. He has commissioned them to faithfully carry out the marks of the church.

    I would have less of an issue with their political stances if they weren’t pastors. If they were politicians, or private citizens engaging the process to bring about positive social change, fine, let them bring their message into the public square. As ministers of the gospel, the only message they are called to carry into the world is the gospel, and if they are persecuted for this, at least it is for the right message.

    Like

  8. Jed,
    often in discussing the form of 2-K you seem to be amenable to, both sides tend to share their party-line speak. You find it from Reconstructionists and yes, you find it in the form of 2-K Hart promotes.

    Having been on your side of the fence (and by the way, there’s more than 1 side with different emphases), I think I can spot it pretty quickly. I encourage you to re-read what you just wrote and see if you can find specific instances where the Baylys have said anything close to what you just asserted.

    That’s a friendly recommendation.

    Another question:
    What issues have the Baylys raised that is somehow not impacted by the gospel? This is a pertinent question to answer considering Darryl used the following quote as a springboard where he (again) missed the board altogether:
    “How does a pastor preach the Law to Christ’s Kingdom without spillover into other kingdoms? How are we to preach God’s Law so that the Christian understands God’s demands without leading the unconverted to think he can keep the Law as well? How do we preach on cultural sins to Christians without addressing any kingdom beyond Christ’s? How do we parse the person, dividing earthly citizenship from citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ? How do we parse the Law, applying it carefully in Christ’s Kingdom yet avoiding its implications for the kingdom of man?

    The two-kingdom concept seems simple enough initially. Two kingdoms: the kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. Two forms of authority: divine and eternal; human and temporal.

    In one sense it’s elementary, so basic I doubt any Christian would deny it. There are human kings and the King of Glory, kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of God.

    The problem comes in knowing how to deal with the inevitable collisions between kings and kingdoms.”

    Like

  9. Craig, who says it’s simple. Maybe the Baylys but not this 2ker. Yes, it does seem relatively simple that the church has one jurisdiction and the state another. But even those overlap. Township ordinances, stop lights near church buildings, road improvements that take away church property, fire service, police protection. All of these things are matters where church authorities might look to the magistrate for cooperation.

    Where it gets especially murky is in the individual Christian life — someone who has a variety of callings and duties, who is trying to be faithful to God in those dimensions — the male gynocologist who tries to look at a woman’s body as a professional, the father who will not turn the other cheek to his wayward son, the woman who refuses to read the book with dark themes that the rest of the church ladies are reading. It’s a complex world out there, Craig, and 2k is a start at acknowledging it.

    The problem with the Baylys, as I read them, is that they are itching for a collision of the two kingdoms. They make is seem that the Lordship of Christ will automatically lead Christians to protest all sorts of wickedness. Surely, the early Christians saw all sorts of wickedness but it is not clear that they were regularly egged on to show their difference and antagonism to others.

    And then there’s the selectivity. The Baylys point to some sins but not others. I don’t understand why one commandment is more important for calling attention to the collision of kingdoms than another.

    Like

  10. Dr. Hart continues to dodge any real interaction with opposing views. It’s almost as if he is bothered by them.

    Would a persecuted church take such a keen interest in the transformation of her society?

    The Reformers did.

    Like

  11. Jed,

    Having myself been amenable to one form of transformationalism or another (soft, that is), I’d like you to re-read what you wrote and realize that the 2K you are championing is, ecclesiastically speaking, the biblical witness. That’s more than a friendly recommendation.

    Craig,

    If it’s specific instances you seek, how about this glorified anti-Obama speech tagged as a “sermon”:

    http://www.baylyblog.com/2009/06/a-sermon-for-the-presidentand-for-the-people-of-god.html

    Like

  12. No Zrim, that wasn’t nearly specific enough. See, I have not only read that sermon, I was there that Lord’s Day and heard it myself.

    Was John the Baptist’s message to Herod regarding his marriage/sexual partner of choice “policy-making”?

    David Bayly does say there are policy implications from the Resurrection, for instance…which got Darryl’s tweads in a twist. It is not without Biblical support, and the following rests on a victorious Christ who would take on flesh, die, and resurrect:

    From Psalm 2
    10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
    Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
    11 Serve the LORD with fear,
    And rejoice with trembling.
    12 Kiss the Son,lest He be angry,
    And you perish in the way,
    When His wrath is kindled but a little.
    Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

    It seems the Holy Spirit sees “policy” implications when it comes to Christ’s majesty…that is NOT to limit implications to policy, but the implication is actually quite explicit…I mean, if you happen to think what the Holy Spirit says is binding…totally up to you, though.

    Like

  13. Craig, great. The Holy Spirit “says” there “are” “policy” implications. So you want to “say” what the “policy” implications “are”? Or do you simply argue for the “generic” affirmation? “There are ‘policy’ implications” is not policy, have you never “seen” the “tax” code?

    Like

  14. Ron, maybe you don’t understand the nature of a conversation or an argument. The post here — ahem — did precisely what you want. I interacted with opposing views. You in turn take snippets of what I’ve said or what others have said and think this constitutes interaction or a rejoinder. If you would care to express yourself, as opposed to merely cutting and pasting from others, fine. The Comments box at oldlife can take lengthy responses.

    Like

  15. Psalm 2
    1 Why do the nations rage,
    And the people plot a vain thing?
    2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
    And the rulers take counsel together,
    Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
    3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
    And cast away Their cords from us.”

    Why is it Darryl wants to discuss tax code when anyone can see plainly that the people, and our governmental leaders, are breaking the bonds of the LORD’S Anointed?

    Gnat straining belongs to another group Jesus dealt with…they also liked nullifying God’s Law, pitting paltry things against weightier. Darryl, aren’t you an elder in Christ’s Church, and you do not know these things? (John 3:10)

    Like

  16. Craig,

    Sorry for the delayed response, evidently I am supposed to put the human connection with, say my wife and kids above my incessant fascination with the interwebs. Regarding your first challenge, much of my opinion regarding the Bayly bros post came from the initial post and the comments. For example, Tim Bayly’s extensive and heated response:

    “The overwhelming message I receive from Darryl Hart and his 2-kingdom men is that they’re an exotic species of Reformed men no other period in history would understand; but fat evangelicals wanting to escape shame and suffering and persecution today, here in the Western world, understand perfectly. And either we hate their arguments because we find them so appealing to our fatness and complacency, or we love them because we find them so appealing to our fatness and complacency.

    Now some will cry “Unfair! That’s no doctrinal argument! You’re saying this is a matter of character and avoiding the (chop) logic of their position.”

    Yes, precisely. I smell a rat and I don’t like rats. Anything that assuages my conscience in my indifference to the poor and the oppressed and the sojourner in our midst and the innocents whose blood is being shed and those suffering from injustice, as well as to my own lies and greed, is at war with my soul.”

    Implicit in his assertion that the 2k position is replete with “fatness and compleceancey” and smells of vermen is that 2k-ers (at least of the Hart and Clark variety) are somehow disloyal to King Jesus because they do not address the broad social evils of oppression, injustice, and bloodshed. One of the main issues I have with this is one of hermenutics…I believe they are seriously misreading the thrust of salvation-history and how God is dealing with the problem of human evil in history; namely by calling men to repentance and faith in Jesus and thus becoming part of his pilgrim people, and by storing up wrath for man’s evil on the Last Day.

    Now I don’t doubt that the Bayly’s believe this, and as commissioned officers of the gospel, their task is to faithfully execute the marks of the church. The problem is that their rhetoric often focuses on the secondary and tertiary issues of social evil, not on shepherding God’s flock in the interadvental period. Now, if transformation comes as a result of men and women coming to faith in Jesus, that’s great. However, the ebb and flow of human history since the ascension has shown that the problem of human evil will not be addressed by shifts in faith or ideology, but rather by God bringing history to it’s end and calling humans to account as individuals and collectively for their sin.

    2kers aren’t fat, complacent, or cowardly as Bayly asserts. However, if we are to be persecuted, we certainly want to make sure it is over the primacy of the gospel, not periphrial issues of politics and the remedy of social ills. The simplicity of the SOTC might seem cowardly to those who see it as the churches responsibility to transform society (to whatever degree), however those of us who hold to it do so because we believe that Jesus intends to have his church fed and equipped for our journey home by the simple means he has provided, and that God is more than capable of addressing the problem of human evil in his own time.

    Like

  17. Everyone, Craig says the resurrection and Ps. 2 (he’s cited it twice, does that make it Ps. 4?) have “policy” implications. Darryl asked Craig for a “policy.” Craig still hasn’t cited a “policy.” Could it be that the Bible doesn’t address “policy”? If anyone talks to Craig, maybe you could ask “him.”

    Like

  18. Darryl,
    the Psalm is there for you to read. The issue isn’t that the Psalm is too vague, rather, it’s far-reaching:
    What do you think the “bonds” are that the Holy Spirit refers to? If your version of 2-K is correct, one wonders how a spiritual kingdom can have bonds to be broken by earthly kings and kingdoms.

    I’m sorry if taking several hours to respond inconveniences you, but like Jed, I have a wife…and also 2 children. The internet is not my main priority.

    Jed,
    If you wonder if there is “fatness” implicit to Darryl’s version of 2-K, please read his self-indulgent comments…read his comments at the BaylyBlog which are rife with sniveling, posturing, and arrogance. I do believe his perverted version of 2-K facilitates his wickedly childish behavior toward others. Fruit means something, and something stinks here.

    Having said that, your comment didn’t begin to address what I actually raised. You seem like a man who would discuss the issues…and while the stench of this form of 2-K does wreak, I think it would make more sense to begin with what I raised a few comments ago before Zrim and Darryl’s recent comments.

    So I’ll restate my challenge:
    “What issues have the Baylys raised that is somehow not impacted by the gospel? This is a pertinent question to answer considering Darryl used the following quote as a springboard where he (again) missed the board altogether:

    ‘How does a pastor preach the Law to Christ’s Kingdom without spillover into other kingdoms? How are we to preach God’s Law so that the Christian understands God’s demands without leading the unconverted to think he can keep the Law as well? How do we preach on cultural sins to Christians without addressing any kingdom beyond Christ’s? How do we parse the person, dividing earthly citizenship from citizenship in the Kingdom of Christ? How do we parse the Law, applying it carefully in Christ’s Kingdom yet avoiding its implications for the kingdom of man?

    The two-kingdom concept seems simple enough initially. Two kingdoms: the kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ. Two forms of authority: divine and eternal; human and temporal.

    In one sense it’s elementary, so basic I doubt any Christian would deny it. There are human kings and the King of Glory, kingdoms of earth and the Kingdom of God.

    The problem comes in knowing how to deal with the inevitable collisions between kings and kingdoms.'”

    Like

  19. I interacted with opposing views.

    Dr. Hart, you are right. My apologies. What I meant to say is that you did not interact with *my* opposing view. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, that is fine. You can just concede as you have done before :). I would just like to know from someone how Christ’s *redemptive* (WCF’s words, not mine) conquering (read condemnation) of His and our enemies fits into law/gospel? It is condemnation, so according to you and Z (I’ll deal with you in a minute, sir), proposing it to be gospel is false. But it is *redemptive*, so proposing it to be gospel is true. As you have pointed out, I know little about the nature of an argument, but how can a proposition be both true and false? I think in argument speak, that is what is called a “dilemma”.

    Like

  20. Z, I trust you’ve read the book of Romans. How much clearer could the apostle possibly be as when he plainly and clearly declares God’s judgment to be what his “gospel declares”? Is that really so hard?

    “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head”. That is an “evangelical promise“.

    Like

  21. It seems the Holy Spirit sees “policy” implications when it comes to Christ’s majesty…that is NOT to limit implications to policy, but the implication is actually quite explicit…I mean, if you happen to think what the Holy Spirit says is binding…totally up to you, though.

    Craig,

    Appeals like this to the Holy Spirit are usually a red flag to the Reformed that fanaticism is afoot. It’s simply code for what the speaker wants the Word to say. And to disagree with the speaker means impiety. Frankly, it’s a really old trick (the bench-revivalists famously pulled it on the catechism-confessionalists, and Luther called it swallowing feathers). But, look, I get that you all have certain politics, and nobody is trying to take your politics away from you. And as misguided as it is, you can even be slobbery-mad about them. But you cross a bright line and trod on holy ground when you want heaven to sanction your worldly cares.

    It’s mainly about abortion with you guys, right? I’ll admit, part of me would love to go for the groin and dive into the Word and surface with a states’ rights policy and tell choicers and lifers that heaven is on my political side. I mean, given that the modern debate is dominated by those who seem to think it’s all about the individual rights of women or fetuses, we statesers are really up against it. (For that matter, why not take this same strategy for any political disagreement, including zoning ordinances and tax codes, etc. and so on?) But I fail to see how being on the bottom of any political pile is any justification for telling Jesus to share his throne one iota with any tradition of men. Ironically, it’s actually this effort that smacks of impiety.

    And if you don’t see how the glorified anti-Obama speech was a flaming example of Jed’s assertions, well, it’s highly doubtful anything will pass muster.

    Like

  22. Ron,

    You might consider that there is no way to get to sola fide, the material principle of the Protestant Reformation, without the sort of law-gospel hermeneutic being asserted here. To conflate them as you do is, at best, to hold to sola fide but with that much less consistency, and is, at worst, to admit Rome’s hermeneutic and take at least a dip in the Tiber. Law is isn’t gospel, which is why it’s called law, vice versa for gospel. Sorry, but I still don’t see what is so monumentally hard about that.

    Like

  23. Craig,

    I honestly thought I had answered your question, but I’ll take another stab. Can the Law inform our views on social issues? Yes it can, articulated as Decalogue or NL, there is no way to construe a public policy such as abortion as anything but a violation of God’s Law. I haven’t heard any 2k rhetoric that would deny this, in fact VanDrunen’s dealings with bioethics clearly demonstrate that 2k-ers care about the issue. The problem is how the Bayly’s appropriate the Law here, their platform seems to show how they move from (or parse) the fact of the Law being violated (in the political/secular kingdom) into the more problematic application to policy. The application of Law for the Christian minister primarily is to call individuals to repentance, not primarily to call for social reform.

    The Christian character of these policies becomes more problematic when Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Mormons, and Catholics all are against abortion as well. I really don’t have an issue with individual believers engaging in activism in this, or any other political arena. The problem is when this is viewed as a distinctly Christian enterprise, because we aren’t the only system of belief that has a view about how the world we live in ought to be. The Christian message is distinct and otherworldly, even if it impacts how we live here. The Great Commission speaks to the duty of the Christian minister, as do the Pastoral Epistles and I just don’t see the mandate for ministers to get too bogged down with the affairs of this world. Shepherding a congregation is hard enough.

    Plus, we firmly do believe that God will judge the nations for their rebellion, and he will set things straight. For now, our message is how we might escape that judgment, not how the state can adopt better policy.

    If this doesn’t answer your question, I frankly am either to thick to see what you are getting at, or you are trying to steer me to agree with the Baylys, and respectfully, I simply cannot.

    Like

  24. Craig, I’ve read it now twice and I don’t see a policy in Ps. 2. You say it has far reaching implications. You say the Bible has policy implications. So what are they? I have faulted the Baylys for this claim. I’d think their claim would come with actual “policy.” But I continue to see none. So it must be that the Bible has no policy implications, at least none that anyone can identify. Which would mean that the Baylys condemn themselves. Don’t you love logic?

    Like

  25. Ron, Christ is not the church. Yes, Christ does things that have judgment attached. But the question for you (from the post) is what the church is supposed to do and if that is the model for the state. The church conquers her enemies by forgiving sins of those who believe in Christ. The state gives a foretaste of Christ’s conquering that will come on judgment day. If you can’t see that the law is not merciful, I don’t know what you’re looking at.

    Like

  26. The Christian character of these policies becomes more problematic when Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Mormons, and Catholics all are against abortion as well….The problem is when this is viewed as a distinctly Christian enterprise, because we aren’t the only system of belief that has a view about how the world we live in ought to be.

    Jed, true, but don’t forget the pro-life atheists, agnostics and secularists. I understand Baylyittes don’t want their help, but I’d take them all if their political views were pro-states. Do Baylyittes also refuse correct change from atheist cashiers?

    http://www.godlessprolifers.org/home.html

    http://secularprolife.org/

    Like

  27. Zrim,

    I am with you here. I wish that evangelicals and Reformed believers were more interested in a political construct that respected the rights and beliefs of other groups. I think the brilliance of the US Constitution, a far too neglected document these days, is that it has set forth a rule of law that intended to give states proper rights and upholds the liberty of all citizens within the constraints of sensible laws.

    If I had the inclination to be more involved in politics, which I do not, I would strongly support the pluralism implicit in the Constitution. Ordering a polity that upholds the rights of divergent faiths and cultures is foundational to the framing of an equitable modern nation-state. For the state to employ its coercive powers to enforce a distinctively Christian or particularly Reformed “worldview” would require abolishing rights that have distinguished American society and abandoning the very principles that have allowed religion to flourish in this country.

    I am an ardent supporter of pluralism because I believe it is most conducive to the free promotion of the gospel in a modern context. I realize that pluralism means having to live with others who hold views we frankly find repugnant. However, a plural society allows for the free flow of the Christian message. It allows us to call homosexuality a sin for which gays must repent, it allows us to call Romanists idolaters, Mormons blasphemers, mainliners as perverters of the gospel, and evangelicals cultural accomodationists. I honestly do not understand why there exists the insistence on the part of some to legislate Christian righteousness, when legislation will not save, and leaves men still liable to the wrath of God.

    Contemplating a good society isn’t a churchly exercise, it’s a human one. Overturning Roe v. Wade and other destructive policies should be our concern because it is bad statecraft. Abortion is, well an fundamental abortion of human rights that is as much of a concern to a conscientious atheist or agnostic as it is for the Confessional community. It is beyond me why some would decry such a position as somehow disloyal to Christ as King. For this Christian, Christ is fully capable of exercising his kingship in his way, in his time, and free from my help. He hasn’t called me to transform culture in His Name, he has called me to be a faithful member of the church He instituted, submit to those he has ordained to shepherd my soul on my journey home, obeying his commands, and to patiently endure and rejoice in the day when he returns and executes true justice throughout the earth.

    Like

  28. Jed,

    I agree. 1K can be as hard to understand as how anyone could think works play any part in justification. But think of it this way: 1K is the ecclesiastical version of the soteriological confusion of law and gospel. 1K is as natural as the natural notion that we are to justify ourselves. Heck, we were created to redeem ourselves, so in that sense it all becomes a bit less mysterious. Unfortunately for all natural variants of law/gospel confusion Christianity is an entirely supernatural project.

    One thing that might be worthwhile for some here to contemplate is whether they really want the state to punish sin. For my part, there seems an important distinction to be made between crime and sin, punishment and discipline. All crime is sin, but not all sin is crime. I want my sheriff to punish crimes, not sins, and I want my elders to discipline sin, not punish it. Discipline has in mind reconciliation, punishment doesn’t. I don’t think 1Kers understand very well that without these sorts of distinctions we may well end up with not only elders locking up instead of administering grace to sinners but sheriff’s doling out grace instead of locking up criminals.

    Like

  29. Darryl,
    before I begin suggesting “policy” that would be informed by the Word, please ANSWER my question. You and Zrim have a penchant for poppycock bunny trails…for example, your disciple decided my appeal to the Holy Spirit was akin to zealous fanaticism…then trotted out non-sense about revivalism. Try to treat your theological A.D.D., boys, and maybe…maybe you will be capable of a discussion. At this point, it seems Jed is more able of the 3 of you to actually carry a discussion.

    So, please, answer this question:
    “What do you think the “bonds” are that the Holy Spirit refers to? If your version of 2-K is correct, one wonders how a spiritual kingdom can have bonds to be broken by earthly kings and kingdoms.”

    Like

  30. Craig, you are interrogative-assertive, which means you are passive-aggressive in a discussion. You quote a Ps. that has far reaching policy implications. And now you want me to say that the policy implications are. This is like arguing with the wife. “You know what you did wrong, and if you don’t you’re doubly wrong.”

    Maybe you missed it, but I’m the one who is questioning whether the Bible has policy implications. The reason is not because I think policy so grand that the Bible must justify itself to be important only if it speaks to “policy.” Instead, it is because “policy is an incredibly minor canvass on which to paint the significance of God, Christ, and salvation. No matter, you seem to think that only a gospel that has policy implications is one with sufficient testosterone for you and your manly, finger-wagging cohort.

    So you need to do the work here. You can’t assert policy implications (aggressive) and then ask for the policy (passive).

    Show some real manliness and come forward with “policy” based on Ps. 2 or any of your favorite proof texts.

    Like

  31. Craig,

    I may have ADD, but what sense does it makes in all this talk of Psalm 2 making political policy to make an apppeal to the Holy Spirit? Effectively, what you’re saying is, “Psalm 2 has policy implications. The Holy Spirit says so. So there, Mr. bunny trail.” Well, who could disagree with the Holy Spirit? Is that how you always argue and converse, telling your partner s/he is fighting God? I can see how this stacks things in your favor, but it sure seems to make for boring and short consversations.

    But maybe you’re of the school that says Psalm 139 has policy implications for abortion. I think that’s the same school that says Leviticus 19 has policy implications for immigration. Unfortunately for both graduates, John 5:39 teaches Jesus’ own hermeneutic: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Or Luke 24:27: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” The Bible, the whole Bible, is about Jesus and Jesus alone (you know, solas christus). It’s not Jesus-plus-policy. Again, this is the hermeneutical version of soteriological confusion (faith-plus-something-else). Or is this another bothersome bunny trail for you? But growing up in the sticks of northern Michigan one thing I learned was that bunny trails have a funny way of always circling back to the well worn trail.

    Like

  32. Zrim,
    Not that I expect you to respond to my Romans 1 objection, but on to your objection. It is a matter of perspective. There are two seeds, and what is gospel to one is law to another. I don’t see what is so hard about that. The demand to repent and believe the gospel is intolerable law to the unregenerate. But at the same time, this “demand” is sweet gracious gospel to those who have been convinced of their sin and misery and made to embrace Jesus Christ.

    Like

  33. Dr Hart,
    The Church is the embodiment of Christ on earth. That is to say, Christ ordinarily operates on earth through His Church. Anyway, this is a side step (big surprise) because my question did not even pertain to what the Church ought to do, but simply how Christ’s redemptive conquering of His and our enemies fits into law/gospel. Converting His enemies to friends is only one way Jesus conquers them.

    “We should pray that our enemies be converted and become our friends, and if not, that their doing and designing be bound to fail and have no success and that their persons perish rather than the Gospel and the kingdom of Christ.” ~ Martin Luther

    Like

  34. Ron Smith,

    I just had this conversation with Ron DiGiacomo on GreenBaggins on the First Ammedment thread. I guess we can do it here as well.

    The law as understood in the OT was covenantal in nature, and thus was not binding on the surrounding nations. In fact for them to take it up, would have been a profaning of it. Even if I did grant the validity of the Theonomic thesis, I would say those laws could only apply to the church. They are holy laws picturing Christ the coming Redeemer and Judge. Assuming the WCF 3-fold division, which I don’t, by removing the ceremonial and retaining the penal laws, you destroy the Messianic typology intergral to the Mosaic arrangement.

    To posit that the unbelieving Amercian public can either understand or even keep those laws flies in the face of NT Scripture. And I continue to argue, those who suggest fallen man can keep God’s law and please Him are teaching the theology of Finney and Pelagius. Fallen man is the enemy of God and his sacrifices are an abomination. To suppose that he can please God is to negate the work of Christ on the cross.

    These questions of law and ‘policy’ are based on wrong assumptions. You’re asking the wrong questions because you seem to have forgot that the Kingdom of God is only visible to those who have been born again. You profane it and remove the power of Christ’s teaching by making it into a political entity. We end up having these discussions driven by questions that are wrong in the first place.

    I see no Biblical data to support any notions of triumphalism but even if that were the case, do you not see? If our society were ‘Christian’ whatever-that-would-mean… we wouldn’t have to pass laws to get the corner store to quit selling dirty magazines. The owner would either be Christian and quit selling them, or since everyone was Christian they wouldn’t buy them and he would quit selling them. Since we are not under tutelage any longer, why would we want to go back the weak and beggarly elements? Why would we want shadows and types when we have the substance?

    As far as laws concerning murder, theft, adultery, etc….you don’t the Bible to know those things are wrong. Every society in history has more or less according to the dictates of Providence accepted and implemented those laws by the light of nature. For the right metaphysical reasons? Of course not.

    Fallen man needs a saviour, not a lawgiver. For the law came by Moses but grace and truth by Jesus Christ. That’s why it’s called good news!

    I have no expectation of that, but instead am just baffled at the drive and energy you folks put into law. Were the Pharisees right? Were we looking for a Kingdom that would supplant the Romans and a King who would sit on the throne of Caesar?

    Please think about it.

    John A.

    Like

  35. It is a matter of perspective. There are two seeds, and what is gospel to one is law to another. I don’t see what is so hard about that. The demand to repent and believe the gospel is intolerable law to the unregenerate. But at the same time, this “demand” is sweet gracious gospel to those who have been convinced of their sin and misery and made to embrace Jesus Christ.

    Ron,

    Law is law and gospel is gospel and never the twain shall meet. But where it becomes complicated is how law and gospel work even within the sinful saint. Calvin said unbelief resides in believers and the confessions speak of indwelling and abiding sin, as in Simul iustus et peccator. So demands that cannot be met even within the believing self are never sweet, they are always bitter. What is sweet is that what God demands he also provides.

    But now, even if you still confuse law and gospel, you are making the conversation precisely what it should be about: how God saves sinners. So why do you, in your theonomy, insist on making the point geo-political? Jesus lived and died for his people, not for their institutions. Once you start applying his work to anything other than or in addition to the imago Dei you have the flip-side of works-righteousness.

    Like

  36. Darryl,
    you didn’t answer my question.

    What are the “bonds” referred to in Psalm 2? I didn’t ask you to give policy…I asked you to share your thoughts on what these bonds may be. I could share what sorts of things would inform policy, but that’s not a very logical place to begin seing that we disagree at the outset. If you think my insistence sound like your wife, then I must say your wife thinks more clearly than you do. So I will assume you were complimenting your wife and not actually dishonoring her.

    You believe there are no policy implications, I do. “Bonds” will very likely be where a fruitful conversation could begin.

    Like

  37. Zrim:
    “Again, this is the hermeneutical version of soteriological confusion (faith-plus-something-else).”

    Actually, no. I’m not talking about soteriology or the ordo salutis when I say there are policy implications. Why do you think I am?

    Why do I appeal to the Holy Spirit? Because Psalm 2 is blazingly clear. Why appeal to Psalm 2? Because it hits the perverted version of 2-K everywhere it hurts. If you’d like to disagree with me, I invite you, as I have your Rabbi, to explain what the bonds are that kings attempt to break off.

    Like

  38. Craig French,

    My note to Smith was just as much pointed to you. You’re asking the wrong questions. Please answer mine. No one else has said anything, but I have a feeling they would like to see the points I raised addressed by you and your colleagues.

    John A.

    Like

  39. Craig,

    The kings of the earth in Psalm 2 desire to break free from Bonds…the governing authority of the Deity.

    These in the Psalm seek like the Sons of the gods in Genesis 6, like Tower of Babel builders, like Pharaoh, like Rome to be a Kingdom unto themselves. They seek a Pseudo-Kingdom of God.

    Satan also deceives Sacralists into embracing the same vision. We’re warned of it in the Apocalypse. It’s the story of Church history.

    John the Baptist was bringing the Covenant Lawsuit to the Covenant People. Herod was in some sense, fulfilling that role. It’s within the Covenant.

    To tell a pagan ruler to obey God’s Covenant Laws and believe he can honour God by keeping them, would be a profanation of those Laws and Covenant….which seems to be what you’re arguing for.???

    Rather, I would say a pagan ruler needs the gospel before he will be able to ‘see’ the Kingdom of God.

    Is the Christian life to you about keeping laws? Or is about being reconciled to God, honouring Him by a trusting and living faith, trusting in his Word given to us in all its forms? And then yes, obediently living our lives which in the NT social vision means learning to be quiet, minding our own business, working with our hands, being salt and light to those around us…praying for peace in the land. Our very presence….the Oracular Word in our assemblies is a proclamation of the Heavenly Kingdom. Let all Beware!

    I don’t need to go and play marketing and politics with the fools of the City of Man. I walk on Mt. Zion. The City of Man cannot be transformed in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of Satan TRIES to transform the City of Man into the Pseudo-kingdom. Don’t get caught in the trap!

    What is the Kingdom imperative? What is it’s nature and purpose?

    I really urge you to think through some of these questions. I don’t think you’ve wrestled with them enough. I’m not trying to be mean, but I find this to often be the case with Theonomically minded people. I don’t think you’ve understood the main theme of the Bible.

    Blessings,

    John A.

    Like

  40. Craig,

    Actually, no. I’m not talking about soteriology or the ordo salutis when I say there are policy implications. Why do you think I am?

    I know you’re not talking about soteriology. It was a comparison. If your biblical hermeneutic leads you to say that the Bible is as much a handbook for political ordering (law) as it is about the revelation of Jesus (gospel) then what stops you from saying justification includes law keeping?

    But the policy implications of Psalm 2 are only blazingly clear when one begins with geo-political presuppositions. What is the principled difference between the geo-political presuppositions of theonomy and the presuppositions of those who thought Jesus came to overthrow the governments of the earth instead of save his people from their sins? Again, if instead of a some geo-political hermeneutic we take Jesus’ own hermeneutic and say it’s all about him then Psalm 2 is a prophecy about how the powers of the earth would take down the Lord’s annointed one, as in the ensnaring and killing of Jesus.

    Like

  41. John,

    Errr, Proto (sorry I couldn’t resist) I think that you are definitely on to something here, as your brief description of Ps. 2 makes clear. Prior to the 2k-transformational-theonomy debate is a fundamental principle of heremenutics and how one sees the bible put together and how salvation=history unfolds.

    Paul,

    First off, your characterization of Dr. Hart as a rabbi suddenly makes me crave a tasty Hebrew National hot dog and a glass of manischewitz, not sure why. Second, I think that your question re: Ps. 2 and where you want to lead it (godly v godless political policy) really misses the point on several biblical-theological categories both within the Psalter and canonically. You miss the function of foreign powers, enemies, messianism/sonship, and eschatology if you seek to collapse the discussion into issues of contemporary political policy. That sort of discussion is probably outside the scope of this thread, and can’t be fairly addressed through a few drive-by liners here. If you are interested in pursuing this discussion off-line let me know.

    Like

  42. Craig, you have a blog, write your own post about “bonds.” My post here was about “policy” “implications” of the “Bible.” So what are they? It looks increasingly like the Baylys and their fans are all talk and no “policy.”

    Like

  43. Law is law and gospel is gospel and never the twain shall meet.

    This is why I get such a kick out of you guys. You state a proposition, an argument is made against it, and then as a “rejoinder”, you simply restate the proposition. Awesome. Does the gospel declare judgment as Paul states? Isn’t it the law only that declares judgment? *crickets*

    Jesus lived and died for his people, not for their institutions.

    Jesus lived and died to reconcile all *things* to His Father. Colossians 1:18-20. *Institutions* are *things*. Therefore, Jesus lived and died to reconcile *institutions* to His Father. To quote the good professor Kirke, “Why don’t they teach logic in schools these days?”

    Like

  44. John A., sacrament is a subclass of law. There is that which was and is required of God’s people alone (sacrament), and that which is required of all man, including God’s people (law). Now, if you want to start separating those two when it comes to an Old Covenant understanding of Law, you might be interested in the writings of a soon to be former Anglican Bishop by the name of Tom Wright.

    Like

  45. Ron,

    The law declares judgment and the gospel declares forgiveness. Again, why so hard? Whatever it is you think Paul is saying do you really think he’s saying that gospel judges or law forgives? Yeow.

    So, Jesus lived and died for fish and government? How do you baptize either one of those “things”? Be careful of logic, Ron, in the hands of the wooden it can lead to really strange ideas. Double yeow.

    Like

  46. The law declares judgment and the gospel declares forgiveness. Again, why so hard?

    LOL man, Z. You sure do now how to assert, re-assert, and re-re-assert propositions. But can you defend them? I have yet to see it.

    Yes. Jesus lived and died for fish (Ezekiel 47:8-10) and government (Psalm 2). I wouldn’t know how to baptize any of those things since Jesus only commands baptism of disciples. I reject the implication that Jesus couldn’t have lived or died for a thing if there is no instruction on baptism of said thing. Have fun trying to substantiate that or any other assertion you have left lying around this post naked.

    Like

  47. Ron,

    Your assertion that the sacraments are a subclass of law is flatly false(cf. WCF 27-29), and I am not even sure that your transformaionalist friends wouldn’t go with you there. Law is not conferred rather grace, as they are signs and seals of the covenant. The gospel is embodied in the bread and wine and offered to the partakers through the work of the Spirit and faith. Baptism signifies regeneration, something that the Law cannot do.

    As to your take on Colossians is simply off, since in this age the only recipients of the redemption bought by the Son of God are people, not other *things* or *institutions*. The redemption of “all things” lies hereafter when Christ consummates the new creation in his second advent. Before final restoration, this old creation will be judged by fire (2 Pet. 5: 5-7). To the degree that the material stuff and institutions of this world will withstand judgement has been an arena of legitamate debate. However, the radical transformation and/or re-creation of the new creation will be so substantial that it is inappropriate to say that God will somehow transform these *things* without judgement and fire first. Unless you want to claim that the transformationalist movement, whatever brand, has the inherent ability to overcome the inherent depravity that exists in these fallen human systems such as government, commerce, science, etc; and that you possess the creative power to transform the material stuff in the universe, it is probably most prudent to eagerly await the return of the Lord, and trust that He alone has the ability to bring this to pass.

    I have less of a problem with transformationalists who attempt to unpack their system with exegetical responsibility, but frankly your citations here are wreckless, and your conclusions stretch Scripture beyond any reasonable, good, or necessary consequence. You are playing fast and loose with the text here, at least tighten up your exegesis and make biblical arguments here, not a few quick “so there” proof texts.

    Like

  48. Darryl,

    your post was not about specific policy implications, rather, the notion of the gospel having no policy implications. The onus is not upon me to give you particulars when your post was about the notion itself…and that is precisely what I’m trying to get you to talk about: The very subject matter of your post.

    My refusal to speak about certain policies only says that I would prefer to keep you on task. Why prate on about particulars that hinge on a presupposition we disagree about? Would it not make more sense to talk about the hinge?

    I have talked about particulars on my blog. That’s available for anyone to look at (just to show no one needs to claim Freedom of Information, just click my name…you’ll see my blog)…so it’s not like I’m hiding my cards, but why does it always seem like you are when you’re pressed to argue your point rather than trot out one-liners and play dodge-the-question?

    Zrim:

    “If your biblical hermeneutic leads you to say that the Bible is as much a handbook for political ordering (law) as it is about the revelation of Jesus (gospel) then what stops you from saying justification includes law keeping?”

    My biblical hermeneutic doesn’t lead me to say the Bible is “as much a handbook for political ordering as it is about the revelation of Jesus”. You’re the one saying that’s what my position is. Please stop it.

    “Psalm 2 is a prophecy about how the powers of the earth would take down the Lord’s annointed one, as in the ensnaring and killing of Jesus.”

    This is much closer to answering my question, thank you. If Jesus didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom (and He did NOT…I AGREE), then in WHAT sense could the rulers “break bonds”? How would killing the God-Man, the One who didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom, have bonds which rulers can break?

    JohnA, I invite you to answer that question as well. Your response to the Psalm seems to acknowledge (perhaps not fully) what the Psalm is saying:
    “These in the Psalm seek like the Sons of the gods in Genesis 6, like Tower of Babel builders, like Pharaoh, like Rome to be a Kingdom unto themselves. They seek a Pseudo-Kingdom of God.”

    The Psalm says:
    The kings of the earth take their stand
    and the rulers gather together
    against the LORD
    and against his Anointed One.

    “Let us break their chains,” they say,
    “and throw off their fetters.”

    Followed by: “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

    and then: I will make the nations your inheritance,
    the ends of the earth your possession.

    9 You will rule them with an iron scepter [f] ;
    you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”

    10 Therefore, you kings, be wise;
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.

    11 Serve the LORD with fear
    and rejoice with trembling.

    12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry
    and you be destroyed in your way,
    for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
    Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

    It seems that the victory of Christ includes recognition of His rule…He is the King.

    So when you consider that the Father and Son demand recognition of the Anointed One by the nations, then the policy implications would be far-reaching. You can see why talking about one or two would be silly. Christ’s rule is all-encompassing. He is demanding recognition of that fact.

    Like

  49. Craig,

    He has installed his King on Zion, the holy hill…….but there’s something called the already and the not yet. We all look forward to the day when all things shall be under his feet….we’re right with you on that!……but He has to come. That’s why we’re laying up our treasures in heaven and not on the earth…our hope of victory, of life, if there, not here.

    Meanwhile we’re the suffering people, the weak overcoming the strong, slaughtered like sheep, we’re more than conquerors. Don’t you see?… His wisdom makes the wisdom of the world as nothing….fallen man would never even conceive of it. He is glorified by a bunch of losers like you and me persevering and overcoming everything and I mean everything the wicked one throws at us.

    We all agree the Kingdom is established. Nobody here is arguing the premil position. But again, when the Kingdom is defined as not of this world and that you must be born again to see it……how does it manifest itself politically? Was the Pharisee’s hope of overcoming Rome, and a Messiah on the throne of Caesar the right vision of the Kingdom?

    Major hermeneutical difference……even Psalm 2, awesome Psalm 2 has to be read in light of the NT. The New Testament hermeneutic tells us how to interpret the old. Look at Acts 15, where James appeals to Amos 9. The tabernacle of David being rebuilt is the gentile-inclusive Church. We need to read what Jesus and Peter say about the Kingship and Kingdom, Realm and Reign of the Messiah before we go back to Psalm 2.

    Sacraments are simply the Word made visible for us. They are the way in which God administers the Visible Covenant……but there it is again, Covenant. The Law is a Covenant for the people of Israel…with many sacraments. But all of it pointed to and has been fulfilled in Christ. Where can you point to in the Bible that tells me the Covenant was for Edom or for Moab?

    They were included in the ‘them that are far off’ re-iterated by Peter at Pentecost, but that was the Abrahamic Promise Post-Messiah….the New Covenant. Moses was but a parenthesis, an interlude, a tutor that was done away with.

    Don’t worry, the kings of the earth will bow, when He comes again.

    Craig, you are absolutely correct…the policy implications will be far reaching. Let me tell you how far reaching they will be……….a new heavens and a new earth!

    John A.

    Like

  50. Ron,

    Sorry, on that last note I mean to include your name…….the sacrament line. While I would probably be a little more sacramentarian/visible covenant than most BT guys, I can’t agree with your definition. Interesting idea though….

    Does NT Wright actually say that? I’ve not read anything of his. I’ve only heard as in mp3 some of his interactions with people. He’s interesting, but I didn’t agree with him.

    John A.

    Like

  51. Craig, the Baylys and you huff that the resurrection or “Ps. 2” have policy implications. I blow your house down that the resurrection and Ps. 2 don’t have policy implications. I actually suggested one policy implication of the resurrection — regulations for visitors to cemeteries. You haven’t suggested anything. Instead, you think I’m supposed to stay on point and admit there are policy implications — never to be named, of course — about the resurrection and Ps. 2.

    If you wanted to prove 2k wrong, all you need to do is point to a specific policy. If you don’t, I can only conclude you are all quote and no policy.

    It’s not looking real good for you case.

    Like

  52. Ron,

    Why do you think only human beings are commanded to be baptized? Might it be that it’s because only human beings are who Jesus lived and died for? But are you now saying that not only did Jesus live and die for non-imago Dei creation (fish and government) but that these same objects of salvation don’t need the sign and seal of salvation? Triple yeow.

    Craig,

    You’ve asserted that Ps. 2 has political policy implications (we’ve yet to hear what those might be specifically). How does that not presuppose that the Bible is a handbook for political policy? If you want me to stop saying you think the Bible is a handbook for political living then maybe you shouldn’t say the Bible has implications for political policy? I mean, if I said the Bible contains implications for paving roads I think it would be quite fair to say I think the Bible is a handbook for urban dwelling. But I don’t. Clunky as it sounds, I think it’s the handbook for how sinners are reconciled to God.

    If Jesus didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom (and He did NOT…I AGREE), then in WHAT sense could the rulers “break bonds”? How would killing the God-Man, the One who didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom, have bonds which rulers can break?

    You’re losing sight of forest for trees, Craig, and asking the wrong question. The whole Psalm is about the redemptive work of the Lord and Creator Jesus. Maybe you don’t understand that 2K is actually the superior system when it comes to the Lordship of Jesus. We hold that he is Lord over every square inch regardless of whether some inhabitants of creation recognize that or not. 2K has no need to make the pagans bow the public square knee because they are his servants already. You seem to think Jesus isn’t quite Lord unless they do bend the knee. But take a breath, Craig, they will. Patience is a virtue, you know.

    Like

  53. Hello fellow 2kers….

    Help me out here…..

    I have been in arguing in person for years and on discussion threads as of late against Theonomy and Constantinianism. I keep interacting with these people, but 99% of the time, they won’t even answer my questions. I’m met by silence, or they just disappear.

    Is there something wrong with what I’m saying? I realize not everyone here will agree with everything I say…but I can barely get these people to engage. Are my arguments and points I raise that bad?

    It’s like they’re big bullies and when someone stands up to them and actually attacks their position as not just wrong, but guilty of the very things (dishonouring God and profaning His Word) they accuse us of…..what happens? Are they sneering at my lame arguments and walking away, I’m not worthy of an interaction? Or, are they just unable to answer….which is what I’ve always believed. I refuse to accept their terms and paradigm, and so when I change it and hit them with the firehouse so to speak….they seem to just take off.

    I’m a little frustrated though, because when I go to their sites…they just won’t post what I write or they, like the guy over on GreenBaggins, try and say I’m making assertions not arguments…which to me is akin to saying I don’t know how to answer you, gotta go. Their work is full of endless assertion.

    Not to step on anyone’s toes but I think for too long these people are answered, and then they just ignore it and talk louder and have largely taken over (at least in general thought) the Reformed and even Evangelical world. It’s almost like we’re saying, well, that’s okay we just disagree…..

    To my mind, Constantinian/Sacralist/Triumphalist/Theonomic Reconstructionism isn’t just something we can disagree about…..this attacks the very core of Christ’s teaching and ends up overthrowing the gospel. I’m sure folks here have read Kline on this……I agree with him. He was not afraid to call this teaching what it is, and if he’s right, well, you can see why I want to shout from the mountaintops that this isn’t just an erroneous teaching but next to Christological error, this is THE error we’re being warned about on the pages of the New Testament…..I am convinced these people will either lead us into apostasy, or will unnecessarily bring down great wrath upon us as the Culture lashes back….not against the gospel, but against Sacralism.

    Can someone offer a little feedback?

    John A.

    Like

  54. John A.,
    I could say precisely the same things about the extreme 2-K version you seem amenable to…though I wouldn’t lump myself into the Theonomist/Recon camp.

    Many times, it’s as if differing men pass like ships in the night…from my perspective, what is being brought up by Darryl, and Zrim, are immaterial to the central question. I USED to be in the same camp as Darryl Hart and Zrim. I was in that camp for about 6 years. I read lots of Horton. I subscribed to Modern Reformation. I listened to the White Horse Inn. I participated on the Puritanboard from that 2K perspective and read and applauded others. I think I’m familiar with the lingo.

    The fact that Hart and Zrim trot out questions concerning tax policy and street paving are not evidence of understanding a differing view, quite the opposite. The fact Zrim changes what he says concerning my views does not demonstrate his understanding…remember, he thought my stance was that policy implications have equal weight to the revelation of Christ…now he’s simply asserting that my belief that there are implications is tantamount to calling the Bible a handbook for political policy…I’d call it a non-sequitur, but that doesn’t go far enough.

    The problem, as I see it, is that the jingoism of 2-K to the extreme is what keeps men from fruitful discussions…and yes, there is jingoism from other sides as well. What sort of jingoisms come from 2-K to the extreme? I’ll give you two:
    1. Insisting that any view which entails the Word saying “more” than how sinners get saved somehow makes Christ’s work into a social gospel.
    2. Claiming that saying the above also entails trying to make men be good rather than proclaiming the gospel and seeing conversions (strange given that certain influential recons have written to the contrary…that political ordering follows revival).

    Before we can even have a discussion, those 2 have to be dispelled. Until they are, there can be no meaningful discussion. Those 2 assertions are just that: empty assertions. Why do those get a wink and pass as valid while mine do not?

    We have no point of contact…until then, we’ll keep passing in the night.

    John A, I also encourage you to re-read Darryl and Zrim. Neither have engaged with Psalm 2 (though Zrim came the closest). Why avoid the Word? Zrim’s latest assertion about Psalm 2 wasn’t contextually driven, it was eisogetically driven. He said:

    “whole Psalm is about the redemptive work of the Lord and Creator Jesus. Maybe you don’t understand that 2K is actually the superior system when it comes to the Lordship of Jesus. We hold that he is Lord over every square inch regardless of whether some inhabitants of creation recognize that or not. 2K has no need to make the pagans bow the public square knee because they are his servants already. You seem to think Jesus isn’t quite Lord unless they do bend the knee. But take a breath, Craig, they will. Patience is a virtue, you know.”

    The Psalm is about the redemptive work of Christ. He seems to think Christ’s Lordship only requires theoretical lordship…which makes life easier, right? I just say “Christ is Lord, and badda bing! No serious implications until I’m likely long dead!”.

    But the Psalm was talking about Christ’s death but also eschatalogically and in-between. If only eschatalogically, then why the warning? If only about Christ’s death, burial, resurrection…then what of the demand for kings to recognize Him? It is actually self-defeating…if Christ’s Kingdom is reduced to a spiritual 2-K to the extreme version, then why demand kings recognize Him when He didn’t come to establish an earthly kingdom? If it’s only eschatalogical, then again…what are the bonds and why demand kings bow?

    The Psalm is about redemption…but it is clear that the redemption spoken of demands more than just men’s souls and a theoretical lordship. We all agree God is sovereign…it’s just that one side seems to prefer a sovereignty where we shrug our shoulders. God hasn’t given us very much to do since the Lord’s Day comes but once a week. Another version sees God’s sovereignty as establishing means where God actually empowers men to do what is rooted in creation: dominion. We rest each Lord’s Day from doing the work God has placed before us, glorifying Him and representing Him. It’s harder work, but we actually believe God is soverein in all things…others may say He is sovereign, but when the rubber hits the road, what really works its way out is that God is removed from our affairs and men are sovereign.

    Like

  55. Craig,

    Seriously, thanks for your comments.

    You’re right about there not being ‘contact’….we are like people shouting across the street at each other. Neither can quite hear what the other is saying. I think I understand you, you think you understand me…and to a certain extent we do (smile)….but in order to have conversation, meaningful interaction we’ve got to hone the discussion down to some key points.

    Psalm 2 is certainly glorious……but I think the real question behind much of this is how does the OT relate to the NT? Should we read Psalm 2 as stand-alone, and read the NT in light of it, or read the NT, define Messianic Kingship and things like that and then come to Psalm 2.

    What do you think? Feel free to frame the questions differently. I realize you might have a different way to put it.

    Anyone else want to jump in? Aren’t these hermeneutical questions the real issue here? For the 2k folks, we see the NT message and the OT makes perfect sense…we understand it spiritually and typologically. But for the 1k, they’re reading the OT and saying it SAYS this….don’t explain it away.

    I doubt in the end we will agree, but I think by focusing on the foundational areas of disagreement we can have a more profitable discussion. That way we won’t argue based off of mis-characterizing the other position. I’ve been guilty too. I know you guys are trying to honour God, but with Prof. Hart or any of the other 2kers….it’s not fair to say they only want to live as Christians 1 day a week or something like that. They’re arguing for a different type of Christian life and focus grounded in an understanding of the Kingdom. Hey I’m a rabid 2ker but let me tell you, my whole life, all day at work or wherever…I’m thinking about the Kingdom and that is profoundly shaping what I do and how I think. But if I have a different idea of what the Kingdom is…that’s going to look very different and probably more than a little baffling to you.

    I appreciate the exchange….really.

    Thanks,

    John A.

    Like

  56. The fact that Hart and Zrim trot out questions concerning tax policy and street paving are not evidence of understanding a differing view, quite the opposite.

    Actually, Craig, it’s to take the 1K thesis seriously, which is essentially that the Bible speaks to all of life. Well, my life includes a fair amount of taxes and (bad Michigan) roads. The point here is that what all-of-lifers of the 1K variety don’t seem to want to own up to is that what they seem to mean is that the Bible applies to all of extraordinary life. Otherwise, why all the huffing about bringing up the concerns of ordinary life, you know, the place where the vast majority of us actually live?

    So a lot of this turns on how one understands the spectrum of temporal life, which runs from the trivial (salad making, sports and leisure)to the enduring (education, marriage and statecraft). Everything that falls into the temporal is categorically different from the eternal–none of it makes it into the next, eternal age. The ironic thing about 1K is that it tends to mistake the high-end temporal for eternal, leaving middle- to low-end temporal to fend for itself even as it spouts about every square inch. But 2K actually holds that everything temporal, great and small, matters to God, just not in an eternal sense.

    We all agree God is sovereign…it’s just that one side seems to prefer a sovereignty where we shrug our shoulders.

    Here is a better example of not understanding the opposing view, or at least not trying to. But unraised fists aren’t the same as shrugging shoulders, Craig, they’re closer to working hands or rubbing shoulders. And that’s the point of triadalism. This charge of apathy is quite baffling to me. Reformed 1Kers like yourself speak about the nature of the kingdoms and their relationship to each other the very same way my funda-evangelicals do. I think what you both share in common is actually an under-realized view of creation and an over-realized eschatology. You both seem to think general revelation is insufficient to govern general tasks and needs help from special revelation and an impressive impatience to wait upon God alone to usher in the new heavens and new earth. I don’t think either of you understand one bit what it means to be wandering pilgrims.

    Like

  57. Craig, have you ever heard of Christian liberty? Fundamentalists usually have trouble with that one, which is why they generally flame 2kers with words like cowardice, unfaithful, and even sin. I do appreciate your restraint here, but you liked to sling a lot of jingoism (and worse) when you’re with your buddies over at Baylys’.

    Like

  58. Zrim,
    I’m not “1-K”, I’m 2-K…just not the kind of 2-K you are. I’ve told you this at least one other time. I even advanced the argument that the version of 2-K you and Darryl promote presupposes 1-K over at the Bayly Blog (contrary to Darryl, I’ve offered more than jingoisms).

    You offered absolutely nothing, except to say “boy, you sure sound live a fundie!”

    “Sounds like” is just another example of guilt by association…you offer nothing but empty assertions, non-sequiturs, and micharacterizations. Peruse my comments, Zrim. I write with force, and I’m aggressive…but compare it to what you guys say. I ask time and again for you and Darryl to actually discuss issue, but only 1 has stepped up. Darryl likes to say I’m all talk…but I’m in the ring asking him to get in. He is a coward. Is he in sin? I have trouble believing anything good can come from his choice of hobby-horse. We all have errors, but when we parade them about and make them (from all appearances of this blog) a central issue…the component of sin can definitely creep in.

    I’ve lived his form of 2-K. I still fight against it. I see it as a threat to my own walk, so I would warn others to beware of it as well.

    Like

  59. John A,
    I do appreciate your post, though I disagree with you…very much disagree. You said:

    “Psalm 2 is certainly glorious……but I think the real question behind much of this is how does the OT relate to the NT? Should we read Psalm 2 as stand-alone, and read the NT in light of it, or read the NT, define Messianic Kingship and things like that and then come to Psalm 2.”

    Here’s what I think: Psalm 2 is Messianic. We can’t read it as a “stand alone”. Especially when we have NT passages which offer divine commentary. In fact, this is what makes Psalm 2 all the more compelling for implications extending beyond the “spiritual kingdom”. The Father says to the Son “Today I have begotten you”…according to Acts 13:33 this is referring to His resurrection. In light of His resurrection, His glory, there are implications for kings, judges, and rulers on earth. So we will both agree God is sovereign (I am a Calvinist, after all), but it is clear that Psalm 2’s warning to the rulers on the earth hinges on the Kingly office Christ has secured by virtue of his incarnation, death, and resurrection.

    I hope you can see my argument doesn’t hinge on Psalm 2 being a “stand alone” verse…quite the opposite. I hope you can see that we experience another “passing in the night”, so to speak. We are both saying Psalm 2 is Messianic. I’d like to see your take.

    Like

  60. Clarification:
    I said: “but it is clear that Psalm 2′s warning to the rulers on the earth hinges on the Kingly office Christ has secured by virtue of his incarnation, death, and resurrection.”

    What I mean is that Psalm 2 isn’t appealing to God’s sovereignty by virtue of His deity, but of Christ’s office of King, secured by incarnation, death, and resurrection.

    Like

  61. Right, but then do we take Psalm 2 and the message of universal Kingship and the bowing down of the other kings…….and say this looks like…

    A.
    Christ reigning through the church? or literally in person?
    over a universal world empire that’s geo-political?

    B.
    or do we take the NT teaching on the spiritual and eschatological nature Kingdom and now interpret the Psalm in light of that?

    Let me put this way…….what NT verses do you see that lead you to understand the Psalm as A.? We’ll start there. I’m sure you know there’s a ton that can be given to understand it as B. But go ahead…..but then you know I will ask about the B verses….because then we have a conflict in vision and Kingdom paradigm. How do we reconcile?

    John A.

    Like

  62. Why do you think only human beings are commanded to be baptized? Might it be that it’s because only human beings are who Jesus lived and died for?

    Nope, it can’t be since the scriptures tell us a different story. All things are made new, not just people. The works of the devil are many, and Jesus came to destroy all of them. The Fall had an effect on all creation, not just man. And we see this curse beginning to be reversed in real-time as early as after the Flood. Which brings me to your next statement:

    But are you now saying that not only did Jesus live and die for non-imago Dei creation (fish and government) but that these same objects of salvation don’t need the sign and seal of salvation? Triple yeow.

    Well, the whole earth was baptized in the days of Noah, if that makes you happier. But even without that, the scriptures are ripe with passages speaking of the restoration of all things. You just have to believe them.

    Like

  63. John,

    I don’t agree with A…sorry 🙂

    I don’t believe that the Church in any way “rules” over political orders. I believe the Church is to prophesy to rulers…yes, even inform them. We no more rule political orders any more than the Levites ruled over Israel. The prophets didn’t rule over nations in their office as prophets, though we see the line blurred in David, but that’s because he was a type of Christ. Do you see a bit more clearly what I’m saying? Part of the prophetic role of the Church is to proclaim the Word against immoral policy…such as the sanctioning, and approval, of infanticide.

    I’m also not saying that Jesus gets an office at the Whitehouse saying He’s the President. Authority rests upon the authority of God and His Christ. If authority is to wield the sword of justice, that authority must comply with the standards of God. So the kingdoms of man are NOT *the Kingdom*…but the influence from a prophetic Church is an activity of *the Kingdom*.
    Remember, I’m saying there are *implications* for rulers as rulers and the kingdoms they lead.

    “or do we take the NT teaching on the spiritual and eschatological nature Kingdom and now interpret the Psalm in light of that?”

    We are going to disagree at key points of what the spiritual nature of the Kingdom is (probably eschatalogically, too…but I’m not a stickler on eschatology). Could you interact with the Psalm a bit as I did?

    Like

  64. Mr. Paschall,
    Thank you for the opportunity to use a link you yourself posted as a refutation against you.

    The WCF chapters you mention note:
    1. Neglecting baptism is a “great sin”. That puts the *command* to baptize and be baptized in the category of law (I speak in your l/g dichotomous lingo).
    2. Unworthy receivers of The Lord’s Supper commit a “great sin against Christ”. They of course cite 1 Cor 11:29 which states that such receivers drink *damnation* upon themselves. Damnation is in the category of law (I speak in your l/g dichotomous lingo). So it is you sir, who are “flatly wrong” (or at least inconsistent) when you say, “Law is not conferred rather grace, as they are signs and seals of the covenant.” Both law and grace are conferred. Even the signs themselves picture judgment as well as promise, as one of your own has noted. That is the nature of covenant. Promise and Threat. Saving faith embraces the promises of the covenant and trembles at the threats of the covenant.

    When Jesus said, “Do this” and “Go baptize”, He wasn’t making suggestions. He was giving commands. He even went so far as to claim all authority in heaven and on earth to give those commands some teeth. But these commands are sacred commands, that is, they are directed to His covenant people only. That is why they are called “sacraments”. Aquinas referred to the “sacraments of the old law” and the “sacraments of the new law” when speaking of the Old Covenant administration’s ceremonial or restorative law and their New Covenant counterparts.

    Like

  65. John A., you said

    Where can you point to in the Bible that tells me the Covenant was for Edom or for Moab?

    The Law of God precedes the Mosaic covenant. It was given to Adam (commonly referred to as “Moral Law”) and thus, given to all men. The Covenant God made with Israel included this Law, but also had a sacramental element to it. So, as it pertained to the sacramental feasts, for instance, “no uncircumcised shall partake of it.” (Ex 12) But as it pertained to principles of civil justice, which is really what this whole thread is about, “There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the LORD your God.” (Lev 24:22) So God’s moral law, summarily comprehended in the Ten Commandments (all ten, btw), is the duty which God requires of man. (WCF SC 39-41)

    Like

  66. Ron,

    I challenge you to find any Reformed theologians who articulate the means of grace as Law. We are absolutely commanded to faithfully receive the sacraments, however, these indicatives still are not properly categorized as Law in the same sense of the Decalogue. The Law does not confer grace, the sacraments do, unless you take a Zwinglian view of sacraments that function as mere memorials and proclamation of faith and obedience. The problem is that the Reformers all departed from Zwingli’s sacramental views, they resurface again with the Arminians where they continue today, but these views are not in line with Scripture or the Confessions.

    You are conflating the command to administer/partake with the sacraments themselves, which are truly means of grace conferred on the believer. These are distinct. If your exegesis is this sloppy here, how are we to be persuaded at all by your arguments elsewhere? Last time I checked the Reformers weren’t Thomists on the sacraments. My statements stand.

    Like

  67. Okay, Craig, I’m stepping in. The church has a prophetic role to inform the magistrate on what is God’s norm. Does this extend to abolishing idolatry? If not, why do you, in submission to Lord Christ, get to decide what to inform the magistrate about, as if some of God’s standards apply but others don’t.

    Like

  68. these indicatives still are not properly categorized as Law in the same sense of the Decalogue

    I wouldn’t “categorize” them as “Law” because I don’t live in your schizophrenic l/g dichotomy. But a command is a Law. I’m not sure where you learned your grammar, but “Go and baptize” and “Do this” are not indicatives. They are imperatives. Imperatives coming from God are His Law.

    The Law does not confer grace

    I never said the Law confers grace. I said the sacraments confer both grace and judgment, depending on the receiver. It appears you missed that in accusing me of being Zwinglian. As you noted, the Zwinglian view says the sacraments don’t confer anything. Here I am saying the sacraments confer some things. That doesn’t make me a very good Zwinglian.

    As far as Aquinas’ sacrament/law terminology is concerned, he got it from Augustine. And Calvin used it to (ICR 5.14.14). Was circumcision a component of Old Covenant Law? If so, then baptism, the New Covenant counterpart as admission into the covenant, is a component of New Covenant Law. I know you don’t like me saying “New Covenant Law”, while you have no problem whatsoever with me saying “Old Covenant Law”. But, as the Confession you keep pointing to notes, *both* the old and new covenants were administrations of the Covenant of Grace. And yet, look at all that law…

    Like

  69. The church has a prophetic role to inform the magistrate on what is God’s norm. Does this extend to abolishing idolatry?Yes and Amen. Unless you think God’s norm includes idolatry…
    Look, civil governments already have sanctions against lying under many circumstances. False religions are lies of the most destructive kind. Why shouldn’t the civil magistrate forbid them? That mormon knocking on your door is trying to kill you…

    Like

  70. screwed up my blockquotes on that last post. Let’s try that again.

    The church has a prophetic role to inform the magistrate on what is God’s norm. Does this extend to abolishing idolatry?

    Yes and Amen. Unless you think God’s norm includes idolatry…
    Look, civil governments already have sanctions against lying under many circumstances. False religions are lies of the most destructive kind. Why shouldn’t the civil magistrate forbid them? That mormon knocking on your door is trying to kill you…

    Like

  71. Craig,

    ”We no more rule political orders any more than the Levites ruled over Israel. ….”

    I really disagree with this statement. This shows a real different understanding of the Theocratic arrangement of the OT order. It seems like you’re thinking in terms of the modern nation state……which Israel was not. It was unique. The same would go for David. He was first and foremost a type of Jesus Christ. He wasn’t a prophet in relation to a secular office or a non-covenantal kingdom.

    Now there is certainly the sense in which all kingdom of the earth are subject to the reign of Christ….but that doesn’t mean all fall under His holy realm. I do agree the prophetic witness of the church, the influence as you say, is an activity of the Kingdom. Our very presence, our worshipping, living our lives is a testimony.

    As far as the Psalm….

    Christ stood before Pilate (or Caesar if you will accept it) and told him my Kingdom is not of this world. He told Nicodemus you must be born again to see it. We’re told it does not come with observation, and it something only experienced by the regenerate…righteousness, peace, and joy.

    Taking these concepts and understanding the Kingdom is Already and not yet, THEN I go back to the Psalm and say…ah, when the Messiah comes he breaks the Devil’s power over the nations. The gospel can now go forth, it can’t be restricted. This is a further ‘delay’ a proclamation to the world…this is the end, the end of times, repent and believe for the Christ who now reigns is coming again. As far as kingdoms…..they have no way to sacralize their nation. All they can do is repent and believe as individuals with their children. At the Judgment all the authorities of the world (which is of course more than a mere a political frame)….they will be destroyed (bow down).

    I want to ask…what is it about your daily life as a 2ker that you found so troublesome? I’m curious. Then I’ll tell you of something of me and how it plays out if my life and we’ll see if we have the same notions of what 2K living looks like…..

    Like I’ve said elsewhere, I think that IronInk McAtee guy is just building strawmen. Do you really think people like me or others here just want to check our faith at the door on Sunday morning and live like pagans the other six days? I can’t believe you would really think that.

    So…..why would my reading the OT through the NT lens be wrong? And what is your understanding of the ‘retreatist’ 2k life? I know you don’t agree, but I’m not sure what else you would want me to say about the Psalm? We’re coming at it through different lenses.

    John A.

    Like

  72. Ron Smith,

    Thanks for replying.

    Well, I guess we do have a problem here. I find the WCF 3-fold division to be completely unacceptable and I think this formulation has fueled a lot of the debates and frustrated them by framing it all in these wrong categories.

    1. There is no Biblical basis for treating the Mosaic Covenant as anything other than a unity. The so-called civil and ceremonial laws are completely intertwined and we have neither the hermeneutical tools, not the Divine authority to parse out segments of it. It all stands or falls together….I’m sorry but I think the book of Hebrews (my favourite) makes it pretty clear.

    2. As far as the Decalogue…I also don’t accept that Adam had it in the garden. I think some of Paul’s statements in Roman’s are hard to make sense of if he did. I think the Moral Law is something other than the Decalogue which was given as a form-summary, a preamble for the entire Mosaic law covenant.

    As far as the Law being applicable to the stranger…..that still doesn’t mean Moab and Edom, it would apply to the stranger dwelling within the Covenant boundaries, which at that point was geo-political. For us today, the stranger would not fall under the discipline or blessing of the church. Moab and Edom weren’t in the Land, the realm of the covenant.

    Show me in the Bible where Paul or someone teaches the 3-fold division and I’ll talk in those terms. Otherwise I will continue to argue the NT militates against it. Westminster erred big time on that one.

    Nice try, but I don’t think it works……

    John A.

    Like

  73. Dr. Ron, if distinguishing between law/gospel makes me a schizophrenic, then we can live with the diagnosis…pass the seroquel please.

    You assert that “sacraments are a subclass of law”, but then go on to say “I wouldn’t categorize them as law”, this is highly confusing to us. You fail to distinguish between the command, and in this sense you are right to say that the commands “go baptize” etc. are Law, and the sacrament which is a means of Grace. This is where me, myself, and Jed are getting a bit confused. So are the Sacraments law or not?

    So you aren’t Zwingliian, great. My assumption was that if you were holding to Sacraments as Law, then it would be reasonable to infer a memorialistic framework. Mea culpa, I don’t intend to jam you into a box that isn’t your own.

    The problem with your assertion of the abolition of idolatry is that you don’t have precedent in the NT, or in the OT when the covenant people lived prior to the theocracy (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob), or after the collapse of the theocracy (Babylonian/Persian captivity) where the people were called upon to urge the pagan magistrate to abolish idolatry. Heck, in Jer. 29 the Jews were to seek the good and prosperity of pagan Babylon. Within the boundaries of theocratic Israel, and within the courts of the diaspora, idolatry was to be condemned and punished.

    The prophetic mission of the church exposes idolatry, however it is not in our jurisdiction to prosecute it outside of the courts of the church.

    Like

  74. False religions are lies of the most destructive kind. Why shouldn’t the civil magistrate forbid them? That mormon knocking on your door is trying to kill you…

    Ron,

    What happens when the magistrate holds that Christianity is false and should be forbidden? Or is it the case that your theonomy is good because it’s yours but the other guy’s is bad because it’s his? And most observant Mormons I know make fantastic neighbors, as do most observant Muslims and Hindi. What in thee heck are you talking about?

    Like

  75. John A.,

    You said:
    “It seems like you’re thinking in terms of the modern nation state……which Israel was not. It was unique. The same would go for David. He was first and foremost a type of Jesus Christ. He wasn’t a prophet in relation to a secular office or a non-covenantal kingdom.”

    I’m not sure I’m actually following you here at all. I was simply pointing out that the Church should not have control over government (which was something you seemed to think I leaned toward)…we are a “holy nation”, a “priesthood” (as Peter says)…yet a priest is not a king, nor a president. That’s all I was saying. Analogies can be taken too far, and I think that’s what you did.

    You said:
    “Christ stood before Pilate (or Caesar if you will accept it) and told him my Kingdom is not of this world. He told Nicodemus you must be born again to see it. We’re told it does not come with observation, and it something only experienced by the regenerate…righteousness, peace, and joy.”

    I’m with you 100%.

    “Taking these concepts and understanding the Kingdom is Already and not yet, THEN I go back to the Psalm and say…ah, when the Messiah comes he breaks the Devil’s power over the nations. The gospel can now go forth, it can’t be restricted. This is a further ‘delay’ a proclamation to the world…this is the end, the end of times, repent and believe for the Christ who now reigns is coming again.”

    Agreed. He has bound the “strong man”. I’m with you. I would very much emphasize the “it’s here”…that was the message of John the Baptist and Jesus…but it isn’t fully realized.

    You said:
    “All they can do is repent and believe as individuals with their children. At the Judgment all the authorities of the world (which is of course more than a mere a political frame)….they will be destroyed (bow down).”

    This is where we begin parting company. You’ve “spiritualized” the spiritual Kingdom too much. It is all those things you’ve said already, but Christ’s reign as a King, by virtue of His Resurrection, *distinguished* between peoples and kings…nations and rulers…so there are *implications* for rulers and nations. You believe you’re reading Psalm 2 purely through the lens of the NT, but you’ve simply eisogeted your overly spiritualized notion of the kingdom into it. The warnings given are rooted in national disobedience…hence the collective call of groups and their rulers as opposed to a call to individuals that make up all of mankind.

    In addressing this Psalm, Calvin states:
    As the eternal Word of God, Christ, it is true, has always had in his hands by right sovereign authority and majesty, and as such can receive no accessions thereto; but still he is exalted in human nature, in which he took upon him the form of a servant. This title, therefore, is not applied to him only as God, but is extended to the whole person of the Mediator; for after Christ had emptied himself there was given to him a name which is above every name, that before him every knee should bow, (Philippians 2:9) David, as we know, after having obtained signal victories reigned over a large extent of territory, so that many nations became tributaries to him; but what is here said was not fulfilled in him. If we compare his kingdom with other monarchies it was confined within very narrow boundaries. Unless, therefore, we suppose this prophecy concerning the vast extent of kingdom to have been uttered in vain and falsely, we must apply it to Christ, who alone has subdued the whole world to himself and embraced all lands and nations under his dominion.

    Matthew Henry is a bit more explicit with regard to Psalm 2:
    “Kings and judges stand upon a level with common persons before God; and it is as necessary for them to be religious as for any others. Those that give law and judgment to others must receive law from Christ, and it will be their wisdom to do so. What is said to them is said to all, and is required of every one of us, only it is directed to kings and judges because of the influence which their example will have upon their inferiors, and because they were men of rank and power that opposed the setting up of Christ’s kingdom”

    You asked:
    “I want to ask…what is it about your daily life as a 2ker that you found so troublesome?”

    Being able to “justify” my silence at work and going about my daily business. “They’re pagans” I would say, “Why expect otherwise?” And to an extent, of course that’s true…but the law/gospel dichotomy prevented me from using such opportunities to share the Word. I became so opposed to moralism that a Christian’s reasonable service became quite unreasonable.

    “Do you really think people like me or others here just want to check our faith at the door on Sunday morning and live like pagans the other six days? I can’t believe you would really think that.”

    McAtee has his hobby-horse and so does Darryl. I try not to ride either, so I wouldn’t paint with so broad a brush…However, I have lived the reality of 2-K extremism, and knowing that any sin I fall prey to is common to man…I realize it is not likely to be an uncommon occurrence for those who beat the drum perpetually. Am I saying you beat the drum? I have no reason to think so.

    “So…..why would my reading the OT through the NT lens be wrong? And what is your understanding of the ‘retreatist’ 2k life? I know you don’t agree, but I’m not sure what else you would want me to say about the Psalm? We’re coming at it through different lenses.”

    We’re both claiming to be reading the Psalm through a NT lens, as I’ve already mentioned and believe I’ve adequately explained (though maybe I’m not always clear). What I would like you to say about the Psalm is to acknowledge there is significance to the warning to those who hold offices as rulers, and those who members of nations who participate in national opposition to the Christ. If this is the case (and I believe it is), we are far too silent on issues where our nation opposes Christ most explicitly.

    Unlike Darryl’s assertion, there are implications to the Resurrection when it comes to policy…if not, then a Messianic Psalm issuing warning based on Christ’s supreme rule over the nations by virtue of His Resurrection suddenly loses its bite. We are less likely to say, with Matthew Henry, that rulers must submit to Christ the Supreme Law-giver and issue laws as instructed in the school of Christ. They are to “kiss the Son”, a symbol of submission…not merely as fellow believers, but in their capacity as kings.

    Like

  76. Craig, why do you think a 2k view would prevent you from giving an account of your faith to co-workers? You wrote: “Being able to “justify” my silence at work and going about my daily business. “They’re pagans” I would say, “Why expect otherwise?” And to an extent, of course that’s true…but the law/gospel dichotomy prevented me from using such opportunities to share the Word. I became so opposed to moralism that a Christian’s reasonable service became quite unreasonable.”

    Did you want to share the law or the gospel? And now that you’re not 2k, are you going around the office telling the pagans how to behave? How’s that working out for you?

    If you think John A. spiritualizes the kingdom too much, you don’t believe in the powers of the spiritual kingdom. You seem to think that Christ’s rule will mean a godly, holy, moral society. (Have you seen what his rule does to persons whose good works remain filthy rags?) You don’t seem to understand that when Christ rules, he delegates it to all sorts of folks, from Saddam Hussein to your pagan neighbor who has charge over his family. Christ is ruling in both of those situations. He is ordering all things to his purpose. Does that mean we should not seek to win those people to Christ? Of course not. Does it mean we should invade Iraq? Of course not. But why do you think Christ is not in charge when evil men rule?

    You are doing exactly what the Jews wanted of Jesus. They wanted a restoration of the Davidic kingdom because anything less would mean God wasn’t in charge.

    Like

  77. Craig,

    Hey thanks for the great reply.

    First, I will apologize if I misunderstood you regarding the analogies related to office.

    Second…we’re kind of at an impasse on the Kingdom issue. Of course we’ll all agree the kings will bow and kiss the son at the eschaton when he comes in glory as judge. This Already is the time of the suffering servant and a suffering people…

    But for now…I have hard time trying to get myself to think as you are, but I’m trying for the sake of the discussion. What does that look like? What does a nation bowing to Christ look like? Unless the nation is corporately regenerate I fail to see that as something that would be of any consequence. What standard are they bowing to? No nation is in Covenant with God. If it’s some kind of cultural Christianity…where’s the basis for that category in the Bible? Where’s this extra-tier added to the visible church that incorporates a nation/culture and creates a category of person that ‘Christian’ in the sense of belonging to a national cultural legacy of certain broad values? I just don’t find these categories. I understand your point about the kingdom’s bowing down….I don’t agree with how you’re framing it, but I understand your point. But in the big picture…..I struggle with even understanding why the emphasis on this? It seems a whole host of assumptions are driving the question. But if those assumptions are wrong, the whole model is kind of left with its pants down. Please feel free to shoot back a little on some of those points. In the end, yes I am spiritualizing the Kingdom…I think that’s what the NT does.

    As far as Henry and Calvin…..well, with respect, they were wrong. That’s the whole point of what I argue everywhere….the Reformation recast Sacralism and set Protestantism down the same road.

    What would the church addressing the state look like? I don’t get the impression you’re quite of the same mind as say, American Vision, Chalcedon, and these other groups. Or am I wrong?

    What would the church say about Foreign Policy? It’s complex and if it is not carefully divorced from nationalism can lead to terrible very sinful endorsements like the Land Letter.

    The Financial Crisis? Considering the majority of Conservative Christians in this country are rather well to do, it would seem they are directly involved in all that has happened and thus have no moral standing on the issue. I realize these are practical arguments and don’t address the theoretical level, but in a fallen world…that’s what we’re going to get. It’s messy.

    Here’s what the churches could do. Tell the government….we’ll help. We’ll pay for the disaster relief or soup kitchens in our area for a summer…to help the government get its house in order so we can have a stable and peaceful society. What about the church taking a role like that?…like in the early church by helping people. That’s a powerful policy statement.

    I think just the Altar-Oracle presence of the church in the world is proclamation enough but let’s keep going. Abortion. I don’t see any use in the legislative battle. Christians have been duped by it anyway on every turn. Protests? I just don’t see the early church out doing that. They had plenty of social evils in their day too. What about crisis pregnancy centers, ultrasounds, education, adoption options…….fantastic. God bless the people who do that. There’s a positive thing the church can do.

    It sounds like maybe….you’ve misunderstood the application of 2k to the Christian life? I don’t think anyone here would say you can’t engage at work. I don’t think we need to be John the Baptist in the workplace, we can engage…..but with wisdom. We’ve all seen really foolish attempts at bringing Christianity into the workplace….it ends up where everyone just despises the guy, and it’s not because of the offense of the gospel, but because he’s a jerk. But is it our calling to protest a company’s gay policy? No, I don’t think so. I think we can speak humbly but confidently on a personal level, and if we get canned…praise the Lord. But I don’t really care if a company has some kind of gay policy. I need to stand for Christian sexual morality no matter what the consequence, but that doesn’t mean I get to dictate to Home Depot or whoever what their policies are. If they fire me because in the break room I told a co-worker that homosexuality is sin… oh, well. I don’t think the answer is to call the ACLJ. I think they need to go away.

    Here’s what it looks like for me. I’ve always found a latent prosperity gospel among Kuyperians. I need to go out and conquer so God can be glorified, make good money so I can use it, etc….but in most of the business world my Christian ethic actually prevents me from having that kind of success.

    I am to love my neighbour and to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I am a self-employed and do remodeling type work for people. So when I go out and work, remodeling their bathroom or whatever, I want to be very fair with them and reasonable in what I charge and how I treat them. Most of them have no idea how badly they are being fleeced by other contractors. So I try to be fair and decent. And guess what? I have a great reputation. But, I don’t make a lot of money. I’m pretty poor by American standards, but I can sleep at night. That type of ethic doesn’t make one rich. It doesn’t have to make one poor, but if you’re applying this type of thinking to your personal economics and conduct, you’re not going to get ahead and you’re going to have a hard time working for a lot of companies. In a capitalist system the guys who put profits first…they’re on top. They have the appearance of success, but I’m not sure God looks at them as successful.

    Consequently to a Kuyperian, I’m not having a lot of impact am I? No extra money to contribute to ministries and causes. I’m not the guy driving around in the big red truck with a christian fish on the back. I haven’t built a business that’s involved in community affairs etc….

    Or am I having an impact? How does one measure such things? Does God measure them the same as we would? I’ve got a pretty good reputation with people. I live in a rural area and everybody knows who we are and everyone knows my kids and how they behave. We live in the type of place where everywhere I go, the post office, the grocery store, the hardware store, bank, etc…everyone greets me by first name. Could it be possible that living my quiet life I’m having an impact? By running a simple and honest business I’m affecting the people that come into my path? As Providence brings people into my path….I can talk with them.

    I hope you’re not rolling your eyes, but what I mean is….I think this is how the church impacts….not through Focus on the Family Justice Sunday and things like that. I think we can interact as a church with the state, but it should be in terms of helping….not faith based programs!!!!….but rather, saying we’ll help those people….disaster relief or whatever.

    Maybe sometimes our interaction is by refusing to help. When the government wants us to support a war, our presence, and our silence (in the public square) might say a lot. Within the church, the leaders better be teaching their people to think and be aware and not be deceived by the propaganda……..2k theology doesn’t mean we ignore the world around us. In fact we should be the most aware, so we’re not being deceived….as the signers of the Land Letter were.

    Go ahead and blast away (smile)….I do believe we’re having a healthy conversation. I hope someone finds it interesting……John A.

    Like

  78. John A,
    I’ll respond later today, Lord willing. Lots to do here.

    Darryl,
    if you would like to have meaningful exchanges, it would do you well to try to pay better attention. For example, I did not say Christ is sovereign only if society is moral and godly. Earlier I distinguished between Christ’s sovereignty by virtue of His deity, and His glorified role as King by virtue of His resurrection…something also noted by Calvin (but more importantly, attested to in Acts)…I mean, unless you want to mingle the two-natures and then develop some perverted notion of deification for man akin to the Eastern Orthodox.

    Christology, Incarnation, and Resurrection…this is the lens I’m looking through. I am 2-K, btw…just not your version…for…how many times have I said this now?

    Darryl postulates: “You don’t seem to understand that when Christ rules, he delegates it to all sorts of folks, from Saddam Hussein to your pagan neighbor who has charge over his family. Christ is ruling in both of those situations.”

    Again, you’re confusing Christ’s sovereignty by virtue of His deity and confounding it with His Messianic role…or more to the point, removing any notion of Kingship being acquired by virtue of His victory as the God-Man. So I agree on the one hand that Christ is sovereign…from the good ruler to the wicked one…but I also acknowledge He warns the rulers on earth to kiss the Son…He’s not less than a King when they refuse, and He’s not less sovereign…in fact, it proves He is sovereign.

    So you and I acknowledge Divine Sovereignty…unfortunately you usher that notion out the back door and make our circumstances sovereign…hence, your form of 2-K presupposes 1-K.

    You may continue charging me with being like the Jews seeking an earthly kingdom…but that only shows others patiently following the discussion that you aren’t actually paying attention, or worse, that you’re misconstruing my position.

    Like

  79. Craig, sorry but having meaningful exchanges is a bit of a stretch since you have used a scorched earth policy with me over at Baylys. See, I pay attention.

    What you don’t seem to pay attention to is that I said it “seems” you only think Christ’s rule is evident when a society is holy, righteous, and just. In other words, I’m trying to get you to pay attention to the implications of your position. And your response results in a similar implication. You say both of us agree with divine sovereignty. But my version won’t let you try to change the circumstances of wickedness and unrighteousness. My version supposedly makes circumstances sovereign. But have you considered that the circumstances are under God’s control? Would you have tried to stop Christ’s death on the cross? The answer for you and me both is obviously yes. And yet that would have meant our undoing.

    In other words, you don’t seem to recognize that God uses wicked means to accomplish his purposes. It happened in the crucifixion. It happens daily when rulers and saints disobey God’s revealed will.

    Does this mean we cannot stop wickedness when we see it? No, emphatically. But it does mean that we need to attend to the means of opposition. Being a vigilante is illegitimate for a Christian. And using the institutional church to engage in political opposition is also wrong — an abuse of its spiritual power.

    So if you believe in two kingdoms, what on earth does that look like?

    Like

  80. Zrim said,

    What happens when the magistrate holds that Christianity is false and should be forbidden?

    Well, that has happened and is even still happening, so I’m sure you know the answer. But as I have said previously, civil magistrates who don’t do their duty aren’t an argument against civil magistrates who do their duty. What happens when the civil magistrate no longer recognizes traditional marriage? We better have the magistrate recognize all perversions of marriage then.

    There were wicked kings in the Old Covenant. The solution to this wasn’t to have no king or to diminish his duties. The solution was to the give the people a good King. And that is just what our God did.

    Like

  81. I am 2-K, btw…just not your version…You may continue charging me with being like the Jews seeking an earthly kingdom…but that only shows others patiently following the discussion that you aren’t actually paying attention, or worse, that you’re misconstruing my position.

    Craig,

    It’s not unusual to deny that one’s views are parallel with scriptural antagonists. But it’s ironic for you to claim 2K and deny your 1K sympathies while you are standing on that classic “Kiss the Son” 1K platform.

    What all forms of 1K have in common is the basic Constantinian premise that the powers of the world and the kingdom of heaven are not so diametrically opposed but can be made friends If that’s the case then Jesus’ work on earth was an utter failure, since it ended so fatally for him (and his disciples). At the very least it assumes that the gospel has some obvious implications for or direct bearing on the cares of this world. But if that’s true then shouldn’t Christianity have bagged a better game after two-thousand years on earth? I mean, it’s had this long now and yet there seems to be nothing new under the sun.

    There were wicked kings in the Old Covenant. The solution to this wasn’t to have no king or to diminish his duties. The solution was to the give the people a good King. And that is just what our God did.

    Ron,

    I’m not sure what makes you think 2K wants to diminish kings or their duties (good or tyrant). What it actually seeks to do is buttress their authority and believers’ sense of submission and obedience to them, something that gets the panties of all 1Kers (especially American ones) into quite a bunch. It seems to me your solution “to fetch a good king” is pious code for civil disobedience, something no where detectable in the New Covenant era (you know, that era we live in now). I mean, I see plenty of NT commands to submit and obey, but where is there any NT command to “fetch a good king”?

    But here is where theonomic presuppositions clash with 2K ones: we don’t look to the theocratic dispensations for models on how to live in the inter-advental age, we look to the exilic dispensations. We are pilgrims awaiting the final theocratic triumph, which comes from the hand of God alone.

    Like

  82. John A,
    I wan to start by agreeing with this statement you made:
    “It seems a whole host of assumptions are driving the question. But if those assumptions are wrong, the whole model is kind of left with its pants down.”

    There are a whole host of assumptions I’m making (though I’ve been arguing for them). There are a whole host of assumptions you’re making as well. The assumptions are what I’ve tried to get Darryl to discuss. So to clarify, it isn’t merely that I’m making a whole host of assumptions that could leave my model with its pants down, the same goes for your view. Taking your assumptions for granted doesn’t validate them, they simply remain unargued assumptions. It’s as if we’re both approaching the doorway to a locker room…one of us may be walking out fully clothed, the other may still be fumbling for his pants. Of course, I believe my trousers are on, and my fly is secure 🙂

    You said:
    “As far as Henry and Calvin…..well, with respect, they were wrong. That’s the whole point of what I argue everywhere….the Reformation recast Sacralism and set Protestantism down the same road.”

    Okay. That’s an assertion in lieu of an argument…followed by what I can only describe as jingoism.

    You said:
    “I struggle with even understanding why the emphasis on this?”

    Well, my emphasis isn’t primarily political…though this seems to always be the direction 2-K extremes go when talking with someone who disagrees. Psalm 2 is not merely talking about socio-political issues the resurrection has implications for (though these are included), it is a jaw-dropping Psalm in light of Acts that you have to ask “What is not included?”.

    You asked:
    “What would the church addressing the state look like? I don’t get the impression you’re quite of the same mind as say, American Vision, Chalcedon, and these other groups. Or am I wrong?”

    1. The Church addressing the state can look different…it could be Paul, after being told he’d die, insisting on his rights as a Roman just so he can address Caesar. It could work out any number of ways. This is just one item, though my concern in opposing Darryl’s 2-K view is a bit bigger. I’d rather not get hung up on the State. I’d rather focus on the plain fact that there are implications for rulers and nations on the basis of Christ’s resurrection…which means there are policy implications, but it isn’t limited to policy. As I mentioned earlier, that Psalm is so expansive it is trifling to simply talk about political issues.
    2. I’ve heard of American Vision and Chalcedon…I’m not very familiar with their stuff…but am confident my views would be nuanced differently…for instance, I’m not wholly sold on capitalism. That alone makes me pretty weird.

    Again, these things are not very important…you asked a lot of questions…you’ve spent some time interacting with Psalm 2, dismissed my ideas, Calvin’s and Henry’s, but you’ve yet to set a positive case. This is where you simply take your assumptions for granted…as you noted earlier, with these assumptions being un-articulated, one may find a nippy wind for lack of their trousers.

    As for your use of the term “Kuyperian”, I’m not sure that’s terribly meaningful…it strikes me a jingo. I’m in no way proposing a wealth-oriented gospel…in fact, the sort of impact Psalm 2 should have our lives may render us penniless and hated. Living a quiet life is by no means opposed to my take of Psalm 2, or a more biblical form of 2-K. On a personal note, I work in a field where my view 2-K view can (and likely will) hurt my prospects of ever becoming wealthy…not that my profession will ever make me rich (middle class, at best)…and I work for an unbeliever. I work hard, am respectful, and try to be profitable for him. This man is also a sodomite, I’ve come to learn. And some of our clients are sodomite activist groups. I have yet to be asked to work on a case for these groups, but Thursday I nearly was asked. The project file came out and was about to be handed to me, but then was taken away. I’m not officially employed, rather, I’m an “independent contractor” with none of the legal safeguards an employee has. When the time comes that I have to refuse to work on those projects, my livelihood could be gone. Word of mouth spreads fast…and my city has a terrible economy…and I have a wife and two kids. Yes, I work hard, live quietly and peacefully…the work I may be asked to do is completely legal…but from conviction from the Word, I will have to refuse to work in any capacity where I benefit a sodomite rights group.

    The hand that nearly handed me the sodomite group’s project…an LCMS pastor’s wife.

    Like

  83. Craig,

    Missouri Synod????

    Right— we’re both employing many un-argued assumptions. It’s a web-thread. To fully argue many of these points would require hundreds of pages. That’s not the point of this exercise, but you already know that don’t you?

    As far as assumptions underlying the structure of our arguments…..well, I find the Constantinian position to rest on foundations which are proven invalid by the NT. We can talk more about that…we have been to some extent. We could take a vote. I think everyone here would say you’re the one who refuses to engage that point. For this discussion to amount to anything, we have to get back to hermeneutics. I’m arguing you’re reading the Bible inverted. You’re looking through the wrong end of the binoculars……that’s why the NT Kingdom is so far away. Show me an instance where an Apostle treated a Psalm or a prophetic passage the way you are?

    As far as Henry and Calvin….usually one trots them out as an authority on the issue. What I’m saying is….I don’t respect their authority. Do we want to talk about why they were wrong on these issues? Well, I thought we were. It’s hermeneutics again. They made the same mistake you’re making. If you feel comfortable saying I’ll stick with Calvin…then by all means man…do so! Then the discussion is over. At that point we’re not talking about the Bible anymore…we’re talking about tradition.
    I’m glad to hear you are unfamiliar with American Vision and Chalcedon……because you’re not going to get Biblical arguments there. What you’re going to get is the Constantinian tradition asserted over and over again. Oh, was that an assertion? Do I need to footnote that?

    As far as assertive jingos……..Are you trying to argue the Magisterial Reformation didn’t embrace Constantinianism? I know some Anabaptists who would disagree, with just about every other historian…even the revisionist/propagandists at American Vision would agree with me.

    Are you going to try and argue Germany didn’t turn Constantinian? England? France? Scotland then? Geneva? Hardly an assertive jingo. It’s called historical fact. Would you argue against it? I’d be more than happy to engage.

    Even the most rabid Theonomist doesn’t dispute it…..for them it’s not a matter of whether it occurred, it’s a matter of theology and ethics.

    This seems to be the direction 2K’S go when talking with some who disagrees?

    It was called being polite. Allow me to re-phrase….

    Show me a verse…..even one in the NT that even hints a Cultural Transformation or your policy argument? Show me something….anything in the NT that hints Paul was concerned with socially or politically confronting the infanticide of his day.

    I know, I know… Make disciples of all nations………it’s called bringing the gospel to the Gentiles…often referred to as the nations. There’s nothing in the verse to indicate Transformationalism.

    Will you accuse me of being a NT Christian instead of a whole Bible Christian? We all know that one. Well, we’re back to hermeneutics. In one sense……NT Christians are the only kind there’s ever been…..Don’t agree? We’re back to hermeneutics. I know why you don’t want to talk about NT Apostolic hermeneutics.

    Your interpretation of Psalm 2 is flawed from the beginning because you refuse to submit to once again…the Apostolic hermeneutic. The NT teaches the nature of the Kingdom, the nature of the Messianic kingship, the kingdom principle, and how the kingdom is to be understood eschatologically. It helps us to make the distinction between Rule and Reign.
    The Apostles show us how to read OT prophecy.

    You are reading Psalm 2 as the Zealots and Pharisees did. Do you dispute that? Show me how you differ from their views of a Messianic Kingdom ruling over the nations of the world?

    I would argue we do have a Messianic King who indeed Already REIGNS over the kingdoms of this world. That doesn’t mean those kingdoms are transformed into His REALM. He is the head of the church….not America.

    I’m sorry you don’t like the term Kuyperian, but you’re advocating Transformationalism and thus the label is applicable. Tell me then, even in jingo if you want, how it is you’re not a Kuyperian? C’mon a 2K-extreme like me is asking.

    I didn’t accuse you personally of promoting a wealth-oriented gospel, but I stand by my statement. There is among the Dominionist camp a latent prosperity gospel. I’ve encountered it time and again. I mentioned it as a backdrop to the view of Kingdom I’m advocating.

    The American middle-class is rich. 99% of the world would agree with that statement.

    So if you are 2K…then we’re all waiting with baited breath for you to explain what it is you’re talking about…….?

    I have to say I’m a little disappointed. I thought we were having a good discussion. You accused me of pulling out the 2K line about ‘why are you even asking these questions?’

    I ask it again. Where do you find Transformationalism in the NT? Show me something. That’s how weak your case is. There is virtually nothing in the NT to promote this position.

    Instead, I find you’re pulling out the old Theonomy stand-bys. Pull out the assertion/argument card. Nit pick about nomenclature and argument structure. I run into this often….usually it is a means of escape. I could almost guess who you’ve been talking to…..Yes, dismiss me as a sub-Aristotelian amateur not worthy of your consideration……..

    The Word of God is not mocked.

    We are Christians. We understand the Bible is the Word of God and we’re talking about Spiritual matters. We do so soberly and seeking wisdom. Your tactic remind of Presbyterians who shut down an opponent by playing Roberts Rules games. I thought better of you.

    We don’t need to turn to Aristotelian Term Logic, Syllogism, Validity, and Proofs to have a discussion. The Bible is not a math book. Yes, yes I know how can we have discussions that mean anything? Well it Aristotelian Categories are the answer…..let’s all go home. Because we thought we had an Eternal Word given to us. I guess all those things it was talking about…they were just formulae. How profound.

    I continually find some who can’t argue their position run and hide behind these curtains rather than engage. And it is all the more ironic because one need only scroll up the page as it were, to find their own words are also full of un-argued assertion.

    Be careful you don’t set up a standard for interpretation that in the end trumps the very heart of the Revelatory message God has given us.

    John A.

    Like

  84. Craig, you wrote: “The Church addressing the state can look different…it could be Paul, after being told he’d die, insisting on his rights as a Roman just so he can address Caesar. It could work out any number of ways. This is just one item, though my concern in opposing Darryl’s 2-K view is a bit bigger. I’d rather not get hung up on the State. I’d rather focus on the plain fact that there are implications for rulers and nations on the basis of Christ’s resurrection…which means there are policy implications, but it isn’t limited to policy.”

    Sorry, but it sure looks like your concerns are small and revolve around sex. It’s either abortion or homosexuality. And what started off our less than pleasant exchanges over at the Baylys’ was the notion that Scott Clark and I are somehow unfaithful and cowardly if we don’t picket at abortion clinics.

    Which again raises the question of Christian liberty and vocation. Can you concede that someone is faithful who does not approach working for homosexual activists the way that you do? Can you see that the diversity of Christian responses in such a situation relates to the reality that these activities take place in the other kingdom?

    So while you say your concerns are bigger, you never specify. And when you finally get specific (still no “policy”), it’s all about how you relate to people who break the seventh commandment. What about idolatry? What does the second commandment do for you? My own sense is that you are not opposed to 2k. You are opposed to people who aren’t as squeamish as you are about the sexual sins of non-Christians.

    Like

  85. Darryl,
    You are a coward. You have no idea what I’m talking about and you have yet to be the man John A is by trying to engage is a real discussion. Your view is wicked because it removes the usefulness of the law, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the *newness* regeneration brings from any practical use.

    You claim you want to talk about particulars, but you have yet to present a positive argument. I have simply stated that there are implications stemming from the Resurrection…yes, that includes policy (as my pastor has mentioned already, which made you squeamish).

    When men speak of sanctification, you get squeamish. Why are you squeamish about God’s call but not about blasphemy, homosexualiy, and infanticide?

    My concerns are “bigger” in the sense that they are more expansive. You have the “benefit” of not having to worry about the implications of your teachings, though you will be held to account. Had that LCSMS pastor’s wife handed you a file to work on for the benefit of a sodomite rights group, would you have worked on it? Would you see an opportunity for the gospel there? Or would it just be “law”, and a simple believer being “foolish” for not understanding his vocation? The sad thing is that you’d likely have more trouble working for the benefit of a baptist church than a group formed for the sole purpose of reversing what it means to be a man or a woman…you’d see this as law, and not gospel…to ignore the relationship between sex and the gospel means you really have no apprehension of covenant, or federal headship…which means a watered-down notion of the monergistic work of the new birth, justification by faith alone and the unmerited imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

    Your problem, Darryl, is that you’re just not Reformed enough.

    Like

  86. Craig, you may be right. I avert my eyes at the sight of blood. I can handle bullying though and your bluster does not scare me. Boo!

    But as it so typical of you (and the Baylys), you presume to know my situation and what stakes I may live with. That’s big, bad, and brave, I guess. And it is ignorant. Which proves that zeal does not make up for wisdom.

    But, hey, thanks for returning to Bayly Bros. form.

    Like

  87. Craig, now that you’ve got that off your chest, maybe you could address the questions I asked:
    Can you concede that someone is faithful who does not approach working for homosexual activists the way that you do? Can you see that the diversity of Christian responses in such a situation relates to the reality that these activities take place in the other kingdom?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.