Two Kingdom Tuesday On Where's Waldo Wednesday

I have encountered what seems to me a strange notion — in several places where Federal Vision Worldviewism has left its mark — that the differences between Reformed and Anglicans are not that great, and that historically speaking it is wrong to distinguish them. Along with this perspective usually comes great regard for Richard Hooker as providing a proper critique of the Puritans’ ecclesiology and a correction to Calvin’s excesses.

But when you consdier the way the Dutch Reformed and the English Anglicans (I know it’s redundant but you need a place and a tradition and the English made the mistake of confusing the two) related in colonial New Netherland (later New York), you may understand why the Reformed churches were not wild about the English or the way they ran their church. The following is an excerpt that should point Reformed Christians away from the Canterbury Trail (high church Calvinism doesn’t need a bishop):

Dutch Calvinists had brought this notion with them to the New World. Writing in 1628, Dominie Jonas Michaelius, the first clergyman in New Netherland, conceded that although “political and ecclesiastical persons can greatly assist each other, nevertheless the matters and offices belinging together must not be mixed but kept separate, in order to prevent all confusion and disorder.” Indeed, quite often throughout the New Netherland period the clergy and the West India Company directors-general found themselves at odds; the most notorious such conflict occurred between Domine Everardus Bogardus and Director-General Willem Kieft, who battled each other so fiercely that they sailed together back to Holland for arbitration only to be shipwrecked and perish off the coast of Wales.

This adversarial relationship of church and state was foreign to Restoration Englishmen, however. Building on the writings of Thomas Erastus, a sixteenth-century political theorist, Anglicans believed that the church should be subject to the powers of the state. Richard Hooker, apologist for the Church of England, wrote that “there is not any restraint or limitation of matter for regal authority and power to be conversant in, but of religion whole, and of whatsoever cause thereto appertaineth, kings may lawfully have charge, they lawfully may therein exercise dominion, and use the temporal sword.” (Randall Balmer, A Perfect Babel of Confusion: Dutch Religion and English Culture in the Middle Colonies, pp. 20-21)

It does seem that most of the Reformed leaning folks today who advocate that magistrates get the true religion and enforce it (good and hard) are largely Erastian, while the 2k position is deeply rooted in those Reformed theologians and pastors that were always opposing Erastus and the magistrates who appealed to him. I guess another option is out there. Theonomy.


One thought on “Two Kingdom Tuesday On Where's Waldo Wednesday

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