In his endless and zealous quest to see Abraham Kuyper prevail as the vice-regent of all things, Dr. K. (Nelson Kloosterman) keeps translating and quoting Kuyper as if such invocations will settle debates over 2k. Somehow, Kloosterman believes that 2kers deny Christ’s kingship over all things. When I respond that Jesus was Lord even over Saddam Hussein, just not as king in the sense of being Saddam’s redeemer, I receive responses like the following (which is generally a restatement that 2kers deny Christ’s Lordship over all things):
Agreement: Jesus Christ is King of the church
Agreement: Jesus Christ will one day rule all the world
Difference: Jesus Christ is King of the cosmos. Not simply the Second Person of the Trinity, not simply the “Logos Asarkos,” not simply the Son of God. No—Jesus Christ, prophet and priest, is also King of the universe.
Difference: Jesus Christ is King of the cosmos today. Here and now. In this world, and in today’s history.
These are not quibbles. For now we are being introduced to a new terminological distinction (here) regarding Jesus’ essential reign as King and Jesus’ mediatorial reign as King. Note: not the essential reign of Jesus Christ, but merely the essential reign of Jesus as the Second Person of the Godhead.
The distinction between Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ as the second person of the Trinity is lost on me. But I suppose it gets Dr. K. through these difficult mid-western winters.
And then, as is his habit, Dr. K. finishes off debate with a long flourish from the original Dr. K. (i.e. Kuyper):
Coupled with this was a change in another arena of living. As the ecclesiastical conflict was being waged, Reformed people were throwing themselves into public social life. For them there existed two kinds of living, one kind within the Church and another kind outside the Church, and justice was no longer being done to the unity of both. That rupture could have been prevented only if the confession of the Kingship of Christ, proceeding from the church, had been recognized within popular consciousness as the governing power for all of life. But this is precisely what did not happen. Instead the Kingship of Christ was pushed further into the background, and at that point naturally this caused the contrast between ecclesiastical life and public life to penetrate the consciousness of Reformed people in a most perilous way. Ultimately it was as though people dealt with Christ only in the church, and as though outside the church they did not have to take into account the exaltation of Christ. That opposition has functioned until late in the previous [nineteenth] century, at which point room was made for the first time for better harmony in Christian living. This is how we acquired our Christian press, our Christian science, our Christian art, our Christian literature, our Christian philanthropy, our Christian politics, our Christian labor organizations, etc. In short, the understanding that Christ laid claim also to life outside the church gradually became commonplace. At present we are already to the point that nobody among us wants it any differently anymore. The problem, however, is that people still seek [to locate] the Christian character of these various expressions of life too exclusively in Christian principles, and the understanding has not yet sufficiently permeated our thinking that Christ himself is the One who as our King must imprint this Christian stamp on our expressions of life. This explains the need for awakening and fortifying this understanding once again. It is this need that Pro Rege is attempting to satisfy.
According to the contemporary Dr. K., this is the heart of the issue, whether there are two ways, or two spheres of Christian endeavor, one inside and the other outside the church. For neo-Calvinists distinctions between creational and redemptive spheres when considering aesthetics is a form of dualism and a sign of infidelity because it denies Christ’s lordship over all things.
The frustrating aspect of those who are so eager to blur distinctions between the religious and the secular, between the eternal and the temporal, is that they are long on inspiration and short on qualification. What I mean is that someone could plausibly read Kuyper on the effort to integrate the church and all other walks of life as an endorsement of contemporary Christian music. (Since John Frame, who follows Kuyper also, makes this move in reflecting on worship, this idea is not far fetched). When folks like Larry Norman, the first Christian rocker, asked “why should the devil have all the good music?” he was apparently rephrasing the Kuyperian desire to tear down the distinctions between Christian and secular areas of life. He wanted to bring the expressions of secular culture into the halls of the sacred assembly.
Which makes me wonder if Kuyper and neo-Calvinism is proximately responsible for the triumph of bad taste and poor music in Reformed churches. Without making the distinctions that 2kers are wont to require, I don’t see how a Kuyperian would really object to the contemporary Christian music project on the grounds of contemporary cosmic Christology.