2K Cherries 2Hot 2Handle

The allegedly controversial character of 2k theology has prompted Lane Keister over at Greenbaggins to cease his review of John Frame’s recent book. He has also decided not to allow any more discussions of 2k at his blog. I understand Lane’s decision. I also concede that my sarcasm has contributed to his decision. For some reason, mocking someone’s objections does not bring out the best in those who object.

At the same time, some objections do no deserve a reasonable response. In fact, some who object to 2k have so made up their minds about the idea and its proponents that they will hear nothing in defense of the doctrine; they won’t even read the books written on 2k.

From the perspective of this 2k advocate who also doubles as a historian, two undeniable historical developments exist that 2k critics won’t accept — sort of like denying that the North defeated the South in 1865; you may not like it, but how do you deny what happened at Appomattox?

The first fact is that the critics of 2k do not advocate the execution of adulterers or heretics. This is pertinent because 2k critics fault 2kers for departing from Calvin and his holy Geneva. The problem is that the Baylys, Rabbi Bret, Nelson Kloosterman (and his favorite disciple, Mark Van Der Molen), Doug Wilson, and anonymous respondents at Greenbaggins don’t advocate the laws in Calvin’s Protestant Jerusalem. To the credit of theonomists, they sometimes do advocate the execution of adulterers and even recalcitrant adolescents. But 2k critics do not have the stomach for all of Calvin’s policies and laws. In which case, they have no more claim to Calvin as a standard for religion and politics than 2kers do. Yet, here’s the key. 2kers are honest. They actually admit that they disagree with Calvin. They actually acknowledge the deficiencies of those who try to follow the Old Testament for post-resurrection civil governments.

The second fact of cherry-picking proportions is that all of the Reformed churches that belong to the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council have rejected the teaching of both the Westminster Confession and the Belgic Confession on the civil magistrate. Not only have the mainline churches revised these confessions, but so have the conservative churches. (Ironically, Frame thinks I am unaware of the American revision of WCF in his review of A Secular Faith. This is ironic because if Frame were as aware of the revision as he thinks he is, he would see that 2k is not outside the confession that Presbyterians profess.) These revisions do not necessarily mean that every officer and member of these churches is an advocate of 2k. It does mean that the modern Reformed and Presbyterian churches have come to terms with modern governments and the disestablishment of Christianity in ways inconceivable to Reformed Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. And this means that the critics of 2k are either unaware of how little standing the original WCF chapter 23 or Belgic Art. 36 has in conservative Reformed churches. Or if they know of confessional revision and use the original documents to denounce 2kers, they are dishonest.

Or perhaps they are simply foolish (and impolitely so). One of the additional points I made about the importance of the Reformed churches’ teaching on the magistrate was this:

I have said it before and will say again, even before the Covenanters revised their Constitution and rejected the language of WCF 23.1 which Tfan affirms, even before this, the RPCNA explored a merger with the OPC which had already adopted the American revisions to the WCF. In other words, the RPCNA had a very different view of the civil magistrate than the OPC did and did not let that difference keep them from fraternal relations with the OPC. I do not see that same generosity or acknowledgement of orthodoxy for 2kers from 2k’s critics.

The fanatic of Turretin’s response was this: “Again, this is total ad hominem. Try to focus on your defense of E2k, not at criticizing your critics.”

How this is ad hominem I do not know, though my Latin is rusty. But even if in some fifth or sixth definition of ad hominem my comment qualifies, I do not see how this point is beside the point. 2k critics treat 2k not only as if it is entirely outside the bounds of confessional orthodoxy, but they also react to 2k as if it is a threat to the gospel. They believe it is antinomian, destroys Christian schools, and abandons society to relativism. But the RPCNA, even when they still affirmed the original WCF 23, did not consider teaching on the civil magistrate a deal breaker. Critics of 2k, like John Frame, do.

And some people like Lane Keister wonder why 2kers like me become sarcastically indignant. But for those wanting to keep the debate going, they are welcome here.

165 thoughts on “2K Cherries 2Hot 2Handle

  1. Doug Wilson: “Nothing is clearer – the New Testament opposes anything like the abolitionism of our country prior to the War Between the States. The New Testament contains many instructions for Christian slave owners, and requires a respectful submissive demeanor for Christian slaves. See, for example, Eph. 6:5-9, Col. 3:22-4:1, and 1 Tim. 6:1-5.

    “The reason why many Christians will be tempted to dismiss the arguments presented here is that we have said (out loud) that a godly man could have been a slave owner. But this ‘inflammatory’ position is the very point upon which the Bible speaks most directly, again and again. In other words, more people will struggle with what we are saying at the point where the Bible speaks most clearly. There is no exegetical vagueness here. Not only is the Bible not politically correct, it was not politically correct one hundred thirty years ago.

    “Our humanistic and democratic culture regards slavery in itself as a monstrous evil, and acts as though this were self-evidently true. The Bible permits Christians to own slaves, provided they are treated well.

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  2. Doug Wilson: “If the law is not clear on a particular point, and the state has a question about what God’s law requires, it is powerless to interpret Scripture on its own authority. Instead, the state must take the question to the church, which has been charged with protecting, interpreting, and teaching the law of God. The leaders of the church are instructed to make a judgment as to what the law requires, but the church does not thereby take up the sword. Rather, the judgment is passed back to the state, and the magistrates then wield the sword in a manner consistent with the judgment of the church.

    “It is not enough that the civil government give Christianity a place at the table, even if it is the most honored place. … Nor is it sufficient that the magistrate render ‘personal submission to the spiritual government’ of the church. While our rulers should be members of Christ’s covenant household … a Christian who is also an executive, legislator, or judge owes a duty of submission different than that of the ordinary layman.”

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  3. Darryl,

    I had a question as it regards the erastian/establishmentarian distinction. I thought I understood them in principle and certainly I get the point in the english reformation in opposition to the anglican church and in america to the episcopalian. But, for the life of me I can’t get my head around the denial of the erastian implications of the original WCF. Am I missing something here?

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  4. The use of sarcasm in printed disputations is risky – there’s so much verbal and non-verbal context that is missing.

    Also, sarcasm has been hijacked by the flesh. Using it in the Spirit requires skill, charity and humilty.

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  5. Must one affirm everything in Calvin in order to recognize that someone else has drastically departed from Calvin? Moreover, must one affirm everything in Calvin in order to be considered squarely in line with Calvin? What are the essential properties of Calvin after all? One may affirm Calvin’s hermeneutic as it applies to the perpetual application of the general equity of the law while departing from his handling of specific texts as they apply to post resurrection civil government, like those pertaining to adultery and heretics. I happen to agree with Calvin on those particular points but not agreeing with him is hardly sufficient to place oneself in the same boat as radical 2K, let alone outside the principles of Calvin. Why one departs from Calvin on such issues is logically relevant.

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  6. Gary – ALL printed disputations are risky for exactly the same reason…there is much lost in transmission. Sarcasm can be used in sinful ways, but so can polite talk. I have no clue how you could posit that sarcasm has been “hijacked by the flesh”. Was that a post-apostolic event? Seems Paul was quite prone to it at times (see: Galatians). Skill, charity and humility are good traits, but not antithetical to sarcasm.

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  7. Ron, you don’t have to follow Calvin on everything or anything. But it would help if you acknowledge that our churches don’t follow Calvin or the Westminster Divines on the role of the magistrate. If you do that, then 2k doesn’t look radical or extreme.

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  8. Darryl,

    Your argument strikes me as being akin to that of the Baptist who argues against the practice of infant baptism by pointing out that the Paedobaptist doesn’t feed his infant the Supper. At best, all that argument can succeed in doing is pointing out an inconsistency in the Paedobaptist’s practice. It doesn’t overthrow the doctrine of infant baptism. It’s one thing to be happily inconsistent and quite another thing to be so consistent as to go off the deep end with radical conclusions. The former applies to Arminians and possibly the Kloostermans of the world, whereas the latter is more akin to Open Theists and what I believe to be your brand of 2K. But as I tried to point out, one can reject Calvin’s application of the law in certain instances because they believe that those particular laws were indeed abrogated yet while simultaneously affirming the principles of Calvin’s application of all OT texts. That’s why I say “possibly the Kloostermans” because I haven’t discussed with him why he might interpret this or that law as he does. I did have a very brief exchange with him when I first read an article he had published in either NH or OS, can’t remember which. I expressed my gratitude to him. In any case, I think he operates under a very different epistemic foundation than WSC and very akin to how I would operate just without some of the same conclusions. Again, I don’t know why we depart from one another, other than to say we do. You know my bent though and he doesn’t own the T word as I do. In the end, for me anyway, the issue is not so much how a non-2ker applies this or that law but what his governing hermeneutic is for applying the law in general. I tend to think that a desired end game of pluralism is driving your foundational premises rather than foundational principles leading you to conclusions about texts.

    But while I have you, is death for crimes such as Adultery forbidden by natural law or special revelation? If so, did natural law change over time or was Moses at odds with natural law? May such laws be instituted in a way pleasing to God just as long we don’t justify them with Scripture?

    Cheers,
    Ron

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  9. “Ron, you don’t have to follow Calvin on everything or anything. But it would help if you acknowledge that our churches don’t follow Calvin or the Westminster Divines on the role of the magistrate. If you do that, then 2k doesn’t look radical or extreme.”

    Darryl, there are of course matters of degree. Not to follow in a straight line and to march in the opposite direction are not the same thing.

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  10. Ron, you keep bringing up Baptist arguments about paedobaptism. Your analogy would be more plausible if we had a bunch of churches that still affirmed the original WCF and Belgic but had lots of ministers advocating that the magistrate should protect all religions. Then you’d have ministers who were at odds with their churches’ confessions. But that’s not the situation. We have churches that deliberately revised their teaching on the magistrate. And now we have some members and ministers who are shocked to find that 2kers don’t follow the original WCF and Belgic.

    As for the execution of adulterers, since Jesus (as I recall) stopped the stoning of a harlot, and since Paul did not advocate the execution of sexual sinners at Corinth, I’m fairly confident I’m in good company even if Christ and Paul did not follow your interpretation and application of the Old Testament.

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  11. Ron, how does credo-communion make for an inconsistent paedobaptist? Paedobaptism and credo-communion are actually consistent. Credo-baptism and paedocommunion are mirror errors. It’s odd that you’d give the Baptists this bone. And the fact that you use this as a way to impugn 2k as inconsistent is curious. And the point remains that all the NAPARC churches are inconsistent with Calvin and the original confessions. So why would anyone who is a member in a NAPARC church fault another who actually follows NAPARC’s lead in rejecting Calvin and the original confessions?

    Also curious is how those who have the Kuyperian impulse to make the Bible speak to all of civil life never seem to ascribe to Kuyper the epithet of “radicalism” when he more explicitly and forcefully spelled out that he’d rather be considered un-Reformed than to agree with Calvin, the Reformed confessions and theologians on the civil magistrate. We all have Kuyper to thank in getting Belgic 36 revised and reformed according to Scripture. Why do those who actually thank him get all the vitriol but he remains ons volk?

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  12. Darryl,

    I have never in my life drawn the analogy I just drew for you. In the past I might have said that the abrogation principle from non-theonomists is baptistic, but that is not even close to what I pointed out today. Accordingly, something tells me that you are no longer in read-and-process mode. The point was that there is quite a difference between what could be chalked up to as an inconsistency by Nelson Kloosterman et al., and the radical departure we find in WSC. To point to a possible inconsistency, which might not be (see above), and try to equate that in kind with a radical departure would seem to be an attempt to avoid any meaningful discussion.

    As for the execution of adulterers, since Jesus (as I recall) stopped the stoning of a harlot, and since Paul did not advocate the execution of sexual sinners at Corinth, I’m fairly confident I’m in good company even if Christ and Paul did not follow your interpretation and application of the Old.

    Regarding Jesus’ action, or non-action, I will simply point you here. As for Paul, your argument is from silence, which is not a crime in and of itself, but it becomes an informal fallacy when one considers the burden of proof that is presupposed by a Reformed hermeneutic, that continuity obtains unless otherwise demonstrated. To hold up chapters like Romans 13 as “proof” and then requiring God to write what you might hope for in the places you think appropriate is to put Him to the test. Not a good idea.

    Ron, who sits on the Tribunal of Degree?

    Is that where you want to rest your case? Let’s review the bidding. Your argument thus far has been two-pronged: If non-E2K doesn’t follow the Divines to the precise letter, then they may not speak of E2K’s departure as being radical. Subsidiary argument: If most of the Reformed churches take at least some exception to the Divines, then E2K which may take as many exceptions they like without seeming radical in their departure. Then you played your final wild card, which reduced to: it’s impossible to know how much departure is extreme. (Maybe consult natural law?) Well, in any case, given such strictures, how can there be any fruitful discussion? And if you’re not interested in discussion, why pretend?

    Given that nobody sits on a “Tribunal of Degree” I guess we’re to believe that nobody can successfully refute your position. But at least your requirement for such a Tribunal presupposes that you have departed in larger degree than most. I’m pleased to leave the matter there.

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  13. Ron, you have actually used the silence of the NT on baptism in many of our exchanges. It’s in the ballpark and here at Old Life I sit on the Ballpark Tribunal.

    As for the Tribunal of Degree, I didn’t say that no one can decide. My point was that your notion of extreme may not be mine. And since you’re a theonomist, we do have extremely different tribunals.

    But thanks for the lessons in logic. I didn’t know the OT included laws of reasoning.

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  14. Ron, how does credo-communion make for an inconsistent paedobaptist?

    Hi Zrim,

    It doesn’t. You’ve heard the argument against paedobaptism from Baptists I trust. Some often argue against infant baptism in a way that reduces to: “If infant baptism is biblical, then paedocommunion would also be biblical. But since you, Mr. paedobaptist, reject infant communion because it’s unbiblical, then you should reject infant baptism too.” Rather than show Baptists why I believe paedocommunion is false and how infant baptism is not based upon the same assumptions as infant communion, I simply choose to point out to them, for argument’s sake that is: If padeocommunion is true, then all that could prove is that I’m inconsistent with my Reformed views and that I should embrace infant communion too. Or, if they prefer, they can just consider me a paedocommunionist for time’s sake so we can get back to discussing the practice of baptizing infants. The point being, an inconsistency on my part would not imply an incorrect paradigm for the practice of baptism. Full circle… Klooserterman might have the paradigm right without being 100% consistent, hence one possible reason for his having a different view of the application of certain laws from Calvin. Or maybe he thinks like DGH, that those particular laws were somehow abrogated yet holds to a more epistemically based theory of civil law.

    It’s odd that you’d give the Baptists this bone.

    I don’t give them a bone really. I just get the bone off the table so to get to the issue at hand. Treat me as an inconsistent paedobaptism or even a paedocommunist so we can get back to discussing infant baptism without interruption.

    So why would anyone who is a member in a NAPARC church fault another who actually follows NAPARC’s lead in rejecting Calvin and the original confessions?

    One need not find the changes in the Standards as doing away with theonomy. Enough theonomy was left behind, left in the standards that is.

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  15. Ron, the RCUS in 1987 adopted two recommendations as pertains theonomy, the second which said, “It is the position of the RCUS that the Heidelberg Catechism teaches that the ceremonial and judicial laws instituted by Moses have been entirely abolished and done away with by the coming of Christ, as far as it relates to obligation and obedience on our part. The moral law, however, has not been abolished as it respects obedience, but only as it respects the curse and constraint.”

    It’s hard to see how that sort of statement leaves any oxygen for theonomy.

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  16. Zrim,

    Actually, I was referring to the Westminster Standards in their revised form. But since you mentioned it, isn’t Q&A 100 of the HC still operative? I’m not as familiar with the 3FoU but that one comes to mind.

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  17. Ron, if the revisions to the WSs deconstruct theocracy how can they possibly leave any air for theonomy? Re HC 100, it is operative, but theocratic execution has given way to ecclesial excommunication. I know you hate that, but it is the 2k answer. And I’ve yet to hear of any Reformed congregation stoning blasphemers or handing them over to sheriffs to be lethally injected. So speaking of consistency, is that what a theonomist wants to see, unrepentant blasphemers executed>

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  18. Re HC 100, it is operative, but theocratic execution has given way to ecclesial excommunication. I know you hate that, but it is the 2k answer.</”

    Zrim,

    This “giving way” is not in accordance with the HC, of course. In other words, there is not a formal revision of the standards. It’s simply an exception taken by some. Regarding the Westminster Standards, the “general equity” of the law is collapsed by the same the sorts of people into excommunication; yet not without many problems. After all, there was excommunication under the older economy, a “cutting off” (an exile of sorts), that was not accompanied by OT execution. Yet in God’s wisdom both were operative, presumably with distinct purposes. Accordingly, it seems a bit dubious that excommunication is equitable to execution, if for no other reason than the translation does not preserve the general equity of the civil sanction in view. The two aren’t even close to being equitable because, at the very least, repentance lifts the penalty of excommunication, which was not the case for capital crimes under Moses. By collapsing execution into excommunication the general equity of the sanction is not preserved but rather obliterated.

    In any case, let’s not blur the two different ways you are handling the HC and Belgic Confession on the one hand and the Westminster standards on the other. Your interpretation of the WCF has to do with a very unsustainable interpretation as just shown above. Whereas with the Dutch Confesssions you forgo any appeal to the standards themselves but rather to exceptions, which you don’t try to reconcile with the wording of the standards, hence the “giving way” as you call it. In other words, you are interpreting the Westminster standards different than I but simply taking a less covert exception to the Dutch standards.

    And I’ve yet to hear of any Reformed congregation stoning blasphemers or handing them over to sheriffs to be lethally injected.

    Your argument is based upon a false disjunction. King Jesus did not give the responsibility of the sword to the church and there are no civil laws in this land against blasphemy as such. Accordingly, those things you don’t hear about don’t undermine theonomy. In fact, that we don’t hear about such things corroborates theonomy, or at least is consistent with it.

    So speaking of consistency, is that what a theonomist wants to see, unrepentant blasphemers executed.

    You know we do, but only after making an earnest and prayerful plea to the sinner to receive Christ as offered in the gospel. It appears that you think that by simply announcing the severity of the punishment you somehow discredit any biblical case for it. If the penalty seems extreme to you, then maybe it’s because the sin in question no longer does. I truly hope not. At the very least, one may disagree with the penalty without mocking it. I suspect that is how the anti E2K proponents who are not theonmic respect the discussion over such laws and sanctions. With reverence and fear.

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  19. In the comment thread of this post, Escondido Principle of Separation of Christianity and State – Reviewed, Zrim wrote the following:

    “So why do anti-2k theocrats so uncritically adopt the unbiblical language and concepts of the pro-life movement when they want the Bible to inform all of life?”

    To which I responded: “First, many of the folks opposed to Escondido 2k are 2k themselves. This leads to the next observation: folks opposed to E2k make sure to distinguish E2k as E2k or R2k or something similar. Folks supporting E2k call it 2k, which assumes that their version of 2k is “mainstream” 2k. It’s kind of a funny dance. And I’m sure that both you and TFan observe this same dance. Third, just because folks oppose E2k doesn’t make them theocrats.”

    I know that this post does not call folks who oppose E2K as theocrats. I appreciate that. But please know that many people who oppose E2K are 2Kers themselves, and hence the reason why they add the qualifier or descriptor of “Escondido” or “Radical” to the 2K part.

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  20. Could I maybe be so bold as to request from some of you who use “R2K” “E2K” “Escondido 2K” to give guys like us a breakdown of all the ways you are different so we’ll know what you are talking about. You all seem to love the terms, yet I see little definition.

    (p.s. – please all get together somewhere and decide on one…that would be super helpful)

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  21. Jeremy, E2K and R2K and Escondido 2K are interchangeable.

    Here’s a post by TurretinFan about: Varieties of “Two Kingdoms” Positions.

    Excerpt:

    “It seems that some contemporary theologians – names typically associated with Westminster West (located in Escondido, California) – are advocating a position with respect to the two kingdoms that takes matters even further away from the classical Reformed position. Their position seems to include such ideas as that the American “blue laws” related to the Lord’s day, criminal punishment for adultery, and the like are not proper. The position appears to reflect an idea that there should be a radical separation of church and state, and consequently is sometimes referred to as “r2k,” although the adherents of the position do not appreciate that label.

    I say “seems to include,” because there does not appear to be a lot of clear positive statements of their positions. I wonder if any of my readers know of, and can locate for me, their positive Biblical or logical argument for their position. I can find this sort of thing with respect to the American Reformed position, and I can find very excellent works ably defending the classical Reformed position, but I cannot locate anything of substance for the Escondido position.

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  22. Better formatting:

    “Re HC 100, it is operative, but theocratic execution has given way to ecclesial excommunication. I know you hate that, but it is the 2k answer.

    Zrim,

    This “giving way” is not in accordance with the HC, of course. In other words, there is not a formal revision of the standards. It’s simply an exception taken by some. Regarding the Westminster Standards, the “general equity” of the law is collapsed by the same the sorts of people into excommunication; yet not without many problems. After all, there was excommunication under the older economy, a “cutting off” (an exile of sorts), that was not accompanied by OT execution. Yet in God’s wisdom both were operative, presumably with distinct purposes. Accordingly, it seems a bit dubious that excommunication is equitable to execution, if for no other reason than the translation does not preserve the general equity of the civil sanction in view. The two aren’t even close to being equitable because, at the very least, repentance lifts the penalty of excommunication, which was not the case for capital crimes under Moses. By collapsing execution into excommunication the general equity of the sanction is not preserved but rather obliterated.

    In any case, let’s not blur the two different ways you are handling the HC and Belgic Confession on the one hand and the Westminster standards on the other. Your interpretation of the WCF has to do with a very unsustainable interpretation as just shown above. Whereas with the Dutch Confessions you forgo any appeal to the standards themselves but rather to exceptions, which you don’t try to reconcile with the wording of the standards, hence the “giving way” as you call it. In other words, you are interpreting the Westminster standards different than I but simply taking a less covert exception to the Dutch standards.

    “And I’ve yet to hear of any Reformed congregation stoning blasphemers or handing them over to sheriffs to be lethally injected.”

    Your argument is based upon a false disjunction. King Jesus did not give the responsibility of the sword to the church and there are no civil laws in this land against blasphemy as such. Accordingly, those things you don’t hear about don’t undermine theonomy. In fact, that we don’t hear about such things corroborates theonomy, or at least is consistent with it.

    “So speaking of consistency, is that what a theonomist wants to see, unrepentant blasphemers executed.”

    You know we do, but only after making an earnest and prayerful plea to the sinner to receive Christ as offered in the gospel. It appears that you think that by simply announcing the severity of the punishment you somehow discredit any biblical case for it. If the penalty seems extreme to you, then maybe it’s because the sin in question no longer does. I truly hope not. At the very least, one may disagree with the penalty without mocking it. I suspect that is how the anti E2K proponents who are not theonomic respect the discussion over such laws and sanctions. With reverence and fear.

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  23. It seems to me that part of the problem is the false assumption that there is a unified 2k theology at WSC in whole and in the particulars. Dr. Godfrey doesn’t line up in a number of areas with DVD, for instance. One might want to listen to the audio from the winter conference a few years back on Two Kingdoms, probably available at the WSC website.

    Example from above:
    “It seems that some contemporary theologians – names typically associated with Westminster West (located in Escondido, California) – are advocating a position…

    Their position seems to include such ideas as that the American “blue laws” related to the Lord’s day, criminal punishment for adultery, and the like are not proper.”

    I’m not aware of any statement or publication that affirms a WSC unified position. f there is, let me know. DVD’s books are the most extensive and in those works (3 books) he doesn’t advocate a 2K position for WSC. He posits a case for a 2K position that he argues is in the historical stream of Reformed thought, as well as earlier theologians. He doesn’t advocate those positions as the exclusive Reformed position or understanding, but merely as residing within that tradition. This entire discussion goes in circles due to the acceptance of a premise that doesn’t exist. If there are questions re: 2K positions, I think, at the least, it would be most helpful to use specifics from DVD’s books for questions.

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  24. TUAD, you’ve pounded for substance. It’s curious to me how you breeze over the substance of my remark only to get tangled up in terms.

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  25. Ron, the church is the new Israel, so if theos want the abiding validity of the law of God in exhaustive detail then it seems to me they really shouldn’t want the pagan magistrate to carry out their dirty work. They should take matters into their own hands, like Israel did, and execute their unrepentant blasphemers. 2kers at least have the chutzpah to carry out their own excommunication and not make excuses about the pagan state.

    So, no, 2k is not addled by a low view of sin. In point of fact, that is the affliction of theos who overlook the effects of abiding sin and indulge the notion that Christianity has made the world a better place. I might be willing, though, to indulge the theory and point to the fact that executing trespassers is scandalous to the post-resurrection age because the church has historically been 2k to the extent that it understands the enormity of Christ’s advent. The new covenant is radically new. It should be a scandal to anybody that trespassing the law of God requires death, not because of a low view of sin, but a high view of Christ, BECAUSE JESUS ALREADY DIED. Theonomy makes hay out of the radical and indescribable reality of Christ. Theonomy is bereft of reverence and fear because it undercuts Christ’s messianic fulfillment. It’s worthy of nothing but mockery.

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  26. Good to see that Frame’s “irenic” work is leading to such harmony in the Reformed world that a minister may not even subject the book to a public review without some sort of affray.

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  27. Jack Miller: “It seems to me that part of the problem is the false assumption that there is a unified 2k theology at WSC in whole and in the particulars.”

    Okay. Assuming all agree with you, then let no one use 2K or Escondido 2K any more. Instead, let’s use Radical 2K or R2K to refer to the version of 2K that Darryl Hart and Zrim espouses. Or is Militant 2K or Extreme 2K to be preferred over Radical 2K?

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  28. TUAD,

    How did you advance a position, any position, with yor comment(s)?
    Please consider refraining from this nonsense.

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  29. Brother Ron,

    Your gentle answer is loving and kind.

    The position being advanced is in regards to Jack Miller’s response which was much appreciated by Jeremy Meeks. To wit: “the false assumption that there is a unified 2k theology at WSC in whole and in the particulars” and “This entire discussion goes in circles due to the acceptance of a premise that doesn’t exist.” So let’s dissolve the semantic confusion by using terms that’s understood by everyone. Given that “Escondido 2K” is criticized by other 2K’ers, it’s no good to call “Escondido 2K” by the generic term “2K” which Darryl Hart and Zrim and others use. Furthermore, since it’s been pointed out that “Escondidio 2K” is a misnomer too, since some Escondido professors, notably President Robert Godfrey, are not “Escondido 2K”. So as I suggested in my prior comment, let’s drop both “2K” and “Escondido 2K”.

    What’s left? Radical 2K. Or R2K. Ron, in your comments above you wrote:

    o “I happen to agree with Calvin on those particular points but not agreeing with him is hardly sufficient to place oneself in the same boat as radical 2K, let alone outside the principles of Calvin.”

    o “The point was that there is quite a difference between what could be chalked up to as an inconsistency by Nelson Kloosterman et al., and the radical departure we find in WSC. To point to a possible inconsistency, which might not be (see above), and try to equate that in kind with a radical departure would seem to be an attempt to avoid any meaningful discussion.”

    o “Your argument thus far has been two-pronged: If non-E2K doesn’t follow the Divines to the precise letter, then they may not speak of E2K’s departure as being radical. Subsidiary argument: If most of the Reformed churches take at least some exception to the Divines, then E2K which may take as many exceptions they like without seeming radical in their departure. Then you played your final wild card, which reduced to: it’s impossible to know how much departure is extreme.

    o And although not a comment above, in your last post on your blog, you titled it “Michael Horton, Abortion and R2K.”

    So it’s evident that you’re preferred choice of terminology is Radical 2K or R2K for short. Which I’m perfectly fine with as well.

    Lastly, I merely suggested Militant 2K and Extreme 2K as possible alternatives because they are synonyms to Radical 2K. Militant because the church is sometimes referred to as “the Church militant.” Or Extreme 2K because this variety of 2K is the most extreme strain of 2K that’s ever been heavily advocated.

    So in regards to Jack Miller’s comment above, here’s a suggestion: Let’s all use R2K from now on. This avoids the confusion with other variants of 2K. And it avoids the error of “Escondido 2K” since not all of Westminster Seminary West are on board with what Darryl Hart, et al are advocating and promoting.

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  30. Ron, I’m sorry you found it scattered and fallacious, but my point seemed rather simple: why would anyone advocate for the execution of sinners if Jesus already took the penalty? The implication seems to be that his death wasn’t sufficient.

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  31. Zrim: It should be a scandal to anybody that trespassing the law of God requires death, not because of a low view of sin, but a high view of Christ, BECAUSE JESUS ALREADY DIED.

    Hebrews 9:23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these…. 25 Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

    Hebrews 10: 26 For if we go on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. .. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God… 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    John Howard Yoder: “It is the clear testimony of the New Testament, especially of the epistle to the Hebrews, that the civic ceremonial requirements of the Old Covenant find their end—both in the sense of fulfillment and in the sense of termination—in the high-priestly sacrifice of Christ. “Once for all time” is the good news. Not only is the sacrifice of bulls and goats, turtledoves and wheatcakes at an end. The fact that Christ died for sins, once for all time, puts an end to the expiatory system, whether it is enforced by priests in Jerusalem or by executioners anywhere else.”

    mcmark: I am not 2k, so Zrim should not be held accountable for my remarks. I think Christians are only to participate in the one kingdom. I can understand theonomic theory about another kingdom in their postmillenial future, but until they tell us how they propose to disenfranchise non-Christians now, it’s difficult to take them seriously..The death required in the Noahic covenant is about bloody sacrificial atonement and the religious worship of the one true God.

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  32. why would anyone advocate for the execution of sinners if Jesus already took the penalty? The implication seems to be that his death wasn’t sufficient.

    Zrim,

    I suppose there are several ways to answer your question. Certainly you allow for some temporal penalty to be meted out by civil magistrates. Accordingly, we only differ on the questions of what those penalties should be and how is one to justify his answer. A second way of response might have to do with the doctrine of Limited Atonement. Did Jesus die for everybody’s sin? No, you say. So, at the very least, may the courts punish those who do not profess Christ and relieve the penalty later? In the case of death as a penalty, if the person is elect they’ll receive salvation before they pass on. These sorts of answers are simply an attempt to to step inside your position to show that you don’t live up to your own strictures. Certainly you don’t think that propitiation and satisfaction alleviates a need for all civil justice. No, your complaint is with the degree of penalty to be meted out and using the Bible to justify sanctions.

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  33. Ron, as I’ve said before, I want my sheriff to be normed by law (and, contrariwise, my pastor by gospel). So with a view like that, it seems obvious that nobody is saying that law should be suspended by the civil magistrate, even for believers. When Pat Robertson wanted Karla Faye Tucker’s execution pardoned on the grounds that she was a Christian, unbecoming seems to be an apt description. And so theonomists working as hard to put down criminals as Dispensationalists work to spring them seems to be two sides of a skewed coin. Which raises the point that as credo-baptism is the mirror error of paedocommunism, theonomy is the mirror error of Dispensationalism—the former representing an extreme failure to do justice to the discontinuity between the old and new covenants, the latter the continuity.

    But 2k isn’t nearly as interested in enlisting Christianity to help create and sustain the Good and Just Society as it is in reconciling sinners to God. Which is why I still wonder what you think the meaning of Jesus’ death is in all this. Your answer completely side steps my question. What was its purpose? Shouldn’t ministers of the gospel be less interested in making sure criminals get their just desserts and much more interested in brokering peace between them and God?

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  34. Dr. Hart,

    What do you think of Calvin’s reasoning as to why he stopped the stoning of the harlot in John 8(which incidentally is not in your Bible unless you use the KJV or NKJV)?

    We are not told that Christ absolutely acquitted the woman, but that he allowed her to go at liberty. Nor is this wonderful, for he did not wish to undertake any thing that did not belong to his office. He bad been sent by the Father to gather the lost sheep, (Matthew 10:6;) and, therefore, mindful of his calling, he exhorts the woman to repentance, and comforts her by a promise of grace.

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  35. Ron: A second way of response might have to do with the doctrine of Limited Atonement. Did Jesus die for everybody’s sin? No, you say. So, at the very least, may the courts punish those who do not profess Christ and relieve the penalty later?

    mark: Again, not speaking for Zrim, but if there are now no other expiatory sacrifices and Christ’s is the last and only one, no regime/cult has the authority to offer other sacrifices. I doubt that you will find anyone on this site who agrees more with you than I do that Christ’s atonement is limited to the elect alone. Only the sins of the elect alone were imputed to Christ. But that being said, Hebrews teaches us that there are no other sacrifices. If Christ didn’t die for you, then there is no expiation for you.

    So where does this leave us? You could say that the death penalty is not now (and never was?) an expiatory sacrifice, but that doesn’t seem very theonomic of you. If we insist that the one true God demands the blood in Genesis 9 (as in the Mosaic legislation), how can we avoid saying that this blood is not expiatory, at least in type?

    question for Zrim: I know you made the claim before that paedo-communion and credo-baptism are “mirror” errors. Can you explain that? Either you never got to the explanation before (and it’s just one of your soundbites!) or you did and I was too dumb to get it. Or I forgot it. I am getting old. Thanks.

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  36. I may be simple minded, and I don’t comment on blogs often, but it seems thalt executing adulterers puts the kibosh on any hope for future repentance. Where exactly does the death penalty fit into baptism and making disciples?

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  37. Tu, Jeremy, and Jack, why can’t we use 2k? Was anyone talking about 2k in the Reformed world before the folks whom Frame critiques? And if others want to claim the 2k mantle, they need to explain how their version is moderate or mainstream compared to some radical or extreme version. And this is precisely the point. Calvin and the Westminster Divines’ view of the magistrate is no long moderate or mainstream considering the revisions to the WCF and Belgic.

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  38. Darryl wrote: Tu, Jeremy, and Jack, why can’t we use 2k?

    I don’t have a problem at all with using the term 2K. I’m simply batting back the idea that there is a monolithic “Escondito” 2K view (as defined by its critics) that must be defended.

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  39. Mark, what I mean by them being mirror errors is simply that credo-baptism misses the continuity of the old and new covenants and paedocommunion misses the discontinuity. The sign and seal of the covenant is still to be administered to children of the covenant (continuity), but it changes in that it is administered not only to male but also female children and goes from bloody ordeal to watery marking (discontinuity). Baptism has in view that they will participate in the Supper (continuity), but not until they have demonstrated a credible profession of faith (discontinuity).

    So, it’s a point about dis/continuity. Theonomy is right that sin is serious and needs to be dealt with seriously. But it doesn’t seem to grasp 1) that it has been in Christ and so 2) dealing with it in sinners post-cross changes as radically as the sign and seal of covenant membership changes.

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  40. Mark, at the very least death as penalty keeps the transgressors from committing the transgression that warranted death. Secondly, it’ a deterrent for evil doers. Finally, to suggest that the death penalty was a shadow of Christ’s death is not worthy of comment

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  41. DGH – My sentiments exactly. I’m 100% with you on this one. I was trying to point out the ridiculous nature of people coming up with all kinds of competing 2k terms that make it sound like there are various, well defined schools of the 2k brand.

    “And if others want to claim the 2k mantle, they need to explain how their version is moderate or mainstream compared to some radical or extreme version.” – Amen to that. I tried to get that point across to TUAD.

    “Calvin and the Westminster Divines’ view of the magistrate is no long moderate or mainstream considering the revisions to the WCF and Belgic.” – Agreed. And thankful as well.

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  42. Darryl Hart: “Tu, Jeremy, and Jack, why can’t we use 2k?”

    Darryl, read Ron’s argument to you:

    “Your argument thus far has been two-pronged: If non-E2K doesn’t follow the Divines to the precise letter, then they may not speak of E2K’s departure as being radical. Subsidiary argument: If most of the Reformed churches take at least some exception to the Divines, then E2K which may take as many exceptions they like without seeming radical in their departure. Then you played your final wild card, which reduced to: it’s impossible to know how much departure is extreme.”

    Do you agree with Ron? If so, that’s why it’s not helpful for you to use 2K. If you don’t agree with Ron, then why not.

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  43. Truth is divisive,
    I’m not really sure what Ron means, but somewhere in there is my point — the one that looking only at 2kers as radical for departing from the 16th and 17th centuries is arbitrary until someone defines what moderate 2k is. If by moderate 2k you mean what Machen said in the following, then ‘s’all good:

    . . . you cannot expect from a true Christian church any official pronouncements upon the political or social questions of the day, and you cannot expect cooperation with the state in anything involving the use of force. Important are the functions of the police, and members of the church, either individually or in such special associations as they may choose to form, should aid the police in every lawful way in the exercise of those functions. But the function of the church in its corporate capacity is of an entirely different kind. Its weapons against evil are spiritual, not carnal; and by becoming a political lobby, through the advocacy of political measures whether good or bad, the church is turning aside from its proper mission. . . .
    The responsibility of the church in the new age is the same as its responsibility in every age. It is to testify that this world is lost in sin; that the span of human life — nay, all the length of human history — is an infinitesimal island in the awful depths of eternity; that there a mysterious, holy, living God, Creator of all, Upholder of all, infinitely beyond all; that He has revealed Himself to us in His Word and offered us communion with Himself through Jesus Christ the Lord; that there is no other salvation, for individuals or for nations, save this, but that this salvation is full and free, and that whosever possesses it has for himself and for all others to whom he may be the instrument of bringing it a treasure compared with which all the kingdoms of the earth — nay, all the wonders of the starry heavens — are as the dust of the street.

    BTW, truth divides, you can try to bring in as many other quotes from Machen as you like that you think support your side (whatever it is since there is not “substance”), but I will delete them unless you attempt to harmonize the quote I just gave with what you produce.

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  44. Darryl, the Machen quote seems compatible with churches and pastors discussing and pronouncing on the political and social questions of the day. All Machen says is that there is to be no “*official* pronouncement.” Indeed, Machen says the church has a responsibility to testify that the world is lost in sin. This seems compatible with the giving of specific examples of such sin—and here we may have intersection with political and questions of the day, e.g., abortion. We should also note that Machen wrote in a time when some political and social questions were not addressed, e.g., abortion, which he would obviously have condemned from the pulpit, at least if we’re charitable to him.

    Anyway, the Machen quote does possibly seem inconsistent with the Larger Catechism conjoined with the view that the fetus is a human being. For the Catechism says we are to undertake “all lawful endeavors” to prevent “the taking of any innocent life.” The Catechism officially pronounces on the subject *by entailment*. So it may be that you’re forced to choose between The Machen and The Catechism.

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  45. Paul, your reading is a real stretch, especially considering the entire Old School Presbyterian tradition of opposing political pronouncements. But if yours gets you through the night. . .

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  46. So, Paul, you’re reading early 20th century Machen with later 20th century lenses? The principles of the spirituality of the church aren’t good for all times and places; they were fine to employ against the Protestant progressives, but they don’t apply to evangelical rightists because, well, obviously, abortion. That’s just different, because, well, obviously Machen would’ve preached Sanctity of Life Sunday sermons.

    You sound more like a pro-lifer than a 2ker.

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  47. Darryl, I’m afraid I don’t understand. I brought up two issues, and am not clear which one you’re responding to.

    The first is this: You asked Truth n’ Stuff to “harmonize” the Machen quote with his quotes. Here’s the harmonization: Just in case a pastor or church is not making an *official* pronouncement on the social and political issues of the day, he or it is within their rights to make *pronouncements* on the social and political issues of the day. My reading is a “stretch” insofar as quoting the man verbatim is a stretch. Now, if you want to bring in *other* considerations that *just* the Machen quote, by all means, do so. But that, as you’ll be bound to admit, is an entirely different matter than your request that Truth n’ Stuff harmonize * the Machen quote you gave*, sans “the entire Old School tradition” (which I assume your comments section didn’t allow you to cut and paste, being past the maximum character requirements n’ all).

    The second is this: I argued that a very good and strong prima facie case can be made that the Larger Catechism has the resources in it which, if you accept some facts about the unborn (facts you are at pains to say you affirm), entail a political pronouncement.

    Note the duties of the sixth commandment: The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all . . . lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by . . . avoiding all . . . occasions and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by . . . protecting and defending the innocent.

    Note the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment: The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, . . . whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any [civilly innocent human being].

    Now, given that you accept the premise that the unborn are human beings, and given that we know, coupled with the previous stipulated proposition, that standard abortion practices “tend to the unjust taking away the life of any,” and that abortion is something that “tends to the destruction of the live of a civilly innocent human being,” it appears to me that the Catechism comes down on a political and social issue of the day, at least for those who accept that the unborn are human beings. Moreover, we note that the Catechism says that we are to undertake “all lawful endeavors” that would protect “the unjust taking of the life of any,” and thus we can see that, at least *in principle*, it is conceivable that Christians could find themselves in a position where a vote for a proposition, or a vote that would lead to an amendment in the constitution (along the lines of, say, slavery, women’s suffrage, etc), or etc., where they would be *duty bound*, per the Catechism, to vote in a way that would lead to the protection of the life of the unborn. Accordingly, the Catechism, with the above stipulated proposition about the status of the unborn, *entails,* or could entail, an official announcement on a social or political question of the day.

    So I’m not really clear what your comment was meant to address. But your concern for my sleep shows me that you’re trying to turn over a new leaf and ditch the “bad guy” image.

    Zrim

    I’m not sure how I’m reading Machen. I made the distinction between *mere* pronouncements and *official* pronouncements, which is all I need to undercut the bifurcation Darryl wanted to draw. In fact, we *know* that Machen made *mere* pronouncements. However, I then argued that you have a choice between The Machen and The Confession, if we go with your and Hart’s reading. So the argument was two-pronged.

    As far as sounding “more like a pro-lifer than a 2ker,” it’s too bad that those who point out how “dualistic” they are can’t abide someone being both 2K and pro-life, as well as dividing his time and speaking about one more than the other on certain occasions.

    However, what’s more interesting than that is this: You constantly tell us how 2K allows for disagreement, and here you are demanding I be a goose-stepping Hartzi, minding my p’s and q’s and not rocking the official 2K boat. Indeed, what’s more interesting than that is this: Horton recently had this to say:

    HORTON: “If you affirm a distinction between saving and common grace, you’re already a ‘two kingdoms’ advocate.” (p. 20). http://www.opc.org/new_horizons/NH2012/NH2012Feb.pdf

    So with this one, Horton has just pitched the biggest tent of all! Pretty much EVERY ONE is a 2Ker!! We’re all 2Kers now! The debate has been settled by defining your position so broadly that even the vast majority of 2K critics are now 2K. Move over The Gospel Coalition, you’ve just been subsumed by a tent bigger than which none can be conceived. Unfortunately for you, Steve, and you little point above, it’s nigh *impossible* to “sound more like a pro-lifer than a 2ker,” since, *by definition*, virtually all Christian pro-lifers *are* 2kers.

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  48. Nice post, Paul. Real nice, and real thorough too. Someone call a moderator to make sure your opponents stay on track should they respond. Or better yet, quick, someone say something objectionable so the thread can be closed before too many more nails are hammered into the coffin.🙂

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  49. Paul, there’s maintaining a distinction between saving and common grace, but there’s also distinguishing between the spiritual mission of the church and the socio-political issues of the day. I don’t see how the distinction between “official” and “mere” really carries as much water for you to overlook the latter as you seem to. Nor do I see how the Catechism’s treatment of the sixth commandment means there is nothing to criticize about Sanctity of Life Sunday sermons.

    Nor do I see how one cannot affirm everything the Catechism is saying about protecting human life and make a point about what it also says about the church intermeddling in the State’s affairs. I suppose it’s done by camping out mightily on the difference between “official” and “non-official.” But then I don’t know what stops anyone from getting on any particular political soapbox in a pulpit. Which means the next time Jeremiah Wright condemns America from the pulpit for “killing innocent people and treating them as less than human because that’s in the Bible,” pro-life/pro-war 2kers who want the church to weigh in on certain public policy call him out for it don’t really have a leg to stand on, since they employ the same hermeneutic he does. What’s good for the progressive-evangelical goose is also good for the rightist-evangelical gander, which is a double dose of the spirituality of the church.

    P.S certainly there is room for pro-lifers in the 2k tent. It’s just that those of us who would prefer our political views to be described as anti-abortion wish even more if you guys would learn to moderate our shared political views and then put them into the back seat for the sake of the gospel. Politics don’t save, but they can alienate those from the gospel which saves who don’t share our particular views.

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  50. Ron, since Old Life doesn’t seem as dainty as GB, I doubt the thread will get shut down. But just to be sure, I do hope you hurry up and tell me how theonomy doesn’t undermine Jesus’ death for sinners when its whole program is about putting them back under the law his death abolished once for all.

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  51. Zrim, we’ve danced this dance before and, while I have nothing against you as a dance partner, if history is any guide, this won’t win us any votes on dancing with the stars. So I’ll bow out having said my piece. I can say, though, I am pleased to see your response to me didn’t include a comment about me “hyperventilating.”🙂

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  52. Ron, since Old Life doesn’t seem as dainty as GB, I doubt the thread will get shut down.

    Zrim,

    I’m sure you’re right – it might not get shut down, but I don’t think it’s going to be moderated to the end that people will be constrained to stay on track. For instance,

    … tell me how theonomy doesn’t undermine Jesus’ death for sinners when its whole program is about putting them back under the law his death abolished once for all.

    That we might call a “loaded question” since it’s loaded with the disputed, question-begging presupposition of the debate. Does final atonement abrogate more than just the ceremonial law? You refer to “the law” having been abolished but even you still find the moral law binding. So, given that you’re willing to distinguish between moral and ceremonial aspects of the law, you’re left to argue that the civil law has been abrogated in the same way that the ceremonial law has been abrogated (as opposed to merely assuming the premise in your pregnant question).

    Reasoning in such a way does not foster self-examination of one’s own position, let alone a critical analysis of the opposing one. So with Paul, I too will sit this dance out.

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  53. Me: “Darryl, read Ron’s argument to you. Do you agree with Ron? If so, that’s why it’s not helpful for you to use 2K. If you don’t agree with Ron, then why not.”

    Ron: “Your argument thus far has been two-pronged: If non-E2K doesn’t follow the Divines to the precise letter, then they may not speak of E2K’s departure as being radical. Subsidiary argument: If most of the Reformed churches take at least some exception to the Divines, then E2K which may take as many exceptions they like without seeming radical in their departure. Then you played your final wild card, which reduced to: it’s impossible to know how much departure is extreme.”

    Darryl Hart: I’m not really sure what Ron means, but somewhere in there is my point — the one that looking only at 2kers as radical for departing from the 16th and 17th centuries is arbitrary until someone defines what moderate 2k is.”

    Darryl, what was it specifically in Ron’s argument that you didn’t understand?

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  54. Ron, yes, and that’s precisely how WCF 19.3, 19.4 and 19.5 argue. WCF 19.3 and 19.4 make it plain that the civil and ceremonial laws are expired, while 19.5 makes it clear that the moral law abides. The ceremonial and the civil are abrogated in ways the moral isn’t. Are you saying the WCF does not foster self-examination of one’s own position, let alone a critical analysis of the opposing one? If so, then I’ll take the small-minded conclusions of the WCF to the bloated reasoning that makes hay of Christ’s sacrificial death.

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  55. Zrim,

    1. If your argument is fallacious and the Confession employs the same argument, then it too is fallacious and your conclusion remains unjustified.

    2. The Confession doesn’t argue. It confesses.

    3. What you think the Confession concludes in an alleged argument makes you guilty, once again, of assuming a disputed premise, this time in the Confession, hence more question-begging on your part.

    One can only wonder how you don’t tire of assuming your position by definition and resting your conclusions upon what you define as true.

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  56. Paul, as for your point about the Larger Catechism, of course it teaches lots of things about matters of morality that the state regulates. Have you heard of pubs and ale? If you want to pour political sermons through that, have at it (but you may not be in the right communion). But then you’ll also need to square your reading of the Larger Catechism with what the Divines say about churches not meddling in political affairs. I.e., morality is not politics (except to theonomists and the Religious Right).

    I hope you enjoyed the cherry.

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  57. Truthdivides, Ron used several negatives in his first sentence. He likes to correct my logic. I won’t correct his grammar. But I will say I can’t understand his point except that he seems to be saying that arriving at extreme 2k is a judgment call.

    BTW, your number of anonymous comments has almost run out.

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  58. Ron, you’ve made comments here raising questions about whether the blog will be moderated. I am asking you as moderator to refrain from logic lessons and stick to the point.

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  59. Ron, you’ve made comments here raising questions about whether the blog will be moderated. I am asking you as moderator to refrain from logic lessons and stick to the point.

    Darryl,

    Let’s see if I have this right. When challenged by fallacious arguments that avoid the point and draw invalid conclusions I’m not permitted to explain why such tactics are illogical. You like a rigged game it would seem – kinda like pitching a tent so large so as to include all of Christendom. It’s interesting to me that those that employ valid arguments:TF, Paul, Steve H. etc. can’t get out blocks with E2K proponents.

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  60. Ron,

    So, given that you’re willing to distinguish between moral and ceremonial aspects of the law, you’re left to argue that the civil law has been abrogated in the same way that the ceremonial law has been abrogated …

    While “expired” and “abrogated” are not the same word, they clearly both speak of termination. It appears that different words are used to account for the different reasons for the termination. The ceremonial law was terminated because the OT types had given way to NT realities. Whereas the judicial law was terminated due to the fact that the nation itself had ceased to exist (in the sense that it was no longer to be identified with people of God). Another difference is that while the ceremonial laws were unique to Israel, many of the judicial laws shared principals of equity common to the nations, and some of those principals were even to be perpetuated in the church, such as not muzzling the ox. Hence that controversial clause at the end of WCF 19.4.

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  61. Ron, nothing rigged about this. It’s a matter of civility. People like to have their points responded to, not the form of their arguments criticized. BTW, it also looks like you prefer logic and use that to rig games.

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  62. TUAD, if you’re around, well there you have it. Ron regards the original WCF 19 on the law the way Kuyper did the original Belgic 36 on the civil magistrate. There also seem to be differences between the anti-2kers about whether blasphemers, adulterers, and disobedient children should be executed. The substance over seems to be that the magistrate must enforce the first table but how this is applied varies. There is a distinction between theocrats and theonomists, but to the 2k mind it’s a distinction without much difference because 2k rejects that substance altogether. And I’m willing to bet that if you ask most congregants in your church whether they want to see spiritual trespassers physically executed you won’t win many fans. And that’s because the church is already more 2k than you’d want to admit, most instinctively know the scandal of putting sinners back under the law Christ already physically fulfilled.

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  63. Zrim,

    Your comment above fails miserably because of your inability to recognize that there are many people who are opposed to Radical 2K or Escondido 2K. I’ve made reference to this distinction above and has some commenter remarked, this will result in just going around and around in circles.

    You say 2K, I say Radical 2K. I say Radical 2K, you say 2K. Wheeeeeeee!

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  64. Darryl,

    I realize you *say* the distinction is dubious, but you haven’t *argued* that it is (and all you asked for is to make the posts *consistent*, which I did with the distinction, dubious or not (I’ll assume you know what consistency is?)). I do find it odd, though, that since you deny the distinction you must hold that any *mere pronouncement* by a church or pastor is an *official pronouncement*, and I find *that* idea dubious, to say the least.

    I also realize you *say* that no Old Schooler would have recognized it, but you haven’t *argued* that either. Now, maybe you’re right. The point is, going solely off the quote you provided which you claimed *in and of itself* undercut the employment of Machen for pronouncments on matters social and political, it doesn’t appear that way and you’ve given me no *reason* to think it’s not how it appears. By the appearance of things, I am prima facie justified in believing that things *are* how they *appear* (just like I am prima facie justified in believing you *are* wearing a bow tie in your picture in A Secular Faith on the basis that it *appears* you are).

    Next, you mention “what the divines say about not meddling in political matters” and act as if that undercuts my point that the Catechism *in fact* meddles in a current social and political matter. But that phrase is vague and ambiguous, and not a direct quote. Perhaps you could give me the exact quote you’re thinking of from either the Confession or Catechism?

    But note what’s interesting. You made a subtle concession, and I’m not sure you’ve realized it. Machen said that the church shouldn’t officially pronounce of “the political and *social* matters of the day.” But, you now admit that the Confession does officially pronounce things that entail pronouncements on *social* matters of the day. And here you can’t use your claim that “morality isn’t politics” to escape the problem—for social matters of the day are often explicitly *moral* matters. So, on this score, Machen is wrong (if we read him how you want to), and you even admit it. Apparently the church *can* officially pronounce on at least the *social* questions of the day.

    Lastly, of course “morality” is not “politics,” and I know of no one who makes that strong identity claim. However, politics *is* a *subset* of moral behavior, as political philopsophy is .a subset of ethics. I know how much you appreciate the knowledge of the unregenerate, especially in matters you’re not an expert on, and so I hope A. John Simmons is helpful here:

    “What is distinctive about political philosophy however, is its *prescriptive* or evaluative concern with justifications, values, virtues, ideals, rights, obligations—in short, its concern with how political societies *should* be, how political policies and institutions can be justified, how we and our political officeholders ought to behave in our public lives. The principle subject matter of political philosophy can accordingly be said to be *de jure* political societies. Political philosophy can thus be aptly characterized as a branch or an application of *moral* philosophy. Not all evaluations are moral . . . but the evaluations made in political philosophy are distinctly moral. Where moral philosophy examines more general questions of how we should act and be, political philosophy examines the more specific questions of how we should act and be in our political lives and (consequently) of what kinds of political societies we should (and should not) create or oppose.”

    — A . John Simmons, Political Philosophy (NY: Oxford, 2008, p.2).

    So, we saw that (a) you simply *say* I’ve drawn a dubious distinction, (b) you merely say that no Old Schooler would recognize it, and (c) without anything resembling a *response* to my claims, I am prima facie justified in making the distinction, and you’re say-so otherwise does not constitute a defeater-defeater. But, (d) I argued that if we read Machen and The Old School the way you suggest, they’re either explicitly at odds with the Confession and Catechisms, or we can easily imagine a real life case where they would be. To this (e) you made a vague and ambiguous allusion to some claim about “meddling in political affairs,” which as stands is at best a red herring and at worst, bluster. Then (f) you tacitly admitted that the Confession does or can officially pronounce on “social matters” of the day, and this by entailment, thus knocking out one of the legs of your Machen quote, showing you disagree with Machen. Finally, (g) you denied a numerical identity between morality and politics, but (h) we saw that this was an attempt to make your position look stronger as the rhetorical staregy on your end appeared to be to set your position in opposition to a view no one, or no one serious, holds. Not only that, (i) we saw that there is another position in political philosophy that makes politics and political philosophy a subset of morals/ethics, and this weaker position is all that’s needed to undercut your view. That is, since you admitted that the Confession comes down on moral matters, and then you tried to get around any application from the Confession to political matters via the straw man austere identity claim, which Simmons clarified for you, and in so doing, your admission of the Confession’s official pronouncements on moral matters does or can have implications for politics, as politics and political philosophy is a prescriptive enterprise, being a subset of ethical philosophy. We also note that this isn’t some “theonomist” point, or the point of a 1K eeeeeevangelical, but the studied and considered wisdom of a political philosopher using his God-given reasoning abilities and making use of natural law.

    So in closing, you say you like cherries? How ’bout dem cherries?

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  65. Ron: “Darryl,

    Let’s see if I have this right. When challenged by fallacious arguments that avoid the point and draw invalid conclusions I’m not permitted to explain why such tactics are illogical. You like a rigged game it would seem – kinda like pitching a tent so large so as to include all of Christendom. It’s interesting to me that those that employ valid arguments:TF, Paul, Steve H. etc. can’t get out blocks with E2K proponents.”

    Darryl Hart: “Ron, nothing rigged about this. It’s a matter of civility. People like to have their points responded to, not the form of their arguments criticized. BTW, it also looks like you prefer logic and use that to rig games.”

    Darryl, how does Ron’s objection become a matter of civility? Also, why would you think anyone’s use of logic, not just Ron’s use of logic, is used to rig games?

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  66. TUaD, and so what exactly do these “many” people find so “radical”? That Roman Catholics, Muslims, and Mormons should be free to openly practice their idolatry without fear of civil punishment of any kind? Or is it actually radical to suggest the opposite? Is it radical to suggest, along with WCF 19, that Christ has sufficiently fulfilled all the law and that the moral law is all that binds the believer today? Or is it actually radical to suggest, contra WCF 19, that Christ’s death was insufficient? Is it radical to suggest that the gospel be unfettered and protected from being tied to the traditions of men and cares of this world in order that none be alienated from the gospel? Or is it radical to suggest that Jesus really does have particular politics? But these former suggestions are the ways most P&R churches understand these things. Just because you don’t like any of it and prefer the latter suggestions doesn’t mean it’s radical.

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  67. I was disappointed when what seemed like a promising review series by Lane and discussion with the greenbaggins mods and regulars was sidetracked by yet another argument with internet theonomists. 2k will not stand or fall based on whether it can convince someone who has yet to be convinced of the merit of the 1789 WCF.

    The DRC discussion of the FV was one of the most useful Internet resources that I can remember from that controversy. An invitation-only discussion (limited to people that would realistically be asked to discuss it on a GA floor) would be of infinitely greater value than centithreads spending as much space arguing over theonomic oddities that most in NAPARC already reject, e.g., the notion that the church should instruct the state to kill unbelievers, as that for specifically 2k positions.

    There may be something of an internet-wide trend away from open comments anyway. http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/11/tech/web/online-comments-sxsw/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

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  68. Zrim: “TUaD, and so what exactly do these “many” people find so “radical”?”

    It’s a varied assortment. If you look at these blogs: Triablogue, TurretinFan, Bayly Brothers, Iron Ink, etc., and then type in R2K in the Search box, you’ll find multiple posts about the deficiencies and shortcomings of R2K.

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  69. Paul, actually I did argue that the distinction is dubious since there is a difference between politics and morality. I believe the Reformed hermeneutic says something about letting clear passages interpret obscure ones. The clear passages in the Confession about the church and state’s responsibilities comes not from the explication of the Decalogue, but — get this — from the Confession’s teaching on the church and the State’s responsibilities. Just because gluttony is wicked, doesn’t mean we want Michelle Obama setting our menus. But who knows, maybe you voted for Obama.

    The same goes for Simmons’ point. Political philosophy is not the same as politics or statecraft. And just because a political philosopher has to make determinations about the good, doesn’t mean that a politician gets to enforce the Bible. BTW, the Bible is more than morality.

    Distinctions, man!

    And you never heard it from me that 2kers don’t believe in morality. You’ve been reading and believing too many of those quips about antinomianism. We do believe in morality, but how to execute it is the issue. Again, just because I believe it is wrong to break the Sabbath, doesn’t mean I go next store and tell the kids to stop watching the NCAA games.

    And I thought philosophers were supposed to be smart. I guess your cherries were a bit sour.

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  70. Darryl, you did *not* _argue_ that the distinction was dubious. First, you *asserted* that morality is not politics. Second, your assertion has nothing to do with the distinction between *mere* pronouncements and *official* pronouncements. In fact, to prove that your assertion can’t undermine the distinction, one can draw the distinction between pronouncements that are neither moral nor political. Since once can. it cannot be the case that your claim, never mind you never *argued* it, undermines the distinction I drew. However, it is telling that you think your one sentence assertion that “morality is not politics” counts as an *argument*.

    Second, *nothing* I said regarding the distinction *in Machen* can be undermined by the Confession’s statements on church and State. Furthermore, *nothing* in the Confession’s statement on church and State undermines the point I made from the Catechism’s pronouncements on the 6th commandment. Nothing. Nothing in Ch. 23 undermines a whit of what I said. I can’t imagine how you think Ch.23 could undermine what I’ve said so far. But as always, you’re free to *argue* that matter.

    Moreover, Ch. 23 makes official pronouncements on political and social issues! For example, Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation would disagree with Ch. 23, and the debate is a social matter. And even if it didn’t pronounce on such matters, we can *easily* imagine circumstances arising in political and social issues where the official pronouncements of Ch.23 would weigh in on the matter.

    Now, you brought up gluttony. First, you admit that it’s wicked. So, if it’s a social issue of the day whether it is or is not wicked, then it looks as if you admit the Confession and Catechism “officially pronounce” on the *social* matter. Second, surely you don’t think that anyone is arguing that *any* moral issue is a political issue? So your point is a straw man. However, you will note that the Catechism questions I cited, viz., on the 6th commandment, said it was our *duty* to undertake *any* _legal_ endeavor to protect life. Now, we can *easily* see how this weighs in on political issues; in fact, we can *easily* imagine a circumstance arising where it would be the *duty* of a Reformed Christian like you, i.e., one who says he believes life begins at conception, to *vote* a certain way. So, you’ve only dodged the question with your gluttony comment and totally ignored the issue I brought up, apparently thinking that if I don’t think the government should make laws about gluttony, I am logically committed to the claim that they should not make laws about *any* moral matter.

    Now, I know that political philosophy is not politics or statecraft. However, politics and statecraft are *visions* of political philosophies. They are instantiations of a political philosophy regarding how life *should* be ordered. Indeed, your claim that the church *ought* not get involved in political matters, is to make a *political* prescription. And of course, I never said politicians have to enforce the Bible. Did I make that claim, Darryl? No. In fact, all I’m arguing is that the the Confession makes claims that entail official pronouncements on political and social issues of our day. You are swinging at thin air. You’re not tracking the argument I’m giving you.

    Pay attention, man!

    Lastly, I never said you don’t believe in morality. Where did you get that idea? You make a claim about where I’m getting an idea from that I never promulgated. Is that perhaps a Freudian slip? You then bring up the Sabbath, and I’m not clear for what. I am not arguing something I believe (maybe I do maybe I don’t). My argument is pretty clear to anyone who chooses to read rather than skim (as you admit you do). I argued that *your Confession* doesn’t jibe with what you’re saying. That’s why I told you to choose between your Machen and your Confession.

    So, feel free to rail about how dumb I am, but please, for Pete’s sake, try to grasp the argument you’ve been given. This shouldn’t be too hard for a smart guy.

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  71. Check it out, Darryl: “Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the church of our common Lord,”

    Get that? it’s an official pronouncement claiming that the civil magistrate has a normative duty to protect Christian churches; thus, those magistrates that do not do so (or could possibly not do so) are in violation of a duty and, per the Confession, they ought not have the political machinery in play that allows them to do so. If they matter were to be debated socially or politically, the Confession would take a stand on the matter and would have already “officially pronounced” on the matter.

    No doubt, the Confession says the magistrate has a duty to protect all persons, even unbelievers. But to raise that point would be to miss the point. For ‘persons’ and ‘unbelievers’ are not “the church of our common lord,” and we can *easily* imagine a magistrate politically debating a social issue of the day as to whether they have a duty to “protect the church of Christians.” Indeed, many Muslim countries don’t think so. Thus, the Confession “officially pronounces” on the political and social issues of those countries. It claims they ought to do something else politically.

    Now ah knows ah’s dumb n awl, but dat seems perty clear tuh meh.

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  72. Zrim: “TUaD, and so what exactly do these “many” people find so “radical”?”

    Zrim, in addition to the list above, you could also examine Ron’s blog called the “Reformed Apologist.” Here’s a list of posts from Reformed Apologist: R2K.

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  73. Paul, you’re hyperventilating again. Have you been reading Richard on Edwards.

    I understand your point. You don’t need four graphs unless you’re off your meds. But Machen’s still stands. Just because the Confession says the magistrate is to protect the church (and other religions) it does not lay out a policy (you know, policy is close to politics). In Machen’s day it was Prohibition. The Bible says drunkenness is a sin. It doesn’t prescribe whether a federated republic should have an amendment to the Constitution or whether the federal government should make alcohol illegal. In Hodge’s day it was whether states versus the national government’s authority. They Bible says the magistrate is ordained by God but it didn’t speak to the thorny debate over the relations between the states and the federal government.

    That’s the point, Paul. And it is fairly basic to most biblical instruction. The Bible may reveal certain truths, but it is often silent about the enforcement or execution of such ideals. The same goes for politics. We may believe in liberty. But how to preserve it is another matter.

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  74. Oh, got it. Now it’s that the Church should not lay out detailed, robust, fine-grained, many-paged public policies. Gottcha. I learned a new synonym: “pronouncement” = robust, detailed, many-paged public policy.” Boy, am I sure glad I have a smart guy like you to learn from.

    So here’s the conclusion of our little kerfuffle:

    Darryl admits Paul was right that the Confession makes official pronouncements on social and public issues, when ‘pronouncement’ is understood in its common sense term.

    Paul admits Darryl is right that the Church shouldn’t issue detailed, robust, fine-grained, many-paged public policies, even though Darryl never told anyone he was making a highly obscurantist and idiosyncratic point.

    I argued that at *some* level, political and social issues of the day are officially pronounced on, even if by entailment. Darryl comes back after numerous back-n-forth’s, “Yeah, but they shouldn’t put forth things like the 1000+ page Patient Protection and Affordable Care act. Oooo, high five me on that one, Zrim. Burn!” Yeah, okay Darryl, good point.

    (Btw, you brought up drunkenness, but I see you still didn’t deal with the point *I* brought up from the Catechism’s remarks on the 6th commandment, where they mentioned *lawful* endeavors, which, in certain occasions, could require that Christians vote, or perhaps even publicly demonstrate in a certain way.)

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  75. Paul, you were wrong in your reading of the WCF because you didn’t harmonize what your read as “pronouncements” with what the Confession actually says in Chap. 31.

    You’re also wrong about the implications of the 6th commandment. What 2ker says that Christians may no “vote” or “publicly demonstrate”?

    You’re still tilting at windmills. They have medications for that.

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  76. So, Paul, what this comes down to is your irritation as a pro-lifer at the suggestion that believers are at liberty to vote in ways you and I might not on reproductive legislation. But I’m still not sure what keeps your logic from saying any and all political views (in addition to doctrinal views and personal lives) that intersect at any juncture of the Decalogue are subject to spiritual scrutiny.

    But have you ever heard of affirming or opposing political views politically instead of spiritually? So if you don’t agree with Bob’s political views them oppose them politically—when he pulls the “yes” lever then you pull the “no” lever. It’s a simple concept, but apparently too profound for your street-fighter logic to grasp.

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  77. Darryl,

    If you think I need to harmonize something, please lay out, explicitly, the apparent logical tension you believe is there. I need your help because I don’t see it (being dumb and all, as you say).

    On the 6th commandment, how am I wrong? You seem to say I’m right. The argument was that the statements on the 6th commandment could entail that a 2Ker would have to vote in a specific way. You should know, Darryl, that your friend Zrim has denied this. But I don’t need any 2Ker to deny it, for that wasn’t my argument. My argument was only that the Confession “officially pronounced,” or could easily entail an official pronouncement.

    You’re still missing the point and making bad arguments, unfortunately, there’s no meds for that.

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  78. No, Zrim, that’s not it and it’s not what it “comes down to.” I realize that when one doesn’t know how to argue well, or follow arguments well, one must engage in straw manning. There’s no point to respond to you because you don’t actually want to dialogue or learn.

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  79. Paul, not to get into the middle of your discussion with Zrim, but I can’t help but remark on your point about wanting to learn since it seems to me that you come here most often in a spirit of competition, not of conversation. I don’t expect you to agree with the points here. But is it the case that you need to prove you are right and others are wrong?

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  80. Darryl, I never said it did. Pay attention to the *argument*, for the umpteenth time. Study some philosophy, it’ll allow you to read more carefully and pay attention to key words and key qualifications.

    Re Zrim: I came here in the spirit of answering a question you asked. The conflict started because, apparently, you had your mind made up that no harmonization was possible. I came here and saw your quote from Machen, and then I threw out a possible reading, one which harmonizes things for TUAD. At that point, you resorted to the usual: missing the point, not engaging the argument, misunderstanding the point, making non-sequiturs, calling me dumb, etc. You then have the nerve to say I “come here in the spirit of competition, not conversation.” It is actually those who straw man, consistently misunderstand, and seem to delight in grand adventures in missing the point that don’t seem to want conversation.

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  81. Paul, you said the catechism speaks to moral and social questions. Abortion is a social and political question. Now you’re telling me the catechism doesn’t make pronouncements?

    My head is spinning. I need some meds.

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  82. Can I ask a question? Chapter 31 talks about the civil magistrate asking the synods for an opinion on a subject. So, for instance, over here in Blighty out government has been “consulting” the pubic on allowing gay marriage. If the church were asked to be a part of this “consultation” would it be in keeping with 2k for the general assembly to produce an official opinion on the matter?

    It also refers to petitions on matters extraordinary. Is there a rule in determining what is extraordinary? I would have thought the civil war an extraordinary matter, or would it have to be something specifically affecting the church? (Could gay marriage come under that?)

    Apologies, that’s two questions.

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  83. Alexander, to your first question, sure. If the state asks the church for advice, go for it. Number 2: I think an extraordinary case would be one where the consciences of Christians are bound in an unbiblical way by the state. If such a circumstance arises — the recent health care legislation may be an example — then the church should try to protect her officers and members as much as possible before suffering for their convictions.

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  84. Alexander,

    Unfortunately the extraordinary clause doesnt have much qualification other than “issues of conscience”. Since everyones consciene is different, opinions on what constitutes extraordinary can be all over the map.

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  85. Darryl, notice the qualifiers “if you hold to a premise about the status of the unborn” and “by entailment.” Or, recall my claim about the Muslim country that did not protect the church of our common Lord. Now, the Confession does not mention that particular Muslim country; however, it officially pronounces on the matter *via entailment*. Here’s how the derivation would look:

    1. If a current political position, P, says that X is permissible, but the Confession says that not-X is obligatory, then the Confession has officially pronounced on P. (assumption)

    2. X is a country with a civil magistrate. (assumption)

    3. Country X holds the current political position that its civil magistrate is not obligated to protect the church of our common Lord. (assumption)

    4. The Confession says that all civil magistrates are obligated to protect the church of our common Lord (Confessional premise).

    5. The Confession says that the civil magistrates of country X are obligated to protect the church of our common Lord. (from 2 and 4)

    6. Country X holds the current political position that its civil magistrate is not obligated to protect the church of our common Lord and the Confession says that the civil magistrates of country X are obligated to protect the church of our common Lord. (from 3 and 5)

    7. The confession has officially pronounced on the political issue of 6 (from 1 and 6).

    I can do similar things with abortion, etc.

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  86. But I also wonder whether there is something to be said for being cautious even when asked to weigh in on matters on which the church isn’t qualified to speak and that may have no direct bearing on the conscience of the church. Maybe the church actually does the state a favor by not indulging certain questions. I think of a congregant asking the pastor for political advice–maybe the wise answer is that, while he may have his views, and while perhaps informal conversation is one thing, it’s not really his place or calling to advise or publish them. In both cases, maybe “I dunno, it’s your own responsibility so you figure it out.”

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  87. Paul,

    For the sake of argument, let’s grant your argument here, the church has made a political pronouncement on the magistrate and his duty to protect the church’s freedoms, etc. What power does the church have to enforce this clause upon the magistrate? The sticking point is here as I see it. We could point to the nebulous “extraordinary” clause here, that the church could speak to the issue where the magistrate fails to offer this protection, but beyond this what? So on a restricted set of *extraordinary* issues the church *may* speak to political issues, and I certainly am in favor of doing so in the case of freedom of worship and assembly, but even in speaking to these *extraordinary* issues, the church has no power to enforce political issues. Additionally, these are not in the *ordinary* course of church life, where the church is envisaged in the WCF as inserting itself into political issues. I realize that the *extraordinary* clause has endlessly been debated, but let’s at least grant that it is not *ordinary* for the the church to speak to political issues. It seems that the way some construe the *extraordinary* clause in WCF 31, the church would be speaking to nearly any political issue it, or certain members/officers in it take any umbrage with whatsoever. Surely this wasn’t in the purview of what the Westminster framers had envisioned.

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  88. Jed, I never made any claim about the church’s power to enforce the pronouncement. I’m not sure what ‘extraordinary’ means; for in certain countries, those issues are quite ordinary. Moreover, I gave an example, on of many. I can do similar things with abortion, etc. In any event, the context of dialogue is this:

    Darryl has claimed that there are NO cases where the church may pronounce on a political or social issue of the day.

    I intended only to argue against this claim.

    Logically, then, all I need to do is show ONE such pronouncement.

    It appears you admit I have done so. Hence it appears you must judge that Darryl has lost the argument.

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  89. Paul,

    Understood, this is why I granted the argument in the first place. I am not here to argue what you have provided. What I am trying to argue is that even when an *extraordinary* case is in force, the church can do nothing but petition the magistrate. Moreover, the church speaking to political issues is *extraordinary* and not a commonplace feature of the ministry or calling of the church. On abortion in particular, which we are both opposed to, and you and I believe members of Reformed churches should be held accountable for their stances in light of the general equity of the 6th command. I am simply not sure what an official pronouncment to the magistrate would accomplish on the issue of abortion. Calling it a sin is one thing, but critiquing the policy? Will it have any real effect on said policy. Besides, it shouldn’t be a mystery to the US gov’t where a conservative Reformed denomination stands on the issue. Surely there are more effective non-ecclesiastical ways of addressing the issue, say through ethical and legal reasoning in the public sphere.

    Mind you, I am probably closer to you on the issue of the church and abortion than I am to my friend Zrim, nonetheless, the jury is still out as to whether or not I would employ WCF 31 to this particular issue. Maybe this has more to do with the ambiguity of WCF 31, as I can’t cite any sources that would preclude others from viewing abortion as one of these *extraordinary* issues, but without some sort of criteria this becomes a circular conversation/

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  90. Jed, there’s some (small) things you bring up which I don’t think are correct, but what you bring up doesn’t have anything to do with Darryl’s claims. Since I never argued for (or against) the things you’re bringing up, and nothing you bring up entails that any point I made was in error (which I think you agree), I will hold off discussing your points—at least here. We can, of course, discuss the matter via email, if you’d like. But if I continue in this thread, I’ll only get frustrated as Hart and/or Zrim will continue to either misunderstand, ignore, or side step the points and arguments raised. They’ll then call me stupid and tell me to get back on my meds. And they wonder why 2K has a PR problem.

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  91. Paul, the only people i’ve encountered and interacted with who have a problem with 2k are theonomist’s and reconstructionists. Guess it depends which side of the fence you’re on if you regard that as an unfortunate development or not, much less a PR problem. As far as I’m concerned, it just means 2k is being articulated in it’s full measure or something proximate to it. That a confessional development that was codified back in 1788, is in dispute in 2012 is a “PR” problem says less about 2k and more about those who have a problem with it.

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  92. Paul,

    I wasn’t attempting to address the issues discussed earlier, I only browsed those comments to begin with. I had only meant to interact with what I had found interesting in the logical argument. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on this here or by e-mail. Anyway, good to see you back in the mix, it’s never boring to say the least.

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  93. Paul, congratulations. You now have figured out a way for Machen to say the direct opposite of what he said. You philosophers sure are clever (but undermedicated).

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  94. Sean, I have no idea what the doctrinal content of ‘2K’ is. If we follow Horton and define 2K thus: “If you affirm a distinction between saving and common grace, you’re already a ‘two kingdoms’ advocate,” then it appears even theonomists and reconstructionists are 2K! Indeed, since Horton’s big tent fits many people inside, and given Hart and Zrim’s claims that “2kers are allowed to disagree amongst themselves while still holding hands and singing kumbaya (e.g., like when Stellman disagrees with them about civil disobedience), one wonders why they won’t hold hands with their fellow 2K theonomists and make s’mores. Or, I guess they could condemn Horton’s big tent definition.

    Now, certainly, some 2Kers (e.g., Hart, Zrim, &co.) have claimed much more for 2K than can be claimed for it. Certainly, they have got ahead of themselves and a little too enthusiastic with 2K fervor/fever, and acted as if some of their more extreme or idiosymcratic views are *entailed* by 2K dogma. Since they’ve pretended their objectionable views are simply an entailment of 2K, no wonder some have raised their hand. I suspect it is some of these more radical claims that have got people all riled up. When 2K is stated minimalistically and soberly, I have not found many who disagree with it.

    So, if you must know, I consider *myself* 2K; but, I don’t take myself as disagreeing with any 2K dogma just in case I disagree with Hart and Zrim &co. on some topic whatever. It’s that that I take issue with. So, this is the PR problem. You have guys making what I take to be false, and sometimes obviously false claims, and then pretending that to disagree with them is to disagree with 2K in all its permutations. That’s a problem because if they are right, then since whatever implies a falsehood is itself false, they’ve sown the seeds for the defeat of 2K. If 2K *per se* is false, that’s a PR problem, wouldn’t you agree?

    If you love 2K, then, you’ll reign in Hart, Zrim, &co. when they get eager and overzealous for their various causes. You’ll tell them to make sure they don’t claim more for 2K than 2K will allow. If they state their odd, strange, idiosyncratic, and sometimes radical views with the disclaimer that “the view X expressed here is my own view and is in no way an entailment or implied by any 2K dogma,” then they will protect 2K from defeat by reductio.

    So, I’m just trying to help. In fact, since I’m 2K, and am trying to save it from Hart and Zrim &co., then I guess, per you, any who disagree with me and my project are theonomists and reconstructionists.😉

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  95. Paul, the only way you win is in defining the terms so narrowly that only a precocious, chess-loving, philosophy geek can follow the rules or understand the contest.

    Anyway, your debate is not with me. It’s with Machen. I report, he decides.

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  96. Darryl, I only have made Machen say that there should be no official pronouncement, but he was silent on mere pronouncements. You then defined a ‘pronouncement’ as a robust, detailed, fine-grained, elaborate 2,000 political treatise or bill or law that contains several hundred debatable empirical or conceptual claims. So, yeah, you got me, I was wrong. The church shouldn’t make those kinds of pronouncements. Good on ya, stud.

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  97. Darryl, per your March 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm post.

    Gottcha. I will make vague, ambiguous, sloppy, slippery, and careless use of the terms I employ. That way, rather than just the philosophers being able to follow, I’ll ensure NO ONE can follow! C’mon, you can tell us, that’s what you do, right?

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  98. Paul, as for PR problems, here’s a golden-oldie from your powers as an interlocutor:

    My problem with “Confessionalists” is the rampent anti-intellectualism I have seen from almost all of them who bother posting on the internet. Their anti-apologetics and anti-philosophy comments are troubling too. For example, When Dr. Hart was pushing for a 24/7 instruction in the Confessions, I asked him about training his members in apologetics. Regurgitating the Confession won’t do you diddly when (a) atheists challenge your faith and ask for the *reason* for the hope, (b) when other religions criticize your faith, and (c), when Christians take issue with statements of faith. It is utterly embarrassing to watch these “Confessioanlists” handle other theological positions within Christianity. I have been red faced and embarrassed when I have seen Zrim mention and try to critique Arminianism. I was slack-jawed to watch R.S. Clark’s total butchering of Molinism. It was so bad that some Reformed philosophers had to email prominent molinists and tell them not to judge all Reformed by Clark’s performance.

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  99. Paul says;

    “Sean, I have no idea what the doctrinal content of ’2K’ is. If we follow Horton and define 2K thus: “If you affirm a distinction between saving and common grace, you’re already a ‘two kingdoms’ advocate,” then it appears even theonomists and reconstructionists are 2K! ”

    Talk about not following the parameters of an assertion, much less an argument, I reference the 1788 revision removing civil magistrate oversight from the WCF and you pull Horton commenting on the distinction between saving and common grace out of your hat. Hey, not that I mind much, the fact that you’re willing to be conversational and trade on other aspects of the discussion beats the heck out of reducing dialogue to one baited syllogism after another. So kudos to you. But, Since when did theonomist’s start marshalling Horton’s assertions to their defense?! It’s a brave new world this internet thing. Saving 2k from Hart and Zrim, huh? Well, I guess you’ll just have to pigeonhole me with those who fail to see a monolith of 2k application and rather see the nuancing and difference of particular application as an affirmation of the liberty of conscience and bounding of ecclesial authority that 2k seeks to promote. I’m good with the company I’m keeping.

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  100. Sean,

    You mentioned “2K” and those who “disagree with 2K.” I then claimed that I don’t know what you mean by “2K,” and cited Horton’s big tent definition, which allows theonomists and reconstructionists into the tent. My response had to do with your use of the multiply-ambiguous term ‘2K’, which caused me to not know what, exactly, you were referring to. Not only that, you made no argument for me to follow.

    In any event, you clearly don’t want to have a dialogue and you have not rebutted one single point I’ve made in this thread. I am 2K and I am defending 2K. You are criticizing me, which makes you a theonomist or a reconstructionist.

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  101. Paul,

    I mentioned 2k within the particular context of the American revision. That that context isn’t particularly conducive to the point/s you wish to emphasize is your dilemma, not mine.

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  102. From Christianity and Liberalism
    “There are congregations, even in the present age of conflict, that are really gathered around the table of the crucified Lord; there are pastors that are pastors indeed. But such congregations, in many cities, are difficult to find. Weary with the conflicts of the world, one goes into the Church to seek refreshment for the soul… And what does one find? Alas, too often, one finds only the turmoil of the world. The preacher comes forward, not out of a secret place of meditation and power, not with the authority of God’s Word permeating his message, not with human wisdom pushed far into the background by the glory of the Cross, but with human opinions about the social problems of the hour…
    “Is there no refuge from strife? Is there no place of refreshing where a man can prepare for the battle of life? Is there no place where two or three can gather in Jesus’ name, to forget for the moment all those things that divide nation from nation and race from race, to forget human pride, to forget the passions of war, to forget the puzzling problems of industrial strife, and to unite in overflowing gratitude at the foot of the Cross? If there be such a place, then that is the house of God and that the gate of heaven. And from under the threshold of that house will go forth a river that will revive the weary world.” – J.Gresham Machen

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  103. Sean or Jed, could one of you ask Paul for me what are these “eager, overzealous, idiosyncratic, radical, extreme, false” claims some of us 2kers make that are cause for so much derision and hyperventilating? I asked him once today in another venue if it was the claim that 2k wants to be sure that false religionists are free to practice their idolatry without fear of civil punishment. No, he said, it wasn’t that. I asked again if he could then supply examples of these rrrradical claims. But he rebuffed me as not worth his precious time. Could you ask him if it’s the claim that there is a difference between personal behavior and political views? I think it’s that one that gets him so berserk. It could be the stuff about civil disobedience not seeming to have any biblical affirmation, or how perfectly lawful public behavior also has to be weighed by wisdom and not all lawful public behavior is very becoming those who are to live dignified lives. But I think it’s the personal/political thing. I realize some of us see these things differently for principled reasons, but could you ask him why he chooses to characterize as rrrrradical those who zig when he zags?

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  104. dgh- Thanks for your answers. Clears pretty much everything up for me. Much appreciated.

    Zrim- I understand that giving particular situations where the church might speak in civil affairs can be a slippery slope. However, the Confession does give those exceptions when the church might do just that so we should have an idea of when those exceptions might apply. We can’t claim to be confessionalists, and then say “Well, it might just be better if we don’t follow this part.” Otherwise theonomists and transformationists are quite justified in saying we don’t follow our own confessions.

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  105. Alexander, I suppose I don’t worry much about theos and neos being justified in sticking to confessionalists as I do about what wisdom might have to say. I understand what the Confession says and I understand your point. But my point is that even where it may give us room to answer certain questions by way of advice, I do wonder if doing so is always prudent. I agree that we should have an idea of when those exceptions might apply, and my idea is where a question may have bearing on the conscience of the church it applies. My own sense is that some want to expand the criteria to include matters that don’t have bearing on the conscience of the church. And that seems to be a formula for intermeddling–you know, what the Confession warns against.

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  106. Paul: “So, I’m just trying to help. In fact, since I’m 2K, and am trying to save it from Hart and Zrim &co., then I guess, per you, any who disagree with me and my project are theonomists and reconstructionists.”

    Paul, you’re not a goose-stepping Hartzi then?

    Here’s something from the OldLife archives:

    https://oldlife.org/2010/06/hard-or-soft-the-anti-2k-position-displays-the-judaic-folly/

    From the above linked post by Darryl Hart:

    “Well I’d rather describe it a bit more graphically. Both the agressive and passive methods end in cultural rape. The liberal is an agressive rapist. The passive R2Kers on the other hand, like Hart and his ilk, strip naked, lay on their backs and say “take me”.

    IMO, this analogy isn’t quite right.

    As far as I can discern, the R2Kers are the ones who are tying and holding back the hands of those Christian Pastors and Churches who want to stop the rapist. They will observe that the on-going rape is a state matter and that the church is not to “meddle” with state affairs. Or they will say that the rape is a political act or a cultural act or a social act. And the R2Kers will argue that if the Reformed Pastor or Church were to speak out against the Rape, then the Gospel is compromised because the Church should only be preaching and teaching Word and Sacrament, and not stopping rapes. Natural law teaches that the State will stop and punish rapes. R2K’ers don’t seem to stop and ponder when and whether the State becomes a rapist. And from what Zrim has written Christians should obey the Civil Magistrate even when the Civil Magistrate himself is the rapist.

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  107. Truthdivides, well finally you peep more than simply linking to what other people say.

    I have to caution you against using such a loaded term. You sound like a feminist who needs to raise the stakes and gain attention by throwing around a word that creates fear. Now, I think your use of the word is apt because it strikes me that critics of 2k can’t tell the difference between societies that limp along and those that are bad. Your standard appears to be one that no society can reach — not even when run by the elect, like Israel.

    So I’ll give you a chance to back away from your analogy.

    But if you want to stick by it, you will need to consider what Christ and the apostles did when confronted with a society that made life much harder for Christians than our current state does. Did Christ and the apostle speak out against the persecution of believers either by Jewish or Roman authorities? If not, were they holding back the hands of pastors?

    You really do need to consider that 2kers are closer in following Christ and the apostles than 2k’s critics are. Remember, Christ told Peter to put the sword away.

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  108. TUaD, and what anti-2kers never seem to consider is that Jesus’ and Paul’s magistrates were likely the sort that would be construed by moderns as tyrants. Yet nary a word about stopping the overreaching. Why do you think they were so amazed in Mark 12? Because the command was to pay your bills? Sorry, not very amazing. Maybe it was because they expected anyone who called himself the salvation of the Jews would give room to intermeddle and stop those who trampled the Jews. But only a command to obey. Gasp. Not good for inspiring 2012 Americanism against certain goings on in 1930 Germany.

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  109. DGH,

    Apologies, I should stop allowing my life outside of OldLife from getting in the way. I’ll just tell my wife and kids I have some truly important things to tend to. It’s not as if my wife doesn’t roll her eyes often enough when I am on the blogosphere to begin with.

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  110. In the past week (or so) RS said we get a new soul and now TUAD brings out the ever-irenic rape analogy to describe 2k’s. DGH, is anyone compiling these, and someday can you do a “worst of” post to give such comments proper acknowledgement?

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  111. Yea Jed. That’s kinda lame. The whole I have a life and wife and kids bit. This is the internet man, this is where life is lived in the new millenium. Plus you’re an OEC cat anyway, you can’t afford to be missing out on how you’re wrong and how you don’t have a scripture for your OEC stand. The reformed are biblicists don’t ya know.

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  112. For what it’s worth, TurretinFan has a post addressing this post titled:

    Picking Low Hanging Cherries.

    Opening excerpt:

    “Darryl Hart has posted an article (2K Cherries 2Hot 2Handle) responding to my friend Lane Keister’s decision to stop discussing two kingdoms theology on his blog. Unfortunately, the article serves as an illustration of the problem that led my friend to stop discussing the topic.

    Hart seems to have a fundamental problem distinguishing argument from personality. Read his post. You’ll find that after the first paragraph it’s all about attacking his critics – not for their views – but attacking their integrity. Here are some examples:”

    (Read the rest).

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  113. Truthdivides, thanks for more of your tale tattling. But I’m still mystified why citing the historical change between 1646 and 1789 for instance, when it comes to the Westminster Confession and Catechisms in their revisions, would be an ad hominem point. That may explain why 2k critics can’t distinguish between a point and a person.

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  114. Darryl Hart,

    Simply providing a more fully orbed discussion with the benefit that no one can complain that this thread is an echo chamber for R2K group think.

    With regards to you being mystified, go ask TurretinFan to relieve you of your condition.

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  115. TUAD,

    Surely 2k isn’t the only camp guilty of group think. Don’t underestimate the value of the contributions that DGH makes in the 2k camp. His ability to provoke salient conversations should not be lost on anyone in the discussion. Your presence in this conversation only proves that fact. It is not as if he has advocated anything out of bounds of his denomination, the PCA, or the URC.

    There are plenty of blogs were theonomists ans transformationalists gather to pat themselves on the back. What is wrong with a little 2k high fiving here?

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  116. Btw, Truthdivides, I forgot to thank you for the link to Tfan’s post. Although he disagrees with my interpretation of confessional revision among contemporary conservative Reformed communions — rejection vs. toleration — I’m glad to see that he admits that meat-and-potatoes 2k is fully within the bounds of these churches’ confessional standards. That’s a serious concession:

    The second of the alleged “undeniable historical developments” is “that all of the Reformed churches that belong to the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council have rejected the teaching of both the Westminster Confession and the Belgic Confession on the civil magistrate.” In order to check this claim, I carefully studied the standards of the hundreds, dozens, twelve denominations in NAPARC. Hart’s assessment is wrong. The OPC and PCA both have not rejected the teachings of the WCF on the civil magistrate, they have broader standards, so that one is not required to hold those views (as already demonstrated here), although their standards do rule out 2Ek (as explained here). The ERQ subscribes to the original WCF, but permits liberty of conscience on several sections, including the sections that E2k finds most objectionable. The FRCNA states that they fully subscribe to the original three forms of unity (including the Belgic Confession). Should I go on? At best, the RPCNA could be said to have “rejected” them, based on the ambiguous wording of their “testimony” that serves as an interpretive guide to the standards. (Of course, not all conservative Presbyterian and Reformed churches in North America are in NAPARC, but even with Hart’s cherry-picking …).

    And just for the record, the RPCNA, the communion most committed to the Lordship of Christ as expressed in the old Scottish covenants, the one reaffirmed by the Westminster Assembly that drafted the Confession of Faith in the form of the Solemn League and Covenant, the church that insisted on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution regarding Christ’s Lordship — that RPCNA does use the word “reject” when it comes to the teaching of WCF 23.3 and the powers of the magistrate to enforce religion and oversee the church. If that RPCNA uses the language of rejection, I’m having a hard time thinking the OPC, PCA, or URC is equivocating on their confessional revisions.

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  117. Paul (Anonymous), why don’t you show everyone your embarrassed,red face? With impeccable logic and scholarship like yours you have nothing to hide. You would find winning more enjoyable, too! Last time I calculated – that’s math that just doesn’t add up.

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  118. Darryl Hart: “But if you want to stick by it, you will need to consider what Christ and the apostles did when confronted with a society that made life much harder for Christians than our current state does.”

    Zrim: “TUaD, and what anti-2kers never seem to consider is that Jesus’ and Paul’s magistrates were likely the sort that would be construed by moderns as tyrants. Yet nary a word about stopping the overreaching.”

    Darryl Hart and Zrim, take a look at this news article from earlier this year: Hawaiian Churches Denied Request to Block Same-Sex Civil Unions.

    Now suppose there’s an R2K senior pastor in a WCF Reform church in Hawaii. And suppose there was a traditional one-man, one-woman marriage recently conducted by the R2K senior pastor in his church. He is now approached by two gays to have their same-sex civil union ceremony conducted in the Reform church. The R2K pastor tells them he’ll get back to them in a day or two after he consults with some people.

    The R2K pastor calls Darryl Hart. He says: “Dr. Hart, I’m a huge fan and admirer of yours. I’ve read many of your books and articles. A Secular Faith had a big impact on me and makes a lot of sense. State law says that our church has to allow for same-sex civil union ceremonies, otherwise our church will be disobeying state law and subject to penalties. Our church will do whatever you and Steve Zrimec recommend. What’s your recommendation, Dr. Darryl Hart? Should we allow the same-sex civil union ceremony in our church? Or should we practice civil disobedience? I want to apply the 2K doctrine that you teach.”

    Darryl Hart, what is your recommendation to this R2K pastor in Hawaii?

    The R2K pastor also calls Zrim. He says: “Steve Zrimec, I’m a huge fan and admirer of yours. I’ve read many of your comments and I follow your blog. “Confessional Outhouse” has a big impact on me and makes a lot of sense. State law says that our church has to allow for same-sex civil union ceremonies, otherwise our church will be disobeying state law and subject to penalties. Our church will do whatever you and Dr. Darryl Hart recommend. What’s your recommendation, Steve Zrimec? Should we allow the same-sex civil union ceremony in our church? Or should we practice civil disobedience? I want to apply the 2K doctrine that you teach.”

    Zrim, what is your recommendation to this R2K pastor in Hawaii?

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  119. Truthdivides, I’d tell the pastor not to go to you for implications of Hawaii’s laws. The story doesn’t say that pastors have to perform gay marriages.

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  120. Darryl Hart: “Truthdivides, I’d tell the pastor not to go to you for implications of Hawaii’s laws. The story doesn’t say that pastors have to perform gay marriages.”

    The R2K pastor knows that he doesn’t have to perform the same-sex civil union ceremony. Hence, the precise nature of his question:

    “State law says that our church has to allow for same-sex civil union ceremonies, otherwise our church will be disobeying state law and subject to penalties. Our church will do whatever you and Steve Zrimec recommend. What’s your recommendation, Dr. Darryl Hart? Should we allow the same-sex civil union ceremony in our church? Or should we practice civil disobedience? I want to apply the 2K doctrine that you teach.”

    Darryl Hart, what is your recommendation to this R2K pastor in Hawaii regarding the WCF Reform Church hosting a same-sex civil union ceremony?

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  121. Truthdivides, I would tell the pastor to follow the teaching of Paul and Peter and do everything possible to submit to the authorities God has ordained. If the pastor in consultation with his session, presbytery, and Assembly, believes that he cannot obey the law, then he needs to make a humble petition his state representative asking for exemption from the law.

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  122. Darryl Hart: “Truthdivides, I would tell the pastor to follow the teaching of Paul and Peter and do everything possible to submit to the authorities God has ordained. If the pastor in consultation with his session, presbytery, and Assembly, believes that he cannot obey the law, then he needs to make a humble petition his state representative asking for exemption from the law.”

    WCF Reform Pastor to Darryl Hart: “Thanks Dr. Hart for your answer and for your time. I did consult with my session, presbytery, and Assembly, and they all said to give heaviest weight and consideration to your wise counsel. Given that it is possible for our church “to submit to the authorities God has ordained”, as you put it, and in this case the state civil authorities, we will have the same-sex civil union ceremony conducted in our Reform church in Hawaii. Thanks again for your time. I really appreciate your advice.”

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  123. Sean,

    I’d watch the same-sex civil union ceremony conducted inside the Reform Church on a YouTube video made by jubilant GLBT’ers.

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  124. TUaD,

    How very voyeuristic of you. No really, shouldn’t you be pushing for capital punishment against such acts?

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  125. Sean, do you celebrate Darryl Hart’s counsel to the pastor:

    “I would tell the pastor to follow the teaching of Paul and Peter and do everything possible to submit to the authorities God has ordained.”

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  126. Come on TUaD,

    Do you want them killed before or after. Have you written your representatives yet asking for and encouraging them toward enacting the death penalty for those found engaging in such activity, much less publicly celebrating their union.

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  127. TUaD,

    If your representatives fail to employ such measures, are you willing to stand in the Gap and take the stand for your God and lead the way at risk of your own freedom and possibly life to enact God’s law and remedy?

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  128. The pastor’d duty is to follow the teaching of Scripture and, if possible, always submit to governing authorities. (Rom. 13)… not too controversial.
    Darryl has no authority to tell the pastor what he “should” do other than the above in conjunction with his session, presbytery, and Assembly – who have the God-ordained responsibility in such matters… not too controversial.
    If he cannot obey, and in the agreement with his church, then petition the governing authorities for an exemption. This seems the logical godly course in that the pastor says he cannot obey this law without violating God’s higher law, yet he still must consider how to walk in this matter in a way that is still seeking to be subject to the governing authorities… not too controversial.
    What if the governing authorities do not allow for an exemption? The pastor and his church have already said they cannot obey. They therefore submit to the penalty that would be applied due to non-compliance with this law. Scripturally, not too controversial…

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  129. Sean,

    Suppose your “2K” church submitted to the civil authorities and hosted a same-sex civil union or same-sex marriage ceremony in your church’s sanctuary. Would you rejoice that God’s will was done in the “2K” separation of church and state?

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  130. Jack Miller: “What if the governing authorities do not allow for an exemption? The pastor and his church have already said they cannot obey. They therefore submit to the penalty that would be applied due to non-compliance with this law.

    What say thee, Zrim, ye faithful disciple of Darryl Hart’s “2K” doctrine, to Jack Miller’s suggestion that the church exercise “non-compliance with this law”? The church would be practicing civil disobedience by disobeying the civil magistrate in refusing to host a same-sex civil union ceremony.

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  131. TUaD,

    When are you gonna drink your own potion? When are you gonna be consistent? When are you gonna be the difference maker? The Gap stands unmanned. In case you really are that wooden, see Jack’s answer and for what it’s worth I’m glad you can’t muster to your cause.

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  132. TUaD, DGH seems to have sufficiently answered your hypothetical. I would only add that if after all humble petition is exhausted and is denied that the church has no choice but to obey God rather than men and refuse. I know you want to construe that as civil disobedience (and thus stoke the feel-good fires of being on the right side of righteousness–huzzah and go religion!), but again, it seems like a poor way of speaking since the Bible frames things in terms of obedience.

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  133. Tuad: I have to say I think you’re being a bit rude and perhaps owe certain people, namely dgh and Zrim an apology. They have answered your questions; you have refused to answer questions posed to you.

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  134. Darryl, with a name like “The Emmanuel Temple House of Praise and Lighthouse Outreach Center Assembly of God,” something tells me the reception may not include the sacraments of earth. Drunk with the Spirit and all that.

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  135. Did this not all start with Paul just wanting to have a beer (while admiring your bow ties) with you Darryl? What I really like about oldlife is that you get no threats of moderating comments or “rules for engagement in dialog.” And Darryl can give sarcastic comments back with the best of em!! Plus Darryl always exposes himself to any negative comments without using “pulling rank” like rhetoric at the interlocutors who are hounding him. I’m just brown nosing again. This is like old times at oldlife.

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  136. I better quit commenting though because I might be mistaken for one of those goose stepping Hartzi’s. And I am probably bad PR for oldlife. As McMark stated to me, “I like being ignored.” I think there is wisdom in that.

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  137. I think I get your point Darryl. The irony is that when you lest want to make it all about you it becomes all about you. Or, we just miscombobulate it all in our psyches. It is a strange and fallen world we live in.

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